TITLE: The unity of weak & strong Christians.
TEXT: Romans 15:1-7
ILLUSTRATION: Two armies meet for battle, each has a representative.
On one side we have a warrior, nine feet tall, wearing armor approx. 150-200 pounds, a giant. But he had no wisdom. He never had to trust in anything else but himself and his items of warfare. Like the Egyptians to their horses. He’s a heathen. He has raw strength but a weak spirit. His appearance is strong, no doubt. But he is the weaker one inwardly. Very intimidating outwardly, lacking maturity inwardly and as a result it cost him his life and the defeat of the army that day.
On the other side one much smaller in stature, a youth, but he had wisdom. His experience with trusting God when conquering beasts (bear & lion), gave him the upper hand. Because of his experience in life, though limited in time on earth, grander in knowledge, He had God on his side. And he had the wisdom to know that. In this sense. And this is why David was able to kill Goliath with a sling and a stone (1 Sam. 17).
We Christians might face outwardly strong adversaries in the religious world, yet with the Bible and a faithful heart, we can persevere and conquer.
There is another interesting perspective in the account of David & Goliath which pertains to the principle we seek expound on this day. David was the outward weaker brother according to his own people the Israelites and his siblings. His inward strength was able to unite the army in defeat of the heathen (Philistines). David was able to pass judgment on the opinion of his weaker brethren and siblings in order to become selfless and victorious for God, uniting his people. This was the greater objective.
THESIS: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” (Rom. 14:1)
THEME: “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weakness of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” (Rom. 15:1)
1. The Weak brother
2. The Strong brother
3. Our unity and fellowship in Christ.
Romans 14, gives us insight on the interaction which must take place between weak and strong Christians. The weak brother may appear strong on the outside, yet weak on the inside. The weak brother is one who’s opinion, scruple, conscience, is fragile and needs proper attention. He might find offense in things the stronger brother has since studied and settled on.
* Perhaps matters of eating certain foods, and/or practicing certain holidays. The weak brother means well and is convicted in his current positions and he is faithful to God in his liberties. The strong brother must respect that in so much it does not breach the doctrine of Christ our Lord and Master.
The Romans 15, brother, is the stronger one. Perhaps appearing weaker outwardly, yet stronger inwardly. He is the brother who will suffer long the weakness of his fellow saints and in such being selfless to conquer any divisive temptation.
*This of course in no way means compromise regarding matters of salvation (i.e. social drinking of alcohol, MDR, plan of salvation, method of worship, and Christ-like behavior).
1. The strong have responsibility, a higher standard of patience, bearing the weakness of those without strength, and doing so without passing judgment on their opinions, all while remaining selfless, thoughtful of their spiritual wellbeing before our physical wellbeing.
The account of David displays this caliber of spiritual principle very well. David was the stronger brother who did not pass judgment on his brethren when they mocked him and his statement to defeat Goliath, mere opinions, nothing worth hindering God’s victory that day.
2. The effectiveness of this standard and command is one which allows peace between one’s neighbors for the encouragement of the congregation.
3. Christ is given in this context as the example to the stronger brother, the servant, the one who sacrifices himself for the greater good of the kingdom and the unity therein. The book of Psalm is quoted, again Paul writing to Christians in Rome backing up his inspiration with God breathe literature.
4. The source of our strength, perseverance, is found in the instruction of the Old Testament accounts. Through the Old Testament witness we today as Christians never give up on our hope in Christ.
Our law is the New covenant, and our way to live it out properly is found in the education of the Old Covenant. For it delivers the nature of Christ and principle of God for mankind. In this case, His example of strength, selflessness, and unity.
5. How? Through the Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit! When we read the account of David & Goliath we grow in the knowledge of our Christ-like faith.
6. Why? That we be united, weak & strong together! And not be divided over matters of opinion.
7. As a result of this information, we must accept each other, all different levels of spiritual maturity and conscience, just as Christ accepted us for His glory and kingdom.
David was the stronger brother during the days of Israel and the philistines. And because he did not pass judgement on their opinion of him, he managed to conquer the Giant. He was selfless. And this united Israel during that event.
We are to be united in our efforts for the greater good of the kingdom. Whether weak or strong, we must work together to bring growth, guide the lost of this dying world, to Jesus Christ.
And we do that with gospel belief and obedience. When the Ethiopian Eunuch had heard the truth of the gospel from Philip the evangelist (Acts , he pointed to water and needed to be immersed in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, therefore being added by God to his kingdom as a citizen.
Once a member of this family, born again into it, given the family name of Christian, you will now learn with us to remain united and grow each day with us for the good of God’s purpose.
If this is your faith this morning, please come forward and be saved by Jesus in the waters of baptism, as we stand and sing.