(Vs. 18) The apostle would not take unto himself any praise for the labor and success of others. He spoke ONLY of the success which Christ had given to His own work. Many people suppose that it is wrong to give any praise to the Lord's servants for their labor, ministry, and works of faith. They say it will encourage self-righteousness and pride. This is wrong and not from God. CHRIST WROUGHT IT! Ail of our success is in Christ, as well as our ability and desire to labor. FAITH IS THE GIFT OF GOD! Faith is not to be ascribed to him who preaches nor to him who hears, but to Christ, Who opens the heart. But the preacher, or teacher, or witness is employed as an ambassador of Christ. Christ brought about the obedience of the Gentiles through Paul, and God praises faithful servants (Matt. 25:21; Matt. 25:34-40).
(Vs. 19) God confirmed the ministry of the apostles with signs and wonders (Mark 16:15-20; Heb. 2:3-4). From Jerusalem to other countries I have FULLY PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. This is the supreme test of our ministry, our labor, and our efforts for the glory of God and the good of our hearers. Have we fully preached the gospel of Christ? (I Cor. 1:17; 9:16; Gal. 1:8-9).
(Vs. 20) Paul was a pioneer missionary. His calling and desire was to occupy new ground for Christ and preach the gospel to those who had never heard. He who builds on the foundation is not inferior to the one who lays the foundation, but Paul was a foundation-layer (I Cor. 3:5-10).
(Vs. 21) This prophecy is from Isaiah 52:15. Paul knew that God had raised him up for this workto preach to the heathen. He gives His servants the earnest desire to be the means to accomplish His divine purpose (Rom. 1:14-16).
(Vs. 22) For this cause I have been hindered from coming to Rome where the gospel had been preached by others. Paul was the apostle and missionary, not the pastor! (Eph. 4:11-13.) Happy is the person who knows what God has called him to do and does it with all his heart unto the Lord, rejoicing in the ministry of others.
(Vs. 23-24) My work here is done; so when I go to Spain, I will come to Rome; for I hope to see you and be delighted and blessed with your company. True believers DELIGHT IN THE COMPANIONSHIP OF OTHER BELIEVERS wherever they are found. We need the fellowship of one another, and we rob ourselves and others of a rich blessing when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:24-25; Heb. 3:12-13).
(Vs. 25-27) The apostle wanted to go to Rome and to carry the gospel to Spain, but first he would go to Jerusalem to carry to the poor believers there money and gifts which had been provided by the believers of Macedonia and Achaia! (II Cor. 8:1-4.)
This was not a church tax or a required offering, but a generous gift from the hearts of the believers in these cities to help their poor brethren in Jerusalem. These Gentiles had benefited from the Jewish believers in things pertaining to God, and they felt indebted to them to share their material blessings (Gal. 6:6-10).
(Vs. 28-29) When I have performed this task, I will come to see you; and my visit with you will be blessed of God to you and to me. We will rejoice together in the gospel of Christ.
(Vs. 30) Paul requests their prayers for himself. He bases it on two things. (1) For the sake and glory of Christ. This must always be the foundation for any prayerFOR CHRIST'S SAKE (Eph. 4:32). (2) Because of your love for me which the Spirit has worked in you. This is sincere, meaningful prayer. We genuinely love one another, wish the best for one another, and pray the blessings of God on one another FOR CHRIST'S SAKE! The word STRIVE here is a fervent, strong exercise. Prayer is not a formal exercise, but a sincere, fervent desire laid before God in the name of Christ (Eph. 6:18-19).
(Vs. 31-33) What was Paul's prayer request? (1) To be delivered from danger. (2) That his gift to the saints at Jerusalem should be received in the Spirit of Christ. This shows the feelings among the Jews for the Gentiles. It was not commendable in many cases. (3) That he may visit them by the will of God. Pray about EVERYTHING (Phil. 4:6; I Thess. 5:18).