God's Word Is Waiting For You
Ro 15:1 We then who are strong. Who are the strong? As we learned last week, the strong are those who know God and we get to know God only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. We learned that the strong are those who have the Word of God abiding in them, that is they seek to live it! Itís part and parcel of who they are!
The strong are those who are weak. By that we mean those who are God-reliant rather than self-reliant. Finally, the strong are those who are able to discern right actions from wrong actions according to the Word of God.
It is a process to grow from weak to strong, and both weak and strong need building block of the milk of Godís Word, the sweet, rich, creamy, gospel of Jesus Christ. Itís the milk that the prophet Isaiah spoke of, and we must never forsake it. it is of primary importance:
Isa 55:1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
Salvation without price because it was paid for on Calvary by Jesus! It is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast! Just as you and I continue to drink milk today as adults, we must constantly come to Godís fountain of grace and daily remind ourselves of His love for us sinners. Daily come for the sweet milk of the gospel!
Look for it as you search the Scriptures. See all that God has done for you! Jesus loves you! He died for you! He wants to spend eternity with you! That new heaven and earth that we read of in Revelation this morning? He wants you to be a part of it! He told John so he could tell you,
ďWrite, for these words are true and faithful....I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.Ē Keep thirsting after the gospel, you canít hear it enough and keep seeking to become strong.
As His children, He also wants us to grow up and become strong, and so we must learn to move on to other things in His Word. Donít neglect the milk but be willing to try some meat. Isa 28:9 ¶ Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
If we are to be overcomers, we need to be strong and Revelation 12:11 tells us how we become ďovercomers.Ē ďAnd they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.Ē
So we overcome by putting our sins under the blood of Jesus, by the word of our testimony, (which is the Christian confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God) and finally by not loving our lives to the death...in other words we overcome by living His way and not our way.
Overcomers search Godís Word and allow Godís Word to search them. It is in this patient searching and responding by doing and believing and applying that we become strong. Our reading in Revelation today told us of who is in the new heaven and the new earth, , but we stopped short of the verse that tells who is not in.
ďBut the cowardly, (those who refuse to act on what the Holy Spirit reveals to them in the Word) unbelieving, abominable (filthy because they refuse to rid themselves of their sins, in spite of Godís free invitation to do so.) murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, (those who seek answers in places other than Godís Word, psychics, drugs, alcohol, etc) idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire.Ē
Unless these people change their ways, they are lost, and the first step to change is admitting our sin, and allowing Jesus into our lives to wipe up the sin mess. Then change comes as Godís Word speaks to us about the way we live, and empowered by our new life in Christ, we respond to it!
The Holy Spirit working in Godís Word changes us. By His power we seek to change our ways, to align ourselves with His will, and express godly sorrow whenever we fail.
The believer expresses godly sorrow over his cowardice, his failures in putting Godís Word into action, his unbelief, his lack of confession, his hatred of others, his turning to other things for solace and comfort, his idolatry, and his penchant for dishonesty in his dealings with God, himself, and others.
As we do these things we become strong, and as we become strong our text says, we ďought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. The word scruple literally means sharp stone, it is a hindrance to performance. Ever have a sharp stone in your shoe and try to run a race? Itís a hindrance isnít it?
As strong brothers and sisters we need to bear with those who do not yet have the same understanding that God has given us by His Holy Spirit working in our hearts and minds through the Word. For whatever reason, their performance is being hindered because they lack this understanding.
They go through their spiritual life limping, and they have a choice. Adapt to the limp or make an effort to remove the stone. We need to come back to our limping brothers and sisters and encourage them to move beyond mere adapting.
We need to encourage them to press into Godís Word because we know that the stones are removed as we get into Godís Word, and allow it to change our own attitudes and actions. Itís time all of us started to read this Word as God intended.
It is a Word that is not only crafted for the church, but crafted for each of us individually. God does not desire for His children to limp through life. Read this Word as if it applied to you personally...because it does! Itís you and I that need to change....not the other person!
When we understand this, we are more apt to turn back and help our weaker brother overcome his scruples. The weaker brother isnít there yet, be willing to give him some time. We are not in this for ourselves! Be willing to help others in their spiritual journey.
2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. (the idea here of pleasing others is to help them take on some meat. It is in taking on meat that he is edified or built up.
Letís encourage him to get into the Word of God, letís remember our own process of growth. And if possible letís share some of the things we learned along the way)
3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me."
What wouldíve it been like if Christ wouldíve just gorged Himself on what He was experiencing as the Son of Man and given no thought to slowing down and training His disciples? Think of all the knowledge He had. What wouldíve happened if HE wouldíve just dumped it on them all at once?
Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
Guiding speaks of patience and process. What if He had not been patient with them? What if He wouldíve treated the disciples the way we sometimes treat our weaker brothers and sisters?
ďHow dare you deny Me Peter! Youíre outa here! Who do you think you are James and John...calling down fire on the Samaritans? If thatís all youíre going to do is doubt Thomas....well, thereís the door. ďYou guys are worthless, you canít even drive a simple demon out of a boy!
No Jesus was not in this to please Himself, to brag about his knowledge or His power.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
Many times his disciples brought reproach upon Him, that is, they became a cause for derogatory remarks about His kingdom. Remember the time they were bringing little children to Jesus and the disciples tried to shoo them away? Remember when they tried to hush old blind Bartimaeus?
Remember when they fought amongst themselves as to who would be the greater in the kingdom? Remember when they mumbled about the perfume being spent on Jesusí feet rather than being sold and given to the poor? They had so much to learn, and Jesus patiently set about the task to teach them.
They did not become ďsuper saintsĒ in one day....and neither did you and neither will you.
We still have soooo much to learn.
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Well look at that! We have something to help us learn...the Scriptures! They were written that we might learn! That through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope. There is hope for each and every believer through the comfort and patience of the Scriptures.
Now, donít miss this incredible statement by Paul and its implications. ďThrough the patience and comfort of the Scriptures.Ē I can understand comfort in Scripture. There are so many comforting passages designed to give me hope.
In our reading from Genesis this morning, God promised Abraham that through his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed!Ē O what comfort as I realize I am one of those families, because by Godís grace I believe in Jesus!
Then there was the reading from Revelation! ďA new heaven! A new earth! God dwelling perfectly with men! No more tears! No more death! No sorrow! No pain! ďI will be his God and he shall be My son.Ē Oh the comfort in those words!
And from our gospel reading: His mercy is on those who fear Him! Exalted the lowly! Filled the hungry with good things! Yes I can understand comfort in the Scriptures!
But how can he say that Godís Word is patient! Patience is an attribute of something living! I can get comfort from an inanimate object, it doesnít have to be alive. But it is only the living that can give patience. Godís Word is living! Godís Word is patient!
Try to get a handle on this because it is so very important. That brother or sister who is still on their spiritual journey, still boisterous, still proud, still stingy, still lazy, still self-centered, still judgmental, still moody, still given to occasional foul language, still struggling with a besetting sin that they long to be free of......Godís Word is patient with all of them. And you know what? It is still patient with you!
Know that and believe that and trust that fact! No need to throw up your hands and give up! Rather continue to encourage each other to growth by continuing in Godís Word, knowing that it patiently awaits the sinner. Knowing, that Godís Word is even patient with you and all your faults.
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
Armed with the truth of this verse you know something that many donít know....Godís Word is just like Jesus.....patient. Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
In light of this portion of Romans, I would add.....No matter how long it takes. Given time and an honest searching heart the truth will come. And the truth will set you free!
Every one of us here have our faults. Every one of us have room to grow. Allow yourself the opportunity by getting into Godís Word and allowing it to get into you! Honestly seek to grow. Allow Godís Word to change your way of thinking. Allow it to challenge you to do things differently. To believe itís promises more strongly.
Above all, donít give up! Even if we, who claim to be strong give up on you, donít you ever give up on the Word. It is patient, we are not! We arenít like Jesus, we are imperfect and if we give up, please forgive us, and press on into his Word. Be willing to be corrected.
Sometimes the Word is too difficult for us. We donít understand it or we are not yet to the point where we can digest it. Donít give up!
In John 6 Jesus was giving a difficult teaching about Him being the bread of life in v 60 we read: 60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"
61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?
62 "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Donít give up! Even though you donít understand perfectly. Do the best with what God has given you! But be honest...are you giving His Word your best shot? Are you really trying the things He wants you to try or are you like a math student attempting algebra for the first time. ďI donít get itĒ and you give up?
My friend, I will bluntly tell you that your attitude is cowardly and the cowardly have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.Ē The cowardly quit or never bother trying in the first place. Donít be cowardly! Have you been cowardly concerning Godís Word! Put it under the blood of Jesus and try again!
The Word of God is patient, the Holy Spirit is patient and they will work together to take you through all the necessary preliminary steps so you will indeed get it, guided into all the truth you need.
And when you get it you become a little bit stronger, and when you become stronger, you are ready to encourage and help the weaker brother instead of impatiently moving ahead with out him.
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Paul concludes this section with a reminder again of Godís patience in dealing with us and a reminder for us to therefore be patient with each other. As we patiently grow together we become like-minded and sing a glorious praise song to Jesus.
Itís about Godís glory, not our own. Therefore patiently receive each other just as Jesus patiently received His disciples and slowly shaped them with His teaching...all to the glory of God!
It goes without saying that we are not talking about winking at sin here, for sin is the greatest scruple or hindrance of all. It must never be excused or swept under the rug. But we are talking about helping others grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as we encourage them to continue in Godís Word.
Where they and we, will receive the comfort of Godís milk as it concerns the gospel, and the patient tutelage of the Holy Spirit in the matter of revelation that patiently produces sanctification through following Godís will. Thank God for His patience with you and be willing to be patient with others as Godís Word slowly but surely accomplishes what He desires.