Romans Chapter 15

Part 5

KLMX

August 2010

Bryan Kimsey

First Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

Welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. Iíve been working thru Paulís letter to the Roman church for the past 2 years and today, I come to the end of the next to last chapter. The letter to the church at Rome is particularly rich in theology and Christian doctrine. In it, Paul lays out pretty much the entire gospel as we know it and even though the church in Rome already knows some of these things Paul doesnít hesitate to remind them of it. He says as much in verse 15:15. Today weíll look at Paulís prayerful ending to this letter. First, Iíd better offer up my own prayer and ask God Almighty to bless this message to the edification of all listening, to His glory, through the truth and life that is Jesus Christ. Amen.

Remember from yesterday that Paul has just finished stating his missionary goals and shown how those goals have prevented him from visiting the church in Rome. Let me re-quote that passage:

Romans 15:20-29 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, (21) but as it is written: "TO WHOM HE WAS NOT ANNOUNCED, THEY SHALL SEE; AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND." (22) For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. (23) But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, (24) whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. (25) But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. (26) For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. (27) It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. (28) Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. (29) But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

After this introduction, hereís Paulís prayer:

Romans 15:30-33 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, (31) that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, (32) that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. (33) Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Letís look at this prayer a little more closely and see whatís going on. First, Paul is asking his brothers and sisters to pray with him and for him. This is what we call intercessionary prayer. Intercession is when one person steps in for another. Paul asks that "you strive together with me in prayers to God for me". The prayers are for him, and heís asking that they pray with him. He wonít be praying alone, nor they be praying alone. Both parties come together and pray for the same goals.

Note that these prayers take some effort as Paul says "I beg youÖthat you strive together with meÖ" The word "strive" means, according to Websterís 1828 dictionary- "To make efforts; to use exertions; to endeavor with earnestness; to labor hard; applicable to exertions of body or mind." Prayer should be earnest. Hereís what the apostle James says about prayer:

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Note that James is also talking in the context of corporal prayer when he says "pray for one another."

Coming back to the point of praying for one another, Paul asks for prayer frequently. Here are just 4 of many examples:

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, (2) and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.

Philemon 1:22 But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.

Intercessionary prayer, or prayer for one another, is an important part of the Christian life. Itís also important to see that the prayer is to God through Jesus. Paul said:

Romans 15:30-33 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,

His prayer is "through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, pray to God". Note first that we have the Trinity in evidence here- Christ, Spirit, and God. Next, note that Paulís prayer is through Jesus and not directly to God. This only confirms what Jesus himself teaches:

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Earlier in John, Jesus said this:

John 14:13-14 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul said:

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Echoed several times by the author of Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:24 Öto Jesus the Mediator of the new covenantÖ

No one comes to the Father except through Jesus, prayers in Jesusí name will be granted, and Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. The sum of these verses- and many more- is that God hears prayers through Jesus Christ. Therefore, Paul prays through Him and in the love of the Spirit, to God the father.

A person might say "WaitÖ.I prayed in Jesusí name once and nothing happened! My prayer didnít happen like I asked." Thatís a valid statement that should be examined- what does it mean to ask in Jesusí name? Paul already hints at the answer in todayís passage when he says:

Romans 15:32 Öthat I may come to you with joy by the will of God

James touches on unanswered prayers in:

James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

And never lose sight of the fact that Jesusí will was Godís will:

Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

The disciples asked Jesus "How should we pray?" If you take a look at his answer you find:

Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

The first thing Jesus does is give praise to God the Father and the next thing he says is "your will be done" , and thatís exactly what Paul said, too:

Romans 15:32 Öthat I may come to you with joy by the will of God

If your prayers went unanswered or didnít turn out the way you wanted itís because they didnít align with the will of God at that moment in time. To truly pray in Jesusí name is to seek Godís will, not yours. For instance, I myself never pray for rain. Instead, I pray God to send us whatís best for our land, according to His will, and that I might receive it gratefully, and be a good steward of whatever He gives me. Sometimes rain isnít whatís needed. Rain at the wrong time can bring weeds, not grass. Rain for me might not be good for my neighbor whoís haying. And so on. For me to ask for rain seems to be like saying "Look, I know better than you and I know what I need." Remember what Jesus said just before He gave the model prayer?

Matthew 6:8 "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

God already knows what we need, but we still have license to ask and to lay our concerns and burdens out for him. Hereís John on the subject:

1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

John says plainly "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." So, really, thereís the key to prayer- we ask according to Godís will. I see prayer not as us giving our shopping list to God for Him to fulfill, but more for us to get ourselves aligned with His will.

Well, thereís a crash course in prayer and it all started with our last passage in Romans 15:

Romans 15:30-33 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, (31) that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, (32) that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. (33) Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Paul asks that his brothers and sisters strive together with him in prayers to God for him and in this case, he asks specifically that he might be delivered from the non-believers in Judea, he asks that his service might be acceptable, and that he be allowed to see the church in Rome with joy. And then he ends with "the God of peace be with you all".

Donít blow past that last statement. God Almighty has many aspects to His character. He is a jealous god, a god of wrath, a god of justice, a god of vengeance, but Heís also a god of mercy, love, beauty, righteousness, and peace. It is the first aspects which demand the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ and the latter aspects which provide that sacrifice. After all:

Romans 5:1-2 Ö having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

If you have Jesus Christ, you have a peace with God that surpasses all understanding. You have access by faith into a grace in which you stand and in which you will rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Why would anyone not want those things?

 

Romans 15, Part 4

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