SUBJ: The beginnings of Paul’s
conclusion with a view toward abilities and sensibilities that they
possessed as a result of an evident work of grace in them.
AIM: That we look to hearken to the
reasoning of the Apostle and that we experience practice following faith
in Christ our Lord.
INTR: Paul now comes to conclusions
which are more than mere endings. The outcome of a work of grace in the
Romans is observed in his personal confidence in them and expressions of
love to them.
1. Paul does not hesitate to get personal and to share
his own experiences and his feelings toward them.
2. Here he, as we
should always be doing, is getting to the “so what” of the Gospel and
putting it into the perspective of faith and practice.
3. We see a
continuing function in the Gospel here: that of grace working in us to
perform and the thought of final presentation before the Lord.
THESIS: In these three verses the heart
of the Apostle is exposed in personal devotion to biblical doctrine and
thereby expressing his aim for their prosperity in Christ.
Goodness Commended (v. 14)
1. That Paul had confidence in them is
expressed from the beginning and we are reminded of: First, I thank my
God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of
throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8.
2. In the furtherance of that
thought he alludes to the quality of their faith and the evidence of the
Spirit at work in them.
3. We compare: 3 Remembering without ceasing
your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord
Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren
beloved, your election of God. 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4.
that thought we would look to the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Galatians 5:22
1) Knowledge is brought alongside and together
with goodness becomes a powerful force.
2) Knowledge is practical
discernment in all matters pertaining to religion and what is expected
of us – not that we all must be scholars.
5. In these was discovered
competency to serve (Williams translation: Competent to Counsel).
Implications here may be derived by the fact that they were filled with
2) And that would temper a wise approach or that it might
come about in an unsuspecting way.
II. Boldness Defended (v. 15)
1. The “nevertheless” being inserted here indicates he was not leaving
the idea of commendation but would remind them that of the boldness
elsewhere in the epistle.
2. He had been bold in some matters and we
note the whole tone of chapter 6 and his dealing with sin and the
dominion of sin and his warning of the “wages of sin.”
3. We further
are reminded of 11:20-21, 12:3, 13:2 and 14:1 as a few of the topics
dealt with in an emphatic manner.
4. What is to be emphasized here is
that he was “putting you in mind” in the sense of reminding them of
things they might have already known – a lot of things are preached to
those who already know them but grace dictates repetition.
Consider the quote from Alexander Pope:
“Men must be taught as if you
taught them not,
And things unknown as if forgot.”
6. But Paul saw
it all as grace given him of God either to commend or to speak boldly
with the purpose being the substance of his apostleship.
Gospel Extended (v. 16)
1. That he should be the minister to the
Gentiles and ministering the Gospel of God,
1) The word here for
minister and ministering is not the same as that used in other places in
that it looks to the administration of something – here that something
is the Gospel (The word from which we get liturgy).
2) The thought
here is that the Gospel should be repeatedly dispensed in an orderly and
meaningful manner being careful to keep all its precepts intact.
He would have them maintain a firm grip on the Gospel while applying it
as a pattern in their lives.
2. In his outspokenness he was:
Not unkind but was rather adhering to his duty as a minister
identifies as the minister of Christ to the Gentiles and so
a priestly duty in the sense that he wanted to present them to Christ or
that they should present themselves and these are not to be separated.
4) The first thought may come from: And they shall bring all your
brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses,
and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts,
to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel
bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. Isaiah
5) The second is all too familiar: I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
3. The goodness of God is in all to be commended,
boldness in the truth is to be defended, and the Gospel and its pattern
in Christ is to be extended into every aspect of our lives.