Text: Romans 15:14-19a
Theme: Paul was fully convinced and so were those he taught.
Key verses: “I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and the by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit…” (v. 14-19a).
What God said to me: Welcome back, my son! You have been on a long, far-away journey doing my work on the African continent. I bless you for being obedient and following my lead through faith. Now you are home, and you are tired physically and spent emotionally. Rest, my child. Focus on my truths and bask in my love and restoring presence. You have already fallen to temptations of your flesh and mind. Be on guard. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Remember that I came so you can have life abundantly. It is not your work I am impressed with. It is your humility as you wait on me, obey me, and commune with me as friend with friend. Regarding this passage, notice how confident Paul was in his writing here to the Roman “brothers and sisters.” He was convinced they already had “goodness” inside of them–they were full of goodness, in fact. Paul knew they knew of what things he spoke, and yet he also realized they were human and needed reminding. He didn’t berate them for it. His tone was encouraging and supportive, appealing to their sense of wanting to do what they knew was right and good. He thought the best of them. He was convinced they would choose to love each other and embrace those not like themselves. He needed only to give them a gentle push and reminder. Paul was their mentor and rabbi. As is often the case, we want to please those who influence us and mean the most to us. That was what Paul was counting on and convinced of–that they would step up to the occasion and live up to his expectations of them. But not only was he convinced; notice that they too were convinced. They had been convinced of Paul’s message, not by Paul’s charisma or crafty eloquence. Rather, they had become convinced through the power for the Spirit working through Paul to do signs and wonders among them. It was the God-factor that ultimately brought them around to side with Paul and follow his directives and listen to his teachings. That is how it will be with you as well, Dwayne. You should be suspect of anyone who too readily and quickly sides with you and your ministry. Have they listened closely to your message? Have they seen signs and wonders associated with your ministry that could lead them to embrace your message? Are they listening with a discerning ear, comparing what you teach with my written Word? It is only I who can convince them of what is true and honorable and right. Keep sharing my Word faithfully wherever you go. Keep humble as you follow my path and minister in my name. I will go with you and honor your faithfulness with my Holy Spirit power and grace. Of that you can rest assured.
What I said to God: Thank You, my heavenly Father. I am always blown away by how You love me and forgive me and stay with me. You literally have never left or forsaken me. Certainly goodness and mercy has followed me all the days of my life. I am now dwelling and resting in Your house spiritually and positionally. One day soon I will see You face to face and worship You in Your literal house around your literal throne–with pure praise and adoration from my lips for all eternity. What a day that will be!