Monday, June 24, 2024

2024.06.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 15:29–33

Read Romans 15:29–33

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom is the apostle coming (Romans 15:29)? What does he know about it—with how much blessing will he come? What sort of blessing? What kind of speech is Romans 15:30? What does he call them? Through Whom does he beg them? Through what does he beg them? What does he beg them to do? With whom? To Whom? For whom? From whom does he ask them to pray that he might be delivered (Romans 15:31)? What does he ask them to pray about his service? What does he pray that he would be able to do in what way (Romans 15:32)? What does he pray will happen when he gets there? What does he pray for them (Romans 15:33)? 

What should believers do with their desire for one another’s fruit? Romans 15:29–33 prepares us for the midweek sermon in the prayer meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers ought to turn their desires for one another’s fruit into prayer for it. 

The faith of ministryRomans 15:29. Christ’s ministry, done Christ’s way from Scripture, comes “in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” Though we might not see the specific results that we want at the specific times or in the specific ways that we want them, that’s a good reminder that ministry is not about us. But Christ is God, Who came to save us, and He uses His appointed means to accomplish all His holy will. When we do the things that He has appointed in His Word, we may do them with our confidence resting squarely and securely upon Him.

The foundation of ministry: God HimselfRomans 15:30. In the next three verses, the apostle “begs” them as his brethren. This is a powerful appeal—that believers are family to one another. But there is something even stronger here than our relation to one another: our relation to God. He begs them “through the Lord Jesus Christ.” Believers are in union with God the Son. He begs them “through the love of the Spirit.” Believers are helped by God the Holy Spirit, Who pours out His love in our hearts (cf. Romans 5:5). And believers pray to God the Father—both “striving with” one another and “for” one another, as the apostle asks them to do. So even as Paul trusts that Christ will accomplish His gospel work (Romans 15:29) and prays to be able to come to do that ministering (Romans 15:32), so now he asks them to pray. And he forms the request in a way that reminds them that God Himself is the foundation of both the apostle’s own ministry and the Roman church’s ministry of praying for him.

The fight of ministryRomans 15:31a. We must remember that we have multiple enemies. Our greatest enemy is our own remaining sin, followed also by our enemy the devil. But there are those who will oppose and attack the gospel and those who attempt to spread it. The apostle was anticipating the opposition of “the ones being disobedient in Judea.” He prays to be delivered from them. We must be delivered from opposition if we are going to serve the Lord well; and, when we pray for others’ ministry, we ought to pray also for them to be delivered from opposition.

The favor of ministryRomans 15:31-32. The apostle desires not just that the ministry would be effective, but that it would be delightful. He asks them to pray that his service for Jerusalem would delight the saints there (Romans 15:31b). He asks them to pray that he himself might then come with delight to them (Romans 15:32a). He asks them to pray that his time with them will be refreshing to both of them (verse 32b). We should have cheerful, optimistic attitudes toward true ministry, responding to it with joy, and praying that this is how it would go.

The fellowship of ministryRomans 15:33. Again, there is the sweet fellowship of believers, that itself comes from a greater fellowship. Paul desires and prays to come be with them. But the God of peace is already with them. We enjoy one another’s fellowship in ministry, but the existence of the ministry itself reminds us that, truly, our fellowship is with God (cf. 1 John 1:3)!

What is your part, right now, in your church and in your family? What might it be in the future? How can you know that your part will be effective and fruitful? For what things should you be praying about your ministry? How should you be feeling about it/responding to it? With whom do you have fellowship in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for securing our salvation in Christ and applying it by Your Spirit. Grant that we would each do the part that You have assigned to us, and that You would deliver us from all opposition and give us joy in ministering. Give us fellowship not only with other believers, but especially with You Yourself, by Your Spirit, in Christ, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH406 “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide”

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