Romans, Lesson 34

Lesson 34

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omans 16: 1-27, the grand finale

VV 1-2, 1 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.

Paul exhorted his audience to receive and assist Phoebe, a sister from the church in Cenchrea, who was his co-worker in the gospel. Paul had entrusted Phoebe to take the Book of Romans from Corinth to Rome to read out the entire letter to the congregation at the Romans house church.

VV 3-8, 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.

Paul greeted, acknowledged, named, and thanked, Priscilla, Aquila, Epaeneus, Mary, Andronicus, Junia, and Amplias.

VV 9-16, 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.

Paul greeted, acknowledged, named, and thanked, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, those from the household of Aristobulus, Herodian, those from the household of Narcissus, Trphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Heres, Philologus, Julia, Nereus, and Olympas.

VV 17-20, 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.

Paul exhorted his audience, to stay away from false teachers who indoctrinate false doctrines, promote evil influences, deceptions, and divisions to the church. These self-serving, sweet-talking, and lying teachers do not serve the Lord. Paul commended his audience for their obedience. He prayed for them to triumph over satan and pronounced the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ on them.

VV 21-24, 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.

Paul greeted, acknowledge, named, and thanked, Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, and Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. Paul did not write Romans with his own hand. Paul dictated the the Book of Romans to Tertius, his secretary or amanuensis, who wrote on his behalf. Paul pronounced a blessing of grace to his audience.

VV 25-27, 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.

The Book of Romans is the gospel according to Paul. Paul prayed for God to establish his audience according his gospel and through the teaching of Jesus Christ. Paul ended his magnificent Book of Romans with a beautiful doxology, prayer, and Amen.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the energy, strength, perseverance, and divine enablement to complete the Book of Romans. It had been a long, comprehensive, exhaustive, bumpy, wonderful, and enriching journey of faith. Thank You for the blessing, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans, Lesson 33

Lesson 33

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omans 15: 8-29, Paul, an evangelist to the Gentiles

VV 8-12, 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: ‘’For this reason, I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” 10 And again he says: ‘’Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” 11 And again: ‘’Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!”12 And again, Isaiah says: ‘;There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Jesus Christ came first to save the Jews, to confirm the God’s covenant to the Patriarchs and after that to save the Gentiles, as prophesied in the Old Testament that Paul quoted. He prayed for joy, peace, hope, and the power of the Holy Spirit to his audience, and us.

Paul quoted Psalm, 18:49, ”Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name”.

Deut 32:43, ”Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people”. Psalm 117:1, ”Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!”

Isaiah 11:1, “there shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse. And a branch will grow out of his roots”.

V 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.

This is a Paul’s doxology and prayer to his audience, and us, that they, and us, may have hope, joy, and peace through faith in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

VV 14-16, 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.

Paul commended his audience, and us, for goodness, knowledge, accountability, and encouragement to each other. Paul reminded them, and us boldly, that he was an apostle of God to the Gentiles, so that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

VV 17-21, 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; And those who have not heard shall understand.”

Paul dared not claim credit for anything that he did not do, but only what he did through Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Paul ministered to the Gentiles in mighty signs and wonders, traveling from Jerusalem to Illyricum. He preached the gospel in places where no one had preached before.

Paul quoted Isaiah 52:15, ”For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider”.

VV 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 part 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.

Paul had never met the Romans Christians. His earlier plan to visit Rome had not materialize. He spoke to them about his future plan to visit Rome on his way to Spain. From Acts 28, Paul did make it to Rome in 60 AD as a prisoner under house arrest, but it was unlikely that he visited Spain.

Acts 28. 13-14, ”From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, where we found brethren and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome”.

VV 25-28, 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.

Paul was on his way from Corinth to Jerusalem to bring a financial offering from the Gentile Christians in Macedonia and Corinth to the poor Jewish Christians in the mother church of Jerusalem. He reiterated his plan to visit Rome and Spain after Jerusalem.

VV 29-33, 29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. 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 maybe refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Paul begged the Romans Christians to pray for him to be delivered from the hostile Jews in Jerusalem, to be accepted cordially by the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, and to visit Rome with joy in the future. He pronounced a doxology of peace to them.

From the book of Acts, we read that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem did not receive him cordially. The hostile Jewish leaders mobbed him outside the temple and almost killed him. To protect Paul from the hostile Jews, the Romans sent him to Caesarea by the sea as a prisoner for 2 years, and sent him to Rome on a prison ship. In 60 AD, Paul reached Rome as a prisoner under house arrest.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Paul, who preached the gospel to the Gentiles with such boldness and conviction, against all odds, under tremendous hardships, sufferings, persecutions, and imprisonments. Thank You for preserving the Book of Romans through thousand of years for our benefit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans, Lesson 32

Lesson 32

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omans 15: 1-7, Faith, hope, love, patience, and unity

V1-2, 1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

Paul exhorts his audience, and us, to be patient and love Christians who are weak in faith as Jesus is patient and loved us. Jesus came to this world as a suffering servant, not to be served but to serve and be a ransom to many.

Philippians 2:3, ”Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”.

1 Cor 9:22, ”To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some”.

1 Cor 13:4, ”love is patient, love is kind”.

1 Cor 6:12, ”All things are lawful to me but not all things are helpful”.

V 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”

Paul quoted Psalm 69:9, ”Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me”.

V 4, For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

The Bible is written to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness. The Bible is our source of comfort and hope.

2 Tim 3:16, ”All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.

VV 5-7, 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

In this doxology, Paul prayed for God to grant his audience, and us, patience, comfort, unity, and harmony, giving glory to God.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, let us show love and patience to Christians who are weaker in faith than us. May we love one another, be kind to one another, live in unity and harmony with one another, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans, Lesson 31

Lesson 31

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omans 14: 1-23, the weak versus the strong in faith

VV 1-4, 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Paul exhorts his audience, and us, to receive, and not to despise or judge those who are weak in faith, who eat only vegetables and no meat. We are not worthy to judge others for we are all sinners. One day we either stand or fall before God, the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and perfect judge.

VV 5-6, 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

We are not to despise or judge weak Christians whose legalistic tendencies made them observe special days, or eat a special diet Observing or not observing special days and food habits will not affect a person’s spirituality.

VV 7-10, 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

No one lives or dies to himself. Our lives do not belonged to us. We belonged to Christ who had redeemed us by His death and resurrection. We are not to judge other Christians because we all accountable to God, the perfect judge. Greek for judgment is “bema” which means tribunal. The bema seat judgment of Christ is for New Testament Christians from the Day of Pentecost until the day of rapture. This is not a judgment for sin but a tribunal judgment for rewards of faithful service.

2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”.

1 Cor 6: 19-20, ”Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”.

VV 11-13, 11 For it is written: ‘’ As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to judge other Christians because we too will be judged on the bema seat judgment of Christ. We are to resolve disputes and not be a stumbling block to other Christians who are weak in faith.

Philippians 2:10-11, ”Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

VV 14-18, 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

The weak in faith would not eat food offered to idols. Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to be a stumbling block to weak Christians by eating food offered to idols in front of them. The kingdom of God is not about what we eat or drink but experiencing peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 8:8, ”But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do”.

VV 20-21, Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

The weak in faith would not eat meat or drink wine. Paul exhorts his audience, and us, not to nullify the work of God for the sake of food and drink. We are not to be a stumbling block to weak Christians by eating meat and drinking wine in front of them.

1 Cor 8:13,  “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble”.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may we not to be a stumbling block to others by what we do, behave, speak, eat, or drink. May we not judge others as we too are under Your judgment, in Jesus’ name, Amen.