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Following Christ’s Example

July 29, 2010

We have been studying verse-by-verse through the Book of Romans. The joke is that I began when my daughter was a junior in high school and now she is getting ready to be a junior in college. Will I finish before Jesus comes back? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have learned a lot as I have attempted to teach you.

This Sunday night we will look at the last two verses of chapter 14 and the first 7 verses of chapter 15. If you have been with us on Sunday nights you know the issue we have been discussing: What about areas of life that are not specifically spelled out in the Bible, how do we deal with personal convictions of conscience?

The following quote is from F.F. Bruce’s commentary on Romans. It is an overview of Romans 15:1-6. Read it and meditate on how well we follow Christ’s example.

Paul concludes his words on Christian liberty and Christian charity by adducing (to give proof by) the example of Christ. Who was more free from taboos and inhibitions than he? Yet who was more careful to bear with the weaknesses of others? It is so easy for those who are quite clear in conscience about a course of action to snap their fingers at critics and say, ‘I’ll please myself’. Their right to do so is unquestioned, but that is not the way of Christ. His way is to consider others first, to consult their interests and help them in every possible way. Even ‘Christ did not please himself’; if he had done so, we might wonder in what respect his life and ministry would have taken a different course from that which they did take. Christ did not assert his rights; he put the interests of others before his own (cf Phil. 2:5-8). But perhaps Paul means that he put the will of God first of all: this is suggested by his quotation of Psalm 69:9.

The words that follow this quotation embody a principle which can be traced throughout the New Testament, whenever the Old Testament is cited or referred to. The lessons of endurance which the Old Testament writings inculcate (impress upon the mind), and the incouragement which they supply to faithfulness, provide a strong incentive to the maintenance of Christian hope. Paul presented them also as a strong incentive to the fostering of brotherly unity, and he prays that the God who teaches his people endurance and provides encouragement for them through the Scriptures may grant them oneness of mind, so that he may be glorified in their united witness.

The old saying “Look out for #1”, is not a Biblical viewpoint. We should be constantly looking out for the interests and building up of others. I hope to see you this Sunday night…

Gordon

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