Gospel Unity and Mission by Pastor Dave
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15: 5-6
Romans 15-16 (Psalm 140)
(I will focus on chapter 15 as chapter 16 was covered in our service this last Sunday, 24th October -available on the Church website)
In this letter Paul has focused on certain key themes, two are present here; unity in the Church; and God’s mission of reconciliation. Both themes find their home in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Both these themes are found in the opening verses of this chapter. Unity is to be demonstrated by bearing with our brothers and sisters and not pleasing ourselves (1); the mission is to be extended to our neighbours in love(those outside the Church as well as within), (2). This life has been demonstrated and commanded by Christ (3; Matthew 22: 37-40; & Luke 10:25-37). Scripture guides and enables so that in unity the Church can glorify God (5-6).
These principles are to govern the Church’s behavior, relationships, lives, finances, mission, prayer and leadership (whole chapter). The Gospel is open to all and its aim is to bring others into a relationship with God (9-12, 16).
The desire for Christ and His glory overrides personal agendas. This focus on Christ brings joy and peace to the individual and shares the Good News with others. The power comes from the Holy Spirit (14, 17-21). Being in each other’s company in unity provides refreshment and allows God’s peace to reign; it is a cycle of blessing (30-33).
Chapter 16 details examples of people who were committed to these truths and in Christ, endeavor to live them out.
In our current situation where the issue of vaccination is proving divisive this passage has much to offer. We are called to a motivation of unity which glorifies God. To relationships based on love where we put others first. And we are given Scripture to guide us. The latter needs to be used correctly and not made to say what we want. Scripture points us towards Christ and towards honouring God. Right choices will always be based on sound doctrine and the Gospel (1 Timothy: 1 8, 11).
I spoke on the 17th October urging us to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4: 1-6). I offered a biblical framework to live within where we base our lives on God’s truth with honest answers to honest questions and where we have true Spirituality in the Lord and beautiful relationships with one another. This Scripture guides us further into that framework and life. How does it speak to you today, what challenges to you hear?
The Question of Application
What motivates us with regards our view on vaccination? Is our view based on Scripture, honouring towards God, loving towards others and does it promote unity?
Almighty God, at this time, grant us endurance and encouragement and the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. May we be of one mind and one voice so that we glorify you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. May you, the God of hope, fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in you, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen
From Romans 15
We are one in the Spirit we are one in the Lord – Ienora Fleming
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.