Romans 1:8 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 any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Yesterday there was a 4.2 earthquake in California. They consulted the “expert” on earthquakes who shrugged it off as just part of life. Earthquakes are not an act of nature. God is in charge and He is speaking to us. He is warning us of the instability that most people are building on. Rather than shrug these things off as just part of life, we need to take this seriously. Those who build their lives on self and materialism are empty and headed for hell, a place of torment. The right way to approach life is with the fear of the LORD.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
In our study the apostle Paul was directed to remind the recipients of the truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is very important. It is what he gave his time and energy to proclaim. It is something that we need to keep at the forefront of our time as well, if we are saved.
During the days of the apostle Paul they did not have internet, nor phones, or telegraph, etc. They had messengers who would ride from place to place with news. They had letters that would be sent by these men. They had word of mouth. Nothing would move very fast. In our text, the apostle Paul wrote of the testimony of the saints in Rome. Their faith was being spoken of throughout the world. What was happening to those who were being saved was newsworthy.
Those people were being changed by the power of God. Paul reminded the saints in Rome that it was God through Jesus Christ that needed to be acknowledged. All thanks belonged to Him. The Roman government was not a God-fearing government. They had their paganism and they were quite ruthless in their rule. However, there were people being saved in the midst of that pagan environment.
Christians do not need to sit home and bemoan the state of our country or our world. We know our country is in terrible shape. The spiritual shape of this country is a disaster. However, in the midst of this disaster, there are a few born again Christians. Those who are saved have been saved to exalt the true God. We are not here to find a soft place to live and make sure we as adults and our children have all the best of the amenities.
In verse 9 we see that Paul was a man of prayer. He had heard of God’s blessing in Rome. He was sold out to serving the true God. Notice that he identified the gospel as “the gospel of his Son.” There are many false gospels. There is only one true gospel. The apostle Paul was a busy man. He travelled much and he taught the Word of God faithfully wherever he went. He faced severe opposition. However, he did not choose to withdraw from the war he was in. He knew he needed the right armour on and he knew he needed to spend time in prayer.
In verse 10 we see that Paul desired to meet the saints in Rome. He could not purchase a ticket and get on a plane and fly to Rome. He could get on a ship and sail to Rome. God would eventually provide a “free” trip for him to Rome. He would travel there as a prisoner, awaiting a meeting with the emperor. He had been falsely accused by the Judaizers, trying to disrupt the Roman government. The fact is that anyone who would be saved, would be an asset to the government in that they would not be trouble makers. They would not go along with all that the government wanted, but they would be an asset because they would live for the glory of God. Paul would face major challenges on that trip, but he desired to meet the saints to be able to impart some spiritual gift to them.
Paul was the apostle. God chose him as one of 12 men He would use to complete the Scriptures. Not all the apostles were directed to write Scripture. Paul was chosen of God to be more prominent than the rest of the 12. He did not allow this to go to his head. God sent a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble. God knew what Paul needed.
In verse 11 we see that Paul desired to see the saints established in the faith. They already had a good testimony. However, God showed Paul they needed to know more. This was not Paul’s assessment of the situation in Rome. This was God leading Paul to be the man to help the saints to grow stronger in the Lord.
In verse 12 we see again the blessing of fellow believers. Paul did not choose to stay home and isolate himself. As an apostle he had the words of truth. He knew there were corrupt men out there who were teaching lies. He met them. He was judged of them. He was punished due to them. However, he knew that the answer to all of that, was to keep proclaiming the truth so that the saints could be strengthened and others could become saints. Paul knew there was comfort in being with other saints.
We need that today as well. We are thankful for the opportunity we have to broadcast into many countries. We are proclaiming God’s Word in places I will never see. God has given us the opportunity to be a help to others. We all know there is no personal fellowship over the internet. You cannot look the person in the eye and see their facial expressions, etc. God designed us to be together with other saints. We need that.
In verse 13 Paul reminded the saints that he had tried to come to Rome before. He was not afraid to go there. He was not too involved in personal pleasures to go there. God had not opened a door for him to go there yet. We notice here that the saints in Rome were primarily Gentiles. We also know that Paul was chosen by God to be the apostle to the Gentiles. He preached to many Jews as well. He was a Jew and he loved his own people. However, God had called him to spend the bulk of his time with the Gentiles.
In verse 14 Paul stated that he was a debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians. He had been saved to serve the Lord. Christians need to be reminded that we are saved to serve the Lord. We need to remember that our duty is to seek to be the light that God designed us to be.
In verse 15 Paul was ready to spend his life in preaching the gospel to those that were in Rome. He had a genuine love of God in his heart. He loved to preach the gospel. He knew the power of the gospel and he desired others to know the blessings of the gospel.
All Christians need to look for opportunities to speak the truth to others. Those who are called to preach need to be ready to help all that come across their paths. Preaching is not a job. It is a ministry. It is important to be ready to serve God wherever He calls us.