Lesson 54


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

15:14 I myself am also persuaded about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish others. 15:15 But I write the more boldly to you in some measure, as putting you again in memory, because of the grace that was given to me by God, 15:16 that I should be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 15:17 I have therefore my boasting in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God. 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any things except those which Christ worked through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, 15:19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of Godís Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ; 15:20 yes, making it my aim so to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build on another manís foundation. 15:21 But, as it is written,

"They will see, to whom no news of him came.

They who havenít heard will understand."


Today's Lesson 

Paul tells his readers that he has written boldly to them because God has given him the task to be the apostle to the Gentiles. He was to be a servant to them and to bring the gospel of Christ to places in the world where Christ was not yet named. Paul uses the terminology of the Jewish priest. The Gentiles are an offering that Paul is placing before God. Paul writes that he labors that the offering of the Gentiles might be found acceptable to God.

 

Paul has written that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice that is acceptable to God. In a manner, this is what Paul is saying about himself. He is presenting his own life and labor as a living sacrifice to God so that others might be found acceptable in the sight of God. That was Paul's service before God.

 

God was responding to Paul's labor and sacrifice as well. Not only were the Gentiles becoming obedient to God, by word and deed, but there were also signs and wonders that were accompanying Paul's mission. God was showing Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit that the sacrifice that Paul was making was acceptable. God will usually acknowledge our sacrifices if we are sensitive to the work of His Spirit. God can show us through our own spiritual growth and progress that what we are doing is acceptable. Or, He may show us through the lives of those around us that He approves of what we are doing. God may choose rather subtle means of communicating or He can be as blunt as a hammer at times. In any case, God communicates if we are receptive to Him.

 

God had put a burden on Paul's heart to take the gospel into places where it had never gone before. Not everyone will have the same burden. But, God will seek to place a burden on your heart. Do not close yourself off to the calling of God because whatever God's task for you is, that is the one true thing that will give you the greatest joy in the world. We are designed in our genes to respond in such a way that the ultimate satisfaction of our lives comes in fulfilling God's vision for our lives.

 

This is not to say that God's vision will make our lives easier or less complicated. Many times God's presence complicates our lives more than we thought we could bear. Just look at the example of Paul and you will see that. But God's presence in our lives gives us benefits we can never even imagine until we start to be obedient to His calling. God desires that we live lives that are full of meaning and purpose. This is ultimately only possible when God is at the center of our existence.

 

One last word on Paul's message here. When Paul stated that he did not want to "build on another man's foundation" it was not pride or jealousy that lead to this desire. God had placed Paul in a unique position and place in time. Paul was the key to bringing the gospel of Christ to the Roman world. This was God's special burden for him. Other men may be called by God to plow a field over and over for the rest of their lives. God's calling in each of our lives is unique to us and to our times. The gospel of God has been heard in every country of the world. That is not to say that God does not still send His people out into the world to spread His message. But we must understand that when God sends His people out into the world it is usually for their own sake, not for the sake of the world.

 

What is the burden that God is placing on your heart today? Do you really want to hear what God is trying to tell you?

 

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