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Summary: So, how strong are you?

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Title: We who are Strong

Scripture: Romans 15:1-7 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

I come from a very big family, six kids and four of them girls. So there was always a boy or two at the door on Friday or Saturday night. And, they always seemed to give me a hard time.

I remember when I was about eight or nine, my family went off to the ‘county fair’ to look at the exhibits and ride the carnival rides. We were met there by my oldest two sisters’ boyfriends and they went off to throw baseballs at kewpie dolls, eat cotton candy, and hold hands. The younger kids stayed with mom and dad, but that was okay. We got to go see the rabbits and the horses, which was always a big deal for me.

I remember we came out from looking at the horses and we were walking down through the carnival. We came upon that game where you take a big hammer and hit a seesaw target that would then send a weight up a pole to try to ring the bell at the top of the tall background. As you follow the pole up to the top there are different references to tell you just how strong you are, if you get it to that point. Today they have miniature versions of that game, but instead of hitting a target with a hammer, you hit a padded punching bag, and the machine tells you how strong you are.

So, how strong are you? Are you strong in spirit or in mind or in both? Are you strong in body and spirit but weak in mind, or are you strong in all three? Are you weak when it comes to physical temptations and strong when it comes to mental stress?

Paul wants you to know that if you are weak in any of these areas that you shouldn’t despair, because those that are strong should be stepping in to help.

Just how are they strong? How do they work? How do they help? Paul recounts a list for the strong:

The strong: Bear with the failings of the weak

The strong: Seek to please for the good of others

The strong: Study the scriptures

The strong: Have hope and faith

The strong: Have a spirit of unity

The strong: Encourage fellowship and followship of Jesus

The strong: Are accepting of others

The strong: Bear with the failings of the weak

Paul calls on the strong Christian to bear with the failings of the weak. He calls on you that are strong in the Lord to lift up those around you.

To bear with in the scripture means support, sustain, uphold, and to back those that are weaker. In the King James Version, that first in chapter 15 is,

1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Now, I mention the KJV here because it seems to say something a little different than the NIV. The NIV seems to be telling us to tolerate or simply put up with the weaker member. Which, to me, is only a passing thought, and a matter for patience. But, the KJV, tells us to take on the infirmities or the condition of the weaker person. There isn’t any other way around bear the infirmities of the weak. We must support, uphold, back, and sustain those that are weaker.

Remember what Paul has told us in 1st Corinthians 9:22:

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

He took on the infirmities of those around them for the glory of God and to win people into God’s kingdom.

Which brings up a very important point? When you are talking with people, into which kingdom are you trying to win them?

Next point.

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