Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come to you.…
I. THE LONGING OF AN EARNEST MIND FOR ENGAGEMENT IN CHRIST'S SERVICE. Paul wished to see them —
1. That he might impart some spiritual gift. Some suppose reference is made to those supernatural gifts in which the Church at Corinth was so rich, and were they still in the Church some would be tempted to say, "Give me this power," with a view to usefulness. But why do you not use those you already have? It is not that our Churches come behind in gifts, but that so many are unemployed. Everyone has some gift — use it. Some mistake their gifts and hinder. If you have no gift for public prayer, pray in silence. But all have the gift of tongues. Everyone can speak a word in season to them that are weary. Pray that they may be baptized with fire. That will purge from detraction, etc., and make meet for the Master's use.
2. That he and they might be comforted by the faith of each. There is a law pervading God's works by which the giver becomes the receiver. The seed comes back in the harvest; the ocean receives the rain it gives off in evaporation. Nothing is so injurious as selfishness; nothing so remunerative as benevolence. No prayer is so profitable as intercession for others; no Bible knowledge so rich as that derived from exposition to others. How many have been recompensed for efforts made to attend the prayer meeting!
II. THE DELAYS OFTEN MET WITH IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF OUR WORK. Do not suppose that because your motive is pure your end will be achieved at once. Paul planned long ago to visit Rome, but found his plans set aside by God. In all your undertakings do what he did — pray to, and then wait for, God to make the way plain. The opportunity will come in His, i.e., the best time.
III. OUR DESIRE FOR EMPLOYMENT IN CHRIST'S WORK MAY BE REALISED IN A WAY LEAST EXPECTED. The spirit, rather than the letter, of the prayer is answered. How little Paul thought that he would enter Rome a prisoner; but the sequel shows that God was right. What a rich experience Paul brought with him, and accumulated for the benefit of the Church of all ages. How invaluable is the record of his shipwreck! We could ill have spared the incidents of his history even for more sermons and epistles. Then he tells us how that all fell out for the furtherance of the end he had in view (Philippians 1).
IV. TO ACCOMPLISH CHRIST'S WORK WE MUST HAVE A POWERFUL CONVICTION —
1. Of our personal indebtedness.
2. Of the glory and power of the gospel.
(J. S. Pearsall.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.