Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #8 Receive One Another (Romans 15:7)
Romans 15:7, Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
1. The Greeting. "Receive ye one another."
The word "receive" means to take to oneself; to receive a person as a friend; to treat as the closest of friends with the most caring kindness. Believers are to receive one another in the closest of bonds. No person is too weak or base for us to receive. A strong and mature church is one that is united where everyone accepts one another. There is no discrimination whatsoever in a strong church. If you look for a church that is made up of people who are “your kind of people,” people who are just like you in their cultural background, their appearance, and their likes and dislikes, you’re missing Paul’s command here. In other words, the other person whom you are to accept is precisely the person who is different than you are in almost every way! When we were younger, immature, we let so much bother us, divide us. When we became older, matured, we realized those things don’t matter. Today, we may ask, “Why did I let that bother me so much?” Have you ever noticed how easy it is to accept your own personality quirks and habits? When you live by yourself, all of your annoying habits are gone! But then you get married and discover that your mate has some rather annoying quirks and habits that you hadn’t noticed when you were dating! And then you have kids who somehow picked up your spouse’s most irritating quirks and habits! If only everyone in the family could be just like I am, things would go much more smoothly! And then you join a local church that is made up of some strange people! Where did all of these weird people come from?
2. The Good Example “...as Christ also received us...”
Paul encouraged us to receive each other as Christ has received us. How did Christ receive us? In spite of all of our faults, Christ received us with much grace, mercy, and love. He received us when we were ungodly, sinners, and enemies undeserving to be accepted of His love (Romans 5:6-10). He saw us not as we were, but as we could be. We were not seeking after Him (Romans 3:11). He came looking for us in our lost, helpless condition (Luke 15:4). He didn’t require that we clean up our lives or make vows to change or do anything to deserve His love. Like the father of the prodigal, Jesus ran to us, embraced us, and welcomed us into His family, in spite of our smell and dirty rags! He promises, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” John 6:37. That’s how we are to accept one another. Believers are to receive one another even as Christ has received us.
3. The Goal. "...to the glory of God."
The believer has the greatest pattern imaginable for how to treat the "weak in the faith”, this is Christ Himself. The goal of accepting one another is that God may be glorified. When we accept others as Jesus did, we will bring praise to God. This is the highest and noblest motivation of all. Just look at how far Christ went. Christ received the Gentiles and ministered to them. He came to bring them the mercy of God that they might praise God for His mercy. When God converted a proud, self-righteous Jew, who hated Gentiles and killed Christians, and turned him into the apostle to the Gentiles, that glorified God! God’s glory was promoted when Christ received us sinners, and it is further advanced when we who are, by nature, sinners and wrapped up in our own concerns instead receive our brothers and sisters in Christ with warmth and love. We are to receive one another that God might be glorified just as Christ received us that God might be glorified. So Christ received both Jews and Gentiles that God might be glorified. We should receive each other that God might be glorified. God is glorified when we fellowship with each other and work in harmony with each other in spite of our differences. A young teen, having no family or friends, who lived in one of the roughest neighborhoods of the city; wearing old tattered and dirty clothing that he had found. He attended a certain Sunday school class every week and was faithful to the church services. After several weeks of attending, a worker asked him where he lived. The boy told him where and the worker exclaimed, "That's on the complete opposite side of town! How do you get here?" "I walk," was the boy's simple reply." Astonished, the worker recommended, "There are many other churches closer to where you stay. Why don't you attend one of those so the walk isn't so great?" The little boy looked up at the man and said, "Because you guys love me over here." When we deny self and put others first, we bring glory and honor to God; Jesus lived for others and when we do the same, the world around us sees the manifestation love of Christ.
Points to Ponder:
Prayer, Father, thank You for always seeing in me what others may never see in me and for giving me the strength and desire to serve You. Help me to utilize these truths for the purpose of ministering to others. Please show me how I can actively and passionately engage in the ministry opportunities You have sovereignly placed around me. Give me eyes to recognize these opportunities, a heart dependent on You, and a desire to come alongside people in my life to help them to grow into a deeper relationship with You. Amen!
Thank you for reading Biblical Building Block #8 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for Biblical Building Block #9.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.