Romans 15:7-13

Thursday Evening Bible Study

April 30, 2009


We’ve been talking about how to handle differences of opinions on the “gray” areas. There are many things that are clearly “black and white” for the Christian, but there are also many things that might be okay for some and not okay for others. What do we do when we come up against someone who has different convictions about one of these “gray” areas than we do?

We’ve seen that in these “gray” areas, there are people Paul classifies as “strong” and others who are “weak”.

The “strong” ones are the ones that don’t have a problem with the gray areas.
They look at a piece of chocolate cake and think, “I can eat it and still feel like I’m a good person”.
The “weak” ones are the ones that do have problems with some of those gray areas.
They look at a piece of chocolate cake and think, “I’m afraid God will be disappointed in me if I eat that cake”.

To the strong ones, Paul encourages them to be careful not to stumble those who are weak.

(Rom 14:21 NKJV) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

“Don’t eat chocolate cake in front of a weaker brother”.

To the weak ones, Paul encourages them to not ignore their conscience.

“If you doubt, don’t eat it”
 (Rom 14:22-23 NKJV) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. {23} But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Last week we ended with the idea of how beautiful it is when there is unity in the church.  He’s talking about unity between the strong believers and the weak believers.

(Rom 15:5-6 NKJV) Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, {6} that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

:7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

thereforedio wherefore, on account off

This is really the whole focus of what Paul has been saying since the beginning of chapter 14. In fact, even at the end of chapter 13 Paul was saying:

(Rom 13:8 NKJV) Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

receiveproslambano to take to, to take as one's companion; to receive into one's home, adding the idea of kindness; to grant one access to one's heart

It’s for this purpose of bringing unified worship to the Lord that we need to accept each other.

This is the same word that was used back in:

(Rom 14:1 NKJV) Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

receivedproslambano … same as word above.

as Christ also received us …

God’s love for us was not conditional upon us living up to His standards. He loved us despite who we were.

(Rom 5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Our learning to “receive” one another ought to look like Jesus’ love.

to the glory of God – God was glorified when Jesus received us.

There might be times when we are embarrassed or ashamed to be with certain people.

Do you remember back in high school when certain kids were considered “uncool”?  It wasn’t a good idea to be seen with certain kids.  There was no glory in it for you if you were friends with the wrong crowd.

Paul hints that when we receive people like Jesus receives us, there is a type of “glory” in it.  God is glorified.

(Luke 7:36-50 NKJV) Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. {37} And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, {38} and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. {39} Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." {40} And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." {41} "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. {42} "And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" {43} Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." {44} Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. {45} "You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. {46} "You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. {47} "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." {48} Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." {49} And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" {50} Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

Simon the Pharisee didn’t think it was right for Jesus to allow this woman near.
Jesus loved her and received her.
Was God glorified in what Jesus did? Absolutely.


Acceptance, even if they’re different.

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kinda esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three-piece suit, and a pocket watch. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, “You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?” It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The people are thinking, “The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.” And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won’t be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.”
- Author unknown

I pray that we might be a church like that. No matter how people might think we’ll respond, we would surprise them with our acceptance of people who are different.

I hope we’ll have an eye open to those who might feel out of place, and that we might make ourselves a little uncomfortable for the sake of loving others.

:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,

servantdiakonos one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister

circumcisionperitome circumcised; a term for the Jews

to confirmbebaioo – to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure

promisesepaggelia – announcement; promise

Jesus became a servant to the Jews to show them that God’s promises of a Messiah were true, that God keeps His promises.

:9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name."

Gentilesethnos a multitude a tribe, people group; Paul uses the term for Gentile Christians

to glorifydoxazo – to praise, magnify, celebrate; to honor, adorn with luster, clothe with splendor; shining the spotlight on

Take note of all the different words used to describe worship and praise in these next few verses.  I count seven words describing this worship.

mercyeleos – kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted

confessexomologeo to confess; to profess; acknowledge joyfully and openly; to celebrate, give praise to

(Rom 15:9 NLT) …"I will praise you among the Gentiles…”

singpsallo to pluck off, pull out; to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang; to play on a stringed instrument, to sing to the music of the harp; in the NT to sing a hymn

Sounds like guitar worship music!

Jesus didn’t just come for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well.

Those of us who are Gentiles can praise God for being merciful to us, a people who did not belong to Him.

Paul quotes from Psalm 18:49

(Psa 18:49 NKJV) Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

The idea is that Jesus, the Messiah, would be giving thanks to God among the Gentiles.

:10 And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!"

Rejoiceeuphraino (“good” + “understanding”) – to gladden, make joyful; to be glad, to be merry, to rejoice; to rejoice in, be delighted with a thing.

This is what you do when you have an understanding about something that is “good”.

Paul quotes from Deut. 32:43.

(Deu 32:43 NKJV) "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people."

The Jews are God’s people. Because of His mercy, we Gentiles can give God praise alongside the Jews.

:11 And again: "Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!"

Paul quotes from Psalm 117:1

Praiseaineo to praise, extol, to sing praises in honor to God; from a word meaning to “tell a story”, to tell a story giving praise to someone.

This is the idea you see in some of the Psalms that give honor and praise to God for specific things that He has done. Like:

(Psa 136:10-15 NKJV) To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, For His mercy endures forever; {11} And brought out Israel from among them, For His mercy endures forever; {12} With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, For His mercy endures forever; {13} To Him who divided the Red Sea in two, For His mercy endures forever; {14} And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His mercy endures forever; {15} But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His mercy endures forever;
The Psalmist is telling the story of the Exodus, God’s great deliverance, reminding the people of God’s mercy at the same time.

(Psa 117:1 NKJV) Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!

laudepaineo to approve, to praise; a stronger version of “praise” (above), telling one story after another

The Jews aren’t the only ones who can tell stories about how good God is. Those of us who are Gentiles should be able to tell a few stories of our own.

:12 And again, Isaiah says: "There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope."

Paul is reminding his readers that the salvation of the Gentiles has not been that big of a secret. God has always planned on saving Gentiles as well as Jews.

hopeelpizo to hope; to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence

Look at all the different descriptions of worship.

Paul quotes lastly from Isaiah 11:10

(Isa 11:10 NKJV) "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious."

The “root of Jesse” is a reference to the Messiah. The Messiah would not just rule over Israel, but over the Gentiles as well. The Gentiles will trust in the Messiah for salvation.

It was always God’s intention that the Gentiles be included in salvation.

There are some theologians, even today, who claim that the idea of Gentiles becoming saved was totally Paul’s idea. They say that it was Paul that made up the idea that Gentiles could be saved. Wrong. It was God’s idea all along.


Accept each other

Don’t miss the point that Paul is trying to make.
Verses 8-12 were all meant to reinforce what Paul said in verse 7.
We are to accept each other because Jesus accepted us.

Jesus not only accepted God’s chosen people the Jews, Jesus also accepted us yucky, icky Gentiles. In fact He had planned on getting along with us all along!

We ought to get along with each other too.

:13 Now may the God of hope

hopeelpis expectation of good


Go to the right store.

Last week we saw that if we need patience and comfort, we can go to God because He has patience and comfort (Rom. 15:4,5)
Last week we saw a formula for hope:
(Rom 15:4 NKJV) …that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

I wrote it out mathematically as:

learning + endurance + action = hope

We also saw that the “patience” and “comfort” are things that God gives.
(Rom 15:5 NKJV) …the God of patience and comfort …
Now we see that if we need hope, He has hope.
Go where you’re going to find what you need.
When you need a piece of fine china, do you go to the Auto Parts store?

If you need hope, you need to go to God.

Sometimes we get our expectations on other things – I need a loan for the house, I need this relationship fixed, I need this disease healed.

What I really need is hope – that in the end God is going to make everything work out the way it ought to – even if it doesn’t match my expectations.

There are even stores that ought to have what you need, but when you go there, they don’t have the right thing. When we lived in Placentia, there was a certain office supply store nearby and I don’t even know why I bothered to go there, but whenever I did, they never had what I’m looking for.
God always has hope. It’s never on back order. Always in stock.

:13 fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

fillpleroo to make full, to fill up; fill to the brim

joychara – joy, gladness

peaceeirene – a state of tranquility; peace between individuals, the state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, fearing nothing from God, content with your life.

believingpisteuo – to think to be true, place confidence in


Joy and peace come through trusting.

We often think of joy as being the result of fortunate circumstances like winning a TV game show. Good things happen and I’m happy.
God’s kind of joy comes when we trust Him.

It doesn’t matter what my circumstances are. I know He’s God. I know He’s in control. I can get excited about waiting to see what He’s going to do. Father always knows best.

Do I really trust Him? Then what’s keeping me from His joy?

We often think of peace as coming when we get rid of all conflict, like the umpire tossing the belligerent manager. If I can just get rid of this person who bugs me, I can have a little peace in my life.
God’s kind of peace comes when we are trusting in Him.

I can have peace in the middle of a storm because I know Who is in control and I trust Him to take care of me.

Have you ever been faced with a huge problem that you couldn’t figure out? And then you called up somebody you trust and asked them to help. When they said, “No problem, I’ll take care of it”, it brings a sense of peace because you trust they can handle it. Even when the problem still hasn’t been solved yet, you can have peace because you know Who is handling the problem.

I have to tell you that I am at times more than a little nervous and anxious about my upcoming trip to Hungary and Russia.  It seems that my mind is working overtime to come up with things to worry about.
I’m trying to learn to put the whole thing back into the Lord’s hands.  He’s the one that led me into this trip.  He’s the one that has things for me to do on this trip.
I have to trust Him.

:13 that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

may aboundperisseuo – to exceed a fixed number of measure, overflow; the word is used of a flower going from a bud to full bloom.

God doesn’t want you to feel satisfied with just a little bud of hope. He wants the bud to come into full bloom.

He doesn’t believe in pulling into a gas station on empty and being satisfied with just a dollar’s worth of gas. He wants to fill your tank to overflowing with hope.

powerdunamis – strength, power, ability.

This is what Jesus promised when the Holy Spirit comes upon us:

(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

In Acts, it’s the power to be witnesses. Here it’s the power to have hope.

Our God is the God of hope. There is no hope apart from Him. Paul prays that this God of hope might fill the Christians with joy and peace in their relationship of trusting Him. The result of God filling us with joy and peace is that the Holy Spirit enables us to overflow with hope.

When I trust God, He gives me joy and peace. The Holy Spirit is able to use the joy and peace to overflow me with hope.


Overflowing Hope.

Last week the equation for hope was:
learning + endurance + action = hope
This week the equation is:
trust -> (joy + peace) + Holy Spirit -> Overflowing hope

Trust produces joy and peace.  When the Holy Spirit gets into this mix, it leads to overflowing hope.

My part is simply to trust Him.

(Mark 9:17-29 NKJV)  Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. {18} "And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not." {19} He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."
The problem of powerlessness was due to a lack of faith.  I think Jesus’ rebuke might be toward the disciples and their lack of trust.
{20} Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. {21} So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. {22} "And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." {23} Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
We often look at this as a way to get whatever we want.

What if God’s desire is that your problem does not go away?  Could you survive?

When Daniel’s friends were faced with compromising their faith or being thrown into the fire, what were they trusting in?

(Dan 3:17-18 NKJV)  "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. {18} "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

The issue of my “faith” is not about me believing that the miracle will come about, but believing that God will do what is right.

Am I trusting in the miracle or in the God who does miracles?  Do you see the difference?

All things are possible to him who believes.

{24} Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
I love this simple, honest reply.  I think God honors honesty like this.
{25} When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!" {26} Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead." {27} But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. {28} And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" {29} So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."
The implication is that prayer and fasting can serve to build our faith.  The disciples had weak faith because they weren’t doing the kinds of things that are important to build their faith.
Jesus rebuked the “faithless generation” for having a difficulty in trusting Him, but He didn’t rebuke the individual man who admitted he had a problem with believing.
It’s okay to struggle with trusting Him. Just trust Him anyway. Ask Him to help you trust Him.