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The Book of Romans

The Book of Romans

I.       Background of book of Romans:

A.     The Jews were a wandering race after the Southern kingdom, Judah, was destroyed. Some Jews were found in Rome as early as the second Century. By 59 BC, Cicero wrote of their power and influence in the city of Rome.

B.     In AD 49 Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome, as mentioned in Acts 18:2. Priscilla and Aquila, who left Rome due to the persecution, were already believers when Paul met them.

C.     Claudius’ expulsion edict, like the earlier ones, had no lasting effect. A few years later the Jewish colony again flourished and, as before, included Jewish believers in Christ. By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, a large number of Gentile and Jewish Christians comprised a typical church.

D.     Prior to the end of Paul’s 3rd missionary trip, he stayed in Corinth for 3 months and wrote this book (Acts 19:21, 20:2, 18:1, 11). The writing time was about 57-58 AD. The book of Romans was not written by Paul himself (Rom 16:22); Dedu is the one who penned it. Paul signed his name to prove that he was the one who wrote this letter, because at that time, others would use Paul’s name to give out false teachings. It is slower to ask others to write for you, but it is postulated that perhaps Paul had a problem with his eye sight.

E.     The Church of Rome was not built by Paul, as it existed before Paul went there. He longed to visit them, but he failed to go there. He was imprisoned twice while he was there; the first was recorded in Acts 28, and the second incident was recorded in history (also, it is mentioned in the letters to Timothy. So, if Paul did not build this church, who built it? Some guessed (Acts 2:10) Rome was built by the believers who were among the 3000 who were baptized in Acts 2. They received the truth and went back to preach in Rome. Another possibility suggests that Rome was built by Peter (according to Catholic history). But, we know that it was built by God.

F.      The majority of believers in Rome were gentiles, with Jews making the minority (Rom 1:13, 2:1, 17, 7:1, 4:1-5), and they were in conflict with one another. Jews wanted the gentiles to obey the laws of Moses (i.e. circumcision).

G.     The book of Romans gives us a careful, thorough, and detailed explanation of the Gospel that God called Paul to preach. In Galatians, we also catch glimpses of the themes that Paul now fully develops. As we study Romans, we see that in Christ, God has truly taken a new and dynamic approach to the question of righteousness.

II.    The unique character of the book of Romans:

A.     It systematically explains a profound theology that man is justified by faith. The theme can be found in -17: “…For in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

B.     Paul proved that all are sinners. He illustrated how the gentiles had sinned against God in their daily life. He proved that the Jews, though they had the law, also sinned against God because a man with flesh, without help of Holy Spirit, cannot abide by the law. The only solution for man is Jesus Christ, who died for our sins by shedding of His blood. One shall die and be resurrected with Jesus Christ by receiving water baptism. Then one can lead a victorious life by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the life of God.

III. The structure of the book of Romans

Ch. 1:1-17

Ch. 1:18-3:20

Ch. 3:21-11:36

Ch. 12:1-15:13

Ch. 15:14-16:27

Introduction & theme: Justification by faith


1. Gentiles sin

2. Jews sin

3. All sin


1. Personal salvation

2. Whole race’s


Application of Justification by faith


IV.  Outline:

A.     Introduction (1:1-17)

1.        Salutation (1:7)

2.        Thanksgiving and hope (1:8-15)

3.        Theme: (1:16-17)

B.     Sin (1:19-3:20)

1.        Guilt of the Gentiles (1:18-32)

 a.      Ungodliness (-25)

 b.      Homosexuality (1:26-27)

 c.      Unrighteousness (1:28-32)

2.        Guilt of the Jews (2:1-3:8)

 a.      According to divine standards, they were guilty.

(a)     God’s truthfulness (2:1-4)

(b)     God’s impartiality (2:5-11)

(c)     Jesus Christ (2:12-16)

 b.      According to their hypocrisy, and their trust in circumcision (-29)

 c.      According to their unbelief (3:1-8)

3.        Proof of universal guilt (3:9-20)

 a.      All are under sin (3:9-18)

 b.      All are conscious of sin (3:19-20)

C.     Salvation: (3:21-11:36)

1.        Personal salvation (3:21-8:39)

 a.      Justification (3:21- 5:21)

(a)     God’s righteousness is revealed (-26)

(b)     Man can only be justified by faith (3: 27-31)

(c)     Abraham was counted as righteous through faith (4:1-12)

(d)     Abraham believed God’s promise (4:13-16)

(e)     The distinguishing feature of Abraham’s faith (4:17-25)

(f)      The effect of being justified by faith (5:1-21)

 b.      Sanctification (6:1-8:17)

(a)     Meaning, method, and effect of baptism (6:1-9)

(b)     We should live for God after receiving baptism (6:10-14)

(c)     Slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness (6:15-23)

(d)     How can we legally be freed from the Law? (7:1-3)

(e)     Why must we be freed from the Law? (7:4-6)

(f)      The Law cannot cause men to depart form sin (7:7-13)

(g)     What happens to a believer who tries to relate to God through the Law? The flesh cannot resist the law of sin (7:13-25)

(h)     What happens to a believer who relates to God through the Holy Spirit? There is freedom and life (8:1-8)

(i)       What is the source of our victorious experience? (8:9-17)

 c.      Glory (8:18-39)

(a)     The longing and sighing of the whole creation (-27)

(b)     God’s predestination (8:28-30)

(c)     No one can bring a charge against us (8:31-34)

(d)     No one can separate us from God’s love (8:35-39)

2.        Salvation for the whole race (9:1-11:36)

 a.      God’s chosen: the Jews (9:1-29)

(a)     Paul’s love and concern for the salvation of the Jews (9:1-5)

(b)     The children of the promise are the true Israelites (9:6-13)

(c)     God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy (9:14-18)

(d)     The absolute freedom of God’s sovereign choice (9:19-29)

 b.      Israel’s unbelief and salvation (9:30-11:12)

(a)     The Israelites have not attained righteousness (-33)

(b)     The requirement of being justified by faith (10:1-10)

(c)     Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (10:11-15)

(d)     The Bible prophesied about the unbelief of the Israelites (10:16-21)

(e)     God will elect the remnants of Israel (11:1-12)

 c.      The relationship between gentile’s salvation and Israel’s salvation (11:13-31)

(a)     Gentiles should not boast of their own salvation (-24)

(b)     The Israelites are beloved by God (11:25-29)

(c)     All Israel will be saved (25-27; Zech 13:7-9)

 d.      The wisdom of God and salvation for all races

(a)     God will show mercy to all (-32)

(b)     The unsearchable depth and judgment of the wisdom and knowledge of God (11: 33-36)

D.     Application of justification by faith (12-16)

1.        A Christian’s service (12:1-2)

2.        A Christian him/herself (12:3-8)

3.        A Christian and friends (12:9-16)

4.        A Christian and enemies (12:17-21)

5.        Christianity and government (13:1-7)

6.        Christians among Christians (14:1-15:6)

7.        Farewell (15:14-16:27)

V.     Topical Studies

A.     Topic: A living Sacrifice

1.        Paul beseeches all to offer oneself. (Rom 12:1)

 a.      Paul urged us according to the mercy of God.

(a)     Knowing the mercy of God can make one to offer himself to the Lord. The mercy of God is the salvation of God.

(b)     If we truly put our feet in Paul’s feet, we shall have the same feeling concerning God’s mercy.

(i)       One die for all and all die.

(ii)     To die for the righteous one, one may do it. To die for the bad guy, no one can do it.

(iii)    The love of God compels me… How can of feeling is that? Have you ever been compel by the love of God? Many brothers in this generation were touched by the love of God.

(iv)   You truly wanted to dedicate yourself to the Lord after his kind of understanding. It does not matter what kind of job you want to do for the Lord. To live is Christ, to die is gain

 b.      Paul beseeches us; not command us. (Rom 12:1)

(a)     Beseech comes with great love (Philemon 8f). Usually it is from the poor person to ask for something. (Pro 18:23). Paul had the authority, yet he beseeches us to do the right things. It is the method of Jesus to Peter. Jesus did not rebuke Peter. Peter love fishes. Jesus asked whether you love me more than these.  Peter did not collect that other 113 together, the Lord asked whether you love me and feed my sheep.

(b)     Only a tender attitude can really touch people’s heart. Jesus said that when he was lifted up, thousands will be drawn to him. Paul used the same way to ask us.

2.        A living sacrifice (Rom 12:1)

 a.      A living sacrifice. Sacrifice is dead in the OT. It is using the animal’s body. In the NT, all shall be the living sacrifice to offer to God.

(a)     We are supposed to be consumed by fire of hell. With the mercy of God, our body and souls is saved to the eternal kingdom. So, we shall live as a living sacrifice offering to God. What does it mean?

(i)       We shall glorify God with our body. (1Cor )

(ii)     We shall yield our bodies for the righteous deeds (Rom 6:13,18f)

(iii)    Whatever we do, there is a high purpose of God behind our deeds. Ex. The story of an old man listening to the resurrected Jesus was then living in his body. He did not live in the tomb anymore. His understanding and reaction was totally different.

 b.      A living sacrifice with three unique characters. (Rom 12:1)

(a)     A living sacrifice which is holy.

(i)       A defected lamb cannot be offered to God. A dirty body cannot offer to God. If a body is offered as a sacrifice is not holy, what will happen?

(ii)     Satan will accuse and resist us like he did it to Joshua.

(iii)    An anointed one with shortcoming leaves a chance for devil to blaspheme God. For example, David’s case.

(b)     A living sacrifice which is pleasing to God.

(i)       Paul’s life, in death or in life, he will strive to please God (2Cor 5:9)

(ii)     To offer oneself to God and live for God and suffer for God, it is so easy to touch God. (SS 4:8f)

(iii)    When we truly honor God’s commandment to feed his lamb and to reach out his gospel, we can see that our life will be pleased by God.

 c.      A living sacrifice which is a reasonable service.

(a)     It is only right for children to love and honor parents. It is only reasonable for us to serve God, our heavenly father for his wonderful care and love.

(b)     God is a reasonable God and God can reason with us (Is 1:18), and God said that the donkey and cow know his master, but this people did not know him. It is not reasonable at all.

3.        A complete change of lifestyle (Rom 12:2)

 a.      A living sacrifices which is not confirmed to the world.

(a)     What is the world pursuing after? (1Jn 2:15f)

(i)       Sensational feeling. People pursue drug, win, sex, and Rock & Roll. They are all pursuing for flesh desire.

(ii)     Money & fame. In order to gain money, moral is not important. Why American Idol is so popular in USA? It is a story from unknown to be famous, from poor, to rich. It is nothing wrong to the rich. The rich from God did not bring worry. The problem is where is our heart? Money or God.

(iii)    To live in the world too long, our concept is contaminated by the world. We are conformed to the world, our hair style, our value, our inside and our outside. We speak like gentile, we act like gentile, we think like gentile. Those kinds of people cannot serve God at all.

(iv)   We need to be careful not leaning from Lot who are conformed little by little and step by step. Especially our children, they may not have the value of God like Lot’s girls, like Judah’s boys. Lot’s girls sleep with their father. Judah’s boys were full of the acts of Canaanites.

We are what we read. What is our attitude toward books like Harry Potter, the Da Vinci Code, etc? A minister sings the last part of hymn in popular song because they listen to it every day.

 b.      A living sacrifice which is renew of mind.

(a)     A man is a vessel of mind (Chinese saying). Jesus said that if you have good stay in heart, you will speak good things.

(b)     Our mind needs to remold by the words of God.

(c)     It is harder in the civilized world to have a renewed of mind. It is so easy to see people to receive Holy Spirit in the 3rd country because of their pure mind. Our mind is polluted by the TV and parades.

(d)     The Holy Spirit can renew of our mind day by day. That is why we need to pray every day. Holy Spirit can tell us what is good and the will of God is.

(i)       The Holy Spirit wept prior to eating the food offered to idols.

(ii)     The Holy Spirit wept for the NYTS students.

(iii)    The Holy Spirit grief a person who cannot fall asleep until he said sorry to his folks.

(e)     We cannot use the worldly mind and worldly way to serve the Lord, because it will guide the church to the wrong direction. It is so natural to use our gift and talent in the society to serve the Lord. The administration of a church were said to be more professional. Then later on, the church becomes more like an organization.

(f)      We shall use God’s mind to serve God.

4.        Conclusion:

 a.      Many people live and die for a personal goal.

 b.      Many people live and die for a political goal.

 c.      We shall live and die for our Lord. We shall offer ourselves as a living sacrifice which is acceptable to the Lord. This is the purpose to know the truth of “Justify by Faith.”

B.     Topic: Think yourself with sober judgment

1.        Prolog:

 a.      How did people evaluate us? They evaluate us by our credits, our cars, location of our houses, our cloth, and all that we have.

 b.      People used the standard of the world to evaluate themselves. Sometimes, it will bring unnecessary frustration and crying. In a 100 meter dash, one girl cries because she was the second to the last in the dash. Another boy simply walked out from the race because he was the last one in the dash.

 c.      From the bible, we shall neither overestimate ourselves, nor underestimate ourselves. How do we see ourselves with sober judgment?

2.        Do not overestimate yourself (12:3)

 a.      Paul encouraged us through the grace of God. The grace of God, to Paul, was wide.

(a)     By the grace f wisdom, by which he understood the necessity and excellence of his missionary. Paul himself received much grace concerning his status in the world. Did he overestimate himself and underestimate Christ?

(b)     It was the grace of God that Paul became a priest of gospel (Eph 3:7). It was the grace of God that Paul had love and faith (1Tim 1:4).

 b.      A gifted person may think of himself highly than he ought to think, especially if he lives in a small environment.

(a)     It is like a fog in the well who thought that the heaven is only a small circle. When I lived in countryside with many farmers’ boys, I thought I was somebody by my academic achievement. Only when I moved to TaipeiCity, I realized that I was nobody.

(b)     The problem of the gifted person who thinks highly than he ought to think is pride. The prides coming from the thought that he is a head above all.

 c.      God resist the pride.

(a)     It is good to be wise, but it is not good to think that you are wise. There is more hope than him that think he is wise(Pro 26:12)

(i)       Adonijah, the fourth son of David, made himself as a king. To his surprise, David made Solomon the king in time. Adonijah’s life was spared by Solomon at a very beginning of King Solomon’s reign. Adonijah thought that he had the support from the army, the greatest general Joab. He had the support from religious. All he needed to do was to have support from the people. He could have done it by marrying Abishag, once was a young girl given to David. He thought King Solomon did not know his hidden agenda. After King Solomon knew his intension, he was killed. A fool could have more hope than Adonijah. (Ref 1Kings 2:16ff)

(ii)     After speaking with God for 40 days and nights without eating and drinking, Moses’ face was shining with light. Moses himself did not aware of it. When Moses realized it, he covered his face with a veil. When Moses stood before God, he uncovered his veil. (Exo 34:29ff). We learned that it is good that we do not know how sharp we are. Even if people learned that we are special, we shall be humble in front of man. In front of God, we can be who we are. Do not think we are somebody in our own eyes.

 d.      How do you detected if you had pride? Pride is like cancer, and some cancers are hard to detect. But we shall go into our thinking to see ourselves.

(a)     The symptoms, according to Romans 12, of those who think themselves higher than you ought to think are as following.

(i)       Rom : He cannot rejoice with those who had joy. Ex. Like king Saul treating David’s victory.

(ii)     Rom 12:15: He can not mourn with those who mourned. Ex. Like the a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite who was abandoned by his master because of his ill.(1Sam 30:13)

(iii)    Rom 12:16. He cannot have the same mind with one anther.

(iv)   Rom 12:16: He always mind high things/He always had high opinion. (NIV)

(v)     Rom 12:16: He cannot agree with the lowly.

(vi)   Rom 12:16: He is wise in his own eyes.

(b)     Do you always like to be head of a group? (3Jn 9) Ex.Diotrephes, whose desire is ever to have the first place among the people (3Jn 9).

(c)     Can you submit to others, even to the newcomer? (1Pet 5:5)

(d)     Do we view others better than ourselves? (Phi 2:3-5) Do we feel uncomfortable/jealous/grief when we see others are better ourselves? Ex. Even if you see the one who scores lower than you, can you see their stronger part?

(e)     Do we look down on others/sinners? (Lk 18:11) Ex. The Pharisees to the tax collector.

(f)      Do we fight to be number one to sit by the side of Jesus? (Mt 18:1-4)

(g)     Do you seek your own glory? Keep counting your past achievement (Pro 25:27). It is bad too eat much honey.

(h)     Do you associate with the poor? Do you make friend with those who you think is despised by others? (Pro 16:19)

(i)       You cannot fall asleep because of the performance of others?

(j)       You feel uncomfortable when others receive praising and get attention.

(k)     You try to kill/hate the one who is better than you. You can not be friend with those who are better than you.

(l)       Do you have peace, and love of God in you? The pride one cannot have peace in them, they can only have themselves in them?

(m)    Do you think that you need to be outstanding because of the attention?

3.        Do not underestimate ourselves. (1Jn 3:1)

 a.      We are purchased with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are the children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our spiritual status is more honorable than that of angels.

 b.      King Ahaz in 2Kings 16:7. We can see that he relied on King Syria. He said that he was Syria’s servant son and servant. They met in Assyria, which was not the strongest country at that time. Assyria, as a matter of fact, also submitted to Syria. But Ahaz copied their image of altar to build in the temple of God. He even moved, modify some of temple items. Why was that? He looked lowly on his own position, on God. He compared his country situation with the other country, and he felt that in reality, he was not as strong comparing with the neighbor countries.

 c.      What is the difference of humble and self-inferior feeling?

(a)     Humble is opposite to pride. Humble is a good virtue. Jesus was humble, but he, by no means had self-inferior feeling. He knew that he was from God and he will come to God. Humble is like a man climbing to the top of the mountain. Behold the wonderful creations of God. He fells that he is so small comparing with God’s creation, yet he thank God for his creations, for his love and care.

(b)     Self-inferior feeling comes with cannot see his own value very well (Ref Is 57:9). He demotes his own value and despises his own existence, and later on give up on himself. It is like a taxi driver driving a 2nd hand car. He drives carelessly and recklessly. He did not care if he had accident. He had a bad car anyway. He gave up on his own.

 d.      Comparison with other is one of the reasons to have self-pity feeling.

(a)     When I was a little kid, I remember I was invited to a friend’s house. It was the first time I saw beautiful house. He had carpet, and painting in the house. As a country boy, all I had was a dirt floor. That was the first time to see those wonderful houses. I suddenly learned that I was poor. At 4th grade, I noticed that many students could go to tutoring class, but I cannot afford it. On Sunday, we even need to go to market to help. Ex, even my mom told us that we are county boys, how we could compare with Taipei boys. Now I had grown up, I realize that many people had self-inferior feeling because of who they were. Many of my friends become gangster because they did not have self-esteem. They think themselves lowly than they are supposed to be.

(b)     Kids may have low-esteem because they do not do well in school. After comparing with others, we tend to have self-inferior feeling if we cannot compete or reach proper standard.

 e.      Can you detect if you have self-inferior feeling.

(a)     Do you hate yourself? Do you hate who you are, your birth place, your social status, your IQ, your height, your look, and your social skill?

(b)     Do you feel like to give up all the time?

(c)     Is your sky blue or gray? Do you loose meaning in your life?

 f.       Story:  One puppet always got negative words of label from his puppet world. His peers ridicule him that he was too ugly, too slow, and too short. Sadly he returns to his creator with all the labels attached to his body. He asked his master why that is? “But I still love you.” Said the master while holding the puppet on his hand. One by one the label was removed by the Master.

4.        Look at ourselves according to the measurement of faith given to us.

 a.      We acknowledge that we are made of dust and we are somehow limited.

(a)     “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, nor in things too high for me” (Ps 131:1f). We need to admit that there are things in the world that is too profound for us to know. I need to rely on God for those difficulty things.

(b)     We need to admit that the spiritual realm is beyond our reach if God does not want us to know. We shall not intrude the unknown territory. Someone did it and made people to worship angles (Co 2:18).

(c)     The secret things belong to our God (Deut 29:29). Things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever.

(d)     We are curious to know what is good and what is evil. God is good, and devil is evil. Many things are known to us concerning good and evil, yet many things concerning God and devil are still unknown to us. We shall not try to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil out of curiosity.

 b.      We acknowledge that God loves us and empower us to have all kinds of gifts according to his mercy.

(a)     Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the father of lights (Jas ). All that we have is from God. It is God who makes us different from others (1Cor 4:7). If you are a computer engineer, you know that a program can do many things. But a program cannot boast to the programmer. Simply with one code of line, the program can go to infinite loop and the program cannot function.

(b)     The gift given to us have to do with our faith. Faith can be measured. It is either strong or small faith (12:3). Faith has its proportion (Rom 12:6). So, faith is either 0 or 1.

Those who had great faith, he can had great mercy. Ex. A sister’s testimony concerning the faith. She had bleeding problem for 12 years. Without strong faith, she prayed and God healed her. She told the newly baptized that the more faith you have, the more blessing you have. I did see that the sister had great blessing in her life due to her faith.

 c.      We are what we serve. This is how we shall ourselves with sober judgment. (Rom 12:4-8)

(a)     The bible says that we shall think of ourselves soberly according to the faith measure to us. Then it continues to say in verse 4 of chapter 12 that for as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same functions. (Rom 12:3f). It tells us that the way we see ourselves is to what we can serve in the house of God.

(b)     We shall know our gifts and serve God and man according to our gifts.

(c)     Gift cannot be big or small. We cannot say that preaching is a bigger gift than counseling, or prophecy is bigger than serving in bathroom. Someone one simply have more gifts than others, just like Paul had many gifts that he can be the apostle of gentile.

(d)     The more gifts we have comes with more responsibility.

(i)       Dr.SunYet-Son said that the more gifts you have the more responsibilities you have. You need to serve more. The spider man says that the more power you have the more responsibilities you have.

(ii)     The bible teaches us the more is given, the more is asked from God.

5.        Conclusion:

 a.      We judge ourselves soberly according to how much we can serve in the kingdom of God. Many people judge us according to what we have. The Lord judges us according to how much we serve.

 b.      If we truly know this kind of truth, we know each one has our own race to run. We won’t walk out from our race even if we are the last in the track. For we know that as long as I finish the race, there is crown of glory waiting for us.

C.     Topic: Love toward Friends and Enemies

1.        Prolog.

 a.      Love is the conclusion of commandment. We shall own man nothing, but to love one another, we feel that we own man.

 b.      When we picture a righteous man, we picture as a dull. It seems that all the righteousness, like the priest; always wear in black dressing, while others wear bright and colorful. However, at the end of the book of Romans, we see the book talks about love. A righteous man has warm personality. He had the power of Holy Spirit which will yield the fruit of kindness and joy.

 c.      How do we show love to friends/brothers/sisters? How do we show love to enemies? Are there any differences to apply them?

2.        Main Body:

 a.      Love toward friends/brothers and sisters.

(a)     A true love: Love without deceit (Rom 12:9)

(i)       The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords (Ps 55:21). Joab, the general of David, kissed another general and killed him at the same time. Judah kissed Jesus and betrayed him at the same time. This is not true love.

(ii)     Love shall be from pure heart (1Pet 1:22). It is like the love from Jonathan toward David. Jonathan can die for David. It is like Jesus died for us. There was no guile in hearts.

(iii)    In this civilized world, we are coded with polite altitude, but we can careless and indifferent in our heart.

(b)     An affectionate love (Rom 12:10a)

(i)       It is as if you love your family members.

(ii)     Abraham demonstrated many affectionate loves in his life. His love toward three strangers. Not only running to them and falling down on his face, and having their feet washed, Abraham prepared the best food for the guests. If we looked at his actions carefully, we can see his affectionate love.

(iii)    Jesus made a parable of Lost Son. The father ran to the lost son, and hugged and kissed him. He prepared a feast to celebrate his lost son to come back.

(iv)   If you go to Hawaii church, you will see the affectionate love from our brother and sisters showing to you.

(c)     A respectful love (Rom 12:10)

(i)       We shall esteem others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3). Even as lowly as an animal, it can do something better than us. We shall respect and accept other people as who they are.

(ii)     “In honor, preferring one another” (Rom 12:10b). The way we shall respect is to let others to go before us. Ex, Abraham allowed Lot to choose the land first before them. Lot chose the best land in his eyes. However, God blessed Abraham for his attitude.

(iii)    A married brother let his unmarried biological brothers to choose first better lands when it comes to divide prosperities. Later on, we can also see how the Lord compensates his loving brother later on in his life.

(iv)   For though we must prefer others, and put on others, as more capable and deserving than ourselves, yet we must not make that an excuse for our lying by and doing nothing, nor under a pretence of honoring others, and their serviceableness and performances, indulge ourselves in ease and slothfulness. Therefore he immediately adds (v. 11), Not slothful in business.

(d)     A generous love (Rom 12:13)

(i)       “Distributing to the necessity of saints” (Rom 12:13a). When the mighty power of Holy Spirit came down, the brothers shared their properties together. So, no one was in lack of anything. Later on, Paul said that those who did not work cannot eat. I think maybe someone took advantage of his system when one is not full of Holy Spirit. However, when the church in Jerusalem was in famine, the churches in gentile land help financially to the saints in Jerusalem.

(ii)     Abraham sat in front of his tent to look for chances to love strangers. Lot sat at the city gate to look for chances to love strangers. Today, we do not only take chances to help saints, but look for chances to help the saints.

(iii)     “Ready to take people into your house.” Even when John Paul II died in Rome, The Roman Catholic urged people to take the strangers into their own houses. Even Roman Catholic can do it; can we do it better for we are the members of TJC?

(iv)   Ex. A church did not allow a beggar sister to wander in the street after she believed in the Lord. A sister even left some of her properties for her.

(e)     A sympathizing love. (Rom 12:15)

(i)       We are the same body of Christ, if one is suffering, all are sufferings. When a finger got hurt, the whole body does not feel comfortable.

(ii)     Jesus had sympathizing love in his life.

1.        The Lord has pleasure in our prosperity and afflicted in all our afflictions. (Ps 35:27; Is 63:9)

2.        He had mercy toward the lapper and touched him (Mk 2:41)

3.        Jesus intended to rest, but he started to preach when he saw many people came to him like sheep without shepherd (Mk 6:31,34)

4.        Jesus was angry to those who did not have sympathy heart toward a man who had a shrinking hand (Mk 3:1-6)

5.        Even now, Jesus has sympathy for our weakness. He was a man and he knew our feeling (Heb 4:15)

(iii)    It is hard for a stronger person to have sympathizing love.

1.        Jacob had a strong feet and he did not know to walk with the weak until his feet is limb.

2.        If we are strong in faith, sometimes we are like Pharisee despising the weak one in faith.

(f)      A condescending love (Rom 12:16)

(i)       When one is standing above at a higher place, he cannot truly show his love toward others. For Jesus to love us, he had to depart from his most glorious high place to bring to man grace and truth. He left his position as a teacher starting to wash the feet of his disciples. He was even willing to taste the death for human being. This is how he lowered down himself to love human being.

(ii)     An old saying states that all the roads lead to Ramon. The brothers and sisters who live in Roman enjoy the highest civilization in that generation. Paul said that one shall not mind the high things when it comes to love, but to agree with the common people.

(iii)    How do you talk to a two year old lad? You need to squat down when you talk to him.

(g)     A peaceful love (Rom 12:17f)

(i)       If it is possible, live peaceful with all men (Rom 12:18). Jesus is a king of peace.

1.        He asked Peter to put away his sword when Peter tried to protect Jesus from being captured.

2.        As a king of kings, Jesus rode on a donkey, not a horse, into his own cites.

3.        Jesus had power to mobilize people for him to go against his adversity. People even wanted to make Jesus king on earth. Jesus did not want to mobilize people to do things for him on earth for political purpose or for social purpose.

4.        It makes us to think that shall we learn from other denomination to invite political figures to make a speech for political issue in the church. Do you think it is proper to mobilize church member to join pro-life assembly? It does not mean that as a member, we do not show our concern toward the political and social issue. But we shall keep the church a pure land in the complicated world.

 b.      Love toward enemies.

(a)     The greatness of Christian is not to love the one who love you only. Even a sinner will love the one who love him (Mt 5:45f). The greatness of Christian is that they even show love to their enemies.

(b)     To do them no hurt (Rom 12:17)

(i)       In the OT, the rule is eye for an eye, and teeth for teeth, and wound for wound (Lev 24:19). Even now a day, we can see this how the country of Israel treats his neighbor. There is no comprised with the neighbor countries. I think the spirit of OT is not to get even, but try to find a way to stop violence. However, we find out that wound for wound can only introduce hate from generation to generation.

(ii)     Why we shall not vengeance for ourselves?

1.        When a person tries to vengeance for himself, it means that he cannot forgive and always have anger in his mind. This will lead foot step for devil. We shall not let sun go down when we are in anger (Eph ). When a man tries to vengeance, he will not likely to spare anything (Ref: Pro. 6:34)

2.        If we revenge and if the parties we are dealing with are gangsters or very evil persons, we will run into more troubles. So, Jesus says that if someone smack your right cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt 5:39). Jesus wanted us to prepare for another violent action. Personally, I don’t think Jesus wanted us voluntarily ask the other person to hit us. Ex. a member heard a minister shared Mt 5:39. The member wants to do an experiment and smack the minister after he steps down from the podium. The minister was surprised, and his face turning red. Guess how did the minister react after that? He picked up a broom and chased after the one who smacked him. If the member pointed a gun to the minister’s head and smacked his right cheek, what do you think he would react?

3.        God says: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom 12:19). When David did not revenge concerning the evil of Nabal, God smacked Nabal and he died after 10 days (1Sam 25:38). God told to Edom that because of their vengeance on the house of Judah, I will stretch out my hand against Edom.

(iii)    David did not take vengeance against Shimei who bully David when David fled from his son Absalom (2Sam 16:5ff). David wrote a psalm: “But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that opens not his mouth. Thus, I was as a man that hears not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs” (Ps 38:13-15).

(c)     To do them all good that we can.

(i)       In words (Rom 12:14) “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”

1.        Elder Peter gave us similar teaching, and commented that if we did so, we shall inherit blessing from God (1Pet 3:9). Jesus himself set up a good example under cursing of cross. Jesus even prayed for those who take away his clothing (1Pet 2:21; Lk 23:34).

2.        Elder James also mentioned that we could not use the same mouth, which praised God to curse others (Jas 3:10)

3.        Even David knew many evils that King Saul had done in his life; David did not even mention an evil thing of Saul in the song he wrote for Saul at his death.

(ii)     In deeds

1.        “Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink” (Rom 12:20)

①.      In the OT, if your enemy lost his cows and you found it, you shall return the cows to your enemies (Ex 23:4). If you see the ass of one who has hated for you bent down to the earth under the weight which is put on it, you are to come to its help, even against your desire(Ex 23:5)

②.      If our enemies indeed had trouble in life, we shall not think that they deserve it because of their evil. We shall try our best to love them too.

③.      Of course, we shall do love with wisdom. If our enemies blackmailed us to feed them, we might have second thought. If our enemies end up in Las Vegas wasting all the money we help them, we might have second thought.

2.        “…for in so doing you will put coals of fire on his head” (Rom 12:20)

If we treat good for evil, we may be able to change the hearts of our enemies. Saul wept and repented when David treat Saul with mercy and kindness.

3.        Epilog.

Knowing the truth of love, we shall exchange our old, mistaken concept of righteous person. We shall take away the black suit and put on the bright clothing of love. We shall start to reach out to others, to stretch out our hand to shack hands, and smile. No matter who they are: friends, or even enemies.

D.     Topic: Christian and Government

1.        Prolog

 a.      Jesus does not ask believers to leave the world, but to overcome the world. Christians shall go into the world to shine as light.

 b.      What is the relationship between Christian and Government?

2.        Main Body.

 a.      The role of government in Christian’s eyes.

(a)     Government is the servant of God (Rom 13:4)

(i)       Paul emphasized this point twice in one verse. The government, the authority of higher power, is ordained by God (Rom 13:1). Even the bible describes that the gentile king Cyrus is the shepherd of God (Isa 44:28). Even God used gentile king as the rod of God’s wrath, the instrument of God’s punishment. (Isa 10:5)

(ii)     As a servant of God, a king shall not boast of himself. God told to Nebuchadnezzar that God was the ruler in the kingdom of men and gave kingship to anyone at His please (Dan 4:31). So, a king shall humbly submit himself to God like a true servant of God.

(iii)    God exists forever. A man’s kingdom cannot last forever.

(b)     Government is an agent of God to punish evil. (Rom 13:4)

God is a God of righteousness. He punishes the evil and rewards the good. The sword in the hand of government is not for nothing. The sword is to protect people’s life, property, and freedom. In order to make a state peaceful, the government needs to carry out God’s justice.

(c)     Government is to reward the good (Rom 12:3)

(i)       It is to promote good people. For example, we had holiday to remember Martine Luther King for his contribution to civil right.

(ii)     It is to promote good value. For example, the country encourages charity work by reducing your income taxes.

(iii)    It is to promote to have a good environment. The government does many things to maintain us a good environment. Ex, the regulation of smog check.

 b.      Christine shall submit to government.

(a)     If anyone resist the power of government is to resist the ordinance of God (Rom13:2)

The USA’s independence was influenced by the thought of JohnLocke. His book “Two treatises of Government” influence not only the United Kingdom, but also the USA. His concept is that a man was created equally. No one was born to belong to someone else. Beside God, no one, including oneself, can take away my life, and my freedom. I am only a steward of my life.

(i)       So, we cannot exchange our freedom with the protection of a king.

(ii)     So, we have the responsibility to care for the entrusted right. We can bravely demand that our life and freedom cannot be deprived.

(iii)    Government is to protect the God given right to man. If a government failed to do his mission, abuse his power, or deprived God given right, people are entitled to change or abolish the government.

(iv)   This kind of concept can be found in the USA’s “declaration of independence.”

(b)     Though JohnLocke hint that one can use even violence to overthrow a government to change it. Bible does not support this kind of view.

(i)       Even Christians were undergone prosecution; Paul stated that those who resist the power of government resist the ordinance of God.

(ii)     Even David was pursued by King Saul; David did spare the life of King Saul twice in his life.

(iii)    When Israel was led by God to go out of Egypt, God did not ask Israel to fight with violent against Egypt. God gave ten plagues to subdue the king of Egypt.

(iv)   Even when Daniel’s three friends were under persecution, they did not fight against the ruler (Dan 3:15-23; 6:10-18)

(c)     For wrath, we shall submit to government (Rom 13:5)

Knowing that the government does not bear swords in vain (Rom 13:4). All governments will not allow any religious party to overthrown a government.

(d)     For conscience sake, we shall submit to government (Rom 13:5)

(i)       Conscience is the lamp of God telling God’s will in our life (Ref: Pro. 20:27). The words of God shines the light of God’s will concerning the government.

1.        A king needs to rely on God to care for his people (Pro ). By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

2.        Jesus told to Pilot that if God did not give him authority, he cannot exercise authority on Jesus (Jn 19:11)

3.        Peter told us that we shall submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake (1Pet 2:13). Peter could have still remember what Jesus told him to put up his sword into his place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Ref Mt 26:52).

4.        Jeremiah reminds us to pray for those who rule over us, even they are gentile people (Jer 29:7)

(ii)     Beside the words of God reminding of our conscience, we know the fact that a bad government is better than no government sometimes.

 c.      How to submit to government?

(a)     We shall pay taxes. (Rom 13:7)

(i)       For government workers are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing (Rom 13:6). Like the ministers in the church need to be supported, the government employees shall be supported by Taxes.

(ii)     Jesus also paid Taxes. Jesus said unto them, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's (Mk 12:7).

(b)     We shall fear and honor them (Rom 13:7)

(i)       Peter encouraged us to fear God and honor king (2 Pet 2:17)

(ii)     Paul wanted us to pray for the rulers and kings (1Tim 2:2f)

3.        Epilog.

 a.      Passively, as a church, we shall not resist the government, but submit to government.

 b.      Aggressively, as a citizen of a country, especially in the western world, we can promote Christine spirits by voting and select the right persons to be the rulers for our country.

E.     Topic: Christian and Fellow Christian

1.        Prolog.

One of the reasons for us to lost members is that Christian cannot get along with other fellow Christian. Paul gave us some insights concerning these issues.

2.        Main Body.

 a.      Do not judge (Rom 14:1-6)

(a)     It does not mean that we cannot comment on people or events. Paul commented on people positively and negatively.

(i)       Paul commented that Demas loved this present world and forsook Paul (2 Tim)

(ii)     Paul commented that Hymenaeus and Alexander had gone wrong in relations to faith. (1Tim 1:19f)

(iii)    Paul commented that Mark was useful in his missionary (2Tim 4:11)

(b)     It means that our motivation of comment shall not be from “despise”. (Rom 14:10). We do not mean to condemn people with our comment. (Lk 6:37).

When a Pharisee prayed that he was much better than a tax collector, his prayer was out of despise. In his prayer, indirectly, we can see he was condemning the tax collector  (Lk 18:9ff)

(c)     How do we not judge?

(i)       We shall accept those who are weak in faith and shall not debate what is in doubt. (Rom 14:1)

1.        Many things have nothing to do with “sin or sins”. They have to do with right or wrong in their own eyes.

2.        Someone thought that he can only eat vegetable (Rom 14:2). In the Garden of Eden, people only ate fruits and herbs. After coming out of Eden, people started to eat grains. After the flooding, due to the change of weather, God allowed people to eat meats. Now a day, a healthy eater won’t eat too much meat either.

3.        After believing in Jesus, some people still believe in observing the feasts in the Old Testaments. However, Jesus had fulfilled the Law. We are not required to observe all those holidays (Rom 14:5). Someone took verse five as an issue talking about the Lord’s day and the Sabbath day. It is not true for the following reasons.

①.      People were requested to observe the Lord’s Day at the third century. Book of Roman was written in about 57 AD.

②.      Paul was persecuted greatly to affirm that circumcision is not necessary for Gentile believers. Paul was never got persecuted by changing the Sabbath’s day to the Lord’s Day. Paul himself, as his usually custom, kept Sabbath day (Acts 17:2).

(d)     Why we shall not judge?

(i)       God is the judge (Rom -12). The father said that he gave the authority of judgment to the Son, Jesus. Jesus said that he won’t judge, but the truth he preached will judge people (Jn 8:15; 12:47f). Everyone shall give account of himself to God in the last day (Rom 14:12). God will exercise his hard judgment on those who are not straight (Ps ).

(ii)     For in judging another you are judging yourself (Rom 2:1-4). David judged that the bad guy needs to pay four times after listening to the story of Nathan, David indeed pay four lives of his sons for his own mistake.

(iii)    If we judge others, others will judge us (Mt 7:2). When Michal ridiculed David concerning his dancing in front of the ark of God, David also answered Michal with harsh words. (2Sam 6:21)

 b.      Do not be a stumbling block (Rom 14:13)

(a)     Paul knew and persuaded by the Lord concerning the truth that there is nothing unclean of itself (Rom 14:14)

(i)       The Law recorded that some food are unclean. But the Law is only a shadow (Heb 10:1). Jesus came to fulfill this kind of law.

(ii)     This discussion of clean food and unclean food has nothing to do with blood. We shall not eat blood (Acts 15:28)

(iii)    For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). Food is for stomach and stomach for food. God makes both corrupt. Man does not live by brad alone. The issue of drinking and eating has nothing to do with salvation. The most important thing is what is inside in the New Testament.

(iv)   We need to eat and drink without doubt. If anyone eats and drinks not by his faith, it is his sin (Rom14:23).

(b)     Our knowledge and persuasion is good. But let not our good become evil (Rom 14:16).

(i)       We have strong faith and know that nothing is unclean. This is good. If our good weaken the faith of brothers and sisters, the good become evil. So, we do not let our food become a trouble and destruction to our brothers and sisters (Rom ). Chinese people ate dog in the past. If one eats dog, you will be disgusted by the people in the USA. Some Christians’ faith will be even weakened to see this kind of things. So, Paul said that he won’t eat meat, if it made his brothers stumble (1Cor )

(ii)     If we make our brothers and sisters stumble, it is our sin (Rom 14:20). Jesus said that if anyone cause a little one to stumble, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Mt 18:6)

(c)     We shall do nothing to make our brothers stumble (Rom 14:21).

(i)       When we eat and drink, we shall consider the following.

1.        Does it benefit me?

2.        Does it benefit others?

3.        Is God gloried by my eating and drinking?

(ii)     Even though we do not want to be the stumbling block to our brothers, we can say that smoking is OK. Smoking cigarette does not benefit a person, other persons, or God. We shall use our tender heart to encourage our brother, but not to make him fall by judging him or her.

(iii)    Not only eating and drinking, we shall not make our brothers fall in everything  (Rom 14:21)

1.        In some newly baptized area, people may insist to cover woman’s head.

2.        In some churches, there is a problem of outward adoring.

3.        In some churches, they take the baptized water as holy water for healing.

4.        In some churches, they do not allow woman to preach on Sabbath day.

5.        In some churches, they only allow ordain ministers to preach on the podium.

6.        If all the things have nothing to do with salvation, we shall allow rooms for people to come to understand the truth in the future. Paul knew and was persuaded by the truth, yet Paul insisted that our standing of truth should not be the stumbling block to other fellow believers.

(d)     We shall make peace with others and edify others in all those matters (Rom14:19)

 c.      Please our neighbors (Rom 15:1-6)

(a)     More positively, we shall seek to please our brothers and sisters. An old Chinese saying: “clean your own snow in front of your house, mind not the snow of other people’s roof.” It is a concept of selfish. As a Christian, we shall mind the welfare of our brothers and sisters too.

(b)     Jesus did not seek for his own pleasure (Rom 15:3) and need to learn from Jesus (Rom 15:5). If Jesus sought for his own pleasure, he would not have come to this world. If Jesus sought for his own pleasure, he would not have washed disciples’ feet. If Jesus sought for his own pleasure, he would not have been nailed on the cross. We shall seek to please our brothers and sisters too.

(c)     In this society, we can find the spirit of please his neighbor for our learning.

(i)       Mr.JohnRockefeller was a devout Christian. After earning rich from the oil business, the family founded the University of Chicago and Museum of Ark in New York. Three of his family members became governors to serve his generation.

(ii)     Benjamin Franklin retired at 40 after he became the richest person in the Quaker state. He founded University of Pennsylvania, library, and fire department. He became the first Ambassador to French besides finding the lighting and electric. At age of 83, he still joined the constitutional convention.

(iii)    Bill-Gates – Giving it away in Style. You don’t have to call BillGates Sir. On March 2, the Queen of England made Gates a knight, specifically a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, but the honorific Sir is reserved for British citizens. Yet at 49 Gates has been earning respect in new ways: the chairman of Microsoft and the world’s riches man – his fortune is estimated at 46.5 billion – has become the greatest philanthropist in history.  Microsoft is in a bit of a lull right now. The next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, won’t ship until 2006 at the earliest; the company’s next big release will be the new version of Xbox video-game console. But Gates’ other billion-dollar baby, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working overtime, giving away its 27 billion endowment on an unprecedented scale, focusing primarily on issues related to health and education. The Gates Foundation has put 750 million toward global vaccination efforts, with plans to double that. The World Health Organization says the foundation’s efforts have already saved the lives of 670,000 children. It has also given almost 1.2 billion to education causes. The philanthropic work softens the image of a man often portrayed as an effectless, iron-willed businessman, who in the past has run a foul of antitrust regulations in his efforts to maintain market share of Windows and other Microsoft software. But the guy who made all that money is the one giving it away: focused, immensely ambitious, scarily determined often amazingly prescient.

3.        Epilog.

When Holy Spirit first came down in history, all believers share things together. Even though we do not do it anymore, the spirit is good. We shall care for our brothers. At least, we shall not judge them or make them stumble.

VI.  Reference book:

A.     The Essential teaching of Book of Romans.—By Elder S T Hsieh.

B.     The Book of Romans – By C. H. Chou (1992 NYTS).

C.     The teacher’s commentary – Mr. Lawrence O. Richards.

D.     Matthew Henry’s commentary On the New Testament.

E.     The Bible Knowledge Commentary – John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck.