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"As Christ Also Received Us... "
Romans 15:1-13

Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
March 23, 2005

This closes the section (14:1-15:13) that deals with the whole matter of "doubtful things", and how we treat one another in the body with respect to them. The first section (14:1-12) dealt with what we needed to know about one another. The second (14:13-23) dealt with what we needed to know about ourselves. And now, this final section encourages us to faithful obedience by dealing with what we need to know about our great example, Jesus.

A. Paul admits that some believers are "strong" and some are "weak" (see 14:1-3). "Strong" here is defined as being confident in our liberty in Christ (when it comes to doubtful matters) to enjoy all things. "Weak", by contrast, is defined as not having this confidence.

B. Paul places the matter in the form of an "obligation" (opheilõ; to owe, to be indebted, to be obligated):

1. The strong (dunatoi) are obligated to bear (that is, to carry; figuratively, to endure or support) the weakness (here translated "scruples") of the weak (adunatõn).

2. They are also obligated to "not please themselves". This is to be seen in connection to the command to support the weakness of the weak. When it comes down to a choice, we are not to seek to please ourselves, but instead seek to bear up the weaker brother.

C. The command is for each of us (strong or weak) to please his neighbor, literally, "with a view to the good, toward edification". The pleasing of our neighbor has "edification" (building-up) as its goal; and whatever is "good" to that end is to be sought rather than our own pleasure.

D. When someone has a struggle with the things that we feel liberty to enjoy, we are prone to say "Well, that's their problem." Here, we discover that God says, "No! It's YOUR problem!" We are to seek not our own good, but the good of our neighbor (1 Cor. 10:23-24).


A. Christ modeled for us the priority of setting aside our own rights in order to serve the needs of others; and we are to follow His example (v. 3-6).
1. The words of Psalm 69:9 are applied to Jesus as a picture of His willingness to take our own sins and guilt upon Himself and die in our place. Specifically, He was willing to take the reproaches of those who reproached His Father upon Himself.

2. Paul adds that the things that were written in the Old Testament scriptures were written for our learning today (1 Cor. 10:6-11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). These things are preserved for us so that, when it comes to suffering the setting aside of our own "rights" for us we might have hope - gained through the patience we see exemplified and comfort we draw from the word of God.

3. Patience and Comfort are God's gifts. He is the God of patience and comfort; and as we seek to follow Christ's example, He empowers us to be "like-minded" toward one another (that is, to think the same way toward one another as Christ thought toward us) (Phil. 2:5-11).

4. The purpose of our unity is ultimately God-centered. It is that we, together, may glorify - with one mind and one mouth - the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This phrase identifies Jesus as the unique Son of God; and that underscores the depth of His willingness to set aside His own rights for us.

B. Christ modeled for us a receptivity toward one another by being receptive toward us (v. 7-12). He has done this by becoming a "servant" (diakonos; that is, minister) to two people groups:

1. To the "circumcision" (that is, the Jews) "for the truth of God" (that is, "to confirm the promises made to the fathers"). Jesus obediently submitted to all the law of God in order to fulfill the covenant promises made to the patriarchs of the Old Testament.

2. To the Gentiles. Jesus became their servant as well, so that they too might glorify God for His mercy. This was in accord with what was written in the Scriptures. Nothing "new" or "unexpected" or "apart from God's plan" was done in this:

a. In the psalms (Psalm 18:49).

b. In the law (Deut. 32:43).

c. Again, in the psalms (Psalm 117:1).

d. And in the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 11:1, 10).

C. Christ Himself set the example that Paul followed in his own ministry (1 Cor. 9:19-23).


A. Paul closes with an appeal for them that is made to "the God of all hope" (a name he draws from Isaiah 11:10; see verse 12). Paul knows that the fulfillment of God's plan for us cannot be accomplished by our own efforts. We are too prone to seek our own interests; and to do what God intends to do involves the willingness on our part to set our own interests aside and please our neighbor.

B. It's an appeal that they would be filled with all joy and peace in believing. (Literally, "believing" is a present active infinitive with a definite article: "the 'to believe'". It speaks of the joy and peace that come from genuine faith in Jesus (Rom. 5:1-2). The foundation of our unity is a mutual faith in Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:1-4).

C. It's an appeal for them to be filled with these things so that we might abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the ultimate source of Paul's confidence that what he prays for will be done. We could never be like Jesus apart from His enabling power.

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