Romans 14; Romans 15; Romans 16

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Romans 14

1 Welcome people who are weak in faith, but don't get into an argument over differences of opinion.
2 Some people believe that they can eat all kinds of food. Other people with weak faith believe that they can eat only vegetables.
3 People who eat all foods should not despise people who eat only vegetables. In the same way, the vegetarians should not criticize people who eat all foods, because God has accepted those people.
4 Who are you to criticize someone else's servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. The servant will be successful because the Lord makes him successful.
5 One person decides that one day is holier than another. Another person decides that all days are the same. Every person must make his own decision.
6 When people observe a special day, they observe it to honor the Lord. When people eat all kinds of foods, they honor the Lord as they eat, since they give thanks to God. Vegetarians also honor the Lord when they eat, and they, too, give thanks to God.
7 It's clear that we don't live to honor ourselves, and we don't die to honor ourselves.
8 If we live, we honor the Lord, and if we die, we honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9 For this reason Christ died and came back to life so that he would be the Lord of both the living and the dead.
10 Why do you criticize or despise other Christians? Everyone will stand in front of God to be judged.
11 Scripture says, "As certainly as I live, says the Lord, everyone will worship me, and everyone will praise God."
12 All of us will have to give an account of ourselves to God.
13 So let's stop criticizing each other. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make other Christians have doubts or lose their faith.
14 The Lord Jesus has given me the knowledge and conviction that no food is unacceptable in and of itself. But it is unacceptable to a person who thinks it is.
15 So if what you eat hurts another Christian, you are no longer living by love. Don't destroy anyone by what you eat. Christ died for that person.
16 Don't allow anyone to say that what you consider good is evil.
17 God's kingdom does not consist of what a person eats or drinks. Rather, God's kingdom consists of God's approval and peace, as well as the joy that the Holy Spirit gives.
18 The person who serves Christ with this in mind is pleasing to God and respected by people.
19 So let's pursue those things which bring peace and which are good for each other.
20 Don't ruin God's work because of what you eat. All food is acceptable, but it's wrong for a person to eat something if it causes someone else to have doubts.
21 The right thing to do is to avoid eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that causes another Christian to have doubts.
22 So whatever you believe about these things, keep it between yourself and God. The person who does what he knows is right shouldn't feel guilty. He is blessed.
23 But if a person has doubts and still eats, he is condemned because he didn't act in faith. Anything that is not done in faith is sin.
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Romans 15

1 So those of us who have a strong [faith] must be patient with the weaknesses of those whose [faith]is not so strong. We must not think only of ourselves.
2 We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.
3 Christ did not think only of himself. Rather, as Scripture says, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
4 Everything written long ago was written to teach us so that we would have confidence through the endurance and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.
5 May God, who gives you this endurance and encouragement, allow you to live in harmony with each other by following the example of Christ Jesus.
6 Then, having the same goal, you will praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept each other in the same way that Christ accepted you. He did this to bring glory to God.
8 Let me explain. Christ became a servant for the Jewish people to reveal God's truth. As a result, he fulfilled God's promise to the ancestors of the Jewish people.
9 People who are not Jewish praise God for his mercy as well. This is what the Scriptures say, "That is why I will give thanks to you among the nations and I will sing praises to your name."
10 And Scripture says again, "You nations, be happy together with his people!"
11 And again, "Praise the Lord, all you nations! Praise him, all you people of the world!"
12 Again, Isaiah says, "There will be a root from Jesse. He will rise to rule the nations, and he will give the nations hope."
13 May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 I'm convinced, brothers and sisters, that you, too, are filled with goodness. I'm also convinced that you have all the knowledge you need and that you are able to instruct each other.
15 However, I've written you a letter, parts of which are rather bold, as a reminder to you. I'm doing this because God gave me the gift
16 to be a servant of Christ Jesus to people who are not Jewish. I serve as a priest by spreading the Good News of God. I do this in order that I might bring the nations to God as an acceptable offering, made holy by the Holy Spirit.
17 So Christ Jesus gives me the right to brag about what I'm doing for God.
18 I'm bold enough to tell you only what Christ has done through me to bring people who are not Jewish to obedience. By what I have said and done,
19 by the power of miraculous and amazing signs, and by the power of God's Spirit, I have finished spreading the Good News about Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum.
20 My goal was to spread the Good News where the name of Christ was not known. I didn't want to build on a foundation which others had laid.
21 As Scripture says, "Those who were never told about him will see, and those who never heard will understand."
22 This is what has so often kept me from visiting you.
23 But now I have no new opportunities for work in this region. For many years I have wanted to visit you.
24 Now I am on my way to Spain, so I hope to see you when I come your way. After I have enjoyed your company for a while, I hope that you will support my trip to Spain.
25 Right now I'm going to Jerusalem to bring help to the Christians there.
26 Because the believers in Macedonia and Greece owe a debt to the Christians in Jerusalem, they have decided to take up a collection for the poor among the Christians in Jerusalem.
27 These Macedonians and Greeks have shared the spiritual wealth of the Christians in Jerusalem. So they are obligated to use their earthly wealth to help them.
28 When the collection is completed and I have officially turned the money over to the Christians in Jerusalem, I will visit you on my way to Spain.
29 I know that when I come to you I will bring the full blessing of Christ.
30 Brothers and sisters, I encourage you through our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit creates, to join me in my struggle. Pray to God for me
31 that I will be rescued from those people in Judea who refuse to believe. Pray that God's people in Jerusalem will accept the help I bring.
32 Also pray that by the will of God I may come to you with joy and be refreshed when I am with you.
33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Romans 16

1 With this letter I'm introducing Phoebe to you. She is our sister in the Christian faith and a deacon of the church in the city of Cenchrea.
2 Give her a Christian welcome that shows you are God's holy people. Provide her with anything she may need, because she has provided help to many people, including me.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in the service of Christ Jesus.
4 They risked their lives to save me. I'm thankful to them and so are all the churches among the nations.
5 Also greet the church that meets in their house. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus. He was the first person in the province of Asia to become a believer in Christ.
6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, who are Jewish by birth like me. They are prisoners like me and are prominent among the apostles. They also were Christians before I was.
8 Greet Ampliatus my dear friend in the service of the Lord.
9 Greet Urbanus our coworker in the service of Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
10 Greet Apelles, a true Christian. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.
11 Greet Herodion, who is Jewish by birth like me. Greet those Christians who belong to the family of Narcissus.
12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who have worked hard for the Lord. Greet dear Persis, who has worked very hard for the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, that outstanding Christian, and his mother, who has been a mother to me too.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them.
15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all God's people who are with them.
16 Greet each other with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
17 Brothers and sisters, I urge you to watch out for those people who create divisions and who make others fall away [from the Christian faith] by teaching doctrine that is not the same as you have learned. Stay away from them.
18 People like these are not serving Christ our Lord. They are serving their own desires. By their smooth talk and flattering words they deceive unsuspecting people.
19 Everyone has heard about your obedience and this makes me happy for you. I want you to do what is good and to avoid what is evil.
20 The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. May the good will of our Lord Jesus be with you!
21 Timothy my coworker greets you; so do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, who are Jewish by birth like me.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote this letter, send you Christian greetings.
23 Gaius greets you. He is host to me and the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, greets you. Quartus, our brother in the Christian faith, greets you.
25 God can strengthen you by the Good News and the message I tell about Jesus Christ. He can strengthen you by revealing the mystery that was kept in silence for a very long time
26 but now is publicly known. The everlasting God ordered that what the prophets wrote must be shown to the people of every nation to bring them to the obedience that is associated with faith.
27 God alone is wise. Glory belongs to him through Jesus Christ forever! Amen.
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.