Week #144; Wed, Sep 30: Romans 11:1–1 Corinthians 3:23

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Romans 11:1, I. The Remnant of Israel; II. Gentiles Grafted In; III. The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

I. KEY TEXT (The Remnant of Israel): “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! for I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.” (11:1)
A. INFERENCE: “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?” (11:2)
1. FINDINGS: “’Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (11:3)
2. CRITERIA: “But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’” (11:4)
3. CONDITION: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (11:5-6)
4. CAUSE: “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’” (11:7-8)
5. EFFECT: “And David says, ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.’” (11:9-10)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The few seek and find, because they stoop to seek in God’s predetermined way and along His lines. But when men set themselves against these, they become hardened and overwhelmed by a “spirit of stupor,” Romans 11:8, R.V.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Gentiles Grafted In): “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” (11:11)
A. INFERENCE: “Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (11:12)
1. FINDINGS: “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentile, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” (11:13-16)
2. CRITERIA: “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (11:17-18)
3. CONDITION: “Then you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’” (11:19)
4. CAUSE: “That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. so do not become proud, but fear.” (11:20)
5. EFFECT: “For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.” (11:21-24)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us see to it that we Gentiles understand our position as being permitted to partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree, Romans 11:17. Christ was the root of that tree, and it is from His rich nature that all the freshness and fatness, all the quickening and energy, all the love and grace of the Hebrew Scriptures and heritage of promises were gained. Whatever Israel had, we may have. Let us go up and possess the land!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation): “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (11:25)
A. INFERENCE: “And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’” (11:26-27)
1. FINDINGS: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” (11:28)
2. CRITERIA: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (11:29)
3. CONDITION: “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.” (11:30-31)
4. CAUSE: “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (11:32)
5. EFFECT: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (11:33)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We may go a certain distance in the devout understanding of the ways of God, but there is a point beyond which we cannot advance; and as we gaze down into the profound abyss of the divine dealings, we must cry, O the depth! Romans 11:33. The origin, the maintenance, and the ultimate end of creation, providence, and redemption, is God. To Him must be the glory! ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 12:1, I. A Living Sacrifice; II. Gifts of Grace; III. Mark of the True Christian

I. KEY TEXT (A Living Sacrifice): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (12:1)
A. INFERENCE: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (12:2)
1. FINDINGS: Therefore links this practical appeal to the whole of the sublime argument, which reaches its climax in the previous chapter. It is easier to die once for God than to live always the surrendered life. But nothing so pleases God as daily surrender, the sacrificed and yielded will tied by cords to His altar. Such an attitude is the only reasonable one we can assume.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “If God be all we profess to believe, He is worthy of all we are. But we are reminded that the world is ever seeking to mold us to its will, and we need the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may withstand its baleful influence. We need to be transformed-that is, transfigured-by the renewing of our mind. Please God, and you will be pleased with the will of God.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Notice in Romans 12:3 that God deals out according to the measure of our faith. Let us ask that it may be “pressed down and running over.” In proportion as we are united to the head, we are members of one another. We may not recognize each other, or be recognized by the world as one, but in His sight there is only one body, Romans 12:5.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Center of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretense of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let each learn what he can do best, and devote his best to it. To give or rule aright is equally a gift with teaching.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Gifts of Grace): “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (12:3)
A. INFERENCE: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (12:4-5)
1. FINDINGS: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (12:6-8)
2. CRITERIA: “True worship is seen as a presentation of the self to God. The body is the vehicle of presentation” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The specifics of mind renewal (12:1) involve the proving of God’s will (law) in everyday experience (12:2). Rather than being conformed to the world’s mold, the believers are to be transformed (lit., “metamorphosis”) from the inside out.” (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “This call to humility links back to Jewish (Romans 2–3) and Gentile (11:18, 25) tendencies toward arrogance. Paul desired that believers find their proper place in the body of Christ, using the gifts of God’s salvation, 1 Cor. 12–13. (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “They are to be interdependent. Their exercise of gifts is limited (12:6–8). The exercise of gifts needs to be done without envy or pride; believers should not seek to get gifts in order to stay within God’s measure of grace. God gives the different gifts according to his will. (Tyndall Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come. Romans 12:3” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Mark of the True Christian): “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (12:9-10)
A. INFERENCE: “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (12:11-13)
1. FINDINGS: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never bee wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (12:14-18)
2. CRITERIA: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (12:19)
3. CONDITION: “To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (12:20)
4. CAUSE: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (12:21)
5. EFFECT: “The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other; unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his worldly business, and in gaining superior skill. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. He is honored by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God’s sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Romans 13:1, I. Submission to Authorities; II. Fulfilling the Law Through Love

I. KEY TEXT (Submission to Authorities): “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (13:1)
A. INFERENCE: “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (13:2)
1. FINDINGS: “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (13:3-4)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (13:5)
3. CONDITION: “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (13:6-7)
4. CAUSE: “Human government, like the existence of the family relationship, is a divine institution. It is part of the order of the world and rooted in the original conception of the race. It was never intended that we should live as individual units, but as members of family and state.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is but mock love, which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labor as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Romans 12:9” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Fulfilling the Law Through Love): “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (13:8)
A. INFERENCE: “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (13:9)
1. FINDINGS: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (13:10)
2. CRITERIA: “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” (13:11)
3. CONDITION: “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” (13:12-13)
4. CAUSE: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (13:14)
5. EFFECT: “Four things are here taught, as a Christian’s directory for his day’s work. 1. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time. 2. Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend our pace, we are nearer our journey’s end. Also to make ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. 3. Observe what we must put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our souls. 4. Put on the armor of light. A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armor, to secure the soul from Satan’s temptations, and the assaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; that includes all. Romans 13:11” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for our lusts, is provoking God, Psalm 78:18.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Romans 14:1, I. Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another; II. Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

I. KEY TEXT (Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another): “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.” (14:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” (14:3)
1. FINDINGS: “Who are you to pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you t pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (14:4)
2. CRITERIA: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his won mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (14:5-6)
3. CONDITION: “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” (14:7)
4. CAUSE: “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” (14:8-11)
5. EFFECT: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (14:12)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment. A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them. Romans 14:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Do Not Cause Another to Stumble): “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” (14:13-14)
A. INFERENCE: “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” (14:15)
1. FINDINGS: “So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.” (14:16)
2. CRITERIA: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (14:17)
3. CONDITION: “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (14:18-19)
4. CAUSE: “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (14:20-21)
5. EFFECT: “The faith that you have, keeep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (14:22-23)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We must be careful of one another’s faith. Unkind criticism or ridicule, or the strong pressure of our arguments and reasons may impede the divine life in weaker natures by leading them to act in defiance of their own conscientious convictions. We must not flaunt our greater liberty or urge men to act against their conscience. We may, of course, temperately and lovingly explain why we are not held by minute scruples. We may show, as Paul did repeatedly, that Christ has called us to liberty; but we must not attempt the regulation of one another’s conduct from without.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 15:1, I. The Example of Christ; II. Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles; III. Paul the Minister to the Gentiles; IV. Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

I. KEY TEXT (The Example of Christ): “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (15:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (15:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (15:5-6)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (15:7)
3. CONDITION: “Christian liberty was allowed, not for our pleasure, but for the glory of God, and the good of others. We must please our neighbor, for the good of his soul; not by serving his wicked will, and humoring him in a sinful way; if we thus seek to please men, we are not the servants of Christ. Christ’s whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing life. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Considering his spotless purity and holiness, nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon him; the just for the unjust. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The great end in all our actions must be, that God may be glorified; nothing more forwards this, than the mutual love and kindness of those who profess religion. Those that agree in Christ may well agree among themselves. Romans 15:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles): “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’ And again it is said, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.’” (15:8-12)
A. INFERENCE: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (15:13)
1. FINDINGS: “This chapter is remarkable for its threefold designation of God. The God of patience and comfort, Romans 15:5; the God of hope, Romans 15:13; and the God of peace, Romans 15:33. Our character may be deficient in these things, but His fullness is there for us to draw upon. There is no stint or lack for those to whom He says, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.’” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Where such conditions are realized, life becomes a dream of heaven actualized in flesh and blood. But we must fulfill the injunctions of Romans 15:9-13, rejoicing in praise and abounding in hope. The outlook on the earth-side may be dark and depressing, but uncurtain your windows toward God-see, the land is light.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And the whole plan of redemption is suited to reconcile us to one another, as well as to our gracious God, so that an abiding hope of eternal life, through the sanctifying and comforting power of the Holy Spirit, may be attained. Our own power will never reach this; therefore where this hope is, and is abounding, the blessed Spirit must have all the glory. “All joy and peace;” all sorts of true joy and peace, so as to suppress doubts and fears, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:8” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ was a servant to both Jew and Gentile (15:8–9). Paul used a series of quotations from the Old Testament to demonstrate God’s plan to include Gentiles in his plan for world blessing (Ps. 18:49; Deut. 32:43; Ps. 117:1; Isa. 11:10). (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The apostle here lays down two precepts, showing the duty of the strong Christian to consider the weakest. 1. We must bear with the failings of the weak. We all have our failings; but the weak are more subject to them than others. 2. We must not please ourselves, but our neighbor.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The first lesson we have to learn is to deny ourselves.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul the Minister to the Gentiles): “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.” (15:14-17)
A. INFERENCE: “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentile to obedience-by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God–so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (15:18-21)
1. FINDINGS: “A superficial judge of the Apostle’s life at the time to which he refers might have supposed him to be a mere Jewish traveler, hurrying to and fro, under circumstances of extreme poverty and with no special results. But, in fact he was laying the foundations of the Christian commonwealth.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “His one ambition was to present the Gentiles as a whole burnt-offering to God; see Rom_15:16. The phrase there is suggestive of the supreme sacrifice which was nobly realized in the strength of purpose that led those churches, shortly afterward, to yield holocausts of martyrs under Nero’s persecutions.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “All this was due to Christ working through the Apostle. Anything that was not wrought through the power of the indwelling Christ was not worth recounting. The work which really told was not what Paul did for Christ, but what Christ did through Paul.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It is noticeable how careful Paul was to break up new ground. This is especially characteristic of all the best and highest forms of work.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is a poor and mean church which recruits itself from the labors of others, but has no power to secure converts from the world!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The conversion of souls pertains unto God; therefore it is the matter of Paul’s glorying, not the things of the flesh. But though a great preacher, he could not make one soul obedient, further than the Spirit of God accompanied his labors. He principally sought the good of those that sat in darkness. Whatever good we do, it is Christ who does it by us. Romans 15:14” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome): “This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.” (15:22-24)
A. INFERENCE: “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” (15:25-26)
1. FINDINGS: “For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” (15:27)
2. CRITERIA: “When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” (15:28-29)
3. CONDITION: “I appeal to you, brothers, y our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all.” (15:30-33)
4. CAUSE: “The Apostle felt that it was in the line of the divine will that he should visit Rome, Romans 1:10. Relying, as he did, on the efficacy of prayer, it is not surprising to find him urging his Roman friends to unite with him in asking, as in Romans 15:31-32, that his way may be made plain.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The prayer was not answered quite as he expected. He little thought that he would come as a prisoner, bound to a soldier, and at the expense of the Roman Empire. Yet he came with joy, and found refreshment and rest with the beloved circle of disciples . . .” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The love of the Spirit is a very delightful phrase. It bears witness to the personality of the Holy Spirit, for love cannot be attributed to an influence. It also shows the confidence with which we may commit ourselves to His gracious indwelling and prompting.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

Romans 16:1, I. Personal Greetings; II. Final Instructions and Greetings; III. Doxology

I. KEY TEXT (Personal Greetings): “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” (16:1-16)
A. INFERENCE: “Here is a window into Paul’s heart. He was apparently disowned by his own kindred, yet, as the Lord had promised, He had mothers, sisters, and brothers a hundred-fold.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Women are here-Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Junia, Persis, Julia, and others. The Apostle realized the immense help that holy women could furnish in the ministry of the gospel. Men are here-old and young, fathers, brothers, and sons. Lovely titles are given with a lavish, though a discriminating hand-succorer, helpers, beloved, approved in Christ, saints. How especially beautiful the appellation, the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This church in Rome was a model for other churches. Would that we could realize the same spiritual unity that presided over the gatherings of these early saints!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Christian love” (16:16; cf. 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26) is often translated as “a holy kiss” (KJV, NIV) and was a culturally accepted Christian greeting that corresponds in Western culture to the handshake. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Everyone in his place should serve the church, for in so doing he serves Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “In a way worthy of the saints to receive, who love Christ, and therefore love all who are his for his sake; or, in a way worthy of the saints to be received, with love and honor.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In Christian congregations there should be smaller societies linked together in love and converse.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (Final Instructions and Greetings): “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (16:17-18)
A. INFERENCE: “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” (16:19)
1. FINDINGS: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (16:20)
2. CRITERIA: “Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.” (16:21-23)
3. CONDITION: “Here he adds an affectionate remembrance of them from some particular persons who were now with him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Not many mighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawful for believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wished that all offices in Christian states, and in the church, were bestowed upon prudent and steady Christians. Romans 16:21” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: The plea for greetings toward Paul’s cohorts by the church supports unity of the believers and magnifies the work of the church.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Bring together believers in harmony and brotherhood.

III. KEY TEXT (Doxology): “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (16:25-27)
A. INFERENCE: “The mystery or secret with which the Epistle closes refers to the redemption wrought out by Jesus during His earthly ministry, 1Ti_3:16. But this was no new thing, as it had been in the mind of God from times eternal, Revelation 13:8.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “That which establishes souls, is, the plain preaching of Jesus Christ. Our redemption and salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, are, without controversy, a great mystery of godliness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This doxology centers in God’s ability or power to strengthen the readers. God’s strengthening is in accordance with Paul’s gospel and the preaching about Jesus Christ.” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel, and the Sun of Righteousness is risen on the world. The Scriptures of the prophets, what they left in writing, is not only made plain in itself, but by it this mystery is made known to all nations. Christ is salvation to all nations.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “And the gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about, but to be submitted to. The obedience of faith is that obedience which is paid to the word of faith, and which comes by the grace of faith.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “All the glory that passes from fallen man to God, so as to be accepted of him, must go through the Lord Jesus, in whom alone our persons and doings are, or can be, pleasing to God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . we are called to the obedience of faith, and that every degree of wisdom is from the only wise God, we should, by word and deed, render glory to him through Jesus Christ; that so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with us for ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

1 Corinthians 1, I. Greetings; II. Thanksgiving; III. Divisions in the Church; IV. Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

I. KEY TEXT (Greetings): “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Christians are distinguished from the profane and atheists, that they dare not live without prayer; and they are distinguished from Jews and pagans, that they call on the name of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “To all who called upon Christ, the apostle gave his usual salutation, desiring, in their behalf, the pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, and comforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Sinners can have no peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “He gives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; that grace was given them by Jesus Christ. They had been enriched by him with all spiritual gifts. He speaks of utterance and knowledge. And where God has given these two gifts, he has given great power for usefulness. These were gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which God bore witness to the apostles.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Those that wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept by him to the end; and those that are so, will be blameless in the day of Christ, made so by rich and free grace.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan’s temptations!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Thanksgiving): “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:4-8)
A. INFERENCE: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1:9)
1. FINDINGS: “How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan’s temptations! 1 Corinthians 1:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Paul’s call as “an apostle by the will of God,” while constituting the ground of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare Ga 1:1), is a reason for humility on his own part (1 Co 15:8, 10). (Brown, Fausset, & Jamison Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
3. CONDITION: “In assuming the ministerial office a man should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God (Je 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Ro 9:16). (Brown, Fausset, & Jamison Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
4. CAUSE: “Paul first visited Corinth in March of A.D. 51, during his second missionary journey after his visit to Athens (Acts 18:1). There he met Aquila and Priscilla and joined them in their trade of tentmaking while he ministered in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was later joined in this Corinthian ministry by Silas and Timothy (Acts 18:5). Paul had a very successful ministry for a year and a half at Corinth (Acts 18:8, 11). It was during this time that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Paul left Corinth in A.D. 52 for Jerusalem (Acts 18:18–19). Apollos (Acts 18:26) was invited by the Corinthian believers to minister in Corinth, and he helped the church there in a significant way (Acts 18:27–19:1). Apollos later joined Paul in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:12) and reported to him about the situation at the church in Corinth.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Minister in place.

III. KEY TEXT (Divisions in the Church): “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1:10)
A. INFERENCE: “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.” (1:11)
1. FINDINGS: “What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ ” (1:12)
2. CRITERIA: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)” (1:13-16)
3. CONDITION: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1:17)
4. CAUSE: “Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. 1 Corinthians 1:17” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favorite pursuits. 1 Corinthians 1:17” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such, overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (Christ the Wisdom and Power of God): “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1:18)
A. INFERENCE: “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (1:19)
1. FINDINGS: “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1:20-21)
2. CRITERIA: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1:22-24)
3. CONDITION: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1:25)
4. CAUSE: “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1:26-29)
5. EFFECT: “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1:30-31)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians:2, I. Proclaiming Christ Crucified; II. Wisdom from the Spirit

I. KEY TEXT (Proclaiming Christ Crucified): “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (2:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (2:3-5)
1. FINDINGS: Faith should not rest in the wisdom of men . . . (2:5)
2. CRITERIA: “Christ, in his person, and offices, and sufferings, is the sum and substance of the gospel, and ought to be the great subject of a gospel minister’s preaching, but not so as to leave out other parts of God’s revealed truth and will. 1 Corinthians 2:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Paul preached the whole counsel of God. Few know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, from a deep sense of their own weakness They know how insufficient they are, and are fearful for themselves.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “When nothing but Christ crucified is plainly preached, the success must be entirely from Divine power accompanying the word, and thus men are brought to believe, to the salvation of their souls. 1 Corinthians 2:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: ““So I” [Conybeare] as one of the “foolish, weak, and despised” instruments employed by God (1Co_1:27, 1Co_1:28); “glorying in the Lord,” not in man’s wisdom (1Co_1:31). Compare 1Co_1:23, “We.”” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . make a show of no other knowledge than this, to preach nothing, to discover the knowledge of nothing, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible)

II. KEY TEXT (Wisdom from the Spirit): “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.” (2:6)
A. INFERENCE: “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” (2:7)
1. FINDINGS: “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (2:8-10)
2. CRITERIA: “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (2:11)
3. CONDITION: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit whom is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (2:12)
4. CAUSE: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit of God, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (2:13)
5. EFFECT: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (2:14-16)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Abide in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians:3, I. Divisions in the Church

I. KEY TEXT (Divisions in the Church): “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, and you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (3:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (3:6)
1. FINDINGS: “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (3:7)
2. CRITERIA: “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” (3:8)
3. CONDITION: “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (3:9)
4. CAUSE: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (3:10-11)
5. EFFECT: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. ” (3:12-17)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thought of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present of the future–all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (3:18-23)

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