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Summary: The Signs of Christian Fellowship - Romans chapter 15 verses 1-13 – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info

SERMON OUTLINE:

• Christian fellowship should be marked by consideration (vs 1-3)

• Christian fellowship should be marked by the study of scripture (vs 4)

• Christian fellowship should be marked by unity (vs 5-6)

• Christian fellowship should take its example, its inspiration and its dynamic from Jesus Christ (vs 7-9a)

• Christian fellowship should be marked by praise (vs 13)

SERMON BODY

Ill:

• An anthropologist was living with a tribe of people in Zimbabwe, South Africa.

• He watched the children playing and decided to play a game with them.

• He put a basket full of fruit near a tree,

• And told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

• When he told them to run, to his surprise,

• They all took each-others hands and ran together,

• Then sat together enjoying their treats.

• When he asked them why they had run together like that;

• When one of them could have had all the fruits for themselves they said: ''UBUNTU,

• They said; 'UBUNTU' (pronounced: UbUntA)

• “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''

• 'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa (pronounced: Chorsa) culture;

• It means: "I am because we are"

• TRANSITION: Those children realised the importance of togetherness,

• The importance of supporting and looking out for each other.

• No Christian should ever be standing alone!

• God has placed us together in community, in family, in Church.

• We are together to encourage, support and look out for each other.

• Satan is the great divider and destroyer;

• But Christ is the great uniter and builder.

• This chapter is a continuation of the theme found in the previous chapter,

• In the first four verses the apostle Paul continues the theme of;

• The stronger to the weaker believer.

• And this section gives us a great summary of what we can call;

• ‘The signs that should characterize Christian fellowship.’

(1). Christian Fellowship Should be Marked by Consideration (vs 1-3).

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’“

• You and I as followers of Jesus are called to look out for each other.

• That should be a responsibility and not an optional extra.

• Commentator Robert Mounce says that the term, ‘bear’

• Goes beyond mere tolerance or just putting up with others.

• It requires us to care enough to personally shoulder their burdens;

• As if they were our own.

• Question: Why should we do that?

• Answer: Because they are family! And that is what family does!

Now having made the guidelines clear:

• The apostle Paul gives us an example to follow.

• “For even Christ did not please himself” (vs 3)

• The apostle Paul then quotes from the Old Testament, from Psalm 69.

• “As it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’”

Psalm 69 is one of the great messianic Psalms:

• Seven of its thirty-six verses are cited in the New Testament.

• You will probably recognise those seven quotations as you read them.

• Note: The key verse of the Psalm is not so well known and it is verse 4:

• “I am forced to restore what I did not steal”

• These words perfectly describe the unfair situation;

• That David the Psalmist was experiencing at the time of writing;

• But these words also describe the unfair situation Jesus experienced;

• When he went to the cross.

• When, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree”

Ill:

• In the book ‘Miracle on The River Kwai’.

• Ernest Gordon's Tells the true story of some Scottish soldiers,

• Who were forced by their Japanese captors to work on a jungle railroad.

• Under the strain of imprisonment they had degenerated to cruel behaviour,

• But one afternoon something happened.

• "A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged.

• He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else.

• When nobody in the squadron budged,

• The officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot!

• It was obvious the officer meant what he had said.

• Then, finally, one man stepped forward.

• The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death.

• When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse;

• And carried it with them to the second tool check.

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