Summary: The first century Christians at Rome struggled with unity in their Christian community, the church of today does too. If are to accomplish the mission of Christ, Christians must work together in unity as one mind, one heart.
Love and Unity in the Community
INTRO: A man said: I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t jump!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” “Like what?”
“Well ... are you religious or atheist?” “Religious.” “Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?” “Christian.”
“Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” “Protestant.” “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?” “Baptist.”
“Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?” “Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” “Reformed Baptist Church of God.”
“Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?” “Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!” To which I said, “Die, you heretic scum!” and pushed him off.
Have you ever had an issue with another brother or sister in Christ? If you said no to this question, I would suggest that you are not being completely truthful. I don’t know of any Christian who hasn’t had an issue with another Christian.
However getting along with one another is an important part of the Christian life. Jesus prayed for the unity of believers in John 17:20-23 in which He prayed in verse 20, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” And in verse 23, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
It’s important to have unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that the world may come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without this unity we find the world in confusion of who Jesus really is and just how us having a relationship with Him would make their life any better.
If those who are Christian can’t get along, then why would any non-Christian have a desire to be a Christian. Their life has enough problems already and to them, if Christians don’t get along, why would they want to add that to their lives?
In our text today Paul is telling the Christians at Rome to accept each other. The weak accept the strong and the strong accept the weak. To the Corinthian church Paul condemned the division among Christians in 1 Cor. 1:10, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
But unity doesn’t come easily. It didn’t come easily in the early church and it doesn’t come easily for the church today.