General Idea: It has been said by many people over the years, "Religion is man's search for God; the Gospel is God's search for man. There are many religions, but only one Gospel!" Because we receive Christ Grace and we are free from the debt of sin it should, it must invoke a response from us. And the principle response is our thankfulness as in this hallmark theological word: Gratitude, which is being thankful. Paul lived a life of always being thankful to and for others, even though he suffered greatly by the hands of others. The Greek culture as with ours was a very 'me first' centered, selfish, never giving a thought for others society. Sound familiar? Not much has changed with human behavior! Paul lived as an example of faith and seeing the promise and best in others, even when it went against his culture, and his experiences. The question is, are we as Christians focused on Christ and what He did for us, then showing that thankfulness back to Him and to those around us? Or are we self focused, only caring about ourselves and giving God maybe a thought on Sunday? This focus will create our determination and purpose for our lives! Based on God's or our wrong doings!
1. Thanksgiving of faith and who Christ is and what He has done (I Cor. 11:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; I Thess. 1:2; II Thess. 1:3; II Tim. 3:1; Philemon 4). In view of the fact that we are free from Sin, what are we going to do about it? How is it going to affect our lives and develop our purpose?
a. Throughout the world, the gospel message because of the Romans roads was able to travel quickly to the entire know world!
i. Paul was a missionary and servant for the Lord.
ii. Paul is a prayer warrior for the Romans.
iii. Paul was a missionary to the Gentiles.
b. My spirit, refers to a response from the heart of the person as in devotion and reverence to another person, today we would say "from the bottom of my heart."
c. I make mention to you, Paul was passionate and concerned for others. His realization with what Christ did for him drove him to the ends of the world in Christ service.
d. We are to Obey the Holy Spirit and submit to His precepts and Will (Rom. 8:13)! Not our will (Eph. 1:15; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9; I Thess. 1:3; II Thess. 1:11; II Tim. 1:3)!
e. Spiritual Gift was not necessary the function of it as in I Corinthians 12 origin; rather as a response as in Romans 12. The results of our obedience will be the benefit of all. This is how we are to be towards others because we are functioning within God's paradigms and Will.
f. Encouraged, one of the chef purposes of the Church is to encourage one another and strengthening each other for His service, what so few of us actually do (Eph. 4:15-16)!
g. Devout Jews in Paul's time would spend many hours a day in prayer as do many dedicated Christians do today!
2. He was planning a trip to Spain, and was seeking support from the Roman Church and Rome was his embarkation. (Acts 16:6f; 19:21f; 23:11f).
a. Paul probably never went to Spain as a testimony to God's will. (In Spain there are legends that Paul did in fact make his trip there, and was not martyred until much later in life. However there is no real evidence for this, only speculation.)
b. Hindered, perhaps other responsibilities or opportunities came up, or weather or travel restrictions due to war may have put off Paul's trip (Acts 19:21; 23:11).
c. We have our plans, He has His; guess what, His will win out!
d. Among the gentiles, Paul ministered vigorously to those outside his race and religion. We are to have a love for others because He first loved us and we are all God's Children (Rom. 13:8)!
3. Paul desired to be with the Romans personally and encouraged them too. He had no fear of what might happen to him. We must not be afraid of our future or danger either!
a. Thus, Paul's foremost call and passion was to preach the gospel.
i. Be thankful. Be encouraged by each other's faith, practicing prayer and using our gifts.
ii. Remember: Guilt (sin, our sinful nature).
iii. Grace (salvation, what Christ did).
iv. Gratitude (service, how we are then to live)! (These are some of the themes for the Reformation and the 3 main themes of the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Reformed faith.)
b. We need to have a response that we are encouragers and equippers of and for one another (Rom. 15:1; 25-27)!
c. Debtor, Paul was motivated from his sense of obligation, not that he had too, but he wanted too (Rom. 11:13-14; Eph. 3:1-8). Our causes are rooted in our motivations which are rooted in our ideas and expectations. Our sense of obligation will certainly affect all that we do too, so we have to make sure it is rooted in God and not elsewhere!
4. Paul's prayerfulness is an expression of his devotion and zeal (Eph 1:15; Phil. 1:6-9).
a. Paul's will was conquered with a sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Christ. Are you totally submitted to God's ways, do you feel indebted, or do you feel owed (1 Cor. 6:19-20)?
b. Being "poured out" is to take the focus off yourself and place it on others, as Christ did for us. Paul spent his life to express it!
c. "Mutual faith" means encouragement, support, using spiritual gifts, all working as a team. (Eph. 4:15-16) This is the strength of the church, without it we will fail.
d. Greeks from the "Hellenistic" word for wise (Greek Jews) refers to those who are educated and wise not just a part of the metropolitan Rome area.
e. Barbarians referred to those who are uncultured and unwise, it also can be anyone who was not a part of the Roman Empire; nevertheless, Paul by the Word of God tells us that God is for all people regardless of their pedigree, smarts or birthplace! Greeks and Barbarians would be two polar opposites of a spectrum to make his point as in all people!
f. What have you done about your spiritual debts? What we should be doing is besides the trust and obey, is to pray!
- What are you thankful in life for?
- What have you done about your spiritual debts?
- Do you struggle with gratitude? That is when people go out of their way for you; do you genuinely feel thankfulness or resentment because you have to be thankful?
- What is your passion in life?
- In what ways have you been encouraged by others?
- In what ways have you encouraged others?
- Do you think that sports, TV, work, school, self-image, cars, wealth, political stances, etc. get in the way of our Lord working in you? If so How? If not why?
- How can you make a healthy balance to include the above stuff so it benefits our relationship with Christ our Lord?
- Have you ever made plans and they fell through? What about extensive plans such as getting married and after all the courtship, telling everyone, booking the church, all of the planning, invitations, place for the reception, photographer, flowers, dress, and such, the wedding is called off?
- How do you feel when God interrupts your plans?
- Do you think you will be better off His way or yours?
- Do you struggle with fear for your future?
- He had no fear of what might happen to him. What fears do you struggle with?
- How do fears get in the way of God's call and plans for your life?
- Do you have to have everything well planed out or do you live one day at a time? Are you 50 and have not thought of planning for retirement, or 25 and have a building IRA. Thus are you scared of the future or completely trust in God's provision for you?
- What do you think is the healthy balance to looking at the future?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Everything planned out thinking about it don't care
17. Why would Paul a highly educated Jew write verse 14?
18. Do you live around people of different ethnicity, if so how can you take verse 14 and apply it to your community?
19. How has being a Christian affected your views and behavior towards others?
20. Have you seen Christians mistreat people, if so why and how do they rationalize it?
21. Have you seen someone make a dramatic conversion to Christ so that it affects his or her whole being and personality?
22. Paul personally encourages people even though most have let him down and did terrible things to him. How can this encourage your faith?
23. How do you encourage others around you?
24. What about the daily places you go such as the grocery store or the shoe store and they are rude to you, how do you respond?
25. How does our Lord desire us to respond?
26. "Mutual faith" means encouragement, support, using spiritual gifts, all working as a team. Have you experienced this in the church?
27. Have you personally practiced "Mutual faith" to those around you, such as working as a team without personality power plays or seeing who gets the credit? So the focus is on the task and not the people performing it?
28. Paul's will was conquered with a sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Christ. Are you totally submitted to God's ways, do you feel indebted, or do you feel owed?
- Read 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Because of the price that was paid for you and in conjunction with the fact you are the temple for the Holy Spirit, that God is living in you, how do you feel about that?
- What will you do with that information?
- How can being 'indebted' change your focus in life, how you are, how you treat others, how you behave and so forth?
- Being "poured out" is to take the focus off yourself and place it on others, as Christ did for us. In what ways can you express this characteristic in your life?
- Do you think this can be done in our society and still command respect in the secular workplace or school?
- Does it matter if we have the respect of our peers as long as we are following our Lord's precepts?
- How are the Greeks and Barbarians in your life? If you have none why? And what can you do to have more diffent people in your life to be a Light too?
- What do you need to do to help yourself to be more others focused and less "me" focused?
"BLAME SHIFTING" (Gen 3:12-17) As soon as man sinned, he quickly commenced to blame others. One of the effects of sin is the refusal to take responsibility for our actions. This is the favorite manner in which most people handle guilt, that is they blame others. They do this for two reasons: First they do not want to live with guilt. Second: they do not want to suffer the consequences of their actions. Blaming others is an escape mechanism, which helps us avoid the consequences. This fly's in the face of the Gospel. It is unjust and serves only to increase the guilt and the problems we incur with others in our relationships. This becomes a pattern of dysfunctional behavior that is an endless loop of a hopeless cycle. We must learn that God does not allow us to avoid the consequences of our actions by blaming others. In fact we are held responsible for blaming others! (Romans 14:12-13). On the Day of Judgment, there will be no opportunities for blame shifting.
Religion is man's search for God; the Gospel is God's search for man. There are many religions, but only one Gospel!"