Archive for June 10th, 2019

Romans 1:8-12

In Romans 1:8-12 Paul moves on from his opening monologue to thank God for the church in Rome. It was a high profile church in that day. At the same time, these Christians had to be strong. The Christians of Rome were unpopular and came under the persecution of Nero. Many were mistreated and even martyred, which is eventually what happens to Paul himself. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” The people of Rome wanted to be known as the highest of churches, but there were other congregations equally as faithful.

Paul wanted the Roman Christians to know he prayed for them, and praying for an opportunity to visit them.  Paul is very clear that he wants to come visit the church there. “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” As if his word isn’t enough, he is specific to let them know that God is his witness that he is praying faithfully for them ‘always’. We need to take a cue from Paul and pray not only for our own church, but those around us.

Why are Paul’s prayers powerful? Because he is all in when serving God.  He served with his spirit – the very inner being of who he was – without ceasing.  This was fervent, never ending prayer for the churches Paul served and cared about. It is so easy to say you will pray for someone, and then fail to do it. He wanted them to know that he really prayed. And beyond prayer, he wanted them to know that he intends on finally making a trip to visit them. It had been on his docket for some time, but up to this point it hadn’t worked out. Even now though, he realizes that God determines whether that will happen or not. He is completely submissive to God’s direction.

Paul not only longs to see the believers in the church at Rome, but he intends to make an impact when he gets there. “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” He wants to share his spiritual gifts and encourage them. But Paul’s desire to visit the church in Rome was not merely to give to them, but to receive as well, because Paul realized that in their mutual faith they had something to give to him. Encouragement can be a two way street if both parties are walking in obedience as Christ Followers.  That’s what Paul wanted to find when he got to Rome!

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