Radio Broadcast Monday 03/23/2020

Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P58 (03-23-20)

Synopsis

We are in Romans 15. Bob George provides further background information in our study of Romans. He discusses how Jesus was a Jew, and so were all the apostles and prophets He raised up to bring he message of good news, the gospel, to all mankind. Just as today, you have religion in conflict or in contradiction to a real genuine relationship with the living God, through Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh. You had orthodox Jews and you had the conservative Jew, and you had the born again Jew. So too today. You have the religious people, the secular people, and the born again people, who came out from among all nations, peoples, and tongues. The gospel went to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile. That is why the Jew has a special place in the heart of a born again Gentile. It was through the apostle Paul, a Jew, that we have the scriptures in our own language today, so we might know God and His Son Jesus Christ, and come to know we have eternal life. With eternal life, we are made into a new creation, and this grace of God, this Spirit of Christ Jesus, as it work within us, renewing our minds, so we learn to live in accordance with the Spirit’s desires.

Just as the religious Jew, the orthodox Jew, rely on their tradition, their laws, in order to make himself acceptable to God, so do people in all kinds of religions do still today. The Catholics have over 2000 years of tradition they rely on for truth, and would rather trust their leaders, their priests, rather than trust the Spirit to reveal truth to them through God’s word. They say there are seven sacraments deemed necessary for salvation, and that if any one says faith alone is sufficient for salvation then let him be anathema (worthy of hell). Yet, the apostle Paul, whom we read in Galatians, said that no man taught him except Jesus Christ, and that faith alone in what Christ Jesus accomplished for you is how a man is born again.

Galatians 1:12 (TLB)
12 For my message comes from no less a person than Jesus Christ himself, who told me what to say. No one else has taught me.

The Catholic is taught, not from the scriptures, but from the councils of men, that it is a sin of presumption to say that you can know you have eternal life. How can you have assurance of eternal life when you believe in Purgatory to remove remaining sins, or the prayer for the dead said by every priest at every mass, to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, along with last rites and the treasury of the so-called saints, those designated by saints according to Catholicism, not necessarily by the word of God, that their treasures by faithful service are counted toward your redemption for the living, and all these other things relied upon to make yourself acceptable to God. Yet, we have the witness of the apostle John, an eyewitness of the risen Savior, who said that these things in the scriptures were written so that you may know you have eternal life.

1 John 5:13
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Then you have all manner of religions today, the Protestant minister who streams people down the aisles, telling them to come forward to get your sins forgiven. That is not the gospel. Jesus already took away the sins of the world.

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Ephesians 1:7
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Where do you receive redemption? In Him. Are you in Him? Where was redemption provided? Through his blood. When was his blood shed? Over 2000 years ago. Will the blood of Jesus ever be shed again? No. What is necessary for the sins of the world, not to be covered, but to be taken away forever from the eyes of God, never to be seen again?

Hebrews 9:22
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Hebrews 7:27
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Then you have those religions who will tell you to confess sins to God so you may remain in fellowship with God, through a misunderstanding of 1 John 1:9, as if a bar of soap, cleansing prayer, to cleans you or keep you cleansed of those future sins. Yet scripture says that if you are in Him, you are never out of fellowship. You have been given His holiness, righteousness and redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

The real question to be asked is, Are you in Him? Have you been born again? (See John 3) Did you come to Christ to get Him, to receive eternal life? This is eternal life, to know God and His Son Jesus Christ.

John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

So the gospel of good news is in what Jesus did for you, and you accepted it as truth, turning aside from whatever you were formerly trusting in, realizing that you are a sinner, dead spiritually and in need of life. The only life available to you is the resurrected life in Christ Jesus. You came to understand that Jesus shed blood on a cross, and that was preparation, something that had to be done to take away the consequence of sin, which is death, in order for life to be given. For if he did not do that, and life was given, then the next time you sinned you would die again. The cross took away eternally the consequence of sin, for the whole world, all the way back to Adam and forward to eternity, to the man yet to be born. Then Jesus rose again from the dead, having already reconciled us to God through his death, so that the Holy Spirit of life may be given to you, to live in you forever. This work of the Holy Spirit is the work of grace. You have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, of life in Christ Jesus. You have become a child of the living God. So now the Spirit of God reveals truth to you, so you may grow and learn to live in the life God has given you.

So Paul was sent as an apostle to the Gentiles, to bring the gospel to them. Paul was singularly focused to finish the task of testifying of the grace of God, of life in Christ Jesus. He proclaimed truth to men in regions where Christ was not known and the message was not heard. He requested the prayers of the true saints, the born again, because he knows he is going into enemy territory among the Pharisees and Saduccees, the orthodox Jews, those who sought to kill Jesus for they had no room in their heart for God. They saw Paul as cult ring leader, claiming he was teaching against the laws of Moses and their tradition. So too, today, we have enemies of the gospel. They think that you are going against 2000 years of church history, going against the so-called church, falsely called the one, holy, apostolic church, but not from the apostles at all. The real church are those of the born again, among both Jew and Gentile, who came to Christ by faith alone.

We are instructed to guard against false teaching, to expose those who bring a different teaching than what you have received. They will infiltrate your congregation, to spy on your freedom in Christ Jesus. Paul, was writing to Rome, the seat of Roman Catholicism today, and he wept for a period of three years, knowing what the Spirit warned him that ravenous wolves would come, infiltrating their number. He told us to not let anyone put you back under slavery under law. Guard the freedom you have in Christ Jesus.

Many are familiar with the false teachings of the second baptism of the Spirit among the Pentecostals, of this speaking in tongues as a necessary gift, being slain in the spirit, of sowing your seed to receive back from God, as a means of financial gain, of cheap grace, of this requirement to tithe. None of this is taught in the scriptures, but men leaned up their own understanding, made up their own ideas, and all manner of religion was created among men

We are in a very real spiritual war that not many see today. We have an ecumenical spirit of the anti-Christ at work to bring all religions under one, back to Rome, the harlot church prophesied in Revelation. There is a growing false teaching, acceptance of mysticism and false practices, of spiritual formation, prayer practices originating from Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order of the Catholic church, who have infiltrated virtually every seminary, political, social and educational sphere in society. We have mixing of the holy with the profane, light with darkness, joint prayer services with Catholics and Protestants, Protestants and Muslims, and the trend seems to be spirally in the wrong direction, seemingly faster than I can type. Those who contend for truth are labeled as divisive. And you have the Hegelian tactic at work among churches to silence those who do know the truth, that more and more true believers are leaving the so-called church by the droves. The true church does not meet in a building unless they are fortunate to meet to hear truth, where truth is taught. The church is the people of God, born again by the Spirit of God, whether they meet or not, can physically meet or not, even though they desire to.

This is what Paul is saying. I did not testify to you just about the cross of Jesus. I testified to you the whole counsel of God. I taught you life. I taught what Jesus did at the cross. I taught you the meaning of the resurrection. I taught you the meaning of Jesus going to be with the Father and sending you His Spirit to live in you. I taught you the fullness of the gospel of Christ Jesus. I taught you things on how to live, on what is right and wrong, in the way to live your life. I taught you all these things.

This passage sums up our duty and privilege as believers and the example and heart of the apostle Paul. We have much to be grateful for, for Jesus, the Jew, the born again Jew, and to the apostle Paul, a Jew, through whom we came to know the truth of the gospel and how to live in the new life God has given us.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-9
7 Instead, we were like young children among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

Transcript

Let us to turn to Romans 15. This book of Romans was written from Ephesus, as Paul had met with the Ephesian church and was writing to the church at Rome. We need to keep in our minds that the apostle Paul was Jewish. All of the original followers of Christ were Jewish. Jesus was Jewish. When you hear about Antisemitism, as it related back to those days, there is no such thing, because you are not talking about Antisemitism. You are talking about Jews against Jews. You are talking about Jesus and his followers, who were all Jewish, against the establishment of the Pharasaical high priest and the traditions that were so strict and mean, that whenever anyone became opposed to them, and their interpretation of the word of God, that they became an enemy, not an enemy of the Jews, but a Jew within a Jew. So Antisemitism back in those days was not in existence from the Jewish people as it related to Jesus because all of them were Jewish.

You have many people today, and I have talked to many, who are members for example, of the conservative Jewish religion, not the orthodox. I have said to them that you are against the orthodox or you would not be a conservative. The orthodox are very strict. They are the followers of all the rules and regulations and all of the laws. They are law keepers and just as hypocritical as they were in those days when Jesus called them white-washed sepulchers.

Matthew 23:26-28
26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Romans 3:22-24
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, both Jew and Gentile alike.

If you were an orthodox Jew, you would not be a conservative. That does not mean you are anti-Semitic. It just means you do not like their religion. I do not like their religion either. I do not like the Jewish orthodox and I do not like the Gentile orthodox. Either one are people are trying to keep a law they cannot keep. Both of them are negating the promotion of something that God says you cannot keep. That is the reason Jesus had to come to save us. If you were capable of keeping these things you would not need Christ. So we have to be against this religious form if we want to be for Christ Jesus because Christ was against that. He came to fight it. He came up against it and said to the religious leaders, “you are a hypocrite”. Just in the 23th chapter of Matthew alone you hear Jesus calling seven woes against them and calling them either a blind fool or hypocrites. He would say, “You are clean on the outside but on the inside you are dirty, full of dead man’s bones.

That was his mission while he was here on earth. While he walked on this earth for some 33 years to reveal what true righteousness is and it was not them. True righteousness is Jesus. When you weigh your righteousness up to Jesus, I got news for you. You too will come out second best. You can look righteous against another person. You can say, “I have not done this or that” up against a person who has done this or that. You can compare yourself like that if you want to, but you cannot do that before God because he says, “no one is righteous, no not one”.

Romans 3:9-11
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.

You have self righteousness, which God hates, and you have Christ righteousness, which God blessed. That is why Paul said, “I consider all of this religious rituals I have been through, I consider them as dung compared to that of knowing Christ.

Philippians 3:7-9
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

All of that stuff is nonsense compared to that of knowing Christ. You are not going against traditions. You are going against religion if you think traditions are being blessed by God. If you want to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or anything else, fine, but do not do it thinking God is blessing you because of it. The only thing God blesses is faith expressing itself through love. Without faith it is impossible to please God. The only thing God is interested in is the object of our faith, who is Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:6
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Hebrews 11:6
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

You are not talking about being anti-Jew. Anyone who is a born again Christian loves the Jews and loves Jesus. He is your Savior and Lord. He is Jewish. I love the apostle Paul with all my heart, because he is Jewish. He is tenacious as can be. He is a child of God. I too am a child of God and I am a Gentile. The thing that has taken place down through the ages is in the early church. All of the early Christians were Jews. Then when the gospel went to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles accepted the gospel more rapidly than the Jews, because of their tradition. But then it has suddenly emerged as some kind of Gentile religion. That is the farthest from the truth. It is a relationship with Jesus for the whole world, of God reaching out to the entire world, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, child and adult, where Jesus says to us to come to him for life.

Matthew 11:27-29
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

It is an open invitation to the world to come and be saved. It is not a Gentile religion. It is not a Jewish religion. It is a relationship with God. We have to understand this, to straighten this out in our minds, to understand these scriptures.

Paul was writing to the believers as a Jew, the believers in Rome, most of whom were Gentiles.

Romans 15:20-22
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. 21 Rather, as it is written:

“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”[Isaiah 52:15]

22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

So Paul says, starting in verse 20, that he was hindered from coming to you because his ambition was to preach the gospel where the gospel had not been heard. But now there is no place to work in these other regions where he worked, because he did not want to build on someone else’s foundation. He wanted to go where there is no religion, so to speak, and give them the good news of the gospel.

Romans 15:23-26
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 visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem church was having difficulty. So Paul gathered a collection from Macedonia, upper Greece, to help them.

Romans 15:27
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.

The gospel came through the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew. The gospel was presented to the apostles and the prophets and to all the people who were Jewish. So that is where the gospel came. We, as Gentiles, owe a debt to them. I, a Gentile, heard about the gospel because the Jews told it to me. Where did I read the things I know? From Paul, who was Jewish. So we have an obligation there. That is the way he felt about it. We shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

Romans 15:28-30
28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, 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.

30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Paul is asking them to join with him in this struggle, of praying to God for him. When you think about the struggles Paul had to go through just to get the gospel to us, that is why he says, “pray for me”.

Romans 15:31
31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there,

Paul was not unaware of the fact he was an enemy in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the seedbed of the orthodoxy, of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the seedbed of “this is our religion”. They saw Paul as being in a Jesus cult, as contrary to their traditions, and that had to be stopped at all costs. They would say, “You are speaking out against our law”, as if it was theirs, “and our traditions”.

So Paul knew that when he went into this camp, he was in enemy territory, not from all the people, but from the leadership, from the political sect of the Jewish world. So he is saying to pray for him that he will be rescued from these unbelievers. Who were they unbelievers in? They were unbelievers in Jesus. They said they believed in God, but Jesus said to them that they did not.

John 5:45-47
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

So, in essence, Jesus is saying, “you do not even believe in Moses. You are giving lip service to your belief system, just like the Gentiles do”. We say, “Oh, those Jews”, yet we, who do not know the Lord, do the same thing. They just build on their own traditions. That is all they care about.

Romans 2:2-4
2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Romans 15:32-33
32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Now, let us turn to Acts 20. In Acts 20 is where this whole story picks up. He is writing to the Romans, and saying this is what my plan is, to come to you. He had announced this to the people in Ephesus, and then in Acts 20:22, he is compelled by the Spirit of God to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to him there, but physical harm is certain to come, being warned by the Spirit what lies ahead.

Acts 20:22-38
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.

When we get warned of something, our natural response is to stay away from going there. In this case, God was warning him to go there. He was warning him, that when you do, you will face trials and tribulations. You cannot always say that if God is warning you not to do something that he is telling you not to do it. It maybe that is exactly what He is telling you to do, but He is telling you so that you will have realistic expectations when you go. You are going to run into trouble there. But fear not for I have overcome the world.

John 16:32-33
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When you read these things, you realize the real purpose of living.

Acts 20:24
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news (the gospel) of God’s grace.

Basically Paul was sent to the Gentile world, but to the Jews too, to proclaim the gospel. Paul is saying, “I am not worried about my life here. My only concern is that this race I have been given is that I finish it. What happens in the meantime is irrelevant to me. I want to finish the race that God has laid out for me, to testify of the gospel of God’s grace.”

How many times do we hear, “Oh, you guys just preach ‘cheap grace’”, as if grace could cost a penny. This is what Paul preached. Paul did not preach the law. He preached the law to the lost because that is what the law was for, the lost. But he preached grace. Paul is saying this. “My life, I consider it worth nothing to me. The only thing I am concerned about is completing the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. The gospel of God’s grace, mercy, kindness and goodness to us.”

We had no option, except for Him to extend grace to us. There is not a one of us who could work hard enough to find ourselves acceptable in the sight of God. There is no one who can clean himself up to make himself good enough in the sight of God. He had no option, but one goal, to testify of the gospel of God’s grace.

There are many people who just will not understand this. They will say, “Yet, but”. There is no “but’s” in grace. It is not a billy goat. It is just grace. What you do with that grace is up to you. But do not negate the grace of God because of your preconceived notions about the grace of God. The grace of God does not free you for you to live like the devil but it frees you to be led in the path of righteousness.

Titus 2:11-13
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

It is not the law of God that teaches you to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. The law teaches you that you are unrighteous. Grace teaches you how to say “No” to it. How long does it take the grace of God to teach you and me to say “No” to all unrighteousness? As long as it takes. For me, over 70 years. How about for you? When will God finish teaching you to say “No” to unrighteousness? When you have been taught. That is when He will quit teaching you. When you have been taught then you will say grace taught me that. Until that you have not been taught. Until then His provision will be there every day of your life. He will never stop teaching you, never stop being there for you. He will never stop the work of teaching you to say “No” to unrighteousness. He will never stop it until the day you die, when you are absent from the body and present with the Lord, when our flesh, our conflict point, will disappear and be gone. We will see Him as He is and be like Him. That is going to be a real good day, when we can shed this flesh of ours.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Romans 8:18-30
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

You and I struggle in this body of ours. We struggle between right and wrong. We know what right and wrong is, but do we not struggle with it, folks? You can get down and say I do not steal, or I do not commit adultery, and I do not do those things. We only get about three we probably do not do and just think we are really good. We forget about all the rest of it, like coveting and lying. All of those things we do every day in one form or another. We get real proud about things we do not do, but we ignore the things we do. We get real proud over these things. We have our categories. I am real good in this and this and we will not talk about these. The issue is God does not look at sin that way. He looks at sin as sin, and there is no numerical value on it. Sin is sin.

Romans 14:23
everything that does not come from faith is sin.

I know people who have really never done any of the big sins. They have been good in that respect. I do not know a whole bunch of people like that, but I do know people like that. You talk to them and they know the Lord, are they saying “I am righteous?” No. I have a thought life and I think evil thoughts. I am jealous. I am vindictive. I want to get even. Have you ever felt that way? I want to get even. I do not get mad. I get even. All of those things are attitudes of the heart. Those are sinful attitudes that God has to work on us. How long is He going to be working on us, teaching us to say “No” to these things? Until we are taught. Until we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.

Philippians 2:12-14
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

So Paul was saying, “I only have one task, and that is to teach and testify of the truth of God’s marvelous grace toward us.

Romans 15:25
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Paul is saying, “This is the last time you will look upon me on this earth.”

Romans 15:26
26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.

Paul is saying, “Nobody can tell me I have never told people.”

Romans 15:27
27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

This is what Paul is saying. I did not testify to you just about the cross of Jesus. I testified to you the whole counsel of God. I taught you life. I taught what Jesus did at the cross. I taught you the meaning of the resurrection. I taught you the meaning of Jesus going to be with the Father and sending you His Spirit to live in you. I taught you the fullness of the gospel of Christ Jesus. I taught you things on how to live, on what is right and wrong, in the way to live your life. I taught you all these things.

Romans 15:28
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

You and I have been purchased. We are in Christ Jesus. We have been bought back from Satan, bought back from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin. His blood paid for us to be who we are today.

Colossians 1:13-14
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 15:29
29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

He is not talking about foxes, but people, described as savage wolves, who want to destroy your freedom. There are always people who want to destroy your freedom. Satan uses anger and fear to keep us away from the grace of God that Paul came to proclaim. The only thing Satan wants is for you to not understand the grace of God. The way he does that is to put you back under pieces of law. Law has to do with fear, and fear has to do with punishment and the man who fears cannot be perfected in love. The main weapon Satan has against you and me is to put fear in our hearts and that keeps us away from the love of God. He does that every day. Paul refers to Satan as a savage wolf.

1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Romans 15:30
30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

That is so true to this very day. People will come in among your numbers, and arise and distort the goodness of God in order to draw people away from the grace of God, and to get them to be followers of themselves. That happens and has happened and it will continue to happen if you do not watch out for the wolves. They are always out there. They are always out their with their traditions, with all these things you need to be doing. They are always there to try to pull you away from the joy of the grace of God.

Romans 15:30
31 So be on your guard!

Is that an admonishment for us today, to be on guard? Absolutely. When you come to Christ, and even as a new Christian, I will guarantee you, you will come into contact with people who will try to pull you away from just the simplicity that is found in Christ. They will tell you that you need some kind of gift in order to be holy. They will tell you that you need to speak in tongues in order to be filled with the Spirit. They will tell you that you will need to be slain in the Spirit in order to get up. You will hear so many nonsensical things in this world from big television people. If you listen to them you will go down a path to nowhere because it is not biblical. If it is not in the scriptures then it is not there. You have people out there who want to draw you, to make converts out of you, tongue speakers out of you, healers out of you, to make anything out of you, except a person who walks by faith in Christ.

There is nothing wrong with the things a person is saying necessarily. It is really the emphasis. You do not put the emphasis on a gift. You put it on the giver. But that never happens. In this faulty thinking, “No, it is not on the giver. It is on the gift.” A person says, “I see you around talking about my spiritual gift and you ought to be teachers because that is my gift. I know God loves me better than you but if you have my gift you would be okay.” Is that not nonsense.

Romans 15:31-38
Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

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