Main point summary
I thank God for you and long to see you so that I can build you up in the faith because I am confident in the gospel's power.
First, p I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,
First off, I want you to know that I thank God for you all
q because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
because everyone near and far has heard about your faith.
r For God is my witness,
And further God himself can confirm this--
s whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,
my relationship with him runs deep, as I serve him in the gospel--
t that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers,
that I am continually including you in my prayers,
asking that somehow u by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
begging God for his blessing to come and see you.
For v I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift
Because I want so much to come see you
to strengthen you—
in order that I may build you up--
that is, that we may be mutually encouraged w by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
meaning that we may both build each other up in the faith as we encourage one another.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, 1
I'm tell you this so that you know, brothers and sisters:
that x I have often intended to come to you
at various times I have wanted to come see you
(but y thus far have been prevented),
( even though God has always kept me from coming thus far)
in order that I may reap some z harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
in order that I may minister fruitfully in your midst as well as in the community surrounding you.
a I am under obligation both to Greeks and to b barbarians, 1 both to the wise and to the foolish.
I long for this because God has called me to minister to everyone, Greeks and non-Greeks, wise and unwise, rich and poor, everyone.
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Therefore , I long to see the gospel's effect among those of you in Rome.
For d I am not ashamed of the gospel,
For I do not hang my head at the offense of the gospel
for it is e the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew f first and also to g the Greek.
because the gospel is God's power leading to the salvation of everyone who believes in it, both Jew and non-Jew.
For in it h the righteousness of God is revealed i from faith for faith, 1
For in the gospel God reveals a righteousness that is presented through words of faith and is accepted through words of faith,
j as it is written,
just as Habakkuk says in his prophecy,
“The righteous shall live by faith.” 2
"The righteous shall live by faith."
Meditations/Observations: Paul longs to see these believers: (1) "I thank my God...for all of you"; (2) "without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers"; (3) "asking that somehow by God's will I may...succeed in coming to you"; (4) "I long to see you"; (5) "I have often intended to come to you"; (6) "I am eager to preach the gospel to you..." There is a love and longing that exists by the Spirit between believers. It's like family members who haven't seen each other in a long time and can't wait to get together. Paul longs to see them. But his longing is also with a purpose , to encourage them spiritually and build them up: (1) "[ in order ] that I may impart to you some spiritual gift [ in order ] to strengthen you"; (2) "[ in order ] that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith"; (3) " in order that I may reap some harvest among you..." The gospel is powerful both in justification ("for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes") and sanctification ("that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine"). Applications: Courage in evangelism : Paul was eager to preach the gospel in Rome. Why was he eager? Because he is not ashamed of the gospel. Why was he not ashamed of the gospel? Because it is the power of God for salvation. The gospel is God's power at work. The gospel is effectual. The gospel is the means by which God has chosen to bring people from blindness to sight, from death to life, from darkness to light. There's no shame in a message that is effectual for anyone ("the Jew first and also to the Greek"). I am armed with the same gospel message. I should not be ashamed. I should be the opposite of ashamed: I should boast in the gospel. I should be eager to preach it. I should be "sitting on the edge of my seat" waiting to see it work as I share it. God, help me believe in the gospel's power. Let my belief in it's power and in the goodness of the message supersede any fears of rejection or awkward responses. Give me joy in affirming and sharing what I know to be true. And give me more and more opportunities to share it with those who have not yet believed and especially with those who have never heard. Longing for encouragement : Paul longed to see the believers in Rome. There is a natural, God-given family connection between Christians that cause them to long to be with each other. Not just to hang out with each other, but to be with each other towards a purpose: "that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you"; "that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." This is the goal of relationships between believers: longing to encourage each other and build each other up in the faith. My Christian friendships should run deep. The gospel's effects in my own heart should motivate me to share the same encouragement with my friends/family/LifeGroup/church members. God, grow my own faith and let me experience the tangible, daily, effects of the gospel's power to the point that it motivates me to encourage others in the same ways. Let my life be filled with spiritually encouraging relationships. When I long to be with brothers/sisters in Christ, let my longing be primarily to encourage and to be encouraged in the faith, more than just hanging out. Let me long to see gospel impact in others' lives, even those who are already in the faith. And let me spend my days pursuing this kind of gospel impact in the lives of both believers and unbelievers. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Back in 2017, our church began investing more money into visiting our gospel partners more regularly. I was scheduled then to go see a few of our partners in Japan and Cambodia two years later. We have three gospel partners in Cambodia who have served the Lord faithfully for many years and with much fruit. God has grown churches in numerous villages where there once were no believers. The gospel there has proven again and again to be "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." My wife and I had often desired to go to Cambodia. One of our gospel partners there had taken it upon himself to invest in me whenever he was on furlough. To say that I longed to see God's work there in person would be a huge understatement. I began communicating regularly with our gospel partners there and planning for our time with them. My heart towards them was very similar to these words: "without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to strengthen you--that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." I certainly was not as faithful in praying as Paul seemed to be. And I did not feel I had much to offer these brothers other than encouragement, but I did long to see them to encourage them. In November 2019, we few to Japan and then to Cambodia. We got to see a budding new gospel work of God in the massive city of Tokyo, Japan. And we got to see a 20-year old gospel-work of God among the villages of NE Cambodia with a second generation of believers beginning being raised to fear and know the Lord. We got to worship in a village church of more than 200 believers, a village in which there were no believers just 19 years ago. And we got to meet the man who was the first believer in that village. We got to spend time with our gospel partners, hearing their stories of victory, stories of sorrow, and stories of hope. We spent time praying and praising God with them often. And our time there felt too short. I praise God for his gospel work in my heart and the heart of my brothers and sisters there that has knit us together, both those who speak my language and those who don't. And I praise God for gospel fruit that is coming through the faithful work of our gospel partners in Japan and Cambodia.