Today in Romans chapter 15, I’ll be highlighting a few verses but encourage you to read the whole chapter today.
We are currently in Paul’s third missionary journey nearing the time that he will be arrested. It will become more important as we study through Romans to understand that Paul is Jewish and of Roman citizenship from Tarsus.
Diving into verses 1-2 from the NIV it says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
We who are strong. At first glance I think of physical strength, wealth, and the healthy, but knowing that Paul’s mission was to reach the Gentiles he begins by saying, we who are spiritually strong...the seasoned christian’s…the ones who don’t easily fall to temptation, ought to bear with the failings of the weak…the new christians, or maybe the lost we are trying to reach. Paul is essentially reminding the Romans and us to love one another, lift each other up and to put others first.
When my wife and I had our first child, we quickly realized how much milk she could consume. We went from one gallon a week to 3-4 gallons. Most of you can probably relate, but that's a tight squeeze when you are newly married and living check to check. I can’t even remember how many times my grandparents would give me a gallon of milk because they happened to have 2. Or the number of times my in-laws would send us home with their milk. It was like they have been there too, and without saying we were broke, they met us with a very basic need.
I believe Paul is reminding seasoned Christians to build others up, because they once were in need to.
Verse 4-5 goes on to say “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”
So how do we stay spiritually strong? By reading the scriptures and having the patience to allow the word of God to reveal itself. I challenge you as you read the scriptures to be patient and allow it to reveal itself to you. If we all do that together, we will become Christ-like, we become unified, and that will glorify God.
Paul brings us back around in verse 7 to say accept one another. Gentiles are to accept the Jews and the Jews are to accept the Gentiles and we are to accept our neighbors.
In Verses 14-22 Paul is sharing his mission to reach specifically the Gentiles. As I’m reading his mission I can’t help but read verses 14 and 15 over and over.
Verse 14 and 15.. “I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me.”
Like I can’t help but think or hope that Paul has a dry sense of humor. He knows that Romans are very well educated, and they have a higher way of thinking, yet he writes to remind them.
It’s similar to the moment when you are listening to Pastor Tim preach, and he says something in his message and you feel like the entire sermon was written just for you. When in truth, he is probably telling you something you already know or something the Holy Spirit is already trying to speak to you.
In those moments, trust God even more. And I would challenge you to dig deeper into the word to further validate what He is speaking to you. Be patient as you read the scripture and it will reveal its truths to you. Paul writing to remind us of what we already know is really his way of speaking encouragement. As Pastor Tim’s messages are clear to you and reading the Bible is clear to you, be encouraged.
Paul closes out Romans 15 revealing his desire to come and minister in Rome. He plans to do so on his way to Spain but must first make one more stop to Jerusalem.
Romans 15 is packed full of Christian living and historical contexts to validate the word even more.
I leave you with this thought, “If you want to be filled with joy and peace, love one another, lift each other up, just as Christ did.”