Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ROMANS 15:29-33


  1. In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul writes of his intention to visit the city of Rome, which at that time was the greatest city in the world (15:23, 29, 32; cf. 1:10, 15).
  2. Paul uses a very interesting expression here in Romans 15:29.  He says to the Christians at Rome that he was planning on visiting them and that when he did arrive, he would “come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29).
  3. “The fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29).
  4. Paul uses similar expressions in his other epistles.  For example, in Ephesians 3:19, Paul desires that they “might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
  5. Just think what could happen if each and every Christian gathered here this morning was “filled with all the fulness of God”!



  1. Paul said, “And I am sure…” (15:29).  Paul was confident that he would go to Rome, and later on the Lord confirmed it (cf. Acts 23:11). 
  2. Furthermore, Paul had confidence that when he came to Rome it would be “in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (15:29).
  3. Paul was not sure when he would come, but he was sure that when he did come it would be “in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29).
  4. Paul knew that fulness came by being full of the Holy Spirit.  That is why he wrote to the church at Ephesus, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
  5. It is easy to go on serving the Lord and neglect the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
  6. We can be confident just as Paul was confident.  Our Lord said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).
  7. Our Lord was not referring to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He was speaking of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
  8. All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and all believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
  9. But not all believers are filled by the Holy Spirit.
  10. Spurgeon spoke of “the great necessity which exists for the continual manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in the church of God if by her means the multitudes are to be gathered to the Lord Jesus.”
  11. DL Moody, the great evangelist, became friendly with two women who used to attend his meetings and sit on the front row of seats.
  12. As Moody got to know them, an intense hunger and thirst for spiritual power were aroused in him by their example.
  13. As he preached, he could see by the expression on their faces that they were praying. At the close of services they would say to him:

“We have been praying for you.”
“Why don’t you pray for the people in the audience?” Mr. Moody would ask.
“We’re praying for you because you need the power of the Spirit,” they would say.

  1. In the following years, Moody would often tell this story. “I need the power! Why,” said Mr. Moody, in relating the incident years after, “I thought I had power. I had the largest congregations in Chicago, and there were many conversions. I was in a sense satisfied. But right along those two godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest talk about anointing for special service set me to thinking. I asked them to come and talk with me, and they poured out their hearts in prayer that I might receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. There came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. I began to cry out as I never did before. I really felt that I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service.”
  2. Moody’s biographies tell of the great Chicago fire, and of DL Moody’s relief work, his building of the tabernacle on the north side of Chicago, and of his visiting the east coast to raise money for his work.
  3. During this trip to the east coast, the hunger for more spiritual power was still upon Mr. Moody.
  4. The fullness of the power of God came upon DL Moody right here in NYC. “I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York – oh, what a day! – I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world -- it would be as the small dust of the balance.”
  5. Years later, when CI Scofield preached his funeral, he said this was the key to Moody’s power.  RA Torrey wrote a booklet called, Why God Used D. L. Moody, and he said the same thing.



  1. This confidence includes the blessings of answered prayer.  First John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
  2. Let me say that it bothers me to hear Christians say: “God always answers prayer.  Sometimes He says yes, and sometimes no.”
  3. “No” is not an answered prayer! 
  4. The key is, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
  5. We are to pray according to the will of God (cf. Romans 8:26, 27).
  6. God has conditioned wonderful spiritual blessings on the exercise of prayer.  If we are in God’s will, we can be confident that God will hear us, and He will answer us (cf. Luke 11:9-13).
  7. God, in His sovereignty, has arranged things in such a way that His work in this world is dependent upon the prayers of His people.
  8. This can be seen in the prayers of Moses, and Elijah, and Daniel, and Paul, and many others both in the Bible, and throughout history.
  9. The Holy Spirit puts in the hearts of God’s people to pray for something.  Then the Holy Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26, 27).
  10. Then when our prayers are answered, God’s will is done (15:32).
  11. If you are familiar with Paul’s epistles, then you know he prayed for many people and he frequently asked for prayer (cf. Rom. 1:9, 10).
  12. Note the word “strive” (15:30).  The word literally means “to wrestle.” 
  13. In Colossians 4:12, Paul refers to Epaphras, and says he is “always labouring fervently for you in prayers,” in order that they would “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
  14. Paul refers to many of his fellow believers in his epistles, but it is only Epaphras that is commended for his prayer life.
  15. Paul asked the Christians at Rome to pray “for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit” (Rom. 15:30).  The Holy Spirit produces this love in our hearts (cf. Rom. 5:5).
  16. On the basis of their love for the Lord Jesus, and their love for Paul –  which the Holy Spirit put in their hearts – they were to pray for Paul.
  17. Paul prayed specifically and we must pray specifically.  Paul prayed…
  • that he would be delivered from unbelievers in Judea (15:31).  Paul’s transformation from a fanatical Pharisee and opponent of the Gospel into the greatest Gospel preacher of all stirred up fierce anger among the unbelieving Jews.
  • That his “service” (“ministration” – margin) would be accepted by the believers in Jerusalem.  This refers to the offerings collected by the generous believers in Macedonia and Achaia (Romans 15:25-27; cf. II Cor. 8 and 9).
  • That he would come to them in Rome “with joy by the will of God,” and may with them “be refreshed” (15:32).
  1. This brings me to my last point.



  1. The apostle Paul spoke often of being in the will of God (Rom. 1:10; 8:27; 12:2).
  2. We have already considered the importance of praying according to the will of God.
  3. All our plans and all our prayers must be based upon the perfect (not the permissive) will of God.
  4. God allowed Jonah to get on a ship to Tarshish, but that was not the perfect will of God because God already told Jonah to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-3).
  5. People are dying and going to hell every minute, but that’s not God’s will because the Bible says God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
  6. Than why are so many people going to hell?  The same reason Lot’s wife turned around when she was told not to; the same reason Pharaoh defied God; the same reason Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ – sin, disobedience, rebelliousness, and unbelief.
  7. Paul put it this way.  In II Thessalonians 1:8, he said our Lord will take “vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
  8. To be in the will of God, we must obey the Bible.  It brings joy, and refreshment, and peace (15:32, 33).
  9. Paul told Agrippa, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).



  1. Being in the will of God, and experiencing the joy of the Lord does not mean our pathway will always be smooth.
  2. After writing this letter, Paul eventually arrived in Jerusalem and he was badly beaten and arrested in the temple.
  3. Acts 21:31 says “they went about to kill him.”
  4. Paul was imprisoned for two years in Caesarea, and then on his voyage out at sea his ship was caught up in a tempestuous storm and was wrecked.
  5. Paul finally made it to Rome, but he came to Rome as a prisoner in chains (Acts 28:16).
  6. But the Lord had His hand on Paul.
  7. And his prayers were answered (15:31, 32).
  8. He came to Rome “in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (15:29).

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