Christ Jesus' Servant | Romans 1:1-5

Romans: For the Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the world, was preaching in the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago, he was entertained at the home of deacon James L. Kraft, who was superintendent of the Sunday school and founder of Kraft Foods. Kraft said that as a young man he had a desire to be the most famous manufacturer and salesman of cheese in the world. He planned on becoming rich and famous by making and selling cheese and began as a young fellow with a little buggy pulled by a pony named Paddy. After making his cheese, the youth he would load his wagon and he and Paddy would drive down the streets of Chicago to sell the cheese. As the months passed, the young Kraft began to despair because he was not making any money, in spite of his long hours and hard work.
One day he pulled his pony to a stop and began to talk to him. He said, “Paddy, there is something wrong. We are not doing it right. I am afraid we have things turned around and our priorities are not where they ought to be. Maybe we ought to serve God and place him first in our lives.” Kraft then drove home and made a covenant that for the rest of his life he would first serve God and then would work as God directed.
Many years after this, Dr. Criswell heard James Kraft say, “I would rather be a layman in the North Shore Baptist Church than to head the greatest corporation in America. My first job is serving Jesus.” (Adapted from W. A. Criswell, Acts [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983], pp. 187–88.)1224
Mr. Kraft indeed became successful when he surrendered his life to Christ.
In our text, Paul first identifies himself in this way:

Paul, a Servant of Christ Jesus

Paul begins by identifying himself as Christ Jesus’ Servant, a “doulos Christos Iesous”.
The word doulos is the a greek word that can be translated to mean “a slave or bondservant, someone who sets aside all rights of his own to serve another.” The word slave in our time is loaded because of the history of slavery in our history.
In ancient times, one could become a doulos in several ways. They were usually either prisoners of war, captured by the Roman in their conquest of the ancient world or debtors who were imprisoned and sold to pay off their debts, or they were born into a slave family .
Other, were bondservants, men and women who found themselves in such desperate estate that they sold themselves to a master to provide for themselves and their families. In any case, slaves would serve until they could raise enough money to buy their freedom, were freed by their master, or their master died.
Finally, servants could be bought by a new master.


Paul, having this context, throughout scripture notes that we as Christians are servants of Christ Jesus. Paul understood that as a Christian we were moved from slavery to sin, and into the service of Christ. But this was something we chose to do. Like the bondservants, who sold themselves to flee from the depravity and death of sin, we have become “slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17)
Paul understood what it meant and what it cost to be a servant of Christ Jesus. Christ had to purchase us. Christ had to pay the price for our freedom from sin. And that wage, as we discovered last week, that slave debt was death.
1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Paul understood that when Christ died, he saved, or redeemed ruined sinners from their sins. The word carries with it the sense of belonging to him—Christ has bought him, and owns him.
Galatians 3:13-14 (NLV)
Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law. In that way, the Law could not punish us. Christ did this by carrying the load and by being punished instead of us. It is written, “Anyone who hangs on a cross is hated and punished.” 14 Because of the price Christ Jesus paid, the good things that came to Abraham might come to the people who are not Jews. And by putting our trust in Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit He has promised.
We are freed to serve a new King.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This is why we were set free, to walk in a new life. To walk in Holiness. The difference between those who “get saved” to get out of hell, and those who desire to walk in holiness can be seen clearly in the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19.
In that story, 10 lepers beg Jesus to heal them from their leprosy. The terrible disease had ravaged them and disfigured them and separated them, just as sin does us. But when Jesus tells them to go to the priests and present themselves.
As they are going remarkable happens, as the men are leaving Jesus, they began to be healed.
One of them, realizing this runs back to Jesus and worships.
Here is Jesus’ response:
Luke 17:17–19 ESV
Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
That’s the heart that is a servant of Christ Jesus. That man was physically and SPIRITUALLY Cleansed by Christ.
Then are we the servants of God, then are we the disciples of Christ, when we do what is commanded us, and because it is commanded us.
John Owen

Freed to SERVE

A servant carries with it the idea of being a willing servant. And as such, we are freed to willingly walk in holiness.
When one served a master in the ancient world, and part of serving a patrician, the Roman ruling houses, was that you adopted the family life. If you were are captured barbarian, or a lowly pleb, you would adopt every aspect of that family you “belonged” to. You would wear their family colors, and be loyal to that family. You belonged to them. And in doing this you brought glory to them
Being a duolos mens to be under someone's total control. "His will being totally consumed by the will of another".
When we become Christians, we are called to serve our master.
2 Corinthians 8:1–4 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—
Matthew 6:24 ESV
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 10:24–25 ESV
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.
Martin Luther

Freed to GLORIFY

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17 ESV
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We are freed to bring glory to our King Jesus.
The Romans were the masters of this. The Roman economy and way of life was built on the system of slavery and subjugation of other peoples. So much so that they built up a system whereby they could celebrate the victory over their enemies, and glorify the victorious and Triumphant general.
THey would throw a parade, called a Triumph. These were important in that they gave glory to the General and to Rome itself.
First came the captive leaders, allies, and soldiers (and sometimes their families) usually walking in chains. Their captured weapons, armour, gold, silver, statuary, and curious or exotic treasures were carted behind them, along with paintings, tableaux, and models depicting significant places and episodes of the war. Next in line, all on foot, came Rome's senators and magistrates, followed by the general's lictors in their red war-robes, their faces wreathed in laurel, then the general in his four-horse chariot. A companion, or a public slave, might share the chariot with him or, in some cases, his youngest children. His officers and elder sons rode horseback nearby. His unarmed soldiers followed in togas and laurel crowns, chanting "io triumphe!" and singing ribald songs at their general's expense. Somewhere in the procession, two flawless white oxen were led for the sacrifice to Jupiter, garland-decked and with gilded horns. All this was done to the accompaniment of music, clouds of incense, and the strewing of flowers.
As Christians, we are called to glorify and proclaim the victory of our King too!
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