Romans 15: a heart for ministry.

“This combination of words and works, the verbal and the visual, is a recognition that human beings often learn more through their eyes than through their ears. Words explain works, but works dramatize words. The public ministry of Jesus is the best example of this, and after his ascension into heaven he continued ‘to do and to teach’ through his apostles (Acts 1:1). It would be wrong to conclude, however, that ‘works’ means only miracles. One of Jesus’ most powerful visual aids was to take a child into his arms, and one of the early church’s was their common life and their care for the needy. Paul’s only other use of these three words [‘power’, ‘signs’, and ‘wonders’] is in relation to his ministry in II Cor. 12:12, where he calls them ‘the things that mark an apostle’. This is not to deny that God can perform miracles today; it is rather to acknowledge that their chief purpose was to authenticate the unique ministry of the apostles [Heb.2:4].”
—John Stott on Romans 15:18-191

This morning at 6 AM some of the men of WCC will gather for their weekly Thursday morning Bible Study. One of our Elders, Kent, leads the men through the study and draws from that guide. Here’s a quick summary outline of Romans 15, Paul’s way of describing what a real heart for ministry — worshiping God by loving and leading people:

  • 15:1-3 » The Servant Heart: Basis for Ministry
  • 15:4 » The Scripture: Guidance for Ministry
  • 15:5-13 » The Unified Body: Channel for Ministry
  • 15:14-23 » The World: Field for Ministry
  • 15:24-29 » The Poor: Special Concern for Ministry
  • 15:30-32 » Prayer: Power For Ministry

In the middle of the chapter we find an apt description of maturity in the Christian life:

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”
—Romans 15:14

Do you see the triad of growing in 3-D?

  1. HEART (full of goodness),
  2. HEAD (filled with all knowledge) &
  3. HANDS (able to instruct one another).

We need godliness, Gospel truth and wisdom, and the ability to lead.

When these three are brought together with a servant’s heart for ministry, God’s power is demonstrated. There we see Him do miracles as He pleases.

  1. Stott’s quote comes from the ROMANS Leaders Guide published by Redeemer Presbyterian Church.