Love with God’s help

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How have you got on since Friday’s reading? Has it been easy changing your thoughts about others and your actions towards them? If not, don’t worry – there’s hope!

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Bible passage Romans 15:1–6

Romans 15

 1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

 5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Learning how to love
The first two verses of today’s reading reiterate what we learned at the end of last week: we are to bear with others (v 1), loving them with our minds; and we are to please them and build them up (v 2), loving them with our actions. Then in verses five and six we get the how and the why.

How do we do this? By the gifts God gives us: endurance, encouragement and the same attitude of mind as Christ himself.

All due to God
What incredible gifts – particularly that last one! We don’t have to try hard to love our neighbours, God himself gives us the mind of Christ (see also 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Why? So we can glorify him. Because of course, it isn’t about us at all. Our ultimate purpose is to glorify God, and divisions, quarrelling and pride neither serve that goal nor bring us satisfaction. What a wonderful truth that when we glorify him it also benefits us!


‘Father, thank you for giving me the mind of Christ to guide me as I seek to love others and glorify you. Please give me a deeper love for my brothers and sisters, and give us unity as we follow you together. Amen.’

Jennie Pollock

Deeper Bible study

‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.’ (1 Peter 2:21)

Here what was implicit in Paul’s previous words becomes explicit: the example of Jesus in treading the way to the cross is the reference point in knowing how to live. That he did not please himself or seek his own narrow interests but endured insults for the sake of others (vs 2,3) is the very reason why those who claim to follow him should do likewise. They are therefore to bear with others they consider to be weak and to lay aside their own preferences when they conflict with seeking their well-being (vs 1,2). Paul has previously painted a glorious portrait of what a loving Christian community might be like (Romans 12:9–18), but by now it is clear that the church in Rome is not without its issues. These largely revolved around the melding into one community of those from very different Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. The fact that it was essential to make this work emerges elsewhere as a crucial achievement for the early Christian church: ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two [groups] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ (Ephesians 2:14). To fail here would be to fail completely. It would imply that the gospel was without power to recreate lives and communities.

It is for this reason that Paul labours his point. Having laid out in his previous teaching the theological basis for the new community, reconciled to God and to each other by grace through faith, he is now insistent on what has to happen. It would not happen, though, without keeping at it, without enduring (v 4). Nor would it be realised without continual encouragement to overcome the challenges (v 5). What was purposed was that, with the right mutual attitudes, this church should come to be of one mind and one voice to God’s glory (v 6). Talk about a challenge!

Nigel Wright

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Isaiah 21,22

Titus 2


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I respond
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Beautiful one
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  • Rachael Hampton | Sunday, 10 September 2017

    A challenge indeed Nigel, and I'm not talking about food issues. Prayers for those needs from yesterday. So much devastation and suffering from weather events. CAROL, it must have been such a relief to know the cancer has not spread. ALISON, welcome. May your small group ministry bring you great joy. Did you finalise the pastor choice RAY?

  • Ruth Chisholm | Monday, 11 September 2017

    Endurance and encouragement in the same sentence, Jesus knows and understands what that is all about. Remember need me of the verse. Hebrews 12: 1,2 "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Thank you Jesus.

  • Angela Munday | Monday, 11 September 2017

    God is so very generous to us and we have a responsibility to use His gifts wisely; they must not be ignored, wasted or destroyed by careless hands and voices. I think when you become the recipient of something, action must then be taken so that its value to you may be seen by everyone around....."May the God of patience and encouragement grant you to come to a common mind among yourselves, in accordance with the Messiah, Jesus." (verse 5) 'Thankyou Father God that Jesus is our firm foundation on which to build our lives; be with RUTH this day and give her your comfort. Amen.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Monday, 11 September 2017

    *reminded me not remember need, predictive text. Joining in prayers for those mentioned these past few days, CAROL, a huge relief for you, may you find reassurance and peace in the next steps of your care. God has each of us nestled in the shadow of his embrace.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Monday, 11 September 2017

    v1 Paul was summing up his instructions given in Romans 14 on how to get along with those who have differing convictions. It all comes back to love. Love thinks of the other person first. Love is not selfish (1 Cor 13). If people would seek the pleasure of others more than their own, strife would be killed. “Only by pride cometh contention” (Proverbs 13:10).

  • Derek Forster | Monday, 11 September 2017

    Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above. Before our Father’s throne We pour our ardent pray’rs; Our fears, our hopes, our aims, are one, Our comforts and our cares. We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows The sympathizing tear.

  • Rebecca Huie | Monday, 11 September 2017

    As a lifelong resident of the southeastern US, I thank you for your prayers for the suffering & devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey & Irma. Begging your prayers for continued recovery- it's only just begun. I've never seen such devastation. Continued prayers for each of you and your posted & unposted requests. May the God of all comfort continue to bless each of you at the place of your deepest need.

  • Ruth Lewis | Monday, 11 September 2017

    REBECCA, I live in Arkansas, and have been praying for the people who have lost everything they have. This is beyond sadness. My heart goes out to all of them. We have had Back to Back Hurricanes turning into floods. A lot of the people die because they don't want to leave their homes. Their lives are more important then their homes. I feel sorry for the little children and the animals. I pray for the weather men and women who have to be out in the elements broadcasting the weather so we can keep up with what is going on. I am also thanking God for my Florida Family that had to evacuate to New Orleans. They made it safely. I continue to pray knowing that God is in control!!! Blessings to all of the WL family!!!

  • Rebecca Huie | Tuesday, 12 September 2017

    Ruth, I'm in Alabama and also have cousins in Florida, who escaped the storm but are flooded now & without power. They are predicting that it may be weeks before power is restored. I'm thankful that your family are safe, that these storms are almost over and as you've said, the Lord is in control and is with each of us in a very real way. May He bless you, your loved ones, and all who are in this terrible situation. Prayers for all of you.

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