Summary: These verses call on us to be tolerant to others who may not dot every 'i' or cross every 't' exactly as we do.
Paul continues his theme of chapter 14 - dividing over debatables...how to live out your convictions in the gray areas of life without judging others or causing them to stumble in their own walk.
Along with having convictions, we must have a conscience, and now we add to that 'consideration.' [tolerance]
These verses call on us to be tolerant to others who may not dot every 'i' or cross every 't' exactly as we do. Let's be clear: It's not talking about tolerating sin or a false gospel. That's compromise.
16:17 - mark and avoid them
Christian consideration is being lovingly patient with those with whom we differ in the gray areas.
Investigate church splits, and you'll find that most don't occur over matters of the essentials, but the petty.
In essentials-unity. In non-essentials-liberty. In all things-charity.
1. The Duty of Christian Consideration. [2. beauty 3. unity]
v. 1 'we ought to'
'infirmities' isn't a reference to physical problems. It's talking about their weak areas. It's a stronger brother helping a weaker one. It's giving up your rights to meat so as not to offend or cause to stumble them that believe it is wrong to eat it.
ill.--I love southern gospel music. I have good friends who do not. And I respect that when they are in my car or our home.
It is not hypocritical to lay aside your rights in order not to offend...it's Biblical!
v. 1 'bear' is the same word used for Jesus bearing His cross...it's a call to the crucified life! Jesus bore that cross, not to please Himself, but His father, and to save us children!
'not to please ourselves'. Let's be honest. We live our lives to please ourselves. Every day and in every way we are seeking our own happiness, and not others. We come to church hoping that it blesses us. We want the music to be the way we like it, and the temperature, and the sermon, and the people we sit with, and what they are serving at the meal, etc.
So we are to live a crucified life.
Also, a constructive life.
v. 2 'edify' is an architectural term meaning 'to build up.' When we come into contact with other believers we WILL have one of two effects on them: 1. Build them up. 2. Tear them down. [stumbling block or stepping stone]
Our passage says that one way to build up others is to give up our own rights.
ill.--I was an only child for 7.5 years. When my little sister came along, everything changed. I had to put away knives and drinks, and couldn't throw things in the house. Once she was walking she would follow me. Me and my friends loved to play ball in the street. Mom said we had to play in the yard. I said, mom, we know when a car is coming, and we get out of the way. She said, yes, but your sister sees you, and she will follow and get hit, and then we'll have to kill you!
I was the strong, and had to give up something for the sake of the weak. It's not about what is fair, it's about what is RIGHT.
We must live the crucified, constructive life...it's the duty of Christian Consideration.
2. The Beauty of Christian Consideration.
v. 3 The first phrase is the beauty of it all! It is a beautiful example for us all. Jesus was God in the flesh, and had every right to do what He wanted, but said things like:
"I come not to do my own will, but my Father's"
"I do always those things which please Him."
He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister...
Next in v. 3 is a quote from Psalm 69:9
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Turn to Psalm 69. vv. 7-8 show the home life of Jesus...some of His own family rejected Him.
v. 11 'proverb' = 'joke'
Most never believed that He was truly born of a virgin. But that story had to have gone everywhere and the cloud of illegitimacy hung over His head all His life. Was He called a 'bastard'?
v. 12 The city officials and upper echelon were against Him. Some said He was possessed by demons or called Him a drunk or a crazy person. The end of the verse suggests that they made up songs about Him, making fun of Him.
Do you think you've ever been slandered? You've never been slandered like Jesus was! [gossiped about / mistreated / hated?]
Paul quotes Psalm 69 to say that if the Lord could bear all of this for us, then why can't we give up something for our brethren?