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Bearing with the Weak in Faith

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February 12th, 2013 | Filed Under: Author, Mitch Kuhn, Topical Studies, Weak in Faith0 Comments | Author:


We certainly do want to bear with the weak in faith as we are moving towards maturity. I’ll explain below what the Scriptures have to say about this topic.

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Paul is teaching the Roman church how to deal with different levels of maturity in the Church. Eating meat is symbolic of understanding and doing the meat of God’s word, the more difficult things, and eating herbs is for babes in Christ who have not yet matured to this point. There is a command to both the strong and the weak. The weak are not supposed to judge the strong, and the strong are not supposed to despise the weak.

Paul clarifies in Romans 15 that the strong need to bear with the weak. This is just like raising children. They are not going to understand everything right away, so you bear with them while they grow.

Rom 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Yet there is a limit to how long you bear with someone.

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful (G1261) disputations (G1253).

This phrase “doubtful disputations” is better translated, disputing about discernments.

The word “doubtful” above is translated as “disputing” in Php 2:14.

Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings (G1261):

It is those that are strong that are able to discern the truth of the scriptures.

Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern (G1253) both good and evil.

The word for “discern” above is the same greek word as “disputations” in Romans 14:1.

So Paul is saying that you bear with the weak in faith until they start to dispute about the proper discernment of the scriptures. At that point they are no longer being a teachable child, but rebellious.

When someone is not teachable and is continuing to push their false doctrine, we have to follow the steps in Matthew 18.

Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

This is how we are to resolve any issues within the body of Christ, whether they be something that someone has done against us personally, or if they just transgress the doctrine of Christ in general, and insist on teaching that their transgression is the doctrine of Christ.

2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

We are commanded to correct one another when we see sin.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Here is a study on this topic: http://aionios.com/2011-02/correction/
We are ambassadors for Christ, and the Spirit of God dwells in us. When we see someone transgress the law of Christ, it is a trespass against us, because we are the Body of Jesus Christ.

2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Following Matthew 18 is exactly how the issue of circumcision was settled in Acts 15.

Act 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Act 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
Act 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
Act 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and ofthe apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Act 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Act 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Act 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

Once we have discerned that someone is a heretic, and they are not listening to the Church, we have to put them out of the fellowship. Most people end up just leaving on their own, when they realize that we are not of the same mind.

Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

2Th 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
2Th 3:15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Co 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Co 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Once someone has been put out of the fellowship, or has left of their own accord, we need to take down all of their studies. This is a part of having no company with them and making them ashamed.
If we leave the studies up it gives off the appearance that we are still in fellowship. There are no books in the New Testament written by anyone that we know fell away from the faith.

We have to make it very clear who is a sheep and who is a wolf.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

The elders are seeking to shepherd the flock well and give no room for these men who teach heresy, by leading anyone astray. Even if they have studies that do not contain heresy, we take them down, because by publishing them we are saying that they are a teacher to whom people should listen. The truth is that they have abandoned the faith and should be avoided.

I know that this may sound harsh, but those that have left us do teach false doctrines that are very divisive and will lead others astray given the opportunity. We know that God will not lose any of those who are his, but we are commanded to be diligent shepherds so that is what we are seeking to do.

There is a big difference between a babe who is trying to learn and a wolf who is seeking to divide the flock. Lord willing we will have great patience with babes in our midst, and bear with them as long as the Lord gives them a teachable and entreatable spirit.

We are learning to deal with the wolves quickly, so that their evil spirit does not spread.

Ecc 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

All evil spirits are from the Lord, so we are not bitter against those who leave us: we are just obeying the scriptures.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. We can discuss further if needed.

Mitch

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