Romans 15:14-19

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14 KJV)

Most of us think we know people.

We become pretty good judges of character.

In our high school yearbooks, we single out the class clown and the most likely to succeed.

Jesus said we would know people by their fruits. Therefore, a certain amount of judging or judgment takes place and some of it is necessary. For example, if someone is needed to give a speech, one would not choose the shyest person in the class. To varying degrees, we all make judgment calls. For another example, I have never called my mother for help with car trouble. On the other hand, my father is an excellent resource for car problems.

Some of our judgments are more important than others. Things like who one hires, or who to go to for advice and counsel are examples of decisions having more impact than who one talks to about car trouble. The process of making these judgments involves time, experience and assumptions.

Assumptions can help us or get us into trouble. Today, I want to look at some assumptions that we should make in favor of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 15:7 tells us to, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7 NIV) The passage we are looking at today, Romans 15:14-19, will help us with the accepting of each other. To this end, we will look at: 1) our assumptions, 2) our role, and 3) our goal.

First, Let’s look at some assumptions that we should make about brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 15:14 says:
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14 KJV)

Where it says, “I myself,” this is Paul talking to the believers in Rome. He had never traveled to Rome, and while some people he knew were among the believers in Rome, Paul had not met the majority of the believers. From his letter, we understand that there were both Jews and Gentiles in the Church in Rome. So, their backgrounds were as diverse and varied as possible. We also know that their faith was being reported all over the world (Romans 1:8).

Of these diverse believers, Paul says, “I am persuaded of you.” Other translations say, “convinced,” or “satisfied.” This word “persuaded” or “convinced” is used often in the New Testament. Two examples of its use are:
1)      For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (Romans 8:38 KJV)
2)      Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6 KJV)

Therefore, Paul is convinced, confident or persuaded of truths about believers he has not met. This means he is making assumptions. He is judging facts about their character without seeing or meeting them.

He assumes three things are true of them. These things are actually true of every believer. Let’s look at the verse again. It says:
And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14 KJV)

The three things he says he is persuaded of are:
1.       They are full of goodness.
2.       They are filled with all knowledge.
3.       They are able to admonish one another.

Paul has good reason to make these assumptions. All three of these things are imparted to each believer by the indwelling Spirit of God. As we have already learned:
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:9 ESV)

Every believer has the Spirit of Christ. If I can refer you to the Scriptures again:
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV)

Because of the indwelling Spirit, Paul can say he is persuaded that the believers in Rome are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to admonish one another. In 1 John 2:20 the Holy Spirit is said to give all believers knowledge.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1 John 2:20 ESV)

We also can assume the same three things about other believers.
1.       They are full of goodness.
2.       They are filled with all knowledge.
3.       They are able to admonish one another.

These assumptions should influence all our relationships with other believers. However, as Jesus said:
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 ESV)

If a person is not a believer, then these assumptions are not true. Sadly, not every person who says he is a believer is telling the truth. Jude wrote to the Church to warn us of such people. He says:
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV)

Therefore, while we are safe in assuming the Holy Spirit and goodness dwells within other believers, we need to be wise. Jesus taught that just as we know a tree by the fruit it produces, so also we know people by the fruit they produce.

After stating his assumptions, Paul says that he has written rather boldly by way of reminder (verse 15). He says he has this boldness because of the grace given to him by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles (verse 16). He is talking about his role, his assigned task. Paul was called by God to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He says that he had the priestly duty to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles so that the Gentiles may become an offering.

As a priest, Paul’s offering was the Gentiles. He spoke in a similar manner when he said:
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (Philippians 2:17 ESV)

Offerings and sacrifices were part of the Law of Moses. From the time when Abel offered a lamb until the time when Jesus died on the cross, sacrifices were part of man’s relationship with God. Jesus died for our sins once for all, and now we are called upon to offer up ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2).

We are also called a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). We each have an offering to bring.

Paul was unique. He was the Apostle to the Gentiles. His job is done, and he has gone ahead of us into the presence of Jesus. Each one of us is unique and has a role to fill. Each of us should live boldly in the role God has called us to. Our job is not finished, and the best evidence for this is we are still here. Since we have assumed other believers have the Spirit of God and knowledge, we must boldly remind each other of what is written. So that, each of us can boldly fill the role God has called us to. We are to encourage each other as long as it is called today (Hebrews 3:13).

We assume that every believer is given the Holy Spirit, and this shows up in both the fruit of the Spirit in each person’s life and the role that each person fills in the Body.

Since we all have one Spirit, we all work toward one common goal.

After Paul explained why he had written so boldly and what he assumed about the believers he had never met, he said:
Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. (Romans 15:17 NIV)

He gloried in Christ Jesus. In another place, he said:
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul’s goal was to know Christ and be found in Him. This goal is reflected in what he says in 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— 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. (Romans 15:18-19 NIV)

We share the same goal with Paul and with our fellow believers, to know Christ. We glory in Christ and what Christ has done through us.

Because of his unique calling, Paul gloried in preaching the gospel in places like Jerusalem and Illyricum. I have never been to those places. That is not my calling. Why should I be jealous of Paul? We both have the same goal, but God has called me to a unique role.

We can accept one another to bring glory to God (Romans 15:7). We can also submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). We can function as a Body with our assumptions about each other, our unique roles and our common goal. These things make us one.


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