December 3, 2023
SERMON SERIES: GOD’S WORLDWIDE PLAN FOR EVERY PERSON
BOOK OF ROMANS
Sermon # 18: HAVING A SPIRIT OF CHRISTIAN TOLERANCE
Tolerance – Acceptance, Patience, Freedom, Understanding, Allowance, Endurance
In this particular lesson, Paul is teaching us about Christian Tolerance. In the Book of Romans, we Have learned that, as believers, we are to love one another, help one another and accept one another. This Scripture today serves as the climax of those thoughts. It tells us that we are to have a spirit of toleration toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Don’t you know that we are all different. We all come from different places, with different backgrounds and different types of up bringing. Because of this, we will have different opinions. If we aren’t careful, we will allow the differences we have, become a problem in the fellowship. We can look at a brother and sister who has different ideas or opinions than we do, and we conclude that we just won’t fellowship with them because they are just plain weirdos. Don’t you know that our differences make the church possible. If everybody had the same ideas, the church would be a dull and boring place. Because we are different, allows the church to be a place where unique personalities meet and produces a dynamic that can be found no where else in the world.
Have you ever noticed an orchestra? There are all types of instruments, they sound different, they look different, and they are all played differently. You also have all types of musicians, who have all kinds of playing habits. Yet when everything comes together, and all follow the leader and stay together, the orchestra can produce some beautiful music.
This is the Lord’s desire for his church! When we allow the Spirit of the Lord to operate in the church, we will love, respect, and tolerate one another and produce a symphony of harmony that the world cannot duplicate. In order to have harmony in the church, we have to love Jesus, as we should. We have to allow Jesus to lead, as He should. Then there will be peace, harmony, and power in the church!
Let’s take a few moments and look at these seven verses and discuss: Having A Spirit of Christian Tolerance.
I. THE DUTY OF TOLERANCE v. 1-2
This is a continuation of chapter 14 where Paul has been talking about the weaker brother. That brother who likes to judge, grumble, complain, murmur, and criticize. That brother who likes to point the finger at what other brothers are doing. Paul has been drawing a contrast between the believer who is mature in Jesus and understands his liberty in Christ and the believer who has not reached that level of maturity and does not feel free to live in liberty. So, he tells the stronger brother that he “ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” The word “ought” to introduce a condition of obligation. We have a duty of tolerance to our brothers and sisters in Jesus.
A. The strong “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” We are commanded to bear the burdens of our brother and sister. The whole idea is that of self-denial and self-sacrifice. One of the problems we have in our churches today, is that most people are so self-centered and only interested in pleasing themselves. This verse calls for us to take our eyes off ourselves and help those who are weak in faith!
B. We are to “please our neighbor”. Paul is not saying that we should try to live to please everybody. He is not teaching that we should compromise our standards just to make someone happy either. He is not advocating to please everyone at any cost mentality.
Paul is saying that we are to live the kind of lives that build others up in the Lord. We are to build up other believers, not tear them down, even when they sin or hurt us.
II. THE DEMONSTRATION OF TOLERANCE v. 3-4
A. The example of our Savior. The pattern we must follow. “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (John 10:11b). if Jesus did that, surely, we can lay down our preferences and hurts for the sake of unity in the flock.
B. The encouragement of the Scriptures. We will go through discouragement and defeat. In those times, we need to learn to look to the Word of God.
III. THE DELIGHT OF TOLERANCE v. 5-7
In these verses Paul uses one word four times “one”. This one word is the secret of a great church. A church is not great because of its buildings. It is not great because of the number of people that attend. It is not great because of the money it has in the bank. It isn’t great singing or great preaching that makes a great church. The secret of a great church is found in the little word “one”. What makes a great church is “unity”. When we come to a place where we can love one another in spite of our differences, disagreements, and our personal opinions, that is what makes a church great!
A. Produces a unity of purpose v. 5 – We are to be “likeminded.” That is, we are to be one in purpose. Everyone works for harmony. The secret of the early church (one accord). They wanted to see people saved and that was their supreme goal as a church.
B. Produces unity of praise v. 6 – The ministry of winning men to Jesus, produces an atmosphere of praise and worship in the church.
C. Produces a unity of practice v. 7 – When we have the Spirit of Christian Tolerance, we will be operating as a church, we will be quick to accept one another as we are. Our desire is to see people saved. We are to accept one another without discrimination.
Responsive Reading: Romans 15:1-7