Monday, May 27, 2024

2024.05.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 15:13–16

Read Romans 15:13–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Romans 15:13 call God? With what two things does the apostle pray that God will fill them? In/by what will He fill them with this joy and peace? In what do this joy and peace make them abound? By what (Whose!) power? About whom is the apostle confident (Romans 15:14)? Concerning whom? That they are already full of what two things? In order to be able to do what? In what manner does he say that he has written to them at points (Romans 15:15)? To do what to them? Why? Whose minister/liturgist is he (Romans 15:16)? Unto whom? What does he minister to them? In order that they may be able to do what? How is their offering made acceptable? 

Why has the apostle written so boldly to the Roman church? Romans 15:13–16 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God the Holy Spirit is sustaining and blessing the work of consecrating believers for the worship of God in Christ. 

In the previous passage (Romans 15:7-12), we learned that we are to welcome one another for the same reason that Christ has welcomed us: for God’s glory in the united worship of all the nations, who trust in Christ. Now, in this passage, the third person of the Godhead takes center-stage: the Holy Spirit.

Praying for worshipers who are full of joy and peaceRomans 15:13. God is, for believers, the God of hope (Romans 15:13a), the One Who brings the nations to hope in Christ (Romans 15:12d). In this brief prayer, the apostle looks to God to make his readers to abound in hope. His prayer shows us the mechanism of this abounding and the Agent of this abounding. 

The mechanism is joy and peace through faith. The more that we believe in Christ, the more joy and peace we have in Him. The more joy and peace that we have in Him, the surer we become about Him. And it is in this mutually reinforcing joy, peace, and hope that the God of this hope brings us into that glorious worship of Him that He has planned from all eternity.

The agent is the Holy Spirit. It is “by the power of the Holy Spirit” that we come to abound in hope. So it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we rejoice in believing in Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is joy! And it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 5:1). The fruit of the Spirit is peace! Whatever else we do for one another’s edification, let us be sure to pray for it. For, ultimately, it is the almighty work of God the Holy Spirit.

Confident of worshipers who are full of goodness and knowledgeRomans 15:14. The fact that God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13) gives the apostle confidence/conviction about those whom this God is saving. He is persuaded that they are filled with at least two other things that this God uses to save: goodness and knowledge. With these, they are able to admonish one another, so that they don’t “need” him to do it. 

God Himself is equipping His people to help His people. And this is what we need in order to be able to admonish one another: goodness and knowledge. If we have goodness without knowledge, our kind intentions will be corrupting rather than helpful, because it will not be according to truth. If we have knowledge without goodness, we will misuse it and misapply it. But if we are to be useful to one another, to be brought to worship the Lord together with the nations, we must be full of both. And this is what the apostle is convinced is true about the Roman believers. For everyone whom the Lord gives us to participate in their lives, God Himself enables us to be useful to one another’s souls. 

Laboring for worshipers whose offerings please GodRomans 15:15-16. If they are able to help each other, why is the apostle writing them? And if they are full of goodness and knowledge, why has he written to them so boldly (Romans 15:15a)? Because this is what God has graciously given to him (verse 15b), what Jesus Christ has assigned to him (Romans 15:16). He is Jesus’s “liturgist” (“minister,” NKJ) for the nations. By more clearly teaching and applying the gospel of God to them, the apostle is Christ’s agent for bringing them to offer acceptable worship to God. The Holy Spirit, Who consecrates them and their worship, is using the apostle for this work. Thus the apostle knows that his service to the Roman church is worthwhile and effective. God Himself is using it!

When we serve one another in the roles that the Lord has given us in His church (and in our families), we may be sure that the outcome will be Jesus’s leading glorified saints, who are full of every virtue, in worship that is perfectly acceptable to God! Sometimes, our interaction must be pointed. Often, it will not immediately appear to be effective. But we must not lose heart. The Holy Spirit Himself is sustaining this work and making it effective. God will surely be glorified in His Son, and in those whom His Son brings to Him for worship.

What do you need to be filled with, if you are going to abound in hope? Whose power makes this happen? Whom in your life does He especially use to do this? In what activities does He especially do this? In whose lives has He especially given you to be used for building up and sanctifying them?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thank You for Your loving purpose and plan to make us an innumerable multitude of sanctified worshipers from all the nations. Thank You for those whom You use in our lives, to prepare us for that worship. And thank You for the privilege of being used in others’ lives. Please give us to serve Christ and minister to them by the power of Your Spirit, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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