A. A blessing enjoyed in Christ is support from brethren in times of spiritual crisis...
1 Those who are strong are to support the weak - Ro 15:1
2 Those who are spiritual are to help those overcome in a fault - Gal.6:1
B. It is part of the "law of Christ" to thus bear one another's
1 burdens - Gal. 6:2
C. At the same time, we have a responsibility to become strong...
1 Each Christian has a responsibility to "bear his own load" - Gal.6:4-5
2 We will be held accountable for our own actions - Ro 14:12
3 It is thus our responsibility to pick ourselves up as well - Heb.12:12-13
D. Some Christians never seem to progress from being supported to supporting...
1 They remain very dependent upon their brethren
2 Unless constantly nurtured by brethren, they fall away or become apathetic
3 Such brethren are what might be described in the vernacular as "high maintenance"
E. Are you "high maintenance"? When is it okay to be "high maintenance"? What is "high maintenance"...?
2. The Definition Of "High Maintenance"
A. As Used In Everyday Speech...
1 It refers to the need for a lot of attention
a. Required to maintain something in good order
b. Requiring a lot of time, energy, or money
2 Any person or thing that requires a lot of attention
a. Cars that require a lot of work to keep running
b. Employees that require close supervision to do their jobs right
c. Significant others that require a lot of gifts or dates or they lose interest
B. As Applied To Christians...
1 Christians are "high maintenance"
a. If they require a lot of attention in order to remain faithful
b. If they require a lot of coddling or pampering to be active
2 Christians that are "high maintenance"...
a. Babes in Christ just staring their new spiritual life
b. Slothful Christians who attend and work only when constantly prodded
3 Even churches can be "high maintenance" (or not)
a. The church in Corinth certainly was - cf. 1 Co 3:1-4; 2 Co 12:20-21
b. The church in Philippi was not - cf. Ph 1:3-7
C. Some "high maintenance" is good and necessary in the work of the local church. But when it exists where it should not, then there can be some problems.
3. The Difficulty Of "High Maintenance"
A. Where It Can Help...
1 "High maintenance" is crucial for the newborn Christian
a. Just as it is for a physical baby
b. Weak in faith, weak in knowledge, they are very susceptible
c. Without the proper attention, they may soon be overcome
2 "High maintenance" is essential for the hurting Christian
a. Just as it is for someone who is sick or injured
b. Overtaken in a fault, suffering physical illness or persecution, they are weak
c. Without they proper attention, they may soon be overwhelmed
d. In such cases, "high maintenance" is certainly called for - cf. 1 Th 5:14
B. Where It Can Hurt...
1 When it hinders the growth of the church
a. Which grows through evangelism, edification, benevolence
b. Which may not if undue effort is spent on a select few
2 When it holds back the efforts of workers
a. Paul desired to preach where Christ was not named - Ro 15:20
b. Yet churches like the one at Corinth held him back - 2 Co 2:12-13
3 When more serious needs go unmet
a. E.g., babes in Christ not being helped, because others expect coddling
b. E.g., the sick and dying being neglected, because others require attention
C. There are times in our spiritual lives when we all require some "high maintenance". But to avoid keeping it from those who really need it, we should give serious thought and effort toward.
4. The Defeat Of "High Maintenance"
A. Through Individual Growth...
1 We need "high maintenance" when we are babes in Christ
2 But we should reach a point where we do not need it
3 Where we can become the providers, not just the recipients
4 Consider the unfortunate case of the Hebrew Christians - Heb.5:12-14
B. Through Individual Strength...
1 Strength from brethren is certainly helpful when we need it
2 But we should also reach a point where our strength comes from God
3 Where we can become the producers, not just the consumers
4 Consider the remarkable example of the apostle Paul - Ph 4:11-13; 2 Co 1:3-6
A. My purpose has not been to discourage "high maintenance" when it is rightly needed.
1 For we are to bear one another's burden - Gal 6:2
2 And the strong are to bear with the infirmities of the weak - Ro.15:1
B. My desire has been to challenge you in thinking about your service to Christ...
1 To reflect about your work in the kingdom - Gal 6:4
C. Are you bearing your own load? - Gal 6:5
D. When a burden becomes unbearable, that is when we need "high maintenance" from our brethren. When failure to bear our own load requires "high maintenance", that is when we hinder the cause of Christ...!
"He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer." (Pro 18:9)