*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
In essentials unity, in Non-essentials liberty, in All things charity
Romans 14:1–4 ESV
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
A. By One Another
-Welcome Means to treat as apart of ones family. It is not a mere tolerance of existence. It is not a welcome and ignore.
It is a full acceptance into the church and fellowship together as members of Christ body.
-Not to Quarrel (we just saw in chapter 13 that quarreling is part of living in darkness and not to be seen in the household of God)
-Disputable matters “Opinions”
-What are disputable matters….. Paul will lay out a few of them over our text today (Food, Days, and Drinking next week)
-We hear these list and we are probably pretty quick to go of course those are disputable, but to those believers they were hardly disputable matters in their own eyes.
-If they were easily seen as disputable they probably wouldn’t be so judgmental or hateful towards one another.
(Explain the food controversies)
-Jewish Dietary laws
-Probably wasn’t kosher
-Similar to 1 Corinthians but not quiet the same (Those were Gentile believers)
-What one ate didn’t save them, but it didn’t once again reflect the law
-The Jewish believers probably still held to the cultural aspects of the faith Jewish as important to Christianity while the predominately Gentile believers found no such need.
• 2 groups emerge in our text those who are “strong” and those who are “weak.”
-Both groups are believers, but see living out the faith in different ways
-Share the same gospel, these are clearly not judizers who Paul has faced off with before
-However there exists in the church those who have certain practices that differ from each other in how they approach the faith day to day and it by nature causes tension to arise:
The strong or mature believers have a tendency to despise the weak believers. It doesn’t necessary state why they despise them it could be their judgmental attitude or it could be their lack of “growth.” I tend to lean towards the later for as we know it is easy to despise those who are always judging you and your actions. However the strong must not reject them nor exhibit contempt towards them.
The second group the “weak” are those are judgmental towards their fellows believers because they don’t observe certain rules and customs that they feel are important to the faith. Not that these things are salvific but beneficial. However their attitude seems to be one that pronounce condemnation towards the strong. They may now these things don’t save them, but threat others as if they do.
One Author summed it up like this:
Romans Original Meaning
The weak condemned the strong for cavalierly dismissing God’s laws, while the strong pooh-poohed the weak, looking down on them for clinging to the old ways when the new had come. Paul sides with the strong on the basic issues involved, but his main concern is to get each group to stop criticizing the other and to accept each other in a spirit of love and unity.
-So when we think about these opinions these are non-essential aspects of the Christian faith: They don’t determine ones salvation, Yet what we have often found in church history is that it is these very things that Christians tend to fight about the most.
-But here at the outset Paul is calling us to welcome brothers ands sisters not to quarrel and divide. We are the exercise the love for one another that he began talking about back in chapter 12.
In many ways the reasons we have so many denominations today is because we can’t love each other well.
Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Pentecostal, Christian Etc…. in each of these groups there are then other sub groups which divide even further and that doesn’t even include the plethora of non-denominational churches.
Besides the secondary doctrines that have divided denominations we also have just the personal preferences that divide the family of God:
-How often we take communion
-What type of clothes people wear
-How Reverential is Sunday morning
-How Casual is Sunday morning
-How politically involved they are
-The church is made up of believers from many different backgrounds and preferences, we are made up of people who have experienced the world in many different ways, and are passionate about many different things and yet have all been saved by the grace of God. We have been moved by the Holy Spirit’s work to repent of Sin and trust in Christ, and in this have come to experience the welcoming arms of God.
And so Paul has called the Strong to accept the weak (without quarreling) and now he reminds the weak to be welcomed by the strong because they are welcomed by God.
B. By God
-Paul moves forward with his encouragement to welcome one another in the faith because God has welcomed them.
-the intentions here moves to the weaker to now accept the strong because they are accepted by God.
-The measure and scales of the salvation of our souls is Christ alone. No man determines your salvation. God does. We may encourage one another in the faith, we teach the truth of the gospel call one another to continually live in repentance and faith, but at the end of the day it is God who has granted us salvation not ourselves, nor anyone else.
-we offer the arm of fellowship because we all have the same Lord.
-Paul drives this home all the more how we do not have the ultimate power to judge on these non-essential matters by pointing to the fact that we are all servant of the same master.
-Again the idea may be lost a bit in our context, but the main thrust is servants don’t decide who gets to stay and who gets to go, the Lord does. He is the one who sets the standards he is the one who bleed and dies for us, he bought us. We have bought no one and have eternal authority over no one.
So the weaker Christians are reminded that just because people don’t act like them or agree with their mode of honoring God doesn’t negate their place in God’s household.
Again Paul is reminded us of the Place Humility plays in the kingdom. For if we are not thinking more highly than ourselves as we ought, we will not be judgmental or despise others because we know our only hope came from God.
Now that doesn’t mean we should take our beliefs lightly. Humility doesn’t negate convictions:
Romans 14:5–9 ESV
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Paul now addresses another non-essential issue that has a risen in the church what days are to be esteemed.
Paul is not explicit but this could be about the sabbath and Jewish feasts. Do we worship on Sunday or Saturday? Why Easter & Christmas? Pentecost? Lent?
Are these days any more holy than the others…..
Paul uses these examples now to help us see the importance of not majoring on our convictions doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them.
A. In Your Own Minds
So Paul says we should be fully convinced in our own minds of the beliefs we hold to and the reason why we do the things we do.
Paul’s admonishing is that we should be a thoughtful people. We don’t take our beliefs or practices lightly even though we are to be gracious to one another in these differences.
Doctrinal differences: Baptism, Eschatology. Spiritual gifting. Know what you believe and why you do
Corporate worship differences: Days of worship, communion, Worship preferences , Giving
Daily: Clothing, language, money, hospitality, entertainment
Have a reason for what you are doing and be convinced in it. (Which in that you would think conflict would grow, but Paul shows that through this the opposite should be a reality we love each other more, because we see that the purpose is to make much of god not ourselves)
(There is a warning that these convictions fall within the things that are not Gospel, Paul warns us not to accept those who come preaching a different Gospel)
Galatians 1:8–9 ESV
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
So then from this well held conviction our aim is making much of God
B. For the Honor of God
We are to be fully convinced of why we do what we do and that the reason we do it is to make much of our savior.
Are the things you do culturally driven or spiritually driven?
The focus of our actions are to the Lord alone.
Romans 14:7–8 ESV
For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
Again we are the servants of Christ our lives are not our own. Everything we do falls under the eye of God. So there is a reminder that our actions are not ultimately for those around us for God.
We are the Lord’s
In life and death he is our savior not man.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Romans 14:9 ESV
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Romans 14:10–12 ESV
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Here Paul again speaks in his piercing rhetorical questions: Why do you judge and why do you despise
A. Not by One another
• What is interesting is that I think we can all probably think of reasons. Paul has just laid out why we shouldn’t and yet our minds can quickly pick up with reason Paul is wrong, or how my reason is completely different and justifiable.
• We are reminded again that Christ told us that the judgment we place upon others is the measure we receive judgement.
• Judgment is not disagreeing it’s a spirit of superiority and condemnation in disagreement. It’s seeing oneself as the holder of authority over another persons standing with God.
• In exercising Church discipline there is a reality that we don’t do it even there in condemning someone to hell or in a spirit of hate, but in loving compassion with gentleness and long suffering graciousness wishing to bring them back to the essentials of the faith and to flee sin. Id it is have handed and filled with contempt and malice then it may be “right” but in the end it is sinful.
• We all stand equally before the judgment seat of God and that is a reality that should
B. By God
Isaiah 45:23 ESV
By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
Paul Appeals to the OT to remind the judgmental Christians they answer to God
Each will Give an account to God…..
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty , in everything charity.