They Who Are Weak in The Faith - Romans 14-16, Episode 20

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Romans Bible Study

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They Who Are Weak in The Faith

Romans Chapter 14-16

The book of Romans chapter 14 through 16, This will be our last episode, episode 20 of the book of Romans. I have enjoyed going through it about the thousandth time in my life, I guess. Literally, I've sat down and taught this to one person many time all the way through, also, a book of Romans, commentary on Romans, and you can get that. It's one through eight. I may go ahead and finish up the rest of it after having done this.

So let's get started tonight. This is The Door. I am Michael Pearl. We are No Greater Joy Ministries, and you can find us at Many, many Bible lessons there.

Every word of God is pure

Proverbs 30:5-6 "Every word of God is pure. He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee and thou be found a liar."

So God knows exactly how many words he's got in his word and he said don't add to and don't take away from them. Well, we're going verse by verse, word by word through the holy Bible and seeing what God has to say.

Romans Chapter 14

Should we Receive those who are Weak in the Faith?

So let's open it up to Romans chapter 14, "Him that is weak in the faith."  So chapter 14 and about half of chapter 15 is going to be dealing with people weak in the faith.

Now, sometimes my preaching reaches people I'm preaching to, and sometimes it reaches me, and this particular lesson reaches me. So we're dealing with some very important stuff here. I'm going to try to go easy on myself. So we'll see what comes out of it.

Romans 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye."  So he says receive those people. Don't turn them away, "... but not to doubtful disputations." What he's saying there is receive these people, but don't do it so as to dispute with them. Don't do it with the idea of correcting them. When you receive a person weak in the faith, receive them just like they are, not in order to set up an encounter where you rebuke them or scold them or correct them. So we receive the weak in the faith, but not to dispute things you have doubt about.

We receive the weak in the faith, but not to dispute things you have doubt about.

Should Christians Eat Meat?

Romans 14:2 "For one believeth that he may eat all things, another who is weak eateth herbs."  So the weak brother here is a vegetarian. He's a Seventh Day Adventist. He's a person who believes that before God he shouldn't eat meat. The Bible said receive that person, but not to dispute with them about that doubtful thing of being a vegetarian. I've already hit myself.

"Another who is weak eateth herbs."  So let's be clear in the context as we go through this. Paul is recognizing that this person strong in the faith eats hamburgers. It's the person who's weak in the faith that eats tofu.

What does the Bible say about Eating Meat?

In Genesis 7:2 "God spoke to Noah of clean and unclean animals." This is before the law. There was already a recognition that some animals were clean for eating and some animals were unclean. So much so that God had seven of the clean animals on the arc and only a pair of the unclean animals. Later, God would designate which was which.

Deuteronomy 12:15 "Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after."  Every once in a while, my wife and I get a lusting after a steak. So we go to our freezer and pull out Moses, that's the cow that he was, and have ourselves a steak. "According to the blessings of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee."  So God blesses us with meat to eat. "The unclean," that's the unclean person, "and the clean," person, that has to do with the temple worship, "may eat thereof."  So God didn't exclude the unclean people who couldn't even come into the temple from eating from the sacrifice. "As of the roebuck and of the heart."  These are deer animals.

Did Jesus Eat Meat?

John 21:12-13 "Jesus saith unto them, 'Come and dine.'"  So Jesus was a chef and he prepared a meal for the disciples. They were out to see he was resurrected. He was in his glorified body. "And none of the disciples durst ask him, 'Who art thou?' knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh and take his bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise."  So Jesus served up fish sandwiches to his disciples.

Are some Animals Clean and others Unclean?

Acts 10. The Pentecost has taken place. The church is moving forward, but the Jews were just given to working with Jews and still didn't work with Gentiles.

So Peter has a vision. Acts 10:11-16 "And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth,"  including rhinoceroses, possums, raccoons, "and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air,"  had crawdads in it and alligators, "and there came a voice of him, 'Rise, Peter, kill and eat,' and Peter said, 'Not so, Lord, for I've never eaten anything that is common or unclean,' and the voice spake unto him again the second time, 'What God hath cleansed call thou not common.' This was done thrice and the vessel was received up into heaven."

So God has changed his doctrine from clean and unclean to all of it's clean if it's sanctified by the word of God and prayer. That means you have to pray over catfish and lobster to make them clean.

A doctrine of devils

Timothy 4:1-6 "Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."  We're in the last times, and so there are doctrines floating around that the devils are teaching. "Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry,"  that's one of the doctrines of devils to teach that you should not get married, "and commanding to abstain from meats."  So one of the doctrines the devil will teach is that it's wrong to eat meat. Now, if you have dietary difficulty eating meat, it's great to be a vegetarian or whatever it takes. That's not what he's saying.

Every creature of God is Good

"Commanded to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good," not clean or unclean now, every creature. I got to admit there's some things that are still unclean to me, "and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving."

So he said you shouldn't refuse something. You can give thanks over it. "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."  I don't know some things take more prayer and more Bible study to be clean enough to eat it. It'd take a lot of prayer for me eating a possum. I just couldn't eat a possum. All right?

Don’t despise him that eateth not

Romans 14:3, "Let not him that eateth," and here's where it starts getting to us, guys, "Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not, and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth, for God hath received him."  See, the tendency for those of us who have liberty to eat is to despise and make fun of people who don't, which I've already done tonight, and the tendency for people who have a law that they shouldn't eat meat, their tendency is not to despise those of us who do, but to judge us. See the text, despise and judge. "Let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth, for God hath received him,"  that God received both the person who believes you shouldn't eat meat and the person that believes you should. God's received them both and neither should judge the other.

Now, we can judge as to what is right and what's wrong, what is Bible doctrine, what's not. We can teach the truth, but that's not the subject here. The subject here is how to receive a brother who's weak, who has an idea that these things are sinful. That's the subject.

Who art thou that judges another man's servant?

Romans 14:4 "Who art thou that judges another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth."  So he said, "What business have you got walking into another man's business, going up to an employee and telling him what he ought to do and what he ought not do?" That's none of your business. Our walking into a man's home and telling him how to raise his kids or treat his wife, he said that's not your affair. "To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up for God is able to make him stand."

Romans 14:4 "Who art thou that judges another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up."  In other words, God is going to hold up the one with a weak conscience or the strong conscience for God is able to make him stand. "One man esteemeth one day above another."  So he's changed the subject, but the principle he's still dwelling on.

Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?

Romans 14:5 "One man esteemeth one day above another."  That is one man says Sunday is a special day or one man says Saturday is a special day or one man says Yom Kippur is a special day or the Feast of Tabernacles is a special day, and another man says, "Nope. They're all the same, Tuesday is like Sunday, it's like Saturday, and Yom Kippur is just like Christmas or New Year's. It's nothing to me."

"One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord."  

So if a man holds one day to be above another, he said he is doing that for God not for you. "And he that regardeth not the day to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks, and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth God and giveth God thanks."  So he's brought the two subjects together.

Now, I'm sure that the point is much larger than just eating meat or keeping one day above another. It's the principle he's introducing that we have no business judging our weak brother, and he's going to explain why in a moment.

We are the Lord's

Romans 14:6-10 "For none of us liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself."  That is, we are responsible to God. We will give an account. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end, Christ both died and rose and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living, but why dost thou judge thy brother or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."

So he says why are you judging him when God has a day appointed to judge him? I mean, who are we to set up a throne of judgment now in anticipation of what God is going to do?

Romans 14:11 "For it is written, 'As I live,' saith the Lord, 'every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God,'"  where you see that Isaiah 45:23. I won't reference them every time they appear, but those are the Old Testament passages from which this quote comes.

Each of us will give account of himself to God

Romans 14:12 "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."   So that means the Sabbatarian is going to have to stand before God and give an account. God might pat him on the back and excuse him. I don't know. You see, that's the thing about it. I don't really know how big a problem that is. Now, if the devil's teaching that you abstain from meats, and see, the devil can teach something and people can teach it, too. So just because the devil teaches that, doesn't mean that every time someone has a weak conscience and is a vegetarian, that doesn't mean they got that doctrine from the devil, but in the last days, that will become a prominent doctrine that the devil strengthens and teaches.

Don’t put a stumbling block in your brother's way

Romans 14:12 "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another anymore, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."

Now, he is going to go into why we shouldn't be tackling this weak brother with this vegetarian or Sabbath-keeping doctrine, why we shouldn't do it because he said we don't want to put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in our brother's way.

1 Corinthians

Now, going back to 1 Corinthians, we have a similar subject discussed. Look at this,

1 Corinthians 8:7 "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge,"  in other words, some people just hadn't learned this yet, "for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat as a thing offered unto an idol,"  that is when meat was sold in the marketplace and it'd previously been offered to a false god. Some people wouldn't eat that meat in the marketplace because they felt like they were giving obeyance to the false god. It was like taking communion with the false god.

So he said some Christians who at one time were Jewish maybe and didn't participate in the eating the meat in the marketplace, he said they still have a conscience against it and their conscience is weak. So if they eat meat that they know was offered to an idol, it defiles their conscience. It makes them feel guilty and sinful, they've done something they shouldn't do.

Does it really matter what we do or don’t eat?

"But meat commendeth us not to God, for neither if we eat, are we the better, neither if we eat not, are we the worse."  So the facts of the case are doesn't matter. God doesn't care, and you shouldn't either. It doesn't matter where the meat came from. It doesn't matter if somebody dedicated it to the devil. When I eat it, it's dedicated to God. Remember, sanctified with a word of God and prayer? So I sanctify my meat with a word of God and prayer, and it doesn't matter what anybody's thought about it before I got ahold of it.

Same thing with any other object or anything the devil does. When I get there, it's no longer devil, it's divine because I'm a child of God. So I sanctify whatever I partake of. So that's our conscience before God, but some people don't have that conscience. They're really freaked out about stuff. They're scared that they're somehow going to give obeyance to the devil.

Their conscience being weak is defiled

1 Corinthians 8:7 "Their conscience being weak is defiled, but meat commendeth us not to God, for neither if we eat, are we the better, neither if we eat not, are we the worse."  So he said meat doesn't commend you to God. If you're vegetarian, you're not closer to God and God's not impressed with it. If you eat meat, you shouldn't judge those who have a weak conscience regarding that.

Make sure your liberty doesn’t become a stumbling block to the Weak

1 Corinthians 8:9 "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak."  So let's be clear again. He's speaking of the Sabbath keepers and the meat eaters, excuse me, the Sabbath keepers and the tofu eaters as being weak in conscience, but he said don't let our liberty become a stumbling block, "For if any man see thee which hast knowledge,"  so there's a difference, one has knowledge, one doesn't, "sit at meat in the idol's temple shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols."

Eating Meat offered to Idols

So in other words, if a brother who used to worship this god and he used to on special occasions go down and offer a sacrifice to this god Isis, and then having offered the sacrifice he took the meat home and he ate it with a feeling that he was consuming Isis, who's now present in the meat. So when he gets saved, he doesn't want to go get that meat that's been offered to Isis because if he eats it, he feels like he's partaking of that false religion he was once part of.

So he said we need to be careful not to go and sit down and eat that meat that clearly everyone knows has been offered to Isis in a little side restaurant, little sacrifices next door meat so cheap you go in and buy it, sit down and eat a little Isis steak, and he said your weak brother comes along, sees that, and he says, "Well, I like meat and it's cheap," and he sits down and eats it because you're eating it, and it grieves his conscience and he ends up going back to idol worship.

He said, "You've destroyed your brother with your liberty." You didn't consider him when you exercised your liberty. You were arrogant saying, "I'm right. He's just weak." Pow.

Shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died?

1 Corinthians 8:9 "Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them which are weak. If any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple."  So it was like an offshoot of the temple. "Shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died?."

Why should Women Dress Modestly?

Now, this has a lot more application than what we're dealing with. The same would be true of dressing immodestly.  There's a woman who gets saved, who used to dress so as to attract the opposite sex so she could have sex with him that evening. She put on a lot of makeup and she dressed up and she perfumed up and she did all this stuff to make herself a street whore. She gets saved, and suddenly, she dresses very modestly and she tones down all of her makeup and everything, and she tries to not look like the whore she used to be.

Then she goes to church and she sees other people dress like a whore. She wonders if they're making as much money as she used to make. She wonders if they're doing things on the side. Otherwise, why would they be dressed that way? Then she goes and starts dressing that way again. As soon as she puts that mini skirt on, looks at her bare thighs showing there in the mirror, she feels that lust coming back up, that wantonness. She goes to church and she's sitting there wondering if the preachers are lusting after her, and then she starts, "Yeah, that's what I want," the guys lusting after her.

She looks around and sees a couple of them are. They're really turned on by it. Now, she's defiled her conscience, and it's because you set an example for her because you got liberty. So it has a lot of different applications.

"I will eat no flesh while the world standeth lest I make my brother to offend."

1 Corinthians 8:13 "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend,"  so it's not just we speak, "I'm offended by that." I don't pay attention to anybody that just offended by that. That's an uppity self-righteous Pharisee that goes around saying, "I'm offended by that." That's different from making a brother offend. You make him offend his conscience. Do you understand the difference? You make him to do what he shouldn't do.

"I will eat no flesh while the world standeth lest I make my brother to offend."  Paul said, "If necessary, I will never eat another bite of meat to keep from offending that single Christian who has a weak conscience." So that's a Christian heart. It's pretty sacrificial.

Back to Romans 14

Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died

Going back, back to Romans 14:13-16, "But judge this rather that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall."  So our liberty might be an occasion to fall in a brother's way. "I know and I'm persuaded by the Lord Jesus that there's nothing unclean of itself,"  and he's talking about meat here. He's not talking about pornography and TV shows and movies. He said he's talking about the meat. "There's nothing unclean of itself, but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean, but if that brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died. Let not your good be evil spoken of."  This is pretty heavy, really.

The Kingdom of God is not Meat and Drink

Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." I like that, righteousness, peace, and joy. Who wouldn't want righteousness, peace, and joy? Now, Hollywood, they want the peace and the joy, which they can't get because they don't have the righteousness, but those three things come together, righteousness, peace, and joy.

Romans 14:18-19 "For he that in these things serve with Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men."  So if you do what you ought to do, God will accept you and you'll be approved of men. "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace and the things wherein one may edify another."  We live in the day and age when Christians are all selfishly pursuing their own ends, exercising their liberties recklessly, and causing weak people to offend and to fall away and to perish.

For meat destroy not the work of God

Romans 14:20 "For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure, but is evil for the man who eateth with offense." All things that are pure is eating. He's talking about the foods. "It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended or is made weak. Hast thou faith have it to thyself before God?"  It means you got to sneak in, eat your hamburger in secret. "Happy is he the condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth, and he that doubteth,"  that is he has questions about what he's doing, "is damned if he eat."  That word damned doesn't mean goes to hell. It means condemned, judged, damned. "He that doubteth is damned if eat because he eateth not of faith for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

Go back again. Romans 14:21 "It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended or is made weak."

The Drive in Movies

My wife told a story of a long time ago when she was just a teenager. Back in those days, Christian young people went to drive-in movies and gave out gospel tracts and witnessed and watched stuff like Sound of Music and the old original Peter Pan and Lone Ranger movies and the old original Superman and stuff like that, and the worst thing you could watch would've been the old King Kong, the black and white one. That was your drive-in movies back in those days.

So she had a cousin who had gotten saved living somewhere, off somewhere, and he came to visit. He'd been around for about a week and they said, "Let's go to the movies."

He said, "What? You go to movies?" because he'd been going to some different movies and fornicating doing drugs. So to him, the drive-in movies was a place to go and get in the backseat. The idea of a Christian going to the movies, Christians don't do that because movies are bad. They're evil. Bad things happen there. Young people laughed it off. That's ridiculous that you'd think a movie was evil. So they talked him into going, but it grieved his conscience terribly.

Now, I don't know what came of that. It could have been that that was the end of it, but it could be in a situation like that. He'd go back home, get lusting after a movie, and go to the wrong kind of movie or go to the right kind of movie and meet the wrong kind of people that he used to hang out with. So they would've caused him to offend, very innocently, but caused him to offend with their actions. That's what he's talking about here, caused him to stumble or be made weak.

For whatsoever is not of faith is sin

"For whatsoever is not of faith is sin."  Why is what is not of faith sin? Because faith is the natural state, the created state. Faith is a clear conscience. To live in faith is a clear conscience. It's trusting. It's open-heartedness. It's being vulnerable to live in faith. It's without cynicism to live in faith, without suspicion, without reservation, without fear to live in faith. It's freedom of spirit and intellect. Faith is calm. It's at peace. It's giving, it's loving, and it's caring. Where there's no faith, there's the opposite of that, all kinds of ugly feelings and sentiments.

Romans Chapter 15

Bear the Infirmities of the Weak

Romans 15:1, "We then that are strong,"  so let's see. It's still clear about which side is the truth, the strong side, and which side is the weak side. So that's not the argument. So our tendency has been, and my tendency is when the weak brother comes in to jump on him and correct him and expect him to do, to be informed, and to do what I have liberty to do. Now, that's my tendency. This has been against me all this whole thing, been right against me here.

Romans 15:1-4"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself."  Now, he's giving us an example we should follow. "But as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written afore were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scripture might have hope."  It's saying let this be your example. The Bible is your example of how to conduct yourself.

Be Likeminded

Romans 15:5 "Now the God of patience and consolation."  He's a God of patience. He's a God of a lot of things, but the reason he used the term patience here, he wants us to be patient, enduring, and consolation. In other words, he will console us for our losses. If you have to lose something in order to deal with a weak brother, he's the God of consolation. "Grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus."

So he says the church should be like-minded. Do you realize that if we all obey this, that the Sabbath keepers would be meeting with those of us who are Sunday keepers or be meeting with me, which don't keep either one, be Thursday keepers.

Denominational Divisions

If we all lived and obeyed this, there wouldn't be the denominational divisions that we have now setting us apart, and we wouldn't have the head covering crowd meeting all together.

Now, you go to a head covering crowd church, and you're on the outs until you put that little rag on your head. I guarantee you or if you go to one where they don't wear a rag on their head and you wear a rag on your head. See, I'm already being rude, rag on your head. See, how I feel about it? You go to a church and you wear your doily, not doily, little bonnet, head covering. You wear your second head covering, your hair and the little thing like that, and you go to a church like that and everybody keeps asking you questions about it, and you can tell that they're uncomfortable of you doing that.

No More Divisions

Now, if we all loved the Lord like we ought to and cared for our brother and sisters, we wouldn't be divided over those things. There'd be some people there that weak conscience wearing a head covering. Some people there weak conscience won't eat meat. Some people there weak conscience that want to meet on Saturday and some more that want to meet on Sunday. So what we'd do? Well, we'd meet on Saturday and Sunday. So we would accommodate all the believers there, but we're not like that, that we bunch together around our little doctrines.

Receive one another

Romans 15:4-6 "For whatsoever things were written afore were written for our learning. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according Jesus Christ that ye may be of one mind and one mouth, one mouth glorify God." That's what the church ought to be about is just one mind and one mouth glorifying God and the, "Father of a Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another."  That's what he said, "Receive ye one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God."

Now, boy, if I receive people like Christ receive me, I'd be hanging out with a bunch of sinners, and that's what he said to do.

Keep your Judgements to Yourself

Now, the subject here has not been about whether you should meet or shouldn't, whether you should keep this day or not. That's not been the subject. The subject's been keep your judgements to yourself. Keep your judgements to yourself. It's none of your affair. Even if they're weak, even if they're wrong, if that's their view, stay out of it. Mind your own business. Wait till judgment day. That doesn't mean that everything's equal, that all things are good, everything's all right. It just means they're God's servant and not yours, and they will be judged.

Paul returns to a discussion of Jew and Gentile in one body

So Paul returns to a discussion of Jew and Gentile in one body.

Romans 15:8 "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God," so that's circumcision is Jews, "to confirm the promise made unto the fathers."

So you remember that earlier when he talked about the promise made to the Jews, and then he promised that he would save Gentiles, too.

Prophecies of Mercy to the Gentiles

Romans 15:9 "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy."  Remember he had mercy on the Jews and then he had mercy on the Gentiles?

"As it is written, 'For this cause,'"  now he's going to quote as it is written, he's quoting Psalm 118:49, "'For this cause will I confess to thee among the Gentiles and sing unto thy name.'"  So that's a prophecy that God would work with the Gentiles.

Romans 15:10 “And again,” another prophecy, "He saith, 'Rejoice, ye Gentiles with his people.'"  (Deut. 32:43) So the Jews have these prophecies that Gentiles would come into the faith.

Romans 15:11 "And again, praise the Lord all ye Gentiles and laud him all ye people." (Psalm 117:1)  Now, if you read that in Psalms, there it says nations, but the word Gentiles and nations is the same word.

Romans 15:12 "And again, Esaias saith, 'There shall be a root of Jesse and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust.'"  That's Isaiah 11:1, but it's also verse 10. I just didn't have room to write it on there.

Filled with Joy and Peace

Now, he addresses the Gentiles. Romans 15:13 "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing."  I like that, "fill you with all joy and peace in believing."  Faith is a powerful thing. I'm going to preach on that some more. I hadn't even got ahold of all that yet, but faith and belief is a marvelous thing. "Fill you with all joy and peace in believing."  Believing fills you with joy and peace. Think about that.

Romans 15:13 "That ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost."  A lot of people talk about the power of the Holy Ghost. I wonder sometimes do they know what they're talking about. The power of the Holy Ghost fills you with joy and peace.

Full of Goodness

Romans 15:14 "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness."  So Paul compliments them. He said, "You are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."

So Paul says, "I'm not talking to you because you're stupid or you're dumb or you're ignorant." He said, "I have a lot of confidence in you."

Romans 15:15 "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort."  He said, "I've probably come across like you're children and I'm scolding you."

"As putting you in mind because of the grace that is given to me of God."

He said, "I have a special anointing of grace and, therefore, I have the Liberty to talk to you this way."

The minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles

Romans 15:16-19 "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles ministering the gospel of God that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."  Remember of the book of Romans has been about Jew and Gentile. "I have therefore written glory through Jesus Christ and those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me."

He said, "I'm not going to talk about stuff God did in other people's ministries."

"To make the Gentiles obedient by word indeed. Through mighty signs and wonders,"  talking about his own ministry, "by the power of the spirit of God so that from Jerusalem and roundabout unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ."  

He said, "I have preached it everywhere, from Jerusalem to Illyricum."

Paul strived to preach the gospel

Romans 15:20 "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation."  Paul said, "I didn't go and preach where there was already Christians."  He said, "Is there anywhere that they've not heard yet over there, and that's where I went."

Now, you see, there were other people out preaching, too. Paul, for instance, had never been to Rome. Yet there were many, many, many Christians in Rome. Rome was a strong Christian church. So some of the other apostles had already reached Rome, and history tells us that some of the apostles went east all the way as far as India, maybe Afghanistan, maybe as far as China with the gospel. In fact, the Chinese have stories of the flood and some of the biblical stories in their ancient history. So it seems that they knew a little bit, too. Maybe someone got that far. There's even indication the gospel went all the way up into Britain by the first century through the apostles. So Paul is reaching the Gentiles in that area all through Southern Asia minor, all up in there, which would be Greece and Turkey and over into Italy and all that area in there.

Romans 15:21 "As it is written, 'To whom it was not spoken of, they shall see and they that have not heard shall understand.'"  I forgot to put the reference there for this.

Paul’s Closing Words to the Romans

Romans 15:22-23 "For this cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you,"  he should have been busy, hadn't got a chance to come, "but now having no more place in these parts."  Wow. I'd like to hear that from a missionary, "I don't have any place else to go. I've reached everybody here. I got to go somewhere else. I'm heading to Spain. Yeah. I heard there's a few people in Spain still hadn't heard."

"No more place in these parts and having a great desire these many years to come unto you. Whensoever I take my journey into Spain."  Now, Spain was way the other side of the body of water of Italy, of Rome, where he was writing, and he said, "That's where I'm headed now." Now, you know Paul never got to Spain. Somebody else had to take the gospel there.

"I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey."  So he just was going to pass through and stop off with a ship. He'd take a ship and stop off in Rome, visit and then head onto Spain. "And to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company, and now I go unto Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution,"  money, "for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem."  Due to the persecution, lots of Christians gathered there on the Pentecost, got saved, stayed, hung around. Half a dozen of them living in one house. Being persecuted, they're running out of food. So Paul took up an offering from all the Gentile churches he'd ministered to, and they were sending gift back to Jerusalem by Paul.

Romans 15:26-30 “It hath pleased them verily and their debtors they are,"  the Gentiles were debtors to the Jews, "For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty,"  the Gentile duty, "is also to minister unto them,"  the Jews, "in carnal things,"  carnal, money. "When therefore I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit,"  he's given them the money, "I will come by you into Spain and I am sure that when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessings of the gospel of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, of the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the spirit that you strive together with me and your prayers to God for me,"  pray for me, "that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea."

He's asking them to pray that he wouldn't be taken prisoner and tortured to death when he gets to Judea. It's interesting. He did get taken prisoner bound in chains when he went to Judea and sent to Rome where he wanted to go, but he went as a prisoner.

Romans 15:31 "And that my service, which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted to the saints," that they will accept this Gentile money, "that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and I may be with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen."

Romans Chapter 16

Paul greets individual church members in Rome

Now, Paul greets individual church members in Rome. As you can see, this text doesn't require much preaching. It's all pretty self-explanatory. So Paul greets individual church members. Now, there are some tidbits in this last short chapter that'll be very valuable to you.

Romans 16:1 "I commend unto you, Phoebe our sister,"  female, "which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea."  Now, that church was not too far from Corinth. It was just a little bit east of Corinth. "That ye receive her in the Lord as becometh saints." So apparently, she was traveling there to Rome, and this is like a letter of recommendation. She's probably traveling with this letter, not the only one, but one of the ones when it's taken.

"And that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you."  So help her out. Whatever she's doing, help her out. "For she hath been a succourer of many and of myself also." She's been a nurse and been helping many saints, including Paul.

Romans 16:3-4 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila." They were there. You remember Priscilla and Aquila? "My helpers in Christ Jesus."  So Priscilla and Aquila were apparently a couple. You see them together as a man and a woman. So they're traveling evangelistic couple.

"Who have for my life laid down their own necks, unto whom not only have I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles."  So apparently, Priscilla and Aquila had gone with Paul extensively and helped him out. They might have been wealthy. They might have been wealthy and retired and spent their money to help Paul in his travels and be sure he got some food to eat and medical treatment when he needed it and whatever he needed, bailed him out of jail when he got put in. So they were helpers.

Roman House Church

Romans 16:5 "Likewise, greet the church that is in their house."  So this is a doctrinal point here. There was a church inside of Aquila's and Priscilla's house. So they had a house in Rome and there was a group of believers meeting with them in the house. You call that house church.

"Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ."  He's one of the first ones saved. Now apparently, maybe he was taking the message as well.

Romans 16:6-7 "Greet Mary who bestowed much labor  on us. Salute Adronicus and Junia, my kinsmen,"  Jews, "and my fellow prisoners,"  they were imprisoned with Paul at some point, "who are of note among the apostles."  They were apostles. There is the erroneous doctrine.

There were only 12 apostles and no more. The word apostle is not the high and lofty word that people think it is. It's simply the sent one. It's those people who are sent out to go and take the gospel to those unknown. Today are equivalent to be a missionary. You notice the word missionary doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible? It's apostle. The apostles were the ones doing that work. "... who also were in Christ before me."  So they were saved before he was.

Romans 16:8 "Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord."  Now, if I'm not pronouncing some of these foreign names, then I'm doing you a service because I'm making you feel so good being able to correct me.

Romans 16:9-10 "Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ and Stachys my beloved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household."  So apparently, there was a large house and a group of Christians there.

Romans 16:11-12 "Salute Herodion my kinsman and greet them that are of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. Salute,"  now here's apparently a couple of sisters, "Tryphena and Tryphosa."  So you see the T-R-Y-P-H. So apparently, mom and daddy named them alike.

"... who labor in the Lord."  They're female names. "Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord."  These are all females who were laborers, missionaries, people assisting the saints.

Romans 16:13 "Salute Rufus."  Now, Rufus, you know who he was. He was not a female. "...chosen in the Lord and his mother and mine."  So Paul had spent so much time in Rufus' house and his mother taking care of him that he just adopted her to be his mother. So he said, "He's her mother and his mine. She's mine as well."

Romans 16:14"Salute," you like to try that one, "Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them."  Now, the reason they had such strange names like that, it made it hard for the authorities to keep up with them and know who they were. They didn't get arrested as often. Your name's Mike, they arrest all the Mikes and you'd go down quickly.

"... and the brethren which are with them."  Now, there's a point there to be made. There was a grouping of believers in Rome around that little crowd right there. There was another group meeting in a house.

Romans 16:15 "Salute Philologus and Julia and Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them."  There's another grouping of Christians in Rome. How many churches were there in Rome? When Paul wrote to the church in Rome, how many churches did he write to? Just one? Only one church in Rome. Did they all meet together in one big building? No, they did not. They assembled in different houses and different groups all over the city, but it was one church. How many churches are there in Lobelville? Say 37? No. Just one. It's the church of Christ. It's the Church of Baptist in Christ. It's the church, the Methodist in Christ. It's the Pentecostal Christian Baptist Methodist Church in Christ and Lobelville. It is all the believers who are in Lobelville are God's church. God doesn't recognize our divisions. Those are things we do.

Romans 16:16 "Salute one another with a holy kiss."  That is incorrectly translated. That should say handshake. Now, back in those days and still in that culture right there, they do that kiss thing on one cheek and the other, but they don't actually kiss. They blow in the air and make a sucking noise. You see them do that and they actually touch. I'm glad of that. It was the culture of the way they greeted each other. Maybe it got a little unholy at times so Paul said, "Let's calm that thing down and let's just make that a holy kiss from now on. All right? None of that mouth smacky stuff." That's my own version there. I really don't know.

Mark them which cause divisions

Romans 16:17 "The churches of Christ salute you. Now I beseech you, brethren. Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them."

Now, we've had a lot about not judging, but now he says, "I want you to judge something. I want you to mark them." You know what mark them means? That means put that little mark beside their name. Point them out. Say, "That's a division maker. That's somebody causes offenses in the church. Avoid them. Mark them."

So there's a place ... It's different when you have a weak brother and when you have somebody preaching weakness. See the difference? When you have a weak brother who just hadn't been taught yet, you treat them with all degree of compassion and mercy and yielding over, but when you have someone coming through preaching a doctrine of devils and trying to foster it upon and put other people under the law and doing despite to the doctrine of grace, then you mark them.

There's a few people I have marked in my life and some still walking around with a mark on them that I or the church have had to put on them. It's a serious thing to do, but sometimes we're forced to do it.

"Contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them."  So avoid them. There's some people living right here in Perry County that I avoid. I see them in a store, I don't even look at them. I avoid them because they teach false doctrine and I don't want to be associated with them. You say, "You're judging them." I'm doing exactly what God said do.

Romans 16:18 "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly." That's an interesting way of saying that. They serve their belly. Boy, we ought to have little bellies then.

"And by good words and fair speeches,"  that's some typical, perfect description of false doctrine teachers, full of good words and fair speeches. They can sound so lofty and sweet, give such fairness, "Deceive the hearts of the simple."

False Doctrine

Now, years ago, Robert Pearl, my cousin, I taught him the word of God for over a year three hours a day every day, five days a week in my home. Taught him all the way through. He was a fine strong believer until somebody else, another friend of mine, Warren Alexander, came through and led him astray with false doctrine, and it caused him to become a divider of the brethren. He came up with an extremely false doctrine and started pulling away members of the church. So the church had a meeting and marked him as a deceiver and false doctrine.

He still has that mark on him today here in this community, and he has over and over again demonstrated his lack of respect for God, the Holy Spirit and humility towards brothers in Christ even here in this community with some of the things he's done. So if anybody ever asked you about that, it's not hard feelings, he was marked by the church and he remains marked because he's not repented, and that mark has been passed on it seems to most of his children, which is a very sad thing.

Romans 16:18 "For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has come abroad unto all men. I am glad, therefore on your behalf, but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil."

"Wise unto that which is good."  In other words, you don't need to learn anything about the evil. Just learn about the good.

Romans 16:20-21 "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."  That's a promise. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Timotheus my fellow worker and Lucas and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen,"  Jews with him, "salute you.”

Romans 16:22-23  “I Tertius," so this is somebody else wrote this passage right here, "I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord."

So this was Paul's stenographer. That means that God used by inspiration of the word of God, by God's inspiration, this guy Tertius penned these words of the apostle Paul. So inspiration went from Paul to Tertius. "Salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host," that's a person he was living with when he was writing this in Corinth, "and of the whole church," and Corinth, "saluteth you, Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you,"  somehow people there were saved, "and Quartus a brother.”

Romans 16:24-27  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest,"  that secret that Gentiles should be heirs with the Jews, "and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God made known to all nations," that's your Gentiles, "for the obedience of faith. To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen,"  and Paul concludes his letter to Rome with that. All right. That's been fun.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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