Here’s an outline for a sermon I preached on Romans 15:14-33 at Cross of Christ Fellowship.
Romans 15:14-33 “Paul’s Priorities and Ours”
INTRO: Did you know that there are some restaurants where the servers are intentionally rude to their customers?
-Servers slam food on table, use vulgar language, make disparaging remarks, and intentionally try to offend you!
-This is one of their priorities. It’s their shtick/gimmick, and for some of them it works. People keep coming!
-Most restaurants have different priorities: clean; good food, friendly and attentive servers, seek not to offend.
-What about a church? What should a local church’s priorities be? How does the Bible lead us here?
M.S. A faithful local church will be shaped by biblical priorities.
-It is easy for Christians and local churches to lose their focus, and place their priorities on the wrong things.
-We see this all the time: Christians & churches lose sight of the gospel and ministry loses a biblical focus
(Blessing of animals; Focus on politics or social actions; sermon series based on pragmatism or cultural events)
-Rom 15:14-33 challenges us to realign & reorient ourselves to biblical priorities: personally & church
-Do we have biblical priorities in our lives and church? Will we let Scripture shape this?
A faithful local church will be shaped by biblical priorities.
CONTEXT: The closing section of Romans.
-Gospel is main theme of Romans. It has been stated, explained and applied.
-Now Paul is bringing things to a close.
-ANALOGY: CREDIT at end of movie. We tend to view as unimportant.
-This part of Romans we may be tempted to view that way.
-Partly true: the main argument has been made
-Also false: There are important things for us to hear and learn in his portion of Romans
-In this part of closing: We are reminded of what ought to prioritize if we are to have a faithful gospel ministry.
A faithful local church will be shaped by biblical priorities!
STRUCTURE: 1. Paul’s Travel Plans; 2. Paul’s Prayer Request
I. Paul’s Travel Plans (14-29)
This passage is very autobiographical. Paul mentions himself in almost every verse.
-He wants the Romans to understand his ministry and hear his heart toward them
-This will help them receive the letter as what it is: a word from Christ’s apostle
-It will also help them be ready to receive Paul and send him out on mission.
-And, it shows them—and us—what biblical priorities should look like in our church and lives.
-Paul’s Appraisal of the Romans (14)
-Paul is encouraged about the Roman Christians’ maturity “am satisfied about you”
-Maturity displayed: “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another”
-Gospel has led to holy lives: full of goodness, filled with all knowledge
-Christians are active in disciplining and teaching each other: able to instruct one another
–NOTE: Does not mean they do not need instructed. Even mature Christians have room to grow!
-Paul’s Gospel Ministry (15-21)
–Paul’s letter to Rome is a results of the ministry God gave to him to the Gentiles (15-16)
-Ministry of GRACE “grace given me” (15)
-Specific Focus: “minster of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God” (16)
-Purpose: “the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable”
-Refers to the Gentiles very lives, as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2)
-Holy Spirit’s work in making us holy: “sanctified by the Holy Spirit”
-YOU, Christian, have been made HOLY by the Holy Spirit!
-Paul boasts in Christ, who gave him this ministry and worked through him (17-18a)
-Not boasting in himself, but “in Christ Jesus”
-Paul’s ministry was to “bring the Gentiles to obedience” (18b)
-Christianity is a religion of obedience to God, not empty lip service
-Faith without works is dead (James 2:26)
-Christ Worked through Paul and the Apostles in different ways to draw elect to faith (18c-19a)
-We read about this in the book of Acts
-God works through his people TODAY!
-The rest of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles is the planting of many churches (19b-20)
-“Jerusalem to Illyricum” is the area of Paul’s missionary trips
-Paul specifically went where there were not already Christians
-Still a need for this today, but also further witness where Christians already are
-Paul’s ministry was fulfillment of OT prophecy (21)
QUESTION: Why does Paul share all this with the Romans?
ANSWER: Partly so that they would be more receptive to hear and receive this letter (hear and apply these words!).
-One of Paul’s priorities was making sure other Christians were mature in sound doctrine and life. (Col 1:28-29)
-We too need to hear these words ourselves! Make Bible reading a PRIORITY in your life.
-ANOTHER Reason: We see a faithful gospel ministry in practice, and learn what priorities we too should have!
-We look at Paul’s priorities in gospel ministry, and we are challenged to take these on too.
A faithful local church will be shaped by biblical priorities!
APP: All Christians are called to some kind of gospel ministry (sharing the gospel and discipling others)
–Must be a priority for Christians and local churches: teaching gospel & helping others follow Jesus.
-Do you see your life and this church in this way?
…Paul’s Travel Plans Continued… 22-29
-Paul’s Explanation of Why He has Not Visited Yet (22) -Paul wanted to come to Rome earlier, but he had a lot of other work to do elsewhere first.-Paul’s Plans: Future Visit to Rome After His Trip to Jerusalem (23-29)
-Paul Plans to Visit Rome soon and be sent by them to Spain (23-24, 28-29)
-It will be time of mutual refreshment and fellowship (enjoyed your company for a while)
-No such thing as LONE-RANGER Christians. We need each other!
-Christians & local church must have fellowship a priority!
-Paul hopes to be sent by the Roman Church (financially) as he goes to Spain
–One of Paul’s priorities was evangelism and church planting
APPLICATION: Is evangelism a priority for you? -First, Paul is headed to Jerusalem (25-27)
-Paul is “bringing aid” to the “saints” in Jerusalem.
-These were poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem
-The “aid” is from the Gentile Christians in “Macedonia and Achaia” (Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth) (26)
-It was right for this take place, as the Gentiles “owed it to them” (27)
-The Gentiles shared the “spiritual blessing” and ought to share in the material blessings.
–One of Paul’s priorities was helping those with physical needs (mercy ministry) Gal 2:10
–Priorities Reoriented: is this a priorities for us? FMSC. Other ways…
II. Paul’s Prayer Request (30-33)
–Prayer Request (30-32)
-Hard work of prayer “strive together with me in your prayers” (30)
-Could your prayer life be described in this way?
-Prayer for deliverance in Jerusalem (31a)
-Delivery happened from death, but still endured suffering and imprisonment.
-Prayer for ministry fruitfulness (31b)
-Prayer that he might make it to Rome (32)
-He did eventually, but not way he expected! In chains.
-Paul’s Prayer for Romans (33) May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
-Paul’s priority of PRAYER: Prayer works and it is vital in ministry
–Are you praying for the church? Are you praying for the lost?
CONCLUSION: A faithful local church will be shaped by biblical priorities!
We see Paul’s priorities: helping Christians grow in their faith through teaching sound doctrine and Christian living, caring for the poor, evangelizing the lost, and prayer. Are these our priorities? How can we make them our priorities?