An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

Romans – Lesson 23: Unity, Hope, and Praise

Scripture Reading: Romans 15:1 -13

Introduction:

You deserve the best.  Look out for number one.  Pamper yourself.  These are the watchwords of our age.  But in this chapter, Paul urges us to stop gazing at our own reflection.  For the first time in Romans, he holds up the example of Christ, the one who embodies all the qualities God desires in us.

The way that Christ acted, the Christ who although He was strong yet for our sakes became weak, is the way that the strong must also act toward those whose own faith is weak.  This chapter is devoted to the strong in faith and how they should exercise their freedom that they have in their faith.  It is to be exercised for the good of others, in this case, for the good of the weak.

Christ is the model of the way we are to act.  Christ acted not for His own good or His own pleasure, but for the good of others.  He bore what we rightly ought to have suffered and in that way acted for our good.

A person who has not been touched by the Lord Jesus Christ does not move naturally away from selfish motives and interests.  But a follower of Christ will turn away from self and move out toward others.  All unselfishness is by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Apart from Him, there is no true love.

John the Baptist said, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise” (Luke 3:11).  Let us share our hope with those who have less, let us praise the Lord for what we have, and let us unite in our desire to serve the Lord and serve our fellow man, whenever the need arises.

Lesson Questions:

  1. When is self-concern appropriate and when does it turn into selfishness?
  2. In light of Romans 14, who are the strong and the weak Paul mentions in Romans 15:1?
  3. What personal attitudes might hinder or help us to bear with the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1-2)?  Explain why.
  4. How is Christ (Romans 15:3) the supreme example of what Paul commands in Romans 15:1-2?
  5. If we follow Christ’s example in this and other areas of our lives, why will we need endurance, encouragement, and hope (Romans 15:4-5)?  Why are Bible study and prayer essential if we are to maintain these attitudes?
  6. In contrast to the discord and possible verbal abuse hinted at in Romans 14, what does God desire of us (Romans 15:5-6)?
  7. How can the fact that Christ has accepted us promote both unity and praise (Romans 15:7)?
  8. In Romans 15:9-12 Paul quotes from four different Old Testament passages.  What words and phrases express the dominant mood of these verses?
  9. Paul concludes this passage with a vivid prayer (Romans 15:13).  Visualize and describe what is taking place.  Keeping in mind the context of Romans 15:1-12, how can we become those whose lives overflow with joy, peace, and power?