Romans 15:17-19a: The Nature of Paul’s Ministry
What is the nature of the ministry of the church? For what purpose does the church primarily exist? Paul will help us answer these questions as he reflects on the nature of his own ministry in Romans 15:17-19.
V17-19a, ‘In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed,19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God….’
What is the mission of the church? 50 years ago if you spoke about mission everyone knew that you were talking about cross cultural evangelsim. Through the influence of the Liberation movement that has emphasized political liberation as the good news and a bias towards the poor and economically oppressed; as well as through Liberal theology which has taken away hell and the need for personal salvation, mission has become confused. These past trends have created a modern climate where there is mud in the water when it comes to missions, and so many questions are put forward in an attempt to define the mission of the church. Is our mission evangelism or deeds? Is the mission of the church social justice? Is the mission of the church transforming social structures and renovating culture? What does it mean to continue Jesus mission, or to build the kingdom?
Today as we look at these verses we will see two things about Paul’s ministry. We will see the power that enables him to produce and be effective. Then we will see the use of word, deed and sign as his method.