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Chapter 15

Commentary by Tom Brown


1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Bear. Means to lift with the idea of removal. We are not doing our neighbor a service by tolerating their failings but by removing them.

failings. Means all manners of sicknesses. Some things considered sin are also diseases, such as alcoholism and other addictions.

weak. Means impotent. Unable to help themselves, not unwilling. Some really want to change but do not have the power as of yet. Everyone fails at times, but the weak are more subject to failing than others.

How we abandoned the weak:

  1. Lose Affection
  2. Lose Sympathy
  3. Lose fellowship

not to please ourselves. We shall be better for it when we bear one another’s failings.

2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. build him up. A picture of a building. Build up not tear down. Illustration: The closer the stones lie together the stronger the building. Round stones laid against square stones do not make the building strong. God may demand you to shape yourself differently in order to make God’s building stronger.
3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." Christ suffered to make us acceptable to God. You may experience suffering as well when you bear one another’s weaknesses.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Endurance and encouragement supposes trouble and sorrow.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, spirit of unity. Unity is heart-felt and not superficial.
6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. heart and mouth. Refers to feelings; it is possible to give lip service in order to keep unity, but if the heart is not in it, eventually the lips will reveal the discord in the believer. The face and posture will give away what is in the heart often before the mouth does. Unity is when you can glorify God with your heart and mouth.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Sometimes the sensitivity of the weak makes them shy away from the strong as much as the pride of the strong makes they shy from the weak.

just as Christ accepted you. We were so different than Christ—he being righteous, we being sinners—yet He accepted us.

bring praise to God. Reason for unity. Not to bring praise to one another.

8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs  
9 so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name."  
10 Again, it says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people."  
11 And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples."  
12 And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." All this acceptance of one another is intended to win more people to Christ. Differences are not the same as divisions. If a difference leads to another church springing from the older one and results in winning more people to Christ than the people could have with by staying with the other church, then the difference is good. Unity does not force all Christians to submit to one leader.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Lack of joy and peace shows a lack of trust.

There is always peace and joy when you trust God.

overflow with hope. Not just hope, but overflow with it. You cannot hope too much in God.

14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Because of Paul’s rebukes he now commends them. This was not frivolous flattery, but well-deserved compliment.

my brothers. Paul is probably making reference to the leaders in Rome. Three essential qualities that will make you an outstanding minister:

  1. Full of Goodness—live a good life
  2. Complete in knowledge—thorough understanding of the scriptures and how they apply to the human condition.
  3. Competent to instruct—teach what they live and know.
15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me because of the grace God gave me. Paul does not take his ministerial rights for granted. He does not believe he is more deserving of authority because of his talents.
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. A minister’s duty. To make the hearers acceptable to God.

priestly—pertaining to a priest. A priest served full time in the temple. He offered sacrifices, gave the Word, and blessed the people. Priests were usually married. See Exodus 2:16. The Catholic Church is in the only body of Christendom that forbids its priests to marry. This explains the high number of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood. There is no scriptural basis to force ministers to be celibate. Celibacy must be volunteered not mandated.

17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.  
18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done--  
19 by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. signs and miracles. The gospel must be accompanied by the miraculous.

power of the Spirit. Paul claims the same power to do miracles as is readily available to us. He makes no claim to do miracles based on his apostleship.

fully proclaimed. Many preach a "partial" gospel. They teach about going to heaven, but leave out healing, miracles and the baptism in the Spirit.

20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Christ was not known. The true heart of a missionary. Ministers who build where the Gospel is flourishing shows they do not have Paul’s heart, and worse, may be doing it for financial reasons. To be a great minister, you accept great challenges.
21 Rather, as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."  
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. I have often been hindered from coming to you. Paul had made attempts to visit Rome, but God kept him from going there so he would be more valuable where the need was greater. It is difficult to grow a ministry where the market is over saturated.  Other difficult place to grow a ministry is where the area is hard ground.
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you,.  
24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while I plan to do so when I go to Spain. Man has a right to plan, (see Prov 16:1) but God has a right to redirect man’s plans. The book of Acts ends with Paul visiting Rome, but as a prisoner. God had a better plan for Paul. Paul did visit Rome, but he did it as a prisoner and eventually won the right for Christians to exercise their freedom of religion.  His visit to Rome lead to greater evangelism.

enjoyed your company. As knowledgeable as Paul was, he enjoyed the company and thoughts of others that were less knowledgeable.

25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there.  
26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Macedonia and Achaia. Paul mentions these regional churches to inspire some nice friendly competition as to who would be more giving. He uses this method in 2 Cor 8.
27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. they owe it to them. A reminder that the Jews were the people that God brought forth the Savior. We also owe many things to others, but what have we done to pay them back?

their material blessings. You owe material blessing to those who brought you the gospel. The Gentiles could have argued that that was a long time ago. Who brought you the gospel? Don't you owe it to them to continue supporting them financially?

28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.  
29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. the full measure of the blessing of Christ. Two ways to measure the blessing: 1. The minister who gives fully and 2. The hearers who receive fully.
30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.  
31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there,  
32 so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The need to pray for ministers is greater than the need to pray for others. From the above passages, here are some things you can pray for:
  1. Rescued
  2. Service acceptable
  3. Come to you with joy
  4. All be refreshed.
33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen. Amen. He concludes the purpose of his letter. In the next chapter he greets his fellow workers in Rome.

Previous  Chapter 16

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