THE CHRISTIAN CHALLENGES OF CARING
[Brad Pistole began the time dedicated to the sermon by administering (i.e., "walking
the congregation through") the Congregational Family Needs Analysis (see last week's
Sunday morning lesson). After the completion of the analysis, David Chadwell shared the following thoughts with the congregation.]
- Brad Pistole guided the congregation through the "Congregational Needs
Analysis" (composed of 25 questions, 24 of which were multiple choice).
After the completion of the survey, David spoke to the congregation.
- I hope you have your Bible handy and will turn in it to Romans 12. I want you to
focus on an emphasis in the last section of Romans.
- Read these statements with me:
Romans 12:3-5 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to
think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound
judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many
members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who
are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one
another in honor.
Romans 12:15,16 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be
of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the
lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Romans 14:1-4 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of
passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but
he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt
the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who
eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his
own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the
glory of God.
- I challenge all of us to take a serious look at Paul's statements in these
- General context of the letter of Romans.
- The majority of those Christians converted from first century Israel and its
Judaism had a very difficult time relating to the Christians who were
converted from idolatry.
- There were two primary reasons for them having such difficulty.
- These people were not Israelites--they had the wrong ancestry and the
wrong religious background.
- Prior to conversion, many of these did not even know the living God, and
some of their concepts were just plan strange to the Jewish devotee to
- Specific context of chapters 12-15.
- Paul spent the majority of this letter declaring two points:
- God always intended His salvation to be for all nations, all people,
regardless of their ancestry or culture.
- God through Christ and the work of His Spirit made this possible by His
mercy and grace.
- If all of them [Christian Jew and Christian non-Jew] correctly understood what
God did for them in Christ, they would start treating each other like members
of the same community, members of the same family.
Application: in the same way they failed, we are failing.
- We are losing, not because of God, but because of our very poor understanding
of God's purposes.
- If people have physical needs, we do great. We do wonderfully well with
- We can help feed and pass out clothing in our inner city work, and that is
- We can give several thousand dollars to the starving people in Africa, and
this is good.
- We can operate C.U.RE. and send medical supplies all over the world, and
that is good.
- However, at the very same time we do horribly with people challenges.
- If a person is hungry, we know how to help, but if a person is struggling
with internal turmoil or relationships we have no idea of what to do.
- To struggling people, including struggling Christians, our most common
answer is, "You should not be having that problem."
- So we are surrounded by the pain and suffering of struggling people, and
basically what we teach people in the church to do is hide it.
- This problem is as old as Christianity; not as old as Jesus, but as old as the
- The cure that Paul said addressed the situation among Christians in Rome
very much is the cure we Christians need right now.
- The cure is closeness, knowing, encouraging, and helping each other.
Being a religion is not enough. Being a community of believers who trust the
God who sent Jesus to be our Christ is the only thing that will fulfill God's purpose.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Link to follow-up report
Morning Sermon, 6 October 2002
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Link to other Writings of David Chadwell