KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 15:3 ” And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.”
Paul and Barnabas with some of the Jewish Christians left for Jerusalem. On their way they passed through Phenice and Samaria. These were towns close to Jerusalem.
They made sure that they stopped over to visit the churches in these places and shared testimonies of the conversions among the gentiles. This bought a great joy to them. Paul was on a mission going to Jerusalem to receive the verdict of the Apostles about whether Christians should observe the laws of Moses before one could be saved or not? I believe this assignment should have kept his attention and not to divert anywhere. Paul who is a lover of all Christians and the spiritual and natural welfare of the churches was so important to him. He stopped over in these two cities to visit the brethren to share testimonies of what God has been doing through them. This was a selfless man.
In our modern times, most of us are so denominationally inclined such that we are almost careless about what happens to “those of the other churches”. Every Christian is in the big family of the household of faith. Whether Pentecostals, Orthodox, or Charismatics, we are one big family with one Lord, one Holy Spirit and one father. Just consider Paul’s passion for Christians as a whole is seen in this statement ;2nd Corinthians 11:28,29 “Beside those things that are without that comes on me, the care of all churches. Who is weak and I am not weak, who is offended and I burn not”? His life epitomised God’s wishes for his children. This was a man who had a care for every Christian on the face of the earth. The prayers he made or said in his epistles to the Christians speak volumes.
It is a big error to find Christians back biting each other. Some brethren rejoice at the fall, failure or the shame of other brethren. Some of our brethren find themselves in crises and become isolated such that, it seems they are in an island. No one seems to care or notice what is happening to them. Hebrews 10:24 admonishes us that “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”. We must take steps that would encourage others to express trust and love among the brethren. To provoke means to incite or motivate. We must share with brethren their burdens.
Some brethren became a symbol of ridicule because their weakness or shortcoming got to the domain of the public through one person, he or she might have confided in. How can such a brother be inspired to love others if treated this way? Well we do not respond to evil and wickedness in the same vain, we overcome evil with good. If a brother disappointed you, do not generalise and say everybody is like that.
Do not allow bitterness to consume you. Hebrews 12:15. Forgive and release the brother or sister from your heart.
Father, I pray for all Christians to walk in love. Strengthening one another by our kind deeds that we demonstrate to one another.
John 13:34 ” A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Romans 12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”