Defining Success: He who dies with the most toys wins is not the best definition of sucess in life! Look into Romans Chapter 15 verses 14 to 22 to discover that sucess is knowing your purpose in life and how that interfaces with people around you.
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Romans chapter15 verses 14- 22 Defining Success
Introduction: A life well lived- success…defined in many ways- money you make the car you drive, the education you receive, the career, the house. The family. Paul had little of any of these things- but he knew his life was full. As some head back to school or off to college…think ahead, where are these steps taking you? Not just career or job, but deeper than that. Success has to have a vertical dimension not just a horizontal one of this life, but it has to relate to the longer picture of our existence.
1. Know Your Task
a. The People v.14. Convinced = perfect- ongoing conviction he held about them. They were good people, they had a good grasp of the Gospel, and they could even teach it well to others. The church in Rome was overall in a good place. A good place to be as a people, to feel confident, and hopeful. Not everything is perfect, but nothing ever is. But to be in a good place is possible and aspired to.
- Goodness/in practice- kindly behavior
- Knowledge- that he unpacked what they already knew, taking the implications of the Gospel deeper and very focused on the relationship between the two communities that made up the church.
- Competent to instruct – one another
- Aspire as a congregation and individuals to be like this. Able to teach others- pray for one person this year that you could meet with every week for a coffee and read a Gospel with them.
b. The Point: even the best need to be better and even the best will always have a teacher. They still needed a little reminder in so far as we can all know things in our heads, even able to teach them to others, but living them is where the rubber hits the road, and we all need a bold reminder here and there.
- The reminder- Gospel has implications for not just what we believe but how we live. Knowing Christ kick-starts a lifetime of change.
- You have never arrived! A sign of immaturity when you think you know all there is to know!
c. The Preacher v.15 -16 The Priestly teacher – Old Testament picture - proclaiming/offering/ set apart. We are all priests when we share our faith with others, they respond to Christ, it’s like offering them to God.
- With our children- that they would follow, that they would in return reach others.
- For Paul to speak like this – Gentiles weren’t even allowed to go into the Temple. Now he pictures their faith in Christ as a pleasing sacrifice to God! What a transformation.
- Gospel always does this- takes people from the - guttermost to the uttermost. That’s what following Christ does, and it’s open to anybody.
2. Know where Success comes from:
a. Source: Glorying in Christ 17-18 glorying/enthusiastic/proud v.18 in what God does, not what you do. venture/dare not boast. Don’t take the credit when God uses you! Don't be a glory stealer, taking credit for what he does in your life.
- V.18 What Christ does through us. Not so much with us, but works through us- his power, he gets the glory.
b. Means: i. only used the Gospel- have full confidence that’s all we need. No gimmicks, no smoke machines! Just sharing Christ can transform any human being. ii. said and done…lips and life - This combination of words and works, the verbal and the visual, is a recognition that human beings often learn more through their eyes than through their ears. Words explain works, but works dramatize words. Head to university - it's your life that counts first. Contradictions between what you say and how you live block the blessing.
c. Authentication: v.19. Paul’s only other use of these three words in relation to his ministry is in 2 Corinthians 12:12, where he calls them ‘the things that mark an apostle’ or ‘the signs of a true apostle’ (RSV). Isaiah/Jeremiah, there were no miracles- though with Paul there were many. The important thing is the authentication of the ministry. Place no limits on how God can do that today, only ask that he would authenticate all we do in his name.
- In Europe- you’ve read the same books and you still believe in God! While in India- pray for a sick family meet- they get healed- the whole village is now ready to listen to the Gospel. The prayer works in Europe too!
- Same power of miracle is the same power that comes through God’s word- The sword of the Spirit. We need to pray for that- invite friends to church- be a priest- then you will pray for a miracle- a powerful clear and anointed message- reveal their hearts and warms them towards Christ- that is a miracle.
3. Know what Success looks like:
· Impact/success v.19-20. Huge effect. Illyricum/ Albania. Brief summary of the last ten years of his life!
- Full proclaimed- not every town, but his calling was to take Christ to the cities- and this he did. It was specific and he completed it. What about you- In bringing your kids up? In living daily for Christ? The office, the classroom you study or work in?
- Plus v.20 a special calling- breaking virgin ground- prepping them because he wants their help to go to Spain. Trailblazer- hit the cites- move on. The key thing is to know what your calling is…both in life/work- mission in your day job, and in areas of ministry- kids/ bible study, community outreach, church plant- quiet worker in the background- you all have roles to play, gifts to give. It’s simply impossible for you to be a child of God and not have a part to play in the work of God in the church where God has placed you. He drew great strength from knowing where he fitted in, and so will any of us.
· V.21 who do you know who has not been told? Three of you should join in prayer for three friends each…that they may see and understand.
· If not Spain- ask why there- unreached- what about 250K people due to move into Pasco- ain’t enough churches there!
Conclusion: Therefore he would hear- Well done good and faithful servant. That is success in life! Will you hear – depart from me? Will you hear a rebuke? But follow this model and you will hear the same. The choice is yours.
 John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 380.
 John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 381.