We are seeking to excel in the grace of giving life, faith, hope and love.
For further insight into exceling in the grace of giving hope, we will consider on paragraph of Paul’s writing to the Christians in Rome.
One of the Apostle’s primary emphasis to the Christians in Rome is presented in Romans 1:16.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Paul’s point is clear. The gospel of salvation is for everyone who believes.
The two people groups of that day least likely to co-exist were Jews and everybody else (gentiles).
From their perspectives, Greeks (gentiles) and Jews were different in every way. In most instances;
- There was deep distrust of the one of the other
- There was significant ethnocentrism (pride) believing “my group is much better than your group”
- Historical animosity flowed from nearly two-thousand years of misunderstandings, hatred and violence.
Herein is Paul’s concern in today’s text, Romans 15:1-7.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Verses 1-4 lead to and verses 5-7 arise out of the Christian’s hope.
New Testament hope is a patient, disciplined, confident waiting for and expectation of the Lord as our Saviour. To hope is to be set in motion by the goal ahead, awaiting in this movement towards the goal. It demonstrates its living character by the steadfastness with which it waits. Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 2, page 243
Revelation 21:1-8 is a significant statement of Christian hope.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
This is a done deal. It is already set in motion and is 100% sure.
We therefore are patient, disciplined, confident in waiting for and expecting with joy this our hope. We demonstrate this hope in our steadfastness in waiting.
Now to Paul’s primary point in this text.
Both Greeks and Jews have placed their faith in Jesus’ gospel of salvation.
Salvation is guaranteed to those who believe because it is the unfailing power of God to all who believe.
I’m saved. You are saved. But between us, we have some issues.
With these issues between us the wait can become unbearable, so we commit to build each other up. Vs. 2
We build each other up by living to please or bless the other and not to please ourselves (Vs. 1). Jesus is our example (Vs. 3). This was prophesied in Psalm 69:9. Vs. 4
Three directives for building each other up in our rock-solid hope:
- Endurance (Vs. 4)
- Encouragement of the Scriptures (Vs. 4)
- Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you. (Vs. 7)
Take note of Paul’s identification of God in his prayer. “May the God of endurance and encouragement.”
God is present and at work as we gather to build each other’s hope through endurance and encouragement.
The God of endurance and encouragement is enables us to live in such harmony with one another that even realities as different as Jews and gentiles can glorify God with one voice.
MCA Life Groups
LISTEN: MY STORY
Tell of a time when you experienced someone building up your most holy faith.
LEARN: DIGGING DEEPER
- Please read Matthew 24:3-14.
- List as many of the “predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These prophecies are from Jesus and recorded by Matthew. Jude 17
- How many are happening in our generation?
- What are we to “see to” in verse 4?
- With this reality, is Jude right? We must build one another up in our most holy faith?
- Please read Ephesians 4:11-16
- Who are the gifts of grace given to build up the saints?
- What are their assignments in building up the saints?
- How welcome or unwelcome is the instruction of these people when they “speak the truth in love” to you?
LIFT: PRAYING WITH ONE ANOTHER
- What do you need, right this minute, for your Life Group to do to build you up in your most holy faith?
- Please pray for the Buddhists, Islamists, Atheists and Secularists who attend MCA services.
- Please pray for the sincere doubter, the person committed to error, and those confirmed in sin.
- Please pray that you will respond appropriately, with gentle mercy, forceful snatching or pity and fear.
LIFE: TAKING IT HOME
- In what way to you most need to build up your most holy faith?
- Have you been responding correctly to the three types persons mentioned in Jude 22, 23?
- Commit to taking these actions.