This message was preached by Steve Oliver at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 22nd 2015
Paul is writing to the roman church which is not a church he planted. It’s possible that it was Peter who gathered and gave birth to the church. Some 5 years earlier, Caesar got rid of the Jews in Rome. Many Jewish believers also had to leave. Now under a new Caesar many had returned and a great church was starting to blossom in Rome.
Paul writes differently. He writes as one coming as an apostle but not as one having authority over the church.
He gives an amazing teaching! Terry Virgo says, "Apostolic passion, can only be satisfied by the birth of a community of the Spirit." To just see leaders raised up is not enough, to see a church birthed and come to maturity satisfies apostolic passion.
In Romans 16 - Paul is enjoying the fulfillment of this passion that he has. The church is the most beautiful creation, so Paul just overflows with joy.
Rom 15:14 “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” What is already on the ground in Rome, has enough in it to bring it to maturity. To be honest, I feel that about India. I want to say, I am satisfied. You are full of goodness, knowledge and able to instruct one another.
In verse 15 he says “I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me ...
Gary used to call Simon Petit a pathological optimist. I feel the same. Sometimes as believers we forget the godly DNA and involvement in the local church. Satan would love to stop the purposes of God. Over history, people have tried to wipe out Christianity. It will never happen
1857, after months of training, 2 young men left Gary's nations of England. They sailed for some 6-7 months across the world to the South Sea Islands – Fiji because during a meeting God had laid it on those people’s hearts. These 2 men in their 20s were lowered into a dingy and they rode ashore, and watched their security sail away
As the large boat was leaving, they watched these 2 young men land on the beach, unpack their belongings, and as they walked on the beach they were both killed by spears that hit them.
Many months later the story got back to England. 800 people signed up to go to that island. John Patton’s incredible story of suffering and breakthrough. All those islands received the gospel over the next 25 years. It’s the apostolic confidence in God in the people.
Paul is looking at the people, the gifts and saying , I've got confidence that what God has begun he will bring it to completion
When we speak boldly, it’s born out of a passion to see you succeed. If we establish multi generational eldership teams - we will reach India. Remember, we operate out of the grace given us. We don’t earn it or deserve it.
In Romans 15:16 Paul says, “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
Paul sees the Roman believers ready so that one day they may be an acceptable offering to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God I have reason to be proud of my work for God
Look at Paul’s life and see how many trials and troubles he faced. He planted and had to leave because of persecution. He knew when a church was started, there was one greater than him who would bring it to completion. The success of your church rests very much on your leadership and how best we can help you but it does not depend on how often you receive me or any other gift. Jesus will build his church.
When it is lonely and hard, don’t get discouraged. Get some scripture in you and pray. He will send you some people. You start calling your people in by faith
I would stand before God and ask, “Lord every person that belongs to me, every little sheep you have entrusted to me that is lying in their comfortable bed now, would you shake them , wake them and bring them.” I want to tell you, I can show you a graph we kept all the numbers, suddenly it just started growing. That’s what we have to do. In the church there is this God given promise that he will build it. He does not want us to suffer doing it. He wants to sing over us. Start praying over your people
Romans 15:18-19: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”
Paul says, that because of what God had been doing all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum (past Greece), I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.
Q. What was on the ground? How many churches were planted?
He says I've finished all my work, just because in that whole region there were churches dotted. Paul knew that because there was a local church in those areas, the gospel would reach the rest of the areas. The local church - it carries a promise, a DNA to change the world. It didn’t rely on some big name. God builds his church.