In September 2022, I started to lead my Thursday classes through the book of Romans. Romans is a powerful four-part study in our Precept Upon Precept series. As we look at Romans verse by verse using our observation skills, there are several truths that stand out and apply to the ministry of Precept in Canada. We will look at these truths over the next few months of 2023.
First, we look at the author, who we know is Paul. Paul is a bondservant and an apostle of Jesus, and he has given his life to the Gospel. Throughout Romans, we see Paul’s heart to make a Gospel impact wherever he goes. I am sure there are times in each of our lives when we look at Paul and question whether we could ever live a life of impact like Paul had hundreds of years ago.
In chapter one, we learn that Paul had never been to Rome at the time of this writing, so he is not the one who first shared the Gospel and set up the churches in that city. In verse eight, Paul says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” The people of the church in Rome were making an impact with their faith. One scholar wrote, “Rome was at the centre of the Roman Empire and the inhabited world; whatever happened in Rome became known universally.” The church was running well compared to how Paul addressed the church in Galatia, where he admonished them for abandoning the Gospel for false teaching.
Paul desired to get to Rome. He was praying for God to open the door to allow him to go as he wanted to teach them. In verse eleven, he states, “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.” Many scholars have opinions on what the spiritual gift was that Paul desired to bring. Some believe this might be one of the spiritual gifts (listed in Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:7-10, 1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11), but others believe that Paul was referring to spiritual insight. Based on the following eleven chapters, I believe spiritual insight is more likely the proper interpretation. This would be backed up by the understanding that Paul’s heart was for the church be established. In the Greek, the word established means to stand, to be firmly fixed or to cause someone to become stronger in the sense of being more firm and having an unchanging attitude or belief.
I am a simple guy, so a simple understanding is that Paul desired to go to Rome, meet and encourage the church, be encouraged by their mutual faith and to further teach them God’s Word so that there is no opportunity for the church to fall away from their faith or be swayed into false teaching like some of the other churches he has written to, like Galatia.
From this powerful introduction to Romans, Paul spends the following ten chapters teaching the church about the power of the Gospel, the righteousness of God, the wrath of God, justification by faith in Jesus, that the law does not justify and that all humans sin and face the judgement of God. In chapter nine, we see Paul’s grief because the Jewish people are not pursuing righteousness by faith. In chapter ten he says, “my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them (the Jews) is for their salvation.”
Paul’s heart is for both Jew and Gentile; his heart was to see the Gospel have a major impact on every person across the world. When Jesus commissioned Paul with the Gospel to reach the nations, he obeyed that calling. We can learn much from Paul and his missionary journeys, but we cannot look past his heart. Paul was zealous for God; he was all in on the Gospel. Paul had a heart for God’s Word and a passion for sharing what he was taught so others would be established. Do you see the lesson for life here?
As we enter the second month of 2023, we can see that we live in a world that desperately needs Jesus. Like Paul, we have some “spiritual insight” to impart to people across Canada. In the Summer of 2023, Precept will release the final Precept Upon Precept courses on Psalms. This workbook will complete the series meaning Precept now has every book of the Bible in both our New Inductive Study Series and Precept Upon Precept. This is exciting news for the ministry as these tools can be used across Canada to engage and establish Canadians in God’s Word.
Making an impact in Canada for the Gospel starts with a heart to see those around us changed by the truth of His Word. As we study the Word of God, our hearts grow a passion and desire to share these truths with others in the hope that those we teach will also be established in His Word. Lord willing, this cycle continues, and hundreds of leaders will be impacted by God’s Word. Our heart is to remove all hindrances and excuses from people across Canada, so they can participate in our training for free, whether in a local gathering or online through Zoom.
This year we are praying that God will raise up hundreds of new leaders and thousands of new students of The Word in Canada. We pray that people across Canada will engage in a relationship with God through His Word—either online or in person through our classes and training workshops.
Your financial partnership with Precept provides vital funds to accomplish our vision of seeing every believer living out God’s Word every day. Imagine a country where all those who profess Jesus as Lord and Saviour are firmly grounded in God’s Word. Our churches and our nation would not look the way they do now.
Would you pray and ask the Lord about partnering with Precept in 2023? Your financial gifts allow Precept to equip new leaders at no cost to the participant, offer all training workshops across Canada at no charge and cover all the travel expenses for our trainers to get to local churches. Your gifts also allow Precept to develop new initiatives to better resource our leaders and students across Canada—Keep an eye out for our brand-new website in the Spring.
You can partner with us through online monthly giving or a one-time donation by responding with the enclosed envelope.
Thank you for your partnership with Precept Canada.
Serving Him and you,
Mark Sheldrake, National Director