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Summary: Paul’s desire to visit Rome comes on the heels of an incredible journey, but not without personal cost and obedience to Jesus through the Holy Spirit first. (Ref: Romans 15:23-33)

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Romans, Part 44

Romans 15:23-33

Introduction

Why would any man desire to give his life to the cause of Jesus?

- It’s not because of his salvation at stake (that is already assured; see v16a)

-- EX: Cannot be a minister of Christ unless Christ dwells within you

- It is because of his desire that WE would come to know Jesus!

- (v16b) Because of the Gospel being heard, WE might be acceptable to God

- Because of the preaching of the good news; WE might hear and be changed

- Because of the message that goes forth; Jesus would be glorified and praised

- Where does he reveal his true mission?

- Rom 1:5 says, “… through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”

- This morning, we look at “Friendships”, and the importance of having them

- Stand and read Romans 15:23-33 / Pray

Point 1 – Planning to Visit Rome (22-29)

- Paul spoke often about plans to visit Rome, but was delayed several times

- While scholars often debate the reason for the delays; they seem pretty obvious

-- The direction of the Holy Spirit (obeying God is first)

-- Ministry needs (were there funds, needs, direction, etc., to go)

- Let’s remember though, Paul’s desire has always been to help the Jews

-- Rom 9:3-4, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.”

- Those who were in Macedonia and Achaia were anxious to see/help him

- He had friends who desired to make a difference in the ministry; to spread Gospel

- In Acts 16:9, Paul describes a vision he had, “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

- This was a vision of future friends, through God’s guidance, to come and preach

- There is a distinct desire to hear the Gospel when one has nothing left to hope for

- APP: This is where we must be available and ready to help friends that we have

- There is nothing more privileged than sharing Christ w/ someone you care about

- For Paul, I don’t think anyone he shared Christ with didn’t become a friend

- Even while in prison, he made friends (consider who mailed the letters for him – those in the prison, jailer, etc.)

-- Since he was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel; someone was helping him

-- This is critical in the understanding of friendship; it is boundless and limitless

- This is why Paul makes it so clear that AFTER he accomplishes what God has for him to do, he will then make his way to Spain to see these friends (read 28-29)

- APP: Paul’s desire is to preach, through the power of Holy Spirit

- It’s his preaching that he brings people to the Lord and forever becomes friends

- And so when he finally comes to Spain, he will come with Christ’s blessing

- Why? Because he will have finished what the Lord sent him to do

- APP: It’s very important – we cannot shortcut God; we must finish what we have been given

- CRITICAL APP: We expect God to remain faithful to us (Jer 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” … Phil 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”)

-- CRITICAL APP: So, we must remain faithful when he calls us to move

- TRANS: But in order to do this, sometimes we need friends praying for us

Point 2 – Requesting Prayer from Friends (30-33)

- Paul asks for prayers because he knows it is the one thing that works (30)

- Paul asks specifically for prayers from the unbelievers in Judea

- Now, where have we heard Judea mentioned before? (Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”)

- Paul, in obedience to Christ, his greatest friend, is being totally submissive

- Paul’s desire is to draw closer to Christ by following in perfect obedience

-- In this obedience, Paul is brought closer to Christ as a friend – as we should be

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