Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
7. receive. Ro 12:10, 13. *14:1-3. 16:2. Ex 20:12. Le 19:3. Ps 119:74. Ml 1:6. +*3:16. Mt *10:14, 15, 40-42. 18:5. 25:35, 40, 43, 45, 46. Mk 6:11. *9:37-41. Lk *9:5, 48. 10:8, 10, 38, 39. 15:2. Jn 13:20, 34. Ac *9:26-28, 43. *11:25, 26. *16:15. 17:7. 2 C +*6:9. 7:2, 15. Ga 6:1. Ph 2:29. Col 4:10. 1 T 5:17. Phm 12, 17. He 13:1, 2. 1 P 2:17. 3:8. +*4:8-10. 1 J 3:14. 2 J %10. 3 J %8-10. one another. Ro +12:5. as Christ. Ro 5:2. Mt 5:48. +*11:28-30. *12:20. Lk *15:2. Jn 1:38, 39. **6:37. *13:34. *17:24. Ep 1:5. 5:2. He 2:11. 11:16. received us. Ro 12:1. Ep 2:14. Col 1:10. to the glory. ver. *9. Ro +3:23. Ps 8:1. Mt 5:16. Ep *1:6-8, 12, 18. Ph 2:11. 2 Th *1:10-12.
CROSS REFERENCES FOR FULL-TEXT STUDY, PART 1:
receive. Ro 12:10, 13. *14:1-3. 16:2. Ex 20:12. Le 19:3. Ps 119:74. Ml 1:6. +*3:16. Mt *10:14, 15, 40-42. 18:5. 25:35, 40, 43, 45, 46. Mk 6:11. *9:37-41. Lk *9:5, 48. 10:8, 10, 38, 39. 15:2. Jn 13:20, 34. Ac *9:26-28, 43. *11:25, 26. *16:15. 17:7. 2 C +*6:9. 7:2, 15. Ga 6:1. Ph 2:29. Col 4:10. 1 T 5:17. Phm 12, 17. He 13:1, 2. 1 P 2:17. 3:8. +*4:8-10. 1 J 3:14. 2 J %10. 3 J %8-10.
CROSS REFERENCE TEXTS
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Comment: [Note, by request and the kind suggestions of other readers here, I am including comments on some of the verses cited from the Cross References.] If we followed this command, we obviously would receive one another. Therefore, failure to obey Romans 15:7 involves us in a violation of this command too.
Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Comment: I have gratefully received the benefit of help from a local church that was clearly obedient to the first half of this verse, but which utterly failed to follow the second half of this verse. They helped my family shortly after I was shot at school in the back of the head by a stranger wielding a nine-millimeter handgun at point-blank range. Yet they were not “given to hospitality.” To this very day, decades later, the church marquee still does not employ the word “welcome” anywhere in its text. Upon his first visit to my home, the pastor remarked that I “talk too much about the Bible and too much about the Lord.”
Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
The larger context of this passage has been much discussed on this site in comments I have submitted in response to comments offered by others.
The point of the passage is that we ought not to be criticizing or condemning others who have a different point of view on matters pertaining to what we choose to eat, or the day of the week we choose to worship.
Paul directly tells us “let every man be fully persuaded (margin, fully assured) in his own mind” about these matters (Romans 14:5).
This hardly means that we must not use force to enforce obedience to Bible truth–that is not at all the question in context.
Rather, stronger brethren in the faith are urged not to upset the weaker brethren in matters pertaining to such scruples. Nor should the weaker brethren urge others to follow their scruples. The stronger in faith are not bothered by such issues, for they are inconsequential, Paul teaches.
Such scruples do become extremely consequential when individuals and denominations violate Paul’s directive and insist, for example, that their chosen day of worship, or their chosen foods to eat or not eat, is the only correct view. Such views and practices are the mark of a false cult, not a truly Christian church, for they violate the liberty we now have in Christ by insisting that we keep the Law on these issues. In Paul’s day these issues were the very problem he was gently correcting in the letter to the Romans, problems brought on by Judaizers (who had no understanding of Grace) infiltrating the Church.
Rom 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
Rom 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Comment: Note that Paul most certainly permitted women to participate in Christian service in the local church, and insisted that such women be received.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Leviticus 19:3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
Comment: For “fear,” modern English translations use “respect” or “revere.” Here in Leviticus 19:3 the command to honor parents is directly linked with the command “and keep my sabbaths.” The New Testament nowhere makes this link. The Fourth Commandment regarding the Sabbath is never quoted in the New Testament. It is no longer a matter of obligation for New Testament believers. Not one example in the New Testament Epistles can be found of any caution regarding Sabbath-breaking. By direct example the New Testament shows it was the practice of Christians to meet for specifically Christian worship on the First Day of the week (Acts 20:7. 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2), never once on the Jewish Seventh Day Sabbath. Of course, the record in the early portion, if not the entire book of Acts, is a transition period. The first Christians were all Jews in Jerusalem. It took a while for them to learn fully their new position in Christ. Nevertheless, there is not a single example of Christians meeting on the Jewish Sabbath for specifically Christian worship–worship including the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, spoken of as the breaking of bread.
Psa 119:74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
Comment: This verse shows us how every Bible-believing Christian ought to be received. When a church and congregation will not receive a newcomer, this shows that they do not fear the Lord. That is proper evidence to call their relationship with the Lord into question. Perhaps a few of the congregation may be truly saved, but if they were properly studying their Bibles such wrong attitudes would surely be corrected.
I have been a member of many small churches as well as very large ones. Always, if the churches were Bible believing churches, I was welcomed with open arms and almost immediately put to work. Most churches I’ve attended are short when it comes to knowledgeable workers to teach Sunday school, serve on the elder board, work with the young people. But now that I’ve been living in a rural community, the small churches in the nearest town appear to be, sociologically speaking, “village churches.” Such churches are very much a social “click.” They welcome newcomers so long as the newcomers are not a threat to their established social framework. They would never welcome a newcomer who knows anything about the Bible. That is strictly the province of the Pastor.
Such churches are an abomination to the Lord, you may be sure, because they have little to no Gospel outreach into the community, and don’t welcome anyone to attend who might be interested in promoting such an outreach, even when the church has the word “Missionary” as part of its name.
What we need instead are “camp churches,” churches made up of genuine believers who are there because they love the Bible, want to see souls saved, and are there for spiritual growth and are eager to study the Bible, because they are excited about the Lord and what He has done and does for us. “Camp churches,” whatever the denomination, receive and welcome newcomers into the fellowship, and take care to introduce newcomers into the fellowship on an ongoing basis, making sure they feel welcome and come to feel “at home” in the church.
Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Comment: Pastors and members of “village churches” have totally missed this verse! Someone needs to show it to them repeatedly until they get the message. No one who properly knows and believes the Bible would ever even think to tell a newcomer to their church like myself, “Jerry, you talk too much about the Lord, and too much about the Bible.”
As a senior in high school I was voted, in the Senior Mock Elections, as “The Most Bashful Boy” in the Senior Class, and so appeared that year in the school yearbook. I think to this day that my fellow students at Cass Technical High School were most perceptive and accurate in their judgment of character and personality in my case. The pastor I refer to certainly was not.
God rejoices when we speak to one another about Him and His Word. He tells us He is keeping a record of that. But have you noticed that people are in such a rush to get out of church once the morning service is over that they won’t take time to so much as greet one another? Let alone actually talk about the Bible, or the Pastor’s message while its fresh in their minds, or something else of spiritual profit as they leave. Where else do genuine believers have the opportunity to fellowship with one another if not at church? The problem is, most churches, particularly “village churches,’ fail to make intentional provision for fellowship.
No fellowship takes place while everyone is seated in pews that are nailed to the floor so all heads are facing one way–towards the pulpit. All you get to see is the backs of the heads of those who sit in front of you. You never get to meet and know them in a typical church.
Genuine fellowship cannot take place in groups larger than about eight or twelve persons. But pastors of village churches have told me they have no use for small groups and small group ministry in their church. They do not want Bible studies going on in the homes of the church members either. Small group Bible studies, I was told, lead to schism or division in the church. One pastor actually exclaimed sarcastically, “All this church needs is another Bible study!”
Most pastors do not know what a true Bible study is like. Neither do most church-goers. If they did, they would eagerly promote such activity. A true Bible study is not a glorified Sunday school class with a scripted outline of what the leader will teach. Rather, a true Bible study is open to the questions of those who attend, and everyone participates and contributes to the study and the answering of Bible questions and life questions that relate to the Bible. Once people get a genuine taste of God’s Word, they are eager for more, and so are their friends, and the group grows, and so does the church, and more groups must be formed.
Schism? How about facing the reality: people need to be grounded in their faith by being grounded in Scripture.
Schism? Avoid that as a Pastor by learning how to listen. When people know you will listen to them, on a regular basis, as a matter of course, people will respond by developing loyalty to the Pastor.
Schism? Avoid that as a Pastor by actually sanctioning Bible study groups as an important feature of the ministry of the Church. Not only sanction them, but promote them and develop the leadership needed to properly conduct them. Each group should be constructed intentionally to develop new leadership for additional groups as the need arises so no one group becomes too large for fellowship and nurture to take place.
Do I need to post a whole book on this subject for you to get the point? I easily could. At his request, I “ghost wrote” Dr. Carl George’s book, Prepare Your Church for the Future, a book which discusses how to grow your church. So you might imagine I do know something about the subject.
Where I have served in a teaching or leadership capacity in a local church the Sunday school class has grown, or the youth group has grown, or the church has grown in regular attendance. That is what so upsets me about the local village churches who have never welcomed me here where I now live. I wonder if, on Judgment Day, there may be some very unpleasant consequences for those guilty of failing to “receive one another,” for in the past I have seen whole communities changed for the better as a result of effective outreach with the Gospel when churches did receive one another.