We continue our study of Paul’s letters today with Romans 15. Last week, in Romans 14, Paul warned the Gentiles not to judge their Jewish brothers who were weaker in faith. He starts chapter 15 instructing them to accept and build up those who are weak.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
v. 1-6 (NASB)
I love how Paul says that God gives us perseverance and encouragement and that He will grant us to be of the same mind with one another. God doesn’t ask us to give anything that He hasn’t first given to us. He wouldn’t ask us to persevere without giving us perseverance. He wouldn’t ask to love and encourage others without loving and encouraging us. And He wouldn’t ask us to accept one another without first accepting us, as Paul writes in the next verse.
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
v. 7 (NASB)
We need to believe and receive what God’s given us so we can have the power to do all that He’s asked us to do.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
v. 13 (NASB)
Paul knew the power that he had in him. He knew everything he had was from God, and not from himself.
And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
v. 14-19 (NASB)
Paul said he would not presume to speak anything except what Christ accomplished through him. By allowing God to fully work in him, he was able to turn the Gentiles in obedience to God. He didn’t just preach to them. They were able to see the power of God working through him (in signs and wonders) as proof that what he taught was true. We can learn through his example that to fully preach the gospel as he did, we have to allow God full access to work in us. We must be full of the Holy Spirit and not full of ourselves to fully reach others.
And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written,
“THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE,
AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND.”
For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while—but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
v. 20-33 (NASB)
We praise You that You give us everything we need to do everything You call us to do. We humble ourselves before You, and ask You to completely immerse us in Your Holy Spirit. Let Your glory work and reign through us, so the power of Your Holy Spirit can be clearly seen in us as a testimony to others.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 16. Have a blessed week being filled with the Holy Spirit!