Presentation on theme: "Romans 14 Faith, Freedom, and Finesse. The Growing Church Romans 14:1 ESV (1) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over."— Presentation transcript:
The Growing Church Romans 14:1 ESV (1) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
Example 1: The Controversy of Meat Romans 14:2-3 ESV (2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. (3) 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. Cf 1 Corinthians 8
Individual Conscience Moral Boundaries The area OUTSIDE of God’s Will
The Gray Area Individual Conscience “My Freedom” Moral Boundaries The area OUTSIDE of God’s Will
The Gray Area Individual Conscience “My Freedom” Moral Boundaries The area OUTSIDE of God’s Will The “Disputable Matters” (14:1 NIV)
Which Extreme? The Romans (converted Jews) thought it was bad to eat meat [legalistic] – Concerns about uncleaness The Corinthians (converted idol worshippers) had no problem eating meat [permissive] – But the pantheonic could be confused In both cases, Paul wanted the brethren to be concerned about the “weaker”
The Fears Fear 1: Evil is contagious – we will be infected – Better not get near it, them, their stuff Fear 2: We won’t be differentiated – If we don’t move away from sinlessness to a position of visible separation we won’t be able to reach the lost
The Answers Fear 1: Evil is contagious – we will be infected – Better not get near it, them, their stuff Fear 2: We won’t be differentiated – If we don’t move away from sinlessness to a position of visible separation we won’t be able to reach the lost We are innoculated! God has called us to be Dual Citizens (as we just discussed in Chapter 13) to work WITHIN the system we are in, as spiritually immune beings that can be a light in the darkness! As soon as you tell someone you are a Christian they will already assume you are judging them, and that you are different anyway. Why go to non-biblical extremes to separate from the people we need to reach? It is our hearts (Christ in us) that will reach them Jesus had dinner in the homes of sinners, and he sought out sinners of all kinds Matthew 9:11-13 As soon as you tell someone you are a Christian they will already assume you are judging them, and that you are different anyway. Why go to non-biblical extremes to separate from the people we need to reach? It is our hearts (Christ in us) that will reach them Jesus had dinner in the homes of sinners, and he sought out sinners of all kinds Matthew 9:11-13
Should you Judge? Romans 14:4 ESV (4) 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.
Individual Conscience “My Freedom” Moral Boundaries The area OUTSIDE of God’s Will Extra Biblical Constraints and Barriers
The Same Problem – New Day Jesus scolded the Pharisees for creating a heavy burden Extra biblical constraints and judgment over the “disputable matters” can lead to: – Recipient: Self marginalization Depression Power-robbing guilt – Perpetrator: Loss of Focus Cloud Over Love Evangelistic Nullification
Example 2: The Controversy of Days Romans 14:5-6 ESV (5) 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. (6) 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.
No Sabbath? Romans was written to a church mixed of converted Jews and Greeks It is likely that Paul was referring to the Feasts and numerous traditions of days the Jews hade been taught “to the bone” But the Sabbath must also be considered here – Jesus bought (at an extraordinary price) extraordinary freedom for us so that we could walk in his love, with his law written on our hearts and “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”
No Seriously, Don’t Judge (within the outer circle) Romans 14:7-13 ESV (7) For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. (8) 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. (9) For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (10) 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; (11) for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (12) So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (13) Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
No Seriously, Don’t Judge (within the outer circle) This stern warning reminds us that Christ paid that extraordinary price for both the dead and the living and that we will all stand before him and be judged We need to think about this – we are going to be judged according to the law he has written on OUR heart – we will not be judges on that day BUT, we are also called to NOT put a stumbling block in front of our brothers
Two kinds of Stumbling Blocks I will judge you if you… – even though Jesus would not have – Even if it is not a moral absolute (God’s, not ours) I will confuse you because I believe I can do something that I know you will not understand as Christian Liberty
Clean versus Kind Romans 14:14-15 ESV (14) I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. (15) For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
So can we eat it or not? Tough for someone seeking moral absolutes God did not give us additional commands in this area, so this becomes a “matter of conscience” But Paul extends with the discussion of what is loving!
The exegesis Romans 14:16-21 ESV (16) So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. (17) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (18) Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. (19) So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (20) Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. (21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Be conscientious of how what you do will be perceived Focus: Righteousness, Peace, and Joy (not eating and drinking) Serving God in this way is acceptable to him AND to men (whom he wishes us to reach!) We should pursue peace in these disputable areas and work to avoid causing another to stumble Duplicitous? Of course not! We all understand what Paul is calling us to. Doesn’t every professional, politician, leader, public figure, executive, worker, representative already get held to this same standard? The role of an ambassador (Dual Citizen)
Hidden Faith? Romans 14:22 ESV (22) The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
Hidden Faith? If you feel like God allows YOU to have a beer every so often – do it at home, or in the presence of others you know are similarly minded and NEVER in the presence of an alcoholic you are trying to lead to Christ Blessed is the person who is confident that what they do in faith they have done rightly/properly and without defiling their conscience
Conscience as New Law Romans 14:23 ESV (23) But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
The Conscience! The conscience is the voice of the Holy Spirit, and can lead us through nuance that our minds can not navigate successfully If we submit Beautiful freedom! – Submit to the conscience – Be acceptable to God – Enjoy the Freedom Christ bought – within the will of God and without damaging our efforts as ambassadors Cf Romans 2:15
1 Corinthians 8 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 ESV (1) Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. (2) If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. (3) But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (4) Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." (5) For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- (6) yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (7) However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. (8) Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. (9) But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. (10) For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? (11) And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. (12) Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. (13) Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Matthew 9:11-13 Matthew 9:11-13 ESV (11) And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" (12) But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Romans 2:15 Romans 2:15 ESV (15) They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them