Summary: What does scripture say that we can give more than thanks?
Iliff and Saltillo UM
November 7, 2004
"Giving More than Thanks"
INTRODUCTION: This scripture is referring to believers, both strong Christians and those weak in the faith. Paul was addressing the total Christian community made up of persons who were from various backgrounds and convictions. A problem occurred where the more mature Christians "looked down on" those who were considered weaker in the faith. The weak person, however, "judged" the stronger Christian for taking more liberties. The main thing was questions of conscience where Christians differed as to doubts about whether it was right or wrong for them to eat certain foods. Paul is trying to make the point here that GOD’S approval is more significant than the approval or disapproval of others.
In the opening part of the verse, Paul says that Christians do not live to themselves or die to themselves because they live as unto the Lord. This attachment to the Lord does not cease with death but carries into the next life. (Phil 1:20). A good relationship with the Lord was the key to life and what they should be striving for.
As we look at this scripture, we can find applications for our own lives. As this season of the year we automatically think about giving thanks--thanksgiving for all that God has done for us throughout the past year. I chose the title, "Give MORE THAN THANKS" for this message today. Paul tells the people, "every one of us will give an account of himself to God." If we take this scripture to heart, our lives will be lived in such a way that we can give much thanksgiving to God because our lives will be pleasing to Him and we will be approved of Him. That is what counts.
1. Taking Too Much Responsibility for Others--In this scripture Paul saw that Christians were spending too much time trying to deal with problems and areas that didn’t amount to that much but which were robbing them of their joy and their peace. He was asking them, "Why are you spending all of your energies on things which are so minute that they won’t matter in the end? Why all this clashing and bickering among you?"
Many times we allow ourselves to take too much responsibility for others. We make it our business to check out what another Christian is DOING and NOT DOING and make our judgment. Many churches try to make up a list of rules that people must conform to or they can’t be a part of "our church." Paul was experiencing this in the church at Rome. He asked, "Why all this clashing and contradicting one another?" You’re spending all your time trying to take responsibility for others’ actions and you don’t need to do that.
Satan takes our eyes off the Lord by causing us to take OWNERSHIP for the actions of others. We become a self appointed "FRUIT INSPECTOR." We say, "It’s my duty as a Christian to point out what this person is or is not doing and get them straightened out."
A strong Christian may "look down on a person" who is weak in the faith saying, "they think they are a Christian but..."
A weak Christian may "judge" the person who is stronger in the faith and say, "He should do this or that because I think it is wrong..."
Paul is saying, "Whoa...you both need to make some adjustments here. Why do you who are strong in the faith try to depreciate the faith of the weaker person and why do you who are weak judge the strong? You are both trying to take responsibility for something that you don’t need to. It is not your job. Don’t worry about taking this on to yourselves.
The Message Bible says, "So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God."
He goes on to say, "Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is."
STORY: The Carpenter
Two brothrs lived on adjoining farms and they began to have conflict with one another. It was the first serious rift in 40 years in farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods without a hitch. Then things began to fall apart. It began with a misundertanding and it grew into a major difference. Finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”