15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
15:5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus,
15:6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15:7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
15:9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”;
15:10 and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
15:11 and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”;
15:12 and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The church in Rome had a major problem; they were divided between Jew and Gentile. The Jews believed fervently that Gentiles should be circumcised at a minimum. They may have heard of the meeting between the disciples and Paul where they decided that the Gentiles need not follow Jewish law, but they certainly were not adhering to that ruling. Paul wanted to set the church on the right path concerning Jewish fellowship with non-Jews. This is why Paul was adamant that they “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Today we tend to argue about other issues. Churches are divided on the issue of worshipping with homosexuals. 20 years ago it was divided on the issue of welcoming divorced women. 50 years ago it was divided on allowing colored people to worship with whites. The fact of the matter is that people in the church will always find a reason to cause division but it is up to the individual Christian to walk as Jesus walked and love all of our brothers and sisters. It is not our job to condemn another person. We simply love them and point them towards Jesus and let God worry about their eternal destiny. If we want to build a church that envelopes the world and shows non-believers what life in the kingdom is supposed to be like them we must practice loving those people we do not agree with.
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