Friday, December 16, 2011

Romans Chapter 1 - Part One

Romans – Part One

Romans 1:1-2

The phrase Holy Scriptures refers obviously to the Old Testament and occurs only here in the New Testament (2Ti_3:15 uses different Gr. words for “holy” and “Scriptures”). Paul did not quote any prophets where the gospel was promised, but Philip’s use of Isa_53:7-8 with the Ethiopian eunuch is a good example (Act_8:30-35; cf. Luk_24:25-27, Luk_24:45-47). Since Romans is primarily a work of doctrine, it contains little historical material. Paul does use such familiar Old Testament figures as Abraham (chapter 4), David 4:6-8; Adam 5:12-21; Sarah 9:9; Rebekah 9:10; Jacob chapters 9-11. Chapter 16 provides insightful glimpses into the nature and character of the first century church and its members.
The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.
Chapters 1-11 present the theological truths of that doctrine, while chapters 12-16 detail its practical outworking in the lives of Individual believers and the life of the whole church.
Some specific theological topics include principle of spiritual leadership 1:8-15, God’s wrath against sinful mankind 1:18-32, principals of divine judgment 2-16, the universality of sin 3:9-20, an exposition and defense of justification by faith alone 3:21-4:25, the security of salvation 5-11, the transference of Adam’s sin 5:12-21, sanctification chapters 6-8, sovereign election chapter 9, God’s plan for Israel chapter 11, spiritual gifts and practical godliness chapter 12, the believer’s responsibility to human government chapter 13, and principles of Christian liberty chapters 14:1-15:12.
In this very first verse Paul introduces himself to the Roman Christians. Notice that Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Perhaps these Roman Christians have not heard that Paul was commissioned of Jesus Christ to bring the gospel (good news) of Jesus to the Gentiles.
In Greek culture a servant often referred to the involuntary, permanent service of a slave, but Paul elevates this word by using it in its Hebrew sense to describe a servant who willingly commits himself to serve a master he loves and respects.
The Greek word for apostle is: “one who is sent”. In the New Testament, it primarily refers to the 12 men that Christ chose to accompany Him and Matthias, who the other apostles chose to replace Judas. Christ gave them power to confirm their apostleship with miracles and authority to speak as His proxies. I might also add that New Testament book was written either by an apostle or under his auspices. Their teaching is the foundation of the church. Christ Himself selected Paul for this position and trained him to fulfill this ministry.
Paul’s Jewish antagonists accused him of preaching a revolutionary new message unrelated to Judaism. But the Old Testament is replete with prophecies concerning Christ and the gospel.
In the book of Isaiah, we see numerous prophecies. Of course all of the Old Testament prophets prophesied of Jesus, but Isaiah probably had the most to say. At any rate, I will give you a number of these prophecies from Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 11 verse 3 prophesied Jesus would be Judge, chapter 42 verse 4 shows Him as Law Giver, chapter 42 verse 7 shows Him as Liberator, chapter 53 verse 4 shows Him as Burden-Bearer, chapter 53 verse 6 shows Him as Sin-Bearer, chapter 53 verse 12 shows Him as Intercessor, chapter 53 verse 5 shows Jesus as our only Savior. We see in chapter 7 verse 14, He is Immanuel (God with us), in chapter 9 verse 6, we see Him as mighty God. I could go on and on for there are 35 prophecies in Isaiah alone on Jesus. Of course Jeremiah, Psalms, Ezekiel and all the others prophesied of Jesus too.
Romans 1:3-4

God’s good news concerns His Son, identified as Jesus Christ our Lord. This asserts Christ’s deity as basic to His person and prior to His Incarnation, since His identification with David’s line “came to be,” a literal rendering of the participle genomenou, translated was. He was genuinely human too, as His tie with David and His resurrection from the dead show. Many well known ancient writers, including the Roman historian Tacitus, the familiar Jewish historian Josephus, and Pliny the Younger verify Jesus’ historicity.
John makes believing that Christ has come in the flesh a crucial test of orthodoxy. Because He is fully human, as well as fully God, He can serve as man’s substitute and as a sympathetic High Priest. In Matthew, we see Jesus as descendent of David.
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
We can also see David in the genealogy of Jesus in Luke:
Luke 3:31 "Which was [the son] of Melea, which was [the son] of Menan, which was [the son] of Mattatha, which was [the son] of Nathan, which was [the son] of David," This genealogy is of the flesh and not the Spirit.
That resurrection declared Him to be the Son of God because it validated His claims to deity and His predictions that He would rise from the dead (Joh_2:18-22; Mat_16:21). This declaration was made through (lit., “in accord with”) the Spirit of holiness. This is the Holy Spirit, and not, as some have suggested, Christ’s human spirit. Son of God: This title used nearly 30 times in the gospels, identifies Jesus Christ as the same in essence as God.
Jesus was definitely God the Son. The proof was on the 3rd. day he arose from the tomb. The resurrection clearly declared that Jesus was deity, the expression of God Himself in human form. While He was eternally the Son in anticipation of His incarnation, it was when He entered the world in incarnation that He was declared to the entire world as the Son of God and took on the role of submission to the Father. His victory over death was the supreme demonstration and most conclusive evidence that He is God the Son.
Jesus not only had resurrection power, but is in fact the Resurrection and the Life, as he told Lazarus' sister on the way to the tomb.
John 11:25 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" Jesus was the Son of God. God the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit of God.
Luke 1:35 "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Spirit of holiness: In His incarnation, Christ voluntarily submitted Himself to do the will of the Father only through the direction, agency and power of the Holy Spirit.
We see that the power of Jesus was unlimited.
Ephesians 1:19-23 "And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places]," "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:" "And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church," "Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
This leaves no doubt that Jesus is all powerful.
Romans 1:5-7

Paul’s ministry from Jesus was among all the Gentiles, which included the Romans, whom Paul addressed not as a church but as individual believers. Paul was the human agent (from and for Christ he received grace and apostleship, i.e., “the grace of apostleship”; cf. Rom_12:3; Rom_15:15) but the calling (God’s summons to salvation; cf. Rom_8:28, Rom_8:30) came from the Lord and set his readers apart as “saints.” Obedience and faith are often linked (cf. Rom_15:18; Rom_16:26; also cf. 1Pe_1:2). Grace is the unmerited favor which God shows guilty sinners. This is the book’s first reference to the most crucial part of the gospel message: salvation is a gift from God wholly separate from any human effort or achievement.
Faith is what saved Abraham. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
To become an apostle (one sent with a special message) we must have great faith and be obedient to God. We must make Jesus Christ not only our Savior, but our Lord, as well. We read in 1 Samuel that obedience is better than sacrifice.
1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."
We were not saved by our great deeds, but were saved because we had faith in God. To work for God, we must submit our will to Him. We must be obedient to His Word and His will.
We will not know what His will is unless we know His Word. The term Apostleship refer to the twelve in a unique way, but in a broader and less official sense it can describe anyone whom God has sent with the message of salvation.
Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Just as Paul was a “called” apostle, so the believers in Rome were called to belong to Jesus Christ (lit., “called of Jesus Christ”) and called to be saints (lit., “called saints”).
Paul’s salutation like that in all his epistles, expressed the desire that they enjoy God’s grace and peace. Always in the New Testament epistles the “call” of God refers to God’s effectual call of elect sinners to salvation, rather than the general call to all men to believe.
Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Salvation is offered to whosoever will.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God has called everyone to salvation, but He will not override our will. We have to decide to follow Him. “Beloved of God … saints”: The Greek text records these as 3 separate privileges:

1. God has set His love on His own. 5:5; 8:35; Eph 1:6
2. He has extended to them not only the general, external invitation to believe the gospel, but His effectual calling, or His drawing to Himself all those He has chosen for salvation. 8:30; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9
3. God has set believers apart from sin unto Himself, so that they are holy ones. 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1 Thes. 1:1; 2 Thes. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; and Philemon 3
Ephesians 4:10-13 "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"
There is a group of the called, who are called to the ministry. My own opinion of those who are called to work for God, is that the call was there even before birth. We see this in people like John the Baptist. God protects these people supernaturally until they accept their call. This is so even before they know there is a call.
Romans 1:8-15
Establishing rapport
Paul made a practice of beginning his letters with a word of thanks to God, a specific prayer, and a personal message to the recipients. For the Romans he rejoiced that news of their faith had spread all over the world, a hyperbole meaning throughout the Roman Empire. His constant intercession for them (Rom_1:9-10) had the new note of petition for his projected visit, a heart-desire of long standing that finally was definitely on Paul’s agenda (Rom_1:10; cf. Rom_15:23-24). It appears that long before Paul goes to Rome there are many Christians there. It seems they are so zealous for the Lord that it is common knowledge. This spreading of this information to the world just means that Rome is a trade center and people who come there to sell or buy have heard of the Christian movement in Rome. As the center of the Roman Empire and the inhabited world, whatever happened in Rome became known universally.
This visit would be mutually beneficial spiritually; he desired to minister for three purposes: (a) to the strengthening of the Romans (Rom_1:11; to impart… some spiritual gift means either to exercise his own spiritual gift on their behalf or to bestow on them spiritual favors, i.e., blessings); (b) to see some spiritual fruit (a harvest, Rom_1:13) among them and, in turn, (c) to be strengthened by them (Rom_1:12). We see here that Paul prays intercessory prayers for these new Christians in Rome. Notice in the verse above that Paul does not serve the Lord in his flesh, but in his spirit. I believe that Paul is saying (only God and myself) know the hours that I have spent praying for you.
In this sense Paul’s ministry at Rome would be the same as in other centers of the empire. Paul will leave Corinth here and go to Jerusalem and be sought after by the authorities. It will be several years after this is written before Paul actually reaches Rome. One important statement above is (by the will of God). Paul has submitted his will to God. Paul is speaking here of laying his hands on them that they might receive the power of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 explains what these Spiritual gifts are. You should read the whole chapter, but I will quote a little here.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;" "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" "To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
The statement (that ye may be established) just means that power to minister will come upon them. Many very shy people, become bold workers for the Lord when they receive the Holy Spirit. Paul had written to these Roman Christians that he would pray for them to receive spiritual gifts to enable them to minister also. Paul says above (we are in this together) we are fellow workers for Christ. This statement in verse 12 is a humble statement by Paul. He is trying to make them understand the equality of the believers in Christ. Paul had felt even when he was at Ephesus, and Corinth, that God wanted him to go to Rome. He had desired from the beginning of his missionary journeys to go to his father's people, the Romans and minister to them. Rome was a center of trade, and if the gospel of Jesus Christ could be established in Rome it could affect all of Europe.
Paul explains, here, that he must continue to minister to the other Gentiles God has sent him to, until he gets to Rome.
Scripture catalogs 3 kinds of spiritual fruit:
1. Spiritual attitudes that characterize a Spirit led believer
2. Righteous actions
3. New converts
In this context, Paul is probably referring to the third one, a desire that was eventually realized during his imprisonment in Rome.
As a result of his “apostleship” (Rom_1:5) to the Gentiles Paul felt obligated (lit., “I am a debtor”) to the entire human race to proclaim God’s good news (Rom_1:14-15). The word translated non-Greeks is literally, “barbarians,” all other human beings from the viewpoint of the Greeks (cf. Col_3:11). Parallel to it is the word foolish (anoētois; cf. Tit_3:3) in the next couplet, which has the significance of uncultured. This is just another way of saying that God is no respecter of persons. God wants the wise Greeks and also the unwise to know Him. The very educated Greeks really thought all others to be barbarians. They were extremely proud of their schools of learning. Worldly education, however, does not impress God. God's message is for those who believe themselves to be high and mighty and for the lowly. I have observed through the years that it is more difficult for those who think themselves wise to receive the good news of Jesus Christ than it is for the humble uneducated person. The wise person has to figure everything out with his or her mind. Christianity is of the heart.
Paul’s sense of debt to the Gentile world produced an eagerness (I am so eager, Rom_1:15) to evangelize it, including Rome, capital of the empire. Debtor: Paul had an obligation to God to fulfill His divine mandate to minister to Gentiles. Paul is saying here that he will do everything he can to come to Rome and preach. In the book of Acts, we find that Paul did make it to Rome and preached in his home while he was under house arrest. All true ministers of God are the happiest when they can bring the true Word of God and see someone saved.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Introduction to the Book of Romans

Book of Romans

Introductory Matters

Epistolary greetings

The customary formula for letters in ancient times included (a) naming and identifying the author, (b) naming and identifying the recipient, and (c) a word of salutation. Paul followed this formula in this letter to the Romans despite the lengthy digression precipitated by the word “gospel.” The same formula is used in all the New Testament letters except Hebrews and 1 John. (See the chart, “Paul’s Introductions to His Epistles.”)
Paul identified himself first as a servant of Christ Jesus. “Servant” (doulos) means slave, a person owned by another. Paul wore this title gladly (Gal_1:10; Tit_1:1), reveling in the Old Testament picture of a slave who in love binds himself to his master for life (Exo_21:2-6).
Paul also identified himself as an apostle — one sent with delegated authority (cf. Mat_10:1-2) — a position to which he was called. (Lit., the Gr. is, “a called apostle.”) This calling was from God (Act_9:15; Gal_1:1), though it was acknowledged by men (Gal_2:7-9). It involved being set apart (from aphorizō; cf. Act_13:2) for the gospel of God, the message of good news from God that centered on “His Son” (Rom_1:2, Rom_1:9) which Paul was “eager to preach” (Rom_1:15) without shame (Rom_1:16). This setting apart did not keep Paul from making tents to support himself and his companions (Act_20:34; 1Th_2:9; 2Th_3:8) nor from mingling freely with all levels of pagan society. It was a setting apart to something — a commitment and dedication, not from things in isolation like the Pharisees. (Interestingly the word “Pharisee” means “separated one” in the sense of being isolated and segregated.) Before we begin in the book of Romans we need to take a look at the penman, Paul. Paul was also known by Saul. Saul means asked and this was the name he was using when he was persecuting the Christians. The name Paul means little. His Jewish name was Saul and his Roman name was Paul. I personally believe that Saul stopped using that name when he was saved by Jesus Christ, and used the name Paul from then on. He was a native of Tarsus, a city of Celicia. Paul was Jewish (in fact a Pharisee). He was from the tribe of Benjamin. Philippians 3:5 "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;" Paul was also a Roman citizen. His father was a Roman.

Paul was such a controversial figure that I feel our time will be well spent looking into his background. Paul was an educated man. He had studied in Jerusalem in a Jewish school under Gamaliel. We will see in Paul's teachings some leftovers from that early learning of the law. Remember Paul was a Roman citizen, from Tarsus, a Pharisee of the Hebrews. This may explain what he says in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22:
"For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more." "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;" "To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law." "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some."

This should make it easier for all of us to understand the seemingly discrepancies in Paul's writings. He does not say the same thing all the time, because he is speaking to people who have different customs. Paul tries to reach them at their level of understanding at the time. He establishes a church in Philippi with 2
women in high position and then writes the Corinthian church for women to be silent in church. In this same 1 Corinthians we read that women should have their head covered when they prophesy in the church.
1 Corinthians 11:5 "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
1 Corinthians 11:15 "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering."
Paul fights for the new Christian doctrine of not having to keep the old Mosaic law and then observes it himself. The reason for this is not that he is doubleminded, but that as I said, he is keeping the customs of each person he ministers to. Paul was not really a hater of women as many thought, for he travelled with women ministers who worked with him. When God sent him to Macedonia, he ministered to the women on the Sabbath and Lydia and her family were saved. He moved into Lydia's house and established a church there.
Acts 16:12-15 "And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days." "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted [thither]." "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." "And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us."
It really appears from this that Lydia was a leader of this church in her home.

Paul never married, but it was not because he hated women but because he was so busy working for God. All of chapter 7 of first Corinthians is about this very thing.
Many of the people of our day have deified Paul and that is very dangerous. It appears to me that this is very similar to what the Jews did about John the Baptist. John the Baptist was more acceptable to the Jews than Jesus was. If we Christians are not careful we will forget also that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the focal point of the entire Bible, John the Baptist was a messenger (a truly great servant of God), but Jesus was the Message. The messenger is not more important than the Message. Paul was a servant of Jesus as we read in his own words Romans 1:1
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"
The One served is greater than the servant. Paul is not at fault in this, we Christians are. We must worship God alone. Paul's writings are really important (some of my favorites). We certainly do not want to down play them at all. Tremendous teachings of the basic Christian walk are taught in the books he penned. Gentiles owe much of their church beginnings to him and Peter.

Paul was a tentmaker by trade and even worked as a tentmaker while he ministered. He tried to make his own way so that he was not subject to any particular church.
Philippians 4:12 "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
Paul was satisfied with whatever he had. He did not complain.

Paul was a very special man. He went into the desert for 3 years after his encounter with Jesus and was taught of the Holy Spirit of God.
Galatians 1:16-18 "To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:" "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."
Paul was also carried away into heaven at one point.
2 Corinthians 12:1-5 "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord." "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven." "And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)" "How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." "Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."
Paul had been an arrogant man before he met Jesus, but he became humble to the point of calling himself chief among sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15 "This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
Jesus had called Paul to a life of suffering. Acts 9:15-16 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:" "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
We see that Paul himself lists some of these sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft." "Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one." "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;" "[In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;" "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
We also see in this verse above that his greatest suffering was for the churches he started. Some of these churches were the church at Corinth, the church at Ephesus, and the church at Philippi.
Paul helped establish the doctrine for the Christians when he fought so hard the Jews and even went to Jerusalem to get the last word from Peter stating that believers in Christ were not to circumcise males and were not to keep the Mosaic law. Chapter 15 of Acts tells of all they were to do in the way of a doctrine.
Acts 15:20 "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood."
Paul's part in the founding of Christianity must be admired. He went on 3 missionary journeys establishing churches. He spent more time at Ephesus than any other of these places. On one visit he stayed two and one half years there. Much of his writing was done from Rome where he was under house arrest for a lengthy time.
Paul was a full apostle of Christ. Apostle really means (one sent with a special message.) Paul certainly fell into that category. He not only preached, but healed the sick as well. Paul covered a great deal of the known world at that time also.
He fulfilled the commission that Jesus gave in Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Paul carried a company with him every where he went to preach.
Philippians 4:3 "And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] my fellow laborers, whose names [are] in the book of life."
We see also at Antiock, Paul and Barnabos were ordained for their missionary work together. This can be found in Acts in chapter 13 and 14. John Mark ministered for a short time with Paul and Barnabas. Luke (who wrote the books of Acts went with Paul on these missionary journeys and even went to Rome with him. Many times in Acts, Luke (the beloved physician), when he speaks of Paul`s journeys, says we.

Perhaps Paul was closer to Timothy than any of these others. He loved Timothy so much that he speaks of him as a son.
2 Timothy 1:2 "To Timothy, [my] dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
This was not Paul`s son in the flesh, but in the spirit. Paul took Timothy as a youth and trained him for a minister of Jesus Christ. We would go on and on like Dorcas who many believe helped Paul financially. He was popular among the followers of Jesus.

Paul was sorry that he had consented to the stoning of Stephen. He and Peter had a few differences which were settled quickly. Paul worked diligently for the Lord Jesus Christ and His church after he received the Lord. At the end Paul was able to say in II Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at
that day."
We will finish the last of verse 8 out in saying O that I might be like Paul and receive this crown of righteousness.
2 Timothy 4:8 "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Preparation for the Last Seven Vials

Revelation 15

Revelation chapter 15 begins the preparation for the last seven vials. The wrath of God began with the seven seals in chapter 6 and will be finished with the last seven vials. Chapter 15 is an introduction to these last seven and final plaques on mankind.
Throughout history God has poured out his wrath in judgment on early sinners. Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden brought the entire human race under judgment.
By Noah's days, people had turned so wicked, that God sent the judgment of the flood to destroy the entire world except eight people. Noah, his three sons and their wives.
Centuries of disobedience and wickedness by the Jewish people eventually led to their judgment and captivity. First the northern 10-1/2 tribes in 722 bc by the Assyrian Empire, then the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 bc by the Babylonian Empire.
Cities named Sodom and Gomorrah was completely destroyed by God with fire and brimstone.
Now in Chapters 15 and 16 we see the final outpouring of God's wrath before Christ's return. That wrath is expressed by the effects of the seventh trumpet which was opened in chapter 11, verse 15. Chapter 15 is very short and begins the introduction to those last seven judgments.
This chapter in the book of Revelation sets the stage for the last seven vial judgments that cover the last three and one-half years of the tribulation which are described in Revelation chapter 16.
The seven angels prepare to administer the last seven Tribulation judgments of Christ: the seven vials). Vials are actually shallow bowls (these are called the bowl judgments), used for pouring libations (5:8; 1 Chronicles 28:17; Jeremiah 52:18; Zech. 9:15; 14:20). The bowls are full of the wrath of God (2 Thess. 1:7 - 9). God has the right to judge, because He is the Eternal incense that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Until the seven plagues are finished, no one is able to enter into the temple. The time for intercession is past; God's judgment will now be completed.
This "seven" just means this is the end. The only good thing about these plagues is that the Christians are in heaven when this occurs. The wrath of the devil is bad, but to fall into the hands of Almighty God and have His wrath fall on unbelievers is the very worst thing that could happen.
These plagues will conclude with the wrath of God on sinful mankind for rejecting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The last seven plaques indicate that these are in order and this finishes the 21 total plaques on mankind before the end of time.

Revelation 15:1-2

The seven angels introduced
With the background of the scene in heaven described in Rev_14:1-20, John then recorded more details of God’s judgment. He wrote that he saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign. Seven angels — each having a plague which all together were described as the seven last plagues — were introduced as the final step in the outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth. This final “sign” relates to the preceding great signs of the woman in Rev_12:1 and the red dragon in Rev_12:3. These seven angels should not be confused with the two groups of three angels in the preceding chapter (Rev_14:6-20) or with any other previous group of angels.
John also saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire. This is probably the same sea that was described in Rev_4:6. Beside this sea John saw the martyred dead, the same group described in Rev_7:9-17. The sea of glass was before God's throne in Rev. 4:6. "And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind."
John was seeing the same crystal platform, but now it was mixed with the fire of God's judgment.
The victory over the beast has been won through faith in Christ and refusal to submit to the Antichrist. These are the Tribulation Martyrs who are rejoicing over the victory they have won. The harps indicate they are rejoicing and singing praise to God. These believers are rejoicing because their prayers for God's vengeance on their persecutors are about to be answered.

Revelation 15:3-4

The victorious saints sang with harps the song of Moses… and the song of the Lamb. These may be two separate songs, the first referring to God’s faithfulness to Israel and the second referring to their present situation in the Great Tribulation. Some, like Walter Scott, refer the song of Moses to Exo_15:1-27 where Israel triumphed over the Egyptians. Others, such as J.B. Smith, suggest that this is the song of Deu_32:1-52, which gives a comprehensive review of God’s faithfulness to Israel. In this song in Rev_15:3-4 God is praised for His great deeds, justice, truth (cf. Rev_16:7), glory, and holiness. This "they" are the believers in Christ. The "song of Moses" and the "song of the Lamb" are the same. This is the song of redemption. God used Moses to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt. Moses had lead the people out of the land of Egypt to the Promised Land prefiguring now Jesus is leading the Saints to that promised land we call heaven.
Who purchased this for us? Who did all the work Himself? Jesus. His works are "marvelous". It is beyond our imagination to see a beautiful snow-capped mountain and realize that the One who created that, also loved us enough that He climbed on the cross and suffered for us. He has every right to be our King. Remember in all of this, He is not just a loving God, but a "just and true" God as well.
The exclamation, "just and true" reflects the Old Testament truth that all of God's works are true and His ways just Dan. 4 v.37; Deut. 32 v.4; and Hosea 14 verse 9.
"Lord God Almighty" celebrates God's omnipotence, essential to the triumphant power of the last judgments and appears frequently in Revelation. This name just tells us of His overwhelming power.
This description of praise to God and prediction of universal worship is in keeping with many other Scriptures and relates, of course, to the second coming of Christ and worship of God by the entire world in the millennial kingdom (Psa_2:8-9; Psa_24:1-10; Psa_66:1-4; Psa_72:8-11; Psa_86:9; Isa_2:2-4; Isa_9:6-7; Isa_66:18-23; Jer_10:7; Dan_7:14; Zep_2:11; Zec_14:9). The awful hour of wickedness and blasphemy against God, which will characterize the period leading up to the Second Coming, will be followed by a full vindication of God’s judgment and holiness in the next period. Then a prediction is made that all the nations will worship God. In Proverbs 9:10 we read "The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding."
We are not to fear the world or its people. We are "to fear" (Reverence) God.
This "all nations shall come and worship", is speaking of the time when Jesus will sit on a throne in Jerusalem and rule the world. There will be a yearly pilgrimage by everyone to worship. We see Jesus is the only Holy one.
Philippians 2 verses 10 -11 says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father."
After God's righteous acts of judgment has been made manifested or revealed, the time of Isaiah will come: "And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

Revelation 15:5-8

As John continued to look at the heavenly vision, he saw the temple described as the tabernacle of Testimony. The vision of a temple in heaven seems to be the heavenly counterpart of the earthly temple actually the earthly temple was designed and laid out by God the Father as it is in Heaven where His Throne resides. This "tabernacle" is the original tabernacle in heaven that the one on the earth was patterned by. Moses was given instruction by God how to build the earthly one. The tabernacle was opened by Jesus, as the temple curtain which was in front of the Holy of Holies, was torn from the top to the bottom, when Jesus died on the cross.
In an earlier vision given John, God's throne room was opened so the faithful could see in. We see here that it "was opened" (past tensed). Now the heavenly tabernacle, which the earthly tabernacle was a copy, was opened to reveal the most severe earthly judgment ever on the unrepentant.
The tabernacle was sometimes referred to as the tabernacle of the testimony, so named as it contained the testimony. The two stone tablets which God had written the ten commandments on.
As it was opened, the seven angels with their plagues exited from it. The clean, shining linen of the angels indicates their purity, and the golden sashes around their chests point to the glory of God. Seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. These are the "plagues" that will strike the earth in the last three and one-half years to punish those who have chosen to serve the Antichrist, doing his bidding to persecute the saints for their faith in Christ.
So many people in this current, new wave of believers think that all punishment comes from the devil and no bad thing comes from God. They better take another look at this Scripture right here. These "angels" are operating under God's orders. They have just come "out of the temple" (which shows the origination). They are clothed in white (which shows they are good angels and not demons). The gold of their breasts show that they have been in the presence of God.
John saw one of the four living creatures give the seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God to the seven angels. Here, again, we see these "vials" are from God, because they are gold. These "sevens" just show the completeness of it all.
And again, we see the eternity of God in the forever and ever. They are ready to pour the wrath out on the inhabitants of the earth. God has the power to put an end to sin so that it can never exist again in His holy presence. When this was done, smoke filled the temple, making it impossible for anyone to enter it until the seven plagues were poured out on the earth (cf. Exo_40:34-35). Taken as a whole, Rev_15:5-8 presents a fearful picture of impending divine judgment on a wicked world. The judgments which are to be poured out (Rev_16:1-21) fully justify this ominous introduction. As soon as the angels in verse 6 come out of the Temple, great smoke from the glory of the presence of God and His power and wrath fills the Temple so that neither angels nor human beings can go back into worship until "the seven plagues of the seven angels are completed."
We know that in the tabernacle in the wilderness, no one could go inside. God is a consuming fire as we read in Hebrews 12:29 "For our God is a consuming fire."
During this time no created human being will have access to the presence of God on His throne until the end of the Tribulation, for He will not be dealing with people in mercy, as is His usual custom. During the latter three and one half years of the Tribulation, He will deal with human beings in judgment.
This glory cloud will remain in the heavenly temple until the earth is completely purged, cleansed and prepared for the King and His kingdom that is coming.
This "smoke" is from the Majesty of God. The children of Israel were led by God Himself. We read that a fire led them by night and a cloud by day, Exodus 13:21. This is the very same presence we read of here. No mere man can enter this holy place. Jesus enters here for us and takes us with Him after we are covered by His (Jesus) blood.
God sees Jesus' shed blood, instead of us, when we enter (after we are a believer); and that shed blood is what keeps us from being burned up in God the Father's presence.
God's anger is kindled at those on the earth who have caused such sorrow to the church and the true believers, and His fury has come in His face. These plagues, as we said before, are from God. What a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God and be judged by Him guilty and deserving of His wrath.
In Hebrews 10:30-31, we read about just how terrible it is for the sinner to fall into His hands.
Hebrews 10:30-31 "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."