Summary: Having opened the epistle with a statement concerning his call to the ministry of proclamation, he returns to the theme as he reveals the heart & soul of a mighty servant of God. Here the Apostle opens his heart to the Romans about his ministry motive & h
ROMANS 15: 14-21
ANDREW CARNEGIE, a poor Scottish immigrant turned powerful industrialist, became one of the richest men of the nineteenth century-and one of the most generous. It's estimated he gave nine out of every ten dollars he earned in oil, railroads, and steel to charity, an astounding total of $350 million over his lifetime. A strong supporter of free libraries and education, he believed that the rich had a moral responsibility to use their wealth to benefit others.
Carnegie spread his wealth around, making philanthropy his life's priority. Paul made his life's priority spreading the good news of the riches of eternal life. Because his life was filled with Christ, so were his words and actions. Paul, the masterful theologian, teacher, pastor, and apostle, was always the evangelist and church planter. The legacy of his sharing of the gospel and starting churches will span time into eternity. There can be no greater benefit to a man or mankind.
There can be no doubt that Paul was an astounding theologian, teacher, pastor & apostle, but His first calling was as an evangelist to the lost & missionary pastor to the churches he planted. His heartbeat for those who had never heard of Christ is clearly prominent. Having opened the epistle with a statement concerning his call to the ministry of proclamation, he returns to the theme as he reveals the heart and soul of a mighty servant of God. Let's listen as the Apostle opens his heart to the Romans about his ministry motive and his past ministry (CIT).
I. MINISTRY ADVISE, 14-16.
II. MINISTRY ADVANCE/ ACCOMPLISHMENT, 17-19.
III. MINISTRY ASPIRATION, 20-21.
As the Apostle prepares to move toward a conclusion, he informs them what this letter could accomplished in the trustworthy believer. Verse 14 expresses Paul's such confidence in the readers. "And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another."
God is good. We are not good. Goodness comes only as a result of salvation and following Christ [santification]. In other words, Paul was convinced that they were following Christ and therefore were being sanctified or becoming "full of goodness," God's goodness, for only God is truly good.
They also are "filled with all knowledge." How does one get "filled with all knowledge?" I guess that means they attend church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, are involved with a discipleship class and do daily devotions. Over time that should fill you with the knowledge of God. Once you are filled with goodness and knowledge you can encourage others in the faith.
In verse 15 Paul admits that he has boldly advised them in spiritual matters. "But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God,"
Paul reminded his readers that because of God's grace (Rom. 1:5) he had his special position. His advise might be considered brazen and intrusive upon their life had they not been born out of God's grace and calling. Paul's words were more that human speech. They were words of the Spirit given out of Paul's grace gift as an apostle. If we are going to offer more than man's wisdom, the advise we give to others must be born out of God's Spirit, God's Word and God's grace also.
Verse 16 tells us that as a servant minister of Jesus Christ Paul's his desire was to present those saved to God for sanctification. "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."
He was a minister [leitourgos, a public, civil or temple servant] to the Gentiles. [The term "liturgy" is related to this word.] This ministry was carried out as a priestly duty [hierourgounta means "to work in sacred things"]. Paul's sacred work or ministry involved his proclaiming the gospel of God (1:2-4).
We may not relate to the "priest" designation very well because it conjures up images of bearded Old Testament men in special clothing serving in the temple. Though the O. T. priesthood has been done away with, there is a New covenant priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Since we are all part of this priesthood of believers, we all are to proclaim the excellencies of God. That is why Jesus used the phrase "fishers of men" for those who followed Him.