8 Way Christians Should View Each Other (Romans 1:8-15)

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8 ways How Christians should view each other

 

  1. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
  2. For God, Whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,
  3. always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
  4. For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established:
  5. that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
  6. I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
  7. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
  8. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

8 ways Christians should view other Christians- Based on the Life of Paul

Today we are going to study Paul and how he viewed other Christian’s. We see a clear picture of this as he concludes his greeting to the Romans.

First question is why study how Paul viewed Christians?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1-“Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” This is why we should study Paul’s actions. Christ gave a life example but His word gives an account that Paul was imitating Christ. So Paul commanding imitate me as I imitate Christ is a command from the Lord. Because the Bible is God’s Authoritative Word.

1.We should be thankful for other Christians

8) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

  • Paul is thankful for all of God’s people. Not just some
  • not showing  favoritism to those are in the body of Christ.
  • We have a different love for a non-believer and a believer. I deeper love. A love that grows and gives back. Among the love for a non-believer, it is rich but stays on a surface level. The Love grows by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit but the relationship will stay surface level until the Lord opens that person’s eyes to the truth.

Paul was thankful that their faith was being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

If we are to have a sincere Christ-like Love we must have a sincere Christ-like Faith! The Love is a fruit of our relationship with Christ. If we don’t spend time in God’s word or praying our relationship with God will become dull and ineffective….or fruitless.  So we must note what Paul was thankful for.

Paul was thankful that their faith was being proclaimed throughout the whole World. This made Paul happy that the Church in Rome was growing. So he was thankful.

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

9-10a) For God, Whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, in my prayers

  • Paul had never met the Christians at Rome. This is why the introduction is so personal and revealing of Paul.
  • Earlier he wanted them to know he was a bondservant, an apostle who was set apart for the Gospel. Now he is revealing more about himself.

Nero was the Ruler of Rome and he wasn’t a very pro-Christian kind of guy. If there was any church that needed Paul’s prayers it was this church.

  • Sadly this holds very little weight in our culture. I think it is due to the large amount of ineffective Christians in our country that talk the talk and say all the right things but do not live it out. Remember the Elementary School shooting in newton, CT. Obama made the statement, “our prayers go out to the families of newtown”. But we studied in 1 john that ineffective Christians pray ineffective prayers. Post a trajedy on Facebook and see how many” I’m praying for you” comments you get. Then look at each individual one and see what their posts looks like. Most are selfish prideful post that only uplift themselves and in no way shape or form glorify God.  Paul wasn’t giving one of these “PRAYING FOR YA!” He was genuinely spending time praying for the church of Rome! This is why we are doing the prayer challenge each week, because if you can’t pray for a few minutes a day, how can you mature as a Christian?

3. We should be willing to Spend time with Christians

10b) , if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.

Paul has already told them that he was thankful for them, that he was praying for them and now that he was coming to see them.  By the wording it shows that he was excited about coming to see him. There is a deeper application to this passage as you grow in your maturity as it pertains to leading others. But now there is still plenty of applicable content.

-How often do you attend church?

-How often do you attend bible studies?

  • I have only been going to the Wednesday Youth Service for a few weeks now and I can think of two instances where nearly the entire youth bailed on church to dance and to watch a movie. The response is well they were spending time together. If it is not in a biblical environment it holds little value. Skipping out on church to dance shows the seriousness you have for your walk with Christ. Skipping out on church to watch a Disney movie shows you that you would rather watch some little princess become a frog or a witch than to learn and talk about GOD’S WORD! Paul was excited to spend time with God’s people because he knew what was at stake!
  • Paul was believed to be in Corinth when he wrote this letter. He was going to walk 720 miles. Don’t take for granted spending time with God’s people! Greg Wright lives in Fountain Inn. That’s about 40-45 min and he is here ever week, because he values spending time with God’s people!

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

11) For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established:

  • There are two main types of transactions regarding communication taken from bank terminology.
  • Deposits: (The minister) this is when you are investing toward that person ( Encouragement, serving, teaching, etc…)
  • Withdrawals(the ministered) this is when you are receiving from someone.
  • Paul is clearly excited about investing some spiritual gift to you, that they may be established.
  • There are two applications here:
  • We should be willing to invest in other Christians with time, love, service
  • We should be willing to receive other Christians correction, love, service, time.

5. We should be encouraged by other Christians faith

12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.

  • How can other Christians faith encourage us?
  • -The Lord can use it to reveal an area of weakness in our own life (Tim Tebow giving God the Glory)
  • For instance, Paul realized the power of an effective Biblical community. In our generation even among the main stream Christian circles, you can be ridiculed for making a radical sacrifice for the Lord. Like throwing away hundreds of dollars of DVD’s, Video Games, TV’s…. which is sad. Because we should see someone doing that and be encouraging toward them telling them how much more focused they are going to be for the Lord’s Work. Instead of laughing under your breath and saying, “That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” We can not be encouraged together unless we are first encouraging.

 

 

 

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

13) I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.

  • Paul wanted to ensure the Roman church that his delay was not because of lack of interest but of outside circumstances that were out of his control. But Paul was again ensuring this church that he wanted to come and bear fruit among them.
  • The application here is that we should be excited about building and strengthening relationships with other believers. We should never look at a fellowship with another believer as a drag, because God is pleased when His adopted children not only grow closer together in love, but are doing things together that brings fruit. You can not grow closer in the Lord to your fellow Christian if you are not doing fruitful things.
  • -Video games can be fruitful- You can use it as a pass time to communicate. But note the type of game does affect the effectiveness of that time. Make sure the conversations stay guided. Stray from idle talk.

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

14) I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

  • This word obligation can also be translated “Debtor”. Paul was in debt to the Greeks and the barbarians. Not for anything they did but for what Christ did. He realized his purpose the Lord had given him and he did not let personal preference hinder his ministry. Paul was an esteemed accomplished Hebrew, a Pharisee. I’m sure there were many people he ran into while doing the Lord’s work that he didn’t care too much for or rubbed him the wrong way. But he was a obligated to them, through Christ!
  • Christ has paid too high a price for use to snarl our noses at other people, because they stink. Or they talk funny. Or they get on our nerves.

8. We should commit to other Christians

15) So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

  • This is the closing statement for his introduction to the Roman church. For my part- Paul is ensuring his commitment to them. That he is eager to preach the gospel. Early he said obligated, now he is saying eager. This is what made Paul so special. Paul is the most transparent author in the new testament. This shows that this obligation was not out of duty or a feeling of having to…but it was out of love. Because He is eager to preach the gospel because He is committed to Christ, therefore He is committed to other Christians.
  • We are given the same call. We are to commit to other Christians. Not out of duty but out of love. What does it look like when we commit to each other? We put others before ourselves. Not only do we put their needs above ours, but we recognize their needs sometimes before they do; and Paul knew that the Romans needed to hear sound doctrine. He was excited to preach them the Gospel.  As Paul committed to the Church in Rome we should use this example and commit to each other!

 

Overview

1.We should be thankful for other Christians

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

3. We should be willing to Spend time with Christians

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

5. We should be encouraged by other Christians faith

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

8. We should commit to other Christians

 

 

P: Pray 4 minutes a day. You choose when

R: Read Romans 1

O: Apply one of these views of Christians to your life each day. Don’t repeat!

  1. We should be thankful for other Christians

2. We should be Concerned for other Christians

3. We should be willing to spend time with Christians

4. We should be willing to invest in and receive from other Christians

5. We should be encouraged by other Christian’s faith

6. We should want to build relationships with other Christians

7. We should not discriminate among other Christians

8. We should commit to other Christians

The Church and The View of God

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A problem we see in our church culture is having a low view of God and His authority on Scripture, countering the claim with a very high view on man. For the secular culture to place all of the emphasis on man and his glory is to be expected. However, when this sinful thought infects the church it is a much more serious problem. To fully understand the correct view on God and His authority on the Bible; it is imperative that the reader understands the importance of scripture and the supreme authority it holds over everything and how it affects the church. It is only through properly viewing scripture that the church can have a correct view on the supreme and sovereign God. The depth of the view a church places on God and His authority on scripture can be seen by a thorough examination of the heart in the church leadership, the congregation, and the focus of the church as a whole.

Before examining the heart of church leadership, the members of the church, and the focus of the church, it is important to understand why the heart is the foundation for our view of God and His authority on Scripture. “The word ‘heart’ is used 830 times in the Scriptures. It includes such non-material things as your thoughts, motives, and choices”(Peace 60). When I mention the heart I am not talking about the organ in the chest, but merely pointing to the center of a person’s emotional, intellectual, and moral being. It is through this study of the heart that the church’s view on God and scripture will become clear.

The most influential responsibility for how our Lord is viewed is found in the heart of church leadership. The term church leadership is used a lot, but the true leader of the church is God. “The Lord is the head of the church. Not the pastor and not the people; and he leads us by His word. If you don’t follow the authority of scripture everything else is off” (Touchet). When referring to church leadership it is important to make the disclaimer that I am referring to pastor, elders, deacons, teachers, or church staff. If the leaders of the church do not place a supreme view of God and His authority and do not repent, it would be better for them to leave the church altogether.

It is impossible to have a high view of God and not place a high view on His Word. They are one in the same. Looking at what the church leadership is investing time in teaching from the pulpit and their obedience to the Bible will play a vital role in determining the view they place on God and His word. In his book, Every Thought Captive, Richard Pratt writes, “As followers of Christ, we must remember always to build our faith on sure foundation of the Bible. If we do so, there will be no weight too great to be supported; no wind too strong to be resisted”(Pratt 4). If leaders do not place a high view on building their faith on the sure foundation of the Bible, they are building their house on a bad foundation. Jesus was very adamant when he was illustrating the destruction of a bad foundation. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and slammed against that house; and it fell- and great was its fall” (New American Standard Bible, Matt. 7.26-27). For leaders to have a high view of God and His word it must start with a disciplined life committed to obeying the Bible at all costs.

The leader’s view of God and the authority of His word is found in the content that the leaders teach or allow from the pulpit. As a Church of the living God, the sermons taught should only point to Him. The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, and the Church is famishing (Tozer 51). When the shift of content leads from the Bible, to popular music, or celebrities views on topics; a great blasphemy has taken place. The “Christian preacher must proclaim only the Word of God, and he must declare the whole Word of God” (Stonehouse 217). Neglecting the harsh reality of God’s wrath is becoming a popular trend in our church sanctuaries and pulpits. As awesome and pure as the blessings of God or the rewards of God are, only teaching on the “feel good” subjects in the bible is not the Lord’s will for the church. Francis Chan wrote this view in Erasing Hell, “Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible” (Chan 15). You will find that teaching on things that is comfortable is an eternal error, with eternal consequences. Ignoring the teachings on God’s wrath will lead people to directly encounter punishment they were never taught. It is important to have a high view on Scripture so the leadership can teach the full non-biased Word of God.

When church leadership fails to obey God and His Word, it is obvious they have a low view of both. That in itself is a heart breaking tragedy; an even bigger tragedy is the people they lead astray by not teaching sound doctrine. Take note of the perception the general public has on the Christian church, it’s embarrassing and it starts with the church leaders. Our churches in America are littered with leaders bored with Jesus and their attitudes infect and directly influence the congregation.

The basic task of the people of the church is to be filled with Spirit and as they learn the sound doctrine preached from the pulpit, they apply it to their lives (MacArthur 97). Bored leaders breed bored followers. If the church leadership holds a disrespectful view on God, for the most part the congregation will too. The leadership of the church determines the direction of the church, so it is very possible that a member of a church could be deceived by the leaders. This is why it is important to know your leaders on a personal level, not just on a pulpit level. A leader could be very energetic at the pulpit and preach a Biblical sermon and still have low view on God. A pastor shouting to the top of their lungs, “God is Awesome!” is just words. Although, it’s a true statement, it does not indicate the position of the church. This is why so much emphasis will be upon the church leadership fixing their view on God.

To see the overall view of God in a congregation is to become a candid observer and examine them in the church, work, and the home life. Asking how many people in the congregation attend regularly is a great place to start. The author of Hebrews instructs Christians not to deny fellowship with other believers (New American Standard Bible. Heb. 10.25). It is an obvious statement to make that a congregation that is inconsistent in attendance does not place a high view on God by directly disobeying His Word.

Two other realms of observation in the church when looking at the congregation would be examining their level of service and giving. It would be hard to be found guilty in a courtroom of having a high view of God if you had a five hundred member church and only fifteen to twenty volunteered out of the two hundred that actually attended on a regular basis. Having a high view of God is holding on to His Word. Serving is a fruit of salvation. If the congregation is not in a relationship with Christ, they will not see the importance of serving or giving their money to help further the Kingdom of God.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (New American Standard. Luke 12.34). A congregation that is not giving their money to the Lord is a congregation that does not treasure the Lord. A congregation that has a high view of God will be a giving church and place more emphasis on it. Churches that overlook this area of Scripture are missing out on so many blessings from the Lord. This is not prosperity preaching. It is Biblical preaching. If the church does not give its treasure to the Lord, it can not receive His treasures. The Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the church in Corinth, “God loves a cheerful giver” (New American Standard, 2 Corinthians 9.7b). The people of a church should give from a cheerful heart. If every member of a church in America gave in accordance to God’s Word, a nationwide revival would to take place. But when a congregation holds to a low view of God and His Word it makes it difficult for a church to raise the funds to do anything of temporal or eternal value.

The congregation consists of mostly working class people. In a secular work environment it is even more crucial for the believer to hold to a Godly lifestyle. The life believers live in the workplace is the only Bible most people will read. If the congregation does not place the correct view on scripture their coworkers will see they have a low view of God and the Bible.

Observing the individual members of the congregation in their home life would be the most revealing of the heart of that person. In the book of Joshua the sad story of Achan describes the effects one person’s sin can have on a large group of people. Because of one man’s sin an entire nation lost a battle. The story ends with Achan being caught in his transgression and the execution of him and his entire family (New American Standard. Josh.7.1-26). Few stories illustrate the importance and responsibility each believer has in accordance with obeying the Lord than the story of Achan’s sin.

It would be easy to tell a churches view of God and His Word by examining the church leadership and the congregation. It is still a slim possibility, only because of our human nature, to have Godly leaders and the congregation that gives God the credit He deserve, and still have a church with a low view of God. This leads us to our final examination of the heart of the church: the focus. There are many areas that make up the focus of a church but I will look at how its view of God effects evangelism and discipleship.

In the southeast I have personally seen the church lead hundreds of people to the Lord. Unfortunately, there is no follow up and intentional discipleship many fall away from church remaining an immature believer. A good illustration can be found through my kids. I have twins that are six months in age. I spent months preparing for them to arrive, I prayed countless hours for a safe delivery, and I made sure that when they arrived all of their needs would be met. That was the easy stuff. When they arrived I had to enter survival mode. It was sleepless nights of feeding them, changing them, and making sure they were growing healthy. I’m not a special parent that had to do anything different than anyone else. It is the start of parenthood. I am responsible for a two lives. That is a big deal. Somewhere along the way either through ignorance or sheer irresponsibility many churches have lost that urgency that you only feel when a new life has entered this world. If someone receives Christ as Lord of their lives, that person does well if they get a bible and a pat on the back. A focus of the church should be on evangelism and discipleship; not just evangelism.

A Healthy biblical church should have leaders that preach sound doctrine and obey scripture. The congregation should be able to follow the leader’s example and sound teaching and be applying it their lives. The church should be focused on evangelism and ensuring that the believers are growing in the Lord. The common ingredient in all these areas of the healthy church is a high view of God and the authority of scripture.

Unfortunately, the church in America as it is now is not healthy. In fact, it is very sick because it has such a low view of God and that is being nice. There needs to be a change. The church in America is sick. A call to action must take place starting with the leadership of the church and then the people of the church. For the American church to become healthy, change must take place. “Tragically, in most churches, the pain of change is greater than the pain of ineffectiveness” (Rainer 229). There is no special secret to being an effective church. The remedy is repenting and clinging to a high view of God and His authority on Scripture. I have listed the apostasy that indicates when a church lacks a high view of God and His Word, but the most important reason why the church should have a High view of God is because it pleases the Lord and brings Him glory!

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

Chan, Francis, and Preston M. Sprinkle. Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the Things We Made up. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2011. Print.

 

MacArthur, John. The Master’s Plan for the Church. Chicago: Moody, 1991. Print

 

New American Standard Bible. Ed.Lockman Foundation. Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, Inc. 1997. Print.

 

Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing Incorporated, 1999. Print

 

Pratt, Richard L. Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub., 1979. Print.

 

Rainer, Thom S. Simple Church. Nashville, TN.:B&H Group, 2006. Print.

 

Stonehouse, Ned Bernard, and Paul Woolley. The Infallible Word: A Symposium. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980. Print.

 

Tozer, A.W. The Pursuit of God: A 31-day Experience. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1995. Print