The Book of Romans – Prayer Works

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“Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem. Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other. And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:30-33 Prayer changes circumstances! Can you imagine how the Apostle Paul must have felt going to Jerusalem knowing that the people there intended to take his life? This did not sway him from going as he entreated the Romans to join with him in prayer, knowing that the unity of their intercession would change the outcome of his journey. This is why Paul was not afraid to go to Jerusalem even though he was walking into hostile territory. He was tasked with taking the offering to the believers there. One can only imagine that he also desired to go and preach Christ among the Jews one more time, hoping to sway them into believing that Christ was the Messiah. This is why he asked the Romans to join with him in praying for safety and protection while in Jerusalem. What a marvelous vote of confidence that Paul had in this church who he had never met. He had heard about their faith and knew that these believers would join in his struggle, interceding for him in accordance with God’s will. Prayer is the most […]

The Book of Romans – Care for Other Believers

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“But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially.” Romans 15:25-27 This is a wonderful testament to the heart of God’s people. Paul is sharing a marvelous account of believers who came together to provide relief for their brothers and sisters in Christ who were struggling. The Jews in Jerusalem were living in extreme poverty. Because of their confession of Jesus Christ, they had been thrown out of the synagogue and lost all connections with families, communities and ways to make a living. As believers they faced extreme persecution and extreme poverty living in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life. Gentile churches that were growing around Asia heard of their distress and took it upon themselves to collect an offering to be sent as relief for these believers. What a marvelous truth to know that our gifts express thankfulness to God for what He has done in sending Jesus. It is another way for us to praise him and show our gratitude to him.  These churches were great examples in giving with a pure heart. I am sure as the church in Rome read these words of Paul’s they were encouraged by the faith of other believers. This needs to be our example today. We need to care for other bodies of believers. Today we don’t think we can help other churches because […]

The Book of Romans – Paul’s Plans

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“But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey.” Romans 15:23-24 Paul had these plans to visit Rome on his way to Spain. As we know from the book of Acts, this did not work out too well. Paul did make it to Rome, but as a prisoner of Caesar. He did get to preach his message of the cross of Jesus Christ and God’s wonderful grace; it was in prison. He also was able to preach his message to Caesar. This is what happens many times. We have these wonderful plans, but God has a different plan for our lives. Paul knew how to follow God’s plan, not his plan. Paul knew that if he followed God’s plan it would all work out.  “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) I know that in my life I can make all these great plans but if I leave God out of the conversation, it is not going to succeed. When I returned to the ministry several years ago, I told God that I had failed at everything I tried. He told me that He knew it, because I tried to do it myself without Him. Remember, “This foolish plan of God’s is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

The Book of Romans – God’s Plan

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“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.” Romans 15:20-22 Paul’s desire to share the gospel with people who previously had no knowledge of it, fueled three missionary journeys across the known world at that time. Everywhere Paul and his companions went they faced persecution because of the good news message of Christ as well as overwhelming response to it. His desire was to share Christ where this message was previously unknown so this foundation would not be built upon anything else but grace. Paul’s revelation of grace was unmatched by anyone. He received it by direct revelation from Jesus. “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) It is interesting to think how Paul alone was the apostle to the Gentile nation. The Jews had the twelve’s apostles specifically set apart to share the good news of Christ with them and show them how he was their promised Messiah. But Paul was the only one sent for the Gentiles. He not only wrote most of the New Testament, but the details and accounts of his life and missionary journeys were incredible. This is because […]

The Book of Romans – Enthusiastic

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“So, I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.” Romans 15:17-19 Being enthusiastic means showing interest in the things that you do and getting pleasure from them. It means having an active and motivated attitude instead of a passive one. Enthusiasm means having a good attitude and getting satisfaction from getting things done and pursuing your dreams. Enthusiastic means passion, fervor, enthusiasm, zeal and intense emotion compelling action; it a strong feeling of excitement and interest in something, and a desire to become involved in its enthusiasm. We can get so excited about a sporting event, but we cannot get excited about God and eternity. It really does not matter in the long run if our sports team wins or loses. Life goes on. What really matter is where you are going to spend eternity? Paul was enthusiastic about Jesus and the gospel. Paul knew what was important in life and he preached the message of Jesus Christ. What a marvelous thing to exclaim that everywhere you went you fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ without reservation. What a great feeling to know that your life was given for the good news of Jesus, which has the power to save. This was the theme and mission of Paul’s life. He boldly taught Christ, faced all opposition to the message and ran the […]

The Book of Romans – Reminder of God’s Grace

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“I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:14-16 The book of Romans is written about grace. This letter to the believers in Rome has changed the hearts of many as they read and understand the wonderful truths about grace and God’s love for us.  Paul wrote this letter to these Christians to explain his revelation of grace. This revelation was not made of man but Paul received it directly from the Lord Jesus himself. “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) I know that as I had written on Romans, I have been drawn closer to God and a better understanding of grace. I pray that the study of this book has been a reminder of God’s grace.  Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles. He wrote to this church to settle a dispute between the Messianic Jews and the Gentiles. The church was a diverse group of people who had settled in Rome from other areas. There is no record of a visit to this church by an apostle offering doctrinal teaching and guidance.  In […]

The Book of Romans – Hope in Jesus Christ

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“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 This article is very true about what is happening in our nation. Millennials Are Looking for Happiness in All the Wrong Places  “Our professors told us we could find purpose in temporal affairs, yet we somehow lost the sense that we were a part of something greater. We substituted a wholehearted pursuit of “the truth” for “our truth.”  The dominant philosophy today is built on a self-focused worldview that everything we need to know can be found on our own. The idea of pursuing one’s own truth requires a great deal of pride. It gives a false sense of comfort to the individual that he or she can look within to determine all that is right or wrong and needs little beyond that. Those who do so, however, find themselves disappointed by the shallowness of the world, lacking answers to difficult questions, and grasping for deeper meaning to no avail. Man’s search for meaning continues. The question at hand is whether young people will continue to cut themselves off from the institutions which offer the deepest opportunity to discover the greater truth which exists beyond our own selves, or instead continue to find themselves persistently unhappy.” (Hunter Estes) We can only find hope and meaning in Jesus Christ. There is a place in our spirit that only God can fill. When we fill that place with Jesus Christ, we find peace, joy and a meaning for life. There is no way we can do this on our own.

The Book of Romans – Christ Received Us

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“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.  Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”  And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” And yet again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” Romans 15:7-12 Paul is telling us that Christ accepted us with all of our sins and faults. We are to accept others just as Christ accepted us. Christ did not receive us because we were perfect. He loved us with all of our problems. We have a lot to praise God for. Did you know that if you were born outside of the Jewish nation, up until Jesus, you were outside of God’s covenant? We were lost and hopeless without God in this world. But because of God’s great love, mercy and faithfulness Christ became a servant to the Jewish nation in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs. The promise was Jesus, the hope of Israel and author of salvation. Now we who were once far away and excluded from the promise have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Through faith we are included in a better and more perfect covenant. Many scriptures are fulfilled […]

The Book of Romans – Unity

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“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6 Unity is the state of being united or joined as a whole. This is what Jesus wants His churches to be. He wants us to be as one in unity. This is what it takes to be in unity. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” (Ephesians 4:2-4) Unity comes when we are living by the Holy Spirit not letting the flesh cause problems. It is hard to be in unity because we always think that our way is the best. Our way is not the best, God’s way is the best. If we will pray about what is happening in our churches, we will live in more unity.  We are to be likeminded with Christ and renew our minds to the endurance and encouragement the scripture offers us. We should make an effort to dwell in the spirit of unity between believers; there should be no divisions or arguments among us. We should live in mutual harmony out of love for each other in accordance with Christ Jesus. It takes effort to get along and be in agreement with other brothers and sisters in Christ. It is definitely a lesson in love. Unity is produced by the spirit of God […]

The Book of Romans – Consider Others

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“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:1-4 In the world today we are all about what is in it for me. We live in a “me-generation”. If you consider yourself a mature Christian, use your maturity to serve your fellow Christian. It is not about pleasing ourselves, it is about pleasing others. We have a responsibility as believers to build up and encourage our fellow believers if they are struggling with certain things. We are not to look to our own interests but to that of Christ. As such, it is important for us to endure the struggles of our weaker brothers and sisters without passing judgment. Instead we should strive to encourage and build them up for good. If our brothers and sisters are struggling in faith because of doubts or lack of knowledge and understanding, then we should be reassuring them from the word of God to help build faith in them and see them freed by the truth we share. This makes for a happy life, but more than that it affects their true welfare; it strengthens, edifies and builds up spiritually so to be fully equipped for every good work in Christ. Jesus was consumed with His mission and serving others. He never considered Himself. He was only about […]