Follow the Example of Christ in the Ministry: 15:1-13. Paul again deals with Christian liberty in this chapter. He begins by saying that those who are strong in the faith must consider those who are weak. For even Christ did not please Himself but pleased others. Christ’s ministry was sacrificial and impartial. Here Paul quotes from psalm 69:9. Christ did not exercise His perfect freedom, but He obeyed the Father to accomplish the task of salvation for mankind. The scripture is given to instruct us that through endurance and encouragement we might have hope. This will enable us to live in harmony with each other and to glorify God together. Hope is not some wistful desire that everything will be alright. The Christian hope is the confidence that God’s promises will be fulfilled including Christ’s return. Jesus Christ is our example. He came to minister the Jews as well as the Gentiles. It was the fulfillment of God’s promise to fathers. “The Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”. King David included Gentiles in the worship of God (Psalm 18:49). Paul establishes this fact by quoting a series of quotations from the Old Testament (Deut 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10).Though there are differences between them, their common bond is faith in Christ. Thus Paul indicates that Gentiles and Jews will be included in the family of God. Paul concludes his exhortation with a prayer. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (15:13). Only Christ could bring unity and peace among people who are different.
Follow the Example of Paul: 15:14-33. Paul was an apostle and the minister of the gospel because of the grace that was given to him (15:15; 1 Cor15:10). There are four aspects to his ministry. He is a minister of Jesus Christ. Secondly his ministry was by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly his ministry was purposeful. Fourthly his ministry was a prayerful ministry. Paul knew that Roman believers were able to exhort one another. Since Paul is an apostle of Gentiles, he preached the gospel to them as a priestly ministry to present them acceptable being sanctified by the Holy Spirit to God. Paul takes no credit for the ministry but was careful to give all the praise to God. His ministry was such that he wanted to go where nobody ever preached the gospel. Paul’s pioneering ministry hindered him from visiting Rome. Now he is planning to go to Spain. Since Rome was on his way, Paul desires to stop over at Rome which was his lifelong desire. Paul knew that it will be of mutual benefit for both Roman believers and Paul himself. Paul longed to be refreshed and encouraged by their fellowship. But before visiting Rome Paul went o Jerusalem to deliver a gift from Gentile churches. This was a voluntary gift. In fact Greek churches owe it to them for the spiritual blessings they received from Jewish Christians. Paul then planned to visit Romans in the fullness of blessing of the gospel of Christ. But he arrived at Rome in chains but in the fullness of the blessing. From Rome Paul wrote all his four prison epistles. Even today the believers are greatly blessed by these epistles. Paul closes this chapter with an appeal for prayer support. He knew about the danger that he might face in Jerusalem because Jews hated him. Paul was specific about his prayer request. He wanted them to pray that he may be delivered from those who do not believe Christ. Also Jewish believers might accept the gift from him. Paul wanted them to pray that by the will of God he may visit them with joy and be an encouragement to each other. Paul closes his instructions and request for prayer with a beautiful benediction. What a beautiful spirit of a servant of God! May the Lord help us to follow the examples of our Lord and Paul in the ministry!