Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012 … Majoring on the Majors

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 345

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Romans, Chapters 14-16 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Romans 14: 1-4; 10-13; 18-20 : [NLT] … {Chapter 14 of Romans is a good example of how Paul shifted gears from doctrinal to practical Christianity in the latter portion of the letter (i.e., Chapters 12-16). Living in Christ, we are to give God’s grace a chance to develop and mature His disciples, rather than more mature Christians trying to look down and judge fellow Christians over minor matters which should not divide the body of Christ. And most certainly mature disciples should not be doing or modeling behaviors which cause other, lesser mature, Christians to stumble in their faith.}  
1 Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should. ,,,  
10 So why do you condemn another Christian? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God. 11For the Scriptures say,“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow to me and every tongue will confess allegiance to God.’ “ [citing Isaiah 45: 23] 12 Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God. 13 So don’t condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path. … 
18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. … 20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, there is nothing wrong with these things in themselves. But it is wrong to eat anything if it makes another person stumble.  

Highlight Passages: Romans 15: 5-7 : [NLT] … {Chapter 15 emphasizes that if each Christian would live a Luke 9: 23 type of life, loving one another and allowing for one another’s immaturity, God would be glorified in the display of such love and compassion; and there would be so much more unity in the body of Christ. }  
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other —each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. 6 Then, all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. 

Highlight Passages: Romans 16: 17-20 : [NLT] … {There is one final appeal from Paul in Chapter 16 of Romans; and that is to use God’s word as our standard for Christian living. To Paul this was the Book of the Law (the Old Testament as we know it). But we now have a “much more” Scripture with God bringing us the New Covenant [i.e., New Testament] in Christ, as well as truths such as God taught us through Paul’s own letters. And Paul is saying that if/when we bring our petty judgments, disputes, and divisions before Scripture as we know it, we can avoid many of the schisms in the body of Christ which become apparent when we assert self over the Savior and His truth.}  
17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. 19But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to see clearly what is right and to stay innocent of any wrong. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 

My Journal for Today: Have you ever heard a preacher or a mature Christian say that we Christians need to “MAJOR ON THE MAJORS?” It’s a catch-phrase and maybe even a cliché. But it communicates an important truth which Paul pounds home for Christians in his very pragmatic closing three chapters in his epistle to the Romans.

As I noted yesterday (Dec. 9) in my blog, Paul’s final chapters in Romans are more practical, as opposed to the first 11 chapters of his letter, which are primarily focused on Christian theology. As I’ve written, it was like Paul needed to relate to Christians (that’s you and me!) that we first need to know WHY WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST [i.e., accurate theology] before we then apply these principles to know HOW TO LIVE IN CHRIST.

And as one reads through the last three chapters of my Bible read in Romans here today, one sees that Paul was trying to teach/preach, as clearly and as forcefully as he could, to lesser mature Christians, that we must avoid selfish squabbles over minor issues which tend to divide the body of Christ and diminish the Church’s ability to shine Christ’s light in a very dark (and now, ever darkening) world.

And that my friends is Paul’s exhortation to MAJOR ON THE MAJORS and to avoid letting petty judgments and minor selfish issues split the church and dilute the BODY’S efforts to witness as we were promised in Acts 1: 8 and charged in Luke 9: 23 and commissioned, by Christ Himself, in Matthew 28: 19-20.

If you’ve been reading along with me in my chronological Bible quest and my journal entries this year, you should have likely memorized (or you will recognize) these three passages: and if you haven’t memorized and internalized them, I charge you to do so. Paul, wanted, as do I, for Christ’s followers, most certainly including myself, to be able to do all we can to be salt and light in this world, as Jesus Himself had preached during His earthly ministry. But we Christians can’t do this when we’re majoring on the minors.

So, … all of us who claim the Name of Christ, as His disciples, need to doing what Paul is strongly exhorting in Chapters 14-16 of his letter to the Romans. And when we MAJOR ON THE MAJORS, we can be, or become, so much more effective as disciples and witnesses for Christ in this world.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me major on YOUR majors!! Amen

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