Romans 1 (NIV)
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
Verse 8: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
First… Paul never gets to a second, third, fourth… He is that excited!
I thank… express gratitude or show appreciation
Paul usually opens letters with a prayer of thanksgiving for those he is writing to [Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:3; Philemon 4].
My God through Jesus Christ…
Christ is serving as our mediator.
1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”
We go through Christ for thanksgiving (and requests).
For all of you…
Paul had not visited the church in Rome, yet he knew some of them. He probably connected with them when the Jews (and Jewish Christians) had been expelled from Rome. He mentions some of the Roman church by name at the end of Romans. He thanked God for them!
Because your faith is being reported…
Faith = trust in Christ.
Reported = proclaimed, spoken of – known openly and with wide distribution.
Paul affirms them in their work.
It wasn’t just their faith, but their obedience as well. Romans 16:19: “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
All over the world…
This could be hyperbole or literal, but the point is their faith has become so evident that word was spreading.
The gospel’s proper application is for the benefit of those unreached; those who receive it must battle the temptation to soak up its benefits solely for themselves. [Paul was eager (v. 15) to preach the gospel, so he clearly saw it as daily food.)
Rome had a special visibility and opportunity to glorify God.
-“All roads lead to Rome.”
-1 million + people in Paul’s day.
Verse 9: God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
God, whom I serve in my spirit…
Serve = worship and perform sacrificial rites following prescribed rules [service in the Temple]
In preaching the gospel of his Son…
Paul’s gift (preaching) was for the entire church.
Notice in verse 1 it is the gospel of ______.
Paul was passionate about preaching. 1 Corinthians 9:16: “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
Is my witness…
A witness is someone who sees an event and then reports what happens.
God was Paul’s accountability partner. God knew what kind of prayer life Paul really had. Other people cannot witness your prayer life; only God can. Paul was not just pretending to be a man of prayer, it was genuine.
Accountable (Dictionary.com): subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.
How I constantly remember you in my prayers at all times.
Constantly = without ceasing; unflagging resolve; continuous.
Same word was used for a “hacking cough” that stayed with someone throughout the day.
Remember = make mention; remark concerning someone called into recollections
Paul’s prayer life was intertwined with his service life. It was a vital part (along with teaching and preaching). Paul saw prayer for others as a privilege and a responsibility.
Prayer is learned.
--Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
-“Five-Finger Prayer” [Our Daily Bread; 6/27/2017]:
--When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Phil. 1:3–5).
--The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thess. 5:25).
--The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you—national and local leaders, and your supervisor at work (1 Tim. 2:1–2).
--The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Pray for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5:13–16).
--Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness in relation to God’s greatness. Ask Him to supply your needs (Phil. 4:6, 19).
We believe prayer is authentic communication with God. Therefore, we will practice listening to His thoughts and honestly expressing ours.
Verse 10: in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
And I pray…
Pray = begging for something indispensable or necessary.
Paul had a VERY long prayer list. He didn’t pray because of duty, but because of his deep love for God and people.
Ephesians 6:18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Because of Paul’s prayers, many people were saved. Perhaps our own spiritual heritage can be traced to one of these folks in Rome that Paul was praying for…
Plenty of great books on prayer. Power of a Praying… series.
that now at last by God’s will…
Prayer should be submissive. Paul did not demand of God or order God or dictate to God what he wanted. He simply made a request and wanted the request granted only if it was the will of God.
The way may be opened…
Paul wanted a successful and prosperous journey to visit them. Paul’s prayer was specific. There is no detail in life that is so trivial that we cannot make it a matter of prayer. Hymn: “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Romans 15:23: “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you…”
Paul was running out of places to minister…
NO PLACE LEFT
For me to come to you…
God answered in an unexpected way. Acts 27-28.
-arrested, physically abused, shipwrecked, bitten by a venomous snake…
Acts 28:16: When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Verse 11: I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong
I long to see you…
“I am homesick for you!” yet he had never been there. Paul cared about people that much.
Long = desire strongly or persistently.
Shows Paul’s pastoral heart.
See = meet socially
The same word for “long” is used in 1 Peter 2:2 about new believers longing for God’s Word.
So that I may impart to you…
Impart = give out as one’s portion or share
Some spiritual gift…
Paul will assist the believers in Rome by sharing his gifts with them. Gifts of wisdom, knowledge, teaching, and apostleship. He will not be giving them NEW gifts.
General spiritual blessing. Paul doesn’t give specifics because he doesn’t know exact need.
To make you strong…
Strong = established, confirmed; marked by firm determination or resolution.
Verse 12: that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged…
Comforted together. To call upon, invite, or exhort at the same time.
Edification [Webster, 1828]: A building up, in a moral and religious sense; instruction; improvement and progress of the mind, in knowledge, in morals, or in faith and holiness.
By each other’s faith…
Living for Christ is not a solo endeavor.
Verse 13: I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
I do not want you to be unaware…
Unaware = ignorant; lacking in knowledge or information.
Brothers and sisters…
That I planned many times to come to you…
Planned = intended; purposed.
Purposed [Webster, 1828]: Resolved; having formed a design or resolution; applied to persons.
I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Ps.17:3.
(but have been prevented from doing so until now)…
Prevented = hindered; stopped
Once by Satan. 1 Thessalonians 2:18-blocked from going to Thessalonica
Once by God. Acts 16:6-7-blocked from going to Asia
in order that I might have a harvest among you…
Harvest = fruit; fruitful ministry; yield from plants.
New converts and spiritual growth.
-“We want to see lost people saved and saved people grow.” –Scott Mathis
just as I have had among the other Gentiles…
The Roman church was predominately Gentile.
Verse 14: I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
I am obligated…
Obligated = debtor, moral obligation.
Paul is the middle man between God and man (indebted to both).
We are ambassadors for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:14: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
“At the Cross” by Isaac Watts (“But drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe: Here, Lord, I give myself away—tis all I can do!”)
Both to Greeks and non-Greeks…
Paul is obligated to the entire human race!
Greeks: cultured, educated, civilized
Non-Greeks: barbarians; foreigners. A person who comes from a foreign country who does not owe allegiance to your country; frequently someone who does not speak one’s native tongue.
The Jew breaks people down into Jew/Heathen; the Greeks into Greek/Barbarians, and God into saved/unsaved.
Both to the wise and the foolish…
Verse 15: That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
That is why I am so eager…
Eager: ready; excited fervor; enthusiasm
KJV: “As much as is in me…”
Paul’s motto was “I am ready.”
To preach the gospel…
Paul was preaching the gospel to saved people [remember, he is writing to the church]. Paul clearly saw the gospel as daily food for every human heart. The gospel is a call to continue in a daily walk of faith.
Also to you who are in Rome…
Bottom line: if you understand the magnitude of the gift we have been given through Christ, we cannot remain idle. We must actively engage our world with and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The heartbeat of those who know God through faith in Christ is to make Him known.