The Book of Romans
True Christian love is not selfish but seeks to share with others and to make others happy. Christian love is willing to carry the younger believer in order that they can develop spiritually. The goal of the mature Christian is to be an encouragement to the younger, less mature, believer. Unselfish living involves giving up personal rights in order that others might be helped to grow spiritually.
I. Self-denial Giving up Personal Rights.
- Vs.1-3, We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
- A person’s spiritual maturity is revealed by his discernment. Discernment is the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment. In “matters of indifferences” the mature Christian may feel that he can go and do things without losing his fellowship with the Lord. But a weaker brother might be strongly influenced and his relationship to Christ actually damaged by the mature Christian’s actions. In these cases, Paul encourages the mature Christian to bear the infirmities of the weaker brother. Infirmities are conditions in a person’s character that produces weakness or a failing. The mature Christian must be willing to make personal sacrifices so that the younger Christian can grow in the faith.
- The objective of Christian conduct is the edification of our neighbor. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22, For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Paul’s conviction and conscience saw nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols, but he was willing to give up his personal privileges so that he might not offend someone and have the opportunity to witness. The greatest Christian’s example of giving up personal rights is our Lord Jesus Christ. When we think that we are making a great sacrifice by giving up something, we need to measure our sacrifice by the sacrifice of Christ. No sacrifice we could even make could match Calvary.
II. Spiritual Powers Needed to Help Others.
- V 4-5, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
- The Bible and prayer are two sources of spiritual power that both the mature and weaker brother must draw from in order to be likeminded “one toward another according to Jesus Christ.” We must confess that we sometimes get impatient when trying to disciple less mature believers. However, the Word of God can give us the patience and encouragement that we need. Praying for each other helps us experience from God spiritual unity that only God can provide.
- The local church must major in the Word of God and prayer. The first real danger to unity of the local church came because the apostles were too busy to minister God’s Word and prayer. Acts 6:1-7, And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
III. The Purpose of Unselfish Living.
- Vs. 6-7, That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
- The purpose of unselfish living is to glorify God. Disunity and disagreement do not glorify God; they rob Him of glory; Abraham’s words in Genesis 13:8 are applicable to today. Genesis 13:8, And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Abraham wanted his neighbors to see that he and Lot were different and that they worshipped the one True God. Jesus prayed for the unity of the church to the glory of God. John 17:20-26, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
The discussion begun in Romans 14:1, Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations; concludes in Romans 15:7, Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. The goal of the mature Christian is to be an encouragement to the younger, less mature, believer. Unselfish living involves giving up personal rights in order that other might be helped to grow spiritually.
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867