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For the Sake of God’s Mission (Romans 15:14-21)

Romans 15:14–21 - 14 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. 15 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, 16 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. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 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, 19 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. 20 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; 21 but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.” What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, Paul affirms that the Roman Christians excel in goodness and biblical understanding to counsel each other accordingly (v. 14). Paul clarifies his bold way of writing comes from the authority given him by God (vv. 15-16). He boasts only in the Lord for what Christ has accomplished through him by the power of the Holy Spirit (vv. 17-18). Through signs and wonders, Paul has fully preached the gospel from Jerusalem across the Mediterranean world (vv. 19-20). He aims to share the message of salvation with those who have never heard, as prophesied by Isaiah (v. 21). How can I apply Romans 15:14-21 to my life? Paul seeks to build unity between Jewish and Gentile Christians regarding issues of conscience and religious practices. Though important doctrinally, we must not miss the vital spiritual principles embedded in this chapter that apply to contemporary believers. As God’s New Testament people, certain core responsibilities should mark our lives in the church age regardless of denominational affiliation. We are called to build up one another joyfully using the unique gifts and truth found in each of us. We should willingly sacrifice and serve the body of Christ, which includes sharing the gospel locally and globally. Thankfulness amid trials alongside boasting solely in what Christ accomplishes remain teachings that transcend culture and time. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Build Up One Another Up with the Goodness and Knowledge that is in Each of You (v.  14): As Paul observes, the believers in Rome are full of goodness and rich in biblical knowledge which equip them to instruct one another. Therefore, just as Paul instructs them, we should actively utilize our spiritual gifts and understanding of the scriptures to strengthen fellow Christians. Whether through encouragements, prayer, or studying the word together, we edify the body of Christ when we build up one another in the faith. This fosters maturity and unity within the church. Even if certain believers may have more insight or experience, we all have a role to play in mutual edification through the Spirit’s enablement. Let us consider specific ways we can build up our brothers and sisters this week. Can we share a verse or devotional thought that has recently blessed us? What about having an uplifting spiritual discussion with another church member after the service? We might also send an edifying text or card to a fellow Christian going through difficult times. Small efforts go a long way when done in love to lift up struggling saints. Our goodness and knowledge in Christ should be regularly shared, not selfishly kept to ourselves. As verse 14 declares, we are full of these things (Ephesians 4:11–13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24–25)

Food for Thought:  What are some ways you have been built up by a fellow believer? How can their example guide our relationship with others in the church?  Are there believers in your life who currently need encouragement and edification? How will you build those individuals up this week in specific, tangible ways?

  1. Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Share the Gospel and Edify Others (vv. 15-16): Paul says that God graciously gave him unique spiritual gifts to powerfully proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles. In this way, unbelievers might be saved and added to the church for the glory of God. Likewise, we have each received spiritual gifts intended to play a part in evangelism and edification. Whether through teaching, encouragement, generosity or practical help, our gifts should serve the dual purpose of sharing Christ with the lost and strengthening fellow believers. Consider utilizing your gifts this week to directly contribute to someone’s salvation or growth in the faith. Maybe your hospitality can provide the context for introducing a seeking friend to the hope found in Jesus. Or your musical ability might bless the church through worship leading. Offerings of our time, energy, and resources that build up others spiritually are sacred and well-pleasing to God. Using our gifts is never about selfish gain but rather loving service. When souls are saved and Christians matured, our gifts achieve their divine aim (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

Food for Thought: Which spiritual gift has the Lord developed most strongly in your life recently? How has He used this gift to impact others for Christ? Do you actively consider the evangelistic and edifying potential of your gifts when determining how to serve in the church? How might that perspective shape opportunities moving forward?

  1. Boast and Rejoice in What Christ Has Accomplished Through You (vv. 17-19): Like Paul, we have no basis for boasting in our own merits, but only in what Christ has accomplished through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all glory belongs to God alone whenever He works mightily in and through our weakness. Our proper response should be great rejoicing and praise for His demonstrated grace, not pride in our performance. Let us then boast only in the Lord this week regarding every aspect of life and ministry. Whether sharing our faith, serving others, or simply resisting temptation - any fruit borne through us originates in Christ. As verse 18 highlights, it is His will working and His words spoken through redeemed vessels like us. We could achieve nothing eternal apart from abiding in Jesus. If the Lord intervenes to heal, bless, or encourage through us, all applause goes to Him. Our part is humble obedience. Rather than focusing on personal accomplishments, let us rejoice in what Jesus has performed for us and through us. This aligns our heart with Paul’s words and brings great glory to God. All boasting and joy finds its rightful home in Christ our King (Psalm 34:2; Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:31)

Food for Thought: Do you more often boast in your own works or in what Christ has accomplished through you? How can we practice giving Him all glory this week? Have you recently witnessed God working in power through your obedience in a certain area? How should that increase your worship and joy?

  1. Faithfully Preach the Gospel To Those Who Have Not Heard (vv. 20-21): As Paul explains through the imagery of Isaiah 52, a passion for spreading the gospel to unreached people groups motivates his ministry. He earnestly longs for everyone everywhere to hear of redemption through Christ, not just those nearby. Therefore, our evangelism should also pursue those across barriers who have limited or no access to the good news. Consider praying this week for missionaries and national believers taking the message of salvation to remote regions still waiting to hear about Jesus for the first time. We can faithfully give and send to support the task of global evangelization. But opportunities also exist closer to home. There may be newly arrived immigrants in our community from entirely unengaged nations lacking any gospel witness. Building relationships and sharing Christ’s love with international students is another strategic way we can participate in discipling unreached people groups. As Paul understood, fulfilling the Great Commission requires persistently preaching to those who have not heard until all have heard (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)

Food for Thought: Do you regularly pray for missionaries and persecuted believers taking the gospel to dangerous regions? How else can you support their ministry? Are there new arrivals in your area from places lacking gospel access? How can your local church make connections to share the good news with them? This passage highlights our duties as Christians to use our spiritual gifts wisely in order to spread the gospel and strengthen fellow believers. Just as Paul leveraged his calling as apostle to the Gentiles for Kingdom advancement, we must steward our unique roles, abilities, and experiences for the expansion of God’s family. This requires persevering through trials patiently as we fix our eyes on honoring Christ in word and action. When we encourage the church, evangelize the lost, and boast only in the cross, as modeled by Paul, we fulfill God’s purposes in this age. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would help me build up my brothers and sisters in Christ this week through small acts of service and doses of grace-filled encouragement. Empower me by Your Spirit to use my spiritual gifts consistently not for my glory but for the furthering of Your gospel mission on earth. Give me a heart of persevering joy and thankfulness even in the midst of suffering. Guard my lips and life from boasting in any works-based merits, but may I proudly rejoice in all that You have accomplished through me by Your undeserved favor. Use me to impact the eternities of those nearby who need Jesus as well as those globally without access to Your free gift of salvation. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Romans 15:17 – “Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.”With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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