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Thursday, December 24 2020
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
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."
1. A Pastor/Shepherd Must Pay Close Attention to the Members of His Flock.
2. The Church is Made Up of Ordinary and Diverse People Who Are “In the Lord.”
3. The Church Is Made Up of Ordinary People Growing to Know the Lord Through Sound Doctrine.
4. The Church Is Made Up of Diverse People Who Are Deepening Their Relationships with One Another in The Lord.
5. The Church Is Made Up of People Who Are Family and Thus Are Hospitable and Helpful Toward One Another.
6. The Church Is Made Up of People Who Work Hard Together for The Lord.
7. The Church Is Made Up of Both Men and Women Who Serve the Lord, But in Different Roles and Capacities.
8. The Church Is Made Up of Whole Families That Have Come to Faith in Christ Through the Gospel.
Conclusion (Final Warning & Praise)
Parts of this study was culled from: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-106-snapshot-church-romans-161-16-21-23
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.
AFFIRMING OTHERS – Verse 14
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
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.
•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
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
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,
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!
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.
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.
B. FULFILLED PROMISES IS A KEY TO FRUITFUL SERVICE – Verses 25-29
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
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).
• 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.
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
Wednesday, December 02 2020
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
1) Bearing Others’ Burdens; Verses 1-2
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Conclusion. Verse 13
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.