Friend, if you're here today and you know Jesus as your Savior, somebody told you.
Maybe somebody outside this church, maybe somebody invited you to this church and you heard it here and you received it, but somebody told you. And guess what? Because somebody told you, you need to now tell others. You need to share. We owe a debt.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. If you had a secret that could help lots of people, would you tell others? Well, we owe it to people to tell them the good news of the Gospel. Find out why this is so important as David McGee continues in Romans 15 with his teaching, Be a Blessing.
Here's David. Romans chapter 15 verse 25 says, But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints, for it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. Verse 27, it pleased them indeed.
Again, when you see something twice in the Bible, pay attention to it. Verse 26, it pleased those. Verse 27, pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For the Gentiles had been partakers of their spiritual things.
Their duty is also to minister to them in material things. What is Paul talking about? When Paul uses the word Gentiles, and it means literally out of worshiper, but for goyim in the Hebrew, it means non-Jewish, loose definition. So he's saying the Gentiles have been partakers of the spiritual things, and so they should minister in material things to who? To the Jewish people. Well, why should the Gentiles do anything for the Jewish people?
Let's think through this. First of all, let's understand that Jesus was a Jew. I was raised in church all my life, and I was in my 30s before that truth really hit home. I mean, I heard bad things about Jewish people and racist, bigoted stuff, and I accepted in Christian, and racism and bigotry have no place in Christianity. And then, you know, I shared, somebody was talking to me, well, Jesus was a Jew. Oh, he wasn't a Jew. He was a Jew, and then he converted.
No, he was a Jewish Messiah, prophesied by Jewish scriptures. So we owe a debt to the root of Jesse, to the line, to the seed of Abraham for the Messiah, but there's even more beyond that. From the book that we're reading from, we owe a debt for that. That book was preserved at the cost of many lives. The Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament, what we refer to, was kept for hundreds of years, and this was before Xerox and HP printers and stuff came. They copied it hand by hand, and they would copy it, and they would write a page, and then they were so exact they would count by the columns how many letters were in each column, up and down, across, and if it was the wrong number, they threw the piece of paper away.
They didn't even try to correct it. They wanted to make sure it was exactly right, and they kept the word of God. But that's not just the Hebrew scriptures, gang. You need to understand that this whole book, with two exceptions I'll tell you about, was written by Jewish people. There were 12 Jewish apostles, with the exception of the Gospel of Luke, who I believe was a Gentile physician.
I'm not going down that rabbit trail, but I believe he was a Gentile physician, and he also wrote the book of Acts. So there's those two books, and then there's a small portion of the book of Daniel written by Nebuchadnezzar, who was a Gentile. Other than that, this whole book is written by Jewish people.
I don't know. Why should we feel like we owe them anything? Because this book, our Messiah, has its lineage and Jewish roots. You know, we sometimes arrogantly say, well, I don't owe anybody nothing.
Well, that's just a silly statement. First of all, if you're a Christian, you can't say that, because the Bible says you've been bought with a price, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And we owe Jesus, and we owe a debt to the Jewish people. Now, understand that I have a heart for Israel, and some people are like, well, why do you have a heart for Israel? You know, I've had actual people stop me in the hall and go, what's this whole Jewish thing going on here?
Well, gang, the book of Romans, if you read it, chapters 10 and 11 and 12, or 9, 10, 11, will explain what the whole Jewish thing of Christianity is. It says we're grafted in, and that we're not supposed to boast against the roots, and yet we pridefully say we don't owe Israel or Jewish people anything. This book tells us in the Hebrew, sha'alu sharom yerushalayim, which means pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
When you see something online, or you see something in the newspaper, trouble, something going on, do you stop me? Well, God, I just ask that you would have peace in Jerusalem. Because understand, the world sentiment is anti-Israel. I don't think that's just political. I think it's probably, I think it's demonic. Because you need to understand that at some point in time, all of the nations of the world, sadly, including this one, will align themselves against Israel.
I don't, you could make an argument that it's happening even now. So praying, and again, it's that mentality of I want to be a blessing to other people. That's not just a statement, that's a lifestyle that we should be adopting. 1 John 3.17 says, but whoever has this world's goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? See, this is what the love of God looks like.
We can't be like, well, you have a need. Well, I pray for you. May God bless you, keep you warm, be at peace. As that Keith Green song says, when that happens, all of heaven just weeps because Jesus came to your door and you left him out in the street. The Bible tells us that whenever we do these things to people, it's like we're doing it to Jesus. When we give these shoes to these orphans, it's like we're giving shoes to Jesus. When we give clothes away, it's like we're giving clothes to Jesus. When we give food away, it's like giving food to Jesus.
Now, the Bible calls us to do this. Ephesians 4.28 says, let him who stole, still no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Acts chapter four, verse 34 says, nor was there anyone among them who lacked. For all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought to proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles feet and they distribute to each as anyone had need. Notice it says to each as anyone had need. It doesn't say to each as anyone had greed, okay?
There's a difference. We have a benevolence ministry. It's meant to work people through temporary hard times. You know, we had somebody came in and said, I want to apply for benevolence. We said, what's the need? They said, well, I own my house.
We said, well, that's not really what benevolence is set up for. See, let's understand because when I'm talking about this, I'm going to go, well, I don't have enough. You are so blessed. Friend, you begin to travel and you begin to look at people living in tin shacks and dirt floors. You're going to, you realize how blessed you really are. Now let's understand there is a multi-billion dollar industry built, the advertising and marketing industry built to make you unhappy with what you have so that you buy more stuff. You can be totally happy with your car until you see a car commercial. I don't have that car.
I need to buy this car that I don't need to impress people I don't like with money I don't have. You're already blessed. So don't be in here going, well God, if you bless me, I'd be no, no, no. You be a blessing to other people. You show God you can be entrusted to be a blessing to people. You watch what God will do because once he finds people like that, man, he will just pour blessings out on them. He'll do it.
He'll do it. So Paul is bringing these messages and then being a blessing to these other people. He's wanting to undo the thing. And here's the thing that we need to understand is do we have to be a blessing to other people? No, we get to be a blessing to other people.
And to be honest, it's not really an option. It's what we're supposed to be doing. Paul was very, I would use the word driven. I might even use the dirty word ambitious for the kingdom of God.
I think it's good to be ambitious for the kingdom of God. And Paul is certainly that. This mentality, and he told us early on in Romans, he uses a phrase that I think we need to dig on. Romans 1, 14, 15. He says, I am a debtor both to Greeks and the barbarians, both the wise and the unwise. So as much as is in me, I'm ready to preach the gospel to you who were in Rome also.
He says, I owe a debt. Friend, if you're here today and you know Jesus as your savior, somebody told you. Maybe somebody outside this church, maybe somebody invited you to this church and you heard it here and you received it, but somebody told you.
And guess what? Because somebody told you, you need to now tell others. You need to share. In the hallway before the first service, I saw somebody and they introduced their mother and said, well, I'm here because my mother prayed for me for years. Thank God for praying mothers and praying grandmothers. See now we have the opportunity to pray for others and the opportunity to share with others.
And we really, gang, we owe a debt to share these things with people and to look for opportunities to express these things. You know, I was in a church years ago and it really made an impact on me because it was an elder ran church and the long story short, the elders forced the pastor who started the church who had been there 26 years, forced him out, made him sign something saying he would not start a church or minister in a church in that County. And amid allegations of financial impropriety, the financial impropriety is that he was given 20% of missions and not paying down the mortgage. They immediately, the new leadership came in and cut off most of the missionary support. Well church is probably maybe a 10th of the size that it was. Why? Because God will look for people and organizations that will be a vehicle of blessing to others and he'll bless them.
He will pour themselves, he'll pour himself out. And as we understand, it's, you know, missions isn't just something that's like on a, on a budget list. The board and leadership don't even come to me talking about cutting missions.
That's not even an option. We owe a debt to people that don't know. Why?
Because somebody told us, somebody told us. Thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment.
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Again, that number is 877-458-5508 or online at crossthebridge.com. Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name. And if you put your name and email address in there, I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
Please don't wait. This is so important. So please again, go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and send us the first names of lost loved ones. We'll send you some free information and together we can partner to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. The whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Verse 28. Paul says, Therefore when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit I shall go by way of you to Spain. Let's continue with verse 29. This is, But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. I love this proclamation. I love Paul's boldness and let's be careful looking back and go, well, Paul was so bold.
I could never be like that. You'd be amazed at how bold you can be with the spirit of God. Paul is bold and you know what? We can understand same spirit of God that's causing this boldness and Paul can cause you to be bold.
I've seen the most timid people do the most bold things in my life. Now I understand he's wanting to reach out and he's doing this and then he makes this proclamation. I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Jumping ahead just a little bit in the story. Paul goes to Jerusalem. We'll talk more about that in a couple of verses. Paul goes to Jerusalem. Things don't go so well. He gets imprisoned, beat up.
It's a murder conspiracy. They move him to Caesarea. He's in prison there for two years and then they ship him to Rome as a prisoner to see if he should be executed in front of Caesar. But Paul doesn't say, I'm going to come to you as a prisoner. Now on that day, Paul shows up in Rome and he's in chains. Some people looked at him and thought, well man, he's in chains. He's probably the most free person on the face of that continent at that point in time.
There were people without chains that had never known the freedom that Paul walking in his chains knew at that moment. And look at what he says, coming in the fullness. Paul's saying, you know, I want to do this.
I'm thinking I'm going to do that, but I don't know. And he's leaving it up to God's timing. And here's the tough part about ministry. So often as God says, okay, I want you to do this. It was like, okay.
And then he goes, not now, not yet. Got some preparing to do in you. No, no, no. You told me to do it. I'm going to do it right now. No, no, no.
Just told you what was going to happen. Now you got to sit and wait on the Lord. We've raised up pastors in this fellowship.
I believe that's the biblical model. Not to go, you know, hire a pastor.com to find people to get involved in ministry, but to see them raised up from within the body. So people came to church here. They began to serve here.
They began to lead here. We recognize those gift things and the church joined and said, God's obviously ordained you to be a pastor. So we just recognize what God was already doing. So the pastors that are here, that's how they got to be pastors.
Here's what I know. There's people sitting out there listening right now. We're going to be pastors. Maybe God has already spoken to you about being in pastoral ministry, but right now he's going, not yet.
Just wait, go do some stuff in you. Don't develop your character, your passion for people. It's not unlike what he did with David. David was anointed as King as a young man. And then he began his training to be King.
He wasn't ordained as King and then all of a sudden became King. No, years of hardship and trial as God developed the vessel he was going to use to bless so many people. And so the sense of timing is really important. The life lesson, if we wait upon the Lord and His timing, it's going to be good. If we wait upon the Lord and His timing, it is going to be good.
I want you to know the last word is not easy. It's not if we wait upon the Lord and His timing, it's going to be easy. No, if we wait upon the Lord and His timing, it's going to be good. So a lot of times when we step out and minister, we're like, wow, this is going to be great. You know, I'm going to minister to people and they're just going to love me and tell me how much they thank me and God's going to be for me. And then we step out in ministry and things start to happen.
Remember the first time I heard somebody was gossiping about me. I was like, what? I'm teaching the Bible. You know, that's what happens when you step out in ministry, there's going to be opposition. You know, I thank the small group leaders, you know, and I was talking to one before the service, man, leading is hard. It is. I remember what my dad used to tell me. He said, well, David, if leading wasn't hard, you know what?
Everybody do it. God's called some people to leadership and it's hard and you develop your character and your integrity to it. I was like, okay, all right. So when you step out to do something for God, whether it's in pastoral ministry or stepping out to sparkle or something, don't be surprised when you hit some opposition and don't think, well, okay, God's not in this.
No confirmation in part comes through opposition because it was just all a cakewalk. Maybe it's not ministry. Serving God and serving people sometimes is difficult, but coming in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ and in his timing, look at verse 30.
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the spirit that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me. Paul has a vision. Paul has a plan. Paul here now is begging for prayers.
That's the word he uses. Now I beg you. The New Living Translation is urge.
I kind of like beg better. It says, dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me given to you by the Holy Spirit. This word strive with me together in prayers. Agonizo in the Greek. It's where we get our word for agonize. Paul saying agonize with me in prayer.
Picture I get is the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was in agony in prayer. Friend, I mentioned from time to time being in church before here and at one point I attended a church and I'm very grateful I met a man who helped me in ministry and would meet with me and I've discovered a lot about ministry. I was in a church, hundreds of people called this one God pastor. I wasn't real sure what he did.
I don't know. He showed up a couple of times a week, talked and to be honest, part of me thought, well, how hard can that be? Well, things have changed now. Now I've got hundreds of people that are calling me pastor and I've learned how hard it can be and I've learned what it is that a pastor supposed to be doing and I understand when Paul says, I beg you to agonize with me in prayer why he would write something like that. Gang, let me, and I know you've got things going on that I'm not aware of but let me assure you, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there are things that I'm going through that this ministry is going through that you're not aware of. The trials, the tribulations, the heartbreaks that we see. And maybe you think, well, yeah, well, if I get the chance, I'll, you know, maybe I'll pray for pastor David.
No, no, no, no, no, no. You don't understand. I've said this before and it's not too strong a saying. I feel at times I am riding on the fumes of your prayers because again, guys, I'm not the kind of person that's going to get up here and give you a tearful list of what all I'm going through of different things. I'm not going to do it, but you can just know this. I need prayers.
I'm begging you as Paul begged them to pray for me. If you think about it, God's doing incredible work here. Not just impacting this community, but regionally and even around the world and people are being saved. I mean, like on a daily basis, what do you think the enemy is doing? Military action. What do you do in order to disable the organization or the organism?
You take out the leader. It's what you do. There's no doubt that is the enemy's designed for this place. So when we come across this scripture, it's like, Hey, you know, if you don't mind, you know, if you could just jot my name and if you get to it, would you please pray for me? No, no, no, no, no. It's beg.
It's agonize. Here's the life lesson. Always pray for your pastor or pastors. Pastors are sustained by the power of the spirit through the prayer support of their congregation. Let me tell you something else that happens. I pray for you guys on a regular basis.
Not perhaps by name, but sometimes names come to me. Sometimes faces come to me and I pray for you guys. And what happens is when there's a disagreement or, or I hear one of you is doing something that's not so good, you know, because I'm praying for you. I have a heart for you because that's what prayer does. When you, you can't hate somebody and pray for them. So that's part of the little thing God built in. He said, pray for your enemies.
There's a little hidden trick in there. You hadn't already figured this out because when you hate somebody and you start praying for them, you know what happens? You don't hate them anymore. That's why he said, pray for your enemies. So as I pray for you and perhaps you do something that's not so good, not so smart.
Hey, my heart is extended towards you in prayer. As you pray for me, when I do something you don't agree with, notice I didn't say if, I said when. At some point, if you're here more than, I don't know, 10 minutes, I'm going to do something that you don't agree with and we're not going to agree on everything. Go back earlier in this chapter, chapter four, we're not going to agree on everything.
If you, if you're looking around, if you're church shop and hop and bop and trying to find a church where you agree on everything, everything that goes on, you are never going to find a church. That's, that's the reality. So we have to agree to disagree.
But here's what happens. If you're praying for me and you disagree with me, there's a, there's a cushion of love, a cushion of support and encouragement. If we disagree on something, pray for me. And if we don't disagree on something, pray for me. Gang, this is really, really important.
Why? Again, there's battles going on. Paul's not telling them. Paul is getting ready to go to Jerusalem. What's going to happen to Jerusalem? Well, he's going to get beat up. He's going to get thrown in jail. There's going to be a murder conspiracy. Did he need their prayers?
He did. Do I need your prayers? I'll use the word need. I want your prayers. I cover your prayers, but I need, I need your prayers. 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. Now God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you.
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. Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him.
And He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. 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 would 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. When you call, ask about this month's special offer featuring David's devotional book, Cross the Bridge Every Day. This inspirational book offers 365 daily devotions, as well as a detailed topical index to help you grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord. Cross the Bridge Every Day is available now for your gift of any amount. Again, the number to call is 877-458-5508, or you can go online to crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening. We pray that you will join us next time as we continue to Cross the Bridge.
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