Romans 15:5-7

Ross Woodhouse

 

Be ye holy as I am holy is our default position. Love God and love others is our default position. Keeping our focus on the person of Jesus and allowing him at every juncture in life to influence what we do, by his grace and the power of the Holy Spirit…is our default position

Unity in the spirit is powerful enough to mitigate division, it progresses vision and keeps the church on the task of Gods mission. As soon as our attention is diverted from being on Jesus, we potentially invite division, seeds of disunity can be sown, there can be discord and it shows in the way we behave toward each other.

What are we prepared to do for unity? What are we prepared to do in our attitude/s toward others?

(READ Rom. 15:1f…key verses 5-7)

Revise Paul’s prayer again: that God would give Christ followers the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had toward others. This is the greatest mitigating factor to disunity we can have in the church.

How Christ has accepted us …is the acceptance we extend to others. That starts with our attitude/s, which influences our thinking and our actions.

So I want to highlight two matters from this text today, the challenge in attitude and the change in attitude

  1. The Challenge in attitude
    1. Attitude here is a posture, or a state. I can give that person attitude or I can have an attitude toward that person. Paul’s encouragement to the church was to bring their (plural) attitude into alignment with Jesus’ attitude, to copy his attitude.
    2. God’s grace toward us, ought to compel us to pursue growth, not stay static
    3. We have an enemy who we know wants at every point to cause disruption in our lives and the church, through gossip, half-truths, sowing seeds of discord, being disrespectful, harbouring resentment etc …he will try and convince and coax us into thinking that the things that can and do happen in church life…are all good, when they’re not!
    4. However, the Holy Spirit will show us that in fact those actions and behaviours are not of him and are not conducive to the unity he wants.

 

  1. The Change in attitude (how)
    1. That attitude of mind, that posture, means then that we, have one mind, and are one voice. It means, with the Holy Spirit’s aid, we do, what we need to do to be in sync with each other, because what is at stake, is God being glorified.
    2. It does not mean that Christians come to the exact same conclusion on all matters of faith and that there is never debate or disagreement. The overarching principle though is always unity, governed by love and respect.

 

Four key strategies for changing attitudes:

  1. Acknowledge the need for change
    1. (READ 1 Cor. 1:10)
    2. The strategy is: being guarded to complacency and identifying the fact that as good as things seem, there is always room to grow.
  1. Address the obstacles
    1. (READ Col. 3:12-14)
    2. Having the same attitude as Jesus is weeding out any and every obstacle that stands in the way of unity. This strategy is allowing God to show us very specifically, what are or where the obstacles are, in me.
  • Acknowledge my need to change
    1. (READ 1 Tim. 1:12-16 & Psalm 51)
    2. We will never move on from what we’re unwilling to acknowledge.
    3. Our confession of sin, and need of God precipitates his grace.
  1. Adjust to a new attitude
    1. Adjusting to a new attitude therefore is putting the necessary measures in place like:

…we get in control of our thought life (taking every thought captive and holding it obedient to Christ)

…we learn to identify a non-glorifying attitude promptly and seek to get right with God and with others

…learn and apply the attitude of Jesus 

It doesn’t matter what our attitude has been in ourselves, toward others, toward God, today we can choose to say, “I want to put this right Lord”, I don’t want to go another day with this chip on my shoulder, with resentment in my life, I want to allow your Spirit to change, I want to push forward Lord…allow your grace to “lavish” on me.