In Romans 15:5-6, Paul pronounces a benediction of unity upon his readers. The benediction encourages them to live in harmony and to welcome each other. Unity among believers matters because it brings glory to God, it follows the example of Christ, and it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Unity should be a witness to a watching world (John 17:20-23). We are to be a unified body, a family, a fellowship.
A benediction is a sincere, earnest wish for all who hear it to receive by faith. Paul’s New Testament letters are filled with benedictions of grace because he understood the reality, necessity, and wonder of God’s grace. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, lavished upon us and available because of Christs’s sacrificial death on the cross. “Grace to you” refers to our salvation apart from our own works. “Grace with you” refers to our ability to access God’s grace in our lives each day.
To worship God better we must know God and take up His character. Know that the Lord is God, know that He is good, gracious, steadfast in His love. He is truly worthy of thankful praise and devoted worship.
The last command of the Bible is “Worship God” (Revelation 22:9). Jesus warned the people against hypocritical worship (Mark 7:7) So how can we worship in spirit and truth? True worship is a mark of saving faith. It is both a corporate activity and a daily lifestyle. Our worship of all three members of the Trinity will continue throughout eternity.
In Mark 7:1-13 Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for replacing the truth of God’s Word with the traditions of men. Their rules and rituals reflected a desire to put forth a show of outward purity rather than the cultivation of a heart which inwardly follows the truth of scripture. Let us never neglect the Word of God and always worship God in Spirit and in truth.
In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul continues his prayer for believers by asking God to give them knowledge of the "riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints." The meaning of this is twofold: 1) We are God's beloved and valued inheritance (Malachi 3:16-17). 2) God bestows upon us the inheritance of Himself and of His many promises (Matthew 25:34, John 14:1-3, and other verses). Let Paul's prayer shape our prayers, and let it reorient our lives to serve Him in joy and holiness.
Let us be a church on mission together for the glory of God, present together in spirit while physically separated. A church on mission prays and provides care and encouragement. It edifies and exhorts one another to practice integrity even while alone.
We are as safe as God is powerful. Paul's prayer (Ephesians 1:18-23) echoes the promises given in 1Peter 1:3-5. Our living hope and our inheritance in the saints are secure through the immeasurable, great power of God.
Our greatest need and privilege is to know God (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Paul prays for the believers, asking the Father of glory to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. This knowledge is more than knowing facts or even understanding deep doctrinal truths. It is a relationship with the true, living God, growing in close fellowship with Him as the Holy Spirit gives us insight through the Scriptures.
On the day of Pentecost all the gathered believers are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for bold proclamation of the good new of Jesus. Boldness is not rudeness. It is courage mixed with compassion. Let us obey the directive of Christ in Luke 11:13 to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit.