Receive Ye One Another

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Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

There is nothing more disturbing to me than what the political process has become in America. When we listen to the politicians, we do not hear civility, but mudslinging and rudeness. I despise it. I was raised in a civil household. My parents taught me to respect others. Yet it seems we live in a day of terrible disrespect, and of evil actions to one another.

When God spoke to the Roman Church, He was speaking to a diverse group of people from several different backgrounds. In the society of that day, the Jews despised the Romans, because Rome had overthrown Israel. The Romans despised the Jews as a defeated people. Yet within the Church there was both Romans as well as Jews.

God does not want His Church to be like the lost world. The Church is a city of light. Jesus said of His people:

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The Scripture says that we are to be …

Colossians 1:12-14 giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

The world is a kingdom of darkness. It’s dark prince, satan, rules this world through fallen creatures and the powers of sin and death. But we who are Christ’s are IN this dark world, but not OF this dark world.

The Church Is IN But Never OF

In our text today we are told:

Romans 15:7 Wherefore RECEIVE ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Word Study The word translated RECEIVE is the Greek προσλαμβάνω proslambánō, {pronounced pros-lam-ban’-o}, which means “to take to oneself, to welcome, to embrace that which is given”. Some translations use the word “accept”, but I do not think that is a good rendering of this word. In Matthew 16:22 the word proslambánō is used when Jesus told Peter that He was going to be crucified. In that text we read:

Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took {proslambánō} {Jesus}, and began to rebuke {Jesus}, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

To render the word as “accept” makes no sense. Peter was not accepting what Jesus said. Peter was incorrectly rebuking the Lord. But nonetheless Peter EMBRACED Jesus. Peter proslambánō – hugged Jesus to himself. Now Jesus rebuked Peter for his action that day (you can read the context yourself). But Peter did not accept what Jesus was saying … though he nevertheless EMBRACED our Lord. He loved Jesus, and did not want Jesus to die (see also Mark 8:32). Or consider the use of proslambánō in the ministry of the Evangelist Apollo, a contemporary of Paul. The Bible says that …

Acts 18:26 {Apollos the Evangelist} began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took {proslambánō} him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Apollos was a sincere, God called Evangelist. He was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24). But Aquila and Priscilla were disciples of the Apostle Paul (Acts 18:1-4), who had often stayed in their home. As a matter of fact, Paul had often preached in their home, which was where a small Church met (Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19}. When Aquila and Priscilla heard Apollos preach, they heard him preach some things wrong (can you believe it? Preachers are sometimes wrong:). Anyway, they EMBRACED or WELCOMED Apollos after his preaching in the Synagogue at Ephesus, but corrected his errors by “expounding unto Apollo the Way of God MORE PERFECTLY”.

Aquila and Priscilla did not agree with Apollos – but they welcomed him, and lovingly corrected him.

When the Apostle tells us to “receive ye one another”, he is telling us to lovingly welcome one another. We are to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. And yet, we are NOT to allow the errors of the world to flourish in our midst. The Church is a lighthouse in a world of darkness. The Church is NOT to be like the world. The Church is to be like Christ. The Bible is very specific on these points. The world is lost, and exists in darkness, in the grasp of satan and under the influence of sin. But the Church belongs to Jesus. If you are saved by faith in Christ then the Bible commands you:

Romans 12:1-5 I beseech you therefore, BRETHREN, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

The Church is one body in CHRIST. We are bound together by faith and practice to Christ.

Christ was baptized, we are baptized.
Christ believed the Scripture, we believe the Scripture.
Christ reached out to sinners, we reach out to sinners.
Christ pursued holiness, we pursue holiness.
Christ lived to serve the Father, we live to serve the Father.
Christ rebuked sin, we rebuke sin.
Christ loved the unlovely, but hated the sin;
We love the unlovely, but hate sin.
Christ gave Himself to destroy sin, we give ourselves to destroy sin.

I could go on and on. The Church is Jesus’ body, and He is the head. Why did Jesus die?

Galatians 1:4 … our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father

The Church is a body of believers, delivered from this world by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are to be friendly to sinners, but haters of sin. The late Evangelist Billy Graham stated:

“Throughout the Bible, the lines are definitely drawn between the world of unbelievers and the world of the children of God. “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Jesus Himself said, “The world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16). Again Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

The Bible also teaches that the Christian will face opposition in the world. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” said the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12. Just as Christ’s life with all its love, concern and selflessness was a rebuke to the cosmos of His time, so our lives with Christ abiding in us today bring about criticism, opposition and persecution from those who cannot comprehend the mystery of God’s redemptive grace.

The Bible teaches that we are not to be discouraged by this belligerence. We are to consider it evidence that we are identified with Christ. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).”

It shocks me that there are professing Christians in every denomination, and even in Catholicism, that believes sexual relations before marriage and abortion is fine. The Christian is called of God to stand up and speak out against that which the Bible defines is “sin”.

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
The gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our LORD.

The Church – with its many believers in Christ – is under the direction and guidance of Jesus Christ our Lord. The Church is never to justify sinfulness. We are to point others to Christ, to believe on Jesus, and be received by Jesus Who gave Himself for us all. When a person comes to Christ seeking salvation, they overcome the devil and sin by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11). The Church never concedes to evil, to sin, to darkness. Light must shine. It cannot be light if it does not shine. When we are saved, what are we to do? The Bible says:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We love all around us. But we do not accept into the fellowship as a part of the Church any who wallow in sin. Come out from amng them, and be ye separate. Do not touch the unclean thing, and I will receive you. Does this mean the Christian never sins? No, not at all. But

.. when we sin, and are convicted of our sin, or are corrected by a brother or sister in Christ, as Aquila and Priscilla corrected Apollos, then we repent of our sin and confess it in the name of Jesus (1 John 1:8-10).

How do we determine what is, and is not, sin? How did Jesus determine right and wrong? “It is written”. What did Jesus tell the devil when tempted in the wilderness?

Matthew 4:4 … It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

When Jesus rebuked those in the Temple, chasing out the moneychangers, the defilers of God’s house, what did our Lord say?

Matthew 21:13 … It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

When Jesus submitted to the death of the Cross, what did our Lord say?

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him…

The Bible tells us what is right, and what is wrong. We do not heed opinion polls, peer pressure, or popular vote. We do not go by feelings. We go by what our God has said, and recorded in this grand old Book we call the Bible. The phrase “it is written” is peppered all through the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus referred to the Scripture. The Apostles referred to the Scripture. We can do no less.

What do we do if a professing brother or sister is in an act that the Bible says is sinful? The Bible gives us clear direction. In 1 Corinthians 5 a young man was in a sexual relationship with his stepmother. The Church at Corinth justified this activity rather than rebuking it. The Apostle Paul said:

1 Corinthians 5:1-7 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…

The Christian is “unleavened” because Jesus Christ died for our sins. We do not welcome sin into our congregation. The sinner is loved, but Christ is shared with them. If a brother or a sister descends into sin, the Church members are not to welcome their sin. The Apostle is even more specific:

1 Corinthians 5:11-13 I have written unto you NOT TO KEEP COMPANY, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Those who are outside the Church, God judges. But within the flock we are never to condone sin. We are to lovingly correct our brothers and sisters when they step away from the Way of Christ. We are to hate the sin, but love the sinner. If the brother or sister repents, and forgoes the sin, putting it under the blood of Christ, they are welcomed back. But if not they are recognized as those who have fallen. They are released unto satan for the destruction of the flesh. They make their choice.

The Church Is Filled With Imperfects

Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

When the Apostle says “WELCOME one another”, he is not saying to welcome sin. But he is telling us to welcome one another as imperfect creations, the workmanship of Christ (Ephesians 2:10). Dr Joe Pettigrew writes:

“In the early church, Jews and Gentiles despised each other. Each wanted the other to become like them. But Paul took the axe to the root of that tree: “For Christ Himself…reconciled both groups…by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” (Ephesians 2:14–16) We certainly will disagree on many things, but the way we treat each other will reflect our love for our fellow man. Jesus is pretty clear about how we are to treat each other.”

A Church is a body of imperfect, but saved people. We are to love one another, just as Christ loved and still loves us. Sin is what God says is sin. But there are other things that are not sin. There are cultural differences. There are differences in tastes.

In the previous chapter the Apostle addresses a problem that occurred in the Church at Rome. He wrote:

Romans 14:1-4 Him that is weak in the faith RECEIVE ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Word Study The word translated RECEIVE is our old friend προσλαμβάνω proslambánō, {pronounced pros-lam-ban’-o}. Paul is talking of brothers and sisters in Christ. He says those who are WEAK or YOUNG IN THE FAITH – in their walk with Christ – we are to welcome them. But we are not to impose on them “doubtful disputations”. This is the Greek διαλογισμός διάκρισις dialogismos diakrisis. These are very interesting words. They both begin with DIA, meaning “of two types”. You could translate this as “two thinkings and two judgments”. The picture given here is of a person who is arguing with himself about what is right and wrong, a person confused. My Bible says that:

1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…

From the beginning of the Church, believers have often drifted into arguing about things of which the Bible sets no clear standards. Christians have argued about holidays, feasts, circumcision or no circumcision, and in our context, about food.

Rome was the center of pagan religion in the ancient world. The main gods and goddesses in Roman culture were Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Zeus, Venus, Pluto, Diana, Mars, and Janus. There were more I know, but these were the top tier. Rome made sacrifices to these gods and goddesses, and as center for worship the animals sacrificed were countless! What to do with all this meat? The temples of the false gods and goddesses were not stupid. They sold sacrificed meat to the public at a very good price. And this caused a problem in the Church at Rome.

The Gentiles in the Church at Rome saw nothing wrong with eating these sacrificed meats. Food is food, and cheap is cheap. But then there were Jewish believers in the Church at Rome, and they believed that to eat anything not kosher was a sin. So now you have two factions, all fighting over food. What did the Lord tell us about food?

One day Peter was in prayer. Now Peter is a very Jewish Christian. As he prays, the Bible says:

Acts 10:9-16 …. Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 and he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

God was going to send Peter to a Gentile Centurion named Cornelius. The Gentiles ate all manner of food.The Jews, however, ate only what God declared “clean” in the Old Testament. With this vision, God clarified what He had previously declared through Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus was told by the Pharisees that His disciples were eating unclean food because they were not washing their hands, our Lord said:

Matthew 15:10-11 … Hear, and understand: 11 not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

God removed the ceremonial laws when Christ came to this earth. Consequently, you as believers are free to eat any type of food. God has no provisions on us. The Gentile Christians were used to eating any and all foods, regardless as to whom it was sacrificed to. The Jewish Christians, however, were raised in a culture that taught them to eat only “clean” foods. So what is happening at Rome. Christians are arguing over things that are not sinful. We still do this today.

We argue over the “proper” type of singing in Church.
We argue over the color of the walls.
We argue over pews or chairs.
We argue over versions of the Bible.
We argue over whether women should wear pants or skirts.
We argue over hair length for men and women.
We argue over tattoos and ear rings.
We argue over what days are the Sabbath.
We argue over tobacco and alcohol use.

The Apostle tells the Church that – when we receive someone into our fellowship – we are not to trot out things that are matters of opinion and treat these things as if they are sin. The Word of God and the leading of God the Holy Spirit is the final determining factors. Every Christian belongs to Jesus. The Apostle said:

Romans 14:4-10 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

If a thing is a sin, then there should be very clear Scripture that shows it to be a sin. There are certain things that I personally do not like. Yet this does not make what I don’t like a sin. The Scripture determines sin. The ceremonial portions of the Law are gone. The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But now that Christ has come, the ceremonial laws do not apply

Galatians 3:23-26 … before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

But what of the Jewish believer? The Apostle gave a very clear direction in this. He said:

Romans 14:15-19 if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

There are many things that fall into what I call “gray areas”. On these things, if it brings disharmony in the body of Christ, even though it is lawful for me to do it, I must not. The highest Law that the Christian follows is the Law of love. Jesus commands us:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

To the world Jesus says, (Matthew 7:12) “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Simply put, if you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to others. This is the general law for all of civilization. But for the Christian, the Law is much greater. Love one another, as Jesus loves you. Again, our focal text:

Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Jesus welcomes us into the Family of God. Jesus tolerates our daily failures. Jesus does not come down hard on us every time we mess up – and we all mess up plenty. Jesus never considered Himself first, but put us first. The Bible tells us to put our brothers and sisters in Christ first. To love those who do things that we don’t like. Now again, IF THE SCRIPTURE SAYS IT IS SIN, IT IS SIN. Period. But there are other things that are gray areas. To these areas, we avoid doing it in the presence of our easily offended brothers and sisters. The Apostle put it this way:

Romans 14:21-22 … It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God.

Consider the life of Christ, and imitate Him. Reject and correct sin. But in areas of preference and feelings, if it hurtss the faith of others, have it to yourself. Do it at home, in privacy, before God. But do not cause your brother or sister in Christ to stumble over something not clearly a sin.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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