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Category: Christian Perspective (page 2 of 13)

Reflections on Romans 15:14-16 (Mon)

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Here’s the text for today in the NET translation.

15:14 But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15:15 But I have written more boldly to you on some points so as to remind you, because of the grace given to me by God 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I serve the gospel of God like a priest, so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

I’m reflecting on the fact that Paul considered the Romans able to instruct one another. He had adequately trained them so they no longer needed him to hold their hands. Sure reminders might be in order, but overall, they had progressed to the point of needing very little outside help. In a sense, Paul had worked himself out of a job!

This attitude of equipping others to the point of no longer needing you is a key one I think. Too often we enjoy having others depend on us and so we forget our job is to make them succeed even without us. Parents especially need to adopt this attitude so their kids learn to function on their own.

Intro to Romans 15:14-33 (Sun)

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Overview of “Exchange: Lifestyle” (series on Romans 12-16)
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Today begins week 10 out of our 12 week summer sermon series on Romans 12-16 called “Exchange: Lifestyle.”

Here’s how I’ve divvied it up into daily readings. (I have committed to journaling my reflections about each of these passages here.)

Week 10. Sermon: “On Mission for Christ” Romans 15:14-33
• Sun, 8/16. Rom 15:14-33 intro.
• Mon, 8/17. Rom 15:14-16
• Tues, 8/18. Rom 15:17-21
• Wed, 8/19. Rom 15:22-24
• Thu, 8/20. Rom 15:25-29
• Fri, 8/21. Rom 15:30-33
• Sat, 8/22. Rom 15:14-33 review.

Here’s the whole text for this week in the NET translation.

15:14 But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15:15 But I have written more boldly to you on some points so as to remind you, because of the grace given to me by God 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I serve the gospel of God like a priest, so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

15:17 So I boast in Christ Jesus about the things that pertain to God. 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in order to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, 15:19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem even as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 15:20 And in this way I desire to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person’s foundation, 15:21 but as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

15:22 This is the reason I was often hindered from coming to you. 15:23 But now there is nothing more to keep me in these regions, and I have for many years desired to come to you 15:24 when I go to Spain. For I hope to visit you when I pass through and that you will help me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.

15:25 But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia are pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 15:27 For they were pleased to do this, and indeed they are indebted to the Jerusalem saints. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are obligated also to minister to them in material things. 15:28 Therefore after I have completed this and have safely delivered this bounty to them, I will set out for Spain by way of you, 15:29 and I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

15:30 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf. 15:31 Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 15:32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 15:33 Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen.

Review of Romans 15:1-13 (Sat)

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Here’s this past week’s passage:

15:1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up. 15:3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. 15:5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus, 15:6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15:7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. 15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 15:9 and thus the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praises to your name.” 15:10 And again it says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 15:11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him.” 15:12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in him will the Gentiles hope.” 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This section on extending grace towards believers who differ in the gray areas has been good for me. I’m wired to be black and white, and to judge others who take a different stance on issues. How freeing it is to let go of those things and focus on love. And how useful. It’s about unity, love, and treating others with honor.

The other night we were having dinner with some good Catholic friends, who would naturally lean towards a more Democratic viewpoint. They shared about how they encountered rather hostile treatment from a New Covenant person over the issue of what to think of Obama. It left them feeling put off and I’m sure made them wonder if being evangelical always means being judgmental and unpleasant. Our family tried our best to represent grace to them.

How much better would it be for our cause if the primary thing felt radiating from us was love. I contend that love can and should be communicated even when there’s legitimate disagreement on such gray areas as politics.

Sure there will be issues of black-and-white truth that may offend others. I’m not saying we back off on our convictions. But I am saying that we can learn from Romans 14-15 about the importance of love over most of the petty things we judge others by.

Verse 17 sums it up pretty well: Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory.

Reflections on Romans 15:13 (Fri)

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Here’s today’s passage:

15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wraps up his section on Christian living with this benediction blessing. (He still has a chapter and a half of closing remarks, which is a very long P.S. if you ask me!)

Hope, joy, and peace are the themes here resulting from their belief in Him but coming from God’s power. He asks that they be filled with these things.

What stands out to me is what Paul doesn’t say. There’s no mention of most of the things that so often preoccupy our prayers for others. We almost exclusively pray for temporary circumstances: safety, health, prosperity, comforts, finances, success, and for things to generally “go well”. Paul doesn’t ask for these things at all here. Instead he prays for character qualities like joy regardless of the circumstances and peace in the midst of life’s storms and hope when things in life seem futile.

It would be an interesting exercise for us to engage in a prayer time for others that doesn’t involve praying for any circumstances. I think I’d like to try this.

Reflections on Romans 15:8-12 (Thu)

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Here’s today’s passage:

15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 15:9 and thus the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praises to your name.” 15:10 And again it says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 15:11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him.” 15:12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in him will the Gentiles hope.”

It’s neat to see God’s heart for all people in this passage, especially since I’m a Gentile!

Verse 12 caught my attention because it associates hope with being ruled over. In our society dominated by politcal corruption, greed and abuses of power it seems unnatural to think that a ruler could truly bring us hope. But Jesus can!

I also noticed the contrast between verses 8 and 12. He who was our servant ends up being our ruler.

Reflections on Romans 15:5-7 (Wed)

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Here’s today’s passage:

15:5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus, 15:6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15:7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory.

We see once again the importance of unity in the body. Our focus should be on glorifying God without letting our differences hinder us. How often we miss this!

Yesterday morning I was talking to someone at the Rockwell Rec Center where I voluteer twice a month. I was telling her about my day’s upcoming schedule and how I was looking forward to a lunch meeting of youth pastors from around town. She was amazed at the idea of pastors working together rather than competing with each other or disputing over differences. I thought how sad it was that someone like her with little church background has come to view churches as being naturally divided. How far this is from Paul’s admonition in Romans!

I liked Pastor Bob’s explanation of “receiving” another to be like pulling them toward yourself in an embrace. Just the way Jesus embraces us despite our foolish, shallow, and fickle ways. He doesn’t let our deficiencies get in the way of His amazing love!

Reflections on Romans 15:3-4 (Tue)

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Here’s today’s passage:

15:3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.

When we look at Christ, we see the ultimate example of what it means to not please oneself. Ironically He chose to be insulted by for us. We should try to be like Him in this.

Verse 4 makes reference to three timeframes: the past, present and future. That which was written long ago is understood today because we can see how Christ fulfilled the prophesies. Because of this, we can also look to the future with hope, knowing that God remains in control.

Reflections on Romans 15:1-2 (Mon)

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Here’s today’s passage:

15:1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.

There are three phrases that particularly stand out from today’s passage that I want to reflect on.

bear with Those of us who are strong are called to bear with the weaknesses of the weak. It’s part of the cost of leadership. We are the ones to take the hits, to lay down our rights, to accomodate their needs, to condescend. It’s about serving them, not making them serve us. And as with Jesus, to do so should be a joy, not a grudgery.

not just please ourselves The word “just” here is appreciated. It’s ok to enjoy pleasure and to please ourselves. But we can’t do that exclusively. We must not neglect others in the process of our own delight. It’s so easy to get preoccupied with our own pursuits and neglect those around us.

please his neighbor for his good The last three words of this phrase particularly struck me. It’s important that we do what is truly best for our neighbor, not necessarily what he or she wants. They may not even know what’s best for them. So we need to discern what is in their best interest and that’s what we should do, regardless of the cost to us.

I loved Bob’s illustration yesterday about the woman who felt freedom to drink alcohol, but who recognized that to do so in front of her alcohol-abused mom would be unkind to her. Her actions show she’s living these verses.

Intro to Romans 15:1-13 (Sun)

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Today begins week 9 of our summer sermon series called “Exchange: Lifestyle” covering Romans 12-16. Bob’s message will be called “Our Supreme Example” and will cover Romans 15:1-13.

Here’s how I’ve divvied it up into daily readings.
• Sun, 8/2. Rom 15:1-13 intro.
• Mon, 8/3. Rom 15:1-2
• Tues, 8/4. Rom 15:3-4
• Wed, 8/5. Rom 15:5-7
• Thu, 8/6. Rom 15:8-12
• Fri, 8/7. Rom 15:13
• Sat, 8/8. Rom 15:1-13 review.

Here’s today’s passage:

15:1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up. 15:3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. 15:5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus, 15:6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15:7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. 15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 15:9 and thus the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles, and I will sing praises to your name.” 15:10 And again it says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 15:11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him.” 15:12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in him will the Gentiles hope.” 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Review of Romans 14:13-23 (Sat)

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Today concludes Week 8 of the Romans series.

Here was this week’s passage:

14:13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. 14:15 For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. 14:16 Therefore do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil. 14:17 For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people.

14:19 So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. 14:20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. For although all things are clean, it is wrong to cause anyone to stumble by what you eat. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 14:22 The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves. 14:23 But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.

I think looking back, I’ve been challenged from this passage to think less critically of others who divvy up the gray areas differently. A loving relationship with others who differ should characterize how I interact with them.

This week I’ve also felt the importance of being consistent and faithful to God’s leading — I need to continually seek to live the lifestyle that He calls me to.

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