Go to He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother ministy at a specific location.
or view all locations .

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

socialmedia@cityrise.org September 27, 2021 sermons, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, Good News, houston, Roger Patterson, romans, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday September 26, at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTubpage.

The Hollies released a song in 1969 entitled, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” which reached #1 in the UK and #7 in the US. Actually, two stories exist related to this phrase. In the 1940s if became the slogan for Boys Town Children’s Home by founder Father Edward Flanagan. The story is told of one boy carrying another boy who had polio and wore leg braces up the stairs. When asked if he was heavy, the responded, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

In Romans 14 and the first half of Ch 15 we could sum up Paul with the ABCs of relating to brothers and sisters with whom we may disagree.

  • Accept them (14:1);
  • B- Beyond Acceptance (14:
  • C- Carry Others (15:1)

It is Paul’s manner to push us as believers way beyond our comfort zone and preference. Paul often returns to themes that he has already addressed and seeks to pursue greater godliness and great unity.

Romans 15:1-13

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

It often helps to summarize a passage to focus upon the top 3-4 elements. I would summarize these 13 verses in this way:

Carrying our neighbor’s burdens…

1) Unites us with him or her and

2) Follows Christ’s example. 

Unity with our neighbor:

1) Glorifies God and

2) Reveals His plan for both Jews and Gentiles.

As parents, how many of us have started on walks with our kids who maybe insisted on riding a scooter or bike only to carry the scooter or bike most of the way home? Sometimes it is inconvenient to carry our sister’s burden or walk with our brother who made some poor decisions, which prompted some serious challenges BUT God tells us that is what the Body of Christ does.

Let’s take a look at this first principle.

CARRYING OUR NEIGHBOR’S BURDENS…

I. UNITES US WITH HIM/HER

Romans 15:1

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Paul has already instructed us to accept the one who is weak (14:1) and last week we learned to not put an obstacle in his path.

Here, Paul is simply leading us to the next level. We avoid adding hindrances and even help carry the load.

Notice the phrase, “bear with the failings of the weak…”

One scholar rendered this phrase, “Act as if your brother’s weakness is your own.” 

I like Wayne Dyer’s quote, which is very appropriate today:

“If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind.”

Look now at this second phrase, “Not to please ourselves.”

Keep in mind that Pharisees liked giving alms publicly…they wanted to be viewed by others so that their view before others could be exalted. This was self-pleasing.

Let’s look at verse 2 now and see how carrying others burdens unites us with him or her.

Romans 15:2

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 

You see, bearing or carrying our neighbor’s burdens should prompt joy and build him up.

Have you ever received help and wished that you hadn’t?

The person often reminds you of the help.

Well, Paul opposes such an attitude.

Instead, when we serve another, look what happens to our hearts. Look at Romans 15:5.

Romans 15:5

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus…

Walking and working together builds unity!

Now, I want to show you something that is really important. I want you to see the result that comes after unity.

Remember the first part of the outline…

Carrying our neighbor’s burdens…

1) Unites us with him or her and

2) Follows Christ’s example.

Look with me at verse 3 and verse 7.

Romans 15:3 & 7

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

The result after unity is Christlikeness!

Carrying Our Neighbor’s Burdens…

II. Follows Christ’s Example

And isn’t that the aim of our sanctification? The aim of our sanctification is to be like Jesus Christ.

You see, when we live this way with a brother or sister, we follow Christ’s example.

In verse 3, we see that Christ willingly bore the reproaches due others. He carried our ULTIMATE burdens- our sins! By carrying our weaknesses, he gave an example for us to carry the weaknesses of others.

Then, in verse 7, we see, as often is the case, that our acceptance of others is modeled on Christ’s acceptance of us. This is often tied to forgiveness (like the Lord’s Prayer).

You see, Paul often adds Christ to the equation to eradicate every objection that we pose

We often think in terms of plus or minus…if we are good, God will accept me. If we are bad, then God won’t.

We then ask, “Why should God accept me?”

And the truth of the matter is that WE FAIL EVERYTIME and recognize that we need mercy. But then we turn right around and act harshly toward others.

  • But He is our standard. Freely we have received and freely, we are to give.

Yet we are often very transactional with people. Some people still believe that by their works, they become acceptable to God. Likewise, it stands to reason that others would become acceptable to them by their good works.

But that is not how Jesus treats us.

Do you remember the interaction of Jesus with the thief on the cross?

Thief on the cross- WHAT DID THE THIEF ON THE CROSS HAVE TO OFFER JESUS?

Nothing outward- only his heart! Thankfully that is exactly what Jesus wanted.

Have you ever watched Judge Frank Caprio in Rhode Island as defendants appear before him for various charges? He’s a hoot to watch.

But if you watch enough, you will see a theme. He often reduces the fine to what the defendant actually has with him.

He is exercising justice and the discipline that the public expects of him, yet he is also burdened for the situation these who are convicted find themselves in.

Paul wants us to follow the Lord’s example who carried our burdens.

What is the outcome of our bearing the burden of our neighbor? Unity!

What is the outcome of our unity? God’s glory

Let’s look at our outline again as we step into part two of the message and the passage.

Unity with our neighbor:

1) Glorifies God and

2) Reveals His plan for both Jews and Gentiles. 

UNITY WITH OUR NEIGHBOR…

III. GLORIFIES GOD

Romans 15:6

…that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

“one voice”- Lit “one mouth”; and it means unified praise!

Christian liberty is not primarily about our brother’s need or our clear conscience but about God’s glory!

Ellicott wrote…

It is in the heart that the spirit of humanity arises, and with the mouth that it is expressed.

Now, here is a principle we must keep in mind:

A divided church has a divided voice which is not harmony but dissonance!

And it is here that Paul uses the theme of unity to circle back to his rotating treatment of Jews and Gentiles.

Unity with our neighbor:

1) Glorifies God and

2) Reveals His plan for both Jews and Gentiles.

Unity with our Neighbor

IV. Also reveals God’s plan for both Jews and Gentiles.

Throughout Romans, Paul alternates between his two distinct audiences in the church of Rome. In vs. 8-12, he quotes the Bible of his day.

Take a look at it with me.

Romans 15:8-12

 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
    and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

v.8 Paul begins with the Jews. Christ serves and loves the Jews and confirms the promises and the covenants. Though they had not fully understood, preachers like Paul and made the many clear links between the OT prophecies and Jesus.

v.9 The Gentiles did NOT have the oracles of God nor understand the promises or covenants. Christ serves and loves the Gentiles according to promises that many did not know but also through grace, which all had experienced.

For the Gentiles, it was almost like they received a letter in the mail announcing that they were heirs to another’s fortune. They did not realize that the benefits of the last will and testament included them!

v.9 & 10 relates to David in 2 Samuel 22:50 (when David is speaking) and in Psalm 18:49 when David is writing!

The Jewish hero king David was inspired to write of that the Gentiles would also rejoice.

v.11 God is honored by the praise of Jews AND Gentiles!

How many times as parents do children bring their drawings or colored pictures to you as a gift? Sometimes you have a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old. Their skill and background are very different, but you appreciate the gift equally.

The Jews had a head start regarding the person and character of Yahweh, but He is equally pleased by the offerings of praise from the Gentiles.

At our CityRise Missouri City Campus today, there are five babies being dedicated.  As these five infants dedicated today learn to praise the Lord, their voices will be just as sweet as the trained soprano in the largest gospel choir.

Now, look at verse 12 again.

Romans 15:12

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
 

v.12 Paul culminates his OT wrap up by uniting the reign of the Davidic descendant over ALL believers both Jews and Gentiles.

In God’s Kingdom, we all are one.

Let’s restate Paul’s summary from these 13 verses:

Carrying our neighbor’s burdens…

1) Unites us with him or her and

2) Follows Christ’s example.

Unity with our neighbor:

1) Glorifies God and

2) Reveals His plan for both Jews and Gentiles. 

Paul wraps up the paragraph with a short blessing.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 The God of hope gives hope through the channels of joy and peace. Add righteousness and you have Paul’s description of the Kingdom of God from 14:17.

He is repetitive for emphasis!

Jews and Gentiles were struggling in their relationships to each other, and Paul doesn’t promise mere surviving but thriving! Walking in unity will lavish joy and peace and hope upon you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

comments