Romans 15:25-33 / Be Flexible (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on October 16, 2014


This is the sixty-first in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of October 12, 2014. This message deals with the necessity of putting our own plans on hold, to minister to others and fulfill an immediate need. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Romans 15_25-33




Romans 15:25-33


Paul had plans to go to Spain, by way of Rome, but NOW something else needed to be done. His plans to go to Spain had to give way to a more pressing matter. The saints in Jerusalem were in need, and Paul meant to minister to them.

Specifically, Paul is speaking of the collection he had caused to be taken up among the Gentile churches for the poor Christians in Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Jerusalem was not a particularly wealthy place, and the Christians there were no exception. Paul and Barnabus had brought aid to them in the past.

Acts 11:27-30


This contribution also highlights the unity of believers. When one is in need, others help. In fact, we are told that other Christians were pleased to do so. Such should be the attitude among us.

We shouldn’t view helping our brethren as burdensome, rather we should find joy in it. We should not simply pay lip service to those in need, but should be ready to take action if possible.

James 2:15-18


This contribution could be looked at from two standpoints:

  1. as a love-gift (“they were pleased to do it”)
  2. as an obligation (“they are their debtors”).

Had it not been for the generosity of the Jerusalem church in sharing their spiritual blessings (the Gospel), the Gentiles would still be in pagan darkness. Therefore, they felt an obligation to reciprocate by sharing their material blessings.

Are we simply takers, or are we givers also? Each of us was once in darkness, and had it not been for the work of other Christians, we would never had heard the Gospel.

If you never hear the Gospel, you’ll never know Christ. Therefore, each of us are in some way indebted to our brethren.


Sometimes our most earnest plans must be put on hold for something more urgent, and this very urgent mission would have to precede his trip to Spain.

Christians should plan ahead, but they should also be flexible.

Paul had definite plans to visit Rome on his way to Spain, once this mission was accomplished. Moreover, he was determined that he would bring them a blessing.

Romans 1:11-13

However, his blessing would have to come in the form of this letter.


Paul wasn’t afraid to ask for prayer, and neither should we be. Paul knew he would face opposition, and we need to be prepared for the same whenever we are doing God’s work.

Many Jews in Jerusalem rejected the Gospel and were prepared to attack Paul when he returned.

Their prayers were answered in that he met with success in Jerusalem.

Acts 21:17-20

And he was delivered from death. . . but not imprisonment.

Acts 23:11


While Paul earnestly desired to get to Rome and fellowship with these saints, he wanted it to be by God’s will. And no doubt, it would have brought him great joy. Ultimately, it was God’s will, but in a different way than what he had planned.

Like Paul, we need to temper our desires and our plans with submission to the will of God. Sometimes, God’s plan will differ from our own. When that happens, we need to learn to accept and embrace it, not rebel against it.

Paul used his time in a Roman prison to write what would become a significant portion of the New Testament. Even in prison, Paul continued to minister to others.

No matter where the Lord sends us in our lives and ministries, we can know that the God of peace is with us, and we should want others to experience that peace as well. When we are committed to sharing the Gospel and ministering to needs, we will make great strides in leading others into that peace.

Posted in: Sermons