Romans Chapter Fifteen

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by R. J., Dec 23, 2006.

  1. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Fifteen

    This chapter opens as a continuation of the end of chapter fourteen.

    Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

    Again, Christians that are strong in the faith are exhorted to "bear the infirmities" of those that are weak in the faith. The weaker brethren need to grow in GRACE. This takes time, practice and experience. Stop here and take a moment to read Hebrews 5:12-14.

    Note toward the end of the Hebrews passage, we see how a Christian becomes strong. It involves excercising discernment (i.e. being able to tell what is good, what is evil, and what doesn't matter).

    Verse 2 presents what appears to be a "contradiction" with Galatians 1:10. In context, however, there is no contradiction. In Galatians, Paul is speaking about preaching the gospel to unsaved folks. Romans 15:2 is addressing our conduct toward other Christians.

    In verse 3, the Lord Jesus Christ is given a the prime example of "not pleasing ourselves". He gave His "life a ransom for many" (see Matthew 20:28). Paul completes his thought by quoting Psalm 69:9. If we are doing what the Lord wants of us, Psalm 69:9 will apply to us too.

    Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

    This verse is a great lesson concerning "rightly dividing the word of truth". The apostle Paul just got through quoting Psalm 69:9 from the Old Testament and now he tells us why. The Old Testament was "written for our learning". In 1 Corinthians 10:11, Paul states that the Old Testament was "written for our admonition.

    Note that Paul teaches ACCORDING to the Old Testament. He INTERSECTS the Old Testament with the New Testament all through his epistles TO members of the body of Christ.

    A prime example of this intersection is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9. Paul is speaking of the TIMING of the gathering of the body of Christ but INTERSECTS it with an Old Testament prophecied event called the "day of the Lord".

    We go to the Old Testament for "learning", "admonition" and COMFORT. How many times have we gone to the Psalms for comfort and hope?

    Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

    Paul prays that Christians be "likeminded" toward one another. We may disagree over MINOR points of doctrine or practice but we are not to create discord over it.

    However, even a disagreement over a MINOR point of doctrine can become a MAJOR issue if a Christian attempts to CHANGE the Holy Scriptures to make their point. We are not to Add to, Subtract from, Privately Interpret or Change the word of truth. Peter has some strong words for folks that do this:

    2 Peter 3:16 As also in all [his] (Paul's) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    A Christian that is strong in the faith must be both LEARNED concerning the Holy Scriptures and ESTABLISHED by:
    1. the gospel of the grace of God,
    2. the preaching of Jesus Christ, and
    3. the scriptures of the prophets.
    Here are the verses that substantiate:
    Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

    Note carefully that Paul's gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ is ACCORDING to the revelation of the mystery of the body of Christ that was HID in God prior to its revelation to the apostle Paul. Paul's epistles are a TESTIMONY to this scriptural FACT.

    --- Continued on next post ---
     
  2. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Fifteen (Continued)

    Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises [made] unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for [his] mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Let's look carefully at what Paul is going to SAY in verse 8 and the first part of verse 9:
    1. THAT the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, while He was on earth, was PRIMARILY to the Jews. Paul's statement that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision confirms this. Most of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is DOCTRINALLY applicable to the Jews. Outside of the atonement, the main purpose of Christ's earthly ministry was "to confirm the promises made unto the fathers". The promises are those made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    2. THAT the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
    Paul then quotes Psalm 18:49 in verse 9, Deuteronomy 32:43 in verse 10, Psalm 117:1 in verse 11, and Isaiah 11:10 in verse 12. Each quote is about Christ's earthly reign during the MILLENNIUM. Paul, however, APPLIES these verses to the Church.

    This causes the "Hyper-dispensationalists", like Bullinger, Baker and O'Hair, to pull their "hair" out. They claim that Paul didn't have the "Mystery of the Body of Christ" at the time he wrote Romans.

    Romans 16:25-26 clearly refutes this claim. These folks just can't have Paul taking Millennial passages and applying them to the body of Christ. And, that's not the "Hypers" only problem. Look at Romans 12:5 where Paul, a Jew, is speaking to the Romans, mostly Gentiles, and saying the following: "WE, being many, are one body in Christ".

    The thing to remember in all of this is that passages from the Old Testament that have nothing to do with the Church DOCTRINALLY can be applied SPIRITUALLY to the body of Christ.

    --- Continued on next post ---
     
  3. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Fifteen (Continued)

    Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. 17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

    Paul starts this passage by giving the Romans encouragement. Those folks knew how to admonish others in the right spirit and manner.

    Now, if you compare Romans 15:8 with Romans 15:16, you will see the difference between the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and the New Testament ministry of the apostle Paul.

    Jesus Christ's earthly ministry was to the CIRCUMCISION (i.e. the Jews) (see Matthew 15:24). The 12 apostles Christ chose were also ministers to the Jews (see Matthew 10:5-6; Galatians 2:7-9)

    The apostle Paul, however, was PRIMARILY sent to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15, 13:47, 18:6, 22:21, 26:17; Romans 11:13; Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 3:1; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, 4:17).

    According to Acts 9:15, Paul had a three-fold commission. Notice that he also was to bear the name of Jesus Christ before kings and the children of Israel.

    In verse 19, Paul is speaking of mighty signs and wonders. Although the SIGNS were given to the Jews (see 1 Corinthians 1:22), the signs accompany Paul's ministry amongst the Gentiles because he was an APOSTLE.

    Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. 22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; 24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your [company].

    Verse 20 is another passage that throws the heirarchy of the Roman Catholic Church for a loop. They want Peter in Rome at all costs. This verse indicates that Paul looked forward to laying a FOUNDATION of sound doctrine in Rome.

    In verse 21, Paul is quoting the last part of the last verse in Isaiah 52. The blood atonement for Gentiles is in the first part as shown here:

    Isaiah 52:15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they consider.

    The Old Testament has always prophecied that Gentiles could be saved. Paul's epistles reveal how this happens UNDER GRACE.

    Note that Isaiah 53, the great chapter prophesying Christ's suffering immediately follows Paul's quote. This is the chapter the Ethiopian eunuch was reading when he met Philip as documented in Acts 8:27-40.

    Paul was "much hindered" from going to Rome by the necessity of his preaching to those "that have not heard" in Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, etc. He was planning a missionary journey to Spain with a stop in Rome. This all changed as we shall see in the next passage of this chapter.


    --- Continued on next post ---
     
  4. R. J.

    R. J.
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    Romans Chapter Fifteen (Continued)

    Romans 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. 28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

    Now we see why Paul couldn't go to Spain with a stop in Rome. He was on his way to Jerusalem to "minister unto the saints". Christians in Macedonia and Achaia had collected funds to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul was going to deliver this contribution.

    This passage dates the book of Romans as being written between Acts 19:21 and Acts 20:3 putting the latest date at 60 AD. This means that Paul knew about the "mystery of the body of Christ" some 8 to 10 years before he wrote his "prison epistles". Cornelius Stam and his "Hyper-dispensational" friends were as blind as bats concerning this timing.


    In verse 27, Paul gives us a principle that is laid down throughout the Holy Scriptures. When the apostles went forth preaching and teaching, the believers were obliged to take care of them. Paul told the Corinthians the same thing in 1 Corinthians 9:11.


    Finally, in verse 28, we see that GIVING is one of the fruits of the Christian life.


    Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. 30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me; 31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which [I have] for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; 32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. 33 Now the God of peace [be] with you all. Amen.

    Paul asks the Romans to pray for him about 3 things:
    1. "That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea". This prayer was answered as the Lord did deliver Paul from being killed in Jerusalem.
    2. "That my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints". As can be seen in Acts 21:18-26, this prayer was also answered.
    3. "That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed". This prayer was not answered since Paul eventually came to Rome as a prisoner.
    Verse 33 is the first of four closing to the epistle to the Romans. There are three more in chapter 16. It appears that preachers, like Paul, are fond of "closings". They may "close" several times before the sermon is actually over.

    --- End of Romans Chapter Fifteen ---
     

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