Standing Firm: Walking through Romans – Chapter 15 part 5

Welcome Home everyone

We are growing closer each week to completing Paul’s letter to the Romans

My big idea for today is that we have an incredible power in prayer because prayer changes things. My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we would, through our prayers we would find safety, healing, and peace in the love and unity of God and his holy people.

If you have your Bibles today you can join me as we turn to, you guessed it Romans Chapter 15 starting at verse 30.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen. In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points. Paul is issuing a grand invitation to the believers in Rome and also to you and me. Again, Paul is invoking the leadership of a spiritual mentor and giving an invitation, to join him in his struggle. Let’s take a look at my first point.

Romans 15:30-33

Paul Invites Us To Join His Struggle

Romans 15:30 – I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Paul says, “Join me in my struggles.” What exactly are his struggles? Paul is ultimately referring to the struggle of a successful ministry. The Christians in Rome can contribute to Paul’s successful ministry through prayer. And we can contribute our part today to the legacy of successful ministry through the same method. How is that? I’m glad you asked. It is by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of His Holy Spirit. Prayer changes things. Consider the Psalms of David.

Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:1-3

The Bible teaches clearly that when we pray, we do so in expectation of a change. When we pray, we are being bound in unity with Christ and His body of saints.

I hear it all the time, when disaster is nearing, people say, “all we can do now is pray.” We treat prayer like a last resort, when in reality it is our first defense.

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, [a]being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the [b]command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

Daniel 9:20-23

When we choose to join in the struggles of the body of Christ, through prayer we become connected to those efforts and therefore also become answers to prayer and the blessing of God in someone’s life /ministry. In addition, we also partake in the joy and victories of the outcomes. Prayer changes things. We have an invitation to join in the struggles of others, Glory to God.

I’ll move to my next point/ Paul’s first request

Paul Asks Us To Pray For Safety.

Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, This first sub point Paul makes is to pray for safety. Not unusual, Paul knows all too well that evil lurks around every corner. It’s well documented that the gospel of Jesus Christ has made Paul an enemy of the Jewish establishment as well as the Roman Government. At any time, he could be robbed, imprisoned, or killed. At any rate he would be prevented from making his delivery to the poor Christians in Jerusalem.

Romans 15:31

Even in our modern climate, being a Christian is not popular nor is it always safe. Christians are being killed in Nigeria, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India , just to name a few. Have we accepted the invitation to pray for the safety of our Christian bothers and sisters around the world.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.

Psalm122:6-9

Let me ask you this, are you praying for those who hate you?

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

Matthew 5:44-46

We must receive the invitation to join the struggle in prayer. We must do our part to strengthen the body of Christ. We must stand in the proverbial gap for God’s beloved Israel. I’m preaching to myself now, I can do better. I can be more diligent. Don’t allow the business of our world become such a force that we are distracted from praying for one another.

I’ll move to my next/final point

Paul Asks Us To Pray For A Favorable Reception

Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there,

Romans 15:31

Paul’s concern is that the Jewish believers in Jerusalem wouldn’t be receptive to a gift from the Gentiles. His fear is that they would reject it as unclean. His hope however, would be that this offering would go a long way to healing the rift between the Jews and Gentile believers. His hope was rooted in the love of God manifested through His spirit. That there would be healing and unity. That there would be peace among the brothers and sisters of God.

The task of delivering the collection was so important that Paul must deliver it personally. And all other matters and missionary journey must be put on hold until Paul does everything he can to bring peace to this divided family. Our invitation is to bring a reconciliation to the divided. Those who are in Christ and those who oppose Christ. We do this through prayer.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23

Let’s be people committed to prayer. Let’s align our prayer life with God’s will. Let’s see a revival begin in our church and spread out into the streets of Citrus Heights

32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:32-33

Church, we have allowed a social awkwardness to separate our selves for one another. Not you guys, but generally speaking. People find it difficult just speaking on the phone. How in the world are we going to love one another with complete joy and be refreshed in the company of strangers in Christ?

Will you join me in a commitment to increase our prayerfulness? It just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we become invested in someone through our prayers we will become emotionally invested in them as well. You will we more and you will love better.

Engage with someone today. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today

You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late

It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.

Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?

Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26