The Example of Christ
15 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”
And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”
And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.”
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Romans 15 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Selfishness drives us. Choices we make are usually based on our wants. Decisions to follow through usually come with the question of ‘What will it cost me?’ The age old, ‘What’s in it for me?’ seems to be at the forefront of our mind.
As Paul continues his thoughts, he reiterates the need of Believers to step to the plate, lend the helping hand where needed and invest. Selfishness has no room. But because of this, it’s a battle as we all know. Our human nature continually reiterates the questions of what risk is involved in such giving of ourselves. Specifically targeting Believers here, he states that those who are strong of faith have a role and yes a responsibility.
Our model is none other than Jesus Himself.
“That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all.”Romans 15:3-6 MSG
Indeed, Jesus waded right in and helped out. I love the verbiage of that. In the sea of need that continued to surround Him, He walked right into it. He got neck-deep; made a difference in the lives of those He came in contact with. This same model is set for us. But the beauty of this is not only making a difference in someone else’s life, but it’s also the fact God is developing spiritual maturity within us as well.
I do believe the sacrifice of our human nature in this area is a daily thing. Much like the command to follow Jesus in taking up our cross and following daily, it is a daily recognition of our selfish ways and bringing them before him, sacrificing them anew. I also believe this is only possible as our selfish sinful nature is so apart of us, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to do the transforming work in our hearts and our minds. This will then translate to our actions.
So, here’s the challenge. For the next 7 days, make it your prayer every morning to open yourself up to what God has for you that day. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to some need. Commit for that day, the sacrifice of your own agenda, your own thought and ask Him to help you lay aside the selfish drive. Let Him do the driving of your agenda and see what happens. This is simply before your day begins, bringing that day before Him. Give it a week. See what happens. Be part of a divine intersection in someone’s life where Jesus shines through and stirs longing and purpose and wholeness.
Romans 15 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This week, I learned a very relevant historical fact that alters the way I read and understand the book of Romans. The very first house churches in Rome would have been comprised of mostly Jews. This means that the first Christian churches probably looked very Jewish in style. In 49 AD, Roman Emperor Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome. Jewish Christians who had formed these house churches would have been kicked out as well. This temporarily left the future of the church to the Gentile believers in Rome.
After Claudius died in 54 AD, the Jews slowly began trickling back into Rome. The Christian church, now firmly established under the Gentiles, was faced with the issue of integrating the Jewish believers back into the church. Paul’s letter here in Romans would have landed around 57 AD. Taking all this into consideration, it makes sense as to why Paul bounces back and forth from the Jews to the Gentiles as he seeks to correct some of the issues that were cropping up between these brothers in Christ.
Unity was a major issue.
Here in Romans 15, Paul boldly addresses the call to bear with one another despite our differences.
Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, 6 so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.Romans 15:5-6 HCSB
To the Jews who couldn’t possibly believe that the Gentiles had been grafted into God’s plan, Paul would reach back to the writings of Isaiah…
Again it says: Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people! 11 And again: Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; all the peoples should praise Him! 12 And again, Isaiah says: The root of Jesse will appear, the One who rises to rule the Gentiles; the Gentiles will hope in Him.Romans 15:10-12 HCSB
All of this was done with grace. Paul knew that the authentic believers who were inspired by the Holy Spirit would take his correction to heart and cooperate by changing their attitude and behavior. We have the same obligation today. We will not like every believer we meet. Most likely, some will annoy us and others will offend us. In these moments, we will discover if Jesus is the Lord of our life.
Two people who love Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in their hearts should always be able to find mutual love and respect for one another. This doesn’t mean you will like everyone, but it does mean that you can work to put aside your issues in order to see Jesus glorified within the body.