I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
In the last verse, Paul says that he would not have the church ignorant. That is Paul’s calling – to educate and provide information about grace and faith to the body of Christ. A very high calling – but it is your calling too.
As an apostle Paul’s ministry was to equip the saints to do the works of ministry (Ephesians 4.11ff). His life was to train the church to do the works of ministry.
We have to, utterly and totally, get away from the superstar ministers that do all the work and get back to the Bible bueprint: the fivefold ministries equipping, training and discipling the church and the CHURCH doing the works of ministry. The church being every single Christian.
We often read statements that Paul makes and we dismiss them as being for superstar ministers. Rubbish – Paul tells us clearly: copy me as I copy Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1).
Why I have said all this is to say this: Romans 1.14 is not just for Paul, not just for Oral Roberts, not just for Billy Graham, not just for Mike, but for every single Christian in the body of Christ. It is for you!
Paul says this: I am a debtor to people. The Greek word is opheiletēs. It means to be bound to someone by duty. Paul’s duty to ensure the church had knowledge bound him to people. So much so that his writings are still rescuing the church from ignorance, generations after he penned them!
Everyone of us is bound to people by duty. For Paul it was four groups of people: the Greeks, the Barbarians, the wise and the unwise. (Actually the wise and unwise covers everyone!), who is it for you? Who are you bound to by duty?
I used to be in a denomination where pastors moved around all the time, then they found out that you do not build a church by moving around, you build a church when a pastor comes to a people and the people realize that the man of God is bound to them, that he will never leave them or forsake them, that he is there for their good and will keep being there. He may move on like Paul did often, but he will still be there in his heart and still be with them in spirit.
Who are you bound to by duty? Who do you owe your destiny to? There is no destiny that does not involve people. No Christian has a destiny that does not involve them being bound to a group of people by destiny.
No Christian can avoid saying what Paul says here: I am a debtor to people. If you cannot say this and know which people you are in debtor to, go and find out. Go and pray and ask the Lord – go and find out.
I have just entered into the first step of my ministry, but I could not enter it at all if I did not know from the Lord who I am a debtor to.
I am a debtor to the people of London and of Essex, people who have lived there all their lives and people who have moved there from every nation and ethnic group.
I am bound to them by my duty to God. They will rise or fall on my obedience.
It is a weighty matter when you deal with destiny because it is not just a game – it is about people. Every single person is worth an infinite amount because that was the price that Jesus paid for them. Every single person on the planet will in one million years time either be a being of pure light and love, or a creature of torment and hatred.
When I make decisions such as where shall our church meet, when shall it meet, what shall I do this evening, where and when shall I go on holiday, what book shall I read I need to realize I am not a free man. I cannot ever just do what I want. I am bound to London and bound to Essex by duty and by destiny.
I take this seriously and soberly. It is not just enough to know the function of your destiny, you must know the geographical and ethnic boundaries of your destiny.
I will say it again – if you do not know who you are bound to by duty, you must find out. Then act bound!
Glory and freedom,