Summary: God's promises should cause us to praise Him.
Saved to Sing
Rev. Brian Bill
Let’s think about some words that don’t go together very well. I’ll say one phrase and then you give me the exact opposite.
Toothpaste Orange Juice
Fox News MSNBC
Sauerkraut Ice Cream
Michigan Promised Land
Cheese Everything Else
Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champs
These last two groups have experienced a ton of animosity for thousands of years, much of which continues today. The Jew/Gentile divide is more pronounced than anything most of us can relate to.
The Jews were God’s chosen people, also known as the nation of Israel. The term “Gentile” refers to all those outside of the Jewish faith and is sometimes translated as “nations.” From a biblical point of view, the human race is divided into two distinct groups—the Jews and everyone else. Since there are approximately 15 million Jews today amid a total world population of over 6 billion, nearly everyone falls into the Gentile grouping.
Israel was chosen to reflect the will and character of God in a unique way and yet they were often led astray by the surrounding nations. As such, great animosity developed over the years between the Jews and Gentiles. The Gentiles hated the Jews (Esth. 9:1,5; Ps. 44:13,14), often ravaged and defiled the holy land (Ps. 79:1) and were rebellious against God (Rom. 1:28). The Jews on the other hand, tried to stay away from the Gentiles (Acts 10:28). The daily prayer of a strict Jewish male involved thanking God that he was not a Gentile. Even after becoming Christ-followers, the tendency of some Jewish background believers was to doubt whether the Gentiles were really on an equal spiritual plane with them. No doubt, there was plenty of dirty laundry on both sides.
That reminds me of the story about a young couple that had just moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside (back when people still did this). “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, she would make the same disparaging comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see some lily white laundry on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her how to do it?” To which the husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
There were some pretty dirty windows between Jews and Gentiles. Have you ever been on the receiving end of being judged or having someone say things about you that just aren’t true? This happened to me this week when I went to the Dance Center to pick Megan up from her ballet class. One of the adults wished me a belated Happy Birthday and then a young girl who I had never met before asked me how old I was. I decided to fish for a compliment so I asked her how old she thought I was. Thinking she was going to say “30-something,” I wasn’t prepared for her answer: “You look like you’re 67!”
Last week we learned from Romans 15:1-7 that the best way to deal with disagreement about disputable matters is to…
• Put up (1). That’s what I needed to do with this young ballerina!
• Build up (2)
• Look up (3)
• Grow up (4)
• Circle up (5)
• Point up (6)
• Warm up (7)
Verse 7 summarizes how we’re to put up with the porcupine people in our lives: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” How are you doing at making room for people? If you’ve hit a roadblock because of some conflict, let me encourage you to attend the Peacemaker Class taught by Nathan Hilt that will begin next Sunday at 10:45 in the library.
This verse lays the groundwork for verses 8-13 which tell us how we’re to get along with people who by nature we despise and pull away from because of cultural differences and background. God has brought not only the weak and the strong together, but also Jew and Gentile. Verses 1-7 challenge us to please others instead of ourselves and verses 8-13 emphasize praising God in unity and harmony. I like how John MacArthur puts it: “Paul is no longer exhorting here in a negative way….when he was calling us to not offend…or not cause someone to stumble…but is now positively calling for us to rejoice in what God has done in making us one.”
Here’s the sermon in one statement: God’s promises should cause us to praise Him.