Romans 15:14–21 (NKJV)
14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written:
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see;Romans 15:14-21
And those who have not heard shall understand.”
Paul comes back after firmly establishing the right of Gentiles to salvation through Jesus Christ with a confident compliment that the Jews and Roman Christians are good people, knowledgeable people, able to teach and convince one another. He explains that his strong statement concerning the rights of the Gentiles is so that all the church will be able to support and endorse his ministry to them. Jesus has changed everything, for the better. Paul recounts his missionary work and his powerful preaching (confirmed by signs and wonders) from Jerusalem to Illyricum (modern-day Albania, north of Greece). He states that he preached where others had not, because he did not wish to “build on another man’s foundation.” This was not arrogance or a lack of wanting to cooperate with others. Instead, Paul was wanting to take new ground, go where others had not, in order to spread the gospel and build the kingdom more fully. He wanted to find those “to whom He was not announced,” and “those who have not heard” so that they could know Christ as well.
Too often, the only evangelistic activity in which we participate is the local church service. The quote at the top of the page is from Oswald J. Smith. It is rather direct and perhaps impossible in some ways, but nevertheless gives us a glimpse into the grossly opulent way in which some nations or regions are flooded with the gospel, and others are bereft of the life-giving word of God found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is calling us to build on new foundations, and to plant where there is no garden. That means we should share the gospel and plant the seed of the Word of God in barren places and shine light in dark places. Become more than a church-goer. Become a witness, an evangelist to the nations, beginning in your house and going around the world!