TEACHER: Ken Hicks / Elijah David
SCRIPTURES: Romans 15:1-13
BOTTOM LINE: Welcoming is more than being Friendly!
UNITY … is something that’s often easy to talk about … and we’re often quick to acknowledge our need for UNITY … but one of the things we struggle with when it comes to UNITY … is that I am only in control of ME … right?
Maybe you’ve been there?
- A Project at Work, where everyone had their assignments … and this is the day it all comes together, and 1 person on the team failed to do his/her part?
- Maybe we’ve developed An Agreed Upon Budget together at home, and yet one of us continues to spend dollars outside what we’ve agreed to together …
Romans 15 … Paul sort of paints this portrait of God’s Bride … His Church … and the privilege of this Choir or Band of Brothers/Sisters to Worship Together for the Glory of God. He is trying to help them [and us] see the mandate for Unity and Harmony along the way.
Paul dives deeper into this idea about Welcoming, and how it’s truly more than just being Friendly.
The 16th century Lutheran theologian, Rupertus Meldenius wrote ~ “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
SHIFT from Chapter 14 to Chapter 15 … The Body … to … Our Neighbor
And HERE is the SHIFT from chapter 14, Paul speaks of the relationship that we have as a Follower of Jesus w/ our Brother/Sister in the Faith … to now addressing the relationship we have w/ our NEIGHBOR.
I think he continues to paint from the pallet of Love & Liberty, and LOVE not only requires that we love our Brothers & Sister’s here in the Body, but how we do good to our NEIGHBOR. Jesus went so far as to even include our Enemy in his Sermon on the Mount.
We are called to live a Radical Life. A life lived for others, and not ourselves, and we’re not all that great at this some times are we? Think about the impact we could have on the world if we were known for this quality?
Culture is consumed w/ greed. Return on Investment. How we can make the next $$, or promotion. What’s in it for me? Even w/ all that being seen as normal, our world notices those who are different.
We’ve got to be not only Welcoming One Another … but leading to edification … or as Paul said in verse 2, to be building one another up!
And here’s a crazy reality. When we are living this out … when the work of Christ in us, and thru us … manifests itself in our Loving and Welcoming and Receiving our Neighbors … it’s so evident at least to us that it’s God working in us.
But I think the opposite can also be true right? When we refuse to Receive those God collides our life with, do we realize we are flat out refusing to see them and receive them the way God does?
But God, aren’t some people just too much? They’ve got too much baggage, it’s going to take too much work?
And I’m learning that one of the most amazing ways we can express the work of Christ in us … is how that moves me to receive others.
Paul highlights this need for us to allow the work of God in us to produce a welcoming, receiving Body of Christ. With one another as His Bride in chapter 14 [who might represent the Jews] … and then to those outside the Body here in chapter 15 [who might represent the Gentiles].
For a moment … would you just pause … and ask God …
- … who in my life needs to feel Your Love and Your Receiving of them thru me?
- … and then pray for a heart and mind that unites together w/ others in this place … and ask God to grant you the courage to take the 1st step of Faith … don’t focus on the finish line … because sometimes that’s just too far away … and too many challenges between here and there … but just the 1st step … would you say Yes Lord to that step and trust God w/ the results?
Welcoming is so much more than being friendly … it’s the perfect expression of the very essence of God’s Love for Us! What a privilege that God would use US as a part of His Portrait for the world to see!