Welcome One Another (Romand 15:7)
Pastor Tim Tseng • April 3, 2016
Note: the current sermon series is based on Gerald L. Sittser’s book Love One Another: Becoming the Church Jesus Longs For (InterVarsity Press, 2008)
- Introduction to the Easter Sermon Series: Loving One Another
– In this series, we explore eleven spiritual disciplines that every Christian must practice in order to grow personally and to build the church that Jesus longs for. They are based on the mutuality commands in the New Testament – “the one another” commands such as John 13:34-35 – our sermon series theme verses.
– We assume that every Christian is a member of a local gathering of Jesus followers. Each member cares deeply about how that community is becoming Jesus’ body in the world. So when people come to Canaan and visit our English ministry, our youth ministry, our families, our young adults, we want them to see Jesus by the way we love one another.
- Welcome One Another. A Definition – Embrace All with Love
To embrace people as they are, whether strong or weak, educated or ignorant, right or wrong, saint or sinner. A warm acceptance and genuine interest that goes far beyond a superficial ‘hello.”
- Initiative and Generosity (The Biblical foundation, see Luke 14:12-14)
– Unlike Pharisees who want people to come to them [“here I am”] (Luke 11:42-44), Jesus’ disciples take the initiative to reach out to everyone without favoritism [“there you are”]. See James 2.
– Unlike Gentiles who love only when loved (Matthew 5:43-48), Jesus’ disciples love generously, without condition (even their enemies).\
- Four Welcoming Practices based on Romans 16
i. Acknowledging people (v 1-16). Paul greeted Roman Christians by name. So, introverts are needed for deeper relationships! Let’s transform how we approach Sunday worship. Not primarily to meet your family and friends, but to acknowledge and connect with different people. 5:1 principle – connect with five people who are not like you (different life stage, culture, language, politics, etc.).
ii. Commending accomplishments [v 1-2, Paul commends Phoebe].This is the opposite of gossip. Speaking positively of others and establishing their good reputation.
iii. Expressing Affections: the Holy Kiss [v 16]. Let’s be unafraid to display public affections for one another. What is a Holy Kiss for us?
iv. Conferring a Blessing [v 25-27]. Many of the letters contained in the New Testament close with a blessing (e.g., Rom 15:33; I Cor 16:32-24; Gal 6:16). Inviting God to be with and bless people is an act of welcoming love, i.e., we want that person to know the same God.
- Challenge: Let’s Welcome People Because it Transforms Lives
The case of John Merrick, a.k.a. the Elephant Man.