TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Romans 15:20-16:27
BOTTOM LINE: Back where it all Began: Jessu came for ALL PEOPLE [Jews & Gentiles]
It was AD 57. Three years after a young 16 year old boy named Nero had ascended to the throne as the Emperor of Rome [the persecution of Christians hadn’t really begun yet …most of that didn’t begin until around AD 64] … and so for the Christians & Church in Rome, it was a season of relative PEACE.
Paul still thought there needed a strong dose of Basic Gospel Doctrine.
Paul was in Corinth [which had an incredible diversity of people … sailors, tradesmen, wealthy idolaters, enslaved Christians] which was known for Sexual Immorality & Idol Worship. When Paul sat down to pen this letter about the Sinfulness of Man and the Power of God’s Grace to miraculously and completely change lives, he knew the fight! He was witness to it every single day, and God knew what was to come, and used Paul here to share some powerful truth.
Now … the Big Idea or Theme we see Paul tackling over and over again surrounds this idea about God’s Sovereignty & God’s Righteousness in His plan for Salvation, what the Bible calls the Gospel.
And so we see …
- – Chapters 1-3 … Paul shows how human beings lack God’s righteousness because of our Sin.
- – Chapters 4-5 … How we receive righteousness when God justifies us by Faith
- – Chapters 6-8 …. How God’s Righteousness is demonstrated as we are transformed from rebels to followers.
- – Chapters 9-11 … how God confirms His Righteousness to save the Jews
- – Chapters 12-16 … and how we apply God’s Righteousness in practical ways within the context of our daily lives.
Here, Paul does something a tad different. Instead of beginning w/ the end in Mind, he’s going to End w/ the Beginning in Mind.
Paul encourages them to recognize the Fruit or Symptoms of those trying to create Division, so we can recognize the Warning Signs, and perhaps don’t have to experience the complete result,
ONE: the 1st is STRIFE … Division and Offence brings STRIFE. Think about that phrase, Divide & Conquer. Other places in Scripture, we see Paul recognizing the symptoms of STRIFE and commanding for the people to be UNIFIED.
Paul was trying to help them w/ this tension between Jews & Gentiles … and this was difficult at times, for some in the Judaism camp who had a difficult time leaving some of the old Jewish practices behind.
SECOND: the 2ND fruit of falsehood is STUMBLING … back in Romans 14 & 15 … we spent some time discussion how the Strong or More Mature Followers of Jesus are not to cause the Weak to stumble … and what happens sometimes is those seeking to create Division often see the Weak as Prey … they know they’re not as well-versed in Scripture … or alert to the Dangers of what Paul calls False Teachers.
THIRDLY: ATTACK AGAINST BIBLICAL TEACHING … Paul addresses this idea of anyone attacking Biblical Teaching. Paul says there will be people teaching things that go against the doctrine you have heard.
Sometimes these False Teachers will Add to the Scriptures … it’s the Bible AND something. Other times they will Take Away from what the Bible says … you know, God didn’t really mean it for ALL of that right?
And Paul gives warning, be alert. The Litmus Test is ALWAYS what is in God’s Word … Period!
Paul’s like …What do we do when we discover a False Teacher? Take Note! Keep your eye on them! Avoid them! Be alert to the danger they pose.
Maintain your Obedience to what you’ve been taught … and what you know to be Truth … and be wise to what is Good.
All the way back in chapter 1, Romans 1:5 … “5 … the obedience of faith among all the nations for His name.”
All the nations … Gentiles … among whom you also are the called of Christ.
Hey Romans … and Americans … and everyone … not just the Jews!
Paul sort of ends here … w/ the Beginning in Mind … he’s gone full-circle!
To God, alone wise, be Glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen!
Good News … this includes You and Me.