Paul's Passing Thoughts

Potter’s House Home Fellowship 2/11/2018: Romans 15:15-33

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 12, 2018


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Potter’s House Archives for Romans

Teacher’s script does not follow video exactly. 

Welcome back to our Romans study. We are picking up where we left off about two years ago. But it is nice to be back and I hope other home fellowships will find this study helpful.

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. In this letter there are many themes, but a primary theme is the unity of Jews and Gentiles who are now fellow heirs to God’s salvation, family, and kingdom with the Jews. This is the “mystery of the gospel.”

Ephesians 3

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

If Romans had to be narrowed down to one theme, this would be it: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

This is what Paul does in his letter to the Romans; he explains the mystery of the gospel. Among many other things, he explains why God granted salvation to the Gentiles and made them partakers of “the promise” along with the Jews. Necessarily then, he instructs them on how to obtain unity with the Jews, and warns against prejudice. Paul also emphasizes equality between the two. Much of the letter is reassuring the Gentiles that they have full family status as God’s children regardless of the Jews being chosen as God’s people as part of the overall plan.

So, in one sense, Paul’s “preaching of the gospel” might be to Christians in regard to kingdom living or what we call “sanctification.” Paul often referred to this as the gospel. Romans describes the nature of man, problems with the Jews, the blessings of the Jews, how and why the new birth takes place, problems and blessings regarding the Gentiles, how true salvation is experienced, the eschatology of salvation, and sanctification. Paul states,

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Most, if not all of the New Testament letters are “reminders” or followup to oral instruction that took place “house to house” by the apostles or other teachers. Notice the several different terms used to describe “the gospel.” Here, it is “the gospel of God.” The specific part of the full-orbed gospel or sanctification good news mentioned here is being full of the knowledge necessary to instruct each other. Though Paul is confident that they are able to do that, he wants to remind them of certain things that facilitate proper sanctification.

Paul uses a definitive illustration of sanctification, or at least touches on it at this point. There is no longer a central temple where God’s people offer sacrifices. The Old Covenant was an institutional system that required mandated offerings to support the institution, and then there were freewill offerings that were optional. It may be said that these offerings were from the heart or “love offerings” if you will. There were severe consequences for not supporting the Old Covenant priestly system.

But also note, it was always a system that only had ONE temple where God met with his people. And, the temple was primarily for ritual and sacrifice while instruction took place in private dwellings. Going to the temple to sit under teachers and to congregate came later and was a short-lived tradition.

Now, that temple is gone and we are the temple, and the priests of our temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. And, sanctification is about offering freewill living sacrifices pleasing to God from the temples of our bodies. Hence, everywhere we are, worship takes place.

 John 4

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

I know I only needed versus 23 and 24 to make this point, but I can’t help but to implement the larger portion of this powerful passage. This is no less good news than the gospel of “first importance” which is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This passage has both. It states how the sanctified will worship…they will worship with there whole lives and according to truth.

It’s interesting how religion indicts itself as a law-based religion on this one point: the definition of “worship.” Just this week, I heard none other than Dave Hunt, on a video, suggest that a Bible study is not worship, a casual gathering where God is discussed is not worship, but only when God’s people gather together to partake in the formalities of religious traditions in a formal setting.


But this is by no means unusual among evangelicals and is the accepted definition of worship which in my book unwittingly, and in other cases deliberately denies a literal priesthood of believers and the new birth. I have even heard the likes of Al Mohler mock the priesthood of believers because the spiritual peasants don’t realize that the whole priesthood of believers thing is in a biblical manner of speaking, but not to be taken literally.

In contrast here, Paul states that he is a minister of the gospel to the Gentiles so that they can offer these living sacrifices so that the manifold wisdom of God is displayed to  “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” That’s interesting.  Not going there in-depth, but that is something to ponder for sure. Certainly, the book of Job comes to mind here. 

As a short aside, I think this is the best answer we have for why God allowed evil to enter into reality. Without free agency, there is no love. And in the realm of free agency, a decision was made to attempt to ascend to being equal with God. Hence, eschatology is not about restoring the perfect law-keeping of a covenant, but restoring perfect love. And, God is using his priesthood of believers to put this process on display to the authorities in heaven. Where there is true love authority is not necessary. And, the total inability of man and the necessity of authority go hand in hand.

What we are talking about here is the proper definition of  biblical words in order to properly experience sanctification. Paul goes and states,

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

The brunt of this study here is a proper understanding of how the word “gospel” is used biblically, but we may also pause to consider the word, “obedience.” Obedience is the act of being persuaded with the application of action following. How did Paul fundamentally bring this about among the Gentiles? Teaching the gospel. Teaching the mystery of something formally hidden in Christ. Teaching the riches bestowed on us. The results are right speaking and right doing. I can’t help but to contrast this with the name of a Lutheran church that was brought to my attention this week: “Sin Boldly.” Of course, the name reflects Martin Luther’s famous truism.

This reflects things that go hand in hand: no new birth which requires further covering for sin which requires temple worship. And, many temples that must be supported by a temple tax if salvation is to be available. This is why there is no bigger business than religion no matter the economic circumstances of any given geography. Hence, no greater temples of worship have ever been built that rival those built during the Dark Age.

Due to the hugeness of this time in history, it was facilitated with verifying miracles and power displayed in the apostles. Once the gospel of God for this time was established, the need for these verifying powers ceased. Paul reminds the Romans of this for purposes of validity or verasity.

Now we can note a contrast in two different uses of the word, “gospel.” Paul states,

20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” 22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.

The reference here is to the gospel that introduces it to new territories where it has never been heard rather than the gospel of “unsearchable riches” in regard to sanctification.

1Corinthians 15

Now I would remind you, brothers,  of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

Aside from using this passage to verify the point, note the atrocious rendering of this passage by the ESV which reflects the church gospel. That is, the same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you. In other words, sanctification isn’t about the riches of the gospel that enables kingdom living, but a perpetual return to the gospel of first importance to keep ourselves saved and the obtaining of this continued salvation through worship at a local temple. This is reflected in the ESV rendering, “and by which you are being saved.” Most other translations reflect present tense rather than present continuance. For example the KJV, “By which also ye are saved.” You ARE saved, not BEING saved. 

This is the importance of understanding what’s in the word, “gospel” and its contextual meaning. At stake is our very identity as Christians. The statements by Paul that he wanted to come to Rome in order to preach the gospel are continually spun to propagate the church’s progressive justification gospel.

Towards the end of this chapter, Paul uses a page from his life’s ministry to drive the primary point home in this way: since the Gentiles owe the Jews their salvation, the Gentiles should show love and support to Jews in this present day.

25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing  of Christ.

Beware of any attitude that slights the Jews, for it is not of the gospel. Maybe this is why churches want the gospel to be limited to the gateway of salvation only, so that the details of the gospel that we live by can be anything they want it to be including replacement theology.

Lastly, Paul states he following:

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Hence the importance of gathering together: so we know how to pray for each other for God’s intervention in our lives, and for refreshing. If the apostle Paul needed this from the saints, you can be sure we do as well.


2 Responses

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  1. BARBARA MCINERNEY said, on February 12, 2018 at 5:34 PM

    Dear Paul and Susan,

    I just finished watching! What a perfect demonstration and example of what God had
    designed for each of us. You two came across powerfully using God’s Word as your firm
    foundation, correctly pointing out purposes and Biblical Truth.

    I, as a Berean was totally with you! You also came across with oneness to each other in a smooth and strong way, making me eager and even more confident for TANC Ministries. I am so grateful to you both.

    Be encouraged! I so so so appreciated this fellowship meeting which is exactly what you
    accomplished as opposed to opinion or convincing or authority. It was helping others ad to
    what they are already doing for themselves and in their eagerness to know about the
    eternal God. There were no lines drawn, just encouragement. It will be amazing to see
    what’s in store each week.

    As my life settles down little by little, it is my hope to key in heartily and contribute
    appropriately as we go along. Praise the Lord!

    With love and thankfulness in the Holy Spirit your sister,



    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on February 12, 2018 at 5:46 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement Barb, glad this will be of benefit to you. Thanks also for your prayers as we finish Romans and begin in Galatians.


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