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Showing posts from May, 2020

Romans 15:22: This Is The Reason Why I Have So Often Been Hindered From Coming To You.

Romans 15:22 [22] This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. (ESV) Paul was quite the traveler. As an Apostle to the Gentiles his task was literally to take the Gospel to the entire known world at the time. Many of the Epistles that Paul writes are letters written to places where he has already been. He preached the Gospel, many were saved, churches were planted, and Paul moved on to a new area. Rome was a place that Paul had never been to. He writes this entire letter to people whom he had never met. As an Apostle to the Gentiles he wanted to give them the good solid teaching they needed to grow in their faith. Likely, someone who was converted on the Day of Pentecost went back to Rome and first shared the Gospel there. Paul says that he has been often hindered from coming to Rome. He could have argued that all kinds of circumstances would not permit him to get to Rome. Paul would not have blamed circumstances. He would have understood that it w

Romans 15:20-21: And Thus I Make It My Ambition To Preach The Gospel, Not Where Christ Has Already Been Named

Romans 15:20–21 [20] and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, [21] but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (ESV) We need to be reminded continually that the message of the Gospel is intended to move all across the world. Jesus said that his followers were to preach the Gospel, starting in Jerusalem, and continue preaching the Gospel to the whole world. Christians have not always been good at delivering the Gospel message as far and as often as they should. In the first century church it took intense persecution to motivate the disciples in Jerusalem to bring the Gospel to Judea and Samaria. Once the disciples fled to new regions they shared the Gospel wherever they went. Would the disciples have preached the Gospel without the persecution? We may never know. Some probably would have stayed in their co

Romans 15:19: By The Power Of Signs And Wonders, By The Power Of The Spirit Of God

Romans 15:19 [19] by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; (ESV) God had used the Apostle Paul to do amazing works in bringing the Gentiles to faith and obedience in Jesus Christ. How was Paul able to be authenticated in delivering his message to people all over the world? By the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. God spoke through apostles and prophets then. Now we have the completed canon of Scripture which is our authority. Paul describes how the Gospel has been brought from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. As is usually the case, we read such a location and have no idea where the Scripture is referring. The area of Illyricum is the area of former Yugoslavia and current Northern Albania. From Jerusalem to Illyricum is an area spanning approximately 1400 miles. Before there was such a thing as automobile

Romans 15:17-18: In Christ Jesus, Then, I Have Reason To Be Proud Of My Work For God.

Romans 15:17–18 [17] In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. [18] For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, (ESV) Is the Apostle Paul boasting? Is he celebrating pride? That would be sinful! What is going on in these verses? Paul was called to be an "Apostle to the Gentiles." It was his commission to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples out of all the pagan peoples who did not have the Law of Moses. Paul took his calling very seriously. Was he proud of what God had accomplished through him? Yes! Where is Paul's pride? In Christ Jesus, he has reason to be proud. In other words, as he has obediently done what Christ has called them to do, he has seen lives changed and transformed. He is proud. He is not proud in his own efforts. He is proud in his wonderful Savior who has done the real work of bringing people from spiritual death to li

Romans 15:16: To Be A Minister Of Christ Jesus To The Gentiles In The Priestly Service Of The Gospel Of God

Romans 15:16 [16] to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) The time of the Early Church was a time of great transition. Up until Christ coming and bringing redemption to all who believer the people of faith were the Jews. If you wanted to worship God the only appropriate way was to go through a priest who would offer sacrifices on your behalf to God. All of the sacrificial system was fulfilled in Christ. Now, there was a new way to righteousness. This time of transition was a challenge for all involved. The Jews had to move from an approach to God that involved keeping the Law. The Law was fulfilled in Christ. Now the way of salvation was a way of faith. There were some traditional aspects that were now gone. It was hard for them to move away from their traditions. It is hard for all of us to move from our traditions. For the Genti

Romans 15:15: But On Some Points I Have Written To You Very Boldly By Way Of Reminder

Romans 15:15 [15] But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God (ESV) In the previous verse Paul paid the church at Rome a huge compliment. He said that they were, "full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another." I cannot imagine the Apostle Paul saying such a wonderful thing about a church of today. In spite of these words of affirmation Paul says that he has also had to write to the Romans very boldly on some points. The fact that Paul has to speak boldly in reminding Christians of some essential points of doctrine is not unusual. The reality is that all believers in Jesus Christ can use frequent reminders on doctrinal truths. The enemy of our souls, the Devil himself, is always at work trying to undermine the truth that we have already received. As we consider the previous chapters in the book of Romans we discover that the Apostle Paul addressed the sinfulness of all m

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14 [14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV) The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers. Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church. This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to t

Romans 15:13: May The God Of Hope Fill You With All Joy And Peace In Believing

Romans 15:13 [13] May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV) There are some wonderful truths for us to unpack in this truth. The first thing that Paul mentions is the God of all hope. There are many ways that we can describe the character and nature of our wonderful God. He is just, loving, merciful, gracious, kind forgiving, holy, righteous, faithful, patient, etc. Here Paul is emphasizing the fact that he is the God of hope! This world is in desperate need of hope. People are overwhelmed by the despair that comes from focusing on our circumstances. Men have given up hope and committed suicide. Others live a life of continual depression. God is the source of hope for any who will look to him. We cannot find genuine hope in any other source. Paul prays that we would be filled with all joy and peace in believing. Joy and peace are not based on circumstances. They are found in the sourc

Romans 15:12: And Again Isaiah Says, "The Root Of Jesse Will Come, Even He Who Arises To Rule The Gentiles"

Romans 15:12 [12] And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” (ESV) For most of us the term, "root of Jesse," likely has no particular meaning. To the Jews who would have read the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans this phrase is very significant. Jesse was the father of David. In the book of Matthew the first name mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ is none other than David. Jesus was the Son, or descendant, of David. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus Christ, that "the root of Jesse will come." Jesus was the Messiah. He was a true descendant of King David, the greatest king of Israel, the apple of God's eye. Isaiah first declares that Jesus will rule the Gentiles. This would not have been hard for the Jews to accept. What was hard for the Jews to accept is what Isaiah says at the end of this verse. "In Him will the Gentiles hope." Isaiah told the people

Romans 15:11: And Again, "Praise The Lord, All You Gentiles, And Let All The Peoples Extol Him."

Romans 15:11 [11] And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” (ESV) There is something that every atheist has to reconcile. Archaeologists have discovered in every generation there are elements of worship. They have found idols, altars, and other paraphernalia that shows that people in every generation are worshipers! People may be worshiping God, or they may be worshiping false gods, but they are primarily worshipers. Paul is quoting here from Psalm 117. He is helping Jews and Gentiles alike understand something about the God whom they are worshiping. He is a God for all peoples! There are many people groups whom the Jews did not even know. God wanted them to know that he is to be worshiped by peoples of every nation. We were created to give praise and glory to God. The pagan nations who have not met God yet still have within them something that longs to worship. When God reveals himself to the nations people respond by giving him the g

Romans 15:10: And Again It Is Said, Rejoice, O Gentiles, With His People.

Romans 15:10 [10] And again it is said, Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” (ESV) The Apostle Paul is quoting from the Torah, the Old Testament Law. The Law was such a special thing to the people of Israel. They would hear the Law read from childhood. Their parents were instructed to teach their children the books of the Law every day. The Law was a distinctly Jewish commodity. It was not understood that the Law was for Gentiles. Christ comes into the world and everything changes. He was born as a Jew. He would have heard the Law read to him all the time as a child. He would have followed the Law at his earliest age. Joseph and Mary would have faithfully taught him the Law in every situation they could as Jesus grew up. Jesus was a Jew. The Jews had no idea who Jesus really was. They crucified the very Son of God. He was their Messiah. They had him put to death. While this all seems disastrous it was actually part of God's perfect plan. Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectl

Romans 15:9: In Order That The Gentiles Might Glorify God For His Mercy.

Romans 15:9 [9] and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” (ESV) In our modern day we who are Gentiles do not realize what a special thing it is that we are included in the body of believers. It was God's desire that the Gentiles would glorify God for his mercy. Sadly, that was not necessarily the Jews' plan. The Jews despised the Gentiles and struggled to understand why God would offer salvation to those who were outside of the Law. In the Old Testament the only way that a person could be a part of the people of promise was by being a faithful Jew. If a Gentile was to be a part of God's people he would have to go through a process of becoming a Jew. This would also include being circumcised, regardless of what age he may be at the time of becoming a Jew. In Genesis 12:3 God told Abram, later named Abraham, "In you all the families of the earth shal

Romans 15:8: For I Tell You That Christ Became A Servant To The Circumcised To Show God's Truthfulness

Romans 15:8 [8] For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, (ESV) The greatest mystery of all history is that God would come to earth, taking on the form of humanity, becoming like us in our lowly state, for the purpose of being killed so that the payment of our sin could be made in the sacrifice of his body. There is nothing more wonderful than this. We can surely spend all of eternity gratefully worshiping him for his sacrifice on our behalf. As we consider all that Christ has done for us it is good for us to go back in history and think of what Christ's work meant to those who have gone before us. Paul tells us that Christ  became a servant to the circumcised. Who is he speaking of? The Old Testament Jews. It was the Jews, the descendants of Abraham who were all "marked" by the rite of circumcision. If you think about it, Jesus was the author of the

Romans 15:7: Therefore Welcome One Another As Christ Has Welcomed You, For The Glory Of God.

Romans 15:7 [7] Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (ESV) In the previous chapter the Apostle Paul dealt with the tension between believers in Jesus Christ who disagreed over matters of conscience. The more "mature" Christians felt that meat sacrificed to idols could be eaten by Christians because idols were not real and God made the animals. The less "mature" believers were horrified by the idea of Christians eating meat sacrificed to false gods. Paul says here in this verse that regardless of what your opinion is on secondary issues the love of Christ should compel you to get along with one another. After all, Christ has welcomed all of us with all of our differences.I love the fact that God does not call us to do something that he has not already modeled for us to do by his own example. I would like to say that in our modern Christian culture that we are known by how we welcome one another just like Jesus has

Romans 15:5-6: May The God Of Endurance And Encouragement Grant You To Live In Such Harmony

Romans 15:5–6 [5] May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, [6] that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV) There are so many wonderful titles that describe our God whom we worship. I love the way the Apostle Paul describes Him in verse 5; the God of endurance and encouragement. Endurance and encouragement are things that we desperately need in our walk with Christ. God wants us to make it. He has made it possible for us to endure. He is also able to encourage us along the way. What does Paul desire that God grant to us? That we are so unified as a body of believers that we would glorify God himself. The reality is that if we are not unified there is no way that we can truly glorify God. Jesus said that they will know we are his disciples by our love one for another (John 13:35). If we love one another we will be unified. We all have many voice

Romans 15:4: For Whatever Was Written In Former Days Was Written For Our Instruction

Romans 15:4 [4] For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (ESV) I have encountered people who were of the opinion that the Old Testament was no longer useful for the modern day Christian. After all, we are part of the new covenant in Jesus Christ. We are no longer under the obligation to fulfill the ceremonial law. Why should we bother with the Old Testament at all? Paul effectively answers that concern in this verse. The things written in former days was for our instruction. Paul is speaking specifically of the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul was certainly aware that our salvation was now to be received by grace through faith. He knew that by keeping the works of the Law no one would be saved. Yet, that reality did not negate the usefulness of the truths found in the Old Testament. One of the facts that we need to bear in mind is that, "Jesus Christ