Healthy, Loving Unity Becomes the Platform for All Gospel Advancement.

The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.

The Precedent of Gospel Advancement

Jesus is our perpetual example (Romans 15:3). We maintenance unity so the world can be reached for Christ. Jesus was impartial and sacrificial in his Gospel work (Psalm 69:9, Matthew 20:28). In Christ, we have a mutual responsibility to accept His life by grace and advance the Gospel by grace in an impartial way. Christ gives us complete righteousness and hope in Him, along with the opportunity to extend ourselves in sacrifice like He did, bearing reproach with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we are unified in thinking and speaking, we will enjoy common fruitful productivity (Romans 15:5-6).

A unified church of people who accept one another (Romans 15:7-8) has one common focus and a common hope. We remain hopeful in light of Christ's return and preparing others to meet Him. The Thessalonian church was a good example of this (1 Thessalonians 1-5).

Romans 15:9-12 references several Old Testament passages including Psalm 18:49 and Deuteronomy 32:43. God intended Jews and Gentiles to rejoice together in the common reality of knowing and growing in Christ. Paul quotes Isaiah 11:1 to emphasize that Jesus Christ accepts Jew and Gentile and can be trusted by all for salvation (see also Galatians 3:28). Christ longs to unite the strong and weak in every church the way He did the church in Rome.

The Preparation for Gospel Advancement

The Roman church showed 3 qualities of spiritual preparedness that characterized a church poised for Gospel advancement (Romans 15:14). Being "full of goodness" means people who show moral excellence. Being "filled with all knowledge" means they are spiritually mature. As a result, they are "able also to admonish one another." Mature believers can fully and capably apply God's Word to another's life to help them grow. This praise was written not to the leaders but the church as a whole, without respect to age.

Paul wrote the Roman believers not with a corrective intent, but to show his confidence in their ability to assist in Gospel advancement.

The Pursuit of Gospel Advancement

Many churches that preach the whole Word of God wonder why their churches reach a plateau or decline. Biblical health includes studying the Bible and Great Commission purpose. The point of learning the Word is to have a wider Gospel influence in our community.

Paul's success and the Roman Christians' success was only due to the work of God (Romans 15:17-19, Galatians 6:14). Paul gives a reminder and plan for His pursuit of Gospel advancement (Romans 15:20-21). Paul gave attention first to taking care of the church where the Gospel began, then traveling on to Spain where the Gospel had not been preached. He enlisted the Roman church to help him along the way. Healthy Christians care about spreading the Gospel to places where it is not currently or has never been preached before.

Application Points

  • Are you contributing to the spiritual health of your local church by maintaining unity? Is the Gospel advancing from you?
  • Why do you study the Bible? What is the end goal of your discipleship? We grow deep in order to have a wider influence in the Gospel.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Galatians 6:2 – As we nurture each other spiritually, the Gospel will go out from among us.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Jesus Saves"

We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves!

Waft it on the rolling tide, Jesus saves;
Tell to sinners far and wide, Jesus saves;
Sing, ye islands of the sea,
Echo back, ye ocean caves;
Earth shall keep her jubilee, Jesus saves!

Sing above the battle’s strife, Jesus saves;
By His death and endless life, Jesus saves;
Sing it softly thru the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves,
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb, Jesus saves!

Give the winds a mighty voice, Jesus saves;
Let the nations now rejoice. Jesus saves;
Shout salvation full and free,
Highest hills and deepest caves,
This our song of victory, Jesus saves!