Monday, April 16, 2018

Romans 15:1-13 – Christian Responsibility

Romans 15:1-6 – True Unity

Do you care what others think of you?  Are you a people pleaser?  Or do you try to do what is pleasing to God?

People pleasers avoid speaking their mind afraid of what other will think.  It’s difficult for them to say No and to set limits.  They avoid conflict of any kind.  They want the approval of others at any cost. 

Does this describe you?

In this chapter Paul is writing to those believers who are strong in their faith saying that they should support those whose faith is weak.  Paul calls himself a strong Christian.  He says that we should encourage others by using our freedoms in a responsible way by building up weaker Christians.   He uses Jesus as an example by using words from the Old Testament in Psalm 69:9  “For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’”

Why would Paul quote the Old Testament?  The Old Testament gives us the hopeful promise of the Messiah to come.  The whole Bible is from God.  It encourages us and instructs us in godly living.  “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.” - Rom. 15:4.  To overcome our problems in this world we need the hope that God gives.

There are many verses that prove that Jesus didn’t live to please Himself.  In Matt. 4 Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights and was tempted by Satan, but never gave in to His own needs.  People constantly followed Him, but He always took time teaching and healing them.  In Matt. 19 He took time for little children.  In Matt. 27 He saved others by His death instead of saving Himself.  In Phil. 2:6-8 tells us He made himself nothing and took on the nature of a servant.

People who live to please themselves are selfish, conceited, greedy, jealous, and prideful.  They are self-centered, self-absorbed and live for their own interests.  They can be mean and some are even plain evil.  I think deep down they are unhappy.

Do any of these similarities describe you?

We as believers have Christian liberties not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God and others.   Jesus’ whole life was that of denying Himself.  If we are trying to please men, we are not true follower and servants of Christ.  To be true followers we must imitate Jesus.  We may not be perfect at it, but we must try.

Paul tells believers that they have the responsibility of unity.  True Christian unity doesn’t care about race, culture, age, gender or background.  True unity comes from God and is based on Christ Jesus.  We are to appreciated and support each other recognizing our differences while realizing we are all part of God’s family.  We need to work on our relationships at home and in the church.  We are to pursue things that bring peace and build others up.  We are to be considerate of others.  We are to be careful not to put stumbling blocks in our brothers’ way.  If we Christians don’t argue, our churches will be strong and then will be able to declare the gospel in a powerful manner.  Our unity is based on our common salvation in Christ. 

As believers we also have privileges.  Our sins are forgiven.  We are sons of God and part of His family and get all that goes with it.  Our one purpose is to glorify God and Jesus Christ.

How have you been especially considerate of another Christian?
How are you building them up?
Where do you need to work on your relationships?

Principle:  True unity comes from Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:7-12 – Christian Acceptance

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praises to God.”Rom. 15:7.  This is a summary of what Paul has said.  Christians are to accept one another to God’s glory just as Christ accepted us to God’s glory.  He accepted you when you didn’t deserve to be accepted.  You were His enemy and were not seeking after Him.  He came looking for you.  He died for you! 

To accept means more that tolerating other Christians.  It means to welcome others, especially those who are different.  We are not to hold on to our small prejudices.  We are to extend the same mercy to others that we received.  When we show our love for other Christians, God will receive honor.  When we show love to those who don’t deserve it, God gets the glory. 

Paul goes on to say that Jesus accepted both Jews and Gentiles in order to bring praise to God.  He became a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the Old Testament patriarchs so the Gentiles may also glorify God.    Paul quotes The Old Testament in verses 9-12 reminding the Jews of the promise to the Jewish fathers included the Gentiles and that neither Jew nor Gentile should look down on the other.

What has kept you from accepting another Christian who has different beliefs?

Principle:  Believers are to be accepting of other believers in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 15:13 – Hope

Paul prays that all believers will know joy and peace completely.  He prays that the Holy Spirit will give hope to them and that hope will encourage their Christian life.  Christians eagerly wait for Christ’s return.  Then He will complete their salvation by giving them a new body and a new life in heaven.  “We wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”Titus 2:13.

Are you earnestly praying for complete joy and peace?

Principle:  Believers wait for the completion of their salvation.

In verse 5 Paul calls God one who gives endurance and encouragement.  In verse 13 he calls God “the God of Hope”.  In verse 33 He is called “the God of peace”.  What beautiful names he gives to God.

How could you describe God?

Next time we will finish the study Romans 15.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  --  I encourage you to trust in Jesus.

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