Romans 15:22-33 – This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 – …afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots…sleepless nights, hunger…slander…treated as impostors…dying…punished…sorrowful…poor…having nothing
When Paul was writing the book of Romans, it’s assumed he was probably 50+ years old, and he’s still incredibly excited for the gospel work he has yet to do.
I just turned 50 last fall and, to be honest with you, it’s exhausting. If I drop something on the floor, there’s a good chance I’m just going to order another one on Amazon rather than picking it up.
Last weekend, I got up at 11 am. Basically the crack of lunch. And that’s not even the bad part.
I laid there for a little bit, checked my phone, and apparently that was too strenuous for me, because I promptly took a nap. I woke up from my nap, laid there a little bit longer, and my wife Grace walked in and said, “What are you doing?” I said “Nothing.” And then, you wouldn’t believe it, I was so tired, I took another nap!
I got up at 11, took two naps, and then got up and we had dinner.
The moral of the story is, Paul had been through incredible hardships for the sake of the gospel – multiple beatings, multiple periods of prison ministry from the inside, several shipwrecks, and the list goes on. For how many of you, after one shipwreck, you’d go ahead and write off boats for the rest of your life?
Paul can be upheld as one of the greatest Jesus-loving men to ever walk the earth so, even though he was just a man like us, we can hold him in high regard as a great testimony and witness to learn from.
He could’ve been thinking about getting older, slowing down, and retiring, but he kept going as long as God gave him time on this earth. You can retire from your job, but you shouldn’t retire from your faith.
Have you faced persecution for the sake of the gospel? What encouragement can Paul be to you?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.