Romans Chapter 15


The strong ought to help the weak.

Verses 1-3 :1 "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." 

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."  There is both a natural application and a spiritual application to the above statement.  First, we look at the natural application.  Some people in the church will have more natural strength or financial ability than other members of the church.  Notice the admonition in the following verses of scripture: 

1.  James 2:15 "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" 

2.  1 John 3:17 "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" 

3.  James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." 

4.  Acts 2:44 "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." 

5.  1 Tim. 6:17 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 

6.  Matt. 25:34 "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

7.  Acts 20:34 "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." 

Next, we look at the spiritual application.  Some people in the church are stronger spiritually than other people in the church.  The following verses show this principle: 

1.  Rom. 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth  herbs." 

2.  1 Cor. 8:7 "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." 

3.  1 Cor. 11:29 "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."Thus, those who are strong both in natural ability and strong spiritually are to support the weak naturally and the weak spiritually.  May God help us to do so.

 "and not to please ourselves."  What we do in supporting others is not for our honor or glory.  We are not to seek praise for what we do.  The Lord taught that in giving alms we are to do it in secret: Matt. 6:1 "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."  While all that we may do for others will not always be unknown to those that we support, yet we are not to sound an alarm before us that we may receive praise from men.   

"Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification."  Our motive for supporting our weak brother is for his good and for his edification.  Our motive should be purely unselfish.  It should be borne out of the love that we have towards Christ and towards his people. 

"For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."  The greatest examples of unselfishness in bearing the infirmitives of others is found in the Lord himself.  While there are many examples of his unselfish help towards others, such as healing the sick, blind, dumb, lame, deaf, leprous, and those with withered limbs, and in raising the dead, yet, the greatest example of all is that Jesus died for sinners.  He bore the reproaches (sins) of those who had sinned against God.  He did this willingly and unselfishly.  He did it out of the great love that he had for his covenant people. 

When we consider that Christ bore our infirmities, we should count it a privilege to be able to help the weak, unselfishly and without the praise of men.