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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, December 02 2020

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

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.

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