Southern Christian University

James A. Turner             


A Study of Romans #6                               


Please read all the references. They will help you to get a fuller understanding.


Chapter Thirteen

Verses one through seven concerns, our relationship to civil authorities. "Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, with standeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good work, but to evil."   Saddam Hussein may be an exception to the latter statement, but the over riding rule is still true. "Wouldest thou have no fear of the power.  Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise from the same."  There are not many governments that do not have respect for the person that does right.


Verse four "for he is a minister of God to thee for good."  That includes, with few exceptions, every civil officer, every sheriff, every policeman, every highway patrolman, and we need to recognize it.  There was a time when I didn't recognize that.  I can remember when I would be in a hurry and be stopped for a driver's license check.  I remember one area where just about every Sunday, they would be checking driver's license, and I would already be late, and it irritated me to have to stop, but they had a right to be checking, and their checking, probably got a few people who were drinking off the highway.  But whether that was the case or not, we need to have respect for law enforcement officials on every level.  Of course, there are a few who do not do right, but in the main, police officers try to do the right thing. What would occur if we did not have them? Anarchy would soon prevail.  "But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain."  What was the sword used for under the Roman government?  Was it not to execute the death penalty?  This passage teaches that God expects civil governments to put to death murderers and other high crimes. Under the Old Testament there were a number of crimes, which carried the death penalty, probably about fifteen (Exodus 21: 12, 21:15, 21:16, 21:17; Lev. 20:2, 20:4-5,20:9, 20:10, 20:11, 20:13,20:14, 20: 15-16, 20:17, 20:18, 20:20-21, 20:27) "An avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.  Wherefore, (because he is) ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience sake."  Why conscience, because, God has told us to be in subjection to the higher powers, or to the civil authorities.  Many today are saying that the death penalty is no deterrent to crime, but the Bible says to the contrary. According to the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy any person who tried to get the Israelites to turn away from God and worship idol gods was to be put to death. Deuteronomy 13:10-11 reads, “ You shall stone him to death with stones because ----- and all Israel shall hear, and fear, and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.” In chapter seventeen, if a man did not obey the decision of the Levitical priests or the judge was to be put to death, and 17:13 reads, “And all the people shall hear, and fear, and not act presumptuously again.” According to the law, murders and false witnesses were to be put to death, and Deuteronomy 19:20 reads, “and the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.” A lazy, stubborn and rebellious son, who was a glutton and a drunkard, was to be put to death and Deuteronomy 21:21 reads, “Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel shall hear and fear”.


Verse six, "For this cause you pay tribute also:  for they are ministers of God's service, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render to all their dues:  Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."  Whether we agree with everything about the president, or the governor of our state, we are to show honor to them and proper respect for the office that they hold.  And, in respect to taxes, we may think the tax is unfair, but we have no right to just rebel and not pay the tax.  There is a proper way to try to get laws passed to change the tax system, but we have no right to rebel against paying taxes.  To what extent are we to obey  the higher powers” or civil authority?  In all areas where it does not violate the law of God. God’s law is the supreme law, and when there is a conflict the only right thing for us to do, is to obey the law of God. Acts 4:19-20 reads, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it is right in the sight of God to harken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard.” See also Acts 5:40-42 and Daniel 6:7 and 6:10.


Verse eight, "Owe no man any thing, say to love one another:  for he that loveth his neighbor has fulfilled the law."  I can remember back to the depression years, when some people borrowed money, and the depression came on, and they could not pay back what they had borrowed.  Then some concluded that it was wrong to borrow money, but he has just been talking about paying taxes and paying tribute and honor, and we are to pay those things, it is not talking about borrowing money.  "Owe no man any thing, save to love one another."  That is a debt that we cannot pay.  It continues, every person owes a debt of love to others, a debt that he cannot pay.  When we think of how that God has manifested his love toward us, and told us to love one another as he has loved us; all that we can do is just kind of continue to pay the installments as they come due! 


Verse nine, “For this, thou shalt not commit adultery."  If man loves his neighbor, he is not going to commit adultery with his wife, or do any thing to harm him, but only things to help him.  Verse ten, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor:  love therefore is the fulfillment of the law, and this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep:  for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed."  That admonition applies to us today. We too have spent too much time already serving Satan before we obeyed the gospel. Life is very short, and all of us need to awake and give ourselves as “living sacrifices” every remaining day of our lives.  "So awake out of sleep:  For now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, and the day is at hand:  Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day.  Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."  It looks like the church at Rome was made up, predominantly of Gentile people, and before their conversion they surely had been walking in the way of darkness and doing all of those things that the law of God forbids, and it looks like that some of them were still living according to the flesh, and Paul’s admonition was very appropriate. Again, verse fourteen does not sound like Paul is talking about himself as a Christian in Romans 7:14-25 does it?  If we today do not make provision for the lust of the flesh, we will be going the way of “victory in Jesus”. 


Chapter Fourteen

They had a problem in the church at Rome about the eating of meats, but it was different from that of I Corinthians chapter eight and chapter 10:14-33.  There it was a matter of some wanting to go and eat with the idolaters when they had their feasts.  Here it is a matter of those who had lived under the law and had been restricted by the law not to eat those things that were forbidden by the law, (Leviticus 11:1-19) and some of them had not come to a point where they had made up their mind it was all right to eat those meats that were forbidden by the law.  Others had knowledge that the law had been fulfilled, that it was no longer binding.  But Paul is saying to them, do not let those who have knowledge try to run rough shod over those who think that it is wrong.  And let not those who thinks it is wrong to eat try to judge those who eat.  And these principles involve many things today.  It has not been many years ago when there were a lot of brethren who believed it was wrong to eat in the church house on the basis of what Paul said in I Corinthians 11:22 and 34.  "If any man is hungry, let him eat at home." But remember they were mixing a meal with the Lord's Supper.  Now if it is wrong to eat in the church house, it is also wrong to drink in the church house (I Corinthians 11:22), and if the building is sacred, would not the church grounds be sacred?  But, anyway, when there were those who sincerely thought that it was wrong to do such a thing, the principles given here would apply. Those who understood that it was not wrong were not to try to get them to go contrary to their conscience.  It would cause them to be doing wrong if they did.  At the same time those who thought it was wrong could go on home and eat, and they, according to the passage, were not supposed to judge those who thought it was right. 


Now, let us read and see if that is not what he said.  "But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples."  If a man has scruples, he thinks something is wrong when it is not wrong.  But those who have knowledge are not to force him to make a decision on his scruples.  "One man hath faith to eat all things; but he, who is weak eateth herbs."  You remember the attitude of the apostle, Peter, in Acts ten when he saw that vision of the vessel let down from heaven, with all manner of unclean animals on it, and a voice said, “rise, Peter, kill and eat.”  And he said, “not so Lord.  Nothing common or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.” 


Well, can you not imagine how the people that had lived under that law, had a hard time getting away from that.  “One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth."  Now, there are some, back there who reasoned that you cause me to sin if you eat in a church building.  Well, according to this passage, that fellow who thinks it's wrong to eat in the church building is not to judge the one who eats in the church building.  "Let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth:  for God hath received him.  Who art thou that judgest the servant of another?  To his own Lord he standeth or falleth."  In other words we are not to be in the judging business when it comes to some of those things.  Who is his Lord?  Christ is his Lord and master, and I like this passage.  "Yea he shall be made to stand, for the Lord has the power to make him stand.”  It is talking about that weak brother who has his scruples and thinks that things are wrong when they are not wrong. Think what a wonderful promise this is, that the weak brother “shall be made to stand, for the Lord hath the power to make him stand.”


Verse five, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike."  I would guess that some of those days back there had to do with days pertaining to worship according to the law.   Do not some today esteem Thanksgiving and other  holidays very differently from what others do?  I remember how my mother thought that on Thanksgiving Day, it had been in the family a long, long time that everybody was supposed to get together on Thanksgiving and have a meal together.  And she was not happy if her children did not come home for Thanksgiving.  "Let each man be fully assured in his own mind."  In other words each man should make up his own mind.  "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that eateth, eateth  unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."  In short, a man who restricts himself and does not eat any pork or whatever he thinks is wrong, he still is to give thanks for the herbs or whatever he eats. 


Verse seven, "For none of us liveth to himself and none dieth to himself."  We have influence on others, and let us be careful with our influence. We are all servants of the Lord, and we need to be properly accountable to him.  "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord. or whether we die, we die unto the Lord:  Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.  For to this end did Christ die, and live again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living."  Do you remember Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21 “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” And he made it his aim, whether at home or absent, to be faithful to the Lord.  Verse ten, "But thou why dost thou judge thy brother?"  The man who had his scruples was not to try to judge the man who had faith to eat, and the man who had faith to eat was not to judge his brother who had his scruples.  "But thou 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 God.  For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."  That passage is quoted from Isaiah 45:23, and it surely holds.  Man is a free moral agent, he can confess the Lord now or he can wait until the day of judgment.  But then every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess according to this passage.  Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So it is just a matter of when a person does that.  "So then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God."  Judgment is an individual matter. We shall not be judged on the bases of family, or race, or as congregations. The church at Sardis, as a whole was dead, but Jesus said, “ But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy (Revelation 3:4).” "Let us not therefore judge one another any more:  But judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way or an occasion of falling."  We are to be concerned about not putting a stumbling block in a brother's way.  You remember in regard to eating meats sacrificed to idols, Paul said, “If eating meats, causes my brother to stumble, I'll eat no more meats.”    “I know, and am persuaded in the Lord, that nothing is unclean of itself; save to him that accounteth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."  By verse fourteen, I wish you would write down this reference, Mark 7:19, where Mark said in regard to what Jesus had said, “this he did making all meats clean.” 


And so Paul knew that all meats are clean under the New Testament law.  And remember how Paul foretold how that there “would be those who would forbid marriage and would command man to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving to them which believe and know the truth (I Timothy 4:3-4)”.  So the eating of meats was not wrong, for those who had that knowledge, but they were not to make fun, and try to get anyone to eat who was not fully convinced that it was right. If they go contrary to their conscience, then they are doing wrong.  And as stated here in the latter part of verse fourteen, "Saith that to him who accounteth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  For if because of meat thou brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for who Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of.  For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking."  In other words the thing that is really important is our relationship to the Lord.  "But righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."  And again, we need more joy in the church today!  The church would grow faster if we had more joy in the church.  Real joy stems from a spirit of thankfulness for many things.


Verse eighteen, “For he that herein serveth Christ is well- pleasing to God, and approved of men.  So then let us follow after the things which make for peace, and the things whereby we may edify one another."  That is a rule of conduct that is so very important,  and I think that each child of God would do well to commit verse nineteen to memory.  "Let us follow after the things which make for peace and the things whereby we may edify one another.”  If we do that, we will not be very critical of our brethren, we will get away from all that jealousy and wrong spirit if we “follow after the things which make for peace and the things whereby we may edify one another. Overthrow not for meat sake the work of God.  All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offense."  That would be the man who goes contrary to his conscience.  He thinks it is wrong, but others have been saying, “Oh, it is not wrong, come on and eat with us”.  But it would be sin for him to eat as long as he was not fully convinced in his own mind that it is all right.  "It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth.  The faith which thou hast?  Have thou to thyself before God.  Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth.  But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:  And whatsoever is not of faith is sin."  Note again the emphasis that if a man thought it was wrong to eat pork, because it was wrong to eat pork under the Old Testament law, and he still thought it was wrong to eat pork, and he ate pork, then he would be sinning.  “He that doubteth is condemned if he eat because he eateth not of faith. and whatsoever is not of faith is sin." 


Chapter Fifteen

The first part of chapter fifteen is also dealing with the same subject. He emphasizes the fact that those who have more knowledge, and are stronger, they need to bear the infirmities of the weak.  "Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good unto edifying.  For Christ also pleased not himself; but as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me.  And whatsoever things were written before time were written for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope."  I am afraid that we do not read and study the Old Testament scriptures enough.  I do not believe a child of God is going to have proper faith and hope without knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures.  “Whatsoever things were written aforetime  (the Old Testament scriptures) were written for our learning that through patience, and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.  When we look back there we see all the great men of the Bible, from time to time made mistakes, but if they got up and tried again, God was pleased with them.  And so the Old Testament scriptures bring a lot of encouragement and comfort to the children of God today. 


Verse five, "Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one toward another according to Christ Jesus, that with one accord, ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Wherefore receive ye one another, even as Christ also received you to the glory of God."  Again that would do away with all of those petty differences, would it not?  If we just received one another as Christ has received us.  "For I say that Christ has been made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, that he might confirm the promises made unto the fathers and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, therefore will I give praise unto thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.  And again, Praise the Lord, all of you Gentiles; and let all the people praise him.  And again, Isaiah saith, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that arises to rule over the Gentiles.” Now Jesse was the father of David, and so it is talking about the descendants of David that Christ would come of the descendants of Jesse, and then of Jesse's son David.  "On him shall the Gentiles hope."  If we had plenty of time, we would turn back and read other passages from Isaiah about how the Gentiles were to be brought in.  "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy."  So God is a God of hope, and the hope we have is an anchor of the soul, as Paul said in Hebrews 6:18-20, “that entereth into that which is within the veil.; Whither as a forerunner Jesus entered for us ---.” When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, showing that the way into heaven had been made by His redeeming blood. (Matthew 27:50-54; Mark 15:37-38; Luke 23: 44-47; Hebrews 9:8).


Verse thirteen, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness,  filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."  So the church at Rome was a great church. They had made a lot of spiritual progress.  They were able to admonish and encourage one another.  And Paul says because you have made this spiritual growth, I can write to you the more boldly. 


Verse fifteen, "But I write the more boldly unto you in some measure, as putting you again in remembrance because of the grace that was given me of God.  That I should be a minister of Christ unto the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit."  The Holy Spirit teaches us what to do and how to do, whereby we are set apart as God's holy people, sanctified and holy people.  "I have therefore my glory in Christ Jesus in things pertaining to God.  For I will not dare to speak of any things save those things which Christ hath wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders.  In the power of the Holy Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and roundabout even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." In verse nineteen he is referring to the miraculous powers given to him by the Holy Spirit to aid him in the giving and confirming the word of God.


Now, anyone that doubts Paul's statement in I Corinthians 15:9-10, that he labored more abundantly than all the other apostles, need to take notice of this statement.  Look on the map and see the great expanse of territory, which Paul says that he had fully preached the gospel.  I would like to point that out on the map, here is Jerusalem.  Even from Jerusalem -- talking about these missionary journeys and this territory roundabout Macedonia and Achaia -- and all this territory even unto Illyricum.  Do you see Illyricum?  My what an expanse of territory.  One man says he fully preached the gospel to all of this territory.  Now, this does not mean that he got his foot in every house.  The book of Acts shows that he made it his aim to concentrate especially on those important cities, like he stayed at Ephesus for three years, and at Corinth for one and one half years. During the three years at Ephesus God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul (Acts 19:11) and during this time Jews and Greeks through out Asia heard the word. Paul also had great success during that year and six months at Corinth.


Verse twenty -- He had made his aim to preach the gospel where the gospel had not been preached.  "Yea, making it my aim so to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation:  But as it is written, they shall see to whom no tidings of him came:  And they who have not heard shall understand."  Paul wanted to carry the gospel to those who had not had opportunity to hear the gospel.  "Wherefore also I was hindered these many times from coming to you.  But now having no more any place in these regions."  He is saying I have fully preached the gospel in all of the great area, so I must go somewhere else. "But now having no more any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come unto you; whensoever I go unto Spain, for I hope to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you."  I believe in verse twenty-four, he is saying I am expecting you to help me on that journey with that missionary work,  “and to be  brought on my way thitherward by you,”  including supplying him with the things that he would need.  "If first in some measure I shall have been satisfied with your company." 


Notice that Paul must have been at Corinth on the third journey when he wrote Romans. If we give attention to II Corinthians chapter nine about how he was expecting some from Macedonia to go with him to Corinth.  It looks like Corinth marked the end of that taking up of the bounty, among the Gentile churches, for the saints at Jerusalem.  And if you read from Acts 20: 2-6, and then the messengers of the churches start leaving to carry the bounty to Jerusalem. Note that Acts 20: 5-6 shows that Luke joined Paul at Philippi, where he had been since that church was established, to go with Paul and those messengers of the churches to carry the bounty to Jerusalem.  But give careful attention to the reading of Acts 20:1-6.  Luke gives a very brief account.  In just one or two sentences, he gets Paul from Ephesus and revisits the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, (Acts 20: 1-3) and then leaving to go to Jerusalem.  "But now I say I go unto Jerusalem ministering unto the saints."  So very definitely Paul wrote this epistle just right before he starts with those messengers of the churches to Jerusalem with the bounty. So Romans was written from Corinth, when Paul was on the third journey, and the time would be about 57 AD


Verse twenty-six, "For it has been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem.  Yea it hath been their good pleasure; and their debtors they are.  For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things.  They owe it to them also to minister unto them in carnal things."  And that would be, things that would have to do with things of this life like food, shelter, and clothing.  "When therefore I have accomplished this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will go on by you unto Spain."  Paul had plans for sometime in the future.  "And I know that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessings of Christ."  How did Paul go to Rome?  He went as a prisoner of the Lord.  Did he go in the fullness of the blessings of Christ?  I believe that he did and he finally learned that he did.  Writing to the Philippian brethren he said, “I would have you to know that my bonds have turned out to the furtherance of the gospel.”  Yes, he went in the fullness of the blessings of Christ, but he went as a prisoner.  "I beseech you, brethren, by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that are disobedient in Judea; and that my ministration which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; that I may come to you in joy through the will of God."  So he asked, them to pray for him for three specific things, that he might be delivered from those that were disobedient in Judea.  Was he, yes, by the Roman soldiers, but surely not the way he expected to be delivered.  You remember how those Jews tried to kill him while he was standing at charges for those who were to make atonement.  He was rescued by the Roman soldiers, and then carried to Caesarea and imprisoned there for a year. Let us take time to look at just a little bit from Acts 21:17, "And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly," so the ministration was acceptable unto the saints.  "And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present."  They advised him to stand at charges for those being cleansed to show that he was not teaching contrary to the law.  Acts 21: 23, "Do therefore this that we say to thee:  We have four men that have a vow on them: Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges for them, that they may shave their heads:  And all shall know that there is no truth in the things whereof they have been informed concerning thee.  But thou thyself also walkest orderly, keeping the law."  Paul followed their advice. 


Verse twenty-seven, "And when the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia when they saw him in the temple, stirred up the multitude, and laid hands on him."  They were about to kill him when the Roman soldiers rescued him. Acts 21: 31, "As they were seeking to kill him, tidings came up to the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in confusion:  And forthwith he took soldiers and centurions," and so a number of soldiers were involved in that,  "and ran down upon them; and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left off beating Paul."  They probably would have killed him, if the Roman soldiers had not rescued him. While he was going up the castle steps, where the Roman soldiers were housed, Paul asked permission to speak to his Jewish brethren. The captain was surprised that he could speak the Greek language.  Acts 21:37, "And as Paul was about to be brought into the castle, he saith unto the chief captain, May I say something unto thee?  And he said, dost thou know Greek?"  Paul had been reared in Greek territory, and he knew Greek and Hebrew.  When he got ready to talk to the brethren, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language.  Acts 22:2, "And when they heard that he spoke with them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet; and he saith, I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel."  Well, when he told how that the Lord had sent him to the Gentiles, then the Jewish people, lifted up their voices and said 22:22, "Away with such a fellow from the earth for it is not fit that he should live."


And then he had to appear before the counsel of the Jews, and he told them he had lived in all good conscience unto this day.  And then the Jews planned to kill him, but Paul's sister's son learned about it and told the chief captain.  And notice, the great danger that he was in, Acts 23:23, "And he called unto him two of the centurions and said make ready two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, and horsemen three score and ten, and spearmen two hundred."  Two hundred soldiers, horsemen, threescore and ten or seventy and two hundred spearmen, so that would be four hundred-seventy men to carry Paul to Caesarea.  The Roman authorities surely knew that they were bent on killing him.  And then Paul made his defense before Governor Felix, but Governor Felix left him bound Acts 24:1-27. 


When his successor came into office, he was brought before him, Governor Festus, and then before King Agrippa, and finally Paul appealed unto Caesar.  And he goes to Rome without any charges against him, and was a prisoner for two years, but he was permitted to live in his own hired house as a prisoner in Rome for that imprisonment.  Those two years of imprisonment were up when Luke finished the book of Acts for Acts 28:30-31, reads, "He abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him."  He had others assisting him, bringing people in to hear Paul,  “Preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus with all boldness and none forbidding him”.  And so this was his first Roman imprisonment, and I think those verses show that those two years had gone by, and Paul had been released when Luke finished writing the book of Acts. 


Okay.  So the Jewish people accepted the ministration in a good way. But evidently, the breach between Jew and Gentile Christians, because of those false teachers teaching that the Gentiles had to be circumcised and keep the law, had become so difficult that Paul was afraid that they would not even accept that bounty from the Gentile churches, but they did.  And so their prayers may have had a part in the Jews accepting it.  And, of course, his prayer was answered that he would come to them in joy through the will of God.  I guess for a long time he wondered, “Lord, why this way?” 

Chapter Sixteen

"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea."  It would be my guess that she was the one that carried the letter from Paul, to Rome.  See, she is going to Rome, and Paul tells the brethren to receive her and assist her in whatever way, in whatever needs she may have.  A person going from Corinth all the way to Rome would, surely, need some help by her brethren when she got there.  "So I commend unto you Phebe our sister, who is a servant of the church that is at Cenchrea; that ye receive her in the Lord, worthy of the saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever matters she may have need of you:  For she herself also has been a helper of many, and of mine own self."  So look out for this good Christian lady, she has helped many, including “mine own self.” And when she gets there, she will need your help, and you assist her in whatever way you can.  "Salute Priscilla and Aquilla my fellow workers in Christ:  Who for my life laid down their own necks:  Unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles."  You remember that when Paul went to Corinth, he abode with this couple and made tents with them during the first part of his stay there (Acts 18:1-5; II Corinthians 11:7-13), -- and I guess he stayed with them all the time that he was there.  And when Paul left Corinth, they went with him to Ephesus where Paul entered into the synagogue, and they wanted him to stay longer, but it was not his will to do so.  And Aquilla and Priscilla stayed at Ephesus.  And now they are back at Rome.  And there is a church in their house and Paul salutes them and the  church that is in their house.” 


Those twelve men who that thought that they were Christians, when Paul went back to Ephesus as recorded in (Acts 19:1- 7), had evidently been baptized with the baptism of John, by Apollos, after the baptism of John was no longer valid. (Acts 18:22-26). John’s baptism was valid until Pentecost. It was from heaven (Mt. 21:27-28), and contrary to what some brethren have taught, it was “for” King James or “unto” American Standard, remission of sins (Mt. 3:6; Mark 1: 4; Luke 3:3). If I remember correctly, there are twenty-one different names mentioned here that Paul sent salutations to of people that he had known somewhere else, but at this time they were in Rome.  It looks like there was more than one group where they met in houses (Romans 16:14-15).  So there were a lot of good Christian people that Paul sent salutations to, and he says, “All the churches of Christ salute you” 


By the way, I can remember when the church at Alexander City met in the home of Sister Maynard, and the Lord's Supper, as I remember, was served off of the dining room table.  There have been many churches that have been established where they met in houses.  There is nothing said in all of the New Testament as to whether we should meet in homes, or rent buildings, buy buildings, or build buildings, and yet some want to say that the church building can not be used for weddings and many other appropriate things. But we are commanded to assemble on the first day of the week (I Corinthians 16:1-2, 11:33-34; Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:24-31), and the command to assemble on the first day of the week implies a “place to assemble” but God has left that to our own judgment.


Verse seventeen, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and turned away from them."  Now, I am not sure that we can determine very definitely who these were, but I think they were those willful false teachers who were troubling the churches.  Even though that it was made just as plain as it could be made from that Jerusalem meeting about circumcision, that circumcision, and the keeping the law, is not binding on the Gentile people, but those willful false teachers, continued to move from one Gentile church to another teaching their false doctrine.  And I think that is who he is talking about here when he says,  "mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which you learn and turn away from them."  What does he mean by that statement, “mark them”?  Well, I do not think he meant to take a branding iron and brand them, but they were to make it known that they were false teachers.  You remember from the Galatian letter where Paul said, “to whom we gave space, no not for an hour that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”  And so he is telling these Roman brethren to discipline these fellows.  Let the people know that they are false teachers.  "For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly."  In other words they are just looking out for their own selfish interest.  "And by their smooth and fair speech, they beguile the hearts of the innocent."  Many false teachers today have smooth and fair speech.  Oh, they can appear to be so religious, and so zealous, and so holy, when actually they are according to the statement made here, that “whose God is their belly”.  But Jesus has warned us against such teachers, and the word teaches that there will always be false teachers until Christ comes in His second advent Matthew 7:15-20; Philippians 3:1-6, 3:17-19; Colossians 2:18-23; I Timothy 4:1-3; II Peter 2:1-3, 3: 1-7; I John 2: 18-19, 2:22, 2: 26, 4:1-3; II John 7-11).


Verse nineteen, "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.”  Let your good record hold, and discipline these men.  “I rejoice therefore over you, but I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple unto that which is evil, and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Timotheus my fellow worker saluteth you, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.  I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you.  Erastus the treasurer of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.  Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept in silence through times eternal.  But now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known to all the nations unto the obedience of faith to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever.  Amen." And so you see that this book begins with emphasis on “the obedience of faith” and closes with emphasis on “the obedience of faith”.  The primary book that was misused to get that false doctrine started, Salvation By Faith Only, is one of the primary books that emphasizes the obedience of faith. 


Thank you very much for your good attention.