Self proclaimed “apostle to the Gentiles,” Paul now shares his intent to visit Rome during his forthcoming trip to Spain. In his letter to the Roman churches the apostle praises his readers for their faith in Jesus Christ and dedication to advancing the gospel.
“14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
Paul was convinced his Roman audience was sufficiently educated to minister each other and to teach one another how to grow in Christ according to the gospel. Even though they were Gentiles, the Romans were using the word of God as their guide along the narrow path that leads to eternal life.
“15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:15-16)
Describing his service through Gentiles as an offering, Paul considered his ministry a living sacrifice that was the fulfillment of his mission according to God’s perfect plan, to advance the gospel to the Gentiles in places outside Israel.
“17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:17-19)
Paul praises Jesus for his own service and sacrifice as he vows to continue on the narrow path, spreading the gospel from Jerusalem, near the southeast corner of the Mediterranean to Illyricum, a Roman province north of Greece on the Adriatic Sea.
“20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” (Romans 15:20)
Paul’s desire was to advance the gospel to places Jesus had not visited while among us, so to avoid sowing seeds in someone else’s garden.
“21 Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.” (Romans 15:21-22)
Because his ministry was wide spread, from Israel to Rome, Paul had been “hindered” or “detained” from visiting Rome.
“23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.” (Romans 15:23-24)
The apostle’s plan to visit Spain would take him through Rome where he would preach the word of God to the Gentiles. It is unknown if Paul actually made it to Spain as God’s plan for him would differ from the apostle’s.
“25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” (Romans 15:25-27)
Citing an example of the benefit of tithing, Paul describes the works he was able to perform among poor Jews in Jerusalem using financial contributions from Gentile nations near Greece. Since the church in Jerusalem was the epicenter of God’s church it made sense that Gentiles should contribute to its welfare by tithing through the apostle Paul.
“28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.” (Romans 15:28-29)
As he wrote this letter to the Roman churches, Paul’s plan was to complete his mission in Jerusalem before continuing onto Rome, then Spain. Though Paul did eventually get to preach in Rome, he did so as a prisoner.
“30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 15:30-33)
Paul had been warned of the consequences of a visit to Jerusalem where, according to God’s plan he would be arrested then sent to Rome to be imprisoned until his death, around A.D. 64. Paul is believed to have been beheaded as a Christian martyr by order of the prefects of the city of Rome at Aquae Salviae, about three miles from Rome.
Paul’s plan, though purpose driven was not in perfect harmony with God’s plan. In this passage of Paul’s letter to the Romans we learn that flexibility is an essential attribute among believers as we strive to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre