Lesson 86: "Even Christ Pleased Not Himself. . .Receive Ye One Another" (Romans 15:3,7)

Romans 15:1-33

Welcome to lesson # 86.   Paul's Missionary Journey Epistles. Open your text to Rom. Ch. 15. I feel we gave ch., 14 a lick and a promise. Good spiritual food was oozing out between every line and every verse. It reminds me of one hot day when the temperature was about 95 in the shade, last summer; I ordered an ice cream cone at a drive-in window.   They gave me a goodie about 10 inches tall. Air conditioning had gone out on the old car I was driving. As I pulled back on the interstate and pressed it down to the speed limit with that hot air pouring in every window; you wouldn't believe how fast that ice cream started melting. I was traveling 65 MPH, licking at least 85 licks per minute and ice cream was still streaming off my elbow. That reminds me of ch. 14: there's so much good spiritual food in ch. 14, you just can't think fast enough to see where it all fits-in. Romans ch. 12,13, 14 contain so much good practical information on Christian living; we need to take a dose of it every day. This section runs on into ch., 15. Let's read the first 6 verses of ch. 15. Are you ready to read? Beginning in Rom. 15:1, six verses: "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 neighbor 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 yo to be like-minded 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."
Of the things that were said in ch. 14, much of Paul's discussion grows naturally out of the contrast between weak and strong brethren, i.e. those with little faith as compared to those with stronger faith. Unfortunately, impudence and results sometimes result from this level of difference. It shouldn't be! But it does. Paul is talking about brethren now, Christians, disciples, saints, the redeemed. It's so easy for those of us who have been in the church for more than 30 years to expect too much, too fast from new converts. It's easy to forget that we once had great qualms and questions that took us 30 years to answer and with some questions we still need help. So, Paul said, "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak." That word "infirmities" here means weakness or simply: a lack of strength. And, don't miss the last part of v. 1: "and not to please ourselves." Some of these things, unfortunately, (let's confess it like it is) grows out of a lack of time and the hustle-bustle of our fast moving age and too much emphasis on trying to accomplish too much, too fast, in this old material world; doesn't it? Yea, I'm afraid it does! None of us are going to live to be 300! But, it's hard to get that in our "noggan", isn't it? Where will you be 20 years from now? Even if time continues, some of us may not be here; let's fact it, we may be pushing up daisies through a cold, cold ground. If that be so, then we have less than 7,000 days in 20 years to accomplish all we're going to accomplish on this old planet, we call Earth. Which is most important now? To work on that million dollars for your grand children to fight over; or to try to teach'em the Bible? If you were to teach one chapter of the Bible each week; did you know that you won't get through the Bible in 20 years? It's a factl 20 years is only 1040 weeks and the Bible has 1189 chapters. How many chapters have you learned this week? Last week? This year? Have you read more chapters or cashed more pay-checks this year? Paul said: "we...ought...not to please ourselves." We don't live or die to ourselves, remember that! "Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification." (V.2). Did you know there's ee verses in this chapter and we're only on v.2? A lick and promise is all ch.15 is going to get in this study! I hope that promise is: that you will go back and read it again. Learn it now! Help the weak! Help your neighbor! Paul said we "OUGHT" to do it! (V.I). That's a good Kentucky word "ought." Paul knew a lot of good Kentucky words!      Christ pleased not himself..." (V.3). Who are you pleasing? Then in the last of v.3, Paul quoted from the O.T. (Ps. 69:9). Paul knew that O.T., do you? In v.4, he said those things "were written for our learning." What for Paul? "That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."   What is YOUR hope? Last Sunday evening I visited a man that had been our of Christian duty for four years.   He just moved to our community. He has a nice family, a good job, and a beautiful place to live. When I tried to encourage him to get back to his Christian duties, he ask me: how many suppers do you folks have? I don't know if he liked suppers or detested suppers. I didn't ask" Because the kingdom of God is not meat and drink. We just covered that, (Rom 14:17). The milk he needed was spiritual milk and first principles (Heb. 5:12-13). I offered to come and study with him. I invited him to come to the worship services. But, he really wasn't much interested. Oh 1 how we need "to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus." as Paul said here in v.5. Why Paul? "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God..." (V.6) Instead of us thinking alike and speaking alike (that's the idea in v.6); we sometimes get hung up on eating in the church building, what we wear and who we sit by. How, really concerned are we about "glorifying God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?" (V.6).

As sad as it is, it's past time we read some more. Let's read v. 7-13. Please read! "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 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 1 will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all y Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Isaiah saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust. 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." V. 13 needs an "Amen!" at the end. How are we to receive others? "As Christ also received us..." (V.7). In v.8, Paul said in effect, Christ fulfilled the covenant as a minister of the circumcision. He fulfilled that covenant both in his person and in his work. And then Paul began to quote from the O.T. again. V.9 is from Ps. 18:49. V.10 is from Deut. 32:43. V.I 1 is from Ps. 117:11 and v.12 is from Isa. 11:10. V.I3 sounds like it could be the last verse in the book, "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." Amen! The thought in that verse is very such like v. 17 back in ch. 14. Paul may have wanted to close with that verse; but, there was so much that needed to be said and there's still so much we need to hear. V. 14-21 seems like an after thought; that Paul just couldn't close without saying this. Let's read v. 14-21. "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.

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. 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. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. 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, through might signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have folly preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: but as it is written. To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand."
And with these words, Paul brought the admonition section of his letter to a close. The rest of the book has to do with Paul's visit to Rome, personal greetings and concluding remarks. Read v. 14 again real slow. In v.l 4, Paul said in effect; I'm proud of you brethren. You have the knowledge and you are able to admonish one another. That's what Paul had been doing to them. Isn't it? So, he is saying, pass it on! He used that word "brethren" in both v.l4 and v.l5. A great lesson here for us. In v.l8, Paul said in effect, I will confine myself strictly to my work. Wouldn't it be great if all preachers would confine themselves strictly to preaching the gospel. If you have your old ACTS Map thee hand: Illyricum (v.l9) is the territory north and a little west of Macedonia. It is not named on that map. There are several islands in the Adriatic Sea near the coast of Illyricum. This was a Roman province, later called Dalmatia. Today it is Yugoslavia. Luke, in the book of Acts, did not tell us when Paul was in Dalmatia; but, most likely when he was in Macedonia he may have done a side trip into the southern part of that province. Paul had come to Corinth from Macedonia only a few week before he wrote this. It might have been in the previous summer when he was in Macedonia he took a little trip into Illuricum. So that, if you cover up Africa and Italy on you map, Paul covered the rest of it. He said, "I have folly preached the gospel of Christ." (End of v.19). The quote in v.21 is from Isa. 52:15.
The last dozen verses, beginning in v.22, have to do with Paul's plans. Let's read it all in one block. Rom. 15:22 beginning and we'll read to the end of the chapter. Are you ready? :For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; 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. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 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. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ' sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen."
Back in v.20, Paul said "I {have] strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named..." He said he didn't want to build on another man's foundation.

Today people drive sometimes 50 miles to worship, pass a half dozen church buildings on the way. This place doesn't have elders. That place don't have good classes. Another place they wear hats. Why do you drive so far?   Well, I want good classes for my children, where they've got some sense, you know. If they used their driving time to study, they could cover more Bible than they cover in the classes they attend, Brethren, all any of us have, is the gospel.   The real problem is: if I attend over there; I'll have to teach a class. They need my help and I can't get lost in the numbers. Instead of people going where they can help out, they'll drive hours to keep from helping out. Too many   churches    have    disintegrated    into   social institutions. The Bible is secondary. Not really! Paul was scouting out new territory and his criteria in going to a new place was to go to where he was needed. Is there a lesson in that for us? Paul had been so involved in preaching, he had been hindered from going to Rome (v22). But, finally (v.23) he said: "having no more place in these parts..." Paul finally had covered the territory to the place where his brethren could handle it. It was time to move on. We could go to China, or Russia or both today easier and quicker than Paul could go to Spain; so far west, it's not even on your map.   In his thinking, Rome was just a stop over, a place where he could spend a few months, refresh himself, meet some more brethren, and do a little gospel preaching at the same time. In v.24 he said: "if first 1 be somewhat filled with your company." That means: I won't be able to stay at Rome as long as I would like, brethren, I have to move on. hi v.25 down through the end of the chapter, Paul described his coming trip to Jerusalem.    The brethren of Macedonia and Achaia (v.26) had made "a certain contribution for the poor saints which (wereO at Jerusalem." We've covered this before if you remember. Acts. Ch. 20-21. I Cor. Ch. 16, II Cor. Ch. 8-9 and a few scattered references in other places. Paul was trying to break down that middle wall of partition. Eps. 2:14. To this end. Paul made a request of the Romans in v.30, "Now I beseech you brethren..." What does "beseech" mean? To beg! Or to solicit!   What did Paul solicit? "Brethren...that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Paul said, please pray for me! Why Paul? (#1) "That 1 may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea." (#2) "That my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints." Remember, the most zealous and the most loyal of the Jews to their religion probably resided in Jerusalem and not only that; there they were a higher percentage of the population. Paul knew he was going to be ridiculed and looked upon as a traitor to the Jewish cause. Many of the so-called Judiazing Christians, i.e. baptized believers still trying to keep the law of Moses wold be at Jerusalem. It was on a feast day, Pentecost (we learn in the book of Acts) that Paul made this trip to Jerusalem. The city would be crowed with visitors from all over the empire. Some of those Judiazers would be gunning for Paul. So, Paul asked his Roman brethren to pray for him. And, I trust you know that it was on this trip that Paul was arrested at Jerusalem and spent two years in jail at Caesarea before he finally got to Rome. Through great tribulation, a ship wreck and much hardship he finally got there in chains as a prisoner. But, that didn't keep him from preaching. He preached in prison and out of prison, in chains and our of chains. We'll learn more about that in some later studies, But, for today, have a good day, all day long.

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