Do you see what I see?
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (4) For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (5) May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, (6) that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (8) For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, (9) and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” (10) And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” (11) And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” (12) And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” (13) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:3-13 ESV)
Our church has been in a verse by verse study of Paul’s the Letter to the Romans since March of 2008. Between last week and this, we have been working through chapter 15. The focus of the lessons for these two weeks has been the practical need for unity and edification in the church. We, as believers, come from different backgrounds and upbringing. Many come from a churched family while others do not. We may also come from different faiths and denominations. Paul calls for love and unity for the edification of both the believers and the church.
With all that being true something else jumped from the passage above:
The God-centeredness of the Gospel!
In verse 3 we read “Christ did not please himself.” Whom did he please? The lost man? The believer? The church? No, He pleased His Father whom sent Him.
In verse 5 who is the object of a life a harmony in Christ? The believers or the church? No, it is God!
In verses 6 through 7 who’s glory is proclaimed? Man’s? No, it is God!
Why are we to welcome one another? To make everyone feel better about themselves? No, it is for God’s glory!
In verse 8 who receives glory for Christ becoming a servant? The Jews or the Gentiles? Neither! It is for God’s glory that he shows mercy. For him, not us! We are the object us mercy not for or because of us but for God’s glory. It is to make much of God not of us!
In verses 9 through 12 whom is to be praised and extolled? Is it the wealthy, the powerful, the famous of mankind? No, it is God!
Verse 13 says we are to be filled with joy and peace and hope. What is the source: our possessions, our position, our pedigree, our pride? No! It is God who gives hope, joy, and peace to those believe. How do they believe? By their own power? No, the source of their belief is from the filling of the Spirit of hope in hope.
The source is God!
For His glory!
Because the Gospel is for God’s glory when the Gospel is God-centered!