Aug 30, 2020
Originally Presented: March 1st, 2009
Scripture Reading: Romans 15:22-33
In this section of Romans, Paul lays out his future plans. Having preached over most of the eastern section ("Jerusalem to Illyricum" - Rom 15:19) of the Roman empire, he sets his sights on Spain, the farthest western realm of Roman rule. On his way to Spain Paul desires to stop to see the Christians in Rome, where he has never been (Rom 1:13; 15:22).
A couple of lessons for us seem to stand out from this section. First, Paul's passion to spread the gospel of Christ, regardless of cost to him personally, is a stirring example to us to expend our lives for the kingdom of Christ.
Second, the collection Paul will take to the saints in Jerusalem, gathered from Christians in Macedonia and Achaia (Rom 15:26) was given with joy. "They were pleased to do so" (Rom 15;27). All our offerings ought to be out of delight to share what we have for the work of Christ's kingdom. Only offerings given willingly and joyfully are acceptable to God (2 Cor 9:7).
Third, Paul requests that the ardent prayers of the Roman Christians be made on his behalf. Paul's request is that the Romans "strive together with me in your prayers" (Rom 15:30). The word 'strive' connotes passion and disciplined agony. One encouragement in this request is that it is made of people who had never met Paul. We can pray for believers in other countries whom we have never met, and we can do it with great passion because it is the majesty of Christ we contend for.