Romans 15:20-24 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.” For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you whenever I go to Spain--for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while--NKJV
Paul’s life after he encountered our Lord Jesus Christ had been reduced down from many activities, goals, and endeavors to “one thing” and that “one thing” was his desire to proclaim the gospel of Christ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. Although Paul did not know these men and women believers in Rome personally, he longed to meet them. Paul wrote to them declaring his eager and earnest desire of preaching the gospel everywhere he went. Paul wanted them to understand that his longing to come to them was not that he might usurp the human instrument that our Lord Jesus Christ had used to bring them the gospel of grace, but that by the authority our Lord Jesus gave him as an Apostle (sent one) as he stated in the last two verses 18 & 19, “resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit”. Paul was aware of the authority or power transferred to him or transmitted through him for the benefit of the lost and the building up of Christ Mystical Body. Paul was so anointed by God’s Spirit that the Scripture says this of Paul, Acts 19:11-12 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. NKJV
It was Paul’s desire to holy fulfill the office our Lord Jesus Christ gave him as an Apostle, so this is why he so longed to physically meet every believer in every place as it was God’s Will for him to do so. Paul stated earlier in this same epistle or letter way back in Chapter 1 (as we documented in the last study) that he longed to come to them that he might impart or give over to them or transfer to them some spiritual gift. Paul’s desire for every believer was that they would be strong in the faith and endowed with more than one spiritual gift that Christ Whole Mystical Body would be strong always. Paul did just that while he was in Ephesus as documented for us by Dr. Luke with these words, Acts 19:1-7 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. KJV
Paul did not go to these twelve men in Ephesus in order to preach the gospel of Christ where another man had already proclaimed Him, but when he found that they were ignorant of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s only desire was to use the authority our Lord Jesus gave him as an Apostle to see every man grounded and rooted in Christ. Paul evidently did not witness in their lives (for the text does not declare how long Paul was there before he found these “certain” disciples) the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation in their daily walk and talk. This is the way Brother Alexander MacLaren spoke of Paul’s response, “The question suggests, though indirectly, that the signs of the Spirit’s presence are sadly absent in many professing Christians. Paul asked it in wonder. If he came into modern churches, he would have to ask it once more. Possibly he looked for the visible tokens in powers of miracle-working and the like. But these were temporary accidents, and the permanent manifestations are holiness, consciousness of sonship, God-directed longings, religious illumination, victory over the flesh. These things should be obvious in disciples. They will be, if the Spirit is not quenched. Unless they are, what sign of being Christians do we present?” Paul’s objective as an Apostle was to be a true gospel light or lantern every place he went, as he was always on the move so concerned about all of the Churches that bore witness to our Lord Jesus Christ as he said with these words, 2 Corinthians 11:27-28 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. NKJV
These words sum up for us what made Paul so long to get to Rome to visit the brothers and sisters there, even though it was not a Church that Paul founded but it was a part of our Lord’s Mystical Body and that meant everything to Paul. Paul declared to them that he could not get to them because of many obstructions that happened periodically because of his other obligations and due to the enemy having him imprisoned or beaten or both on several occasions. Paul says now despite the enemies attacks he has declared the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in all the Gentile regions that he could physically get himself to and some heard the gospel and received our Lord while still others rejected or resisted and remained in spiritual darkness as Dr. Luke again documents for us with these words, Acts 19:8-10 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. NKJV Paul declares to them that as he picks up to leave the region where he was at the time of the writing of this letter, he is about to undertake a long journey to Spain where he has not preached Christ and will stop off in Rome to meet them for the first time and transfer some spiritual gift to them and build them up in the faith as they likewise will be a joyful refreshing to the Apostle before he embarks again into shark infested waters and hostile territory (1 Corinthians 16:17-18 & 2 Timothy 1:16).
“Other men may preach the gospel better than I, but no man can preach a better gospel.” George Whitefield
“Do you believe that He would send those men out to preach the gospel to every creature unless he wanted every creature to be saved? Do you believe He would tell them to preach it to people without giving people the power to accept it? Do you believe the God of heaven is mocking men by offering them His gospel and not giving them the power to take hold of it? Do you believe He will not give men power to accept this salvation as a gift? Man might do that, but God never mocks men. And when He says ‘Preach the gospel to every creature,’ every creature can be saved if he will.” D. L. Moody
“The idea of preaching the gospel to all nations alike, regardless of nationality, of internal divisions as to rank and color, complexion and religion, constituted the beginning of a new era in history. You cannot preach the gospel in its purity over the world, without proclaiming the doctrine of civil and religious liberty,--without overthrowing the barriers reared between nations and clans and classes of men,--without ultimately undermining the thrones of despots, and breaking off the shackles of slavery,--without making men everywhere free.” Albert Barnes
“Paul’s desire was always to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ in his calling as an Apostle and to use the authority and power given to him by our Lord to always build up others in the faith and to correct error wherever he found it, while always being mindful of his own weakness in his flesh.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…