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Summary: THIS SERMON ADDRESSES TRUE FELLOWSHIP AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS TO BE FOUND IN THE LOCAL CHURCH.

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ROMANS 15:1- 13: RECAPTURING TRUE FELLOWSHIP IN THE LOCAL CHURCH.

RECAP: IN MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE WE SAW A NUMBER OF PREROGATIVES WHICH WERE TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH. SPECIFICALLY PAUL WAS SPEAKING TO THE STRONGER GENTILE CHRISTIANS WHO HAD THE LIBERTY AND WERE NOT BOUND BY DAYS AND MEATS TO CONSIDER THEIR DUTY TOWARDS THEIR WEAKER JEWISH BROTHER/SISTER.

IN THIS SECTION PAUL CONTINUES THE CALL TO ACCEPTANCE TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER IN A DIVERSE CHURCH WHERE WEAK AND STRONG BELIEVERS GROW TOGETHER.

1. ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER V1 – GOD HAS ACCEPTED THEM V3 -4

2. AVOID ALL CONTEMPT. V2-3 – THEY DO WHAT THEY DO TO PLEASE THE LORD V6-9

3. AVOID BEING JUDGEMENTAL V3B – 4 – JUDGEMENT BELONGS TO CHRIST V10 -12.

4. ALWAYS KEEP A CLEAR CONSCIENCE V5 – THIS IS PLEASING TO GOD V18

5. BEING MINDFUL OF OTHERS V12 -18.

CHAPTER 15 WE SEE A CONTINUATION OF HIS TEACHING FROM THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER IT OUTFLOWS FROM THE PRINCIPLE OF ACCEPTING ONE ANOTHER STRONG AND WEAK ALIKE. PAUL IN CHAPTER 15 CONTINUES TO ADDRESS THE STRONG (V1 PAUL AFFIRMS HIMSELF AS STRONG) EXHORTING THEM....

1. THE STRONG - ARE TO BEAR( SUPPORT – CARRY) WITH THE FAILING OF THE WEAK V1

THE CHURCH IS A FAMILY AND WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THAT FAMILY THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE WITH DIFFERING SOME ARE STRONG SOME ARE WEAK RATHER THAT THE STRONG TRAMPLING OVER THE WEAK IN MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE THEY ARE TO BEAR SUPPORT THE WEAK.

AS A CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK SO IS A FELLOWSHIP ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST MEMBER SO THE STRONG ARE NOT CALLED NOT TO USE THEIR LIBERTY AS A MEANS OF DESTROYING THEIR BROTHER/SISTER BUT AS A MEANS OF SUPPORT OF CARRYING THEIR BROTHER/SISTER.

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TEAM HOYT IT’S A FATHER SON TEAM DICK AND RICK HOYT. TO ME THEY EPITOMISE THIS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE STRONG BEARING WITH THE WEAK.

IN 1962 RICK WAS BORN HE HAD WITH CEREBRAL PALSY CAUSED BY A LOSE OF OXYGEN TO THE BRIAN BECAUSE HIS UMBILICAL CORD WAS WRAPPED AROUND HIS NECK. THE DOCTORS TOLD DICK HIS SON WOULD LIVE OUT HIS LIFE IN A PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE AND THE BEST THEY COULD DO WOULD BE TO PUT HIM IN AN INSTITUTION.

HIS FATHER REJECTED THE ADVICE AND IN FACT AT THE AGE OF 12 ENGINEERS AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY FOUND THAT RICKS SENSE OF HUMOUR INDICATED INTELLIGENCE. SO THEY DESIGNED A COMPUTER WHICH RICK COULD COMMUNICATE. RICK WENT ON TO GET A COLLEGE DEGREE FROM BOSTON UNIVERSITY.

DICK AT THE AGE OF 55 WITH RICK START TO COMPETE IN MARATHONS TRIATHLONS TOGETHER THIS WAS RICKS PASSION HE LOVED TO COMPETE HIS FATHER WOULD PUSH HIM AS HE RAN, ULLA HIM ALONG IN A RAFT AS HE SWAM , SIT HIM ON A SPECIAL DESIGNED SEAT ON HIS BIKE AS HE CYCLED. HERE IS A STRONG FATHER SUPPORTING HIS WEAK SON AND TOGETHER THEY ARE COMPETING TOGETHER, STRONG AND WEAK ARE UNIFIED.

• VIDEO SLOT - TOGETHER WE CAN ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS FOR GOD.. WEAK AND STRONG TOGETHER.

LET US BE INSPIRED BY GODS WORD TO BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER WHETHER WEAK OR STRONG TO SUPPORT - TO CARRY ONE ANOTHER - TO COMPETE - TO SERVE – TO AS WE JOURNEY TOGETHER AS GODS LOCAL CHURCH HERE AT C.B.C TOGETHER.

2. THE STRONG - ARE NOT TO PLEASE THEMSELVES V1.

PAUL HIS REAFFIRMING THE SAME THING HERE AGAIN REALLY THAT NONE OF US IS TO PLEASE OURSELVES IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO ONE ANOTHER. WE SHOULD BE LOOKING OUT TO EACH OTHER. GOD DESIRES THAT WE STOP CONSIDERING WHAT I WANT OUT OF THIS CHURCH THIS TYPE OF SELFISHNESS DESTROYS THE CHURCH.

THE WORLD THINKS OF ITSELF, IT PUTS ITS OWN INTERESTS FIRST, THAT’S HOW WE USED TO THINK BUT TRUE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP WILL NO LONGER BE INDIVIDUALISTIC LOOKING AFTER ONES OWN INTERESTS, BUT MUST CONSIDER THE COLLECTIVE WILL OF THE FELLOWSHIP, IT MUST OVERRIDE OUR OWN PERSONAL DESIRES AND INTERESTS .

THIS IS VITAL FOR ANY FELLOWSHIP, IF ALL OF US JUST PROMOTE OUR OWN PERSONAL INTERESTS A FELLOWSHIP WILL FACE DISUNITY, YET IF WE CONSIDER THE WELFARE OF THE FELLOWSHIP AS PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE RATHER THAN OUR OWN PERSONAL WISHES A FELLOWSHIP WILL FLOURISH TOGETHER AS THE STRONG NO LONGER PLEASE THEMSELVES BUT SUPPORT THE WEAKER BROTHER /SISTER.

1. THE STRONG - ARE TO BUILD UP THEIR WEAK NEIGHBOURS V2

PAUL IS SAYING THAT THE LOCAL CHURCH SHOULD BE A PLACE WHERE OUR CHIEF CONCERN IS THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR SO HERE IS A CHURCH THAT IS UNIFIED COMMITTED TO ONE ANOTHER, IT PRAYS FOR ONE ANOTHER, SUPPORTS ONE ANOTHER, SERVES ONE ANOTHER, MINISTER TOGETHER, ITS IS A HEALTHY CHURCH AS IT IS BUILDING TOGETHER AND NOT DEMOLISHING. WHERE MUTUAL LOVE PRACTICAL CARE AND SUPPORT ARE EXPRESSED.

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