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 Romans Chapter 15 – Part One

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter 15 – Part One   Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:56 am

Romans 15:1-4

As Imitators Of Christ
Paul had written that Christians should not despise or condemn others (Rom_14:1-12) nor should they hinder the conduct of other Christians (Rom_14:13-23). Now he gave a third principle to observe when a believer is dealing with fellow Christians: he is to follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was supremely the Person who ministered on behalf of others, not for Himself. It is fitting, therefore, that those who take His name should imitate Him.
Paul summarized the previous discussion (Rom_14:1-23) by saying, We who are strong (obviously in convictions and conscience) ought (pres. tense, emphasizing continuing obligation; its first position in the sentence underscores its importance) to bear with the failings (lit., “infirmities, weaknesses”) of the weak (lit., “nonstrong”). I Thessalonians 5:14: "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]."
Another Scripture we need to look at is Luke 12:48 "But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." You see, God holds us responsible for what we know. The shepherds that God has placed over the flock, God requires to bring His message to the sheep.
The strong are not to simply tolerate the weaknesses of their weaker brothers; they are to help the weak shoulder their burdens by showing loving and practical consideration for them.
The strong ought not despise the weak; they ought to bear with them. Also the strong should not seek to please themselves. This last clause is the key; a Christian should not be self-centered, but should be concerned about the spiritual welfare of others. Pleasing others, however, is not the end in itself, but is for their good, to build them up (lit., “unto edification”; cf. “edification” in Rom_14:19). “Edification” means to build up and strengthen. This is essentially the same appeal that Paul made previously, only with the added qualification of self sacrifice.
We see scriptures by Paul about how He tried to win people to Christ by meeting them on their ground.
I Corinthians 9:19-22 "For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more." "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;" I "To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law." "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some."
This is the example the Lord Jesus Christ left. Even He did not please Himself. He came “to do the will” of the Father who sent Him (Joh_4:34) and to please Him (Joh_5:30; Joh_8:29). When Jesus was facing death of His body on the cross, He asked for the cup to pass from Him. His very next statement was not my will but thine Father. Jesus submitted His will to the Father.
Psalms 40:8 "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart."
This really is the desire of true Christians; to do the will of God.
“Reproaches” is referring to slander, false accusations, and insults. Men hate God and they manifested that same hate toward the One He sent to reveal Himself.
John 8:29 "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."
To support this statement Paul quoted a part of a verse from a messianic psalm (Psa_69:9). Christ was insulted by others because of His associations with God the Father.
Then Paul stated a significant principle concerning the purpose and ministry of the Scriptures: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (lit., “for our instruction”). The Scriptures serve to give believers endurance (hypomonēs, “steadfastness in the face of adversities”) and encouragement so that they might have hope (pres. tense, “keep on having hope”; cf. Rom_5:3-5). Christians presently live under the New Covenant and are not under the authority of the Old Covenant. God’s moral law has never changed and all Scripture is of spiritual benefit.
The things written aforetime is a reference to that which was written in the Old Testament.
Galatians 3:24-25 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." "But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
We know that faith comes by hearing and the hearing must be the word of God. Our hope comes from knowing the word of God. We have said before that, the power is in the spoken and written Word of God.
Without the clear and certain promises of the Word of God, the believer has no basis for hope.
As Christians learn from the past (what is written in the OT about others who did not please themselves) they are motivated to endure and be comforted in the present, looking ahead in hope (confidence) to the future.

Romans 15:5-6

The steadfast endurance and encouragement a Christian receives from the Scriptures (Rom_15:4) come ultimately from God (Rom_15:5), the Author of the Scriptures. Paul prayed that God would give his readers a spirit of unity (lit., “to think the same”; Rom_12:16, “live in harmony,” has the same Gr. construction) as they follow Christ Jesus (lit., “according to Christ Jesus”). It is very important that we Christians be in one accord. We are all part of the family of God and will live in heaven together. We need to learn to live peaceably here with each other.
Romans 12:18: "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Consolation in the Scripture above means comfort. In the upper room on the day of Pentecost, they were in one accord. This pleased God and the Holy Ghost fell with power from on high. The unity that God wants us to have is unity of the Spirit.
Despite differing views on non essential issues, Paul urges the strong and the weak to pursue loving spiritual harmony in regard to matters on which the Bible is silent.
The ultimate purpose of this unity was that with one heart and mouth (a unity of inward feeling and outward expression) they would glorify (pres. tense, “keep on glorifying”) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Co_1:3; Eph_1:3; 1Pe_1:3 have the same wording about God). Our unity should be both real and apparent. But the consummate purpose of unity is not to please other believers but to glorify God.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:"
We must all be together on the fact that Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord is also the Resurrection and our Life. Our praises to the Father should go up continually for giving His only begotten Son that we might be saved.
1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"
This is the final purpose of Christians individually and of the church corporately (cf. Rom_15:7; 1Co_6:20; 2Th_1:12).

Romans 15:7

Since the goal of interpersonal relationships among Christians is a unified glorying of God, Paul concluded his commands with Accept one another (pres. imper., “keep on accepting or receiving one another”). Significantly this is the same command Paul gave the strong Christians when he opened this entire discussion (Rom_14:1). The Model of acceptance for Christians, however, is the Lord Jesus, who accepted us. If the sinless perfect Son of God was willing to bring sinners into God’s family, how much more should those who have been forgiven be willing to warmly embrace and accept each other is spite of their disagreements over issue of conscience?
John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." "By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
The Lord received believers when they were not only “powerless” (Rom_5:6, lit., “weak”) but also “ungodly” (Rom_5:6), “sinners” (Rom_5:Cool, and “enemies” (Rom_5:10). Certainly Christians can receive others who differ with them on nonessential matters. Jesus Christ received them so that they can bring praise to God (lit., “unto glory of God”), which is the purpose of Christian unity (Rom_15:6).

Romans 15:8-12

Having pointed to the Lord Jesus as the Model for Christians, Paul proceeded to discuss Jesus’ ministry and its objectives: Christ became a servant (the word “deacon” comes from this Gr. noun diakonon) of the Jews (lit., “to the circumcision”). Jesus was born a Jew as God’s Messiah for Israel. God had two objectives to accomplish through Jesus’ ministry. The first was to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs (cf. Rom_9:4-5). Jesus came first to the physical house of Israel. The promises here mentioned are the ones made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We know also, that all believers in Christ are heirs of the promises to Abraham.
Galatians 3:29: "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Jesus says He was sent to the house of Israel in Matthew 15:24 "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

In verses 9-12, it shows God’s plan has always been to bring Jew and Gentile alike into His kingdom and to soften the prejudice of Christian Jews against their Gentile brothers. Paul quotes from the Law, the Prophets and twice from the Psalms, all the recognized divisions of the Old Testament proving God’s plan from their own Scripture.
God’s second objective in Christ’s ministry was so that (lit., “and that,” because the following clause is coordinate with the preceding one) the Gentiles may glorify God (cf. Rom_15:6) for His mercy. There were two promises of this very thing in the Old Testament, because God extended His grace and mercy to a people outside the covenant as it was written.
II Samuel 22:50 "Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name."
Psalms 18:49 "Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name."
We Gentile believers have much to glorify God for.
Galatians 3:14 "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Acts 15:7 "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
God had made covenants only with Israel (Rom_9:4), not with the Gentiles (cf. Eph_2:12), so God had no covenantal promises to confirm with the Gentiles. Any spiritual blessings that come to the Gentiles spring solely from the mercy of God. Nevertheless God eternally purposed to bless the Gentiles spiritually through the Lord Jesus as their Messiah and through His covenants with Israel (e.g., Gen_12:3; cf. Joh_4:22).
God’s two purposes in the ministry of Christ are being achieved now while Israel nationally has been set aside (cf. Rom_11:1-31) and the church is being formed of both Jews and Gentiles (Eph_2:14-22). And it will be achieved in the future when Israel is restored to her place as head of the nations and becomes a means of blessing to everyone (cf. Deu_30:1-10).
To demonstrate the validity of his statement concerning the ministry of Christ and its purposes, particularly the one relating to Gentiles, the Apostle Paul quoted four Old Testament passages, introducing the series with the formula, As it is written (perf. tense, “it stands written”). Significantly these quotations are taken from all three divisions of the Old Testament — “the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms” (Luk_24:44) — and from three great Jewish heroes: Moses, David, and Isaiah. The first quotation (Rom_15:9) is from David’s song of deliverance (2Sa_22:50; Psa_18:49); the second (Rom_15:10), from Moses’ valedictory song to the people of Israel (Deu_32:43); the third (Rom_15:11), from both the shortest and the middle chapter of the Bible (Psa_117:1); and the fourth (Rom_15:12), from Isaiah’s messianic prophecy (Isa_11:10).
A progression of thought can be traced through the four quotations. In the first, David praised God among the Gentiles (Rom_15:9); in the second, Moses exhorted the Gentiles, Rejoice… with His people (Rom_15:10); in the third the psalmist commanded the Gentiles to praise the Lord (Rom_15:11; cf. Rom_15:7); and in the fourth, Isaiah predicted that the Gentiles will live under the rule of the Root of Jesse (the Messiah) and they will hope in Him (Rom_15:12). Deut. 32:43 "Rejoice, O ye nations, [with] his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, [and] to his people."
As I have said so many times in these lessons, I believe there’s a physical house of Israel and a spiritual house of Israel. Gentiles are of the spiritual house that has been grafted into the tree of life, by adoption into the family of God. Psalms 117:1 "O Praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people."
We know that this could not be just the Jews, because “nations” is plural. The physical house of Israel is just one nation. God inhabits the praises of His people. We should praise Him, because He has brought us life.
I Corinthians 15:45 "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit."
Jesus Christ [the second Adam] brought us life when He quickened our spirit.
The Old Testament never presented the Gentiles as “heirs together with Israel, members together… in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Eph_3:6), but it certainly did see them as receiving blessing from God’s fulfilling His covenantal promises to His people Israel. “Root of Jesse” is a way of referring to Jesus as the descendant of David, and thus of David’s father Jesse.
Isaiah 11:1 "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:"
Isaiah 11:10 "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
This promise of the Branch is promising that Jesus will come to save all of us.
Jeremiah 16:19 "O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and [things] wherein [there is] no profit."
The plan of God from the beginning of the earth was to make the way open for salvation to whosoever will.

Romans 15:13

Several times Paul’s words sound as if he were ending this epistle (Rom_15:13, Rom_15:33; Rom_16:20, Rom_16:25-27). This verse (Rom_15:13) is in effect a benedictory prayer. The description of God as the God of hope relates to hope mentioned in the preceding verses and to the promises of God recorded in the Scripture which give hope (Rom_15:4). Paul desired God to fill his readers with all joy and peace (cf. Rom_14:17). Joy relates to the delight of anticipation in seeing one’s hopes fulfilled. Peace results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes (cf. Rom_5:1; Php_4:7). These are experienced as believers trust in Him (cf. Heb_11:1). As a result believers overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom_15:19). God is the source of eternal hope, life and salvation, and He is the object of hope for every believer.
II Thessalonians 2:16-17 "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope through grace," "Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
The believer’s hope comes through the scripture which was written and is applied to every believing heart by the Holy Spirit.
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." God expects us to believe and He will do the rest.
The achievement of all God’s purposes for the spiritual welfare of His children comes from the power given by the Spirit of God. What a fitting closing reminder to the apostle’s discussion of Christian living.

Romans 15:14-16

Concluding Remarks
Though all Paul’s letters have closing remarks, he devoted more space to them in Romans than in any other epistle. This was due at least in part to the fact that he had never visited the city and its churches and to his desire to establish personal relationships with his readers. Another factor undoubtedly was his plan to visit Rome in the future.
Personal plans
In writing to a group of people whom he had never met as a group, Paul showed admirable restraint in avoiding personal references to himself. Only once did he use himself as an example (Rom_7:7-25), and his other personal remarks are few (Rom_1:8-16; Rom_9:1-3; Rom_10:1-2; Rom_11:1). Now as he closed his letter he felt led to discuss his philosophy of ministry and his plans in light of it.
Paul had demonstrated in this letter and elsewhere his ability to be straightforward, even almost blunt, and forceful. Yet he also had a deep concern for the feelings of others and an ability to use effective principles of interpersonal relations. This is seen in his statement, I myself am convinced (perf. tense, “I stand convinced”; cf. Rom_8:38), my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge (perf. tense, “having been filled with all knowledge,” not in the absolute sense, but in the sense that they had an understanding of the full scope of Christian truth), and competent (lit., “being able”) to instruct (nouthetein, “to counsel, admonish”; cf. Col_1:28; Col_3:16) one another. “Admonish”: meaning to encourage, warn or advise. This is a comprehensive term for preaching and personal counseling. Every believer is responsible to encourage and strengthen other believers with God’s Word and is divinely equipped to do so.
Colossians 1:9-10 "For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;" "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
“Goodness” means high moral character. The believers in Rome hated evil and loved righteousness, attitudes their lives clearly displayed.
“Knowledge” refers to deep intimate knowledge indicating that the Roman believers were doctrinally sound, illustrating the fact 5hat truth and virtue are inseparable.
All Christians should pray for each other and share the knowledge that God has revealed to each of them.
Paul did not have a low opinion of the Roman Christians; on the contrary he considered them spiritually informed and spiritually mature. Why then did he write on such basic Christian themes? Paul explained, I have written (past tense, “I wrote”) you quite boldly on some points (lit., “in some measure”) as if to remind you of them again. This was what Peter did as well (2Pe_1:12; 2Pe_3:1-2).
Paul was qualified to remind his readers of those points because he had his special position as a result of God’s grace (cf. Rom_1:5). I Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
Paul is saying, here, that his call to the Gentiles was by the grace of God, not because of any special thing he did. Paul was really not called to the physical house of Israel, but to the heathen.
Galatians 2:9 "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."
We are to assume from this that Paul and Barnabas were called to bring the gospel message to the heathen and Peter, James, and John were to minister to the natural house of Israel.
In spite of their spiritual strength, these Christians needed to be reminded of truths they already knew but could easily neglect or even forget.
He was a minister (leitourgon, a “public servant”) to the Gentiles. This ministry was carried out as a priestly duty (the Gr. verb hierourgounta means “to work in sacred things”) and involved his proclaiming the gospel of God (cf. Rom_1:2-4). Because of his sharing the good news with Gentiles (Rom_11:13; Gal_1:16; Gal_2:2, Gal_2:7-9; Eph_3:8; Col_1:27; 2Ti_4:17) they became an offering acceptable (the words to God are not in the text but are obviously understood), sanctified (perf. tense, “having been sanctified” or “having been set apart”) by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Pe_1:2). We know at first the Jews would not believe that God had sent the message to the Gentile.
Acts 10:45 "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 10:47 "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"
After the Holy Ghost came upon the Gentile, as well as those of the circumcision, then they could not deny that God had accepted them, as well. The word sanctified means set aside for God's purpose. We can see the call of Paul in the 26th chapter of Acts. He was specifically called to the Gentiles, as you can plainly see in the next few verses. We will pick up right after Jesus has encountered Paul on the road to Damascus.
Acts 26:15-18 "And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;" "Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee," "To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
Having referred to himself as a minister, a word with priestly overtones, Paul explains that his priestly ministry is to present to God an offering of a multitude of Gentile converts.
Like a priest, Paul introduced Gentiles to God, and then presented them like an offering to the Lord. God’s willingness to accept Gentiles, set apart by the work of the Holy Spirit, shows His plan in the Church Age is to unite Jews and Gentiles in one body (Eph_3:6).
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Romans Chapter 15 – Part One
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