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Paul continues his discussion of love throughout Chapter 14.  Paul has been talking about Christian love since 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.” Paul discussed loving unbelievers (12:14-21); obeying authority (13:1-7); loving in holiness according to God’s commandments (13:8-10) and living and loving with a sense of urgency (13:11-14).  Starting in 14:1, Paul discusses how to love others who differ in personal preferences.   Paul addresses personal preferences because Christians tend to fight and dispute over them.  Areas of personal preference are those areas that Scripture does not address in detail.  The Old Testament minutely regulated areas of eating (Leviticus…

In Love With God

Daniel loved God.  The incident of Daniel in the lion’s den is famous, historic, dramatic and true.  But mostly, it is about a man who loved God.  In this chapter, all Daniel does is love God.  He was excellent at his job (6:3); blameless in his conduct (6:4) and due to oversee the entire kingdom (6:3). He does nothing wrong: he serves God constantly (6:16, 20); prays constantly (6:10) and is willing to give up all to honor Him (6:11).  Daniel loved God. Daniel could have been bitter.  Daniel’s love was not ‘natural.’  Daniel was without family from an early…

Gracious in Growth

Chapter 14 begins the final section of instruction in Romans.  This section extends from 14:1 through 15:13 and continues with how Christians should love one another.  Paul has been talking about Christian love since 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy.”  This discussion included loving unbelievers (12:14-21); obeying authority (13:1-7); loving in holiness according to God’s commandments (13:8-10) and living and loving with a sense of urgency (13:11-14).  Starting in 14:1, Paul discusses how to love others in the Church who differ in areas of growth and maturity.  The final section of Romans, 15:14-16:27, is a final section of Paul’s plans,…

Wake Up! Wake Up!

Paul emphasizes that Christians should do all things in love.  As Paul closes Chapter 13, he says, ‘this do’ (v. 11).  Paul is referring to all of the duties and privileges that Christians should perform towards one another, all of which are contained in the biblical commandment to love one another (v. 9).  Paul wants people to live in love (13:8-10), and has been discussing how to do this since Chapter 12. Paul presents the Christian life with a sense of urgency.  Paul realizes that Christians can be sluggish.  Therefore, he exhorts believers with a series of time and action…

Christians Owe Love To All

In these verses, Paul returns to a favorite biblical subject – loving.  Paul spoke of loving others back in 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy; abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”  In this ‘practical’ section of Romans (starting in Chapter 12), Paul’s point is that because God has saved Christians and put His Spirit inside them, Christians should manifest His attributes of love and holiness.  Christians should love because God is love (1 John 4:8).  That means that they should love not only those who love them but all men (Matthew 5:46-48).  They should also be holy…

Love Authority – Please God

Paul no doubt shocked his listeners.  Rome was known for its cruelty and ungodliness.  When Paul commanded Christians in Rome to obey the Emperor, they must have thought he was crazy.  Many probably thought it was their duty to fight the Emperor.  However, Paul is clear: all authority is from God, and all resistance to authority is rebellion against God.  The Christian is to obey and honor authority in its every form (v. 7).  If he does this by God’s grace, he will receive praise and blessing (v. 3)! Obedience to authority must be an act of worship.  Paul demolishes…

The Virgin Birth

Is it important to believe the Virgin Birth? Was Jesus of Nazareth born without a human father? I believe that the answer to these questions defines the future for every man. The reason why the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is so important is because it is directly related to another vital question, “is Jesus God?” Regardless of what people believe about the Virgin Birth, it is an essential doctrine of historic Christianity. This is Christianity 101: The Virgin Birth is the belief that the Divine Person of Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy…

Tidings of Joy

Tidings of Joy The word ‘tidings’ is an old English word that means information, or news. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an army of angels celebrated his birth (Luke 2:13). Very few witnessed this heavenly celebration, but some lowly shepherds who were out in the fields did and they were scared. They were scared because a heavenly light shone all around them and an angel personally addressed them. They were ‘terribly frightened,’ writes Luke (2:9). They did not know that this was an occasion of the greatest joy. Therefore, the angel said: “Do not be afraid . . .…

What God Wants for Christmas

 Philippians 2:5-8 is a Christmas Passage.  At Christmas, Christians celebrate Christ’s birth into this world as a perfect Man.  However, Matthew 1:18-24, Luke 2:15-20, Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6 are not the only Christmas passages.  Philippians 2:5-8 is also a Christmas passage because it focuses on Christ’s birth.  Isaiah 7:14 and 9:16 present Christ’s birth from a prophetic standpoint.  Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 2:15-20 present Christ’s birth from a historical standpoint.  Philippians 2:5-8 presents Christ’s birth from a theological and applicational standpoint. Philippians 2:5-8 is a famous passage, and has a special name.  Theologians call Philippians 2:5-8, ‘the Kenosis.’  Kenosis…

Church & State

Romans 13 begins a new subsection in the ‘practical’ section of Romans.  The ‘practical’ section is the last 5 chapters, Chapters 12-16.  After 11 chapters of theology & doctrine explaining human depravity (Chs. 1-2); justification through faith and imputed righteousness (Chs. 3-5); sanctification (Chs. 6-7); the assurance of salvation (Ch. 8) and the promised and secure future of the nation Israel (Chs. 9-11), Paul spends Chapters 12-16 explaining how a Christian is to live out the Gospel. Living the Gospel begins with the mind.  Before the Christian can do a single thing for God, he has to put on a…

Portrait of a Deacon

Biblical teaching regarding the office of a deacon is found mainly in two passages, Acts 6:1-7 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13. These shine light on the qualifications for the ministry of a deacon.  However, the responsibilities of a deacon are not clearly listed or outlined; they are assumed to be everything that does not include the duties of an elder or pastor, which is to preach, teach, and exhort. In Acts 6:1-7 we find the establishment of the deacon’s office. The church in Acts is in its baby stage. It is growing in understanding of its divine structure. Although God designed…

Portrait of an Elder

 Biblical teaching regarding church elders occurs in several passages.  1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are the main passages.  These list the elder’s qualifications.  However, these do not portray the elder in ‘action.’  In order to understand more fully how an elder functions, one must study additional passages like 1 Peter 5:1-4, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, James 5:14 and Acts 14:23.  Of all the New Testament passages regarding how an elder functions, the most detailed and graphic is Acts 20:17-35. This passage is one of only two passages in the Book of Acts (the other is 1:15-22) that addresses a church…