Romans 1:8-15

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
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Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me,
I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

II.  Paul’s heart for the believers in Rome (1:8-15)

A.  Paul’s thankfulness for the testimony of the believers in Rome (1:8)

Paul commends the believers in Rome for their strong faith by which they live.  Their faith is known throughout the Roman empire and likely to regions beyond it.  The Roman Empire at this time stretched from Spain and North Africa in the west to Turkey, Israel, and Egypt in the east.  The lesson here is that both believers and unbelievers take note of people who “live by faith (vs 17).”

B.  Paul’s prayer life for the believers in Rome (1:9-10)

Paul had a very robust prayer life.  We see his heartfelt love for people and God’s work in their lives.  He was keenly aware that the battle for souls is spiritual in nature and must be fought on that plane by prayer, “for we do not wrestle with flesh and blood…” Let us passionately pursue this labor of love.

Paul had longed to go to Rome to encourage the believers and share the Gospel, but even here Paul is careful to say, “in the will of God.”  If there is one lesson to learn in this section, may we please learn this one; our responsibility is FIRST to seek out the will of God and then do it. I strongly believe that the normal procedure for a Christian is to come up with a plan without consulting the word of God, without prayer, without the Spirit of God bearing witness with his spirit, and without the counsel of those in authority over him.  The Christian makes his plan and then tries to slide it across God’s desk hoping God will not pay it much attention and put His stamp of approval on it.  The Christian informs his friends first and then the authorities in the local church (if he is part of one or talks to them at all).  As he informs his friends he grows in confidence and has mostly convinced himself that his plan is indeed the will of God.  The result plays out in multiple ways:

1.  he settles for something good but not God’s best,
2. God in grace puts him in the best place though he went about it the wrong way, 3. he goes down the wrong path for a while, realizes it is wrong, and humbles himself before God seeking to get back on track.
4.  he makes a decision that has long term negative affects (the more out of God’s will and the more sin involved here normally determines how bad things go).

If we seek God’s will and go about things in the correct order, we can have much more confidence we are living our lives according to the will of God.

C.  Paul’s desire for mutual encouragement (1:11-12)

I believe we can say with a good amount of confidence that the spiritual gift that Paul desires to impart to them is the teaching of the whole counsel of God.  This gift is consistent with Paul’s ministry and his desire for believers to stand on a strong foundation – the Word of God.
The fellowship of people who love God and are striving to live for him is a sweet thing for all who participate in it.  To be like minded and joined together for a common purpose is a blessing indeed. The fellowship of lukewarm people who have half their heart in the world is not much to write about.  May we be among those those fortunate and passionate followers of Jesus who have sweet fellowship with one another.

D.  Paul’s desire to preach the Gospel in Rome (1:13-15)

Paul assures the believers in Rome that it was not a lack of love or desire that has kept him from visiting them, for he has desired but been hindered. When Paul says that he is a debtor to “Greeks and barbarians and wise and unwise”, he is stating a fact.  Paul had in a very unique way experienced the mercy of God and was given the answer for humans’ sin problem.  Paul now has an obligation to share this message with the people of the world – whether they are civilized or uncivilized, whether they are educated or uneducated.  Those of us who believe in Jesus have the same obligation to freely share what we have received – the gospel of Christ. In part 3 we will study more about the gospel of Christ.  Until then, may you be blessed.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question.

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