By Doug Bell
1 ¶ We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God
Two weeks ago we saw how Paul instructed the stronger one to bear with the weaker brother. And in this next chapter, the Apostle continues the same theme. But instead of new topics, he gives us some summary lines to what he just finished stating.
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” We are told at least seven times in the New Testament that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is because we already love ourselves too much! How hard it is to eradicate this sin of ‘self-love.’ Yes, I know how we had a whole generation that told us we need to love ourselves and have more self-esteem. But, the Bible makes it clear this is a fallacy and what we really need is to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself” (Phillipians 2:3) and what some have called “Christ-esteem!” (that is; we get our identity and significance from our relationship with Jesus). If we are able to do this, then we will be able to “bear with the failings of the weak.”
The reason why we are to do this? “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” You see, when we deal with the weak, we’re not to lower ourselves to their level. Leaving them to believe their mistakes are correct. No! We need to help him grow in his faith and help him see the truth. The objective is to bring him UP to our level, I.e., “build him up.”
“For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” This is to be our example. Just as Jesus identified with us in our weakness, we are to identify with the young and immature Christian. It wasn’t that long ago that someone had to Love us when we were struggling to understand ourselves.
Realizing “that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement…”
We have the Bible and the God of the Bible to give us ‘endurance and encouragement.’
Why? So we can “live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus”.
And why is harmony and living in one accord important in the Church? “that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Glory of God is the Ultimate purpose of each and every Christian!
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.1
With this in mind, it should be our pleasure to “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” We are more like our Savior when we follow in His footsteps and live our lives with the same mindset.
12 ¶ “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”