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Romans 15:13-16:20

Be grounded in Kingdom Principles

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • May 12, 2024

Today we are finishing our study in the book of Romans. As we get into these last chapters, we must remember that it all flows from Romans 12:1, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice … And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Be grounded in Kingdom Principles
Romans 15:13 -16:20
May 12, 2024 

     Today we are finishing our study in the book of Romans. As we get into these last chapters, we must remember that it all flows from Romans 12:1, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice … And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

     Now as Paul is wrapping up the letter, we see him reminding them of the things he wrote about, highlighting and summarizing important principles.

Illus – I remember when Rhiete and I went on a Mediterranean cruise… As we were leaving the house we kept on reminding those staying behind of the important things they needed to remember.

     This is what I see Paul doing. We see that he starts by sending greetings to the people, and then interrupts himself, greets more people and then he remembers something urgent he must remind them of again.

     The last things you say are the important things. We can easily skip through these chapters and just call them Paul’s greetings, but there are some very critical exhortations we will mis.

     Paul loves the Roman church, and he wants the best for them. He wants them to continue growing in faith and maturity. And one of the principles he alludes to twice, first in chapter 14, and then chapter 15, is them being grounded in the kingdom of God.

     That is where their strength, and our strength lies.  It ties into everything he has been writing to them about. We will see that these are core principles needed to stand in maturity of faith.

     He then also addresses by what power he has had ‘successes, and to be vigilant against those wanting to lead them astray. Finally, he ends by reminding them who they are anchored in.

     These are truths that will also keep us grounded in our faith as we grow in Christ, and truths we need to be reminded of to stay steadfast.

I. Abound in Hope

  • Verse 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.
  • This verse condenses it all down to these core principles. It ties it in with the substance of what the kingdom of God is about.
  • Abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. How? By God filling you with joy and peace in BELIEVING. It is all about faith. The righteous shall live by faith.
  • This alludes to what he wrote in the previous chapter.

Romans 14:17, for the kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

  • I believe this is the key to living the Spirit-filled, kingdom-focused life.

Illus – A three-legged chair needs all three legs to be stable. Not only does it need all three legs, but it needs all three legs to be equally strong and the same length.

  • Righteousness, peace, and joy are the three “legs” that the kingdom rests on. For the kingdom to rest well in your life, it is the three truths that need to be established in your life. It is all interconnected.

A. Hope through righteousness

  • Paul prays that we will be filled with all JOY and HOPE in BELIEVING. Believing points to our faith in the finished work of Christ. It is the first primary leg. It speaks of our right standing before God.
  • When all is said and done, this is our eternal hope. Whatever happens, and bad things do happen, this is the one thing that is unshakeable.
  • Nothing can separate me from God if I have given my life to Him. My hope for eternity is in Him. Sin and death do not have a hold on me.
  • Christ makes us righteous when we place our trust in Him. It is a gift.

2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Rom 8:1, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

  • This gives us eternal hope.
  • And remember, this hope is not used in the way that we use hope in English. In Greek, hope means a joyful and confident expectation.

Illus – I am again reading a fiction book on the end times based on the prophecies of Revelation and people going through persecution…

B. Have peace

  • This produces Peace with God BECAUSE of righteousness in Christ.

John 14:26-27, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Illus – Have you ever waited for confirmation of something? Maybe confirmation of acceptance to a college, confirmation letter of your new job, or results from the doctor. There is an uneasiness because of the uncertainty. But then you get the result, or the letter, or the confirmation and it is good. Immediately there is a release in your heart and peace because you now have surety.

  • This enables you to live in peace with others.
  • When you don’t have peace with God, it is very difficult to have peace with others, because you have an inherent uneasiness in your soul that simmers under the surface.
  • You might be able to suppress it for a while, but at some stage it will boil over.
  • The greatest peace you can have is that peace of God, knowing that your eternity is secured.

C. Have joy

  • The result of standing in righteousness and having peace with God is joy. The reason the world cannot take your joy away is because it is not the source of your joy.

Illus – There was a song we used to sing, “This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me…”

Illus- It is amazing to look back through history and see how many hymns of faith were written by people while they were in slavery. It was because their hope was not anchored in this life.

John 15:9-11, Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

  • The love God has for us is our source of joy. Whatever happens in this life, we can be anchored in the knowing that God loves me. “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

II. Live Empowered by the Holy Spirit

  • Both times Paul addresses these important elements, he urges that we need the power of the Holy Spirit. Peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Abound in hope by the Power of the Spirit.

A. Be strengthened with power

  • We are citizens of the supernatural kingdom of God, existing in the spiritual realm. Thus, we do not get our strength by natural ways, but by leaning on and drawing from the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 3:16-19, Be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man… to know the love of Christ and be filled up to all the fullness of God.

  • He is the one strengthening us. It is not by our superhuman faith. It is by living connected with Jesus, empowered by His Spirit. It is the only way that we can live the kingdom principles effectively.
  • To be filled up with joy and peace in believing so that we can abound in hope is just simply a much better way to live. Even if it doesn’t work out according to our expectations.

Illus- Paul had an expectation, but it did not happen the way he thought. He thought he was going to stop in Rome on his way to Spain. He did reach Rome, but he reached Rome in chains. Along the way he was shipwrecked, and bitten by a snake…

  • Paul did not waver. He had a confident hope that He who began the good work in Him would be faithful to complete it.
  • He was empowered by the Holy Spirit to endure through any circumstance, having hope and joy, knowing that God was working all things together for good for him, being called according to His purpose.

B. Let Christ work through you

  • Not only did Paul live by being strengthened personally by the Holy Spirit, but everything he did in ministry was also empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • His boasting was in Christ and what Christ was doing. It was all about glorifying Jesus. Even all the Gentiles coming to Christ through his ministry, he did not take any honor for. It was all Jesus.
  • We can see why. The Gentiles came to obedience because God worked through Paul with signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was not his wonderful convincing speeches that changed people, but the power of God working in their hearts and drawing them to Christ. He saw God’s promise at work.

Zechariah 4:6, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.

  • People getting saved is still the greatest miracle to me. How God can speak into the hardest of hearts, breaking through the barriers of hurt, bitterness and pride with His love, changing even the ones people have given up on.
  • Just like Paul, we need to remember our part in this. We are not the ones that need to save people. We cannot do it. Our part in this is to be available for God to work through us, whatever that might look like in the moment.
  • Being willing to speak, knowing that He promised that He would give us the right words in the moment. Being willing to pray, knowing that it is not our power that changes people, but God does the work.
  • It is all Him. It takes the pressure off us. You did not fail if someone chooses not to follow Christ. That is between him and God. The Holy Spirit is the one who keeps pursuing. We are the ones that need to sow the seed. God waters, God makes a grow.

III. Hold on to the Goodness of God

  • in his final greetings, Paul exhorts them to stay grounded in the goodness of God, focusing on what is good, being vigilant against the plans of the enemy.
  • There were people in the church that wanted to stir up dissension. Paul says they were driven by their own appetites, wanting to deceive the unsuspecting. Their speech was smooth and flattering. They were drawing people away from good into evil.
  • This is such an appropriate verse for the times we are living in.

A. Be wise and innocent

  • Wise in this context has a much wider meaning. It speaks of being skilled, an expert, something that is cultivated. In other words, be skilled in what is good. Be an expert and what is good. Let goodness be cultivated in you.
  • How? It goes back to renewing your mind. How do you become an expert in something? By repetition, by focusing on it, by studying it. By filling your mind with it.
  • What is filling your mind? It is good to pause for a moment and think about what you’re putting into your mind.

Illus – There are some eating plans that asked people to journal everything they eat. I don’t know if you have ever done that before, but it can be quite a revelation. There are so many things people eat without consciously choosing it or thinking about the consequences.

  • This is a great exercise to do with your mind as well. What do you put into your mind? What do you read? What social media channels to follow? What movies and shows are you ingesting? What company do you keep?
  • Inevitably, you become the sum of the things that are shaping your mind. It changes you.

Illus – In the 90’s many sitcoms came out using God’s name as a swearword. It wasn’t long before people started to speak that way. It just started to roll off the tongue almost involuntarily. Why? Because their subconscious minds have been programmed.

  • Paul encourages them to be innocent of evil. Do not been experts in evil and the wrong things this world celebrates.

Illus – You might think that you need to know about all the things that are wrong in the world so you can help people or to have an answer against it. The problem is that this world is a messed-up place, and you can go down deep rabbit holes that influence your mind and how you think. The depth and diversity of evil and depravity is astounding and nauseating. It is good to have some understanding, but don’t try and be an expert on evil. Be innocent of evil. Don’t let your mind be polluted.

  • We preach life. We give hope. We preach Jesus. Be excellent at what is good, innocent of evil.

B. God will crush Satan

  • What a beautiful promise we have in verse 20. The God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet.
  • It is interesting that in Ephesians 6 Paul also uses peace and feet together.

Ephesians 6:15, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. (AMP)

  • The gospel of peace is what will overcome the enemy. The good news of the love of God crushes the works of the enemy.

Revelation 12: 11, And they overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony.

  • As we live our lives, shining as lights in this dark world, having a steadfast hope that the world does not have, people will start to notice.
  • Many will resist, but many looking for hope, will be drawn to the light. As they receive the gospel of peace, the works of the enemy are crushed in their lives.
  • As we continue to stand in faith, the truth and light of God pushes back the darkness in our lives and those of the ones around us.

C. Stay obedient in faith

Romans 16: 25-27, Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

  • Paul closes off this letter praising God and giving glory to Him. He summarizes what he has taught them in the letter. He has shown the revelation of the mystery of the church that was hidden through all generations, bursting onto the scene at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this church made up of everyone who put their faith in Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile.
  • He has shown them that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, everything pointing to Him, and the good news of the Messiah has been proclaimed to all the nations.
  • Th result of all this is faith. Stay obedient in faith to the only wise God. He is able to establish you.

Illus – I love this word ‘establish’. When you look at a plaque on a building, it normally says, “Established in…” No matter what follows in the future of that building or organization, the irrefutable fact is that it was established.”

  • God establishes you. You might go through ups and downs, but there is no question about the fact that you are established in His love by the good news of the gospel of peace.

John 17:11,13-20, I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Romans 15:13 -16:20    NASB

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, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written,

They who had no news of Him shall see,
And they who have not heard shall understand.”

22 For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; 23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 32 so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

16  1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.


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