“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”
Romans 1:12 NLT
It has been a long year. From last Easter to this Easter, the biggest thing I have missed is the face-to-face interaction with people. We have been blessed to have online communication with our services, but it is not the same.
To me, nothing substitutes for face-to-face meeting and worshiping together. It is always encouraging to see people, especially if you have not seen them in a while.
Paul always wanted to go to Rome to minister to and with the Roman church. In fact, in Romans 1:11 NKJV he says: “For I long to see you, …” Paul wants to see them face-to-face.
The reason he wants to meet with them in person is for mutual encouragement. Romans 1:12 NKJV states: “that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” The NLT simply translates the verse: “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”
Paul knew it was important to see the Romans in person to encourage them in their faith. He also knew it was important for him to be encouraged by the members of the Roman church in his faith too. Their mutual faith is their common ground. The idea is that they will comfort each other together.
Paul is right. Your pastors need to encourage you and we, your pastors, need to be encouraged by you. And you also need to encourage each other. Paul eventually does make it to Rome. Even though he is placed in prison, he can meet face-to-face with Roman believers and others who came to visit. He was encouraged by their visits and he was able to encourage those who came.
Now that our state is reopening, this gives us an opportunity to come together again for mutual encouragement. Beginning the Sunday after Easter, we will begin to offer Life groups after the morning worship services. It is important for us to worship together and it is important for us to reengage in our Life Groups. Some people are ready, others are not just yet, but one thing is for sure, we all need to encourage each other.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I preached a sermon series entitled: “Letters from Lockdown: Practical Advice from Paul in Prison.” At that point, all our services were online. We will continue to offer our worship service online moving forward. At the same time, we want to encourage you to reengage face-to-face with your church family as soon as you can. We miss you and long to see you.
I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.