Romans 16:1 and 2

I commend to you our sister Phoebe a servant of the church in Cenchrea.  I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

This lady comes with a letter of reference, a credential given by Paul.  She is a valuable person in the work of God  and a servant to the Body of Christ.  Treat her well, he says, in a way worthy of the saints.  What does this mean?  How would we treat a fellow believer in this situation?  Certainly offering hospitality, whether that would be a bed for the night, a meal, or taking time to listen if they need to talk.  There are marching orders here. Provide for those who are part of God’s work, who serve the Body of Christ.  Be those who encourage.  Be generous.  Be a blessing.

Romans 15:1 and 7

vs. 1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  vs. 7  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

vs. 1 bear with those who are weak, not look down on them.  The idea here is holding the weaker person up.  vs. 7 Why bear with the weak and accept one another?  To bring praise to God.  How can this be?  Christ accepted us.  Through we were sinners, He fulfilled he law for us and provided salvation to us through His death on the cross.  By His grace and power we can accept and bear with one another.  The ultimate goal?  To bring praise to our God.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,…

The kingdom of God, then, is not a matter of how long or how short your skirt is or whether or not you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or what is your favorite type of music.  The kingdom of God is a matter of peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  We, who are card-carrying citizens of this kingdom, must daily seek God’s help to live and walk in this way – practically, and in every situation.  Micah 6:8 says it perfectly,  “He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you:  to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Romans 13:8

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman  has fulfilled the law.

I have always enjoyed the feeling you get when you pay a debt in full.  It is a good thing not to owe money to someone or some institution.  Here, though, is a debt that is never paid in full.  It is continuing and never ending, but it is not a burden to owe this debt.  It is a JOY and we make payments on it for the rest of our lives on earth – LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Romans 12:9-13

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

The English teacher in me rose up when reading this passage.  If you look closely, these are not suggestions; they are in the imperative voice, which means they are commands.  Vs. 10 specifically caught my attention.  “Be devoted to one another.”  The actual Greek word for devoted in this section means tenderly loving, kindly affection.  Webster’s dictionary definition: dedicated, very loving, loyal or faithful.  So…the command with regard to each other comes down to this: be tenderly loving toward one another.  With kindly affection be dedicated, loyal and lovingly faithful.    This is a command.  obeying it means we treat all our Christian brothers and sisters in this way – husbands, bosses, friends, siblings.  Obeying just this one command could revolutionize our lives and ministries as we act this way toward one another.