Paul’s Work as a Missionary

Americans give $700 million per year to mission agencies. However, they pay as much for pet food every 52 days. A person must overeat by at least $1.50 worth of food per month to maintain one excess pound of flesh. Yet $1.50 per month is more than what 90 percent of all Christian … More

Missions

Before Paul plunges into an account of his own missionary philosophy, he tactfully congratulates his brethren in Rome on their accomplishments (v. 14). He also acknowledges how they are able to admonish one another. Few, if any, can speak with such authority about world missions as the Apostle Paul. In this passage he gives a brief view of missions:

  1. Underlying responsibility to the opportunities (vv. 15-16). Personal accountability for one’s own gifts and the opportunities given to him is first and foremost to every Christian.
  2. Undeniable limits to personal abilities (vv. 17-18). Not a glorying in self, but in the Lord, for all that is accomplished.

As Paul closes out his letter he discusses the characteristics of his missions ministry to the Gentiles:

  1. Demonstrated confidence in the people (vv. 14-15). Paul considered them spiritually informed and spiritually mature.
  2. Centered in the Gospel (v. 16). Note the involvement of the trinity as Paul preached “the Gospel of God.”
  3. Done for God’s glory (v. 17). Paul was not bragging about his ministry, but boasted in what the Lord had done.
  4. Done by God’s power (vv. 18-19). Anything that Paul achieved that was worthy of praise had God’s grace as its source, Jesus Christ as its motivation, and the Holy Spirit as its power.
  5. With a complete dependence on God (v. 19). Unequivocal logic to what is being done and a clear understanding of the goals that are in accord with the will of God.

Application

I am not to glory in what I have done as a missionary but in what God has done through me. I also need to be as proud of what He is doing through other people as of what He is doing through me.

Romans 15:14-19 (English Standard Version)

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience--by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God--so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ....

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