Summary: The Blessing of unity (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Romans chapter 15 verses 5-6

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one heart and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

You expect to find a benediction near the close of a letter;

• And the end of this letter would be chapter 16 verse 27.

• But Paul chose to write this benediction elsewhere .

• It is deliberately written at the end of a long section in this letter

• (chapter 14 verse 1 to chapter 15 verse 13). That focuses on unity in the Church

Quote: American author & humorist Mark Twain used to say:

• “He put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment,

• Just to see if they could get along. They did,

• So he put in a bird, pig and goat.

• They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments.

• Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic;

• Soon there was not a living thing left”.

• Sadly Bible history and church history bear record to Mark Twain’s observation;

• That so often Christians do not get along with each other!


E.g. Luke chapter 9 verse 45:

• Even the twelve disciples argued among themselves;

• And they even did it while Jesus was right there with them!


E.g. Acts chapter 15 verse 36-41:

• The apostle Paul himself had a strong falling out with Barnabas over John Mark,

• As to whether or not they should take him on the mission field.


• And some of the New Testament churches;

• Broke the heart of the apostle Paul with their disputes and divisions.

Now in his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul dropped this blessing into his teaching:

• Because he wanted his readers (and that includes us!)

• To share in the blessing he was writing about – the blessing of unity.

Note: The problem

• The problem in the Church at Rome that caused the disunity;

• Was that the congregation was made up of two types of people.

• The congregation included both Jewish and Gentile believers;

• This meant a huge clash of cultures and understanding.


• (a). Some who became followers of Jesus from a Jewish background;

• Had a hard time leaving behind their Jewish customs & traditions;

• e.g. they thought that they needed to maintain kosher homes;

• e.g. they thought they need to observe special days & follow the Jewish religious calendar.

• (b). Other followers of Jesus from a Jewish background who were strong in the faith;

• Understood that they no longer needed to obey dietary regulations;

• They no longer needed to keep special days;

• (c). Those converted to Christ from a Gentile background;

• Had never practised the law of Moses, so it meant nothing to them;

• They knew that everything they needed was found in Christ and Christ alone!

Between these groups there developed bad feelings.

• They judged and condemned each other,

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