Paul’s Desire to Go to Rome

Paul's Desire to Go to RomeText: Romans 1:8-13

When Paul wrote to the saints in Rome, he had not been there. He had been unable up to that point. Yet in our text, he expressed a desire to go to Rome. Why did he desire to go? What did he hope to accomplish there? Why had he not gone yet? There are some lessons for us as we examine what Paul said in this passage.

Their Example of Faith (v. 8)

  • An example of faith despite their “disadvantage” (v. 11) – no miraculous spiritual gifts at this time; yet they were still able to show their faith (cf. Romans 10:17); the same should be true of us
  • Christians are expected to be good examples – to those in the world (Matthew 5:16); to our fellow Christians (1 Timothy 4:12)
  • Our influence is often larger than we expect (1 Thessalonians 1:8) – for good or bad

His Love for Them (v. 9-10)

  • Christians should naturally have a love for one another (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11)
  • This should lead us to pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • This should also cause us to desire to spend time together (Acts 2:46)

His Desire to Strengthen Them (v. 11)

  • Paul desired to help establish them – this would be done by imparting some spiritual gift (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11); this can be done for us by teaching the word (Acts 20:32)
  • We should be concerned with the spiritual well-being of our brethren (Galatians 6:2; Romans 15:1-2)

His Desire to Receive Encouragement (v. 12)

  • Paul wanted to be able to strengthen and help them – however, this relationship was not one-sided; he also expected to receive encouragement from them
  • Among Christians, encouragement ought to be reciprocal (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25)
  • This is important because we all need encouragement (Hebrews 3:12; 1 Corinthians 10:12) – even someone like Paul

The Limitations of Man’s Plans (v. 13)

  • Paul had often planned to come to them, but was prevented up until that point
  • We need to recognize our limitations (Ecclesiastes 8:8) – plan things “if the Lord wills” (James 4:13-15)
  • We also need to be gracious toward others (1 Corinthians 13:7) – they could have wondered why Paul (or another apostle) had not come yet; we should assume the best of our brethren

His Desire to Be Fruitful (v. 13)

  • Christians are to bear fruit (Luke 8:15) – this can be true generically by doing good (Colossians 1:10); can also refer to leading souls to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:6; Luke 8:5)
  • We can bear fruit wherever we are – it depends on us abiding in Christ (John 15:5), not being in some particular location
  • Regardless of where we are or who we are with, we must seek to be fruitful

Conclusion

  • Paul would eventually make it to Rome, but not as he expected (Acts 28:16)
  • Regardless of how he made it to Rome, or if he ever made it at all, these points are good for us to consider – we need to love and strengthen our brethren; we need to be fruitful and gain encouragement from others; we also need to recognize our own limitations and do what we are capable of doing

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