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Thursday, December 24 2020

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

We have finally come to the last chapter and study of the book of Romans. A study that was filled with deep revelations and exciting truth! From last week’s study, we learnt some biblical concepts of Christian ministry modelled by the apostle Paul. And in today’s study of the concluding chapter of the letter to the Romans, we learn some more in Paul’s final greeting and a not so obvious (hidden) message. When you come to a section of Scripture like Romans 16 with its long list of names, it’s good to keep in mind Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” So let's read the entire chapter

Romans 16:1-27 (NKJV) 

"I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you. 17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."
So, what can we learn from these verses of scripture?

1. A Pastor/Shepherd Must Pay Close Attention to the Members of His Flock.
We observe this from this closing chapter of Paul’s letter. Paul obviously knew many of the saints in Rome by name and some of them closely, even though he had not yet visited Rome. These would have been people he had known somewhere else in the Roman Empire. In these first 23 verses Paul mentioned over 30 names. 8 of these people were with Paul (vs 21-23). The others were in Rome; a mix of men and women. There were two households mentioned, and two unnamed women (the mother of Rufus and the sister of Nereus). as well as some unnamed brethren. The chapter brims with personal relationships that reflect Paul’s love for people. This is what Proverbs 27:23 (TPT) says: “A shepherd should pay close attention to the faces of his flock and hold close to his heart the condition of those he cares for.”

2. The Church is Made Up of Ordinary and Diverse People Who Are “In the Lord.”
(a) The Diversity
Sister Phoebe (vs 1) “a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea”. Most scholars think that she was the one who carried the letter to Rome. She was a “helper” or “patroness” or “benefactor” of many, including Paul. A majority of the names in this list are Gentile names, indicating the Gentile majority in the church. And the majority of the names are those of either slaves or freed slaves. Some in the list may have been a part of Caesar’s household (see Phil. 4:22, written from Rome). Aristobulus (vs10) was a grandson of Herod the Great and was a close friend of the Emperor Claudius; but was not a believer. However, his slaves were. The household of Narcissus (vs 11) also probably referred to the slaves belonging to a wealthy, wicked freed slave who was also friends with the Emperor Claudius. Tertius, Paul’s secretary in Corinth (vs 22), and Quartus, whom Paul simply calls “the brother” (vs 23), were probably slaves. Tertius had the very important task of accurately recording Paul’s dictated words. Quartus is no longer just the fourth nameless slave, but is “the brother,” a noble designation. Paul also mentions Erastus, the city treasurer, an important public position. Prisca and Aquila (vs 3) were fellow tentmakers and fellow Jews with Paul, as were the others in this chapter whom he called “my kinsmen” (vs 7, 11, 21).
So the church in Rome was made up of these ordinary but diverse people; men and women. Some were slaves, others were blue collar workers, and still others were wealthy.
(b) The Common Bond
What drew them together and united them? We find the answer in a phrase that Paul repeats eleven times in these verses: “in the Lord” or “in Christ.” He asks the Romans to receive Phoebe “in the Lord” (vs 2). He commends Prisca and Aquila as his “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (vs 3). He says that Andronicus and Junias “were in Christ before me” (vs 7). He calls Ampliatus “my beloved in the Lord” (vs 8). Urbanus is “our fellow worker in Christ” (vs 9). Apelles is “the approved in Christ” (vs 10). Perhaps he had endured some difficult trial in a commendable way. Paul sends greetings to those of the household of Narcissus, “who are in the Lord” (vs 11). Tryphaena and Tryphosa are “workers in the
Lord” (vs 12). Persis the beloved “has worked hard in the Lord” (vs 12). Rufus is “chosen in the Lord” (vs 13). And Tertius, Paul’s secretary, sends his greetings “in the Lord” (vs 22).
As we’ve seen in Romans, being “in Christ” through faith is the most important designation that can be true of anyone.

3. The Church Is Made Up of Ordinary People Growing to Know the Lord Through Sound Doctrine.
It’s significant that although Romans is the most doctrinally deep letter in the New Testament, it was written to help common people, many of them slaves, to know Christ and grow in their walk with Him. It was a letter to ordinary people like you and I; not just for theologians or scholars.

4. The Church Is Made Up of Diverse People Who Are Deepening Their Relationships with One Another in The Lord.
There are over 30 names in these verses and it’s likely that Paul knew most of them personally. He mentions four of them as being especially close (“my beloved” or “the beloved”; vs 5, 8, 9, 12), including Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia. He calls Phoebe “our sister” (vs 1) and Quartus “the brother” (vs 23). He mentions Rufus’ mother as being his own mother (vs 13). Apparently she had ministered to Paul as a mother would, perhaps when he was ill. Prisca and Aquila had risked their lives for Paul. He also directs the believers in Rome to greet one another with a holy kiss (vs16), a common custom in that culture (1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14). All of these personal, warm greetings reflect the love between Paul and these believers and between all believers. It’s amazing that he could remember all of these names! Clearly, he took a personal interest in people, and so should we. We are not called to be Christians in isolation, but rather in relationship with one another.

5. The Church Is Made Up of People Who Are Family and Thus Are Hospitable and Helpful Toward One Another.
Paul urges the church to extend hospitality to Phoebe, whom he calls “our sister.” She was family. Quartus was “the brother.” Prisca and Aquila opened their home to host the gatherings of the church (vs 5), which they also did in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:19). Probably the two groups mentioned in 16:14 & 15 represented other house churches, which could perhaps hold as many as 70 or 80 people. In Corinth, Gaius apparently hosted a church in his house (vs 23). For at least the first two centuries, churches had to meet in homes due to persecution.

6. The Church Is Made Up of People Who Work Hard Together for The Lord.
Paul repeatedly mentions how these people were involved in serving the Lord. Phoebe was “a servant of the church in Cenchrea,” a port city near Corinth (vs 1). She may have held an official position as a deaconess (1 Tim. 3:11). She was devoted to serving the church. Paul calls Prisca and Aquila “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (16:3). Paul had met them in Corinth, where they worked together as tentmakers after they had been forced to leave Rome when Claudius expelled the Jews (Acts 18:1-3). By the way, Paul always calls her Prisca, the more formal name. Luke uses Priscilla, which was the diminutive nickname (like Liz for Elizabeth). They later accompanied Paul to Ephesus, where after Paul left they helped Apollos get straightened out in his doctrine (Acts 18:24-26). Now they had moved back to Rome. Still later, they would move back to Ephesus again (2 Tim. 4:19). Wherever they went, their hearts were for building up the church. Husbands and wives can find great joy in working together for the Lord. Husbands, if you and your wife host a home fellowship, help her with the work! Paul also mentions Mary, “who has worked hard for you” (vs 6). He calls Urbanus “our fellow worker in Christ” (vs 9). Tryphaena and Tryphosa (probably sisters, whose names mean Delicate and Dainty) were not fragile—they were “workers in the Lord” (vs 12)! Persis (another woman) “has worked hard in the Lord” (vs 12). And he calls Timothy “my fellow worker” (vs 21). As we saw in chapter 12, every believer has been given at least one spiritual gift that he or she is to use in serving the Lord. There should be no benchwarmers in the body of Christ. (See 1Peter 4:10-11)
Whatever your gifts and calling, the most important thing is that you know that Christ has saved you from eternal judgment because you have put your trust in Him as Saviour and Lord. Then look for ways that you can serve the Lord, as these people did. Read through the descriptions again and ask yourself, “How would Paul have described me if he had known me?”

7. The Church Is Made Up of Both Men and Women Who Serve the Lord, But in Different Roles and Capacities.
In the male-dominated culture of that day, it is significant that Paul mentions four women who worked hard in the Lord (vs 6, 12), plus Prisca who along with her husband Aquila were “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (vs 3). Paul entrusted probably the only copy of this precious letter to a woman, Phoebe, for safe delivery to Rome. In all, Paul mentions seven women by name, plus Rufus’ mother (vs 13) and Nereus’ sister (vs 15). Obviously Paul believed that women have an important role to play in serving the Lord. Second, although scholars for centuries have been divided over whether Junias (vs 7) the wife of Andronicus. “Outstanding among the apostles” could mean that the apostles regarded this couple as outstanding, or more likely it means that among those who were apostles, this couple stood out.

8. The Church Is Made Up of Whole Families That Have Come to Faith in Christ Through the Gospel.
Paul mentions two households (vs 10, 11), which referred to both the biological family members and the servants, plus Rufus’ mother and Nereus’ sister (16:13, 15). In the Book of Acts, we see whole households coming to faith (2:39, “you and your children”; 10:1-48, Cornelius; 16:15, Lydia; 16:31-34, the Philippian jailer).

Conclusion (Final Warning & Praise)
These verses of today’s study, along with other lists of genealogies in the Bible, are inspired by God for our spiritual profit to equip us for every good work. It is the Holy Spirit that inspired Paul to write these greetings to teach us. What we have learnt today about the church in Rome that teaches us much about what our church ought to be. And the individuals greeted here can motivate and encourage each of us to be all that God wants us to be. Paul’s closing admonishment to the Church in Rome to watch out for those who cause divisions and offenses among them strongly applies to us today. He points out that such people are not truly serving the Lord, but are being driven by their own desires for a following. Also very relevant is his admonishment of the Church to become scholars of all that is good and beautiful, and stay pure and innocent when it comes to evil.
He then prays a prayer in verse 20 we must covet today:
“That the God of peace will swiftly pound Satan to a pulp under our feet! And the wonderful favour of our Lord Jesus will surround us." (TPT)
And finally an offering of praise and glory to the only Source of wisdom, the One who has more than enough power to make us strong and keep us steadfast through the promises found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And to that we say “Amen!” Just as the Romans would have said and walked away enriched by the revelations in this letter, so we must! Shalom!

Parts of this study was culled from: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-106-snapshot-church-romans-161-16-21-23

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 09:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 16 2020

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

INTRODUCTION: In our in-depth study of the opening verses of Romans 15, Apostle Paul admonished the strong believers to bear with the failings of the weak, because this reflects and exemplify the true spirit of love. He cited Jesus Christ’s example of not pleasing Himself and having to work for the good and edification of others. This is what we are admonished to emulate as fellow believers.
Today, we conclude on Paul’s letter to the Romans in Chapter 15 where we find biblical concept of Christian ministry modeled by the apostle Paul. Three times the apostle Paul calls upon his readers to follow his example or imitate him (see 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; Philippians 3:17). In this section at the close of his letter to the Romans, we will glean from Paul’s view of ministry and keys to a fruitful work (ministry) with the Lord.

AFFIRMING OTHERS – Verse 14
“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.” (NKJV)

Following Paul’s example, we should affirm the giftedness and values of other’s in the body of Christ while serving the Lord in line with our gifts and calling, giving Him the glory for any results. Paul affirms the brethren’s goodness and their knowledge of God.

THE MANDATE OF PAUL’S MINISTRY - Verses 15-17
“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.” (NKJV)

Paul discusses his ministry to the Gentiles always with a conscious awareness of the call of God. He didn’t just decide that the gospel ministry was a good career choice, he was sovereignly called out by God to be an apostle. Paul explains his boldness in writing to the Romans by appealing to this call in verses 15-19. This is a reference to God’s declaration to Ananias after his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. In Acts 9:15, God tells Ananias that Paul is “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Paul consistently appeals to his call in defending his apostolic ministry (See Galatians 1:15-17 and Ephesians 3:1-8). In verse 16, Paul describes his ministry among the Gentiles as a priestly ministry.

Relevance:
•God is still calling men to proclaim His gospel. We must distinguish between the call which Paul received and which pastors, preachers, missionaries, etc. receive today. God is still calling men into the gospel ministry to proclaim the teachings of the apostles!

•How does God call a man? First, there is the internal call of God. This is what Paul refers to in1 Tim. 3:1 when he says “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.”This godly desire is partial evidence of God’s call in a man’s life and essential to gospelministry. This is not to be a desire for power, position or prosperity, but a desire to preach, teachand shepherd God’s flock. Second, there is the external call which includes the confirmation ofothers. This is evident when other Christians recognize that your life and desire comparesfavorably with the Bible’s teaching about what a minister of the gospel should be. This is alsoevident when given opportunities to minister and God’s people seem to be helped by Godthrough your ministry.

•Finally, we must recognize that every believer has been called to proclaim the gospel of Christ.Paul’s reference to “the grace given” to him by God as a called apostle recalls Paul’s owndescription of all believers in Rom.12:3-8. Each of us have been called by God into a specificministry that we need to be fulfilling. Paul states that each believer has been called to proclaimthe gospel as an ambassador of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
This is the mandate that each of us has received and it is the foundation for biblical ministry. We are ambassadors! We don’t get to invent the message, but we must proclaim the message that we have been given! But what is this message?

THE MESSAGE OF PAUL’S MINISTRY - Verses  18-19

“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.” (NKJV)

What was it that the apostle Paul was called to proclaim? He refers to it in verses 16, 19 and 20. It is the gospel! Note how everything that Christ has accomplished through Paul is for the purpose of the proclamation of the “gospel of Christ” in verses 18-19. All signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit were not an end in themselves, but rather served to magnify and verify the message of the gospel! What was the gospel message which Paul proclaimed? Paul outlines for us the message that he had proclaimed in Corinth in 1 Cor.15:1-5 (Read) The message of Paul’s ministry was nothing less than the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is also our message. This is the heart of Christian ministry. Without this message, there is no ministry, indeed there is no Christianity! But what motivated the apostle Paul to proclaim this message?

THE MOTIVE OF PAUL’S MINISTRY - Verses 20-21
“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; And those who have not heard shall understand.” (NKJV)

Paul’s motivation to preach the gospel is found in verses 20-21. His desire, aim, goal is to proclaim Christ where He has not yet been named. He is motivated by an understanding of the condition of those who have not heard that he described earlier in Romans 10:14,
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

But Paul’s motivation for proclaiming the gospel to those who have not heard is thoroughly biblical as demonstrated by his quotation from Isaiah 52:15 in verse 21. This verse fits with Paul’s emphasis in this passage of showing the importance of taking the gospel message to those “to whom He was not announced” and “those who have not heard”. Paul knows that there are people all over the world for whom Christ has died who have not yet heard the message of Jesus Christ. This motivates Paul!

Relevance:
This is what should be our motivation as well. Yes, we should be motivated by the lostness of mankind and the horrors of hell, but ultimately we should be motivated by a desire to see Christ praised by all peoples for the eternal glory of God.

KEYS TO FRUITFUL SERVICE (Verses 22 - 33)

We will consider some of the reasons for (keys to) Paul’s fruitful ministry in the concluding verses of this chapter.
A. FLEXIBLE PLANNING IS A KEY TO FRUITFUL SERVICE – Verses 22 - 24
“22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.” (NKJV)

In verses 20 and 21, Paul mentioned his firm commitment to Pioneer missions: his resolve to preach the gospel in places where Christ has never been named. You see, it seems as though there are always new areas where the gospel had never been preached, and always that inner compulsion in the apostle Paul to go there and tell them about Jesus. And he says in verse 22 it's for this reason I've been much hindered from coming to you. You see the gospel had already been preached in Rome, and the church had already been established there, so getting to Rome was not one of his top priorities. They didn't need him there like some other parts of the world did. But now he plans to remedy that (verses 23-24), however, Rome was not his final destination. He planned visiting Spain also.
Paul always had a plan. He knew where he was going and why. He probably lived by that familiar adage, "To fail to plan is to plan to fail." He didn't want to fail in doing the job God called him to do, so he planned. That was one of the reasons he accomplished so much for God's glory.

B. FULFILLED PROMISES IS A KEY TO FRUITFUL SERVICE – Verses 25-29
“25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. 29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” (NKJV)

There was something Paul had to do before he traveled to Rome (Romans 15:25-26). Collecting a gift from the Gentiles for the relief of poverty-stricken Jewish believers in Jerusalem was one of Paul's major concerns and one of his major projects (refer to 1 Cor.16:1-4; 2 Cor.8:1-4). There were several reasons for that.

• The church in Jerusalem was desperately poor. Famine had taken its toll on the people. And besides that, the Jewish religious leaders were doing everything in their power to oppress the Christians, even denying them employment whenever they could.

• Another reason for Paul's concern is found in that word contribution (verse 26): "a certain contribution for the poor among the saints." It is actually the word koinonia, meaning "fellowship" or "partnership." That's what he calls an offering: a partnership.

• A third reason for Paul's concern is described in Romans 15:27. Believers in Jerusalem had shared the gospel with the Gentiles, the wonderful news of forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ. Now the least the Gentiles could do was minister to the physical needs of their Jewish brothers and sisters who were suffering so much and who had so little. Paul saw it as a debt they owed. But it was more than just a debt, it was actually a promise he had made on a previous trip to Jerusalem, when Paul met with James and Peter and John (Gal. 2:10). And Paul was not one to go back on his word. He did what he said he would do. When he made a commitment, he followed through and kept his promise. It was one of the reasons why he accomplished so much for the glory of God and had so much joy and blessing in ministry (Verses 28-29).

C. FAITHFUL PRAYER IS A KEY TO FRUITFUL SERVICE – Verses 30-33
“30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen." (NKJV)

Everything of eternal value that we are ever privileged to accomplish is accomplished by God's power working through us in answer to somebody's prayer: our own or somebody else's, or both. And that is why Paul pleads with the Romans to pray for him (Verse 30).
Don't miss that word strive. There is a conflict raging between the forces of good and the forces of evil, and the battle can only be won through prayer. We shall never enjoy success in our spiritual service and the joy it brings apart from prayer. So let's pray for one another. It is so vitally essential. So what were Paul’s prayer requests?

• That he would be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea. That was an important request. The unbelieving Jews in Judea and Jerusalem hated the Apostle Paul and they wanted to see him dead.

• That his service would be received by the believers in Jerusalem. Many of the Jewish Christians resented him for not insisting that his Gentile converts follow the whole Jewish law. Some of them even considered him a traitor to his nation for directing his primary ministry to Gentiles.

• That with the first two prayers answered, he might head for Rome in the will of God, filled with joy, where he hoped to find spiritual refreshment in fellowship with the Roman Christians in preparation for his evangelistic thrust into Spain.
So what is it you have been praying for?

This study is culled from https://pastorhistorian.com/2006/04/24/a-biblical-model-for-ministry-exposition-of-romans-1514-33/; http://spiritualgold.org/transcripts/ROM-35.html

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 02 2020

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

INTRODUCTION
In our last lesson, Apostle Paul admonished the matured believers not to be an instrument of stumbling to others. Rom.14:15 “If your brother or sister is offended because you insist on eating what you want, it is no longer love that rules your conduct. Why would you wound someone for whom the Messiah gave his life, just so you can eat what you want?”
Within our liberty in Christ, our top priority should be to live a life of peace and harmony with other believers. We will always be mindful of others when our hearts are rooted and grounded in the love of God.
In Chapter 15, Paul continues his encouragement for strong believers to shoulder the burden of the weak and doubtful believers in order to assist their growth.

1) Bearing Others’ Burdens; Verses 1-2
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

Generally, adults care for their immature offspring. Healthy people care for sick people. People with abundant goods should help those in destitution. Christians should teach and encourage non-Christians, etc. Likewise, those in the church who are stronger and more mature should make allowances for and assist those who are weak. Instead of doing what pleases ourselves (verse 1), we should seek to please others. This is the true spirit of love and unselfishness according to 1Cor.13:4-7. However, Paul defines what he means by pleasing our neighbour. It does not mean doing just whatever other people want us to do to satisfy their own indulgences regardless of God’s will. It means doing what is “good” for everyone involved, edifying them. But good is defined by God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16,17), and that which is edifying is determined by God’s will (1 John 5:2,3)

Vs 2; Choose to please your neighbour rather than yourself, however, be careful that your giving in does not allow your neighbour to be confirmed in his weakness, that you do not leave him without encouragement to grow. We are to seek to build one another up.

2) Christ left us an example; Verses 3-4
“For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scripture, we might have hope”

Paul's first example for us is Jesus himself. He did not please Himself but worked for the good and edification of others. He did exactly what verses 1, 2 require of us. He sacrificed Himself for our wellbeing at great cost to Himself (2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6-8). He quoted David in Ps.69:9.

Vs 4; Paul here affirms that the old testament law does have a proper use. The Scriptures were in fact written for our learning. They educate us in things we need to know. They were written, not just for Jews before Jesus’ death, but for Christians also. We need to study and appreciate useful lessons from them (1 Cor. 10:1-13).

3) Our harmony glorifies God; Verses 5-7
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 So, receive one another even as Christ received you to the glory of God.”

The prayer of Paul here is for God to grant both patience and comfort through the word (verse 4), so that these blessings from God might lead to like-mindedness or unity among God’s people according to Christ prayer in John 17:20-23.
Paul seeks to promote unity among God’s people, especially among Jews and Gentiles who were now worshiping God together as Christians. These groups naturally had significant differences in their backgrounds. Our unity in Christ, despite our differences will lead to God’s glory

Vs 7; Division has never been pleasing to God and we must not condone, excuse, justify, or overlook it. We must defeat it by following His will. Nothing here or elsewhere teaches we should compromise truth for the sake of unity.
The Jews held the Gentiles in contempt; they called them dogs. They would have nothing to do with them. The Jews even regarded it as sinful to go into a Gentile's house and they would never dream of eating with a Gentile. They regarded them with utter contempt. The gentiles hated the Jews. They called them all kinds of names; they looked down on them. This is where modern anti-Semitism was born Paul emphases the importance of receiving one another even as Christ received us.

4) The union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ; Verses 8-12

“Christ had become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth to confirm the promises given to the fathers. 9 Gentiles might glorify God as written. I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing to Your name. 10 Rejoice, Gentiles, with His people. 11 Praise the Lord, all Gentiles. 12 And, the root of Jesse will arise to rule over Gentiles, and they will hope in Him.”

Christ became a servant to the circumcision in that He was the seed through whom the promise made to the fathers was fulfilled: He was the “blessing on all nations” (Gala. 3:16). This promise to the fathers was to be fulfilled through Abraham’s seed. Circumcision was a sign of this covenant.
In accordance with the principle of verse 4 – that the law is for our learning – Paul began quoting some Old Testament passages that confirmed his teaching that the Gentiles could receive the blessings of the gospel as well as the Jews. This had been prophesied in many passages, but the Jews had overlooked them or refused to accept them. Some of these passages make the point indirectly and inferences are needed, yet they all show that God’s message would go to the Gentiles. The Jews should not be surprised when Gentiles accepted the Messiah, for their own Scriptures had predicted it. Ps.18:49, 2 Sam. 22:50)

Conclusion. Verse 13
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul is drawing his instructions to a conclusion. He expresses his hope that believers will receive from God the joy and peace that this faith (believing) in Jesus is designed to give, and that they may receive abundant hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy, peace, and hope are fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22- 24). These fruits come by allowing the power of the Spirit’s message (the gospel) to work in our lives. One who has a true faith in Jesus and has received forgiveness by Jesus’ blood, will have the joy of knowing his sins have been forgiven, the peace of a right relationship with God, and the hope of eternal life.
 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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