Romans Chapter 15

February 7, 2013

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Romans. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

In Romans 15 Paul continues the discussion we started last week on how the Christian is to conduct himself in society and discusses how the Christian is to live within the believing community.

The believing community is the environment where individual believers can develop in to their full potential as the people of Jesus. The believing community is also to be a witness of the love of God to the world. With this in mind, Paul talks about how we are to live in community with each other.

One of the things that can cause problems in the environment of the believing community, the church, is how we feel individually feel about different issues. We are not talking about matters that are clearly defined as sin in scripture, we are talking about issues which seem “wrong” to some believers, and “right” to others.

We all have different opinions on what a believer should and shouldn’t do. The problem is that these differences of opinion often divide believers into sub-groups that take on an ‘us against them’ mentality. This often causes great division and disunity in the church.

As we discussed last week, we are to be accepting. This doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with what people are doing, we are just accepting of the people. We are to always try and be, loving, accepting, and forgiving. Being loving, accepting and forgiving does not mean we are licensing sin. It means that we are trusting in Jesus to work in all of our lives by His Holy Spirit.

In Chapter 15, Paul gives us more advice for living in community.

Romans 15:1-33 (NIV)
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs 9 so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” 10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” 12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done– 19 by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:1-5

Romans 15:4-5
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,

An understanding of the Bible plays a huge role in our ability to live in community. The more we know about how God has operated in the past, the more settled we will be in what He will do in the present and the future, which allows us to be less self-focused and more other-centered focused. We need to be diligently reading and studying the Word so that we can rest in the idea that God’s will is best for us.

How are you doing with your Bible reading? Do you have a plan? Are you in a routine?

Romans 15:6-7

The church in Rome was a real mixed bag of people. It consisted of Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free people, rich and poor, strong and weak. Because of their many differences, it was often difficult to be accepting of one another. We need to make the extra effort to accept and connect with people that are different than we are. Consciously spend time greeting those you don’t normally talk to, minimize differences, and seek common ground for fellowship. In this way you are accepting others as Christ has accepted you, and God is given glory. One of my old favorite sayings, “If people are not on your heart, they are on your nerves”.

Romans 15:22-28

Paul talks about his travel plans. Paul wanted to visit the church at Rome, but he had delayed his visit because he had heard many good reports about the believers there and knew they were doing well on their own. It was more important for him to preach in areas that had not yet heard the Good News. When Paul eventually went to Rome, however, it was as a prisoner (as we studied in Acts 28).

Tradition says that Paul was released for a time and that he used this opportunity to go to Spain to preach the Good News. This journey is not mentioned in the book of Acts.

Romans 15:30

The importance of prayer. We often think of prayer as a time for comfort, reflection, or making requests to God. But here Paul urges believers to join in his struggle by means of prayer. Prayer is a weapon that all believers should use in interceding for others.

We pray on the armor of God, and we pray for all the saints!

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Have you prayed today? That is a question comprised of four simple words that can help us to become a people of prayer. A people that trust in God. A people who are not afraid of all that the culture fears. A people of God who can embrace the mission and adventure He has called us to. A people of God willing to take risks for Him when He asks us to. A people of God who live in community, accepting and encouraging one another and impacting the world around us for Jesus.

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