Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sermon: The Called Ones of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:6)

Sermon Text:
Romans 1:6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ

For the audio download of this sermon click here

(I preached this sermon in 2006)

Sermon Notes:

What does it mean that the Roman believers are “the called” of Jesus Christ (see also Jude 1)?

There are at least two uses of the word called

(1) The General Call: a call that comes through the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10; Acts 8:40).

(2) The Effectual (Effective) Call: The effectual call is effective, that is, it always results in salvation (Romans 8:30, Romans 1:6-7; I Corinthians 1:9, 26; II Peter 1:10)

"Effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith."
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1994) 693.

Commentaries of Romans that see the special use of calling here:

- Douglas Moo
“ ‘Call’ and its cognates are used by Paul to express an “effectual” calling. What is meant is not an “invitation” but the powerful and irresistible reaching out of God in grace to bring people into his kingdom.”
Douglas G. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 1996) 54.

- Thomas Schreiner
“Here it denotes the effective call accompanying the preaching of the gospel. Those who are called exercise faith in Christ (see 8:28-30). To say that Roman believers are “beloved by God” and “called to be saints” applies language to the church that was used for Israel as God’s elect people.”

Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament ( Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 36.

- Albert Barnes
The called of Jesus Christ. Those whom Jesus Christ has called to be his followers. The word called (see ver. 1) denotes not merely an external invitation to a privilege, but it also denotes the internal or effectual call which secures conformity to the will of him who calls, and is thus synonymous with the name Christians, or believers. That true Christians are contemplated by this address is clear from the whole scope of the epistle. See particularly Roman chapter 8.

- Matthew Henry
“The called of Jesus Christ; all those, and those only, are brought to an obedience of the faith that are effectually called of Jesus Christ.”

- Leon Morris
When we think of our position as Christians we are inclined to think first of what we do, and so we speak of our faith or our commitment or the like. But Paul stresses God’s initiative. Christians are people whom God has called. He goes on to speak of being called to belong to Jesus Christ. There is a responsibility attaching to call. Those called belong to Christ. Their lives are his.
Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, IVP (Leicester: IVP/Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) 52

Other key text:
Rom 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

**See 1 Cor. 1:18-31 for this effectual calling of God.**

The ultimate purpose in God choosing and calling us is so that no one would boast before him.

Examples of the divine/effectual call:
One non-salvific example—the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:39-44)
Salvific—the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-6; 22:3-11)
Salvific—Lydia (Acts 16:13-14)