Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
CROSS REFERENCES FOR FULL-TEXT STUDY, PART 5:
receive. Ac *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
Acts 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
Lydia, a “seller of purple,” was a business woman who exercised the gift of hospitality. All of us need that. Who can tell just what impact our friendship will have on a newcomer to our church, an impact that could possibly bring about eternal results for God’s glory.
Not all of us have the native ability to effortlessly exercise hospitality to others, but we ought to make it our concern to always be welcoming to others. Certainly we need to make sure that we are not acting in an unwelcoming manner!
This means helping newcomers to get to know others in our Christian fellowship or church. This needs to be carefully designed into how we “do church.” When we have a social function at church, such as a church supper, do we leave newcomers to themselves with no one to talk to? I have been through that at the local “village church.”
There ought not to be any such thing as a “village church” in the sociological sense. Such a church is friendly to individuals who come from the community, or whose family has been in the church, and who were introduced to the church nine months before birth. But if a newcomer from outside the local community moves to town and starts attending church, they are given the cold shoulder.
We need what are called “camp churches,” Christian fellowships composed of blood-bought Bible believing Christians who are met together on the basis of their personal saving relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ. They are there for Christian growth. They are interested primarily in spiritual things. They love to talk to each other about things God is doing in their lives, or what God has taught them in His Word, the Bible. They are interested in and deeply committed to Bible study.
My experience in the local “village church” involved none of the above. People in the church who I had met regularly in the course of normal business in the community–the owner of a hardware store, a lady who was the vice president of the local Friends of the Library Committee where I was the president, never once welcomed me when I started attending their church. Never a greeting, never a handshake, and absolutely never a conversation about anything, let alone about the Lord.
Is your church like that? I even went to the pastor of this church and shared with him how unfriendly his church seemed to be. He replied, “Jerry, I can’t make the people be friendly.” I believe the pastor tried to make adjustments in the church order on Sunday mornings and evenings to address this issue. He had a different family of the church featured each week which he introduced to the rest of the congregation, particularly to benefit newcomers who might not know the family by name.
But this does not improve the climate of fellowship. If I could even manage to remember the family’s names, there was no opportunity provided to personally get to know them on any level.
The pastor arranged for informal get-togethers once a month after the Sunday evening service. But the names of participants were arbitrarily parceled out to participating homes where we would meet, and the group so assembled one month never met again as a group in a home setting, so again, no one really had a chance to get to know anyone else by going to such meetings.
The odd thing is, I was asked by Dr. Carl George about this time to ghost write his book, Prepare Your Church for the Future, so I was well-equipped by that recent experience to share strategies and principles that may well have proven effective, but as a newcomer, I had no permission, and so no “platform” or basis of authority to share what I knew.
I sometimes wonder if our Lord Jesus Christ himself were to surreptitiously visit a “village church” would even He be admitted to their fellowship?
Dr. Carl George may have it right. In a telephone call when I reported my experience to him, he said, “Jerry, shame on you for even attending such a church after all you now know about ‘village churches’ from ghost-writing my book!” He indicated that in his opinion it is impossible for a newcomer to truly enter into the fellowship of such a church. I tried carefully for nearly five years to prove him wrong, and it did not work.
Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Take note that we do not know much about Jason, but his name is associated in the Bible for all time as being a person who received fellow believers in Christ. What if we were all to be known for the same reason to those even outside the Christian community we inhabit on Sunday mornings?
2 Corinthians 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
I have marked this passage with a “+” symbol in the cross references given above. That symbol means “find more here.” The references are too numerous to include in this series on Romans 15:7, but if you have access to them in The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, I believe the references will shed much additional helpful light on this verse and the theme as a whole.
2 Corinthians 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
2 Corinthians 7:14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
2Co 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
Paul knew how to bring a new leader properly into the local congregation. He gave his stamp of authority and approval to those working with him. I have met a number of pastors, including Pastor Carl George, who are very good at this. What a contrast to the reception afforded to me in the local “village church.” As a result, I was able to be blessed and to be a blessing to many in Pastor George’s church in Gainesville, Florida, many years ago now, in 1974.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Part of receiving one another is to exercise a ministry of compassion, and a ministry of helping others overcome spiritual and other difficulties as the Lord enables us. We can be a blessing by offering needed instruction from God’s Word, by offering our prayer support, and whatever practical or tangible support the Lord may open the door for us to provide.
Philippians 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
Once again, we have an instance of Paul supporting a newcomer with his own authority and commendation. Remember that Barnabas went to great effort to support Paul when he first became acquainted with Christians in Jerusalem after his own conversion.
Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Marcus, better known as Mark, was the one who accompanied Paul and Barnabas initially in the record found in the book of Acts. Mark proved, in Paul’s eyes, to be unfaithful. When Barnabas insisted on Mark joining them again, Paul declined, and Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways. But in this text we see that Paul has come to recognize the value of Mark once again, so the former difficulties in their relationship must have been overcome. Paul is now insisting that Mark be fully received by all believers.