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Romans 15:1-15

Grow to Maturity of Faith

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • May 05, 2024

These last chapters in the book of Romans are some of the most practical and encouraging chapters in the Bible because they give such a clear and tangible understanding of what mature faith looks like. It all stems from what Paul said in chapter 12, “I beseech you, I implore you, to offer your life as a living sacrifice to God… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

In other words, when you offer your life as a living sacrifice to God, He will transform you, He’ll change you so that you have His thoughts and His ways rather than the old thoughts and old ways you had when you were in the world.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Grow to Maturity of Faith
Romans 15:1-15
May 5, 2024 

     These last chapters in the book of Romans are some of the most practical and encouraging chapters in the Bible because they give such a clear and tangible understanding of what mature faith looks like.

     It all stems from what Paul said in chapter 12, “I beseech you, I implore you, to offer your life as a living sacrifice to God… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

     In other words, when you offer your life as a living sacrifice to God, He will transform you, He’ll change you so that you have His thoughts and His ways rather than the old thoughts and old ways you had when you were in the world.

     We are transformed when we are growing in maturity of faith – and then live ‘out of’ that faith or ‘from’ that faith in all things. It brings God into every equation. Every relationship, decision, every action, living before God.

     When we place our faith in Christ, we are moved from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God’s marvelous light. But this is not just a spiritual abstract concept. It has practical implications on how we live here on earth.

     And we will see how we live out our faith practically does not only impact others, but impact us as well.

     Paul is well satisfied with the Roman church, describing them as being mature in the faith, yet he wants to remind them what maturity of faith looks like, encouraging them not to grow weary and stand firm in hope.

     What does maturity of faith look like? Paul is practical and clear as he describes what maturity of faith looks like.

Illus – Any father wants His kids to grow. They Can’t stay babies…

     Thank God that he did not leave us behind as orphans, but that He has sent His Spirit to be the agent of change, empowering us and working in us to the glory of God.

I. Follow Christ’s Example

  • Again, Paul is focusing on our interaction with our brothers. Why?

John 13:35, By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 John 4:19-21, We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

  • Christ, the king of the kingdom, showed us the way to live.

A. Live to serve the kingdom

  • Seeing that we are now citizens of a new kingdom, we live to serve that kingdom. That kingdom is made up of other people, and the expectation is that everyone should have that heart.
  • The wonderful thing about God is that He is not asking us to do what He did not do. Jesus was our example. He loved those who were weak, downtrodden, and broken. He forgave those who killed Him. Instead of demanding to be served, He served.
  • Now some might say, but Jesus was God. It was easy for Him. To which Paul would reply…

Philippians 2:4-12, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

  • It all boils down to the fact that God has a heart that serves and blesses. It should be our hearts too.

A. Bear one another’s burdens

  • We were studying the context of these verses last week; maturity of faith should cause us to love our brother and not offend them or be easily offended. Don’t just please yourself, bear one another’s burdens. Love your brother.
  • The reason for this is because the opposite is truly ugly. It says “I will do what I please!” That is exactly what Satan’s attitude is.
  • “Don’t just please yourselves,” Paul said. This goes against the whole culture in which we are living. Many are extremely self-absorbed and self-focused.

Illus – Have you ever met a spoiled, selfish child that was actually happy? (Whining and complaining all the time) I haven’t. Every one of them deep down are miserable. The same is true of adults.

Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

  • Each one of you please your neighbor, looking out for his good and welfare, edifying him. Which means strengthening him, building him up.
  • In other words, the condition of your soul is extremely important. When a person focuses on pleasing themselves, the result is a soul that is sick. Have you ever felt that sickness of the soul? God something is wrong. My life, my soul feels yucky. He makes the soul alive when you lay it down.

Illus – The Bible says do not go to bed angry. If you have ever from pride decided to go to bed angry, with an “I will show you!!” attitude, you will know it doesn’t end well. The problem is that your own soul loses joy. It begins to affect every part of you. It is like poison spreading through everything, resulting in bitterness, anger and loss of joy.

  • When you take your eyes off of yourself and start building and edifying others, you will be edified and built up yourself. You will find hope arising.
  • There is an old saying that many wrongly think is in the Bible, “God helps those who help themselves” Actually, a better saying would be, “God blesses those who help others.”

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

  • By the way, this is why small groups and growth groups are so important. We need support and to support others on the journey of faith.

C. Accept one another

  • Jesus is also our example in loving those who are different from us. Paul says He made a way for the Jew, and the gentile. All are now welcome.
  • Jesus gave parables that taught that lesson. He used the Samaritans as an example who were despised by the Jews.
  • The Samaritans were the mixed breed people who were the offspring of all the nations brought in by the Assyrians who then intermarried with the Jews that were left in the northern kingdom after the exile.
  • He also used a Samaritan to teach what it meant to love your neighbor.

Luke 10:33, “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,”

  • To sum it up: What does it take to love your neighbor? Walk according to love, show mercy, pursue the things which make for peace, don’t offend or easily be offended, edify and build others up… And you’ll be the one blessed.

II. Be Reminded of Hope

  • Paul thinks highly of the Romans he is writing to. In verse 14 he says that he is convinced they are full of goodness.
  • Yet, he writes to them boldly on the previous points to remind them again.
  • Essentially, he is telling them: “Don’t’ give up. Don’t quit. Continue with what you are doing well. Do not lose hope.”
  • As children of God, and followers of Jesus, we need to hold on to hope, and persevere. We need steadfastness, being patient with one another.

A. Be encouraged by God

  • In verse 5 Paul prays that God would give perseverance and encouragement to be of the same mind in accordance with Jesus.
  • In other words, living out this Christian walk, bearing other’s burdens, living with a servant heart loving others, can be wearisome if you’re not encouraged; but if you are encouraged and strengthened in your faith, you have hope.
  • Living the mind of Christ, in other words, living a life aligned with Christ’s thoughts and way of living is impossible in the flesh.
  • The wonderful news in this is that we do not have to do this in our own strength, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.
  • It is God who gives perseverance, the strength to hold on.

Isaiah 40:31, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

  • God works in us the power to persevere. We draw our strength from Him. He is the one that encourages us.
  • The word for encouragement here is important; it’s the Greek word paraklesis and it gives us the picture of someone walking alongside and speaking words of comfort, consolation, admonishment, or encouragement; words that stir us and instruct and persuade us.
  • God supplies that encouragement. The Holy Spirit is the personification and embodiment of this. He is called the He works in us and encourages us to be able to persevere and continue to bear fruit.
  • I am so thankful for this verse, because again I see that it is not by our own wonderful willpower that we must try and do this, but we can have His Spirit work in us, encourage us, and strengthen us to have the same mind as Christ.

Illus – If you have been walking with the Lord for a while, you might have experienced this before. You go through some type of trauma or difficulty. You share it with people and sometimes they have real empathy and are encouraging, but deep down you know there is nothing they can do about it. Having the support is great, but the real comfort comes when you put it at the feet of Jesus, one on one, and He brings that hope deep inside, which brings a peace that surpasses understanding. When he speaks to you from His word and the Holy Spirit makes the scripture comes alive. It burns into your soul stirring new perseverance and power.

  • The picture of someone walking alongside with encouraging words suggests that we welcome those words and are eager to hear them.

Amos 3:3, Unless two are in agreement, how can they walk together?

  • Your responsibility is to submit your will to His, wanting to have the mind of Christ.
  • We need to come in agreement with God. This is a deep profound truth. Some people are drained because they are in a wrestling match with God, trying to get God to come in agreement with them.
  • Some read this text and want others to be in agreement with them. The flaw in this is that it presupposes that they are right and all the others are wrong.
  • No, come in agreement with God, and you will have peace. Let Him sort out the rest and align the people that need to be aligned.
  • He always knows best. He always wants to strengthen so we can be effective in His will, which is the best way anyway.

B. Hold Fast

  • We find encouragement all through the Scriptures Paul says, by which we find hope. It becomes the seeds sown into our souls.
  • We need to hold fast to this in faith. The ploy of the enemy, especially when you are maturing and want to be effective in ministering to God and others, is to steal the seed of the word.

Luke 8:14-15, “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

  • The enemy also has a plan for you. He wants to choke you with worries of this world. Many then in their hearts go into crisis mode. “I’m sorry God, just give me a moment, can You just wait to the side, give me some space while I quickly handle this crisis?”
  • The focus has shifted. They spend less time in godly things, at church, less time in fellowship to be strengthened, less time ministering to others.
  • If the enemy can get that to work, He will keep you in crisis mode.
  • If that doesn’t work, he can even use riches, or entice you with the pleasures of this world.

Illus – I have seen this many times before. Some people get ‘blessed’ with riches, but they aren’t anchored in God. They used to come to church or small groups, but they start to make excuses. I have an important business meeting, or I have to go this weekend and sign the deed to my new house in Cabo, or my lake house needs some maintenance done. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to take my boat out to the ocean. I need to do it this Sunday, because I am so busy during the week. My business is expanding so much that it is really stressing me out. I need to take some time off every second weekend to recuperate. Then they start to justify their actions with the following: You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. I have a personal relationship with God… While that is true, it is a half truth.

  • In the end, they don’t grow to maturity of faith.
  • Jesus said the seed in the good soil, are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart. Not a heart that asks what they can get out of it.
  • But not only that. They hold it fast. They hold on to the word and to God for dear life.
  • Why? Because everything else is shallow. It is empty. In the end, it does not bring life. Even the riches and pleasures bring worries.
  • They have a heart that wants to bear fruit aligned with salvation. It takes perseverance. It takes sometimes standing against the storm. It takes dying to the self that wants to act immature.
  • This might seem draining if it was all up to our strength.
  • But the wonderful thing is this, it is not only we who are holding on to God. He is also in this holding on to us.

Isaiah 41:13, For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

John 10:28-30, and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

  • Hold on. God is not letting go of you. We can stand in perseverance because He is giving us the strength to stand.
  • Stay connected to the vine. Hold on. He will supply everything needed to cultivate the fruit in you so you can keep growing in maturity.

Romans 15:1-15    NASB 

1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,

Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Your name.”

10 Again he says,

Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”

11 And again,

Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him.”

12 Again Isaiah says,

There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God,


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