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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents
of these Bible study outlines. However, every Bible study posted on this website has been
taught by Rev. Purkey. To see more Bible study outlines go to the Archives Page:
rcpbibleoutlines.com/index10.htm
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EMPOWERED SERVANTS

June 16, 2024

SCRIPTURE: Romans 15:1-33

KEY VERSES: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).

INTRODUCTION: Disunity has always been a major problem with God’s people. Even the Old Testament records the civil wars and family fights among the people of Israel, and almost every local church mentioned in the New Testament had divisions which with to contend. The Corinthians were divided over human leaders, and some of the members were even suing each other (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 6:1-8). The Galatian saints were “biting and devouring” one another (Gal. 5:15), and the saints in Ephesus and Colossae had to be reminded of the importance of Christian unity (Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 2:1-2). In the church at Philippi, two women were at odds with each other and, as a result, were splitting the church (Phil. 4:1-3). No wonder the psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).

Some of these problems stemmed from the backgrounds of the believers in the churches. The Jews, for example, were saved out of a strict legalistic background that would be difficult to forget. The Gentiles never had to worry about diets and days. The first church council in history debated the issue of the relationship of the Christian to the Law (Acts 15).

The believers in Rome were divided over special diets and special days. Some of the members thought it was a sin to eat meat, so they ate only vegetables. Other members thought it a sin not to observe the Jewish holy days. If each Christian had kept his convictions to himself, there would have been no problem, but they began to criticize and judge one another. The one group was sure the other group was not at all spiritual.

Unfortunately, we have similar problems today with many “gray areas” of life that are not clearly right or wrong to every believer. Some activities we know are wrong, because the Bible clearly condemns them. Other activities we know are right, because the Bible clearly commands them. But when it comes to areas that are not clearly defined in Scripture, we find ourselves needing some other kind of guidance. Paul gave principles of this guidance. He explained how believers could disagree on nonessentials and still maintain unity in the church. He gave his readers four important admonitions.

I. OUR MINISTRY TO OTHERS (Romans 15:1-7).

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. (Romans 15:1-7).

INSIGHT: We must create an atmosphere of encouragement for others! Verse 2 is the key verse in Romans 15:1-7: “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”

Dave Branon from “Our Daily Bread” said the following about this: “I’m encouraged every time I visit the fitness center near our house. In that busy place, I’m surrounded by others who are striving to improve their physical health and strength. Posted signs remind us not to judge each other, but words and actions that reveal support for others’ conditioning efforts are always welcomed.

What a great picture of how things should look in the spiritual realm of life! Those of us who are striving to ‘get in shape’ spiritually, to grow in our faith, can sometimes feel as if we don’t belong because we’re not as spiritually fit—as mature in our walk with Jesus—as someone else.

Paul gave us this short, direct suggestion: ‘Encourage one another and build each other up’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And to the believers in Rome he wrote: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up” (Romans 15:2). Recognizing that our Father is so lovingly gracious with us, let’s show God’s grace to others with encouraging words and actions.

As we ‘accept one another’ (verse 7), let’s entrust our spiritual growth to God—to the work of His Spirit. And while we daily seek to follow Him, may we create an atmosphere of encouragement for our brothers and sisters in Jesus as they also seek to grow in their faith.

INSIGHT: A word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up and pressing on. ‘Lord, help me today to encourage others along the way. Guide me to say what will not discourage but will spur them toward a deeper walk with You in Your love.’”

II. CHRIST’S MINISTRY TO JEWS AND GENTILES (Romans 15:8-13).

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

The Bible student who fails to recognize Christ’s dual ministry, first to the Jew and then to the Gentile, will never rightly divide the Word of truth. When Christ was born, His coming was announced to the Jewish nation and related to the OT promises. As verse 8 states clearly, Christ was first a minister to the Jews for the purpose of confirming the OT covenants and promises. See Luke 1:30-33, 46-55, and 67-80. These Spirit-filled Jews knew that Christ had come to deliver them from the Gentiles and establish the promised kingdom.

But what happened? The people of Israel rejected their King on three occasions: (1) they allowed Herod to murder the King’s messenger, John the Baptist; (2) they asked for Christ to be murdered; (3) they themselves murdered Stephen. In the Gospels and Acts, the Gospel is delivered “to the Jew first.” Had Israel received Christ, the kingdom would have been set up, and the blessings would have flowed out to the Gentiles through a converted Israel. Paul has already shown in Rom. 9-11 that it is through Israel’s fall (not her rise to glory) that the Gospel of God’s grace has now gone to the Gentiles. There is a pattern of progress in verses 9-11; the Gentiles hear the Word (Ps. 18:49); the Gentiles rejoice with the Jews (Deut. 32:43); all the Gentiles praise God on their own (Ps. 117:1); and the Gentiles trust Christ and enjoy His reign (Isa. 11:10). These verses almost summarize the spiritual history of Israel: verse 9 (see Acts 10-14), when the Jews witnessed to the Gentiles; verse 10 (see Acts 15-28), when Jews and Gentiles shared in the church’s witness; verse 11 (Acts 28), when Israel was finally set aside and the Gentiles given the prominent place in God’s program (as described in Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and Colossians); and verse 12, the future kingdom, shared by the Gentiles.

INSIGHT: The theme of the Gentile praise is Christ. Speaking of that future day when the King reigns, verse 12 says, “In Him shall the Gentiles trust” (or hope). Paul then picks up the theme of “hope” in the prayer of verse 13. We do not have to wait to have joy, peace, and hope; the Spirit can give us those blessings now.

III. PAUL’S MINISTRY TO JEWS AND GENTILES (Romans 15:14-22).

14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. 17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: 21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. 22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. (Romans 15:14-22).

Paul is anxious to emphasize that he is the apostle to the Gentiles. Failure to see the special place of Paul’s ministry in the program of God will bring confusion to one’s Bible study. In verse 16, Paul pictures himself as a NT priest, offering up the Gentiles to God as his sacrifice of praise. Every time we win a soul to Christ, it’s offering another sacrifice to His glory.

His special ministry involved a special message (the Gospel of the grace of God, verse 16), special miracles (verses 18-19), and a special method (verse 20, going where Christ had not been preached). Paul was a pioneer; he did not mix law and grace, faith and works, or Israel and the church, the way some teachers do today. We know that the Jews require a sign (1 Cor. 1:22), but God also gave miracles for the Gentiles (at Ephesus for instance—see Acts 19:11-12). We should NOT think, then, that because there are miracles recorded after Acts 7 (Israel’s final rejection) that God is still dealing with the nation of Israel.

Paul had been hindered from going to Rome, not by Satan, but by the demands of ministry in so many places where the Gospel had not been preached. Now that he had covered all the ground possible, he was ready for his visit to Rome. The fact that Paul was willing to preach in Rome indicates that no other apostle had been there (Peter, for example); for his policy was to go to areas untouched by the Gospel.

IV. THE GENTILE CHURCHES’ MINISTRY TO THE JEWS (Romans 15:23-33)

23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; 24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. 25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. 28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. 29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. 30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; 31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; 32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:23-33)

Paul desired to go to Spain; whether or not he ever got there, the Bible does not say. Tradition says he did. At any rate, at the time he wrote this letter he was engaged in taking a relief offering to the poverty-stricken Jews in Palestine, an offering contributed by the Gentile churches he had founded. For details, see 1 Cor. 16 and 2 Cor. 8-9. Paul gives several reasons for this offering:

(1) Spiritual obligation, verse 27. Since the Gentiles had received all their spiritual blessings through the Jews, the Gentiles were to pay them back in some measure with material things. Christians today need to bear in mind that the Gentiles are debtors to the Jews.

(2) Personal love, verse 29. Paul had a great burden for the Jews, and by bringing the offering, he would express this love to them.

(3) Christian unity, verse 31. Some of the Jewish believers (remember Acts 15) were not happy about the entrance of Gentiles into the fold. This offering was to help to heal the breach that some caused by saying that Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians.

This passage raises the question of the responsibility Gentile Christians have to Jews today. Certainly the program of “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16) was valid during the period of the Gospels and Acts 1-7 but no longer applies today. Our obligation to the Jews stems from the Great Commission, the grace of God, who chose us and grafted us into the olive tree (Rom. 11:20 & following verses), and the plain logic of Rom. 10:11-17. As far as condemnation is concerned, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. As far as salvation is concerned, there is also no difference. But Israel is still God’s chosen nation, though set aside and blinded temporarily; Israel is beloved for the fathers’ sakes (Rom. 11:28). No Christian should be guilty of anti-Jewish feelings or practices. Rather, we should seek to witness to them and win them to Christ. As a nation, Israel has been blinded; but individual Jews can find Christ as the Spirit opens their eyes.

Notice that in verse 31 Paul anticipated trouble with the unbelieving Jews, and that trouble came! Review Acts 21:15 & following verses and see how the unsaved Jews treated Paul.

This chapter emphasizes once again the importance of distinguishing between the Jew, the Gentile, and the church (1 Cor. 10:32). In fact, Paul’s last words to the Romans (Romans 16:25-27) deal with that great mystery of the church, which Paul was to reveal through his message. May we never fail as stewards of His mysteries!

OVERFLOWING
By Adam Holz

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. – Romans 15:13

“No! No! No! NO!” I screamed. It didn’t help. Not one bit. My brilliant solution for our plugged problem—flushing again—accomplished exactly the opposite of what I’d intended. I knew I had made a mistake the second I pushed the lever down. And I stood helplessly as water overflowed.

How many times have our kids tried to pour milk and misjudged the process, with white liquid flowing everywhere. Or maybe we failed to remember that a two-liter bottle of soda just rolled around in the trunk . . . with explosively startling results.

No, spills are almost never a good thing. But there might be one exception. The apostle Paul uses that image of overflowing to describe a people so full of God’s Spirit that what naturally spills out of them is ‘hope” (Romans 15:13). I love that picture of being filled to the brim with joy, peace, and faith because of His powerful presence in our lives. So much so, in fact, that we can’t help but convey and express winsome confidence in our heavenly Father. That might be during the beautiful, sunny seasons of our lives. Or when the proverbial cup of our lives gets jostled. Either way, what sloshes out over the top is life-giving hope to those around us who are “drenched” by it.

Lord, spills happen in life. But when they do, help us to be so
full of Your Spirit that what pours out of us is the kind of
hope that others can’t help but notice and be blessed by.

 -- Adapted from Adam Holz, Our Daily Bread, May 18

INSIGHT: Hope is a central theme in Romans. Testing results in hope (Romans 5:4), we are saved in hope (Romans 8:24), we are to be joyful in hope (Romans 12:12), we draw hope from the Scriptures in the trials of life (Romans 15:4), and our lives can overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). -- Bill Crowder, Our Daily Bread, May 18.

CONCLUSION: What have we learned from our study of Romans chapter 15?

First, We Learned that we have a debt to the weak (Romans 15:1–6). The strong must bear the weak and help them grow, and that takes love and patience. If we live to please ourselves, we will not follow the example of Christ who lived to please the Father and help others.

Second, We Learned that we have a debt to the lost (Romans 15:7–21). God saved the Jews so that they might reach the Gentiles and lead them in praising the Lord. God has saved us so that we might win others. We have a debt to pay (Romans 1:14).

Third, We Learned that we have a debt to the Jews (Romans 15:22–33). The Gentiles are indebted to the Jews (John 4:22). And that debt is paid by (1) praying for them (Psalm 122:6), (2) witnessing to them in love, and (3) sharing our material gifts to assist them.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God the Father gave us the Holy Spirit to make us like His Son.”

REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.

 

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