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Paul’s Yearnings

line Paul’s Yearnings

Pause and Consider

0630

01.24.18

‘Paul’s Yearnings’

 

            … making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was hindered,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.   (Romans 1:10-13)

“I love mankind; it is the people I can’t stand.”  (Linus, Peanuts®) Sadly, many people feel this way.  In contrast, Paul’s care for the church at Rome is great.

In these opening verses he is displaying his concern for them in five ways. We looked at two last time in verses 5-9.  He was thankful for them, and he prayed for them.  This is surprising as he had never been to Rome and did not know most of these folks.

Today we see clearly in verse 10 that he yearned to visit them.  Rome was the capital city of the Empire, and thus important.  He was eager to visit them, but it had not yet been God’s will.  He mentions several times his efforts to come and how each time the Lord had closed the door.  He would eventually get to Rome, but as a shipwrecked prisoner in chains.  While in Rome he would write many of the epistles preserved in the NT.  And he was able to write this great book of Romans because of the divine delay.  The Lord’s plans and ways are best!

Next, he longed to nurture them (11-13).  Paul saw himself as a father to most of the early church.  A father has a part in rearing or nurturing his children.  One of the tragedies in our culture is the absent father.  Juvenile delinquency, drug use, teen pregnancy and many other ills can be traced largely to the fact that fathers have not fulfilled their role.

As their spiritual father, Paul was looking to accomplish several things in the lives of these believers. First, he wished to bring them comfort.  It was not an easy thing to be a Christian in the early church.  True, at this time, Nero was not yet on a rampage, but following Christ was seen by many to be traitorous to the Emperor.

This comfort Paul intended to be mutual.  He wanting to be a blessing to them as he expected a blessing from them.  Those who know the Lord need one another in this dark world.  That is why Paul later encouraged these same believers to assemble regularly together, to consider one another, and to provoke to good works (Hebrews 10:24).  Each of us is either a stepping-stone or a stumbling-block to others.

Secondly, he wanted to see them grow in their walk with the Lord. He wanted to use his spiritual gifts among them.  He also expected that they would bless him by their spiritual gifts.

Third, he desired that they bear fruit.  Primarily he is speaking here of souls, of folks coming to the Savior. Verse 13 seems to indicate that the church was predominately Gentile, and Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles (5). He yearned for fruit everywhere—Rome was one place where he had not personally led anyone to faith in c.

In the next verses (14-17) we will see Paul’s emphasis on the Gospel, which is the source of the comfort, growth and fruit which he seeks.


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