What I’m about to share this time will probably challenge you to the very core of how you are doing ministry and view success. The kingdom of God is advancing but because of a religious mindset we are sometimes are missing its impact. We probably believe that success is determined by the number of salvations occurring. But the mandate we really have is to build the Kingdom of God and as we do that salvations will occur. The message of the Kingdom is: The gospel is the good news that a king exists with a kingdom to bring Royal power and sovereign rule to regenerate the earth and all within it through a people called the Ecclesia. The regeneration that the kingdom releases is what causes salvation to come. Now to the challenge. It is found in this verse.
Romans 15:19 (KJV 1900) — 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The context of this verse is about a geographical region and the gospel of the kingdom within that region. Digging into this we find the area was relatively large and circular in nature. It also contained one of the major Roman roads which many used traveling. This road was lined with occult statutes and as people passed, they were expected to lay offerings down. It was an area with a lot of mixed beliefs, and with many traveling through it. But what Paul was talking about is not about preaching everything about the kingdom. But he was talking of a region that Paul worked in. Now did Paul get everyone saved in this area? No. Our mindset of success is conversions and Gods mindset is kingdom influences being felt. Not everyone was saved but everyone in the area knew about the kingdom. Are we in a strategy that everyone will know about the Kingdom in what I call my assigned territory? Now that is a real challenge!
He said the reason he impacted this geographical area was mighty signs, wonders and the power (dunimas) the nature of Christ within him. The word mighty is also the word dunimas. The signs and wonders contained the nature of God as they came and were performed. Looking at the previous verse he also states that he did things in word and deed and that everything he did was Christ working through him and he did nothing on his own accord. He trusted the Christ within him was enough to speak though him and perform his word by the Holy Spirit.
Now just how much did Paul allow Christ to work through him? We see verses in his writings of “I die daily” “My life is hid in Christ” “to die is gain” and a host of other verses. We use these in attempt to let go of sin and things that seem to distract us. But Paul’s process of dying was not to overcome shortcomings but to advance the kingdom of Christ. Christ was so formed in him was at a whole different level, a greater fullness of yieldedness, obedience and death even. The answer is also seen in this section of Romans.
Romans 15:21–22 (KJV 1900) — 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. 22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
Paul is quoting a verse found in Isaiah 52:21. This verse like so many was a prophesy concerning Christ coming. But now look at the context, Paul claims this verse for himself! It seems we hold certain prophet verse to only be Christ, but Paul claims this and others as his. He knows this verse in Isiah was focused towards Christ so why would he claim it as his own? Paul had so died, Christ was so formed in, He was so alive in Paul, that he saw that what was spoke pertaining and pointing towards Christ, that if Christ was really working through him, then those things were Paul’s as well! Now that is the root of the challenge we see here.
Romans 15:23 (KJV 1900) — 23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;
Paul concludes a couple verses later stating with such confidence that he no longer had a place of effectiveness in that region. Imagine he was so well known and made the kingdom so well known, in his perspective he no longer was needed there. Instead of moving on out of frustration which so many do, he was ready to move on because of completion. To reach our regions we need signs and wonders. To see them in our regions we need Christ formed in us. But we need Him so real in our lives that not only do we take on the nature of Christ, but we take on what was said over him and prophesied about him is ours as well as we become his extension, his ambassadors upon the earth.