One of the facets of my involvement in this ministry is that I am daily communicating with persons I have never seen and perhaps will never see. While it is disappointing in one way that I cannot travel like I did in the past, there is still a bond developed through the very nature of talking about the things of the Lord that is almost stronger than if we had met in person.
Paul did not plant a church in Rome, but the Gospel moved westward through others under the Spirit’s powerful control. Two of these persons were Priscilla (Prisca) and Aquila who had been with Paul in Corinth, Antioch and Ephesus (Acts 18). They moved to Rome and were part of the church there (Romans 16:3). It is fairly clear from that chapter, Paul had a good grasp of the church in Rome and who was in it. He felt though, that a letter was necessary to further establish their hearts in the Gospel of pure grace. Notice his intent in his letter and his heart toward these believers:
“I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:11–12). He first accomplishes this desire to “strengthen” them by writing the best and longest treatise on the gospel. That was a huge gift! Paul did not stop at sending a letter. He kept planning and waiting on the Lord to eventually be there. It was a very unusual journey with dangers and opposition, yet he never gave up. Their encouragement was a high priority to Paul.
Is there someone you are thinking of that needs spiritual strengthening and encouragement? DO NOT put off doing what the Lord has put on your heart. It may make the difference between their continuing strong in the faith or losing heart and becoming the target of false teachers.
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