Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
There are times when it is not only what you can do - but what you can bear. Who can you lift up? Who can you support? Paul was an apostle - apostles are not people above us lording it over us - but under us supporting us - like the foundation of a wall.
We are in Romans Chapter 15 at verse 4 . Read the Scriptures – receive encouragement of the Scriptures. Draw your encouragement from The Scriptures. The Scripture encourages those who are prepared and willing to persevere.
Abraham patiently endured - Abraham endured some 25 years - awaiting the birth of that special son - Isaac - through whom the promises of God would pass. He had faith to patiently endure - faith and patience - together they are undefeatable!
Verse 6 . Why is this so important? What is the object – what is the aim and goal of all this? God wants to hear our praise in harmony. Harmonious Praise.
That is the type of Worship which God wants. This is why we all sing the same song at the same time - one voice - one song - one tune – all this is a sign that we desire to worship together. This is a channel, which helps us Praise and Worship together. - and expression of our harmony.
Prayer book - and praise book - both are useful. People who are against Prayer Books can use Praise Books - but we must never let them be a substitute. We never realise how much we influence those around us in times of Praise and Worship.
We see this time and time again - Paul’s aim was harmony. That is his positive goal - and Paul is prepared to take us through these dangerous areas which he mentions in these pages. What would he say if he were writing a letter to The Church of Jesus Christ just now – in these present crucial and critical times? I wonder.
The Church of Jesus Christ should be a body of people who have one goal - to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ.
All preaching and teaching should have that as part of our aim - and our fellowship has in some sense to produce love and peace and harmony - in a world where there is trouble and terror and fear and sadness and darkness and bitterness and upset - and brokenness.
Strong and weak are to worship alongside one another in harmony.
Verse 7 - Accept one another. Paul deals with racial division - Jew and Gentile. No longer 'our' but he speaks about ‘you and your’ - there was this further tension - between Jew and Gentile. In your Saviour you have the pattern for your attitude to each other.
You Gentiles - ‘Jesus was a Jew’. You Jews - ‘remember Jesus came to save the Gentiles’. Jesus is our pattern - we are to welcome everyone whom Jesus welcomes.
The reason? To bring praise to God. What brings praise to God?
Jesus became a Jew in order to help the Gentiles – to rescue and save both Jew and Gentile. Jesus did not wait for us to get straightened out or cleaned up.
The only solution to and for rejection is acceptance.
People are rejected - in so many situations. Rejection is a serious problem. This is one place where no-one must ever experience rejection.
We have to welcome people as they are - wherever we meet them - and let them know that they are accepted - in the Church of Jesus Christ everyone is accepted. If someone chooses not to fellowship with the disciples that is a different matter. Paul is pleading here for unity and harmony among the disciples who had come from varying backgrounds.
There were days of unity among certain men in the 1970’s and 80’s - one voice in Worship – when racial and denominational divisions disappeared.
God had a love for us Gentiles - and Paul quotes from passages where this love of God for Gentiles is shown.
Jesus came first and foremost as a servant of the Jewish people - and Jesus came also to bring mercy to The Gentiles. But Gentiles need to know that their faith is rooted in the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As a Gentile, I did not have any background - but when I received the mercy of God - and was accepted by God - I was able to share in the riches of the promises of God.
Jesus saw the court for the Gentiles bustling with commerce - which was a mad marketplace. This was meant to be a place of prayer, but you have turned into a den of thieves. Seeing that sight made Jesus angry.
The Holy Spirit gave the required and essential power for Gentiles to believe - the ability. You Jews who believe - remember that it was The Holy Spirit who gave Gentiles the ability to believe in Jesus - and see who Jesus is.
The aim is verse 13 . One in Christ Jesus - hope - joy - peace - trust - overflow - power - what a flow of language in one short sentence. It is possible to overflow in HOPE - in ASSURANCE. In The Christian Faith it is possible to be absolutely sure - even when we have questions.
Let the words of verse 13 bless you - let God speak to you through that powerful word.
Verse 14 - Paul was writing reminders - they already knew all of Romans!
He knew he was being pretty forthright - but he was also very gracious. Paul saw himself with this priestly ministry offering up the whole Gentile Church of God. He was concerned that it would be sanctified - holy to God.
I am writing this because of God’s grace - I am a minister - and a priest - and a Jew.
Verse 17 - Paul enjoyed his ministry - he enjoyed serving God - he enjoyed being an apostle and slave of The Lord Jesus Christ.
God wants us to enjoy being Christians. That is a note which is not sounded frequently - but it is true.
“Lord God Almighty, thank You for calling us – thank You for choosing us to be members in the Body of Christ – where Jesus Christ is the Head. Wherever I go, use me – give me opportunities to witness and serve – hear my prayers for the lost – for those who still have to come to Jesus Christ – hear my prayers for the Church of Jesus Christ all around this troubled sinful world – in Jesus Name we pray. Amen”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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