Summary: A sermon on missions and missionaries taken from Romans 15:15-29 (Material adapted from R. Paul Stevens from article called "The Full Blessing of Christ" in book "Romans and the People of God" pg. 295- 303)
One illegal method of learning something about someone is to read their mail. Now I know that there are many times when we read Paul’s epistles that we suspect he has been reading our mail. But Romans 15 and 16 is one occasion in which the Spirit of God enables us to read Paul’s mail. “Hi!” “How’s it going?” or “Good to see you.” and we think this is not important but in this case it is important. We learn about as much about Paul from reading the personal part of his epistles as we do about the preacher from hearing his sermons. We also learn a lot about Paul’s plans.
We do know from the book of Acts that Paul did go to Jerusalem. We also learn that Paul went to Rome in chains but he went there. Most believe that Paul was released from his 2 year imprisonment and was able to be free for a time. However, we do not know if he went to Spain.
Thesis: Paul’s future plans concerning Rome and Spain
Paul final stop in his plans that he mentions here is to go to Spain. Vs. 23-24
Spain was one of the areas where the gospel had not been preached to this point.
We think of missions and missionaries as just one program of the church. However, that is not the case at all. We are all missionaries. “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”” John 20:21, NIV. We are all to be active in the Great Commission. “Therefore go (as you are going) and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19, NIV.
Paul was motivated to live out the mission that God gave him, “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.” Romans 1:5, NIV. What is our mission?
When Paul speaks of his mission to the Gentiles, he uses the language of worship. Paul says that he is a minister (vs. 16). Might misunderstand when people call me the minister. Really I am a minister, not the minister. Everyone is minister, everyone is a servant. Similar in that people call me the pastor. Really not the pastor, a pastor along with the elders. Don’t call me Reverend. Only God is to be revered. Getting away from the main point. Paul is simply saying that he was a servant of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Only a few get to preach to a local congregation behind a pulpit, but every child of God needs to be minister, a servant.
In vs. 16 Paul says that he is engaged in a priestly duty. Again this is not limited to the apostles or a select few. We are all priests in service to God. One duty of a priest is proclamation, another is intercession. The high priest would enter the Temple and place incense on the altar and as the smoke arose before the Lord, he would place the names of the people, which he wore across his chest, before the Lord in prayer. One of the reasons we are so ineffective in bringing men to Jesus is that we have not gotten them in our hearts! We are not broken by their needs and moved by their lost condition. We will never see souls saved in abundance until we learn to weep over them before the Lord, until we learn to carry them in our hearts, until we are consumed with a burden for their salvation. “He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalms 126:6, NIV.