Sermons

Summary: Message 47 in our exposition of Romans. This message explores Romans 15 for clues concerning what really counts in ministry.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Vital Signs of a Healthy Ministry”

Romans 15:13-33

We can approach this passage in any number of ways. A straight logical outline of the passage may reveal its flow.

This morning however I would like to glean some insight from the passage related to some clear vital signs of a healthy ministry. Paul was the “master builder” as far as ministry is concerned and so it would benefit us to take some time to observe some characteristics of how he “did” ministry. What things did Paul focus on or observe or practice? What was import for him to do or caused him to comment on? I found at least six signs of a healthy ministry mentioned here in this passage which I want to focus on in our time together today.

? Convincing evidence of spiritual maturity

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also have been convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, having been filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. Romans 15:14

“Convinced” (perfect passive) be convinced by someone to believe and to act on that belief, to be persuaded. Paul had become convinced and was still persuaded by testimony of what God was doing through the Roman believers in regard to goodness. In 1:8 Paul drew attention to the fact that evidence of their faith had been proclaimed throughout the whole world. Later in 16:19 he recalls how the report of their obedience had reached to all. The believers in Rome had acquired quite a reputation. So much so, that it convinced Paul of the genuineness of their faith and the level of their spiritual maturity. Just what was the tell tale evidence of their maturity in Christ?

“full”= presently stuffed, filled beyond expectations, completely or very full.

Full of what? “goodness” = generosity, the act of generous giving with the implication of relational goodness, kindness, benefit, uprightness of heart and life

Goodness is an essential aspect of God’s character -- God is good! Goodness is one of the seven essential manifestations of a Spirit led walk. (The fruit of the Spirit)

…Goodness in the Bible is God himself. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are good, do good and create good. God’s people are not good in themselves but become capable of doing good through the empowerment of God’s Spirit and the presence of God in their lives through Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist said…

1I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the agoodness of the LORD in the bland of the living. Psa 27:13

Webster = “the quality or state of being morally excellent, that eternal goodness that burns away evil.” We witnessed extraordinary “goodness” in the wake of the evil of 9/11. Stories of goodness and kindness and widespread generosity flooded the airwaves and we were deeply touched. Even though not all people exhibit such goodness nearly everyone recognizes it as a thing to be honored and appreciated. What does it mean to be full of goodness? What does such a life look like? It is a life that responds to need with action.

It is a life that makes room for others. It is a life that gives generously. A while back we studied the example of the “good” Samaritan. (Romans Series #42)

A person filled with goodness A.C.T.S.

? Awareness of the needs of others.

? Compassion for others.

? Willingness to extend a healing Touch

? Personal Sacrifice

Goodness seeks ways to touch people and pursue meaningful community and connection. It is a strong sign of spiritual maturity. Jesus said they will know you are my followers by your love for one another. Such kindness and generosity demonstrates us to be children of a heavenly father who is kind even to ungrateful evil men. Luke 6:35 How do we develop such maturity that results in such a life of demonstrated goodness? By carefully observing the particular verb tense Paul employed here, a grand clue as to the source and foundation of the Roman believer’s spiritual maturity or goodness-filled lives emerges. Paul acknowledged that the Roman believer’s lives were filled with goodness having been first filled with a thorough knowledge of the truth and then by their continual mutual encouragement. Two dynamics resulted in those whose lives were “filled with goodness.”

First!

They were well taught “Having been filled with all knowledge”

The verb action is perfect passive. The Perfect tense indicates an action at a point in time that has continuing results. Footprints in the sand action.

The Passive voice indicates it is an action done to them. They had been filled at some point along the way and they were still filled.

“filled” = to be filled, satiated, filled full of, to be completed, filled to the brim. What were they filled with?

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