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welcoming guests December 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Romans 15:8- 16:27

A Christian Welcome!

It is the holiday season. Families will come and visit our homes and churches. How will they be received? How do we think they would like to be received? Today’s lesson will help us be more welcoming. If you were the stranger in a church or home, how would you wish to be received?

In today's Bible reading the Apostle Paul is a stranger to the Christians in Rome. The Roman believers have heard about his ministry, and their ministry encourages the apostle, but still they have not met each other. Oftentimes people are wary of those they do not know. This is why Paul goes to such great lengths to explain himself and his ministry of the gospel. He wants to present himself honestly–not one who would take advantage of them. He is coming with the true gospel and wants them to gladly receive him. He looks forward to their meeting when he can share the gospel with them personally, not just by letter.

The true gospel (good news) which Paul shares is that, although we are sinners separated from a holy God, He wants to be with us. He wants to forgive our sins, give peace to our souls and spiritual life so we may spend an eternity of bliss with him, our loving God and creator (more...).

To do this, God sent his Son Jesus into the world. Jesus was a great teacher and miracle worker, and he offered spiritual life to his people. The Jewish leaders, however, did not welcome him and even plotted his death. After Jesus died by crucifixion, he arose from the dead three days later much to the astonishment of his disciples and everyone who heard it. Before Jesus went back to heaven, he told his disciples to go to the whole world, to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), and proclaim the saving grace of God (Acts 1:8).

The good news Paul shares with the Romans is that salvation is now for both Jews and Gentiles. Although they have different heritages and cultures, they are one in Christ. Now Paul instructs the Romans, as he did the churches in Asia, to “accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God,” (Romans 15:7 NIV). God brought salvation to the Jews to fulfill promises made to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God brought salvation to the Gentiles to show his mercy, even as he predicted in Old Testament prophecies (2Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1). All are now one in Christ. Paul wants them to welcome each other and live in unity.

Can we welcome others who are not like us? Perhaps they do not have the same culture, heritage or nationality. Does that matter? No, we Christians are to be welcoming to all our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, if others are not Christians we should remember the gift of salvation is for everyone.

How do we wish to receive a welcome when we go among strangers? In our Bible reading we can observe how the Apostle Paul did it and learn from him.

  • Like Paul, we must acknowledge that our reputation will precede us. Because of this we should live godly and be trustworthy.
  • We should let our hosts know who we are and what connections we have to them so we may not seem to be such a stranger (Romans1:1-16).
  • We should speak positively of our hosts, compliment them, and believe the best about them (Romans 15:13-14).
  • We should let them know why we are coming (Romans 15:14-29). If we live honorably and have honorable intentions, people will most likely receive us.

How do we get our hosts to accept our friends? Again, we may learn from Paul's example. He shares the positive characteristics and deeds of his friends and why they should be welcomed. Also, he tells them that his friends send their greetings. It is difficult to resist those who would be great companions and who already accept you, although you are a stranger to them; it is natural to want to reciprocate a welcome reception.

Paul ends his letter with a request that the Roman believers join with him in his gospel ministry by praying for him (Romans 15:30-33). He has prepared the way for his arrival and wants them to join him in anticipation of their meeting. Will we extend a proper Christian welcome to those who are ministering for Jesus Christ?

Lessons to Live By

  • Christians, we are to welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of their culture, heritage, nationality, or other differences we may have with them. And, if others are not Christians we will do well to remember that the gift of salvation is for everyone (more...).
  • To receive a good welcome, it is important to speak positively of our hosts and have an honorable reputation which they will respect.
  • To receive a welcome, ask for it.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Romans 15:7 (NIV) “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: We return to the book of Acts and see the Apostle Paul acting with Courage and Wisdom in Adversity. This Next Lesson will help you when you face adversity.

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