#5: "Commanded To Greet"
Discussion Questions and Study Guide

Discussion Questions

 

  • According to these verses, why was this Gospel necessary for believers in Rome? 

    • "To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1:7).

    • So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also" (Rom. 1:15).​

  • According to these verses, how is Satan being crushed and under whose feet is he being crushed?

    • "​Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:17-20).

  • What did you learn about Greeting and why is it important? How can you greet someone this week?

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

 

 

Study Outline with Supplemental Scriptures

 

I.  QUESTION: Can you tell us more about The Greeting. It is not mentioned until the last chapter, so please set up the context for us to understand how the Greeting connects with the Gospel of Peace. 

A.  HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Paul wrote the book of Romans about 30 years after the day of Pentecost. Rome was the capital city of the Roman Empire; there was a lot of traffic. There was also a lot of moving back and forth through migration. 

1.  It is very reasonable that through this traveling Jewish people went back to Judea for the Feast, and they would hear the Gospel, maybe even on the Day of Pentecost. Then these Jews would come back to Rome after believing in Jesus and spread the gospel.

2.  Also, Jews and Gentiles were traveling to Asia Minor for business, like Priscilla and Aquila. Many people also heard the Gospel and came to Jesus. 

3.  After thirty years, you have a large community of believers in Rome through this traffic. 

4.  This diverse group of believers was divided. There were at least five groups of believers mentioned in Romans 16.

5.  This division is natural because it is easy and comfortable to be with those who are like you. 

6.  The Jews, though now a Christian, would continue to gather with fellow Jews to have Kosher meals. 

B.  WHY PAUL WROTE THE BOOK OF ROMANS: Paul's heart is the Body of Christ. His heart is the Oneness of God's people, so he wrote the book of Romans as a Gospel to the believers. He said in Romans chapter 1. "This is the Gospel of God," and "I am preaching to the Saints", the believers (Romans 1:7, 15). 

1.  Preaching to believers is counterintuitive because we often think the Gospel is for unbelievers. 

2.  No, this Gospel was for the believers. Why? Because they were divided (Rom. 16 shows there were at least five different groups of saints).

3.  They needed to hear the entire Gospel. The complete Gospel, not just part of the Gospel.

4.  That is the context in which Paul wrote the book of Romans: preaching the Gospel to believers, to saints in Rome. 

II.  QUESTION: (timestamp 03:30) The first eight chapters focus on "The Gospel of Grace." And the last eight chapters focused on "The Gospel of Peace." Can you tell us more?

A.  The first eight chapters are often called the "Romans Road" by theologians.

1.  They are called this because these chapters take us from justification to sanctification to glorification, which is the end of the road for salvation because we are glorified.  

2.  That was the Gospel of Grace. By this faith, we enter "into grace in which we stand" (see Romans 5:2).

3.  So justification, sanctification (aka holiness), and glorification is our salvation by grace. 

4.  Paul used these eight chapters to reveal the common salvation for both the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers. That was their common personal salvation on which they stand.

B.  Throughout the entire process of justification, sanctification, and glorification in Romans 8, there was still no mention of glory being given to God and no mention of crushing of Satan, not even a mention of Satan. Therefore, you need chapters 9 through 16.

1.  In chapter 15, there are believers in one accord giving glory to God (Rom. 15:7).

2.  Then in chapter 16, there is the crushing of Satan.

3.  This proves that Romans 9 through 16 is very necessary!

C.  When you read chapter 9, remember the big division between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers.

1.  In chapter 9 and beginning of 10, Jewish beleivers were motivated to convert Gentile believers to the law of Moses. They may convey to the Gentile beleivers that "Yes Jesus is LORD," but being Jewish is more superior.

2.  In other words, they have the Law of Moses. They were the Chosen People, so they would say, "Gentile believers, come over to our group. Convert, not just to Jesus, but convert to be Jewish."

D.  When you go to chapter 11, that story of superiority between the Jews and the Gentiles has flipped around. 

1.  Now the Gentile believers could claim, "Look Israel--Jewish believers--Israel was cut off." All the Jewish things are over! Why are you still Kosher and keeping days?! (Rom. 11:11-24)

2.  These Gentile believers may say to the Jewish believers, "I want to convert you. Not just to Jesus, but to be a Gentile." They may say, "Eat pork, eat shrimp, forget the Feast days!" 

E.  That was the conflict in Rome. So in chapter 10, Paul brought them back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1.  "Who will ascend into heaven?' that is, to bring Christ down from above" (Rom. 10:6).

2.  "'Who will descend into the abyss?' that is, to bring Christ up from the dead" (Rom. 10:7). 

3.  "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach" (Rom. 10:8).

4.  Clearly, Paul was talking to believers because Jesus Christ was in their heart. Yet, he had to preach Jesus Christ again for the Gospel of Peace.

5.  Paul said, "How beautiful are those who preach the Gospel of Peace" (Romans 10:15).

6.  Paul preached Jesus again in order to bring these divided groups of believers back into the one fellowship with Jesus Christ, not to this or to that doctrine or Christian practice, etc.

F.  And it is at the end of chapter 11 if you receive this Gospel of Peace, you will say, "LORD, I have been disobedient."

1.  I have been feeling more superior than these other believers, and I've been cutting them off. Lord, I am disobedient.

2.  At that point of recognizing that we are disobedient in our division, God would show mercy. 

G.  Romans chapter 12 continues by saying, "See the mercies of God." When we see the mercies of God, and we are delivered from the superiority thinking of our group, then we are ready for the Body of Christ (Romans 12:1-3) 

1.  We can give ourselves to experience the fellowship in the Body of Christ. 

2.  That is why it says to have your "mind renewed." 

3.  What is the renewing of the mind? It tells you in the very next verse: "Don't think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think." (Romans 12:3) 

H.   In whichever Christian group we have been identifying ourselves with, we have always thought that that group is superior in some way. 

1.  That is what is dividing us, so we need to repent and have our minds renewed to think soberly. 

2.  Don't think highly (of yourself). We need to think now of the Body of Christ. 

III.  QUESTION: (timestamp 09:38) What are some practical ways that we can demonstrate the Gospel of Peace? 

A.  According to Romans 14 and 15, after they accepted this Gospel of Peace, what did they do about it? In Romans 14, they came together and had a meal together. There was a strong temptation to judge each other because they were so different.

1.  Paul said, "Look, some of you are weak in the faith." Paul accepted that reality.

2.  As Christians, we like to say, "You are weak in the faith. Let me help fix you!" (Rom. 14:1-3)

3.  In the ekklesia, we receive each other just as we are with the conviction that we have (Rom. 14:21-23). We don't need to conform to each other's convictions.

4.  We live to the LORD, and we die to the LORD; we are the LORD's (Rom. 14:8).

5.  Paul says not to judge one another as we come together (Rom. 14:13)

6.  But to glorify God with one mouth and with one voice and one accord (Rom. 15:6).

7.  They were in fellowship, and they glorified God together in one accord (Rom. 15:6-7).

IV.  QUESTION: (timestamp 11:12) In addition to that, Paul leads up to chapter 16 (Romans 16:3-4), where he introduces this concept of the Greeting. That is another demonstration of the Gospel of Peace, right? 

A.   Most Christian teachers missed chapter 16. They pick a few verses like the one about marking those who are divisive. They use that as the basis for cutting off people who are troublemakers. Most Christian theologians and believers interpret chapter 16 as an appendix. They say, "Paul's theology ended at the end of chapter 15 and Romans 16 is like the rolling of the credits at the end of a movie." 

1.  If so, you will miss Romans 16.

2.  It is at the end of Romans 16 that Satan is crushed! (Rom. 16:20).

3.  If you leave leaeve the movie after Romans 15, you miss the climax where the villain gets defeated and crushed! Who would want to leave the movie before then, right?!

4.  So Romans 16 is a very crucial part of Paul's theology.

B.  Paul commanded the believers in Rome to go greet one another. Based on the verb tense used in the Greek word, it is clear that Paul was commanding his readers to greet those in the list of names he gave. It was not like saying, "Scott, go greet John for me." 

1.  No, it was I command you to go to John and greet him. 

2.  Paul was basically saying, "I'm going to name 36 names and command everyone reading my letter to go out of your comfortable group and greet these people and also greet those associated with those I named. I hope that you would have fellowship with people who are different from you."

3.  Based on the names, there are groups of diverse people represented that rarely fellowshipped with each other (for example, rich and poor, or Jews and Gentiles).

4.  The Greeting was a practice to show hospitality, so to do this with those with whom they are unfamiliar or contrary was a step of faith.

V.  QUESTION: (timestamp 13:34) Culturally, what does The Greeting look like during this time?

A.  According to Thayers and Strong's "greeting" means "to embrace, to be joined, a union, or joyfully welcome a person."

B.  Greeting in those days is not just walking by to say, "Hi, Scott; Hi, John." No, greeting usually takes considerable time. You typically have to go to someone's house, and you greet them by visiting them (Matt. 10:12; Acts 21:7).

1.  They greet you back in return by receiving you into their house.

2.  They would have a meal, but at least for coffee or tea.

C.  Greetings, including an intimate conversation with another person (Luke 1:40-55; Acts 21:19).

1.  They would spend time bringing each other up to date and telling each other stories. 

2.  Paul is saying to initiate fellowship with those with whom you are not in fellowship.

D.  You are in your different groups. You have the group of your choice, which is the group with which you are most comfortable. 

E.  Paul is essentially saying, "I am writing this letter; I am preaching to you. I am commanding you now at the very end. I am commanding you to go greet these believers in all these different groups." (See Romans 16:3-24)

VI.  QUESTION: (timestamp 14:40) What about The Greeting today? What would it look like to a greeting today if we take this into account for our lives?

A.  We know believers all around us in our neighborhood, relatives, friends, and colleagues, or fellow students if you are a student. Most of the time, we don't greet because they are not in the same church or have a different doctrinal understanding. We may greet these people socially or culturally, but not spiritually. We say, "They are different from me."

B.  Who and where do you greet?

1.  Paul purposely named off over 30 names Romans 16:3-24

2.  So any name you hear that he/she is a Christian, we should go and greet. 

3.  They could be your neighbors, schoolmates, colleagues, relatives, or any people you meet in your daily life.

4.  Focus on those with whom you have not fellowshipped.

C.  How do you greet?

1.  Intentionally and proactively have fellowship with someone you don't know.

2.  Ask how you can pray for someone or request someone to pray for you.

3.  Ask to hear someone's story.

4.  Find out the story of someone's latest encounter with God.

5.  Discover how someone came to the LORD.

D. What is the goal of Greeting?

1.  The goal is to open someone's heart to fellowship through the love of Jesus.

2.  The Greeting is the beginning of fellowship with another believer.

3.  This is not an attempt to bring them or convert them to your church.

E.  If we know someone who is a believer with whom we are not in fellowship, Paul commands us to spend some time with this person. 

1.  Take them to Starbucks and have coffee together. Have lunch together. Invite their family over and have a meal together. Tell each other your stories. 

2.  Ask how they came to Jesus. Ask how they first realized who Jesus was. Ask them what God has done in their lives. Ask for prayers.

3.  Tell them what God has shown you recently in His Word. Pray together.

4.  This is the Greeting that we can practice today to bridge the gap of believers who rarely fellowship with each other.

5.  The idea is that in our daily lives, we start to have fellowship with one another because, indeed, we are in One Body and One Fellowship.

VII.  QUESTION: (timestamp 16:45). How is that different from when my pastor told me to go and fellowship with the people in my church or my gathering?

A.  That is great, and you should fellowship with those people in your church, but that is not Paul's point here. Paul's point is if everybody only fellowships and has relationships with people in their own group, everybody is divided into their own group. That is the Christian's situation today.

1.  Paul tells us to "cross-pollinate" by getting out of our comfort zone and going to someone else, not in our church or our fellowship group.

2.  He is telling us to have fellowship with them. Do this intentionally, proactively, and regularly.

Due to social or doctrinal issues, we usually do not fellowship with some believers. Paul commands us to seek out those who do not necessarily share the pet doctrine that those in our church or current Christian community share.

3.  We are to "greet" those who are different to fully express the oneness for which Jesus prayed.

5.  It is easy to love those who know and love us, but Jesus wants us to love all His children, even those who we judge as contrary to us.

6.  Greeting others who are different from us will open our hearts more to Jesus' love and help those we greet to experience Jesus' love.

7.  Normally we do not enter into fellowship with them because we do not want to argue with them.

VIII.  QUESTION: (timestamp 17:42) This is a new concept for most of us, so please clarify for us: what is greeting, not? What are some things you are not saying? Or some things that Paul is not saying we are to do? 

A. The Greeting is to individuals. That is why he named so many names. He was naming individuals with a story. 

1.   The Greeting is not church hopping or visiting various churches.

a)  You cannot greet an organization (they are talking about individuals)

b)  You cannot greet Catholic or Baptist Church, but you can greet a believer who goes to a Catholic Church or a Baptist Church.

2.  The Greeting is not organizational. 

a)  Rather, it is a part of our lifestyle as believers. 

b)  The Greeting is preaching the Gospel of Peace. 

c)  How do I practically preach the Gospel of Peace? I greet those I normally do not fellowship and start to fellowship in the faith of Jesus Christ.

3.  The Greeting is not discussing or arguing our pet doctrines.

a)  Our convictions are important, but Jesus did not die for our doctrines.

b)  The goal is fellowship and opening hearts; arguing does not open hearts.

4.  The Greeting is not trying to convert someone to join our church or group.

a)  People can tell when you have an agenda that raises suspicion.

b)  Always respect and accept each other since we are equal in Christ.

IX.  QUESTION: (timestamp 19:00) This seems like an excellent idea, but are there any blessings if I do it or consequences if I don't do it? Do I really need to do this? 

A.  If we don't greet those who are different from us, we will stay divided into our comfortable defined groups.

1.  Satan wants to keep us divided because he knows that our unity cannot happen without us fellowshipping with those who are different from us.

2.  Although Satan was defeated on the Cross, he knows that he can continue his influenc in the world if we remain divided.

3.  Satan does not want us to experience the power of our unity or to see the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer for our unity.

B.   The Blessing of Greeting is at the end of Romans 16 in verse 20, where it says, "The God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet, shortly" (see Romans 16:20). 

1.  Under whose feet? Under the feet of those who are greeting, those who are in fellowship, those who are not stuck in their comfort group.

2.  These are the ones with their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15). The Gospel of Peace needs feet to do the Greeting, and it is the same feet with which Satan is crushed.

3.  They are going forth greeting. The God of Peace will use the feet of those preaching the Gospel of Peace to crush Satan.

X.  SUMMARY: (timestamp 20:20) The Greeting is a way for us to practice the Gospel of Peace. What are some takeaways we can put into practice as we go about Greeting?

A.  We are not talking about church-hopping or joining someone else's church or asking someone else to join our church or group.

B.  If you want to do something about it, start by praying. 

1.  "LORD, I have believers who are neighbors, relatives, friends, colleagues, and fellow students. LORD, open up my heart. I want to go have fellowship with these people. I want to greet them. I want to take them out for a meal or out for coffee or invite them to my house.

2.  After you pray, the next step is to go and do it. Make your phone call. Use your feet and go over there to where you are supposed to meet. 

C.  The Greeting is a practical application of the Gospel of Peace. 

1.  Anyone can do something practical about this Gospel of Peace. 

2.  Our Greeting is the initiation of the Gospel of Peace.

3.  It is a form of preaching. When I initiate fellowship with people with whom I do not normally fellowship, I preach with my feet to go and Greet. These are the same feet under which Satan is crushed through the unity of the Body of Christ.

 

Group Guidelines for Discussion

  1. No one can dominate or monopolize the conversation, rather give an opportunity for everyone to participate.

  2. No one has a final verdict for interpretation.

  3. Everyone is encouraged to participate whether or not they have the popular understanding.

  4. Do not criticize anyone or cast a negative light and treat each other with love and kindness.

Discussion Questions

 

  • According to these verses, why was this Gospel necessary for believers in Rome? 

    • "To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1:7).

    • So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also" (Rom. 1:15).​

  • According to these verses, how is Satan being crushed and under whose feet is he being crushed?

    • "​Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:17-20).

  • What did you learn about Greeting and why is it important? How can you greet someone this week?

  • Open discussion question: what did you learn or how were you inspired by this video?