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ROMANS CHAPTERS 15 & 16

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1&2 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 

 

Rom 15,1-4

(130e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Committed to holding up one another -- These verses go with verse 7. This passage pertains to building unity in the body of Christ. A synonym for unity is maturity. One of the meanings of spiritual maturity is that we understand and know the truth, and another pertains to our behavior, so when we know the truth and behave accordingly, this promotes genuine maturity that will establish unity in the Church. Unity must be taught. It is based on knowing and believing the truth, but it’s also based on loyalty to faith and love for one another. 

Rom 15,1-3

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens Unity is all about learning to serve one another, for this is the purpose of the truth. The way we serve one another is the strong helps the weak. There are those who are weak in faith, and those weak in body, mind and heart. The Bible says to help them.  

(12m) Servant >> Jesus is our example of a servant – Jesus did not please Himself but lived for others and even died for us. Accusations against God and persecution against His people were charged against Christ, so that violators might come to a saving knowledge of Him. Consequently, persecution against God and martyring His people are probably the greatest tools of evangelism. When people hate God and persecute us, this becomes an opportunity for us to tell them through the the Holy Spirit that they are evil and need Jesus in their hearts; otherwise they don’t figure they need God. Many people throughout the ages have come to Christ by this means, including onlookers watching the carnage or hearing about it. It is one thing to tell someone they need Jesus, but it’s another thing to prove it with a rebuke from the Lord after touching the apple of His eye that can be felt from heaven. Many of those who resist the Holy Spirit after much persecution against the saints become reprobates, those who cannot be saved, whose fate is sealed.

(100m) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to people >> Devoted to ministering to their physical needs – We who are strong should bear the weaknesses of others. “Weak” means weak in faith, the spiritually newborn who are just getting on their feet, who are less experienced in the Scriptures and in the Christian walk. There are others who have ailments in their bodies; Paul in other places talked about caring for the needs of others above our own (Phi 2-3,4), speaking primarily about those in the Church, though he used the word neighbor in this verse, meaning anybody in the world. We should be committed to edifying one another, both our neighbor and our brother in the faith, committed as a priority to our family first. We should help everyone we can.

(123d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Reaching out to those in need – There is no other reason Christianity advocates the lifestyle of selflessness other than the fact that the inhabitants of heaven live this way, as Jesus said, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6-10). God wants us to pay attention to other people’s needs more than our own, because these are the ways of heaven. Jesus wasn’t necessarily trying to create heaven on earth; rather, He was trying to show us what heaven is like, that the lifestyle of Christianity may become our greatest evangelism tool. We are sinners; we are naturally self-centered, but in heaven they may not even have a word for “love” since it comes so naturally to them. Paul is calling us to become more compassionate. It is one thing to meet our own needs and then help others, but to consider other people’s needs above our own is the Bible’s definition of compassion, and that was how Jesus lived (Phi 2,1-4). He lived in heaven; He didn’t want to leave there, but He did because He saw our need, so He came and lived among us in a sinful body slated for death and was tortured and murdered, in order that He might give us what we so desperately needed, acceptance from God.

(130l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Accept one another >> Accept the weak -- These verses go with verse 7. Those who are weak in faith love God but are having difficulty putting their faith into practice, and notice that no one is judging them. Paul didn’t judge them; Jesus didn’t judge them; God doesn’t judge them, and so those who are helping ought not to judge them either. That is, we who are stronger should not hold our service over them. This kind of service is not free of charge; the weaker person is not less than the stronger person. So, when we help the weak, we should not patronize them or pity them, but help them as equals, because this is the truth. For this reason there is no difference between the weak and the strong, for if we help the weak, they will become strong and in turn help the weak. This is how unity is perpetuated.

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others – It is a temptation to care only about ourselves, since we were born with this instinct. We see cute little babies who are incapable of thinking about anybody else, and of course we don’t fault them for it. When we were toddlers we held this view, but then a couple years later we developed the ability to imagine how other people felt based on some of our own experiences, and we learned the meaning of compassion. Christianity goes a step further and seeks to help people in need, yet the tendency is to regress to our infantile mindset of self-absorption regarding the elementary principles of the world.

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification -- These verses go with verse 14

(187c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man>> Die to the flesh >> Ministry of dying to self >> Die to self to minister to people >> die to self to help the weak

(234k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Be a blessing >> Be a blessing and love your brother

(248h) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Valuing God >> Knowing God is more important than serving Him

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Rom 15-1

(170a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Stepping on people to get to the bottom >> Those who seek glory from men discard others – We who are strong have an obligation to help the weak, and those who are weak have an obligation to seek a mentor among those who are strong, for it is not God's will that anyone should remain weak. In the Church today, though, we see that the weak remain weak and those who are stronger have no ministry. There are very few opportunities in the Church for people who have honed their hearts for years in the word of God and prayer to disclose the value of their spiritual maturity. The Church is not setup for ministry among the saints, which disseminates the message that ministering the word of God is not for the saints but for the pastor alone, but this is unbiblical. We all have seen people in the Church who never seem to spiritually grow for years. It is the job of those who are strong in faith to help them understand that they too can become strong in faith and have a ministry, but this process is nonexistent in the Church. The only person who is allowed to minister is the pastor. The weak can clearly see that there is no incentive to spiritually grow, and so they don't. Actually, the pastor prefers it this way, because weak people are easier to control, in that those who are strong in faith have their own opinions that get in the way. The pastor doesn't listen to those who have spiritual insight, who have been hearing from God that ministries could abound, but the leadership disallows this. All the pastor wants to do is preach his sermon, collect his money and go home, and they are afraid that if the people became strong in faith, their need of the pastor would diminish, but this would not happen. Rather, the stronger the people, the more vital the pastor becomes in overseeing the flock. The problem in most churches is that the pastor is weak; he wouldn’t know what to do with a strong church. If a congregation grew strong in faith, and if the pastor refused to grow with them, revolution would be required, for he would attempt to dumb-down the people to his level, so he could regain control. Therefore, to avoid these problems, the pastor organizes his church around himself. This way nobody can rise above him and nobody gets wise to the fact that being pastor is just a job to him.

 

3-6 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME." 4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Rom 15-3

(37j) Judgment >> Jesus emptied Himself of all His blood

Rom 15,4-6

(139e) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Encouraged by the word of God – Paul talked about perseverance and encouragement, saying it twice to punctuate their significance. Perseverance needs encouragement to continue, for if perseverance stalls, it dies on the spot. Paul was talking about the Old Testament giving them perseverance and encouragement in his generation that they might have hope. Likewise, we in our generation 2000 years later have perseverance and encouragement in the New Testament as well, that we too might have hope in Christ through the very words that Paul wrote about encouragement from the Old Testament. To the degree that we have patience for Christ and His return, so we have patience for one another, and as we persevere in hope that we will see His return, so we persevere in hope that our brother is strengthened by our faith, and just as we have encouragement in the Scriptures, so we glean encouragement from one another. Paul was talking to the Church in Rome at a time prior to the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, and encouraged the saints to have one voice in glorifying God, writing to them about unity. On an individual basis he wrote about unity to all the other churches in their respective epistles, but Jesus’ vision was that all the churches collectively should unite and glorify God, but here in America this seems impossible. In fact, the subject is never addressed; we are not even using language to express such concerns. Therefore, one of the greatest signs of Christ's return is when we begin seeing churches unite.

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Rom 15,4-5

(99m) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in ministering to the body of Christ

(141i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Old Testament is for our instruction >> Teaching from the Old Testament -- These verses go with verses 9-12. The Old Testament is for our instruction; that is what Paul said 2000 years ago, and it still holds true; therefore, how much more is the New Testament for our instruction? The Old Testament was concerned about this life only, including the Millennium, and for this reason prophecies were written. It has been estimated that one third of the Bible pertains to prophecy. The Old Testament doesn’t concern itself beyond the Millennium, whereas the New Testament concerns itself with eternity. Everyone who is chosen of God is also called, but not everyone will go to heaven, and so the New Testament concerns itself with eternity both in regard to heaven and hell; in fact, it concerns itself with heaven because of hell. That is, if everyone went to heaven, there would be no point in writing the Old or New Testament. Therefore, God has revealed Himself to us through His word so we would seek Him for the purpose of going to heaven and avoiding hell. If the Bible speaks about salvation, then we must be saved from something, and that something is hell.

Rom 15-4

(121i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope Based On Faithfulness >> Hope based on perseverance – Paul referred to the Old Testament in his many quotes, and reading it provides a firm foundation for the new covenant. Perseverance is how we strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in so doing the Scriptures encourage us to believe in God that He is faithful and worthy of our service. All these things produce hope, and hope is one of the three: faith, hope and love (1Cor 13-13). The Old Testament speaks of David and his mighty men of valor (2Sam 23,8-38). There were those who were thirty in number and then there were those who attained to the three. Hope is one of the three attributes of valor, and the greatest of these is love. Hope attains to the three, which is quite an achievement, meaning hope is unimaginably important. Essentially without hope, we have no motivation to serve God. Faith is the raw material that produces hope that believes in the reward and provides the incentive to do the works of God, which primarily revolves around love.

(141a) Old Testament Bears Witness of the New (Key verse)

Rom 15,5-7

(116g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through the words you speak

Rom 15,5-9

(32a) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> God’s grace seeks man

Rom 15-5,6

(130b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one voice – Paul is directing perseverance and encouragement of the Scriptures toward the goal of unity, and we use the hope we cultivate through these attributes to serve the weak, which generates unity though love. By that we can do anything together, just as God said about the Tower of Babel, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them" (Gen 11-6). This is a phenomenal statement; imagine the power of unity with the Holy Spirit in charge of it! The goal of unity is to communicate to the world that God loves them and sent His Son to be the propitiation for their sins. We through unity can reach the lost, and by this we will glorify God.

(138i) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to work together -- These verses go with verses 13&14. Accepting one another omits judging one another, going back to Rom 14-1, “Accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” Accepting the weak is the first step in helping them. The word unity is related to the word uniform, what people wear to look the same. In some ways we are the same, but in other ways we are unique. God wants variation in the body yet uniform in relation to our worth, for we are all equally important to God and should therefore be equally important to each other. The first hurtle we must jump before any hope of achieving unity is the temptation to make distinctions in the body. If we tear down unity at the same rate that we build it, what can we expect to accomplish?

(252g) Trinity >> You shall put no other gods before Me >> Worship God >> Worship God who is Spirit >> Worship God in prayer

Rom 15-5

(31j) Gift of God >> Gift of His grace >> Being responsible with it -- This verse goes with verse 15

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7&8 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 

 

Rom 15,7-12

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel -- These verses go with verses 26,27. It is good that the New Testament has quoted the Old Testament regarding the gentiles coming to the gospel of Christ, confirming these things, so it has never become an issue.

Rom 15-7,8

(12l) Servant >> Jesus is the servant of man

(190h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Circumcision >> Circumcision is a sign of obedience >> Circumcision is a sign of believing

Rom 15-7

(51i) Judgment >> Judging the Church with the world >> Do not show partiality to one another

(130e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Committed to holding up one another -- This verse goes with verses 1-4

(130l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Accept one another >> Accept the weak -- This verse goes with verses 1-3

Rom 15-8

(107e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Truth of the trinity >> Jesus is truth

(151e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> The Old Testament prophets – Jesus came to the Jews for the sake of the fathers, and because of them the gentiles have believed in the gospel. For this reason anti-Semitism has absolutely no place among the saints. According to sound doctrine, anyone who believes in Jesus by definition cannot be anti-Semitic, being tantamount to attacking the foundation of their very own faith, which came from the Jews. There is not much we can do to help the Jews believe, except to wait patiently for them. Someday they will realize that Jesus was their Messiah. In the beginning of the age of grace many Jews did believe in Jesus, and then something happened. People the caliber of Paul's enemies, colleagues of his before his conversion to Christianity, religious zealots, the Pharisees convinced their Jewish countrymen to reject the teaching of the gospel and Jesus as their Messiah. Then, 200 years later the Catholic Church solidified, representing the apostate gentile Church, which became institutionalized in Rome after greatly persecuting gentile believers. After that the Catholic Church started calling the Jews "Jesus killers", not understanding that they were attacking the foundation of their faith, but that should not surprise anyone, since Catholicism has never had a reputation for insight.

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9-14 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, "THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME." 10 Again he says, "REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE." 11 And again, "PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM." 12 Again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE." 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 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.

 

Rom 15,9-12

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to restore the gentiles to salvation – Although this passage is referring to the beginning of the age of grace, it also refers to the end when Christ returns. There will be a great ushering in of souls during a climactic endtime revival. Israel was not faithful enough for God to tell them that they were supposed to share the Law with the rest of the world, since they didn't listen to the Law themselves. Instead, the gentiles learned about the Law on their own, and many of the nations surrounding Israel honored the law more than the Jews, and for this reason there was a tremendous revival in the first century involving the gentiles. In the same way, God will call Israel to obedience in the last days, and they will appropriately respond after a 2000-year sabbatical of rebellion, and then they will come to their senses like the Prodigal Son and will manage the gospel in the last days, and there will be a great endtime revival involving the gentiles.

(141i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Old Testament is for our instruction >> Teaching from the Old Testament -- These verses go with verses 4&5. Had the Jews not rejected the gospel of Christ, they would have managed it for the sake of the gentiles and by-passed the Roman Catholic Church and the dark ages, but since they acted poorly during their own reign starting with Moses and ending in the days of Christ representing a course of many centuries, most of it was a travesty. When we study the history of the Church during its 2000-year age of grace, it too is riddled with gross disobedience and unbelief, though there were beacons speckled throughout the centuries who stood for the truth of the gospel and gave their lives for it.

Rom 15-13,14

(138i) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Exhorting the people to work together -- These verses go with verses 5&6. This is one of the many poetic exhortations of Paul. He was convinced that the Romans were filled with goodness and knowledge, these two, which are what it takes to admonish one another, not one or the other but both. We can't very well admonish someone without knowledge, and just because we know something about the Bible doesn’t make us valuable, unless we apply that knowledge and become an example of Christ’s freedom. To the extent that we find freedom in Christ from the bondage of the flesh is the extent of worth we have toward others in our teaching and encouragement of the Scriptures in both the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ (2Pet 3-18).

Rom 15-13

(121d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope >> Expectation >> Hope is the expectation to receive >> God initiates His interest

(125j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of hope

(126a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> God is at peace >> The peace from God

(132i) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holy Spirit is in God’s people >> Filled with the Spirit >> Filled with the blessing of God

Rom 15-14

(41j) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Be godly toward one another

(127i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Rewards for doing good >> Doing good teaches you about the truth

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification -- This verse goes with verses 1-3

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15-17 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.

 

Rom 15,15-19

(115c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> Through your calling >> To build up the body of Christ Working (with) the grace of God is one of the most ethereal subjects of the Bible, and it is one of the most widely written in the Bible, yet it is one of the least known subjects of the Bible. It would not be a stretch to say that Working the Grace of God is lost knowledge of the Scriptures, not lost in the sense that it is missing but hidden in plain sight. It is lost in the sense that it was edited from our knowledge of the Bible through our interpretation of it. That is, we have been trained by Christendom and by the devil himself to gloss over the concept of working with the grace of God in every reference cited in the Scriptures. Luther brought Grace back to light, whose definition was ‘God working in us,’ and now we need to go one step further and work with Him, so we don’t receive the grace of God in vain (2Cor 6-1). See also: Lost knowledge of the Scriptures; Rom 15-15,16; 191l

Rom 15-15,16

(32c) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> The Spirit of His grace

(191l) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> Set apart by the Holy Spirit – Much of Israel’s defiance resulted from a lack of teaching the knowledge of God from generation to generation. There were long periods when Israel was without the writings of Moses, which they one day found in the temple. This was lost knowledge that the scribes once read in the hearing of the people (2Kings 22,8-13), and after they found it they realized that God was about to judge them because of the sins of their fathers. Their own righteousness could stave off His judgment, but not erase it. The next king after Josiah did evil in the sight of the lord, and Israel was led captive to Babylon for the sins of their fathers. During this whole time the priests were sitting on their hands and failed in their ministry to educate the people in the ways of God, but Paul was faithful in his ministry. He sacrificed himself for the sake of the gentiles, and when they believed his word, the gentiles became Paul’s offering to God, as they gave themselves completely to the grace of God and to the purpose He had for them. It says that the Holy Spirit sanctified His offering of the gentiles and set them apart, which is the Old Testament's concept of cleansing, i.e. the articles of the temple in preparation for service. So this is what Paul was doing, setting the gentiles apart, cleansing them by the Holy Spirit in preparation for ministry, that the gentile church might become a beacon of hope to the world, learning the rudimentary principles of unity and thereby growing spiritually and numerically according to God's grace invested in them. See also: Lost knowledge of the Scriptures; Rom 15,15-19; 115c

(235j) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Giving (your inner self) >> Taking on the role of a priest in your giving – Paul’s evangelical ministry resembled that of a priest, someone who interceded for the people, suggesting that the old covenant priesthood had a flavor of evangelism in it. The priests of the Old Testament were charged with keeping Israel in the ways of God, though not often did the ancient prophets blame them for Israel’s waywardness. When children matured into adulthood and forgot the ways of their fathers, the priests were charged with bridging the generation gap by educating them in the ways of God. Failure to do this was the cause of relapse in Israel, but it was the people's fault much as the priests for going astray and resisting the knowledge of God. Every generation was required to relearn the experiences of their fathers, and the priests were involved in teaching them, though their Old Testament history was written from king to king and not from priest to priest. That is, it depended as much on the king as the priests whether Israel would serve the Lord, and perhaps this is one reason God didn’t want Israel to have a king (1Sam 8,4-7).

Rom 15-15

(31j) Gift of God >> Gift of His grace >> Being responsible with it -- This verse goes with verse 5

(122l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to rebuke the Church for unbelief

(238h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Strong reminders

Rom 15-16

(81e) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> The priesthood >> Ministering the gospel

Rom 15,17-19

(111b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit and evangelism

(228j) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> God works in the garden of your heart

Rom 15-17,18

(84f) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Boasting >> It needs to be said and no one is saying it >> Boasting in Christ

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18-21 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." 

 

Rom 15,18-22

(149fa) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Preaching the word to the world >> Preach the gospel of salvation – Paul had a busy schedule preaching the gospel to those who had never heard. It would be difficult to do nowadays, since most everyone has already heard the gospel. Paul was reaching a virgin people who had never heard of the resurrection, which was a foreign concept that became a stumbling block to many when trying to believe in Jesus. It seemed fantastical, but now people talk about it as one of the many terms of the gospel that people readily accept. For us in our generation at the opposite end of the age of grace, our job is to reteach the people more accurately what they have heard off the streets about the gospel. The relearning process has its difficulties too, since there is a necessary unlearning phase that comes before we can teach them anything. There were people like Timothy who followed behind Paul and helped build churches (not buildings but people). There are many such ministries in the Church today who are still building on Paul’s ancient ministry, for what people know about God originated from the Old Testament prophets and from the first century apostles through their writings in the Bible. Paul was a minister who sought to establish churches in areas who had never heard and thus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Anytime a person fulfills Bible prophecy, God is behind it working in specific ways, for God stands over his word to perform it. This was the ministry that God had called him to do. 

Rom 15-18,19

(44k) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Complete your mission – Paul strove not to go anywhere that the gospel had already been preached, but made sure to visit places where the gospel had not yet been preached. Compare that with the churches today that act like revolving doors, where the sheep every six months or so go in and out and find pasture in someone else’s ministry and are constantly recycled; they get tired of one church and go to another. This basically accounts for growth in most churches these days, meaning that as a whole the Church is not growing at all, for painfully few souls are actually being added to the true Church. There is no effective evangelism occurring. Paul the evangelist was a minister of the gospel, but what are ministers doing today? They prepare sermons and officiate weddings and funerals and visit the sick in hospitals and nursing homes, which is noble, but they leave it to someone else to do the evangelism, hence it is not being done. They figure the congregation should be responsible for evangelizing the world and their personal workplace and wherever they go, and bring the people to church so the pastor can preach at them. This is Christianity today. Paul was not just a minister of the Church; he was also an evangelist and a missionary.

(146k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of Miracles, Signs And Wonders >> Get peoples’ attention to hear the word

(147e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Signs and wonders – When Paul brought the gospel to the gentiles, he did it through the power of the Holy Spirit through signs, wonders and miracles, but today these things are either bashed or doctrinally misunderstood. Some preach and teach about signs and wonders, but we rarely see them. God is unwilling to perform miracles among His people these days because our lives are a wreck, and our walk with God is substandard. For God to perform signs and wonders through us would be endorsing our lifestyle and doctrines, and He is not about to do that for a lazy and rebellious church. God endorsed Paul by working signs and wonders through him, because He was initializing His Church, and Paul's life and teachings were solid, and He glorified God in every aspect of His life, but in today’s Church God is not moving among His people, who are more interested in glorifying themselves than God.

(246f) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Demonstration of the Spirit

Rom 15-18

(77j) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The humble realize the source of their power

(85i) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> That are spoken in faith >> Will justify you

(87i) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Those who obey believe in God >> Those who obey the word

(88d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The function of works in faith >> Faith doesn’t move God until it is manifested in the natural realm

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22-25 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.

 

Rom 15,22-29

(248k) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Values >> The Highest Values >> Some things take precedence over others

(251a) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Making plans >> Making plans according to the will of God >> Making plans within the boundaries of God’s will – Paul was referring to his journey to Jerusalem, which permanently changed his life and ministry. Prior to this Paul went to remote places preaching the gospel, but when he went to Jerusalem, he got into trouble with the Jews, which eventually led him back to Rome after many years of imprisonment. Hence, Paul went to Rome at least three times, once initially to make disciples there, then passed through a second time on his way to Jerusalem to which he is referring in these verses. During his long and arduous third passage to Rome, he spent the majority of those years sitting in a prison cell, writing letters to the Churches he had previously established; these are the epistles which constitute nearly half the New Testament. Thank you Paul for your invaluable contribution to the truth of God's word and for spreading the gospel of Christ! Paul ended the book of Acts with him living in a house near Rome for many years teaching and preaching the gospel to those who would come to him, since he was getting older and it was harder for him to travel.

Rom 15,23-33

(61c) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Author—Paul or John / Jesus – Paul was in the Greek city of Corinth when he wrote the book of Romans and these verses told about his plans to hopefully visit the saints again in Rome. He may not have fully evangelized the area, yet it was time to relocate. On the verge of overstaying his welcome and unwilling to further test the patience of his enemies, he was persecuted wherever he went and was potentially looking at a stiff jail sentence, a severe beating or even killed if he didn’t leave Corinth soon. If we viewed this passage as Jesus speaking instead of Paul, it would say that because of the overall rejection of the gospel in that area, the Holy Spirit had finished knocking on people's hearts through Paul's preaching with few answering the door. Paul was grateful for the Corinthian Church, but they were located in a region where people's hearts were hardened by the promiscuity of sin.

Rom 15-23,24

(131l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Having soul ties – Paul loved the people of God, because of his vast knowledge of the Old Testament, how it integrated into the new covenant with Jesus fulfillment of prophecy, making the Scriptures literally come alive. This translated to strong faith and commensurate spiritual affection for the saints like a deep well that percolated with the love of God.

Rom 15,25-27

(210ia) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> Jews are believers >> Gentile Christians have a Jewish religion Paul earnestly desired to visit the saints in Rome, meaning he had previously been there and evangelized the area. The book of Acts says he ventured to Jerusalem from Miletus (Act 20-15), catapulting him on a long journey over a course of many years in prison, where he wrote most of his epistles. A few verses later in this chapter he mentioned that he was on his way back to Jerusalem, which would kick-off his fateful journey that would lead him back to Rome. Paul gave snippets of his motive for returning to Jerusalem, but what makes most sense was his love for his own countrymen and fellow colleagues the Scribes and Pharisees of the Sanhedrin. He wanted desperately for these people to receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah, because he knew the wealth of knowledge they had and that God could have used them to preach the gospel instead of persecuting the gospel as he did before his conversion. Perhaps Paul knew in his heart that if the Jews continued rejecting the gospel, the second coming of Christ would be delayed for centuries, knowing they had to be managers of the gospel at His return. The funny thing about the Jews is not that their knowledge was wrong, but that they misjudged their interpretation of it. A mere rearranging of some ideas would allow Jesus to be their Messiah, and suddenly like a combination lock opens when the tumblers are rolled to the correct numbers, the Christ would suddenly come to light in their hearts. Paul couldn’t help himself; he had to return to them. He instinctively knew that if he could reach the Jews, what history proved might have been averted, referring to the Catholic Church, which was the end result of all the false doctrines that accumulated from exploiting the Church for personal gain over a period of 300 years. Paul knew that if he could reach the Jews, their zeal for God would protect the gospel from wolves. If God could harness this zeal, they could have thwarted the coming apostasy or at least delay it for a time. He knew the gentiles would not maintain the gospel for long, because there were too many people whose hearts were not with God.

Rom 15-25

(13d) Servant >> Serve the body >> Promoting its health >> Building up the body of Christ

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26&27 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. 

 

Rom 15,26-33

(131g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependence >> Serving one another – Those who call themselves Christians who have persecuted the Jew are the ones most deceived of all people in the world, even more than unbelievers. In fact, it is spiritually impossible to persecute the Jew and believe in Jesus at the same time. Anti-Semitism goes all the way back to Catholicism prior to World War II when the German people relentlessly persecuted the Jew; they got the idea from the Catholic Church, a little-known fact. If there is any way to prove the Catholic Church a complete fraud, it’s that they led the way to German anti-Semitism. After history proved the Germans to be monsters, the Catholic Church was glad not to be named among them, and bounced free of guilt in the public eye. The Catholic Church to this day still has no regard for the Jew, calling them Jesus-killers, but this is ridiculous because the Jews killed Christ by the predetermined plan of God, and He turned the most evil sin imaginable into the world’s blessing, letting the Jews off the hook. Therefore, the Jew is brother to gentile believers, indebted to their legacy as God's chosen people according to the flesh. 

Rom 15,26-28

(129c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing the fruit of evangelism >> Feed the people with the fruit of your walk

(189d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Holy sacrifice >> Costly sacrifice

Rom 15-26,27

(2g) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Keep your commitments with those who are committed to you – We know that the gospel of Christ has come from the Jew, Jesus Himself being a Jew, and the gentiles were pleased to make a financial contribution to the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. The early gentile church was pleased to do so because they were indebted to them both spiritually and materially after receiving the gospel. There were many Jews who came to Christ during the days of the early church, and then something turned their hearts against the gospel, the charge against them: they were Jesus-killers. Hitler adopted this notion from the Catholic Church and built gas chambers for them and other undesirables in his final solution. Millennia before the 1930s the Catholic Church had been anti-Semitic in stark contrast to the first century, when early Christians had an entirely different view of Jews, as those whom God had chosen to reveal the mystery of the gospel. Just because they rejected the gospel doesn’t make them any less God’s chosen people. The Church today needs to adopt the attitude of first century believers that the Jews are our brothers. They may not all be believers, but they are all brothers of the true Church as God's chosen people according to the flesh.

(23g) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Tending to the needs of the poor (this is not in relation to sin) – The gentile church is obligated to the Jews, because of the faith that has been handed down to them. Faith in Jesus has come to us through Israel, and for that reason there will never be a day the Church will not be obligated to minister to the Jews, not just in spiritual things, but also in material things. America has done just that for many decades, generously contributing to the needs of the Israeli state. Mostly, their motivation has been to maintain a presence in the Middle East. To say that America is a Christian nation or that the American government feels indebted to Israel because of religious reasons is false. The only thing that comes close to a Christian nation is the Church itself, the people of God, spread throughout the nations of the world. Just as Israel was a nation built on the faith of Abraham, so is the Church, but the Church is international, a spiritual people whom only God knows its members (2Tim 2-19).

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel -- These verses go with verses 7-12. God did not condemn the Jews for killing His Son, instead invited them to salvation, and if He didn’t condemn them, then neither should we. Immediately after Jesus rose from the dead, the Jews were first in line to receive salvation through His blood; in fact, the very first Christians were Jews. It was only because their continued insolence that Paul turned to the gentiles, who became managers of the gospel throughout the age of grace in place of the Jews. This was not the result of the Jews crucifying Christ, but rejecting the gospel. The gentiles are just as guilty of this over the centuries having turned the grace of God into licentiousness, to the point that God will re-elect the Jew at the end of the age as managers of His gospel. The gentile church is indebted to Jewish Christians, and one day God will call the 144,000 Jews and place them at the helm of Christianity where they belong, and He will call them to carry the torch to the finish line.

(235d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Offerings >> Help your weaker brother

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28-33 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.

 

Rom 15-28

(72e) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Men delegate authority by their words

Rom 15-29

(234l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Be a blessing >> Freely give what you received from God – When Paul showed up, he always came with a blessing extended from a very powerful anointing. Signs and wonders followed him in his ministry along with spiritual insight and prophecy. God worked with him a in special way; whatever the Lord wanted He got from Paul, and as a result gave Paul what he wanted too. Blessing for God's people was a common interest between them, showing their hearts had blended together.

Rom 15,30-32

(131b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other to pray

Rom 15-30,31

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel

(29a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from our persecutors – Paul was saying, ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that things will not go well for me in Judea,’ and he was right. He had a lot of enemies there, a lot of unbelieving Jewish Pharisees. In fact, they were old friends of his; he went to school with some of them and learned together with some of the most prestigious teachers of his time. He went there to give a contribution from the gentiles and to visit with the apostles who acted as headquarters for the Christian Church in Jerusalem at the time, and to share with them his experiences and successes as an evangelist to the gentiles, to encourage them and be encouraged. Although it took years for God to "rescue" Paul from the hands of the Jews, leading him right back to Rome, he wasn’t killed, so in that sense God did rescue Paul.

(83k) Thy kingdom come >> We have the ministry of intercession >> Church intercedes for each other Everybody knows and can tell who are people of prayer and who are not. Just by spending a little time with them, we can recognize holiness about them, that they have a relationship with God. Their love is demonstrated in time spent with Him, and the majority of their help is accessed on their knees, so when they serve the saints, they are doing it through their primary ministry of prayer; and when they speak, it is the oracle of God.

Rom 15-30

(83c) Thy kingdom come >> Results of prayer >> Prayer unites the body – In his weakness Paul requested prayer from the Church in hope that he would be made strong through the power of Christ, who makes all things possible by virtue of prayer through the Spirit’s love, who does the impossible. Paul sought ability from God for himself and for his fellow workers that they might continue in the ministry and fully accomplish the will of God, not through human flesh but through the power and wisdom of the Spirit. His prayer was that he could continue preaching the gospel and visiting the churches that he had previously established and to encourage the saints to continue in the faith with the ultimate result of unifying the body of Christ.

Rom 15-32

(228d) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> We are comforted in the presence of God >> God comforts us in His company – Paul sought joy and rest in the company of the saints, who are the body of Christ in the world. When we gather among those who love God, there is great comfort in sharing words of our common faith, and hearing about the ministries that God is perfecting in each person as a result of their faith. The anointing that grows in the heart of each person and manifests in the world, obeying the truth, produces both the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts according to the will of God. All of us are called to produce the fruits of the Spirit, and many are called to produce the gifts of the Spirit, which are in some ways just as important. To have a word of knowledge, for example, is meaningful, helpful, encouraging. To have an apt word for the moment, as Paul said in Colossians, seasoned as it were with salt (Col 4-6), knowing just what to say in the given situation is a spiritual gift. People are suffering; what do we say to them? God knows, and He also has the right Spirit in which to say it with compassion, being aspects of God’s gift working in us. Paul was longing to be among the saints, so His Spirit could be restored from the vexation that he suffered in the world. We come among the saints and it is like a rest area that mimics heaven like nothing else. To be apart from the unbelief that defiles the world is important, in that it can grieve us to the point of despair, and we need someone to speak words of faith and truth. To know there are people who believe as we do is a comfort, living for Jesus and going through many of the same trials we face.

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ROMANS CHAPTER 16

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1&2 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. 

 

Rom 16,1-16

(15b) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Hall of helpers -- These verses go with verses 21-24. Paul had a list of people he knew and loved in this chapter as a commemoration of many of the great helpers that lived during his time. Since then, millions of helpers just like them have done their part in advancing the Church and the gospel in the world. Although they all may not have made it on a list of helpers in a manuscript that survived thousands of years in the New Testament, they are on a much more important list, the lambs book of life, whose heart is in the hand of their Master who took care of them, and who has brought them safely to His kingdom. God has a tender spot for servants, and especially for ministers in the helps department, for the significance of their position is often overlooked. Paul was asking to relay his greeting and make sure to use their resources to properly care for those mentioned, because they deserved it. For example, Timothy was Paul’s right-hand-man as a minister of the gospel in many churches. He followed behind Paul and taught the people how to live for God and with each other through the true doctrines that we read in the Bible today. They used the Old Testament as a foundation and built the New Testament upon it. Timothy was known to the Romans, having needed no introduction; he had fellowshipped with the Roman church and maybe even taught them the ways of God, and had since gone elsewhere to teach others, and Paul writing to the Romans gave Timothy’s greeting to them (v21), knowing his deep love and devotion to the saints in Rome.

(88b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> The work of faith – There was a great horde of helpers in the early church, but what did they do? What help do people need in churches today? They need janitors and clean-up crews after an event; they need maintenance men and help folding chairs; they need ushers and greeters, but none of these jobs require a person to be spiritual. An unbeliever could do them. Compare that to the first century church. Steven for example waited on tables, the apostles required someone who was filled with the spirit to do this, why? He would be directly interfacing with the saints, suggesting that Steven would be doing more than just waiting on tables, also ministering to the elderly widows. The apostles wanted to show a good example in every area of the Church. In fact, all the ministries of the early church required the people to be truly spiritual; they needed an anointing just to fulfill their calling, but we don't need an anointing to fold chairs, and if we wanted to be a servant in the Church today, we would be given nothing of any significance to do, simply because there is no ministry in the Church today. If anyone feels a calling in his life he immediately wants to go to college and get a degree in theology and become a pastor, because he knows there is no other ministry in the Church. The criteria for choosing pastors and teachers is often based on social affluence, cronyism, nepotism or favoritism on some level, but rarely does the criteria have anything to do with having a solid understanding of the Scriptures or a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul was not praising unbelievers here; he was praising the saints for their faith. It doesn’t take tremendous faith to fold chairs. The fact that church was generally held in people’s homes created a plethora of needs and opportunities to minister in regard to hospitality.

(123g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Ministry of the saints >> Emotional benediction toward helpers – Women took greater risks and made greater sacrifices then men to remain single for the sake of dedicating themselves to the Church, and Paul exonerated them, mentioning Phoebe first, devoting a whole paragraph to depict her as an exemplar servant among her fellow saints, giving her the honor she deserves. Paul said that the Church should receive Phoebe and those like her with great honor. These women not only sacrificed their potential families, they even risked their own lives to serve the saints, angels clothed in human flesh. Back then the Church was persecuted, and the persecution was often lethal, and if not, then a long jail sentence was imposed in a dungeon cell. There was also steady verbal and nonverbal persecution in the form of contempt that they endured, slander, accusations and threats, often resulted in physical and emotional punishment. They took it all for Jesus’ sake, for the furtherance of the gospel, and for the betterment of the saints. They did it for future generation, for us, that the gospel may remain in the world, and for this reason it is still here. The gospel did not die because they invested themselves into it, and this made an indelible impact on those who witnessed their faith and love. See also: Women leaders; Rom 16,1-6; 3i

(130h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Commitment stimulates intimate bonding – All servants are honorable. If a person serves and receives no honor, we know they are serving a broken-down ministry, for if the people being served are incapable of honoring those who serve them, whatever purpose and goal they may have is wasted on them, replaced by secularism and carnality. Helpers have needs too. If we help a helper, she will serve us all the more. Therefore, one of the greatest investments is to help a servant, because we get back seven times more than we put into them, but if we don’t acknowledge their service, they might go to work for somebody else who will appreciate them and work harder than ever. Everybody needs to feel appreciated. At work we get paid a wage for our service, but if we feel unappreciated, it proves that money just isn’t enough; there should be a show of appreciation. Some companies don’t feel this is necessary, but no matter how much a company pays its workers, it never compensates for a lack of appreciation.

(236e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your strength into the kingdom >> Invest your labors – Paul wanted these people to be rewarded for their faithfulness, not in the by and by in the sky when we die, but in this life by their fellow saints. God wants us to reward the faithfulness of others, and the only way we can do that is to wisely invest our resources in those who have invested themselves in the Kingdom of God. He is telling the saints to be particularly kind and loyal to those who have been particularly kind and loyal to others. He requested that they be especially good to those who have given their lives in service to the Lord. Essentially, Paul desired the Church to spend their resources on those who have greatly contributed to the needs of the saints. He didn't advocate churches throwing away their resources on people who were of no account to the Church. The early church was poor, and they had to be thrifty. We need to understand that the Bible is a book of principles. It doesn’t matter how much money they had; the principle is that we are required to be faithful with what God has given us, not wasteful. Some churches have tried to set up a ministry to the poor, which sounds good, but they are feeding poor people in the world who are unbelievers, who go there just for free handouts. This simply did not happen in the early church. They didn’t have a lot of people associating with the Church who were unsaved as we see today.

Rom 16,1-6

(3i) Responsibility >> To the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Women leaders – At the top of Paul’s list were women in his admiration of those who served the saints, and how many do you suppose made it on his list who were married? These women literally sacrificed their lives, their potential husbands and children, and the Church rewarded them with a vital ministry that was meaningful and fulfilling in the work they did for the saints. He listed the women first because they gave up more than single men, in that women have a stronger instinct to be mothers than men have to be fathers. Moreover, giving up a husband was a greater loss than a man’s loss of a wife (Gen 3-16), simply because men are overall better able to care for themselves, being physically stronger. Women were confined to what they could do, which paid less and there were fewer jobs available. On top of this, in their day there was a strong cultural expectation for a woman to marry and be represented in society by a husband. Thus, they had to endure constant social pressure. See also: Women leaders; Rom 16,1-16; 123g

Rom 16-1,2

(71f) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Worthiness of man >> Preachers are worthy of their support

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3-16 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 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.

 

Rom 16-3,4

(82i) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His blessings

(190a) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Laying your body on the altar

Rom 16,5-16

(131l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Having soul ties

Rom 16-5

(29bb) Gift of God >> Delivered from our enemies >> God delivers us from those who hate Him >> Church assembles in people's houses (underground) – Church was held in people’s homes during the first and second centuries, because of persecution, alternating from home to home to keep the enemy guessing and to spread the blessings and responsibilities. Building a church was not an option until Christianity became a worldly institution in the third century, starting with the Roman Catholic Church. The number of advantages of having church in a people's homes were numerous; at the top of the list was the opportunity to show hospitality to the saints, accompanied by song and sermon, communion and spiritual fellowship.

(150a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Invitation to the Kingdom of God – Paul wanted to acknowledge the first convert from Asia, who is still following the lord. How often do we make a so-called convert and six weeks later he's nowhere to be found? He had a moment of emotion as though he wanted to get saved, but later had another feeling that led him in the opposite direction and didn't return because he probably didn't believe in the first place. In the days of the early church the world was primed to receive the gospel of Christ, and for that reason it had a huge reception, whereas today there are many who claim to be saved going to mega-churches, coliseum-like structures, that can hold thousands of people, and they fill the seats every week to hear highly talented speakers, yet the world is more lost than ever. If the Church is the salt of the earth, then we must have lost our savor, because our religion is failing to preserve the world, which is very quickly losing its grip on reality and heading for the abyss. All this church-ianity on TV, flashy churches, flashy ministers, things that appeal to the flesh, the majority of it isn’t real. There is no genuine faith involved in any of it. The early church had the truth in high concentrations, thanks to people like Paul and other apostles, who acted as God’s watchdogs, but now we have foxes guarding the henhouse.

Rom 16-7

(152b) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Commitment to the cause proves apostleship – There were more than twelve apostles; many are unknown to us because their names never made it into the holy Scriptures, yet they are no less acknowledged by God in heaven. The definition of an apostle is someone like Paul who went about evangelizing the countryside and establishing churches, called missionaries in our day. There were many leading men of faith in the early Church, who had powerful anointings, and thousands were saved through their ministries, not just what we have heard about the twelve; in fact, we read nothing in Scripture about most of Jesus' twelve apostles, though they used their lives to further the gospel of Christ and all were martyred for their faith, except the apostle John. Andronicus and Junias were fellow believers who served prison sentences, and it says they believed in God before Paul. We never hear of many people getting saved who need a new church; they just go to an existing church, and so there is no need for apostles here, but in third-world countries they do. We hear about pastors and are probably familiar with evangelists and teachers, but we hear almost nothing about apostles and prophets. Has God phased them from the Church or have we? There are some who claim to be prophets, but we mostly just laugh at them, but then prophets have always been slandered. Are there any true prophets today? People are not respectful enough to honor true prophets, so their ministries are essentially squandered and incognito, hiding from the Church, for if the religious establishment let prophets speak, they would say things the contemporary Church would not want to hear.

Rom 16-16,17

(176a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Misguided

Rom 16-16

(123k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Physical affection with spiritual motives – The so-called holy kiss is long gone; people quit kissing each other in the Church after it morphed into something less than holy, so they banned it from common practice, but it was once very popular among the people of God when there was more spiritual maturity in the Church. They disposed of the holy kiss about 1430 AD, towards the later end of the Late Middle Ages, near the dawn of modern times. It persisted, going through many transformations throughout its history.

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17&18 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.

 

Rom 16-17,18

(7h) Responsibility >> Defend God’s cause >> Protecting the Church – It is actually difficult to turn from evil men nowadays, since there are so many of them, and their deceptions have persisted for so long. Even good hearted ministers preach doctrines the early church would have deemed heretical, and if they do this, what are those with evil intent doing? We must be vigilant, for many opportunists have sacrificed their faith and will sacrifice ours for personal gain. We prefer to believe the majority of people are descent, and we can be trustful and loyal, but we can’t close our eyes and let pretenders to take what God has given us. We must protect the gift of God. 

(22f) Sin >> Lust (craving pleasure) >> Fleshly desire

(68j) Authority >> Discernment >> Judging truth and error >> Perceiving a wicked heart – Their appetite always embraces materialism and the love of money, which has an attraction that we would like to deny, similar to Medusa, a monster in Greek mythology that we dare not behold, for our gaze will turn to a stare like fire captures attention, and once they have it they can exploit us. It takes all the heart and soul to protect us from those who have wholeheartedly sacrificed themselves to the god of money and they revel in it. They are able to hide among the saints, but we must protect ourselves from them, identifying them by two attributes: their doctrines cause dissentions and hindrances in the Church. We have power and authority to know the truth for ourselves, and Paul is telling us to compare the teachings of these reprobates with the truth of God’s word that dwells in our heart from the Holy Spirit, and not to depend on someone else to discern the truth for us. When people do not hold up to scrutiny, we should keep an eye on them and their teaching and when they stray from the truth, run from them.

(84b) Thy kingdom come >> Be on the alert >> Remain on duty >> Keep watch – Paul is saying there are signs to read that these people emit wherever they go so we can identify them; they cause dissensions and hindrances. Turning away from them means running back to the sheep who know and love God with all their hearts. However, in today's world there are few people who even know what they believe, so to turn from the depraved to the naïve isn’t much help. What the Church needs is genuine revival, so when we turn from the crooked and perverse, we are returning to people who are rightly believe the truth. Of any period throughout the age of grace, we are now living in the most desperate of times, and things haven’t even gotten bad compared to the conditions prophesied about the great tribulation. When endtime prophecy begins to unfold, that is when life will become unbearable, and those days are soon coming because we are unwilling to believe the simple gospel during good times. Days are coming when we will really need each other, but if the brethren have been unfaithful and cannot be trusted, whom should we seek for strength? 

(118f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Seeing through the eyes of your spirit >> Eyes of discernment

(158g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Special interest groups

(163c) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> Being a slave to greed

(163i) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the Church – The early Church was heatedly persecuted with many Christians being killed as martyrs, and people got sick of it. About the same time, the Church was starting to compromise in various ways, and one of those compromises was accepting leaders who distorted the conventional interpretation of Scripture, blending the truth with error and inventing doctrines that attracted people to themselves for the purpose of exploiting them. These false shepherds are not about to die for their faith, and so they determined to change doctrines and theology, and the result was that the Church became an entity of the state. Instead of being separate from the world as Jesus commanded, they bypassed sanctification and Christianity become an aspect of the world to this day.

(172c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Wolves among the sheep

(180ca) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Fighting off wolves with a clever innocence >> Being more clever than their sin – Virtually every church claims they don’t need help from anyone, though the Church has divided dozens of times and created hundreds of denominations. It would be one thing to say that each one has an aspect of the truth, but the question is not how much truth it has but how much heresy it harbors. It is inevitable that deception exists in a state of division; in fact, deception is the cause of division. Even if pastors made themselves available, they wouldn’t listen to anybody’s critique of them. We live in desperate times, spiritually speaking, so that if someone really wanted to devote himself to his faith in Jesus, he would have to do it according to the mandates of the Church as they see fit. If we have a ministry burning in our heart that God put there, and we want to express that ministry in the local church, we would suffer one roadblock after another, until we either gave up or found a way around the obstacles, but God will find a way to express our ministry to spite the Church if we don’t abandon the vision.

(181k) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Deceiving and being deceived

(223c) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Conceit >> Imposing your opinion of self on others >> Cliques make people seek your acceptance

Rom 16-17

(241a) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering unity in the Church

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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. 

 

Rom 16-19,20

(46b) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Preparing for battle – We hear all kind of stories about how to conduct spiritual warfare. Some people pray very hard and very loud; some make faces and fists, while others stand on top of hills and shout from the high places claiming whole cities for God. Some spin and twirl, waving banners, thinking their songs will scare the devil. The fact is, songs don’t scare the devil, faithfulness does. He is not afraid of our songs; he can plant evil thoughts in our heads even during our praise and worship services. What did Paul say about spiritual warfare? This passage indicates that obedience is key, commanding us “to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” If we want to conduct spiritual warfare, we must be innocent of evil in order to make a distinction between us and our opponent. We scare the devil through repentance; James said, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jm 4-7). Resisting the devil can go on for months, sometimes even years, until finally we are able to break free of our bondage to sin. If we want to scare the devil, repent! See also: Spiritual warfare; 54k

(54k) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contrast of two natures David wrote many psalms as a lowly shepherd, such as when he killed the lion and the bear to protect the sheep. In this case there is a connection between David as a psalmist and David as a warrior. Churches today sing his psalms and think they are pulling down strongholds, but there are aspects of David they do not acknowledge, such as the fact that David understood the will of God, but what do we understand about God's will? Many in the Church cite the example in the Old Testament about David bringing back the Ark of the Covenant to the temple when he took off his clothes and danced with all his heart, and Saul’s daughter, Michal, “despised him in her heart” (2Sam 6-16), and God struck her womb and she was barren. They say that this is spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare does in fact revolve around our worship of God, but not just singing. What did Paul say a few chapters earlier about our primary form of worship? “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom 12-1). If we want to fight the devil, then repent! See also: Spiritual warfare; 126g

(126g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peace in the midst of the storm – In the Church today we seem to have special wisdom about the subject of spiritual warfare, doing things that the Bible doesn’t teach. Some of these things people are formally taught, others they learn by observation, and still others they understand subliminally. Many people’s beliefs about spiritual warfare go far back as the Old Testament to King David; he was a warrior and loved God as a psalmist, who wrote and played music to God, and so people in the Church today have erroneously assumed that the warrior mentality and music go together. As a result, many of David’s psalms have been put to music and people now use them to conduct so-called "spiritual warfare". David was a warrior; meanwhile, Paul said that the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet. The glaring problem is that peace and the warrior mentality are incompatible as exact opposites of each other. See also: Spiritual warfare; 46b

Rom 16-19

(42f) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent of all evil

(87i) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Those who obey believe in God >> Those who obey the word

(89f) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Deeds of wisdom

(127o) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Overcome evil with good – Being wise will make us good and being good will make us wise, and the two of them working together cause a snowball effect that creates mountains of righteousness in our life. To be innocent of evil means not to touch it, unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. We have all sinned, but today is always the day of repentance. Just because we have sinned doesn’t mean we can no longer be innocent, for we can stop sinning and be innocent again through the cleansing blood of Christ. The question is not whether we are sinners, but to what degree we practice sin, referring to bondage. Even Christians can fall under bondage to sin, but with that bondage must come a sense of guilt and misery associated with it, otherwise it is questionable if we are saved. If a person practices sin and he doesn’t feel bad about it, we have a right to question his salvation. All of us have sins that may plague us possibly throughout our lives, and we are to take God’s conviction as healing. It is when we stop feeling bad about it that we need to worry. If we feel godly sorrow about the sins we commit, there is still hope for repentance. God wants us free, and that takes faith and vision. There is hope to share our freedom with the brethren, which is translated as an anointing, which is a true motivation to repent.

(142d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a good reputation >> A reputation of good works

(194e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Hate evil >> Condemning sin >> Hate evil by being innocent of it

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20-27 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. 24 [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.] 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 which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

 

Rom 16-20

(46k) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Demons are subject to the Church through Christ

(57h) Paradox >> Opposites >> The God of peace will crush Satan under our feet – Paul said this 2000 years ago, and we could interpret it as referring most literally to the end of the age of grace and the millennium. At the end of the millennium the angels of God will grab Satan by the nap of the neck and throw him into the lake of fire where he will be tormented for the rest of eternity. Not only was it a long time ago that Paul made this statement, it is still a long time from now when it will come to pass, so are we just supposed to wait for it? No, today is the day for all things spiritual to happen, and that includes crushing Satan under our feet. Not tomorrow, everything happens today. We repent today, and we crush Satan under our feet today, because that is ultimately what will happen to him. When God finally throws him into the lake if fire, it will be the literal manifestation of our personal victories over sin.

Rom 16,21-24

(15b) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Hall of helpers -- These verses go with verses 1-16

Rom 16-22

(99g) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring circumstances >> Enduring hardship – Paul began this letter with his own name, yet Tertius wrote the epistle of Romans at Paul's dictation. Apparently Paul needed help writing the letter, though according to most timeline charts referring to Paul’s life, he was only 40-50 years old. Some say Tertius was Paul’s scribe, though normally he didn’t need a scribe, unless he was unable to write for himself. He had eye problems, possibly resulting from the flash of light on the road to Damascus when he met the Lord. Paul healed many people in his ministry through the power of Christ, so we would think God would have healed Paul, but he didn't, perhaps as an expression of His sovereign will, healing some and not others. God is not in the business of turning back the hands of time on failing bodies that are destined for the grave, but allows whatever happens in a person’s aging years.

Rom 16,25-27

(86a) Thy kingdom come >> Belief >> Treating the knowledge of God as fact >> Believe the word by obeying it

(98c) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Rooted deeply >> The lord establishes us

(108i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelation of Jesus Christ >> Revelation of the mysteries of God

(138g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Glorifying God in your exhortation

(142b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Prophesy about the dispensation >> Gentiles are included – The mystery to which Paul was referring is that Jesus died for the gentiles too (the nations). This was Paul’s great revelation, though obviously he had many, but this was the one that propelled his ministry to the gentiles. Before this, no one really understood that the gentiles were included in the faith. Peter sure didn’t understand it, until he received a personal revelation about it from the Lord (Act 10,9-16). They had no dispute with Paul about his teaching on the gentiles, for they respected Paul, and they were familiar with the Scriptures; and when they weighed his words with the Old Testament, they could see the correlation.

(214e) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> Dispensation of God’s revelations >> Dispensations of revelation knowledge – The Holy Spirit was writing through John in the book of Revelation and said in the first few verses that His return was imminent, 2000 years ago. People point and say, ‘Ah-hah, a flaw in the Scriptures!’ but they forget that this is God, and to Him it has only been two days (2Pet 3-8). He can also pack a thousand years worth of events into one day, and in fact the fulfillment of endtime prophecy will be much like that; events will occur rapidly as in the days of Jesus. Many things happened in His short 3½-year ministry, for these are the ways of God. There can be centuries when nothing biblical or divine happens, and then suddenly each day is packed with divine works from God among His people.

Rom 16-25,26

(141g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ resurrection

(231f) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Revelation of Jesus is the mystery of the kingdom >> Jesus reveals the mystery of the kingdom

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Rom 16-25

(107a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Receiving unction from God

Rom 16-26

(6f) Responsibility >> Being spiritual >> Ministering to God by obeying His word – See also: Rom 1-5 for "Obedience of faith." This is the theme of Romans.

(88a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> Works establish your faith – Paul started and ended the book of Romans with this phrase: “obedience of faith” (Rom 1-5), suggesting that we should understand everything Paul said in the epistle through this phrase. However, the Church has been hornswoggled into believing it can somehow manage to keep faith separate from obedience, but Scripture simply does not teach this. The Church has fallen in love with some of the passages of Romans that speak very plainly about the grace of God, Paul taking great pains to dissociate works from faith to show that faith is the active ingredient of our salvation. He didn’t do this to suggest we should separate works from faith, for James was just as clear when he said that faith without works is dead. Anyone who would believe that we can be saved without obedience must have hidden motives of one day walking away from their faith, otherwise they would have no cause to believe this.

(115j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through obedience of faith >> Through determination >> Determined to obey Christ

Rom 16-27

(115a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Working God’s grace through Christ >> Worship God through Christ

(252i) Trinity >> You shall put no other gods before Me >> Worship God >> Worship God for who He is >> Glorifying God

(255h) Trinity >> Father, Son and Holy Spirit >> Three in one >> There is only one God – Paul said that there was only one wise God. Someone might take that verse to mean there were other gods, albeit unwise, using this as an open door to continue believing in a god other than Jesus Christ, saying that the Bible itself through Paul said there could be more than one god, still there is only one wise God. To that we could ask if it would take wisdom to create the universe that we see today, the earth and all things in it, creating life from nonliving matter, organic molecules from inert atoms? If it does require wisdom, then the only wise God must be responsible for the creation, suggesting that all the other gods are no gods at all. If there are gods that have not created the universe, how are they God? The Bible speaks of Satan and his demons as they were lords, referring to them as principalities and powers that govern this world. They are gods onto themselves, though obviously having no involvement in creating the universe, yet many people worship them. However, Paul was talking about the God Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind, to Him, the only wise God be the glory forever, Amen.