Our relationship with one another, is an important aspect of the growth of the church. The fellowship that exist within the church, and how others come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is dependent upon the maturity of the members. We are the body of Christ, and the body of Christ is liken to a family, that has many members. We represent that family, and like any family, within the family there are strong members who we look to for strength, direction and guidance. But then, because a healthy family, is a growing family, there are also members who are less mature members, who we always have to consider. Paul calls them “the weaker brother,” or “him that is weak in the faith.” The weakness that he is talking about is not physical, but spiritual.
How do you interact with another Christian who doesn’t believe or think, or act like you do? How do you interact with someone who is “weak in the faith?” In Romans 14, Paul addresses this subject. In this chapter, he gives us a few things that we must consider in dealing with “him that is weak in the faith.”
I. The question of Accepting a Weak Brother
If you have been involved in churches for any length of time, you will know what I am talking about, when I speak of dealing with “weaker brethren.” How do you deal with that Christian, who is a young Christian spiritually. How should you interact with them? Do you avoid them, especially because of their immaturity? Do you limit your involvement with them, or should you find ways to reach out to them? Do not lose sight of the fact that they are attached to you, they are members of the same family. Do not lose site of the fact that you once were probably, as immature as they are. How did others treat you? How did you feel when others treated you with indifference? Who proved to be the more mature Christian in the situation? Paul us insight, in how they are to be accepted:
A. He is to be accepted Confidently
Romans 14:1 (KJV)
“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” In every growing church, there will always be brothers and sisters that are “weak in the faith.” Weak brothers and sisters in the faith actually prove that the church is healthy, because it means that new births are taking place. What Paul clearly says here is that we are to receive him/her. We are not to cut ourselves off from them, but rather be used of God in the process of growing them up. Strong faith is not something that happens overnight. Spiritual maturity grows through trials and tribulations, while God allows things to happen, knowing the objective is to conform each member into the image of Jesus Christ.
What we are not to do, is to attempt to see them mature, by disputing with them over doctrinal, or scriptural differences. What we are not to do, is to allow their spiritual immaturity, to be the thing that causes division in the body. The objective is to grow them up in the faith, so Paul said that you can’t do this by, “doubtful disputations.” In other words, disputing with a weaker brother/sister is never going to win him/her, and grow them up. It will only gender strife. If I find myself disputing with someone, to prove my point, who is the weaker brother? Paul says, don’t dispute with him, but receiving him instead. You won’t win him by disputing with him. The more mature Christian, is the one that is able to love his weaker brother/sister in the Lord, without disputing with them, because their weaknesses.