This S.C.O.P.E. Lesson #14, is from Romans 15:14-21; 30-33, and it’s for May 31, 2020.
CSBC Sunday School: Romans Series
Lesson #14: Romans 15:14-21; 30-33
May 31, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; Ray, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: WE SHOULD REACH OUT!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD REACH OUT TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH EVERYONE BY FULFILLING THESE FOUR PRINCIPLES!
Points: PRINCIPLE #1 – FULFILL YOUR CALLING! PRINCIPLE #2 – BOAST ABOUT JESUS! PRINCIPLE #3 – SEEK THE LOST! PRINCIPLE #4 – PARTNER WITH OTHERS!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: Does the name John Reid mean anything to you? Does anybody know what role he played on an older television Western? Hint: He had a horse named, “Silver.” John Reid was the masked man known as “The Lone Ranger” – but he was never really alone! Who was his side-kick? Sure, it was “Tonto.” You see, the reason he was called the Lone Ranger, he was the sole survivor of an ambush by Outlaws, but he was never alone because he had a companion. Sometimes we think of the Apostle Paul as a lone ranger, but his mission required him to depend on others. The sharing of the Gospel requires a team effort, and Paul reminded the Roman believers of this in the closing section of his letter.
- CONTEXT: Paul’s work in modern-day Turkey and Greece was drawing to a close and he felt God was directing him to take the Gospel to where it was unknown; specifically to Spain via Rome. He wanted to avoid areas where he would build on the foundation laid by others. Even though he had some inclination that going to Jerusalem first, might be a problem, Paul felt a strong need to deliver the financial contribution that had been collected in Asia Minor for the poor Saints in Jerusalem, personally. Knowing the threat he faced in going to Jerusalem, he enlisted the believers in Rome to pray specifically that God would rescue him from the unbelievers in Jerusalem. Little did Paul realize his desire to get to Rome would be fulfilled by an all-expenses paid trip to the capital, provided by the Roman Empire; as a prisoner, who appealed to Caesar to free him from religious persecution of the Jews. Paul would ultimately be martyred in Rome, when evil Nero would execute Christianity’s greatest missionary. But he was always pressing forward with the Gospel.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Romans 15:14-21; 30-33.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
PRINCIPLE #1 – FULFILL YOUR CALLING! (Rom. 15:14-16)
- Paul had been admonishing the Roman Christians for their lack of unity and their divisive attitudes ( 14:1-15:13). But suddenly he softens his tone and refers to them compassionately as, “my brethren” (vs. 14b). It is unusual to use an emphatic pronoun like, “I myself” (vs. 14a), but Paul wanted to drive home his conviction that the Roman believers were “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (vs. 14c). In other words, he had heard of their spiritual maturity, in spite of some of their struggles and divisions.
- In verses 15-16, Paul acknowledges that part of his letter had been quite frank and bold in his instruction for someone who had never been to their Church ( 15a). But he wanted to remind them of the GRACE that God had given them. Rather than appeal to them as he normally did using the title “apostle,” Paul chose the title “minister” (vs. 16). Paul was always a minister of the Gospel to the Gentiles from his very conversion (Acts 9:15). He saw his “ministering the gospel of God” which he faithfully declared as an “offering up of the Gentiles” (vs. 16). In this one verse Paul attributed his work to the Triune God: a “minister of Jesus Christ” . . . to “the gospel of God”. . . “sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (vs. 16). Like Paul, we are called upon to declare the Gospel so that unbelievers can respond in obedience and become acceptable sacrifices to God.
PRINCIPLE #2 – BOAST ABOUT JESUS! (vs. 17-19)
- Paul understood it was a sinful thing to boast about one’s own accomplishments ( 3:27). James said that such boasting was evil (Jam. 4:16). However, Paul was able to “glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God” (vs. 17). In other words, Paul took pleasure in the living sacrifice which the Gentiles had become to God’s honor and glory. His boasting was not about anything he had done but about what Christ had accomplished in providing salvation. So Paul “will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me” through Him (vs. 18a). Paul realized he was just an instrument for the Gospel “to make the Gentiles obedient” (vs. 18b). HOW DID HE ACCOMPLISH THEIR OBEDIENCE AND HOW DID HE PROVE HE WAS FROM GOD? (Paul said his ministry was “by word and deed” (vs. 18c). All believers must share the Gospel by our sensitive words of hope as well as by our generous deeds of love and acceptance. Paul accomplished his word and deed, “through mighty signs and wonders” (vs. 19). The reason the Apostles had such “power of the Spirit of God” was to confirm their message was truly from God. Those miracles proved that God’s messengers had divine authority as God did those mighty deeds to reveal the truth being declared by His ambassadors. As a result the Gospel was preached everywhere in God’s Power and by His proofs (vs. 19b). Essentially, Paul mentions these destinations of the Gospel being preached “from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum” (vs. 19c), as a way of speaking to the furthest distance his ministries had taken him in the spread of the Gospel from east to west. But he didn’t want to stop with those achievements. He wanted to go even further.)
PRINCIPLE #3 – SEEK THE LOST! (vs. 20-21)
- Ever desiring to get the Gospel to every creature, Paul aspired to preach the Good News “not where Christ was named” ( 20). Paul’s reason for this strategy was so that he would not “build upon another man’s foundation” (vs. 20b). So Paul had a burning desire to keep spreading the Gospel to the uncharted places within the Roman Empire that had not been evangelized yet. Paul and others were part of the team of missionaries that were reaching new areas for Christ. Just like those First Century evangelists, we must seek ways to engage those who have never heard the name of Jesus with the Gospel. Verse 21 is a quotation from the second half of Isaiah 52:15 and it shares the need to proclaim God’s good news of ‘His Servant’ to those who had not heard. This was the heart of Paul’s missionary strategy. Take the Gospel to all the world and make Jesus known everywhere!
PRINCIPLE #4 – PARTNER WITH OTHERS! (vs. 30-33)
- Paul begged the Christians in Rome (“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake” ( 30a)), to pray for him. WHAT DID HE WANT THEM TO PRAY ABOUT? (That he would be safe and protected from those in Jerusalem who desired to harm him. He knew there were unbelievers who planned to destroy his ministry. But Paul also wanted his Roman supporters to pray that the gift he was taking to the Jerusalem Christians from the Churches in Asia Minor, “may be accepted of the saints” (vs. 31). Paul desired prayer for his well-being and that his ministry would be fruitful and his financial support received. Sound like the things we pray about for our missionaries today). The answer to the two prayer requests in vs. 31 were addressed in vs. 32-33. “That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God” (vs. 32), dealt with the issue of his protection. Only if he survived his protagonists would he be able to continue on to Rome. If the saints in Jerusalem accepted his offering from the Gentiles then they would take care of him; and they did. But Paul looked forward to enjoying the fellowship of the believers in Rome too. That’s why he said, “. . . and may with you be refreshed” (vs. 32b). He wanted to be in their company and enjoy their fellowship. Paul ended this section by invoking a blessing on the Roman believers. As he frequently does, Paul’s benediction called upon believer’s to enjoy, “the God of peace be with you all” (vs. 33). Their peace was found in their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It also had a component of their relationship with other believers together in the Church at Rome. That is why they needed to strive toward unity. Amen!
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
- Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD REACH OUT TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH EVERYONE BY FULFILLING THESE FOUR PRINCIPLES WE EXAMINED TODAY!
- Paul was insistent that he must keep on going to advance the cause of the Gospel. He had already done more than any other person in the world to spread the Good News of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But he continued to have a vision to do more. We must never become complacent in our efforts to tell others about salvation through Jesus, only. That means here and our missionary endeavors to the uttermost part of the world.
- HAVE YOU EVER SPOKEN WITH A PERSON WHO HAS NEVER HEARD THE NAME OF JESUS? It’s rare for someone in America to admit that’s the case. But there are many places in the world where the name of Jesus is as unknown as your name is there. Our Church supports missionaries in some parts of the world where their evangelism efforts regularly bring them into contact with people that have never heard of Jesus or His ability to give them eternal life. Don’t you take some joy in knowing that you had a part in getting the Savior’s name out to the unreached people of the world? You should. But we should also remember people who are lost on our street in Springfield are just as lost as the heathen that have never heard about salvation through Him. We must seek the lost; everywhere.
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: One major takeaway from today’s lesson is that we must partner with others to more effectively share the gospel. We must expand our missionary endeavors and get more evangelists to every part of the world. But there are people here that need Jesus just as desperately. Remember the old phrase, “You have never locked eyes with another person who is not a candidate for salvation through Jesus.” Like the Apostle Paul, we should not be content just to build upon what someone else has done. We must be willing to GO or SEND someone to places that have never heard about the love of Jesus and His desire for them to join Him in Heaven. Let’s do our best to make Jesus known to everyone. Always remember just like “The Lone Ranger” we are never ALONE!
In preparation for our next Bible Study Series please read Proverbs 1!