I'm continuing to share from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly
that I worked on back in 2015. With this study, as I
have often done, I used the SOAP
method of Bible study. Just a quick reminder that the S is for
Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for
Prayer. As you will see, I went a bit more in-depth with this study.
The second section is Made for Community with People. So here we go with the Scripture for the second day of that section.
S= "Wherefore, receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God." (Romans 15:7)
O= Whenever I see the word "therefore", or in this case, "wherefore", I always have to ask myself what it's referring back to. In this case, it's verses 5-6. Paul is asking that the God of patience and consolation will grant that these believers to be like-minded one toward another "according to Christ Jesus." And then Paul explains why: "That ye may with one mind and with one mouth glorify God."
Glorifying God is the whole reason we are here. Paul wants these believers to show consistency in their testimony, that they would be showing as a group an accurate, consistent picture of what God is like.
Because of all this, Paul is instructing them to receive one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Warren Wiersbe explains in Be Right that Paul showed the two sources of spiritual power we must draw from if we are to live to please others: the Word of God (v.4) and prayer (v. 5-6). He notes: "We must confess that we sometimes get impatient with younger Christians, just as parents become impatient with their children. But the Word of God can give us the 'patience and encouragement' (v.4) that we need.
"Paul closed this section praying for his readers, that they might experience from God that spiritual unity that only He can give. This suggests to us that the local church must major in the Word of God and in prayer ...
"The result of this is, of course, glory to God. Disunity and disagreement do not glorify God; they rob Him of glory. Abraham's words to Lot are applicable to today: 'Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee ... for we be brethren'. (Genesis 13:8) The neighbors were watching! Abraham wanted them to see that he and Lot were different because they worshiped the true God. In His prayer in John 17, Jesus prayed for the unity of the church to the glory of God.
"Receive one another, edify one another, and please one another -- all to the glory of God."
A= I liked how Wiersbe brought in the example of Abraham and Lot. I wouldn't have thought of that. I do see how God wants all believers to show a consistent testimony. In order to fulfill our purpose of bringing glory to Him, we must be consistent and seek to be an accurate picture of God to those who do not know Him. Am I doing this? I hope so, as this truly is my intent. Yet there is always, always room for improvement.
P= "Lord, I thank You once again for the practicality of Your Word. I praise You for the reminder that our purpose as believers is to bring honor and glory to You. Help me to be doing that in the way that I interact with other believers. Help our church to be one that majors in Your Word and in prayer, so that we will not rob You of the glory You so richly deserve. I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."
It was especially meaningful for me to look back on this prayer, since when I wrote it in August 2015 our church had been without a pastor for a few months. In my prayer I had also asked God to help us to have unity in moving forward without one and to have unity and agreement in selecting one. I had no idea that it would be nearly seven years before God answered that prayer. And now we have merged with another church to create a new and vibrant church that we pray will impact our community in a wonderful way. May we major in His Word and in prayer, as Warren Wiersbe so wisely advised.
I trust that this has been a blessing to someone else today!