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Reflect

As we close our study of the book of Romans, we find that Paul’s final instructions to the church of Rome are just as applicable for us today. More than anything, Paul reminds the Roman believers that they can’t allow themselves to get divided, and there’s only one way to preserve their harmony as a community. In a world that’s more divided all the time, the powerful truth Paul shares in these verses is a key for us today as we walk with Christ.

Realize

1. Don’t be divisive.

Romans 16:17-20
Leader Notes

  • Paul warns his readers very adamantly to avoid people who cause divisions among the family of God. He defines those people as ones who serve themselves and try to bring other people along with them.
  • Gossip is part of having a divisive spirit. Division happens when people disagree but lack the spiritual maturity to work through their disagreement.
    God wants us to be people who work for unity among the body of Christ. That means we need to not just be “not divisive,” but to proactively make peace one with another.

Describe a situation where you personally caused a division in a relationship or group. How would you handle that situation differently today? What would it look like to proactively make peace in that situation (or one you’re currently walking through)?

2.  Who’s your tribe?

Romans 16:21-24
Leader Notes

  • God wants each of us to have a group of people around us to walk through life together. He designed us for community, and we follow Jesus best when we have others around us.
  • The way we get through challenges — whether well or poorly — depends on who we have around us at those times. We all need good and wise counsel. Oftentimes we collect around ourselves the wrong tribe, but God knows what we need more than we do.
    Living in community gives us an opportunity to fulfill God’s calling for each of us: to be a vehicle of grace in another person’s life.

Do you have people in your life who provide you with wise counsel? Talk about a situation you’re currently experiencing where you have to rely on other people. If you don’t have those people in your life, where can you start to cultivate community?

3. Let God establish you.

Romans 16:25-27
Leader Notes

  • As Paul closes his letter to the Romans, he instructs the Roman believers to let God establish them. It’s one thing to just exist in life, and it’s another to be established by God. To be established is to be steadfast, immovable, persevering in the things of God.
  • God establishes us by the Gospel, but it’s not the message of the good news that roots us, nor is it our response to it necessarily. God establishes us by Jesus himself. He lives within us and walks with us through life. Our faith in him has to inform the way we live our lives.
    As God establishes us in Jesus, he moves us from the status quo – what we have always known – into his best plans for us. His comfort comes to us when we allow his Word to challenge us, and then we respond by taking steps of faith. The Spirit empowers us to take the steps God asks us to.

What is one situation in your life right now where God is calling you out of the status quo into his best for you? Are there any ways right now in which you’re resisting obeying something God has asked of you?

Optional Follow-up Questions:

  • What makes you say that?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
  • Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
  • What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
  • Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?