15:1-2– In Chapter 14, Paul encourages the strong to bear the scruples(weaknesses) of the weak. He says the strong should please the weak but for edification purposes. He didn’t mean please others and displease God, but please others in such a way that aids spiritual growth. In Chapter 14:15-17, Paul tells us to walk in love and not do what would cause another believer to stumble. Using the food analogy of Chapter 14, if there was a fellowship and it was time to break bread, it would not be love for a strong brother to eat meat in front of a weak brother. Eating vegetables would be an act of love and it would be pleasant to the weaker one. (See Chapter 14 for an understanding of the strong and weak brother).
15:3– Christ showed us examples of pleasing others instead of ourselves. In Psalm 69:9, which is quoted in this verse, Christ pleased the Father and not Himself. Jesus is man as much as He is God and sacrificing Himself was a painful experience but look at what He did in Matthew 26:39,
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. ”Matthew 26:39 NKJV
15:4– Just like 2 Timothy 3:16,
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,II Timothy 3:16 NKJV
All that was written in the Old Testament was written for our learning. Psalm 69:9 was a prophecy as well as a lesson, as we see in verse 3.
15:5-6– As a body (the body of Christ), we should serve God together for we have all been accepted by Christ.
15:7– Since we have all been accepted by Christ, we should accept one another as Christ has, instead of condemning and judging ourselves.
15:8– Christ came as a servant to the Israelites to fulfill the promises God had made to their fathers; to being all nations to Himself, including the Gentiles.
15:9-11– These are quoted from 2 Samuel 22:50 and Psalm 18:49 (2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 are the same), Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 117:1.
15:12– Quoted from Isaiah 11:10. The word “root” metaphorically means offspring.
15:15-16– Paul’s ministry was a priestly ministry. In Israel, only the Levites, that is descendants of Aaron, could be priests. But Paul was a priest by the grace of God. A priest was responsible for offering sacrifices on behalf of the people to cleanse their sins. In Hebrews 10:12, we see Christ being our High Priest has offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER. So what sacrifices was Paul offering? He ministered the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles so they might be saved, and their offering might be acceptable to God. In Romans 12:1, Paul beseeches believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God, this can only be possible when it has been sanctified by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is in you when you receive the gospel and are saved.
15:17-19– Paul rejoices in things He has done for God but never took glory in what God had not accomplished though him just so that the Gentiles would be obedient. Illyricum means “the lyric band”, it’s a region in Europe lying between Italy, Germany, Macedonia and Thrice, having on one side the Adriatic Sea and on the other, the Danube.
15:20-21– Paul’s mission was to preach the gospel in places where they did not know about Christ, just as Prophet Isaiah had said in Isaiah 52:15.
15:22– Just as he said in Chapter 1:10, Paul had been hindered from going to Rome.
15:26-27– The Gentiles had shared in the spiritual promise made to the Jews and they also shared material things with the Jews. This act of generosity from the Gentiles shows the unity of the church, regardless of distance, race, economic levels or social status.
15:30-33– Paul concludes with a heartfelt prayer for safety in his travels and deliverance from his enemies in Judea. He also asks them to pray that he might be able to visit them. All to be done by the will of God and not his.
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