The moment you walk on the field to join the game, you've won. It's not a matter of what happens during the course of this life you have. By walking onto the field, you are a winner.
By not, when you lose. Because God's called you to more than just being a spectator. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the Senior Pastor of the Bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. An amazing fact of Scripture is that God uses weak vessels, simple men and women who desire to follow Him to reach others with the amazing gospel. Stay tuned as David McGee continues to teach in the Book of Romans, Chapter 1. But before we get into today's teaching, every marriage needs course corrections from time to time.
So how do we make sure our marriages stay on track when the struggles and pressures of life hit? Find out how in Pastor David's new three-DVD series, Endless Love. It's our gift to thank you for your donation to help Cross the Bridge broadcast on this and other stations, helping more people cross the bridge from death to life. Visit crossthebridge.com now to request your copy of Endless Love.
Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Now here's David McGee with Part 2 of his teaching, We Are the Call. Turn with me to Romans, Chapter 1, Verse 5. It says, Through Him, notice the capital H, speaking of Jesus, through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name. So what is this thing called grace?
We know it's a woman's name. We know when we pray over food, we call it grace. Well, grace, I'll give you something to remember it by. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. God's riches at Christ's expense.
Here's what I mean by that. We can experience God's forgiveness, the richness of His forgiveness this morning. Why can we experience that? Because Jesus Christ paid for it. We can experience joy freely.
How can we experience that? Because Jesus paid for it. See, God is blessing us in grace through what Jesus suffered and went through.
He paid for us to be able to receive these things. So grace is the unearned favor of God, the unearned or unmerited favor of God. You don't earn grace.
There's nothing that you can do to earn grace. Grace is given. In verse 6, Paul continues, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.
Let's go ahead and read something. To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The called in verse 6. Among you also are the called. Now there's a word that needs some defining.
Why? Because we feel like the called are just a small segment of the population who have been actually called. We are all called.
That word, and we talked about this last week. Called means invited. The Lord has invited you on this adventure. At some point in your Christian walk and following of Jesus, you're going to be discontent with just sitting in the bleachers.
Friend, I've got to be honest. If this is your church, I will make sure of that. I am committed.
If it takes me stirring you up, I'm committed to doing that. I love you that much. Because at some point, you've got to leave the bleachers and get into the game. Christianity is not a spectator sport.
It was never intended to be. When Jesus sees people coming in, he's not saying, well done, thou good and faithful spectator. No, he says, well done, good and faithful servant. But here's the great thing. The moment you walk on the field to join the game, you've won. You've won. It's not a matter of what happens during the course of this life you have. By walking onto the field, you are a winner.
By not, friend, you lose. Because God's called you to more than just being a spectator. And that's what he was talking about. Jesus said these things that are just so strange. He said, you know what? If you want to know what life is all about, give your life away. But if you try to hold onto it, you're going to lose it.
It's going to go through your hands like shifting sands. It goes into verse 7 and uses some phrases that are interesting. To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, graced to you in peace from God our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I want you to notice something. When it says beloved of God, called to be saints, if you're in the King James, I'm reading from the New King James. Now think in the NLT as well. To be is an italics. Now when you see something in the Bible that's an italics, what that means is it's not in the original languages. And the Greek is different than English. And the Hebrew in the Old Testament, Hebrew scripture is different from English. So sometimes they have to put these words in there to serve as connectors. They let you know that through italics.
Why am I saying that? Well, because the phrase actually in the Greek there is called saints. Called saints. Not called to be saints, called saints. You understand the difference? Called to be saints says, oh, you're called to be something. Called saints says you are something. There's an important difference here. Why is that?
Because you need to understand, oh, this is good. The life lesson here, you are a saint. You are a saint.
If you have come to Jesus, ask him to forgive you of your sins. Boom, you're a saint. You're a saint. How cool is that? Saint David. I kind of like that. Maybe you're sitting there, that's just wrong.
Okay, put your name in there. Because according to the Bible, when you come to him, you're a saint. You're holy and spotless. And the Lord, he looks at you and doesn't see sin. He sees you're covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. And then this other kleitos, the called, we've talked about that, invited, called saint, invited saint.
And then this beloved, beloved, agapeos, from agape. Let me explain that word love, because we use the word love in some weird ways in the sense of I love pizza, you know, or I love food. And I understand, and I've said those things, but do you really love pizza?
I mean, do you really, are you willing to lay down your life? Well, that's probably not a good, some of you are willing to lay down your life to eat pizza, so that's right. But is there, do you have, do you have like an emotional experience with pizza? No, I mean, do you have a relationship with pizza?
Hopefully not. Contrary to the Pizza Hut and Domino ads, you don't have a relationship with pizza. Now, you might love eating pizza, but it's not like a love relationship with other people, but let's understand this too. This is even above that love relationship with people. See, because we use the word love and sometimes we'll look at somebody and go, well, I don't love you anymore. Quit loving you. Then was it really love to begin with? And we use things like I don't feel love for you. Love is not a feeling. It's a commitment.
It's an act of the will. But in this word agape, God is saying, you know what, I love you unconditionally. I love you when you're in church. I love you when you're out of church. I love you when, at all times. As a matter of fact, in Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 3, it says the Lord has appeared of old to me saying, yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, with loving kindness I have drawn you.
The life lesson here? You are loved. You are loved. You're loved by the people here.
I love you guys. More importantly than that, God loves you. And He doesn't love you with this flippant love that He's going to look at you tomorrow and go, well, I used to love you.
I don't feel it anymore. John 3.16 says, for God so loved the world. Now, I just love the world, so loved the world. Somebody can say to you, you know what, I love you, and that's meaningful. But when somebody says, I so love you, that goes beyond that. How do we know Jesus loves us? John 15.13. Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one's life for his friends. Jesus showed that.
He proved that. This word called is invited. Again, is that everybody?
It's everybody. You come to the Lord, you're the called, you're the invited. It's kind of interesting because once we define these words, then the Bible begins to open up even deeper to us.
And here's what I mean by that. Now that we know called is invited, we've been called to be saints and we are loved. Look at Romans 8.28. And it says, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called, invited, according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His son so that His son would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, and having chosen them, He called them to come to Him.
And He gave them right standing with Himself, and He promised them His glory. We love to put people in categories, don't we? Even Christianity, you follow Jesus. You ever go out and somebody says, hey, you know, are you a believer?
Are you starting to share one? Yeah, I'm a Christian. I'm a follower of Jesus. That's awesome.
What denomination are you? That's almost like always the second question comes up. You know what?
That's a little weird. Because you know half the time, probably more than half that. You know what people are asking?
What can we argue about? What church are you from? Sometimes I've intentionally just said, just Christian. What do you mean just Christian? What kind of Christian? Just Christian? Just Christian. What denomination? Just Christian. I'm not really linked to a denomination. I belong to Jesus. And then it's almost like they get upset.
It's like, well, that becomes very apparent. You were trying to argue with me. You know another term? I was looking at a study the other day, a survey, and it had listed in the survey, Christians and born-again Christians.
Shout them out. You can't be a Christian if you're not born again. There is only born-again Christians and non-Christians.
Because Jesus, the one who started the whole Christianity thing, said you've got to be born again. So really the whole world is two people groups, if you will. There's the saints and people who don't believe in Jesus.
J. Vernon McGee says, the saints and the aint's. But now before you go, oh, see, we're saints, and then there's everybody else kind of on different lower levels. Yeah, what incredible acts of kindness and stuff to the universe did you have to do to earn this sainthood?
You said a short, simple prayer. Let's remember that when we look at people. Because a lot of times you understand we look at people that aren't following Jesus, and then we talk about, well, they're not acting like Jesus. They're not following Jesus. They're not claiming to follow Jesus.
The better thing is to look at the mirror. We're claiming to follow Jesus. Are we looking, acting, sounding, caring like Jesus? This phrase in verse 7 is kind of interesting, grace to you and peace from God. Grace we've already talked about. The word Greek in the word is cherished, cherished, C-H-A-R-S. It was also a Greek greeting. You would say grace to people when you saw them, grace.
Grace to you. Peace is from the Hebrew word shalom. Now, it's more than peace. We think of peace as the absence of war. Shalom is much more than that.
Shalom is, yes, absence of war, but also prosperity, blessing, wholeness, health, all that, shalom. Paul joins these together, charity and grace, grace and peace, cheris and shalom. You might have noticed at the end of every service, I say the Aaronic benediction and then also at the very end, I say grace and peace to you.
Why do I say that? Well, Paul said it. And why do I say it in that order? Well, one of the reasons is Paul said it in that order.
But see, here's the thing. You can't have peace without grace. You cannot have peace without grace. If you're looking for peace, you're not going to find it until you come to a real knowledge and understanding of grace. And once you really understand grace, you will be flooded with the peace that passes all understanding.
It's kind of interesting how Paul ties these together and we'll tie them together another week. But the life lesson here is you can have real and lasting peace from God and peace with God. It amazes me when I'm talking to people about Christianity and they say, well, I don't see how Christianity, I don't see how the Bible's relevant. In this crazy frenzied world that so lacks peace, you can't see what this book and God has to do with those things.
Peace is important. It's something that's elusive. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge.
He'll be back with more in just a moment. God desires to reveal Himself to the world. And the Bible teaches that marriage is supposed to be a picture of God's love to others. Pastor David and his wife Nora want to show you how to make your marriage one that proclaims God's love in their new three DVD series, Endless Love. It's our gift to thank you for your donation to help Cross the Bridge air on this and other stations, helping more people cross the bridge from death to life. Go to crossthebridge.com now to request your copy of Endless Love. This is Pastor David McGee with Cross the Bridge. I want to thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge.
I also want to tell you about an exciting website. The website is lostlovedones.org, and it works very simply like this. You go to the website and you put the first names of up to 10 people that we begin praying that they get saved. Now it takes two things to get saved, presentation and prayer. And what we're offering is prayer, and also there's different tools there to help you present the gospel to them. So we're there with you, helping you with the presentation, helping you with the prayer. There's over 920 people that belong to the prayer team on Lost Loved Ones, and you can join the prayer team as well and help us to pray for others who don't yet know Jesus, and together we can see a huge revival starting with your lost loved ones.
Now, back to today's teaching. Verse 8, first I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. This is an awesome verse, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. It's awesome in traveling and doing missionary work and stuff, talking to people, and they're familiar with what God is doing in this place. Somebody shared another day that they travel around, they invite people to church, talk to them about the Lord, and every day they're out there sharing, somebody is familiar with the church. Oh, yeah, I know about that church, heard about that church. So people are hearing about you guys and what God is doing in here.
But look at this. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all. Did he say some of you? No, he said for you all. You know what all means in the Greek?
It means all. It's an interesting thing that happens. You know, there's certain people that you really get along with and you look forward to seeing, and there's some people you don't. I mean, it's more than any of you have been here before.
You've got to be like, oh, I hope I see brother so-and-so, I really like him, and sister so-and-so, I really like her, and, man, I hope I don't see that one guy. And if I see him, oh, there he is. Are you thankful for everybody that's in here? I am. You better believe I am. I'm so blessed.
I'm amazed. Because sometimes, I mean, I'm out here teaching. I'm saying things that stir people up, and yet people come back, and they're blessed, and they're growing in the Lord, and I'm so thankful for each and every person that's in here. Sometimes the pastors say, well, how large is the church?
How many people are coming? And frequently, my answer is more than I deserve and plenty enough to be accountable for. So I'm grateful for each and every person that's here. Are you grateful for each and every person that's here?
I understand. Some of you don't get along with some of the other ones, but here's what's awesome. Do you understand the person that you don't get along with in this place is doing more for you to grow as a Christian than the people you get along with? See, because when you see somebody, and you're like, oh, do you think that's your... Do you think that's the Holy Spirit? No, that's your carnal side. That's your fleshly side. That's your selfish nature coming out and God saying, ooh, I need to deal with that.
And that gets stirred up. It says give thanks. Are you thankful?
Paul goes even further in 1 Thessalonians 5, 18. He says, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus for you. In everything give thanks.
Boy, if you weren't challenged before, you're challenged with this one. Everything give thanks. So, hey, if you lose your job, give thanks. If somebody's sick, give thanks. If somebody's tired, give thanks. If you're sick and tired, give thanks.
This is what we're supposed to be doing. We're supposed to be giving thanks in all things. Do you complain about your job? What's the opposite of being thankful, complaining? You can't complain and be thankful at the same time. Do you complain about your job, or are you thankful you have one and you think about the people who don't have jobs? Are you grateful you complain about your children or are you grateful you have them? Complaint about your house or are you grateful you have one? Complain about your car or are you grateful you have a car? Be thankful. You can't be complaining and thankful at the same time. You understand that? And the Bible talks about the fruit of your lips.
It's kind of an interesting concept if you think about it. So if you're complaining, that's bad fruit, spoiled fruit. You ever, spoiled fruit's really, it's nasty. You ever put fruit in your fridge, and you put it in that shelf thing, and you leave it for a little while? And then you come back, especially if you travel, and you come back and you open and you go, oh my gosh, there's a hairy mutant monster, in my crisper shelf. I don't even know, what did that used to be? Maybe a coconut or something.
It's grown. That's what complaining looks like. Or you can be thankful.
Do this. This is a challenge. Next 24 hours, don't complain. Don't complain.
This is a challenge. If your spouse, or your child, or your parents are sitting with you, you hold each other accountable in not complaining. Let me assure you, everybody in here complains more than you think you do. And what's going to happen over the next 24 hours, you're going to go to complain, and somebody that loves you is going to say, hey.
It's kind of interesting, last time I did this, I walked backstage, and there was a lady back there, and I said, how you doing? She said, well, it was too cold in there, and boy, you went long today. And I thought, well, you got all of four minutes before you blew that. So when you're complaining, your fruit stinks. Now, this is a weird thought, but go with me.
We're going to close in a minute. Wouldn't it be interesting if every time you complained, everybody could smell that fruit? And then when you started complaining, people go, have you been complaining? Or you walk in a group, and it's like, somebody's been complaining here.
Because, see, here's the thing. Here's what I've noticed. Complaining is contagious. It's contagious. You can walk into a group that is content, they're happy, but you let somebody come in there and start complaining and go, well, yeah, I didn't think about that.
Boy, I don't like that. But do you realize being thankful is contagious as well? That if there's a group at work that's sitting around complaining about their job, and you walk in, you go, you know what, I'm just thankful we all have work, because I got a friend, he got laid off, and he doesn't know what he's going to do. And I'm just so thankful that we can be here. I'm so thankful that we have jobs.
And then the people around you go, wow, I didn't think of that. Yeah, I'm grateful. So you get to choose, being thankful or being complaining. We talked about grace, and the Lord is willing to give you grace. He's willing to give you peace.
And he's shown this in such a graphic way. See, this grace thing, unmerited favor, unearned, the Lord wants to forgive you. And all that he requires is that you come to him and ask him to forgive you. So there's some people in here that you thought, well, I got to get my life straightened out, and once I get my life straightened out, I'll come to God and I'll come to church. That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says you come to God, anybody. Jesus repeatedly says, whoever will come, let them come. In Romans 10, 13, he says, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. In the Gospels, he tells us that if anybody comes to me, I'm not going to turn them away. So, friend, when you come to Jesus, you don't have to come to Jesus. You go, well, I hope he does this. I hope he forgives me. Friend, the day I came to Jesus, that's the way I came to him.
I thought, you know what? This forgiveness thing sounds too good to be true, and I've done too many things for too long. This probably doesn't apply to me, but I'm willing to see if it does. I'm going to ask him to forgive me. And I fully expected when I prayed that prayer that God was going to say, you know what? It's for some.
It's not for you. But the Bible says where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. There's no sin that you can do and commit that God cannot forgive other than the rejection of his Son.
See, if you reject Jesus, friend, you cannot know forgiveness. I want to encourage you. There's nothing you can do to earn it but to come to him. And in this moment, he's calling you, inviting you to him because he loves you, not because he needs something from you, wants you to do something.
He just loves you. He says, come to me. I died for your sins. And when you come to him and you begin to understand that grace, there's something about understanding that grace that you want to begin to follow him. You want to begin to serve him. You want to begin to tell other people because you understand grace. God doesn't say, change who you are and then come to me. He says, come to me and I'll change who you are. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations, friend.
You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you.
You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we say goodbye, in both the Old and New Testaments, marriage is a practical picture of God's relationship with his people. People are intrigued and drawn to godly marriages.
And when they're drawn to our marriages, they're drawn to God. We want to help you keep your marriage in balance and proclaim Christ through it by sending you Pastor David's three DVD marriage series, Endless Love. This series is our gift to thank you for your donation to help Cross the Bridge air on this and other stations. So visit crossthebridge.com today to request your copy. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Also, if you're not able to make it to your home church this Sunday, why not join us for our live stream at 9 a.m. and 1130 a.m. Eastern? Just visit crossthebridge.com and click on our live stream link. There you can watch Pastor David teach from his home church, The Bridge, in Kernersville, North Carolina. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee. We'll see you then.
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