Psalm 91-93 Romans 15:1-13
“May the patience and encouragement that come from God allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants. Then you will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6 NCV)
Paul was concerned about growth. He wanted more people to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and he wanted each of these people to grow spiritually. The key to growth is that we must work together. Those who are strong in the faith must build up those who are weaker. True Christian faith is never individualistic. True Christian faith is acted out in relationship with God and with fellow Christians. You may be able to worship God while you’re out on the lake, instead of being in church, but you won’t be growing or contributing to the growth of the church. Individualist Christians seek to please themselves and meet their own desires. True Christians seek to please and build up fellow believers in Christ. When we build each other up, the Church becomes stronger and people are drawn to the gospel.
American Christians have two problems: we’re individualistic of we’re factionalists. We think we can follow God all on our own. We don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. We can worship God on the lake, in the golf course, in the mountains, or anywhere else we observe His amazing creation. All of those things are necessary and partially true, but God calls us to fellowship together. Are you weak in the faith? Fellowship with stronger Christians will help you grow. Are you strong in the faith? God calls the strong to repay the debt of those who built you up by helping to strengthen others. There’s no excuse for claiming to believe in Christ and not going to church. Ah, but which church, right? We’ve become so factional that we aren’t willing to accept truth from any other group. Rather than seeing people who worship Christ together in different ways than we do as brothers and sisters in Christ, we act as if they’re enemies. No denomination has all truth and no error. We have to work together and learn from each other. As a Baptist, I don’t see Methodists, Lutherans, or Catholics as my enemies. I see the distractions in this world that keep people from coming to church, or, even worse, following Christ, as our enemies, our competition. We are to have patience and encouragement from God so that we can live in harmony with each other. The result of living like that will be that we will give glory to God by the way we live and draw people into fellowship with Him.
Lord, help Your people to realize the power we have when we work together as we depend on You. Our world needs changing, and only You can change it for the better. Help us make this world a better place, one person at a time, by sharing the gospel and helping people grow into Your love and fellowship.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved