Meeting Needs

4 September 2022 AM – Romans 12:13 – Rom2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: It is always a blessing to have a fellow-Christian offer help when we are in need emotionally, physically, financially or spiritually. God wants us to make it a habit to meet the needs of the saints.
Transition: Read Romans 12:13. In this verse, Paul presents our duty to meet the needs of saints, and then describes two ways we are to do it.
We are to be …
  1. Distributing to the necessity of saints.
a.         Notice first the people involved.
1)         In the context of the chapter and the entire book, Paul wrote these words to Christians. (Romans 1:7) “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: …” This book is given for our admonition as Christians, so the duty applies to us as well.
2)         The second group of people are the saints who have the necessities. The Bible term, “saint”, does not apply to an elite person designated as a saint. Rather, it means a holy one and refers to every true Christians.
b.         All saints have needs.
1)         We have physical needs. Our primary physical needs are for food, clothing and shelter.
2)         We also have many spiritual needs, including exhortation and prayer.
a)         (Hebrews 10:25) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
b)         We also need prayed for and watched over. (Ephesians 6:18) “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
3)         Identifying a need can be challenging. We need discernment. Some people think they are in need; however, their poor choices in life have created their need. They use their money to buy cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or porn. They gamble away their money. They spend their resources on needless entertainment. They foolishly buy non-necessities on credit. They waste food. They are lazy. To the Thessalonian saints Paul wrote, (2 Thessalonians 3:10) “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Christians are to flee sinful and wasteful vices like these. I do not believe that those who don’t are the needy saints God had in mind.
4)         God has not given every saint the same intelligence, skill, opportunity and health. Some struggle in life despite their earnest efforts and frugality. They may be needy.
5)         Some genuine needs are obvious; others we may notice by careful observation.
c.          Our duty is to distribute to the saint’s needs
1)         The word distributing simply means to share. We are to share what we have with saints who are in genuine need.
2)         Here are four things we ought to share. The most obvious possession that we must share is our treasure.
a)         Of the first church in Jerusalem it was said, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (Acts 4:34-35).
b)         Paul challenged the Corinthian believers to share with those in Judea who were struggling due to hardships. (2 Corinthians 8:14) “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.” The idea here is not that we should all live on the same amount of income, but that one saint should not be hungry while another has an abundance. God is urging compassion.
3)         Second, we should share our time. You can be a great blessing to a needy saint simply by taking the time to pray for that saint or with that saint. You can also share your time by caring for other saints who have health needs. You can take the time to encourage others. You can take time to mentor a weaker Christian.
4)         Third, we can also share our talents. You can cook things, make things, build things, repair things, etc. for those in need. Use your talents to bless other saints.
5)         Finally, sharing our testimony is an important way to meet spiritual needs of the saints. Share things you are learning from the Bible. Share blessings. Even exhorting others to do right is sharing with them.
6)         This sharing with the saints is to be reciprocal. That means it goes both ways. I share with you and you share with me.
We are to be …
2.        Given to hospitality.
a.         What is hospitality?
1)         The word actually means to love strangers or to be hospitable.
2)         This is a quality required of preachers (1Tim 3:2; Tit 1:8).
3)         However, it applies to all Christians. In Hebrews 13:2, we read, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
4)         Peter urged us to… (1 Peter 4:9) “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
5)         Each time this word is used in Scripture, it is in the context of Christians. Therefore, when Paul admonished us to love strangers, I do not believe he was referring to just any unknown stranger who knocks on your door.
6)         Any Christian who you do not know very well is somewhat of a stranger to you. A visiting preacher or missionary may be a stranger to you.
7)         God wants us to step out of our comfort zone and be hospitable to saints that we do not yet know well. A typical way of being hospitable is to provide a meal or a lodging.
b.         What did Paul mean by “given to” hospitality?
1)         The word translated “given to” is an interesting word.
a)         The primary definition is to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after.
b)         We find it 44x in the NT. 31x it is translated as some form of persecute. I found that interesting!
2)         As I meditated on this verse early one morning, this thought came to me. Because this word usually refers to fleeing persecution, I wonder if God is saying that we must be hospitable to those hiding from pursuers? While the context lends itself to this interpretation, the grammar does not necessarily. It may simply be urging us to run after opportunities to meet the needs of saints we do not know by providing food or lodging for them.
3)         Certainly, in the first century, there were saints who, because of severe persecution, were fleeing for their lives. This was extremely common during the Dark Ages and particularly during the Spanish Inquisition. Corrie ten Boom in her book “The Hiding Place” vividly described such heroic hospitality during the Holocaust in World War II. Our turn may be coming. We must be prepared to risk our personal safety to be hospitable to fleeing saints.
Conclusion: Read Romans 12:13. How well are you fulfilling these duties? Do you regularly look for ways that you can share your treasure, time, talents and testimony with other saints? It is far too easy just to live for ourselves, but God wants us to live for others. Let’s be creative. Ask God for opportunities to share with the saints. Seek to be a blessing to someone today.
            Thankfully, we do not live in a time of severe persecution, so we do not presently need to use hospitality to hide fleeing Christians, but we ought to pursue eagerly other opportunities to be hospitable towards God’s saints. Ask God how you could be more hospitable.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388