Fellowship for brothers in Christ
by Bettie Marlowe, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 26, 2013 | 572 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paul includes quite a bit in this last chapter of his epistle to the Romans — commendation of Phebe, personal greetings, warning of false teachers, greetings from his fellow laborers in Christ, and a praise offering to God.

But the thing that stands out is the warm fellowship for those he calls brothers and sisters in Christ, and his feelings of being a servant to them.

The fact that he calls them by name, with caressing words of commendation, shows his depth of care for not only this group of people, but for all the saints.

The close relationship he has with the church is obvious in these very personal greetings. He remembers deeds and charity. Their station in life seems not to matter. The love he surrounds them with is tangible, as he draws them close.

There is a bond — maybe it has come about not only through sharing the gospel of Christ through serving, but also sharing the dangers, the trials — bearing one another’s burdens. There was a need for love in this young church. That was the only way to make it. There was nothing else that would give the strength needed.

After writing this letter from Corinth, it would be another three years before Paul would make it to Rome in person, but he was there in spirit and he loved them.

Isn’t remarkable that after 25 years of doing missionary work, Paul still did not take his ministry or the people for granted. He began as their servant after the example of Jesus Christ, and he was compelled by the love of Christ to continue until ...

Paul knew suffering. And because he did, he understood the suffering of others. He helped the people to realize they needed each other. Paul tenderly practiced the tough love he taught.

Love is:

— Slow to suspect, quick to trust.

— Slow to condemn, quick to justify.

— Slow to offend, quick to defend.

— Slow to reprimand, quick to forbear.

— Slow to belittle, quick to appreciate.

— Slow to demand, quick to give.

— Slow to provoke, quick to conciliate.

— Slow to hinder, quick to help.

— Slow to resent, quick to forgive.

— The Baptist Challenge