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Sermon #148 — Romans Series
Title: “Not to Please Ourselves”
Text: Romans 15:1-33
Subject: Living for Christ — Living for Others
Date: Sunday Morning — June 24, 2018
Reading: Matthew 20:15-28
(Matthew 20:15-28) Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? (16) So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
(17) And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, (18) Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, (19) And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
(20) Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. (21) And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. (22) But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. (23) And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (24) And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. (25) But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. (26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
It should not be my purpose in life to be happy, but to be useful. John Bunyan once wrote, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” The Spirit of God says, “by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). We are told that David, “served his own generation by the will of God” (Acts 13:36). — I want to live like that!
Proposition: Living for God is living for the benefit of others, and serving God is serving others. — We can serve others without serving God; but we cannot serve God without serving others.
That is the doctrine of Romans 15. — Paul says, we are not to live “to please ourselves.” Rather, “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification” (Romans 15:1-2).
“Not to Please Ourselves” — That is the title of my message. — Hold your Bibles open on your laps at Romans 15. As we read these 33 verses of Inspiration together, I want to show you Seven Lessons from this 15th chapter of the book Romans. May God the Holy Ghost graciously teach us — “Not to Please Ourselves.”
1. Our example for life in all things is our Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 1-3).
(Romans 15:1-2) We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (2) Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Paul begins this chapter by telling us that we are “not to please ourselves” but to always give priority to one another, especially those who are weaker, who do not so fully enjoy the liberty we have in Christ about matters of indifference. He is here telling us to treat one another, especially our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ, with love and forbearance. Always be kind, patient, overlooking, and forgiving — Always (1 Peter 4:8; Proverbs 10:12).
(1 Peter 4:8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
(Proverbs 10:12) Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
Here’s the motive, the inspiration, the example he gives. —
(Romans 15:3) For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Our blessed Savior did not seek his own comfort, ease, profit, or glory. He subjected himself to every inconvenience and suffering, and at last to the shameful, ignominious, torturous death of the cross for the everlasting salvation of his elect. How much more we ought to do so!
Š He bore our reproaches (Psalm 69:9). Surely, we ought to bear one another’s weaknesses!
Š He willingly bore our sins in his body on the tree. How willingly we ought to bear a brother’s immaturity!
Š He who was rich, for our sakes, became poor that he might make us rich. How happy we ought to be to deprive ourselves of temporary pleasure for the good of others!
2. The Word of God was written to make us wise unto salvation (v. 4).
(Romans 15:4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The Book of God was written to show poor, lost sinners the path of life by Christ.
Š By His Obedience
Š By His Blood
Š By His Grace
Š By Faith in Him
Š “That we might have hope!”
3. Our great object in life ought to be the glory of God (vv. 5-7).
(Romans 15:5-7) Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (6) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
“The God of patience and consolation” — What a great name for our God. He is patience and he gives consolation. He is long suffering and he gives us comfort by his long suffering. — “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:15).
Š Let us ever be patient with one another, and long suffering.
Š Let us ever seek the comfort of God’s elect in all their trials, weaknesses, and even their faults.
Š We glorify God when we serve him with one mind, each esteeming the other better than himself.
Š We glorify God when we receive one another, embrace one another, and love one another, warts and all, just as Christ has received us to the glory of God.
Š We glorify God when we are likeminded about one another. — When we think about one another as we think about Christ! — When we think about one another as Christ thinks about us!
(1 Corinthians 10:31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of the world (vv. 8-12).
Paul wrote this letter to the saints at Rome. Most of them had been converted from the base idolatry and idolatrous practices of Roman paganism. They were Gentiles. Among them were some who were Jews. Paul is writing to both, Jews and Gentiles. He tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of both, Jews and Gentiles, bond and free, male and female, black and white, learned and unlearned. He is “the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
(Romans 15:8-12) Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: (9) And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. (10) And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. (11) And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. (12) And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures (Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 9:6-7), Paul here tells us, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that it was always the purpose of God to save his Israel, the seed of Abraham, the seed of David, his elect from people scattered throughout the earth, Gentiles as well as Jews. — Our Lord Jesus Christ was sent to save only the lost sheep of the house of Israel and all the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and save them he will, out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue!
(John 1:11-13) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John 3:14-17) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
5. You can never find real, lasting joy and peace in life without faith in Christ (v. 13).
(Romans 15:13) Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
He who is our God, “the God of all grace,” “the God of patience and consolation,” is also “the God of hope!” It is he and he alone who gives sinners…
Š Hope — “A Good Hope through Grace”
Š Joy — The Joy of Forgiveness
Š Peace — Peace of Heart
Š Faith — All these boons of grace come only to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and to all who believe on him.
Š And this gift of faith is ours only by “the power of the Holy Ghost.”
6. The Lord our God (Almighty, sovereign, gracious, and wise!), condescends to use saved sinners to accomplish his purpose of grace in saving other sinners (vv. 14-17).
(Romans 15:14-17) 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. (15) Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, (16) That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. (17) I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
Saved sinners, being taught of God, are “filled with all knowledge” (v. 14; 1 John 2:20, 27).
Š We know our sin and Christ’s righteousness.
Š We know our iniquities and Christ’s satisfaction
Š We know our weakness and Christ’s strength.
Š We know our impotence and Christ’s omnipotence.
Š We know our depravity and Christ’s grace.
Š We know our guilt and Christ’s forgiveness.
The great and gracious God of glory condescends to use fallen sinners saved by his grace to preach the gospel to fallen sinners for their eternal salvation (vv. 15-17).
Š The gift of preaching the gospel of Christ is a gift of the grace of God (v. 15).
Š God’s servants are ministers (servants) of Jesus Christ (v. 16). — We serve Christ. — We serve up Christ.
Š All who are born of God by the preaching of the gospel, all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are “sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (v. 16). — Regenerated! — Made Holy! — New Creatures!
Š Those who are called and gifted of God to preach the gospel “glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God” (v. 17). — Election! — Predestination! — Redemption! — Grace! — Salvation! — Resurrection! — Eternal Glory!
7. Faithful gospel preachers are men devoted to the cause of Christ, devoted to Christ, his gospel, his people, and his glory (vv. 18-33).
(Romans 15:18-33) For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, (19) Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (20) Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: (21) But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. (22) For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. (23) But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; (24) Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. (25) But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. (26) For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. (27) It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. (28) When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. (29) And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. (30) Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; (31) That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; (32) That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. (33) Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Paul here expressed great confidence that his preaching at Rome would be blessed of God and that he and God’s saints there would be refreshed together in the bonds of Christ.
It is sweet beyond description to a preacher to know that he has an interest in the prayers of those for whom and among who he labors. Paul had been enabled of God the Holy Ghost to pray for these Roman believers. And he drew the well-founded conclusion from that fact that he would come to them in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
Š When a faithful pastor and servant of Christ is led and enabled to pray for the people he serves, and the people are led and enabled of God to pray for him; the Lord blesses and will bless both preacher and his people by his labor.
Š How encouraging it is to any preacher to know that he lives in the affections of the people he serves and that they are daily go to Court of Heaven to remember him before the Throne of Grace!
Š The thought of this, that the people are at prayer for him, lifts his soul when he hardly knows how to pray for himself.
Š Paul knew that he would come to Rome in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ, because his heart was there and God was his witness that without ceasing he prayed for them (Romans 1:9-10).
Š More than that, the Lord himself had assured him that he bear witness of him at Rome (Acts 23:11).
Š It is truly blessed to be carried on the wings of faith and prayer to the Throne of Grace!
Š How anxious those Roman saints must have been to hear this man sent of God when he came to preach to them!
(Acts 10:33) Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Here is the benediction of God the Holy Ghost upon the life of every sinner chosen, redeemed, and called of God, to every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. — “Now the God of peace be with you all.”