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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Romans Bible Study #45 Romans 15:14-16:23

Romans Bible Study # 45
Romans 15:14-16:23

15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written,

“They who had no news of Him shall see,
And they who have not heard shall understand.”
22 For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; 23 but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 32 so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Greetings and Love Expressed

16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were fellowprisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren 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. All the churches of Christ greet you.
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
22 I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.  NASB

14-16Personally, I've been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. So, my dear friends, don't take my rather bold and blunt language as criticism. It's not criticism. I'm simply underlining how very much I need your help in carrying out this highly focused assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving the spiritual needs of the non-Jewish outsiders so they can be presented as an acceptable offering to God, made whole and holy by God's Holy Spirit.
 17-21Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I'd even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been,
   Those who were never told of him—
      they'll see him!
   Those who've never heard of him—
      they'll get the message!
 22-24And that's why it has taken me so long to finally get around to coming to you. But now that there is no more pioneering work to be done in these parts, and since I have looked forward to seeing you for many years, I'm planning my visit. I'm headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God's blessing.
 25-29First, though, I'm going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the followers of Jesus there. The Greeks—all the way from the Macedonians in the north to the Achaians in the south—decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, but it was also their duty. Seeing that they got in on all the spiritual gifts that flowed out of the Jerusalem community so generously, it is only right that they do what they can to relieve their poverty. As soon as I have done this—personally handed over this "fruit basket"—I'm off to Spain, with a stopover with you in Rome. My hope is that my visit with you is going to be one of Christ's more extravagant blessings.
 30-33I have one request, dear friends: Pray for me. Pray strenuously with and for me—to God the Father, through the power of our Master Jesus, through the love of the Spirit—that I will be delivered from the lions' den of unbelievers in Judea. Pray also that my relief offering to the Jerusalem believers will be accepted in the spirit in which it is given. Then, God willing, I'll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart, looking forward to being refreshed by your company. God's peace be with all of you. Oh, yes!

Romans 16
 1-2Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for. I heartily endorse both her and her work. She's a key representative of the church at Cenchrea. Help her out in whatever she asks. She deserves anything you can do for her. She's helped many a person, including me.
 3-5Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila, who have worked hand in hand with me in serving Jesus. They once put their lives on the line for me. And I'm not the only one grateful to them. All the non-Jewish gatherings of believers also owe them plenty, to say nothing of the church that meets in their house.
   Hello to my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first follower of Jesus in the province of Asia.
 6Hello to Mary. What a worker she has turned out to be!
 7Hello to my cousins Andronicus and Junias. We once shared a jail cell. They were believers in Christ before I was. Both of them are outstanding leaders.
 8Hello to Ampliatus, my good friend in the family of God.
 9Hello to Urbanus, our companion in Christ's work, and my good friend Stachys.
 10Hello to Apelles, a tried-and-true veteran in following Christ.
   Hello to the family of Aristobulus.
 11Hello to my cousin Herodion.
   Hello to those who belong to the Lord from the family of Narcissus.
 12Hello to Tryphena and Tryphosa—such diligent women in serving the Master.
   Hello to Persis, a dear friend and hard worker in Christ.
 13Hello to Rufus—a good choice by the Master!—and his mother. She has also been a dear mother to me.
 14Hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and also to all of their families.
 15Hello to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas— and all the followers of Jesus who live with them.
 16Holy embraces all around! All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings!
 17-18One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They're only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren't above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.
 19-20And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters—I couldn't be more proud of you!—I want you also to be smart, making sure every "good" thing is the real thing. Don't be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!
 21And here are some more greetings from our end. Timothy, my partner in this work, Lucius, and my cousins Jason and Sosipater all said to tell you hello.
 22I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul's dictation, send you my personal greetings.
 23Gaius, who is host here to both me and the whole church, wants to be remembered to you.
   Erastus, the city treasurer, and our good friend Quartus send their greetings.  The Message

15:14-16  Paul trusting in the Holy Spirit within each believer, but still sending out this amazing letter, partly, to fulfill the calling of God on his life to get the message out to the gentiles.  A message that the Holy Spirit could then use to sanctify those who would hear.
!5:17-18  Through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit much has been accomplished, all the bragging is about the work that Christ and the Holy Spirit have done.
15:19-21  All of his missionary journeys have taken him to new lands (except the ones where he revisited and strengthened congregations) new peoples who have never heard the good news or experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.
15:22  As the driving call of his life (preaching where the gospel has never been heard)  has prevented him from doing anything else.  He was controlled by the call and now feels it is fulfilled and he can pursue other paths.
15:23,24  Piper says that this statement makes this a ‘missionary support letter.’  Hey I am going to be coming by your way and will need some assistance to go on to the next leg of my journey.
15:25,26  Paul talks about this collection and contribution in other places.  At this point in the history of the church, the gentile believers were prospering and the Jewish believers were poor and possibly in the midst of a famine.
15:27  This indebtedness to Jewish people is rarely spoken of now a days, but Paul was very aware of it, and made the gentiles aware of it also.  God’s choice here is very interesting, taking the Jewish scholar Paul, with all of his  Old Testament wisdom and making him the ‘apostle to the gentiles’ and using the fishermen to be the ‘apostle to the Jews.”  This enabled the Jews to focus on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Peter, and gave the gentiles a very good background in THE faith, that they were being grafted in to.
15:28,29  The fullness of the blessing of Christ.. included being a prisoner and a shipwreck along the way, but nevertheless, I am sure Paul would not have withdrawn these words.
15:30  The phrase “the love of the Spirit” appears no where else but here, ‘striving in prayer’ has as its foundation, the gift of love that the Spirit provides.  Our motivation, our drive, to pray for others in the purest sense will have that love as the motive.  Paul knows his life and ministry proceed forward only by prayer and he is not ashamed to ask for it.
15:31  We don’t know if Paul had already received the prophecy that he would be “bound” when he went to Jerusalem, but he surely knows it is a possibility and is asking for specific prayer.  Also he is not ‘assuming’ that the bringing of the gift will be well received, he is asking for prayer for that too.  Probably far to often we do not ask for prayer for things that we think are ‘sure’ to work out ok.  That probably speaks a lot about our presumption.
15:32,33  The apostle is looking forward to a time of refreshing peace.  It would seem it is ok to long for a vacation!  He knows that source of that refreshing peace and prays that the God of peace would be with them preparing the way for him.
16:1,2  The fact that the gospel, had empowered women in ministry, far more than other religions of that time is demonstrated in Phoebe.  Regarded by most as the bearer of the letter.  Imagine being entrusted with the apostles most comprehensive, deep, amazing letter.  She must have been held in high regard.  “Help her” is the command.  If any letter deserved an “entourage” this would be the one, but no, just one person carrying it to its destination.  What an important task.
16:3,4  Risking your life to save the Apostle Paul, excellent choice.  Fellow workers in Christ, but with a small gathering in their house that qualified for the title ‘church.”
16:5  “My beloved”  here is a guy not afraid to show the depth of his heart and how much he cares for others.
16:6  “Mary”  a common name that means “bitter,”  but Mary is given the commendation of working hard for “you.”  Possibly that work has been overlooked and here Paul is emphasizing it.
16:7  These two are proof that “apostle” was a recognized gifting in the early church, not limited to the original 12 and Paul.  This is key in accepting that this gifting will be restored  to the church and it is not something that is past.
16:8-13  “In the Lord” becomes the oft-repeated phrase here.  That is the basis and ground of our fellowship.  You can sense it in a person that you have just met. His life lightens their eyes and puts a different glow in their countenance.
16:14-16  He really does not want to leave anyone out and wants to include as many as possible in the honor of being personally mentioned.
16:17  “Turn away from”  it is an interesting tactic for dealing with dissension.  Effectively the person is “put outside.” Now that they are outside they are very limited in how they could spread hindrance to what the Spirit is doing inside.
16:18  Bob Dylan is right, “You gotta serve somebody.”  These people spreading dissension and causing hindrance, are doing so because of who they are serving, themselves, not the Lord.  Like Absalom as he pulled the peoples hearts from King David, they are doing it with flattering words that go down smoothly into the hearers who are ‘unsuspecting.’  By using that term Paul seems to be taking them off the hook for any blame.
16:19  Paul has been setting a foundation under churches too long, to not be wary and to not warn them to spend their time being wise about what is good and not to “into” what is evil.
16:20  Although he was given an indirect mention in chapter 8 this is the first direct mention of Lucifer, and it is only to point out his inevitable defeat.  His power is limited to deception.  Even his ‘victories’ are under the control of God.
16:21  Timothy is special in Paul’s life, he is either at his side, or somewhere where Paul had sent him.  A faithful friend.
16:22  As Paul’s longest letter, maybe he felt the ache in Tertius’ hand and rewarded him by penning a line of his own.
16:23  Gaius uses his gift of hospitality and gets a mention in this book.  Erastus, working out in the government is given mention, as is Quartus, known simply as ‘brother.’
!6:24 Paul knows what we need and prays it on us, grace, simply grace.

Which leaves us with the benediction for the last study.

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