The first Christians were all Jews (from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and their churches were in Judea. God gave Paul the special work to establish churches among the Gentiles (people who are not Jews).
Many of Judeaís Christians had doubted that Gentiles could be Christians. It was not easy for them to accept Paulís work. However, at a special meeting in Jerusalem, the leaders approved of Paulís work among the Gentiles*. At the same time, they asked Paul to collect money from the Gentile Christians to help Judeaís poor Christians*.
Several years passed before Paul was able to bring that gift. However, he never forgot about it. As he established churches across the countries now called Greece and Turkey, that gift became an important part of his plan.
All Christians everywhere need to recognise that they all belong to the family of God. People may separate Jews and Gentiles, but God brings them together*.
Paul saw that the effect of that gift would be to unite Christians from different nations. By it, the Gentile Christians were showing a real act of love towards the Jewish Christians. That love showed that those Gentiles really had become Christians*. It was clear evidence that they really had accepted the gospel, the message of Christ. Their decision to serve God, and to give this gift, gave great honour to God.
So Judeaís Christians would have many reasons to thank God. They would thank him that those Gentiles really had become Christians. They would thank him for the power of the gospel in the lives of so many people. They would thank him for the love and generous gifts of the Gentile Christians. They would thank him that he had provided for them in such a wonderful way.
Next part: Prayers for the people who gave (9:14)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.