Romans 15: “Band of Brothers”

If I had a favorite time in history to study it would probably have to be the time of WWII. I’m constantly amazed at what took place in our world between September 1, 1939 and September 2, 1945. As you study the tactics of the war you begin to see a pattern emerge. The pattern that many historians see is sometimes less about the movement of troops, and more about the resolve and the character of the troops in those areas. For example, if you didn’t know much about the Russians before the war, you learned that these are a resilient and relentless people who literally won a battle based on their ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures. If there was every a question of patriotism among the American ranks, they were quickly squelched by the stories of soldiers in arms who banded together arm-in-arm to hold the line and become “A Band of Brothers.”

The Allied forces knew that in order to “hold the line” they had to unite together and even at times set aside their differences for the sake of the cause. Known as “The Blitzkrieg,” The Axis forces knew they had a chance to win the war if they were abel to break the line and isolate groups of troops from each other.

This is exactly the same tactic the enemy uses to destroy the church! You gotta know that the ole Devil doesn’t appreciate it when churches join arm-in-arm and hold the line for the cause of Christ in world around us. We have to recognize that we are fighting a very serious battle in the spiritual world for the souls of those around us.

Here’s something I’ve learned in my time as a Senior Pastor. If Satan can keep us divided among each other, he doesn’t have to worry about us being effective for the cause of Christ.

Romans 15:5-7 (NLT) May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

Couple of points to consider here in these two verses:

  1. God will give you patience for yourself and encouragement to be used on others
  2. There’s a call to live in complete harmony WITH EACH OTHER. Paul indicates this is fitting as a follower of Christ.
  3. There’s power in joining together with one voice
  4. Accept each other… Oh yeah, AS CHRIST HAS ACCEPTED YOU! If he can accept you with all your spiritual warts, blemishes, and wrinkles; you surely can accept others.
  5. SO THAT… Meaning, when all these things come together, God will be given the glory!

I can’t help but think about the point Jesus made after he revealed that one of the disciples would betray him in John 13.

John 13:34-35 (NLT) 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

The power of this scripture isn’t the point Jesus is making, it’s to who Jesus is making the point. Jesus announces that one of his own will betray him, Judas leaves the room, and Jesus declares that the disciples love FOR ONE ANOTHER will prove they are his disciples. Coincidence? I think not!

Jesus was looking at a ragtag mess of men accepting them for who they are, and calls us to do the same with each other. God will receive the glory when a church shows what it looks like to love each other.