Amazing Grace Bible Class – Lesson Twelve – Romans 16, 15, 14.

This article is part 13 of 20 in the series Amazing Grace Bible Class

                  (HOW GRACE UNITES – A STUDY OF ROMANS 16 thru 14)
* One of most marvelous thgs. a/GRACE = promotes and enables UNITY. “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY, and ONE SPIRIT, just as you were called in ONE HOPE of your calling: ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:3-6).
* Consider ‘unity’ of the body of Christ today… Do you see the “unity of the Spirit”? Is there a BOND OF PEACE? WHY? WHAT HAPPENED?
* Study GRACE – consider its REVOLUTIONARY NATURE. Revolutionary because:
   1.) It is bigger more marvelous than we thought…
        – Based on RELATIONSHIP with God thru Jesus, not PERFORMANCE
        – Resulting in ONGOING FORGIVENESS of all who live within, not continual guilt
        – Empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT which all who are ‘in Christ’ have
        – Entered thru the ONE BIRTH (baptism) of WATER and SPIRIT
        – Sustained by the ONE PERFECT, ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST – Jesus Christ
   2.) How can the Holy Spirit bring UNITY BY GRACE TO THE BODY OF CHRIST ?
* We have studied Romans 1-8…now jump to the end… In this study we will be looking
   at Romans backwards…
1. Romans 16   
     A. Vs. 17 “Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions
          and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away
          from them.”    
          1.) Strange place to begin a study on UNITY!
                a.) This verse is used many times by those WHO DIVIDE BRETHREN!
     B.  What is “…the teaching you have learned…”?
          1.) Romans 1-15! (Particularly ch. 14-15) which deals with HOW TO BE UNITED
          TEACHINGS IN ROMANS. (What are some of the teachings of Romans?)
     D. No surprise that FALSE TEACHERS “cause divisions”. They disagree with Paul’s
          teachings on how not to divide! And now we know what “obstacles” they put in
          the way–they sow seeds of division: false doctrines that are obstacles to being
2. Romans 15
    A. HIGHLIGHT Vs. 7 “WHEREFORE Accept one another, then, just as Christ
         accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
          1.)  “Wherefore” refers back to immediate/general context.
          2.) “accept” – present tense/continual ACCEPTANCE
          3.) “accepted” – aorist – refers back to particular point in time.
          4.) THEREFORE “(Continually) accept one another, just as Christ has accepted
                (new birth) in order to bring praise to God.”
          5.) Good comparisons of ‘just as’
                a.) 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, JUST AS  I am also of Christ.”
                b.) 1 Corinthians 13:12 “… but then I shall know fully JUST AS I also have
                      been fully known.”
           6.) Romans 15:7 Re-written! “Continually accept one another, then, (in the same
                way) Christ accepted you (when you were first re-born) in order to bring
                praise to God.”
           7.) Now ponder this one for a while. Paul says that acceptance of a brother or
                sister in Christ should be based on the very same test as whether one is
                accepted when they are redeemed! That test is simply faith, penitence, and
                new birth of water and Spirit.
               a.) Were early believers asked about their ideas of worship?
               b.) Were they questioned as regarding their beliefs on instruments, divorce
                     and remarriage, one cup or many, co-operation with other congregations?!
               c.) What if a member disagrees with me over an ‘issue’… can I / should I
                    accept him?  ON WHAT BASIS?
    B. Romans 15:5-6 Read
         1.) Where does UNITY come from? Who’s UNITY IS IT?!  Eph. 4:3 tells us this
         2.) How have we tried to make UNITY TODAY? HAVE WE SUCCEEDED? WHY?
         3.) What is the solution? Repent and accept the unity of the Spirit which has been
              created and given.  
         4.) Phil. 3:16
    C. (Unity of the Spirit at work) Romans 15:1 Read IT’S THE “STRONG” THAT HAVE
         THE BURDEN…
         1.) Who are the weak?
         2.) How can the “strong” bear the burden of the “weak”?
3. Romans 14:17-19 Read
    A. Roman Christians disagreed at times (as do we).
         1.) ‘Doctrinal’ issues – WHAT TO EAT/DAYS TO CELEBRATE
               a.) Paul’s answer: THAT’S JUST NOT WHHAT THE KINGDOM IS ABOUT!
         2.) What is the kingdom about? DOING GOOD/LIVING IN PEACE/JOY IN THE
         1.) Kingdom is not about rules over worship, church organization etc… yet we
              argue and have divided over these things and more!
         2.) What is the kingdom about? DOING GOOD/LIVING IN PEACE/JOY IN THE
         3.)  The church today believes Romans 14 = about MATTERS OF
                INDIFFERENCE (color of carpet/which song book etc…) THIS IS WRONG!
          4.) Romans 14 is about what they considered (big deal) DOCTRINAL
               a.) Eat meats offered to idols vs. vegetarianism (Jewish custom vs. Gentile
                    custom) cf. (I Corinthians 8). Some “yes” some “no”…
                b.) Holy days to be kept (Sabbath) Some “yes” some “no”….
     C. Romans 14:1-4 Read (cf. 15:7)
     D. Romans 14:10
     E. A DISPUTABLE MATTER: a disputable matter is any issue over which we can
          dispute and still remain Christians. After all, how could we be disputing if the
          issue were beyond dispute?! Hence, faith in Jesus and the Lordship of Jesus (our
          obligation to obey) are not disputable. You cannot deny Jesus or rebel against his
          authority and remain saved.            

Conclusion: There is no doubt in my mind, that the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT WORKS BETTER THAN THE ‘UNITY’ OF MEN. It kinda frightens us because it challenges us to re-examine our ‘unity’ which seems to be ‘uniformity’. The danger (as I see it) of this is when brethren disagree, there is little ‘patience’, ‘love’… and ‘elbow room’ for growth… Too many times brethren who question, or disagree are told, “sorry, you just won’t be happy in this congregation”.
The Unity of the Spirit is all about the truth for sure. Yet it is all about how to deal with each other and growth in grace as well. The longer we force a false unity (uniformity) on the church, the more the chances of division if not over one issue, then over another.

 (My thanks again to Jay Guinn on his lesson “Romans studied backwards”. Which is a part of his study on Amazing Grace, oneinjesus,info).

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