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 Romans Chapter 15 – Part Two

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter 15 – Part Two   Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:51 pm

Romans 15:17-19

As a result of his special ministry by God’s grace to the Gentiles, Paul affirmed, Therefore I glory (lit., “I have boasting”) in Christ Jesus in my service to God (lit., “in the things relating to God”). Paul is saying in this Scripture that his glory is in Jesus. In the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul goes to great extremes to show the suffering he has gone through for Christ. He is quick to say that the only glory he has, or we have, is in Christ.
Paul never boasted of his accomplishments as an apostle, but only in what Christ had accomplished through him.
This was no boasting in mere human achievements, as Paul explained: I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God (lit., “unto the obedience of the Gentiles”). “Obedience” is a synonym for coming to Christ (cf. Rom_1:5; 1Pe_1:2; cf. “obey” in Rom_16:26) for God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Act_17:30).
Paul recognized that all credit goes to Christ. And yet Paul was involved; God worked by what he had said and done. I Corinthians 3:6-8 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." “"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."
Paul is saying above and these verses here, also, that all who labor for God are doing it in the power and might that God has provided us with.
We may preach and minister to someone for years and never see that person come to Christ. Someone else whom God has sent may put the final piece of the message together for that person and they may accept Christ.
It is not always the one who plants the seed that brings in the crop. The rewards will all be given out in heaven anyway.
The apostle had been used by God to perform signs (sēmeiōn, miracles that signify theological truths) and miracles (teratōn, miracles that produce wonder). Luke referred to a miracle God performed through Paul at Cyprus (Act_13:11, making Elymas blind), “signs and wonders” at Iconium (Act_14:3; cf. Act_15:12) and miracles at Lystra (Act_14:8-10, Act_14:19-20), Ephesus (Act_19:11-12), Troas (Act_20:9-12), and Malta (Act_28:1-Cool. Signs, wonders, and miracles authenticated the work of the apostles (2Co_12:12; Heb_2:3-4). And all this, Paul said, was through the power of the Spirit (cf. Rom_15:13). Anything Paul achieved that was worthy of praise had God’s grace as its source, Jesus Christ as its motivation and goal, and the Holy Spirit as its energy.
The result was that Paul preached the gospel from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum. Literally, this reads, “from Jerusalem and in a circle (i.e., Jerusalem and its environs) even to Illyricum.” “The gospel of God” (Rom_15:16) is here called the gospel of Christ. When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, He said these signs shall follow them.
Mark 16:17-18 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
We know that these miracles are not done in the flesh, but are gifts of the Spirit of God. God used them to authenticate true preaching and teaching.
I Corinthians 12:8-11 "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" "To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
Paul explains that his ministry was accompanied with these very signs and wonders. He quickly explains that they are not by his great ability, but through the power of the Spirit of God.
Notice that in Paul's ministry that it was not just one of these gifts that manifested itself, but many. The Scripture above says that, believers can receive several gifts. We must pray and ask God to give us the gifts that will help in our ministering.
Illyricum is a region that roughly corresponds to the former European country of Yugoslavia. From Jerusalem to Illyricum was a span of some 1400 miles.
The New Testament records several of Paul’s visits to Jerusalem after his conversion (Act_9:26-28 [cf. Gal_1:17-19]; Act_11:27-30; Act_15:2 [cf. Gal_2:1]; Act_18:22). In the last reference Jerusalem is not named, but the words “he went up and greeted the church” obviously refers to the church at Jerusalem. Paul’s visit to Illyricum is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. This area, also known as Dalmatia, corresponds approximately to modern-day Yugoslavia. It is west and north of Greece (see the location on the map between Acts and Rom.). At one time Titus went to Dalmatia (2Ti_4:10). A logical suggestion is that Paul went into Illyricum from Macedonia while waiting for a response to 2 Corinthians before going on to Corinth (Act_20:1-3; 2Co_13:1-2, 2Co_13:10). This visit was fresh in his mind since Corinth was the city where he wrote Romans.

Romans 15:20-22

Reference to the geographical extent of his ministry (Rom_15:19) led Paul to declare something of his philosophy of outreach: It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known (lit., “named”). Paul purposed to be a true pioneer evangelist, opening virgin territory to the good news of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. This was so that he would not be building on someone else’s foundation (cf. 1Co_3:10). Paul is saying in this that he went out as a missionary to areas where Christ had not yet been preached. His goal was to reach those who had never heard the gospel which is the primary function of a New Testament evangelist.
He planted the first seed of Christianity in many of these places. He is saying that he is not building upon the work that Jesus has already started, but went about starting new churches where there were no churches.
I Corinthians 3:9-11 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building." "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Again, here, Paul is saying that the people he went to had had no other disciples bringing them the salvation message. These you might say had been heathen people. Paul tried his best to bring this message to his Jewish brothers, but they as a whole rejected his message. Of course, there were exceptions to that, but as a whole they did not receive him.
The Gentiles were the ones who really received Paul and his message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many churches like the church at Philippi owe their beginning to Paul's teaching.
“It is written” is a quote from Isaiah 52:15. That Old Testament quotation refers primarily to Christ’s second coming, but in its broader application it refers to the process of evangelism that began in Paul’s day and continues throughout church history until Christ returns.
Paul then expressed his ministry goal in a quotation of the second half of Isa_52:15 and explained, This is why I have often been hindered (imperf. tense, “I was being hindered many times”) from coming to you. In the last lesson we saw where Paul was sent to the Gentiles. He went on 3 missionary journeys and established churches in the name of Jesus Christ. These areas were not areas where Jesus had ministered while He was on the earth. We know that Paul faced all sorts of dangers to make these journeys. On the way to the Romans, he was even shipwrecked.
The Scripture above that says he was hindered is really an understatement. The hindrances were very great, but Paul's determination was greater.
I Thessalonians 2:18 "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us."
Every person trying to bring the message of God can say with Paul that Satan hindered them
Up to this time Paul had always found new areas for ministry in Asia Minor and the Grecian Peninsula so that he had not yet felt free to look beyond to Rome and Spain.

Romans 15:23-24

Perhaps his visit to Illyricum convinced Paul that no more virgin territory for the gospel lay in Asia Minor and the Grecian Peninsula. This does not mean that he had visited every center, but the gospel had been introduced and local churches had been established that could complete the work (cf. Act_19:8-10). At any rate Paul concluded, There is no more place for me to work in these regions (lit., “having no more place in these regions”). Coupled with this was his longing for many years to see the Roman Christians. At the beginning of this epistle he had expressed this desire to visit them (Rom_1:10-11, Rom_1:13). Paul continued, I plan to do so (this clause does not occur in the Gr. text, but the idea is implied) when (the indefiniteness of the Gr. clause requires “whenever”) I go to Spain (cf. Rom_15:28). Spain was then a Roman colony where many Jews lived; it was the western limit of the empire. He hoped to visit them while passing through. Apparently he did not plan a long stay in Rome. They could then assist him on his journey there (lit., “and by you to be sent forward there”); that is, they would encourage him on to Spain. Paul would proceed to Spain only after he had enjoyed (lit., “I am filled full with,” “I am satisfied with”) their company for a while. We will see that Paul planned to go to Rome actually years before it became a reality. Paul's dad was a Roman, and it was Paul's desire to bring the gospel to them.
I Corinthians 16:5-7 "Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia." "And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go." "For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit."
This last verse says it all. Paul just like us must say [if the Lord permit].
Careful and sensible planning does not demonstrate a lack of trust in God’s providence. But plans must always be subject to the Lord’s control and alteration, just as Paul’s were.
The city in Spain being referred to here is Tarshish. Paul hoped the church at Rome would supply him with an escort and supplies to make the journey to Spain.
Paul paid the Roman believers the sincere compliment that their fellowship would refresh and satisfy him spiritually (cf. Rom_1:13). He also wanted to impart a spiritual gift to them, thereby strengthening them (Rom_1:11) and to have some spiritual harvest among them (Rom_1:13), that is, to be able to help them grow in Christ.

Romans 15:25-27

Paul balanced his tentative plans for the future with the business immediately at hand. I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there (lit., “ministering [diakonōn] to the saints”). Paul wanted to go to Jerusalem one more time on his way to Rome. He will make one more futile effort to reach his brothers {Jews}.
Paul will endanger his life in this effort. He will really be under arrest the rest of his life. When he finally arrives in Rome, much of his ministry will be from his home where he is under house arrest.
Paul’s visit to Jerusalem was to deliver the voluntary offering from churches for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem (cf. Act_24:17; 1Co_16:1-4; 2Co_8:13-14; 2Co_9:12-13; Gal_2:10). Paul ministered in Macedonia and Achaia during his first and second missionary journeys. The Greek word for “contribution” carries the basic idea of sharing and is usually translated “fellowship” or “communion.” The context indicates that here it is the sharing of a financial gift to help support the poor in Jerusalem.
The churches of Asia Minor contributed to the offering also, but Paul mentioned only Macedonia and Achaia, the areas closest to Rome and those on his mind for obvious reasons.
The voluntary nature of the contribution (koinōnian, “fellowship”) is stressed by the repetition of the verb, were pleased (cf. Rom_15:26-27; 2Co_8:10-12). At the same time Paul recognized the churches had an obligation: Indeed they owe it to them (lit., “and they are debtors to them”). This sense of moral obligation had undoubtedly prompted Paul to suggest the offering. Since the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings (lit., “in their spiritual things”; cf. Rom_11:11-12, Rom_11:17-18; Rom_15:12; Gal_3:14; Eph_3:6), Gentile Christians certainly ought to share with (leitourgēsai, “to minister to, serve”; cf. leitourgon in Rom_15:16) the Jews their material blessings (lit., “in fleshly things”; cf. Gal_6:6). We see, here, that they really do appreciate all of the hardships that these saints at Jerusalem have gone through to send them the word of God. We know that many of these saints gave up everything they had to follow Jesus. It is only fair that they should live of the gifts given to the ministry.
I Corinthians 9:11 "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?"
The “things” were gospel truths first preached to the Gentile believers by the Jewish apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists.
You can see that they brought the salvation message unselfishly to these people at cost of their livelihoods. The spiritual gift is far greater than the carnal. They are happy to send gifts in appreciation to them.

Romans 15:28-29

Again Paul said that after going to Jerusalem he would go to Spain and visit the Romans on the way (cf. Rom_15:24). Paul is really explaining to the Romans why he is going by Jerusalem before he comes to Rome. We all know that this is just one of the reasons. Paul really wants to try to win his Jewish brothers to Christianity.
The financial gift or “fruit” is the gift for the Jerusalem church; the fruit of their genuine love and gratitude.
Paul got to Rome, but not when or in the manner he anticipated! (Acts 27-28) Whether he ever got to Spain no one knows for sure. Christians should plan ahead, but they should also be flexible. Paul, not boastfully but simply confident of God’s provision, promised that his visit would be a spiritual blessing to the Roman Christians: I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ, that is, with Christ’s blessing to share with them (cf. Rom_1:11-13). Paul is saying that God will be with him as he brings the gospel message to Rome. God wants Paul to take the message to Rome.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:"
This fullness of the Godhead includes Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. It is as if Paul is saying they are all in the gospel message, and they truly are.

Romans 15:30-33

The Apostle Paul recognized his need for intercessory prayer support from his readers and asked for it again and again (Eph_6:19-20; Col_4:3-4; 1Th_5:25; 2Th_3:1-2; Phm_1:22). Here he entreated the Romans by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit to join him in his struggle through prayer. The phrase “love of the Spirit” appears only here in Scripture and refers to Paul’s love for the Holy Spirit, not the Spirit’s love for him.
We see a simple request from Paul here. He just says pray for me. It is such a shame that he would even have to ask.
Your pastor needs your prayers. In our society today, it seems the pastor is ridiculed from all sides and few think to pray for him. Paul explains here that their prayers for him should not be just because they love him, but for the sake of all Christianity.
If the enemy can stop the pastor of a church, he can usually destroy that church. In the next Scripture here you can see why you need to pray for the preacher.
II Corinthians 4:5: "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
“The love of the Spirit” is probably the love given by the Spirit (cf. Rom_5:5), not love for the Spirit. Recognizing that divine love, they would be motivated to pray. A Christian’s intercession is a means of sharing in the ministry of others.
Paul’s specific request was that he would be rescued from the unbelievers (lit., “the disobedient”) in Judea and that his service (diakonia) in Jerusalem would be acceptable to the saints. Paul wanted the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem to receive the financial gift from the Gentiles with loving gratitude, recognizing it as a gesture of brotherly love and kindness.
It seems that Paul knew there would be opposition in Jerusalem. Paul knew that there were those who desired to see him destroyed, but he went anyway. This really is the desire of every preacher, then and now. Lord, deliver me from those who will not accept my message that you have sent me with, and Lord help those chosen ones you have sent me to believe.
II Thessalonians 3:2 "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all [men] have not faith."
Many Jews in Judea rejected the gospel and were prepared to attack Paul when he returned. Aware of the trouble that awaited him, he wanted the Roman Christians to pray for his deliverance only so he could complete the ministry the lord had given him.
Their prayers were answered in that he met with success in Jerusalem and was delivered from death, but not imprisonment.
Paul was aware of the problems that lay before him in Jerusalem (Act_20:23), and he was deeply concerned that the offering from the Gentile Christians be delivered and distributed properly. If these objectives were accomplished, according to Paul, he could then by God’s will go to them with joy and… be refreshed with them. Paul was seeking a place where his message from God could be received in peace. Paul, like many ministers in our day is having a hard time finding that place of refreshing. The true desire if every minister who has ever brought the word of God in truth is that their people they ministered to would remain strong in the faith.
I Thessalonians 3:7-8 "Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:" "For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."
Paul eventually found the joy and rest he was looking for.
The word rendered “refreshed” suggests that Paul would be able to rest or relax with them in the knowledge of a job well done. Paul closed this section with a brief benediction: The God of peace (cf. Rom_16:20; also cf. “the God of hope,” Rom_15:13) be with you all. Amen. Who is this God of peace? His name is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the King of Peace. If He be with you, you have eternal life within you. This Scripture in Matthew in Jesus' own Words promises all believers His presence.
Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen."
Just as God is our hope, He is also the source of true peace.
This is the third benediction in this chapter (cf. Rom_15:5, Rom_15:13).
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Romans Chapter 15 – Part Two
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