Romans 16:17 Keep Away

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17

As Paul is finishing up his letter to the Romans, he gives a final warning to them. He tells them that there will be people who will attempt to cause division and place obstacles in their way. He then tells the people to stay away from such people.

The path every believer is on is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Any other path is not correct.

Anyplace that you go, whether work, church, school, or anywhere else, there is usually someone who likes to create division. That person will spread bad rumors about the leader, or constantly argue with a different opinion, or talk about a different path to everyone refusing to follow the path of the leader. The classic example in a church is the decision of the color of the new carpet.

Others will always put obstacles in the path. Some will always find a reason not to do something that is God’s desire, or they will withhold their money to prevent it from happening. It is easy to find reasons why something will not happen when you take your eyes off of God who makes all things possible.

Along with this, there will be people who are teaching things that God’s word does not say. Yes, God’s word says that He loves everyone, but that does not mean He loves their actions and lifestyles. Some will cause division and put obstacles in the way with this type of teaching.

Paul is telling you to watch out for these types of people. On the surface they may look and sound good, but what they teach does not line up with the path Jesus has all believers on. Do not fall for their traps and false teachings. You are to stay away from them. Flee all evil. Do not allow yourself to be led astray.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and His Words. His Word will be a light to your path. The Holy Spirit will guide your every step.

I pray today that you will know the path God has for you; that you will see when others are creating a division; that God will help you see the obstacles the enemy puts in your way; that God will help you flee false teaching; and that you will be led by the Holy Spirit on the path God has for you.

Advertisements

Romans 15:20 Your Ambition

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” Romans 15:20

When Jesus finally got a hold of Paul’s life and turned him around, Paul attempted to speak to the Jews. They refused to listen to him since they were still holding on to the Old Testament laws and ways of doing things. The Christians were nervous of him at first because he was the one who was an extreme persecutor trying to cut out all Christians.

He then chose to speak to the Gentiles. At the time, most Christians were not willing to talk to the Gentiles about Jesus unless they became a Jew first. In today’s verse he said it was his ambition to preach to those who have not heard of Jesus.

No matter where you go in the world, there will always be some people who have not heard about Jesus other than just a name. In the USA most people have at least heard of the name of Jesus, but never have heard who He really is or anything more about Him. In fact, many have only heard His name as a curse word.

As Jesus was leaving the earth He told the disciples to go and preach His message to everyone, everywhere. This means you must make it your ambition to actually go to the people to tell them about Jesus.

What is your heart’s desire? Most people have the ambition of living a good, successful life. Jesus and Paul had the ambition to see everyone saved. Their goal was to let as many people know that God loves them and wants to save them. It was what drove them to do the things they did.

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus? Are willing to seek out those who have never heard about Jesus?

Do not presume that people have heard of Jesus, tell them. Make sure that they have heard of Jesus and had the opportunity to accept or reject Him.

Make it your ambition to tell someone today about Jesus.

I pray today that you will know the love Jesus has for all people; that God will direct your path to those who have not heard of Jesus; that you will be bold in telling others about Jesus; and that God will draw many to Jesus through your words.

Romans 15:11 Praise The Lord

“And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” Romans 15:11

Paul quotes from Psalm 117:1, telling all the Gentiles to praise the Lord. This verse repeats that thought by again telling all groups of people around the world to extol Him. Extol is another word for praising or lifting up.

One thing interesting about this verse is that it was quoted from the Old Testament. The Israelites believed that they were the only ones who could truly worship God. In order for a Gentile to worship God, he had to become a Jew. There was a ritual that had to be done for this. Yet, in this verse it is telling everyone to praise the Lord. One day in the future every knee will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. He is saying that each person should do that now.

Many believers agree that they should worship Jesus. They will do that on Sunday mornings during worship service. They will sing the 2-3 songs and call it good for the week. Yet this letter that Paul wrote to the Romans was not read just on Sunday. It was read throughout the week. This statement to praise the Lord was to be done daily everywhere.

How can you praise the Lord Jesus? It is telling the Lord how good He is. Thanking Him for all He has done. It is singing songs to Him. It is telling others about Him. It is obeying Him. It is showing your love to Him. It is reading His Word.

If you do not know what to praise the Lord for think about how He is saving you from your sins. Take a look about you at all creation that was given to you for your pleasure. Think about all the good things that God has given you in your life. These few things should be enough to make you shout for joy to the Lord Jesus!

Do not wait until next Sunday in order to praise the Lord, do it today. Give Him praise. Shout it out loud for others to hear.

I pray today that you praise the Lord Jesus all day; that you will have a song of praise on your heart; that you will tell others of Jesus; that you will know all that Jesus has done for you; that you will know all that Jesus has given you; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.

Romans 15:5 Attitude Of The Mind

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” Romans 15:5

The attitude of the mind can make or break a person. It can be the difference between accomplishing something or giving up. Paul is asking that God may give each believer the same attitude toward each other that Jesus had.

What was the attitude that Jesus had towards others people? It was one of love, compassion, and serving. Jesus showed love towards the Samaritan woman at the well who was living in adultery. He showed compassion to many who were sick. He served the apostles by washing their feet when it was not His duty to do so.

Doing these things are not always easy to do. God will give the endurance and encouragement to do them. The encouragement is to help you want to do these things. When you look at all that God and Jesus has done for you, it becomes an encouragement to do the same for others.

God will also give you the needed endurance. It is time-consuming and energy burning to love and serve other people. This is especially true for those who are not receptive of that love and service, or to those who are abusive in some way. God will give you the strength to keep going forward when everything in you wants to quit.

Jesus went all the way through extreme persecution to the point of death on the cross in His love, compassion, and service for you. His mind was set on the end, not the current troubles and challenges. Imagine how exhausted He was as He was still going to the cross. Yet, it was a joy for Him to do what He was doing, because He knew it was God’s desire and He loved everyone.

Ask God today how you can show love, compassion, and service to others today. Don’t just show it to other believers, but to everyone, including the unlovely God-haters. Put on the mind that Jesus had and accept the encouragement and endurance God is willing to give you.

I pray today that God will strengthen you to love and serve others; that you know the attitude of the mind of Jesus; that your mind will be the same as that of Jesus; that your attitude will be a correct one in everything you do; and that Jesus will draw many to Himself through you.

Romans 15:2 Pleasing Your Neighbor

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2

In the previous chapter Paul had talked about not offending someone who believes something that does not go against God’s Word. Now he states that you must please your neighbor for their good and to build them up. This creates a challenge for most people, because at the same time believers are to focus on pleasing God, and not other people.

The “pleasing” here is the lifting up and meeting the needs of the other person. When Jesus walked on the earth, He went around meeting the needs of the people. He would build them up. The only people He would tear down, were those who claimed to serve God but were going against His Word and doing sinful acts. Those who did not claim to serve God, He would meet their needs and build them up. His focus was to please God by reaching out to the lost and showing them who God is. This is their ultimate need.

Some people try to please others by bending to their wishes and changing their views. Often this goes to the point of going against God’s Word. They will do things that Jesus would not do.

In various parts of the Bible it is stated that a believer must be a servant to others. Being a servant to your neighbor is pleasing to them and building them up. It is humbling yourself to meet the needs of others first.

Doing these things will show them the love of Jesus. It will show them how Jesus had given without having received first. It shows how He gives forgiveness and eternal life out of mercy and love.

Pleasing your neighbor is something that can be as simple as just helping clean the yard or bringing them a fresh baked cake. Seek God in how to please them.

Do not be isolated from your neighbor. If you do not ever please them, how will they ever know who Jesus is or what He is like?

Go and please someone today, not to look good or for your benefit, but to show them Jesus. In this process do not compromise your stand with Jesus.

I pray today that God will show you how to please your neighbor; that you be willing to please someone; that you will stay true to Jesus; and that God will draw many to a saving knowledge of Jesus through you.

Romans 14:19 Working To Build Up

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.” Romans 14:19

During the time of Paul there was a lot of food being sold as food that had been sacrificed to some god. The devoted Israelites would refuse to eat the food that had been sacrificed since it was not meat offered to God. In the verses prior to this one, he talks about how all meat or anything else can be clean but to not do anything to cause someone to fall. Now he states that one should strive to do what builds others up.

Over time there have been people in the church who stand very strongly against certain things or acts that are in reality neutral with the Bible. One example was in playing cards. For many years, most churches were against cards because of the common place of gambling that was associated with playing them.

Paul is stating here that if someone is against playing cards, then do not do it around that person, even if you do not feel it is a wrong act to do. You are to strive to build the person up, not condemn them or try to change them.

This is not a free license to sin. When there is direct sin in a person’s life, it is another believer’s responsibility to warn them about it.

The best choice to do with every person is to point them to Jesus and show them His love, grace and mercy. It is possible God is still working in their lives to change them, but it will take time and it is one thing at a time. Do not fight against the person, but build them up in Jesus.

Too often, people push their freedom and do it anyways, causing hurt, pain, and confusion. Be the example of love around them. If they do not do something, don’t do it around them, even though you may have the freedom to do so.

It is important that you are living your own life in the way God has revealed to you. Be the light in this world. Be willing to sacrifice your rights to build someone else up.

I pray today that God will guide you in how to live your life; that you will not enforce your freedom on to someone else; that you will build others up; and that you will strive to live at peace with others while living for God.

Romans 13:14 How To Keep From Sin

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

Paul had just made the statement that every believer must wake up and put off all types of sinful acts. These sinful acts are called the deeds of darkness. Now he states that instead of acting in these sinful ways one is to put on Jesus Christ and not even think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Many believers know that they should not be doing anything sinful. Often people will have old habits that they cannot seem to break. The sinful act has a bind on them that does not seem to leave.

In the verse today it gives a very simple two part answer. The first part is to clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is to make Jesus Christ The Lord and Master of your life. He is the one who is to be in absolute control of your life, not you. He is the one who is to control every part of your life–every move, thought, action, and word you make.

The second part is to not even think about how to gratify the desires of your flesh. The flesh is the sinful part of human beings, not the physical flesh. These desires are selfish and sinful against God and others. Here it states to not even think about it.

The mind is very powerful. It can control your attitudes, abilities and actions. If you set your mind to something it can usually be done, as long as your mind is willing to overcome every obstacle. This includes sin. For most people not committing an actual murder is easy because they do not really think about actually doing it. However, with jealousy, it is easy because it starts with thinking about what you do not have and what others do have. Sexual sins start out with a thought and builds from there.

Keep your mind on Jesus. Don’t give any room for sinful thoughts. Don’t even allow room for gratifying the sinful nature in your life. Think about Jesus and what He would do. Think about what Jesus did for you. Transform your mind to that of Jesus and you will overcome sin.

I pray today that you will clothe yourself with Jesus; that you will turn away from all sin; that you will only think about Jesus; and that God will strengthen you to keep Jesus Lord of your life.