Paul Speaks of His Ministry and of His Coming Journey.
Reading this portion of our chapter is like attending a “Missionary Meeting.” We are listening to Paul speaking of his labours in the gospel. He was the greatest of all missionaries, excepting of course the Lord Jesus. After he saw the Saviour in the glory it was his one ambition to make Him known throughout all the world. What a mission was his! In a most beautiful poem one has put these words in Paul’s lips
“From the glory and the brightness,
From His secret place;
From the rapture of His presence
From the radiance of His Face—
Christ the Son of God hath sent me
Through the midnight lands;
Mine the mighty ordination
Of the pierced Hands.
The power of the gospel had been seen in the lives of the Christians at Rome. What a lovely picture is given us in vs. 14. It is such a contrast to the ugly one in chap. 3. Only the grace of God could have wrought such a transformation. There not a bit of goodness can be seen in them; here addressing them by that endearing term, “brethren,” he tells them that they are “FULL OF GOODNESS, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” The word he uses means “brimful” even to overflowing. Their cup was running over, and the overflow was being enjoyed by each other. That is the thought in “admonition.” What we know we can impart to others that the truth of God may regulate our lives. We must be channels of blessing, what we have is for others. God’s thought in imparting to us His goodness and the knowledge of His truth is to put it in circulation. Idle money does no good, the talent kept in the napkin gained nothing. We gain more by investing what we possess.
In vs. 15 Paul tells them why he wrote the letter to them.
“I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as
Putting You in Mind
because of the grace that is given to me of God.” His written ministry to the Romans was an example of what he meant by “admonition.” He was not writing to them because they did not know. He was well aware of the fact that they knew all he was telling them. He puts them in mind of what they already knew in order that the power of the truth might be effective in their lives. When we think of how easily the truth slips from our minds and how quickly our hearts cool we realize the great need of “admonition.”
Then Paul speaks of HIS OWN MINISTRY according to the grace given him. He was the minister of Christ Jesus to the nations, in ministering the gospel of God. All the wealth of God’s grace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was dispensing those riches in preaching the Gospel, he was presenting Christ to poor and lost sinners and in Christ they received all that God could possibly give. But the result of this service was that God was receiving His offering. Paul brought the gospel to the Gentiles and he brought the Gentiles to God as an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
There is an Old Testament scene that illustrates this. We find it in Numbers 8:5-15.
Aaron the High Priest was to take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. Then an offering was made to God upon the altar and in the savour of the sacrifice the Levites were presented to God for His service.
Paul is doing with the Gentiles what Aaron did with the Levites. He is glad to have part in that happy service of bringing and presenting to God a company of people who are His very own for His service. The Levites were a united band and yet each one had a distinctive work to perform. They were “to go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation” and so their work was all in connection with the testimony of the Lord, but each Levite had his own bit to do. And so have we. The testimony of the Lord is with His people today and God give us grace to live “sacrificial lives” as those who have been presented to Him in the savour of Christ’s death and in the power of the Holy Ghost.
1. What is the true missionary spirit?
2. What is the thought in the word admonition?
3. What should be the fruit of the gospel in our lives?