Christ, the Hope of Jews and Gentiles (Romans 15:8-13)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October, 30 and Sunday, October 31, 2021
Think about something different about the church.
Philip Yancey shares: As I read accounts of the New Testament church, no characteristic stands out more sharply than [diversity]. Beginning with Pentecost, the Christian church dismantled the barriers of gender, race, and social class that had marked Jewish congregations. Paul, who as a rabbi had given thanks daily that he was not born a woman, slave, or Gentile, marveled over the radical change: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
One modern Indian pastor told me, “Most of what happens in Christian churches, including even miracles, can be duplicated in Hindu and Muslim congregations. But in my area only Christians strive, however ineptly, to mix men and women of different castes, races, and social groups. That’s the real miracle.”
Diversity complicates rather than simplifies life. Perhaps for this reason we tend to surround ourselves with people of similar age, economic class, and opinion. Church offers a place where infants and grandparents, unemployed and executives, immigrants and blue bloods can come together. Just yesterday I sat sandwiched between an elderly man hooked up to a puffing oxygen tank and a breastfeeding baby who grunted loudly and contentedly throughout the sermon. Where else can we find that mixture?
When I walk into a new church, the more its members resemble each other—and resemble me—the more uncomfortable I feel.
My theme today is:
Christ is the hope of both Jews and gentiles.
Application: Don’t look down on anyone because Jesus is the Savior of all who believe.
Remember that the previous chapters have been about conscious issues. Now, Paul is bringing this to a conclusion that Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is our hope. This is true of the Jews and the gentiles.
- Christ came for the Jewish people in order to show God’s promises to the patriarchs, and so the gentiles will glorify God (verse 8).
- Read with me verse 8, Romans 15:8: For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs…
- Paul is continuing from the previous verses.
- In verses 1-7 Paul used the example of Christ in order to motivate us to love others and not judge one another over conscious issues.
- In verse 8 Paul continues to give the example of Christ.
- Witherington III: It becomes apparent in vv. 8–9 that Paul is thinking back to and building on the discussion in chs. 9–11. There are especially echoes of 9:4–5. One could argue that 15:8 and 9 sum up much of the argument and rhetorical aims of the whole deliberative argument. 
- Christ became a servant.
- We know that, right. In Philippians 2:3-11 Paul writes about how Jesus left His heavenly abode to become a man and die on the cross for us.
- Christ became a servant to the circumcised.
- Who are the circumcised? The Jewish people. Going all the way back to Genesis 17:10-14 the Jewish people have been required to circumcise their males.
- So, Christ came as a servant to Israel.
- For what purpose: to show God’s truthfulness.
- Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah.
- Jesus confirmed all of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are identified as the patriarchs.
- This continues into verse 9. Paul is about to mix together Jesus’ purpose to the Jews and to the gentiles.
- Paul uses the Old Testament to show God’s promises to the gentiles (verses 9-12).
- Read with me verses 9-12, Romans 15:9-12: and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
- Verse 9 continues on from verse 8. Christ had a further purpose.
- MacArthur: To show that God’s plan has always been to bring Jew and Gentile alike into His kingdom and to soften the prejudice of Christian Jews against their Gentile brothers, Paul quotes from the Law, the Prophets, and twice from the Psalms—all the recognized divisions of the OT—proving God’s plan from their own Scriptures.
- Christ had a purpose that the gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.
- “as it is written…” This means Paul is about to quote the Old Testament.
- Verse 9 quotes: 2 Sam 22:50; Ps 18:49: God will receive praise among the gentiles. If you look up that passage and the following in your Old Testament you will find out that most of the time it is translated as nations. Gentiles are all those nations other than Israel. In Ps 18:49 the Messiah stands among converted Gentiles and offers their praise, along with his own, to the Father.
- Romans 15:10 Quoted from Dt 32:43. Rejoicing from the gentiles with His people. This would be Jewish people rejoicing with gentiles.
- Romans 15:11 Quoted from Ps 117:1. Again, praising the Lord from the gentiles and all the nations.
- Romans 15:12 Quoted from Is 11:10. root of Jesse. A way of referring to Jesus as the descendant of David, and thus of David’s father Jesse. From the descendants of David there will be a ruler over the gentiles, and He will give the gentiles hope. This is clearly about Jesus.
- Paul strung together these Old Testament quotes in order to show that God is being consistent with His Word.
- Paul’s prayer (verse 13)
- Read with me verse 13, Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- It seems that in this verse Paul is back to his prayer from verses 5-6.
- This is really more of an exhortation.
- He identifies God as the God of hope.
- Is our hope in God?
- Is our hope for salvation in God?
- Is Jesus our ultimate hope? Is He your daily hope?
- Someone wrote: Someone without hope lives without a sail to drive him, without ballast to stabilize him, without a rudder to guide him, without an anchor to hold him. In every relationship, he is driven by the stormy winds of disappointment, conflict, and self-pity. But we hope in God. If that hope is real, it will slowly erode, and then wash away, the awful bricks sin builds between us in love.
- Paul asks that God, the God of hope, fills them with all joy and peace…
- Do you have joy in Jesus?
- Do you have peace in Jesus?
- Paul asks that the God of hope fills them with all joy and peace in believing…
- Luther comments that “the Apostle places joy first and then peace, because it is joy that gives peace to men, engendering it in their hearts” (Romans, 198–99).
- Are you believing?
- Then Paul gives a purpose.
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, [and here is the purpose] so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- Through the power of the Holy Spirit… There is power in the Holy Spirit.
- Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, he asks that they abound in hope.
- God is the God of hope.
- God fills them with all joy and peace in believing.
- The joy and peace are connected with believing. Believing what? John 3:16 and what he has written about Jesus saving Jews and gentiles.
- Again, let’s continue to break down verse 13, I am starting from the beginning again:
- God is the God of hope.
- God fills them with all joy and peace in believing.
- Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit Paul asks that they abound in hope.
- We get the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not get just a little bit of hope, but Paul prays that they abound in hope.
- We also get the hope by God filling us with joy and peace in believing, but this all comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Don’t look down on anyone because Jesus is the Savior of all who believe.
- Remember that the previous chapters have been about conscious issues. Now, Paul is bringing this to a conclusion that Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is our hope. This is true of the Jews and the gentiles.
- We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order to show God’s truthfulness (verse 8).
- We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs (verse 8).
- We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order that the gentiles might glorify God for His mercy (verse 9).
- We must see these Scriptures from verses 9-12 and remember that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
- God has acted in a way that is consistent with His Word.
- May God be our hope (verse 13).
- May God fill us with all joy and peace (verse 13).
- May we receive this joy and peace because we are believing the promises of God (verse 13).
- May we seek the power of the Holy Spirit through believing the promises of God so that we abound in hope (verse 13).
Christians come together in unity and we make a difference:
In 2011 New York Times editorialist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column praising the work of many evangelical Christians. Kristof begins by noting that at times evangelical leaders act hypocritically and don’t reflect Christ. However, he also goes on to write:
But in reporting on poverty, disease and oppression, I’ve seen so many others. Evangelicals are disproportionately likely to donate 10 percent of their incomes to charities, mostly church-related. More important, go to the front lines, at home or abroad, in the battles against hunger, malaria, prison, rape, obstetric fistula, human trafficking or genocide, and some of the bravest people you meet are evangelical Christians (or conservative Catholics, similar in many ways) who truly live their faith.
I’m not particularly religious myself, but I stand in awe of those I’ve seen risking their lives in this way—and it sickens me to see that faith mocked at New York cocktail parties.
 Philip Yancey, “Denominational Diagnostics,” Christianity Today (November 2008), p. 119
 Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 343.
 John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:9–12.
 Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004).
 John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:10–12.
 Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, “Evangelicals Without Blowhards,” The New York Times (7-30-11)