Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Vision (3/29/12): With one mind and one mouth

Note:  Here are some of my notes from last Sunday’s sermon Edification and Unity (Romans 15:1-7):

“(5) Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.  (6) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).
     Note that v. 5 is both a prayer and an exhortation. Paul refers to the God of the Scriptures as “the God of patience and consolation” (exactly the same words used in v. 4 to describe the “patience and comfort” he gives through the Scriptures).  Paul asks for this God to grant to the saints a likeminded-ness toward one another.  The word “likeminded” here is a verbal phrase that means to think the same thoughts (to auto phronein; cf. Phil 2:1-2).
     This request is noteworthy, because Paul has just allowed in Romans 14 for the believers to take different stands on various non-essential matters.  But here he is saying that there must be an irreducible minimum that is not negotiable.  We can have tolerance one for another in non-essential matters, as long as we have unity in essential matters.
     In v. 6 this unity and likemindedness is made even more specific:  “that ye may with one mind (the adverb is homothumadon; this same word is used in Acts 15:2 where it says that in the Jerusalem Council the believers acted “with one accord”) and one mouth glorify God….”
     Paul is urging here both doctrinal unity and doxological unity.  The church is to think with one mind and to worship with one mouth.  You will hear some today in liberal and even in broadly evangelical churches complain that we should not press to attain clarity in what the church is to believe and how the church is to worship.  This will break up our unity, they claim.  But Paul says something here that is quite the opposite.  We don’t have real unity, unless we think with one mind and worship with one mouth.  Right theology glorifies God.  Right worship glorifies God.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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