WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS
Intro.1. Anemia lit. means “no blood.” To be anemic is “lacking force, vitality, or spirit…lacking interest…lacking in substance or quantity” (Merriam-Webster Online). 2. Spiritual anemia (weakness) is real & challenges Christians. We must face it in ourselves & help others who are weak, 1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:10. a. Jesus spoke of the weakness of the flesh, Matt. 26:41. b. We are commanded to support the weak, 1 Ths. 5:14. 3. What do we mean by “spiritual weakness?” (Having little strength) a. It is being weak in faith, cf. Rom. 4:19. b. To be spiritually minded is to be ruled by the Spirit, Rom. 8:1-8. c. So, to be worldly (fleshly) minded is to be ruled by the flesh. 4. Reasons, symptoms (remedies) & responses to spiritual weakness. I. REASONS FOR SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS. A. Immaturity (Spiritually Undeveloped), 1 Cor. 3:1-2. 1. New convert is unskilled in the word & must grow, Heb. 5:12-13. 2. Must grow to strength thru the word of God, 1 Pet. 2:2; cf. 1 Jno. 2:14. B. Being Distracted of the World, Matt. 26:41. 1. Temptations to sin attack us where we are vulnerable, cf. Jno. 18:18. -So, we must put on the armor of God to be strong, Eph. 6:11-13. 2. Trials challenge our diligence, Jas. 1:2-3. -So, we must remain diligent in faith, Heb. 6:9-11. 3. Error hinders strength; producing weakness & death, Gal. 5:1, 7. -So, we must stand fast in the faith to be strong in Christ, 1 Cor. 16:13. C. Being Overcome by Sin, Gal. 6:1. 1. Sin turns spiritual weakness into spiritual death (Jas. 5:19-20). 2. Spiritual weakness can become an excuse for sin! 3. Spiritual weakness, when not addressed, becomes sin…and leads to even more sin! D. Not Using God’s Word to Judge what is Right, 1 Cor. 2:12-16. 1. The spiritual person judges things by the “mind of Christ” (truth) & avoids condemnation. 2. Failure to do this caused many in Corinth to be weak, 1 Cor. 11:30. E. Left Alone, Spiritual Weakness Becomes Carnality, 1 Cor. 3:1-3. 1. We must choose to be ruled by the Spirit by obeying truth, Rom. 8:5, 7. 2. Otherwise we are choosing the flesh & spiritual death. II. SYMPTOMS OF SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS. A. Weak in Resistance: 1. To temptation, Eph. 6:10, 13, 16. (cf. to complain, murmur, etc.) a. The spiritually weak says “everyone is weak” as his excuse. b. The apostle said we can be strong! 1 Jno. 2:14 identifies strong. 2. To error, Eph. 4:14. -Spiritual weak produces shame of truth & fear to defend (Ro.1:16; 1Pe. 3:15) B. Weak in Appetite, Matt. 5:6; Jno. 6:27. 1. Craving / eagerness for righteousness / for Christ (bread of life). 2. Most anemic Christians have a good appetite for many other things (recreation, entertainment, movies, ballgames…)–lit. “eat them up.” 3. Yet, he/she has little/no desire for: a. The solid food (strong meat) of the word, 1 Cor. 3:2 (Heb. 5:14). b. Need a priority check, Matt. 6:33. c. Need to learn and live God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15). C. Weak in Estimating His Ability & Responsibility, Matt. 25:18. 1. When asked to help in the work of the Lord he replies: “I can’t.” 2. The strong says, “I’ll try” – cf. Phil. 4:13. III. WHY IS SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS SO BAD? A. Left Unattended it Becomes Willful Sin, Heb. 10:26. -God has made provisions for our spir. growth & strength (word of God). B. It is Contagious. 1. Physical anemia is not, but spiritual anemia is! (Gal. 5:9) 2. Spiritual weakness influences & discourages others (Num. 32:6-7). 3. “No one goes to heaven or hell by himself.” IV. RESPONSES TO THE SPIRITUALLY WEAK, Lk. 13:6-9. A. Support the Weak, 1 Ths. 5:14. (We are our brother’s keeper!) 1. Don’t ignore, excuse or rationalize their weakness; Exhort, encourage, rebuke. 2. Support (uphold): “to keep one’s self directly opposite to any one, hold to him firmly, cleave to, paying heed to him.” 3. Help them grow thru Bible study, 6-9. 4. Set good examples for them to see (1 Tim. 4:12). B. Try to Restore the Weak who have Fallen, Gal. 6:1-2. -Teach, correct, warn & rebuke, 2 Tim. 2:24-26. C. Pray for the Weak, 1 Jno. 5:15-16.
Jude 20:25:1. Responsibility of the weak: Grow in personal faith (20-21). 2. Responsibility toward the weak: In mercy & compassion, try to help strengthen & save (22-23). 3. Rely on God who is able (dunamai, power) to keep (guard) us from stumbling (stand firm) & present us without blemish in His presence (24