Summary: As Christians, we have many responsibilities. Some are to God, some to ourselves, and some to others. A mature child of God realizes all three responsibilities.
Text: Romans 15:1-4 (NIV)
As Christians, we have many responsibilities. Some are to God, some to ourselves, and some to others.
A mature child of God realizes all three responsibilities.
The question is – Are you weak, or are you strong?
For the sake of the discussion, lets say you are the stronger one tonight.
The divine duty of strong Christians is to consider the needs of all believers. If we are strong in the Lord, we must meet the needs of those who may be weak.
This passage recognizes that there are those who are strong, and there are those who are weak. There are times when the stronger will look down on the weaker.
And, as a result, the stronger will become frustrated.
If you consider yourself not to be among the weaker:
· You should be careful so as not to be condescending to anyone.
· You must bear the infirmities and shortcomings of the weak.
We all have our infirmities; but the weak are more likely to suffer more than other than the strong do.
We must consider the weak; and not put them down.
Let us encourage them, and support them in spite of their infirmities and shortcomings.
Through their shortcomings, the weak may choose to judge or to censure us, or to speak evil of us.
None the less, we should learn to be patient with them.
We must learn to bear their weaknesses and console them. We cannot distance ourselves from them.
We see this to be the case with Christ.
He bore the weaknesses of His disciples many times.
We must also bear the infirmities of our fellow believers-
1. Empathizing with them. (It could be us next time.)
2. Show genuine concerning for helping them.
3. Minister strength to them with the love of the Lord.
We must bear one another’s burdens.
What is troubling them should at least concern us.
We must not look to please ourselves.
Rather, we must please God.
We must deny our own feelings, and be more considerate of our brother’s weakness and infirmity.
Mature Christians mustn’t expect to please themselves.
Rather we must please God by pleasing our neighbor (literally, fellow Christian).
We must not make it our business to gratify all the little desires of our own heart. It is good for us to examine ourselves, so that we may be the better person.
There are two lessons we must learn:
1) The first lesson we have to learn is to deny ourselves,
…Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
In this case denying ourselves means we are to please our brethren. We are to soften our spirit man, to teach us the art of compassion for the weaknesses of our “neighbor” brethren—
We deny ourselves for two reasons. First for the glory of God and secondly for the edification of others.
Think of how considerate and loving the church of Christ would be if Christians would study how to please one another, when we think of how the world is fighting among itself.
This is not to say that we are to please others in a sinful way, or consenting to any their sins. If we please men with sin, we are not being the servants of Christ we called to be.
But we should please our brothers for their spiritual good. This means to edify them.
This is not just for them, but so they can edify others. That is, to edify the entire body of Christ.
For example, let me tell you about the patio stones at the house. They have been joined for about 30 days. The longer they sit close together the better they are squared off and fit one another, and the stronger and more even they become.
Christ is our cornerstone. Even Christ did not please himself. The self-denial of our Lord Jesus is the best example we have to live by.
Christ did not please himself.
He did not concern Himself with His own reputation, or how easy His life would be, or His safety, or His pleasure.
He did not have anywhere to lay his head.
He lived upon alms, and would not allow the people to make Him the king.
They said, “Master, save thyself!” But He did not.
“…I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
Consider that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, and even endured the hatred of the religious and the sinners.
2) The second lesson we must learn is be more sensitive.
Jesus felt the suffering of others.
32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."