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Romans 15:22-29


Intro: Many people in the world love to travel. They enjoy going from destination to destination seeing one thing after another. I suppose that if I had the resources, traveling is one thing I would do as well. Our text is about such a traveling man.

Paul was probably the greatest missionary that has ever served the Lord. When he lists some of the things he endured for the sake of the Gospel, one of the things he mentions is the fact that he was "in journeyings often", 2 Cor. 11:26. As this great man moved from location to location, he did not do so as a mere tourist. Although the cities through which he traveled contained some of the wonders of the ancient world, Paul wasn't looking for a t-shirt, nor was he just trying to fill his scrapbook with snapshots of the temple of Diana, the coliseum in Rome or the Parthenon in Athens. No, Paul's plans and purposes in traveling were far greater than such earthly things. He traveled from place to place not as a sightseer, but as a soul winner.

As we investigate these verses about the travels of Paul, there are insights that we can learn that will help us as we travel through the Christian life. You see, every Christian is a pilgrim in this world, 1 Pet. 2:11. If we are to travel while we are here, then let us at least learn to make it count for God. Let's see the insights in these verses as we read The Autobiography Of A Traveling Man.


(Ill. Paul's plans are detailed for us in the book of Acts. If you will take the time to read Acts you will quickly see that Paul made good plans and sought to carry them out. Let's see what these verses teach us about Paul's Plans In Traveling.)

A. V. 23 Paul's Plans Were Precise - In verse 23, Paul tells us that he "has no more place in these parts." He doesn't mean they have run him off. He doesn't even mean that all the work is done and all the sinners are saved. All he is saying is that he has finished his assignment. Remember, Paul was a man who laid foundations, v. 20, 1 Cor. 3:10. He has accomplished his purposes and now it is time to move on. Notice that he also has plans to go to Rome, v. 23. Paul is a man who lays out some plans and follows them!

(Note: He sets a good example for us tonight. Many people do not have any plans for their lives. They just live from day to day with no sense of directions and no plans for the future. We could learn a valuable lesson from Paul. We ought to find out from God what His plan is for our lives and then we ought to set ourselves to carrying out that plan. Have you made any plans for the future? Do you have dreams and visions of what your tomorrow will be like? God help us all to make some godly plans for our futures.)

B. V. 22 Paul's Plans Were Perplexing - Paul tells the Romans that he has been trying to come to see them but that he has been "hindered." This word means "to be cut into." Paul is saying that every way he turned, his path to Rome had been cut off. This was a constant state of affairs with Paul, Rom. 1:13. 1 Thes. 2:18 tells us that he was hindered by the devil. Acts 16:6-8 says that Paul had been hindered by the Holy Spirit. When he finally made it to Troas, he discovered God's leading and found his path through life.

(Note: When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he spoke of their being hindered by other people, Gal. 5:7. All of this reminds us of the truth that we should make the best plans for life that we can make and then expect them to get messed up. Just because you make plans to serve the Lord does not guarantee you that the devil will cooperate. There is no guarantee that other people won't oppose you. Even the circumstances of life will often stand contrary to the plans we have made. There are times when it may even seem that the Lord is fighting against the plans we have to follow Him.

Let me encourage you this evening to continue to live for him regardless of the problems life throws in your pathway. Remember, "the measure of a man is what it takes to stop him!" So, if you are sure you are following God honoring, God ordained plans, stick to it and watch Him work it out eventually. You see, eventually, Paul did make that trip to Rome.)

C. V. 24 Paul's Plans Were Pursued - Paul describes the confidence he has in his plans. He knows that there will be a day when they will work out. He is hindered now, but he doesn't get excited about it. He merely yields to the Lord's work in his life and trusts God to work it all out in the end.

There is a great lesson here if we will allow ourselves to see it. The lesson is this: there is a vast difference between our immediate plans and our ultimate plan. Our immediate plans are those things we plan to do today, or in the future. They are what we plan to do. Now, there will be times when those plans become disrupted. When they do, we need to learn not to get excited. It may be that the Lord has intervened in our lives for His own reasons. This was Paul's problem. In his immediate plans, he wanted to go to Rome, but that plan had repeatedly been hindered. However, that fact did not change his ultimate plan. Paul's ultimate plan was to tell men about Jesus wherever he was at any given time.

The lesson is this: your plans and mine may be hindered by circumstances and closed doors, but we must not allow that to get us defeated or discouraged. God works things out in His time and in His own way. He doesn't do this to cause us problems or to bring fear into our lives. He does it to enhance our journey. Imagine that you are traveling in a foreign land. Your guide suggests certain changes to the itinerary. He doesn't do it to ruin the trip, he does it to make the journey more enjoyable.

(Note: Instead of fretting when we encounter hindrances to our plans, may we learn that we can make our plans anyway we like, but that ultimately, our lives are controlled by The Master Planner, and He decides what does and does not happen in our lives. Therefore, may we learn to do it His way and not fret when the door closes or the plan changes.)


(Ill. Paul tells these Romans that before he can come their way, he must travel to Jerusalem to deliver an offering for the saints there. Part of the background for this offering is revealed in 1 Cor. 16 and 2 Cor. 8-9. These newly converted Gentiles had made a collection for the struggling saints in Jerusalem and Paul was going to take it to them.)

A. V. 25 The Purpose Of Grace - Paul says that he is traveling to Jerusalem to "minister" to the saints. He wants to be a blessing to the believers in that beleaguered church. Why? Paul remember where his faith started! He had been saved as a result of the work and influence of the Jerusalem church. Even though when he had first been saved, they hadn't embraced him right away, even though his motives had been questioned by those saints, Acts. 9, Paul felt an obligation to be a blessing to those people.

What a lesson for you and me! Have you taken the time to thank those who were influential in your coming to Jesus? Have you thanked them for praying for you? For telling you? For loving you? For giving so you could hear the Gospel? Have you thanked those who cared? God help us to reach back to those who have ministered to us and may we have the grace to say "Thank you!"

B. V. 26 The Purpose Of Giving - This verse tells us that the Gentile believers where Paul had been ministering had received an offering for the struggling saints in Jerusalem. The fact is, the people in Jerusalem were suffering in a terrible fashion. The other saints around the world heard of their plight and received an offering to ease their misery.

Now, this is the very opposite of how we do it now. It is us, the established churches, with some money who send offerings to those around the world. Imagine for a minute that the tables were turned. Suppose the folks in Africa or in South America were to get up a love offering to send to us! In reality, most of the world worships in abject poverty while we enjoy our finery. Would to God we would be more active in our giving to the cause of missions so that more people might hear the Gospel.

Now, the whole point here is that these new, baby Christians wanted ot be a part of what God was doing. They wanted to be a blessing to the folks in Jerusalem. Some of them could not preach. Some of them would never teach or sing. Many would never travel far from the town of their birth, but there was one thing they could all do: give! I don't know if you know it or not, but it takes money to operate a church! I don't like to preach about giving, so I don't, but you still have to do it! If you don't, you are a skinflint and a God-robber! 2 Cor. 8; 2 Cor. 9:7. We ought to get excited when it is offering time!

C. V. 27 The Purpose Of Gratitude - Paul says that the Gentiles gave of their material wealth because the saints in Jerusalem had given of their spiritual wealth. Here is a spiritual principle that many people do not like: If you have received a spiritual blessing from a ministry, you owe that ministry a material blessing! This is especially true of your local church where you are strengthened and fed in the things of God. You have a duty to render to this church those things that are required to meet the needs of this ministry! Note these other verses that support this idea, Gal. 6:6; 1 Thes. 5:17-18. The idea is that the moment you hear the Gospel, you are in debt. First, you are indebted to God Who made it all possible and you owe Him your faith. Secondly, you are indebted to those who made it possible for you to hear the Gospel. Sadly, many aren't discharging their debt to the church, but are forcing the few to carry the burden of many! Shame on anybody who will hold back their giving from the house of God!

(Note: Some complain that they don't agree with how the money is spent. I say voice you opinion, and when the vote is taken either stand with the church or go somewhere else where they do it your way! Either way, you owe a material debt where a spiritual blessing is received!)


(Ill. Much of Paul's traveling was done on foot. Some by boat. However, the real power behind his travels was spiritual in nature. He mentions something of that power in these two verses.)

A. V. 28 A Powerful Mission - In verse 28, Paul seems obsessed with getting to Spain? Why? Two reasons. One, it was the intellectual center of the world in Paul's day. Two, It represented the furthermost extent of the Roman Empire in Paul's day. To him, it was the "uttermost part of the earth." Paul was merely obsessed with the mission of Christ. He wanted to preach the Gospel wherever it had never been preached. He wanted all those brilliant minds in Spain to hear the Word, be converted, and be used of God to spread the Gospel for the glory of God. Would to God that the flame which burned in Paul's heart for the lost take hold of you and me! Would to God we would become overwhelmed with the idea that men were perishing. Would to God we would become consumed with the Gospel to the point that we would determine to tell everyone we met what Jesus can do for a lost sinner.

B. V. 29 A Powerful Motive - Paul says that when he journeys and when he preaches, he does so with divine blessing upon his life. He is saying that everywhere he travels, the presence of the Lord goes with him to aid him and to empower him. Therefore, he can carry out the work of Christ with absolute confidence in the Lord's power and promises.

(Note: The Lord has called each of us to carry His message to the whole world, Mark 16:15. For many, that is a frightening prospect! However, when the Lord told His men to go, He also told than that He would go with them, Matt. 28:18-20. What more assurance do we need as we go with the Gospel? Let us therefore go with absolute confidence that He will help us and bless us as we labor for Him!)

Conc: What does you pilgrimage say about you, your love for the Lord and your burden for the lost? Paul was a man who traveled, but as he traveled, he was working for the Master, seeking to bring men to Jesus!

As we await the day when He will come for us, let us spend our time laboring for Jesus instead of lying lazily about the Father's house. He has a plan for us, let's get to it. He has a path for us, let's get on it. He has a place for us, let's get in it!

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