Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Studies in Romans Presentation 28. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Studies in Romans Presentation 28. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Studies in Romans Presentation 28

2 SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS : A gospel that changes our relationship to God 3:21- 5:21 HOW TO GROW AS A CHRISTIAN : 6: Sanctification 6:1-23 Union with Christ and its implications The Place of the Law 7:1-25 Life in the Spirit 8:1-39 A SHORT DETOUR : Questions concerning Israel 9:1-11:36 HOW A CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO LIVE : 12:1-15:13 Principles of conduct 14:1-15:13 The weak and the strong 14:1-23 The example of Christ 15:1-6 Receiving one another 15:7-13 PERSONAL GREETINGS : 16:1-27 Presentation 28

3 Studies in Romans Principles of Conduct Chap 14v1-15v13 Presentation 28

4 This chapter deals with Christian behaviour in relation to doubtful questions, and is of particular value in the way in which it draws out a number of broad general principles that have bearing upon Christian conduct. A situation had developed in Rome between two groups of Christians, described here as the ‘weak’ and the ‘strong’. It could have caused a serious rift in fellowship. One group of believers wanted to refrain from eating certain foods, and stressed the importance of one particular day for worship rather than another. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

5 The issue here is one of Christian scruples. Differences of opinion on matters which are not central to the faith are unimportant. However, it is easy to see how the hardening of attitudes over items of secondary importance can lead to dissension. It is this danger that Paul warns against. Sadly, some Christians see their calling in life to put other people right when they hold different views. To be consumed with non-essentials is always a distraction in God’s work. The fragrance of Christ is seldom, if ever, seen in the lives of those consumed with a ‘petty corrective spirit’. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

6 Those Paul describes as the ‘strong’ were mostly Gentile believers, who understood the freedom that was theirs in Christ. The ‘weak’ were mostly Jewish believers, who observed the strict regulations found in the Levitical food laws. The limitations of these were addressed by Jesus in Mk. 7. These scruples among believing Jews are illustrated in Acts 10:9-16. They took some time to grasp that Christ was the fulfilment of all the O.T. ceremonial law and as a result they had an inadequate appreciation of Christian liberty. The eating of meat offered to idols, the substance of the scruple under discussion here, is not a live issue today, but the general principles laid down by the apostle are timeless in their application. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

7 What should our attitude be to the weak brother? The correct attitude is to welcome him, both for his own sake and as one for whom Christ died [1Cor 8:11]. The wrong attitude is to see him as someone whom you can browbeat and 'put right‘. The Greek text in v1 reads ‘not to pass judgement on his doubts’, that is, on the anxious thoughts he has about his scruples. The weakness Paul describes is not moral - he would not encourage acceptance if it were - rather it is a lack of spiritual insight. It would appear that the ‘strong’ were contemptuous of this weakness. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

8 However, the weak were also censorious towards the strong and condemned them for their behaviour; in this case, for eating meat offered to idols. Both groups are warned against passing judgement, v4, because we are all of us accountable to God for our actions, and not to one another. The emphasis in v3b-4 is clearly on the weak believer. He is more prone to a judgmental attitude. A whole fellowship can be held to ransom by the scruples of the weak; it can take the form of moral or spiritual blackmail. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

9 ‘It is easy to lapse from scrupulousness about one’s own conduct into Pharisaism about that of others.’ James Denny Paul argues that God will vindicate the strong believer, and keep him in the midst of a social climate that will tempt him to abuse the true freedom that the gospel brings. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

10 Paul considers a further example in v5, the religious observance of days. A number of suggestions have been made as to his meaning, including the practice of Jewish converts to ‘close shop’ on Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath - and on Jewish religious festivals calendar. Whatever the issue, Paul does not pass judgement on either viewpoint but insists, ‘Each one be fully convinced in his own mind!’ This is not a licence to adopt any principle of conduct we wish, but an appeal to each person to think matters through, and to form his convictions ‘in Christ’, and in line with the principle of conduct already laid down in 12:1. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

11 The starting point in answering the question, ‘Is there anything wrong in this for me?’ is always a true consecration to Christ. Christian conduct must be based on conviction arrived at through the exercise of a consecrated mind, and not based upon either prejudice or taboos. We don't do things, simply because other Christians do them. Sadly, there are often do's and don'ts in the Christian life, which are more a matter of prejudice than of conviction. Then like the Pharisees we are in danger of making the Word of God void by an accumulation of tradition. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

12 A second principle of conduct is found in v6-8, and in particular in the phrase “to the Lord”. The all-important influence upon our behaviour should be God’s will, because the believer’s life is not his own; he belongs to the Lord. Questions that we should constantly ask are, ‘Is this something Jesus would like?’; ‘Could I take Jesus along with me on this?’ Of course, we need to know him intimately enough to discover the answer and this in turn brings us back to Ch As far as Christian conduct is concerned, Paul does not give cut and dried answers. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

13 Christians often want to be provided with a rule book of do’s and don’ts, foolishly believing that they would be more secure with a large book of rules. But Paul lays down principles. He is concerned with inward reality and not with outward conformity. Outward patterns of behaviour lead to legalism. Were Paul to legislate in this way, it would have led to the very thing he argues against in v17. How, then, do we approach the matter of Christian ethics? By recognising the absolute Lordship of Christ over us, which his death and resurrection impose. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

14 We are his bondslaves and not freemen. This is the meaning of v7. Our life is a stewardship rather than a personal possession. To fail to understand this is to fail to understand the gospel. It is only when we are captive to Christ and his Word that real freedom becomes ours. In v10 we are reminded that we will account for our stewardship. How careful we should be in our use of words, that can sear and wound the hearts of others cf. Matt 7:1-5; 12:36. Jesus tells us we shall be judged as we judge. It is the merciful who receive mercy. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

15 In 13ff Paul is concerned that a lack of consideration for the weak may crush their spiritual growth. Paul shows how the Christian should use his new-found liberty in Christ. He has been set free, not to please himself, but God. This means that sometimes he will refuse to do the very things that he is free to do. The law of love will condition his liberty. Paul’s position is clearly stated ‘nothing is unclean in itself’. Paul is not referring to moral issues but non-moral issues, like food and drink he has in mind [cf. Mark 7:14ff and Acts 10:9-16.]. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

16 If the weak believer chooses to regard certain food as unclean, then, for him, it is unclean, and for him to eat it would be to defile his conscience. In the same way his conscience, will be hurt if he sees strong believers eating such food. If a strong believer causes offence by his behaviour, he is transgressing the law of love, and risking the ruin of one for whom Christ died. Our actions are not harmless, if they cause a weak brother to stumble. The question is no longer "Is there any harm in it?", but, "If I do this, is it likely to harm him?" There are therefore two laws operating in the life of the Christian - the law of liberty and the law of love. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

17 If the strong believer objects that his liberty should not be curtailed by the foolish scruples of his weaker brother, Paul replies, “Does food and drink mean so much to you? Have you lost sight of the fact that ‘the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit'? If you get upset by abstaining from certain foods, perhaps you are not as free as you think yourself to be”. When our behaviour is regulated by the welfare of others, and not by our own selfish self-interest, this not only brings pleasure to God, it also causes men to take note [cf. Matt 5:15]. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

18 In v19ff. Paul encourages Christians to ensure that their liberty is constantly asking, ‘What will contribute towards the peace of the fellowship and its mature development?’ Abstinence, for the sake of others, is the fulfilment of the law of love and much more important than the expression of our liberty. To limit one’s liberty is a better witness than to exercise it. Does this mean that the Christian’s liberty can never fully be exercised? No, it can be exercised, when we are not involved with, or in view of, our weaker brother, but on our own with God. This is the practical safeguard against the paralysis that would result from impossible limitations being imposed upon Christian freedom by the scruples of weak brothers. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

19 In v23 the focus is returned to the weak brother. The man who behaves in a certain way, without the full approval of his conscience, is condemned because his action does not spring from faith. This is not simply self- condemnation, but the condemnation of God. ‘Whatever is not of faith is sin’. Paul foresees the possibility of the weak Christian following the example of the strong believer, but without the full consent of his conscience, and against his better judgement - he would be acting without being ‘fully persuaded in his own mind’ [v5]. An unenlightened conscience cannot be violated with impunity. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Weak and the Strong 14:1-23 Presentation 28

20 The principle taught in Ch. 14 is now applied in 15v1, in the words "we ought not to please ourselves". The freedom that Christ gives is not that of self- assertion, but of self-sacrifice [cf. "a living sacrifice“ 12:1]. The Greek word translated ‘bear’ v1, carries the sense of both ‘putting up with and enduring’, and also of ‘sharing the load’. The strong must both endure the burden of irritating restrictions, and also try to help the weak in their weaknesses. We are to live for our neighbour’s highest good, and involve ourselves in the construction and not destruction of their lives. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Example of Christ 15:1-6 Presentation 28

21 In v3 Paul quotes from the O.T., rather than from any of the gospel traditions, in order to unpack Christ's self-denying love. The Psalm quoted [Ps 69] provides an apt summary of all Jesus came to be and do. The words imply that Jesus endured great reproach and insult for his faithfulness to God, all of which might have been avoided had he chosen an easier path. He always chose the will of God rather than any self-regarding consideration [Phil. 2:8]. He is our example. Bearing with the failings of the weak involves us in making very real sacrifices of personal liberty; they are to be made in the Spirit of Christ and for love’s sake. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Example of Christ 15:1-6 Presentation 28

22 In v4 Paul justifies his use of the O.T. quote by reminding his readers that what was written in former days was written for our instruction. The expression ‘endurance and encouragement’ indicates how difficult it is to live out the self-sacrificing life. One writer says, “How difficult it is to act towards weaker brethren in a spirit of love. Our Christian character is seldom so severely tried as when we are put to inconvenience by the spiritual childishness of members of the church”. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Example of Christ 15:1-6 Presentation 28

23 Paul prays [v5] that they may experience ‘endurance and encouragement’, which comes from God through the Scriptures. It is as we are steeped in the Scriptures that we are reminded not only of the demands of discipleship, but of the resources that God has made available for discipleship. This makes harmony possible, and unites believers to praise and glorify God. This is not a solitary journey. And out of that unity comes a revenue of praise to God. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 The Example of Christ 15:1-6 Presentation 28

24 In v7ff Paul applies these principles to the wider issue of relationships between Jews and Gentiles. “Accept one another! He also introduces a further incentive for being patient - remember how patient God has been towards you! Then we will find it easier to deal with the exasperation others cause us. Paul reminds the Jewish converts that their resentment of the Gentiles is misplaced, since it had always been God's intention that the Gentiles should share in the blessings of God. Hence the O.T. quotes. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 Accept One Another 15:7-13 Presentation 28

25 The Gentiles are reminded that it was through the Jews that they were called into the kingdom of God, and the Jews that they were to be channels of blessing to the Gentiles. The distinction between the Jew and the Gentile lies in the manner in which the gift of salvation is received. The Jew is welcomed in connection with covenant promises made to his forefathers, while Gentiles are welcomed, not on account of a covenant relationship but because of God’s lavish mercy. This is the contrast made between ‘the fathers’ and ‘the Gentiles’ in v8-9. Paul’s concern is that these two groups do not allow ‘differences’ to become ‘divisions’. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 Accept One Another 15:7-13 Presentation 28

26 An effective antidote to divisions and dissension is provided in v13. When ‘joy and peace’ from God come into our hearts, smaller matters are eclipsed. When our hearts are overwhelmed by the glory of the gospel, we will not allow ourselves to be side-tracked by trivial and unworthy divisions. When division and dissension exists in the church, we need to ask if those who promote them have lost sight of the glory of the gospel. Those who take every opportunity to belittle the church to which they belong and who spread bitterness about its work, reveal their own lack of spiritual stature. How a Christian Ought to Live 12:1-15:13 Principles of Conduct 14:1-15:13 Accept One Another 15:7-13 Presentation 28


Download ppt "Studies in Romans Presentation 28. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google