Knowing you are in the Right Place in Life, brings huge peace of mind. In Romans Chapter 15 verses 23 to 33, we see what it is to have a sense of direction, gratitude, and dependence upon God as he directs our steps through life.
Contact Pastor Smart from our Church website or send an email.
Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Rom.15: 23-33 Knowing you are in the Right Place in Life.
Introductions: Being on the right path in life? Everybody needs to know that where they are in life is the right place. Peace. But we wrestle with it. Today three things come together to show that you are walking in the right direction in life, even if you never move from home: a sense of direction- where God wants you; a sense of gratitude- see in your generosity to those in need, and a sense of the dependence on God shown through prayer. i.e. Holistic: Physically, socially and spiritually on the right path in life. Conversely feeling disconnected in life might show up via struggles to pray - wrestling- struggles to give/money- struggles to know where you are meant to be in life. Yet all three merge together here, aligning as a clear sign that we are following Christ on the path he wants us to walk in life.
1. A Sense of Direction
a. Discerning/Planning: I plan….Time to move…v.24 Big plans… 2000 miles onto his journey to do it in person- why was it that important- see prayer section.
- Good question this week- how do you know?
- It’s right to make them. Need, opportunity, personality, and ultimately providence- God opens a door to confirm all of that.
- Premise…if God wills, see v.32.
b. Courage --- he knew what was coming! That will come clear in a moment when we see his prayer requests. But courage is just this, knowing the potential for danger and still walking into it- like firefighters into a burning building.
- What’s more, he could still offer a Benediction of peace- he could pray this for them because he knew it himself. This was what his courage felt like- a sense of peace in the face of certain troubles. Those are yours for the taking!
c. The Goal: Great expectations- a concert, vacation, family visits at Christmas? Cf.v.29 full measure- This is on another level. Of the blessings of Christ- he knew things would happen, blessings would come in Rome through his visit there, miracles, healing, powerful sermons, hundreds of lives touched- could all go to your head! But he always knew who the real power was- we are instruments in the hand of the redeemer Christ. Jesus has placed you in each of your spheres of influence not to do it on your own, but to be his hands and his feet, but it is his living power through us that counts. The full blessing can come wrapped up in chains! Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner! How God loves to use us in strange ways that highlight his strength but lead to unlooked-for blessings. Trials do that.
2. A Sense of Gratitude
a. The What- Spot the needs: Jerusalem- the economy had tanked the main church was still there- thousands of believers many of them struggling. Discrimination in a poor city = being poorer than the poor! So Paul places huge importance on this collection – always had a concern to remember the poor. (24b). The verb translated assist (propempō) seems already to have become almost a technical Christian term for helping missionaries on their way. It could even cover companionship to Spain.
b. The How- Give with Joy: A duty and a pleasure v.27. Like fatherhood! And in v.26 contribution = fellowship- not a soulless gift, but the outward expression of the deep love that binds Christian believers in one body, the church. (p.520 L Morris) – always a response to what God has given you- which is? His only son! Christ left heaven for you, he put up with 33 years on this earth, betraying, suffering, and death that cast him from God -all for you!
c. The Why: v.27 an opportunity for mutual sharing and benefit: sp. and financially. Following Jesus has implications for your finances.
- Clear reminder to the gentile churches in Greece and Italy that they were more than just congregations but part of one worldwide church. For as you give to others to help create a bond, a connection.
- Our giving: where your wallet goes so your heart goes. Does it march down the path of kingdom blessing, giving to those in need? Or it’s the little that’s left when everything else is paid?
3. A Sense of Dependence: on God through prayer
a. Basis for the Appeal v.30 joining in the struggle of prayer. Wisdom is the ability to see the consequences of your choices. For Paul, in going to Jerusalem- he was very aware of several dangers facing him, and he was now preparing himself for them. Being open-eyed to danger in life is very wise. Perhaps you only see the problems- never do anything- procrastinate but underneath its fear. But can we master this combination – that sees the potential areas of trouble but courage still thunders through the skies because your eyes are on a greater power?
b. Request for Protection: That’s why he asks them to pray. What is the opposition of man compared to God? Yes, men could and would destroy Paul eventually. But so long as his eyes were upon God he could face it from people because he knew the opposition would be overruled and used by God for his own purposes.! Richard Wurmbrant… 360M today… pray, pray and pray…
c. Request for Unity - a challenge for the Jewish church in Jerusalem- had a lot of homework to figure out their relationship with Gentiles. Would they even accept the money or view it as unclean because of where it came from? Would they accept it from Paul having heard lots of rumors about him being anti-Jewish! Huge mountain to move, but that’s the best time to pray!
- Turns out that both things happened, yet Paul still ended up in Rome- in fact, arrested in Jerusalem, (but the money was accepted) and then shipped off in chains to Rome. The prayers were answered but just in very strange ways! But we don’t know if he made it to Spain.
Conclusion- clear direction, clear generosity, and clear dependence = a leap forward of historic proportions. Seek to make all three essential elements and you will know that you are living as you were intended by God.
 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), 385.