Hulin Library

This blog is committed to the spiritual legacy of my father, Rev. Charles J. Hulin III (1929-1999) and consists of his words and thoughts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Paul's Letter to the Romans

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Romans 1:1-15


Paul had nothing to do with the founding of the church in Rome. He knew nothing of its problems and its mistakes. He had never been there as he had the other churches to which he wrote.

Thus, we find nothing dealing with specific problems. Rather, we learn of Paul’s theology, his beliefs and faith.

Though Paul had never gone there, Rome was still on his heart:
In Ephesus he said, “I must also see Rome.” Acts 19:21
God said to him, “So must thou bear witness also in Rome.” Acts 23:11

He wrote them from Corinth in 58 A.D.

He wanted their prayers, and had other motives as well.

But the great motive besides strengthening them was that of having Rome as a base to launch out into other lands.

I. A Call, A Gospel, A Task 1:1-7

A. Paul calls himself the “servant” (slave) DOULOS of Christ.

B. He calls Christ the “Lord” KURIOS. These two are opposite, and Kurios describes someone who has undisputed possession of a person or thing.

C. The word DOULOS has two meanings in the Bible.

1. The utter obligation of love – Jesus had loved him completely

2. An Old Testament word which describes great men of God. Moses, Amos, and Jeremiah carried this title. They were great men of God because they were the slaves of the Lord.

D. Paul also calls himself a disciple – “apostle.” He did not aspire to it. He was called to it, he says.

E. Paul says he is “set apart to serve the good news of God.”

1. Set apart by God – Before he was even born, God set him apart. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace.” Paul realized that God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. All are put in the world to do something in God’s purpose.

2. Set apart by men – In Acts 13, the Holy Spirit told the church leaders at Antioch to separate Paul and Barnabas for the special mission to the Gentiles.

F. Paul says he received two things in this setting apart. (verse 5)

1. Grace – Grace always describes some free, unmerited, unearned, undeserved gift. Paul had once emphasized the law and what he was. But now he is changed, and it is what God has done. He now knows that salvation depends not on man’s effort but on God’s love.

2. He had received a task – “obedience to the faith.” He was separated to this task. Note that as a Pharisee he was separated for privilege, self-glory, pride. But as a Christian, he was separated for service, humility, and love.

G. Paul also sets out the gospel he preached (verses 3-4)

1. A gospel of the incarnation – “His son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Paul preached on no half-god, demigod, legendary god, nor a myth of a man, but of one who came and lived right here with humankind and was both man and God.

2. A gospel of the resurrection – “And declared to be the son of God . . . by the resurrection from the dead.” Paul preached a living Lord. All the other gods have died and we have their memories. But by his resurrection, Jesus has lived and we have more than his memory. We have his presence and mighty power.

II. An Element of Greatness 1:8-15

A. Great people always compliment others.
Now in this church there were some people who found faults, gossiped, had no faith or vision. But there were others who said some nice things, some who strove to be more like Christ in word and deed. Paul says this church is known in the world through its faith. This is a sign of greatness – to compliment and praise people when they are trying to serve – for we all need some encouragement. “I thank God that your faith is spoken of throughout the world.” 1:8

B. His spirit of prayer
He does not know these people, but he prays for them. It easy to pray for our families and others we know, but we become great spirits as we learn to pray for those we do not know. “Without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers.”

C. His great longing – “that I may impart to you some spiritual gift.” 1:11
It seems that the very things I, myself, often want to place in others lives are those things just beyond my reach such as stopping a man from his drinking, etc. Paul longed to this, to impart the gift needed.

D. His great obligation – “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the unwise and the wise.” 1:14
Paul knew he was under obligation – indebted to preach.

1. Indebted to God – for his mercy and grace

2. Indebted to people – they were God’s creatures.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Church at Ephesus

The Church at Ephesus . . . A Church That Cooled Off (1967)
Revelation 2:1-7

As we begin our study of the seven churches of Revelation, we should point out that all these churches fit into a perfect pattern in the approach of Jesus.

1. The Commission
“To the angel at the Church at _______ write . . .”

2. The Character
“These things saith He that -” followed by an allusion to the introductory portrait of Jesus.

3. The Commendation
“I know thy works -” followed by a list of the good works and traits of the particular church.

4. The Condemnation
“But I have somewhat against thee -” followed by a list of the failures of the particular church.

5. The Correction
Here is where the Lord lays down, in no uncertain terms, urgent demands upon the church in question.

6. The Call
“He that hath an ear . . .”

7. The Challenge
“To him that overcometh -” Here is always given a promise of reward or blessing.

To avoid being monotonous or repetitious, we will not carry each church through this pattern. Nevertheless, each does follow it.

One of the saddest things to see is an individual after living an active, beautiful life for Christ, cooling off and making an about-face. It is even sadder to see a church do this. Today we look at such a church and at the message of Christ to that church.

I. Note the Setting

Ephesus was one of the three great cities on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a great racial melting pot, a great cosmopolitan center, and a great center of commerce. It was a battlefield of religion. It was much like a New York or a Chicago of its day.
Ephesus was also a city of magic and superstition. For example, Archeologists have found inscriptions such as this on its ancient walls: If a bird is flying from right to left and settles out of sight, good luck will come. But if it lifts up its left wing, then, whether it rises or settles out of sight, misfortune will result.
And in this city of progress, riches, races, and superstition, we find the church that Paul founded in 52 A.D. when he began his ministry there. As much as Paul taught about love, and John who followed him later taught love, this church should know something – very much – about love.

II. Note the Message

An Active Church

It worked - “I know thy good works” v. 2 - This church worked for Christ. A good way today to tell who the real Christian is, is to note those who welcome work in the Lord’s Church.
It worked for Jesus – “And for my name’s sake hast thou labored.” Work for Christ today is the most rewarding and fulfilling work there is. The way to real joy and peace is that of working for Christ. “Only one life; ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Work has very little point and meaning if it is not done for Christ.
It was an enduring work – “and hast not fainted” v.3 – These were no flash-in-the-pan performances. These were no once-a-year or only-on-Sunday Christians.

A Patient Church – “Thy Patience” v. 2-3

This time in history was a time for patience. John 4:1 says “Many false prophets have gone out into the world.” These were fly-by-night people who gave the early church trouble. However, these Ephesians fought them off.

This duel consisted of a three-fold patience:

1. A sensitive patience –
“And how thou canst not bear them that are evil” v. 2

2. A testing patience –
“And how thou hast tried them that say that they are apostles” v. 2

3. A proving patience –
“. . . and hast found them liars.” V. 2

The false prophets failed the tests. The history books record this
encounter as Ignatius, an early church father, wrote to the Ephesians -

“I heard about some strangers coming your way with wicked teaching. But
you did not let them sow it among you. Your stopped your ears.”

So this was a very deserving church.

But it was also –

A Deserting Church

It was an active church, a patience church, but a deserting church.

Jesus said “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
The first love was God’s love, Christian love, the love Paul and John preached there in Ephesus. It was the more perfect way of I Cor. 12 and the love of I Cor. 13. “If I have all knowledge . . . but have not love, I am nothing.”
Once this great church had been warmed with love, but now, in all of its programs, activity, and patience, it had strayed from its first love.

The Cure

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen.” That is, look at
yourself. Look at that high peak of love and high level of living by love. Think back on those days of love.

“Repent.” That is, be remorseful enough to renounce your sins, your present condition. Don’t just go out and tell the preacher that was the sermon you needed. Do something about it!

“And do the first works” Start loving God again. Start loving your fellow human beings again. Start loving your family again. Start loving your fellow worker again. Put love back on the throne in your life.


We could do without all our doctrines, creeds, programs, and activities better than if we had to do without love. In fact, all of these things are worthless unless they are based on, and motivated by, God’s love.

Without love, hope turns to ashes.

The world is crying out for a little bit of love today, and love can do what nothing else can –

“I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore.
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From, the waters lifted me,
Now safe am I.

Love lifted me, love lifted me.
When nothing else could help – love lifted me.”


Saturday, May 05, 2007


Endurance (1983)
". . . but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

Have you ever endured:
soft breeze of a summer night . . .
silent descent of a winter snow . . .
stirring bars of patriotic music . . .
sentimental thoughts of yesteryear?

Of course you haven't. If anything, we bask in the haunting beauty of these. After all, we all know what the word "endure" means.

To "endure" is to face a struggle.

And Jesus intended this to be more than a word; it is rather a life style. If it becomes our life style, then our immortal souls will be saved, according to His words:
" . . . but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

To endure is to see :
torn lives . . .
twisted minds . . .
tangled nerves . . .
tarnished souls.

To endure is to hear:
tactless words . . .
trifling matters . . .
threatening wars . . .
troubling inconsistencies.

To endure is to feel:
treacherous relationships . . .
turbulent times . . .
tragic occurrences . . .
tormenting moments . . .
tempting allurements . . .
trying circumstances.

And either in spite of these or because of these, we are to remain:
serene in composure . . .
strong in conviction . . .
sincere in compassion . . .
steady in commitment . . .
stable in consistency.

Since we do not live in a vacuum we are thus affected by the times in which we live.
However, we can affect the times, and the secret is that of endurance.

No people of God will ever be satisfied without this challenge, and in our determination to endure there is:
A world to save . . .
A heaven to gain.


God's Message to the Church

God’s Message to the Church (1967)
Revelation 1:1-20 – particularly verse11

What would happen to you if Jesus would come today to our church? Would you be ashamed or glad of what you have done? It could happen, you know. He appeared to seven in the Book of Revelation and passed condemnation on them.

I. “The Revelation”

Perhaps all that humankind knows is that which comes by revelation. Revelation is an unveiling: pulling back the covers and curtains to unfold some previously hidden truth.
In revelation, there must be a revealer and one to whom something is revealed. Niebuhr said that in revelation, people do not discover, rather, God discloses.
God is the initiator of the revelation always. Revelation is divine – spiritual. It took God to reveal Christ, and it takes Christ to best reveal God.
Note that in verse 2, people are to record this revelation; and in verse 3, we are to study revelations.

So, revelation in the general and best sense is the love and the work of God in letting us share something of His.

Here there is a revelation – something that we do not know about – and it is important, whatever it is. Why? It is because the revelation which came is the one “which God gave.”

II. The Revelation from God

All revelation comes from God. This is why some people call revelation “the Divine self-disclosure.” Here it came from God, and we see that it was the Divine self-disclosure. Certainly it resulted in the appearance of one who was both Divine and human. Revelation comes from God, and here He had something on His mind and revealed Himself.
Note that the both the Old and New Testaments are full of God disclosing or revealing Himself. It is the same with this incident.

III. The Revelation “of Jesus Christ”

In verse 1 we read “of Jesus Christ.” In verse 13 we read of “one like unto the Son
of Man.”

Verse 13 describes the scene of His appearance: in the midst of the seven candlesticks. These represent the seven churches, churches which are suppose to reflect in word and service the Light of the world – Jesus.

In verses 5 – 16, we read of the characteristics of His appearance. This passage is rich in symbolic meaning.

Royalty – “He is robed as a King…clothed with a garment
down to His feet.”

Majesty – “Behold, He cometh in the clouds.”

Purity – “His head and His hairs were white like wool.”
He is the only morally spotless man in history.

Penetration – “As a flame of fire.”
He looks through our hypocrisy to our selves.

Firmness – “His feet like unto brass.”
Yes, He is invincible.

Dominion – “He had in His right hand seven stars.”
Yes, He is the “bright and morning star” Himself,
and He lights up all of life.

Victory – “Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.”
He conquers the minds and hearts of those who trust
in Him, and He gives the victory of peace
to all whose minds are “stayed on Him.”

Brightness – “and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength.”

So, the revelation of God came through this man – the world’s greatest – in whom “the fullness of the Godhead bodily” dwelt.

IV. The Revelation came to man – “unto His servant John”

A man who said: I, John who am your brother. He was full of concern for all the churches.
A man who said: Your companion in tribulation. He is a fellow sufferer in the Lord.
A man who was banished to Patmos – a rocky island in the Mediterranean about fifteen miles in circumference – a wide barren spot where Romans sent all criminal wretches they deemed unfit for liberty.
A man alone, but not lonely, because he felt “surrounded by a multitude which no man could number.”
A man who was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.”

A man who was a preacher in Ephesus, but now expelled. Expelled here not to preach, but to listen. And listen he did – and hear he did – for he heard a great voice. It was a clear voice: “a great voice as of a trumpet.” It was a voice that he could not fail to hear nor soon forget. And it was a full voice: “as the sound of many waters.” Who can out-shout the sound of waves beating the shore? None but the eternal voice of God.

V. A Revelation that was effective

What about John’s emotional response to all this?
What about yours had you been there?

When Isaiah saw the Lord – “Woe is me.”
When Job heard the voice speaking out of the whirlwind, he exclaimed,
“I abhor myself in dust and ashes.”
When Christ appeared to Peter, he cried out,
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man , O Lord.”
When Roman soldiers met Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
“They went backward and fell on the ground.”
When Ezekiel saw the Lord, “he fell on his face.”

And John here says, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.”
He had seen the Lord, and this was his reaction.

What about Jesus’ reaction?

He said, “Fear not . . . I know these churches . . . Write the things which thou hast seen.” And Jesus begins to relate a message for each church. We will study these messages in the weeks to come. Yes, our God is a great God. He always reveals Himself to perplexed humanity. He is always concerned about our church and our fondest hopes.

Will you follow such a God today if you never have? You too may be on an island in this life, in a sense. Will you be in the spirit on the Lord’s Day and listen for the magic ring of His voice across the ages for this church?

Jesus is not just one who is in ancient history, but One who lives now and can be confronted. Albert Schweitzer closes his masterpiece of a book, The Quest for the Historical Jesus, in this way:

He comes to us as one unknown, as of old by the lakeside He came to those who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word, “Follow thou me,” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself, in the toils, the sufferings, the hardships which they shall pass through in His fellowship. And, as in all ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience who He is.

We serve a God who reveals Himself, and I think it best to close with John’s own words here – “to Him be all glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”


Hulin Benediction

This was my father's benediction which he used at most services.

As the light of eternity falls on each passing day,

may the love of God,

the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

and the presence of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ,

be with you and abide with you both now and forevermore.