Title:  The Ground of Acceptance

Text:  Romans 15:1-13

Focus:  The theological basis for our accepting one another in spite of differing
convictions is our Lord’s acceptance of us which reflects his gracious character. 
When we accept each other in the same way, it glorifies God.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to accept each other by showing them how
God has accepted them.

Scripture Reading:  1 Thess 5:14-15

1.  Slept on arm, woke up it was like rubber.  Can you relate?
	a.  Judging, bickering, labeling, etc. cuts off circulation of body
	b.  Self-centeredness cuts off circulation and paralysis set in
	c.  Selfless love increases circulation, warmth, and function
2.  Paul still talking about responsiblity over rights
3.  Gives theological basis for it
	a.  Actually, has been doing that in all of Romans up till now
	b.  He now returns to it to emphasize it
4.  Text answers the question - Why accept one another?
	- More than mere practical reasons

I.  Jesus Modeled it (v.1-3)
	A.  Even Christ did not please himself
		1.  Was he entitled to have everyone bend to every desire?
		2.  He could have come to earth as a king
		3.  But he chose to come as servant of servants
	B.  This isn’t the only verse that teaches this
		1.  (Phil 2:1-11) - Jesus is our model
			a.  Count others are more important than self
			b.  Not look out for own interests, but others
			c.  Same mind = “same attitude” of selflessness
		2.  This time of year, we should be reminded of these things
			a.  Nativity scene - Jesus came in average family
			b.  Magi - Gentiles (Rom 15:8-11)
			c.  Grew up in Hicksville (Nazareth)
			d.  Jesus not looking out for self, but others
		3.  See it in the rest of his life
			a.  Not worry about reputation - tax collectors, Zealots,
			b.  Washed feet
			c.  Became “friends” - Jno 15:15
			d.  Jno 16:12 - More to say, but can’t bear them now
		4.  See it in his death
			a.  Wronged by his own people - crucified
			b.  They were SO wrong
			c.  Jesus not thinking of self, but of them
			d.  Father forgive them
	C.  (Isa 42:1-4) - Quoted in Matt 12:20 of Jesus
		1.  v.3 - Poetry, 2 lines say same thing
		2.  Smoldering wick
			a.  Means it low on oil, put out lot of smoke
			b.  Get’s irritating, what to do?
			c.  Snuff it out.
		3,  But not Jesus
			a.  Not break bruised reed
			b.  Not snuff out smoldering wick
		4.  Jesus became friend of smoldering wicks
	D.  If Jesus bore weaknesses of weak, so should we
		1.  Here is someone who brought together tax collector and zealot
		2.  But they saw each other as brethren
		3.  That’s what we are to do

II.  The Character of God demands it (v.4-5)
	A.  This can be seen in the benediction
		1.  Paul invokes God’s character
		2.  God is worshipped and served according to his character
			a.  He is holy, we are to be holy
			b.  He is merciful, forgiving, righteous, etc.
	B.  Paul says God is the God of “hupomone”
		1.  Translate:  Patience, endurance, steadfastness
		2.  NASB says Perseverance
			a.  Not mere toleration which tolerates because to lazy to
			     do anything else
			b.  It is an active striving with and for his people
			c.  He perseveres AND encourages
		3.  The entire O.T. story is about God’s perseverance
			a.  Hosea 1-2 - God and his bride, Israel
			b.  Normally we would give up on faithless spouse
			c.  But God never, never gave up
		4.  Bible in so many ways shows us the faithfulness of God
			a.  He is husband, father, mother
			b.  As a parent, he never gives up on his child
	C.  Two kinds of Fathers who take child for walks
		1.  Self-centered father, walks at his own pace
			a.  Son has to run to keep up
			b.  If son falls behind, he yells, “catch up”
		2.  Sensitive father, walks at his child’s pace
			a.  Why, he knows child has trouble keeping up
			b.  Wan’t to walk “with” child
			c.  Enjoys relationship and the conversation
		3.  That is the kind of God that we have
	D.  This is written for our instruction
		1.  If we to be Godly, we need to persevere with each other
		2.  We don’t write each other off, leave, cold shoulder, etc.
		3.  We show each other and the world God’s character

III.  If Glorifies God (v.5-7)
	A.  That does it mean to glorify God?
		1.  Reveal Him.  Reveal what?
		2.  Reveal his character
		3.  How we live to show what kind of God we serve
	B.  We should ask what our conduct says about our God?
		1.  Jn 13:34-35 - Our love is strongest apologetic for faith
			a.  1 Cor 13:7 - Leave bears all things
			b.  1 Cor 13:5 - Love does not seek its own (selfless)
		2.  There are three kinds of people
			a.  Egotist - Self centered
			b.  Reciprocating Egotist
				-  Finds that being egotist is lonely
				-  Does for others, expecting a return from them
				- They think they not egotist, yet they are
				- Most people are at this level
			c.  Selfless - Disinterested goodness
		3.  (Mt 5:46-48) - No different that world
			a.  Reciprocating egotist not glorify God
			b.  Seems to be selfless, but is not
			c.  Be perfect as God is = Accepting all (even different)
		4.  Rom 15: - To have the same mind
			a.  Not mean 100% agreement (context)
			b.  Translate as “attitude”
			c.  What attitude?  Acceptance
			d.  That is what glorifies God
	C.  Book by C.S. Lewis (Screwtape letters)
		1.  Satan’s strategy of how to sabotage the church
		2.  Keep them bickering over the details, structure, organization,
		     money, property, personal hurts and misunderstandings
		3.  Do NOT let them look up and see the banner, or you lose them
	D.  We need to look up to God of perseverance
		1.  He accepts us in spite of differing convictions
		2.  Accepts weak and strong alike
		3.  When we do this, we glorify Him
		4.  People will start to take our message more seriously

1.  Theological Basis of acceptance - Our Lord accepted us
2.  Peanuts cartoon - Lucy writing letter
	a.  D-e-e-r - Charlie protests it spelled wrong
	b.  Lucy continues - Deer, an animal of the forest...
	c.  Charlie apologizes.  Lucy says problem with world is people criticizing 
 	     and not know what they are talking about
	d.  Charlie leaves, Lucy crumples paper and starts over - Dear Julia
3.  We need an atmosphere where we can be open and accepting about
	a.  Afraid to talk about them because afraid of being judged
	b.  Don’t want to admit it may be merely a matter of my conscience
	c.  How can we stop being defensive?
		- Don’t judge
		- Bear with one another, not to please self
		- Accept each other as Christ accepted you
4.  Isn’t that what our Lord did?
	a.  Didn’t he bear our burdens and accept us?
	b.  Went to cross and bore our sins
5.  But God doesn’t ask us to bear sins of the world
	a.  He just asks us to bear with the differing convictions in the body
	b.  I think we can do that

6.  Invitation - Have you accepted Christ?