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Scripture Reading Romans 14:1--15:7 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another.”

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Presentation on theme: "Scripture Reading Romans 14:1--15:7 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another.”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Scripture Reading Romans 14:1--15:7 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another.”

2 Keeping God’s People United Church composed of people from “every tribe, tongue and nation” Rev 5:9 Different customs, educational levels, different economic & social levels Yet, we are to be “one” Eph 4:1-4 Fellowship can be fragile word shows path to unity God’s word shows path to unity

3 Various Attempts Have Been Made To Develop Unity Failure of Denominationalism Failure of Denominationalism Restoration Idea: “Speak where Bible speaks, be silent where it is silent.” Restoration Idea: “Speak where Bible speaks, be silent where it is silent.” “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” Recognized some distinction between matters of “liberty” and “the faith” Recognized some distinction between matters of “liberty” and “the faith” Word of God must make that distinction Word of God must make that distinction

4 Unity Declared To Be in “The Faith” 1 Cor 1:10 “speak the same things” 1 Cor 1:10 “speak the same things” 2 Jn 9-11 “abide in doctrine of Christ” 2 Jn 9-11 “abide in doctrine of Christ” Jude 3 - “contend for the faith” “Have no company” with those who teach “another doctrine” Rom 16: Cor 4:17 “same things in every church” Clearly, unity is set in that which is bound

5 “The Faith” Describes 3 Categories of Action Things Commanded or Forbidden Things Commanded or Forbidden  Only one course is right when things are commanded: obey God - Mt 26  Only one course is right when things are forbidden: refuse to act - 2 Jn 9-11 But there is another category of action

6 “The Faith” Also Describes Matters of Liberty - another category of action These are neither commanded or forbidden, but allowed (no time limit) These are neither commanded or forbidden, but allowed (no time limit)  Allows for judgments, opinions, different actions (must be lawful)  Liberty to do differently than some other brethren (no inherent sin) Ex: circumcision Gal 5:6; 6:15; 1 Cor 7:19 - a liberty, not a command Ex: circumcision Gal 5:6; 6:15; 1 Cor 7:19 - a liberty, not a command

7 “Liberty” Defined by Scripture 1 Cor 8:9 “this liberty of yours” 1 Cor 8:9 “this liberty of yours” 1 Cor 10:23 “all things are lawful” 1 Cor 10:23 “all things are lawful” Thus “authorized liberty” which describes an area of action by brethren in which one may differ from another and both be accepted by God Thus “authorized liberty” which describes an area of action by brethren in which one may differ from another and both be accepted by God Must not apply to “the faith” and create license to sin! Ex: adultery Must not apply to “the faith” and create license to sin! Ex: adultery

8 “Liberty” Defined by Scripture 1 Cor 8:9 “this liberty of yours” 1 Cor 8:9 “this liberty of yours” 1 Cor 10:23 “all things are lawful” 1 Cor 10:23 “all things are lawful” Liberty = “non-essentials”, or things not commanded or forbidden Liberty = “non-essentials”, or things not commanded or forbidden Matters of “indifference to God” (as circumcision, meats, days, etc) Matters of “indifference to God” (as circumcision, meats, days, etc) Either practice or non-practice of act makes one no better or worse Either practice or non-practice of act makes one no better or worse

9 Background of Church at Rome Jewish Christians’ history with “meat” and days” (unclean meats and Sabbath, etc) Jewish Christians’ history with “meat” and days” (unclean meats and Sabbath, etc) Gentile Christians history with idols and “things sacrificed to idols” 1 Cor 8:4 Gentile Christians history with idols and “things sacrificed to idols” 1 Cor 8:4 Christ set free from Law of Moses Gal :1 and made both “one” Eph 2 Christ set free from Law of Moses Gal :1 and made both “one” Eph 2 “Meat” and “days” no longer bound but allowed (matters of liberty) to all “Meat” and “days” no longer bound but allowed (matters of liberty) to all But became “doubtful disputations” to some But became “doubtful disputations” to some

10 “Doubtful Disputations” Matters which are outside “the faith”Matters which are outside “the faith” Matters of judgment or opinion, not commanded or forbiddenMatters of judgment or opinion, not commanded or forbidden which may be strongly held by those uninformed or weak in knowledgeYet which may be strongly held by those uninformed or weak in knowledge No clear passage can be presented one way or the other as a proof-textNo clear passage can be presented one way or the other as a proof-text “Receive”, but not to “doubtful disputations” – don’t major in minors“Receive”, but not to “doubtful disputations” – don’t major in minors Hold these to yourself 14:13, 22Hold these to yourself 14:13, 22

11 What is Their Danger? When a brother holds strenuously to a view that is not bound, but seeks to bind that view, it becomes a “doubtful disputation” and would destroy unity When a brother holds strenuously to a view that is not bound, but seeks to bind that view, it becomes a “doubtful disputation” and would destroy unity How must this be treated? How must this be treated?  Circumcision is nothing 1 Cor 7:19  It may be practiced Acts 16:3  But it cannot bound Gal. 5:3-5  Lest it become a “doubtful disputation”

12 Examples of “Doubtful Disputations” No located preacher No located preacher No uninspired literatureNo uninspired literature One container for fruit of vine on tableOne container for fruit of vine on table No Sunday night communionNo Sunday night communion No Bible classesNo Bible classes No women teachers in Bible classesNo women teachers in Bible classes Women and head coveringWomen and head covering Without a clear passage that authorizes or forbids, we should not dispute on itWithout a clear passage that authorizes or forbids, we should not dispute on it

13 Romans 14:1--15:7 Discussion of Authorized Liberties Church at Rome had Jews/Gentiles Church at Rome had Jews/Gentiles Their customs, practices differed Their customs, practices differed Yet they were to “receive” one another 14:1 and be “at peace” v. 19; 15:7 Yet they were to “receive” one another 14:1 and be “at peace” v. 19; 15:7 Not in sinful practices! Eph 5:11; 2 Jn 9 Not in sinful practices! Eph 5:11; 2 Jn 9 It is a tragic mistake to include sinful practices in open-ended fellowship It is a tragic mistake to include sinful practices in open-ended fellowship Whatever may be placed in Rom 14 is authorized to be received in fellowship! Whatever may be placed in Rom 14 is authorized to be received in fellowship!

14 Matters of Liberty Are Not Sinful Note how text describes them Note how text describes them  “clean” v 14  “good” v 16  “pure” v 20 It is gross violation to put sinful practices in this chapter and “receive” It is gross violation to put sinful practices in this chapter and “receive” Are adultery, social drinking, etc “clean” “good” or “pure”? Are adultery, social drinking, etc “clean” “good” or “pure”? No sin involved No need to stop No need to contend

15 Context Cannot Be Perverted Rom 13: Rom 14:1-15:7 Rom 16:17-18 Condemns Moral Sin! Condemns Doctrinal Sin! Allows both doctrinal and moral sin?? Does Roman 14:1-15:7 allow “contradictory teachings and practices on important moral and doctrinal questions?”

16 Different Brethren At Rome The “weak” brother (14:1)The “weak” brother (14:1)  “untaught” 1 Cor 8:4-7  did not have full knowledge  convinced in own mind  believed strong brother to be in sin  was not weak in conviction  was binding where God did not bind  was drawing lines of fellowship

17 Different Brethren At Rome The “strong” brother (15:1)The “strong” brother (15:1)  “taught,” had full knowledge  able to practice eating & observing  did it to the Lord, convinced in mind  warned not to be puffed up in mind  warned not to cause weak to stumble by flaunting his knowledge and practice  but no inherent sin allowed practice and fellowship to continue

18 If Romans 14 Permits Fellowship with Sin: The “strong” (taught) brother actively participates in the sin! (15:1 - we/Paul)The “strong” (taught) brother actively participates in the sin! (15:1 - we/Paul) The “weak” (untaught) brother is opposed to sin! Total reverse of actuality and truth! The “weak” (untaught) brother is opposed to sin! Total reverse of actuality and truth! Apply this to adultery, social drinking, immodesty, gambling, dancing, etc. Apply this to adultery, social drinking, immodesty, gambling, dancing, etc. This view reverses the context and puts sinners in fellowship with God while asking faithful to be quiet and accept them This view reverses the context and puts sinners in fellowship with God while asking faithful to be quiet and accept them

19 Arguments for Fellowshipping Sin “But weak brother thought it was sin” “But weak brother thought it was sin” “Now the fellow who thought it could be a sin to eat those meats had to look at the other fellow and think he was sinning. Had to. In Rome, the fellow who thought it was a sin to eat any kind of meat would have thought you sinned if you ate a piece of meat. And yet Paul taught them that they should accept one another” Bob Owen, “We Differ, Can We Fellowship?” Concord, NC, Feb 19, 1995)

20 Arguments for Fellowshipping Sin “But weak brother thought it was sin” “But weak brother thought it was sin” But he was wrong! The act was sinful. But he was wrong! The act was not sinful. He was commanded to stop judging his brother who ate the meat because God had received him 14:3 He was commanded to stop judging his brother who ate the meat because God had received him 14:3 It was a matter of indifference to God 1 Cor 8:8 no matter what some thought It was a matter of indifference to God 1 Cor 8:8 no matter what some thought It was an authorized liberty, not a sinful practice to be “received” It was an authorized liberty, not a sinful practice to be “received” There was no inherent sin in the practice There was no inherent sin in the practice

21 “Honestly Believed Error Can be Received” “In 1st Timothy and Colossians, as we saw, it’s the error of forbidding foods and honoring days and yet Paul treats that differently though it’s the same error from Romans 14. And the question is why are these cases different. And I hope you can see, now that we’ve been discussing this is the very obvious reason why those cases are different. It’s not that the doctrinal error is different. Same error, but the approach to it is different. (cont’d)

22 “For one reason and one reason only. The people in Romans 14 are just honestly mistaken about what God’s will is. Now Paul says “You’d better accept him.” The people in 1 Timothy 4 and Colossians 2, they know what the apostles of Jesus Christ teach, they know what they are saying Christ’s doctrine is, but they don’t care. They have their own tradition they’re following, their own self-made religion that they are following. That’s the difference.” (for entire lessons, see: Marty Pickup, Valrico church of Christ,

23 What is Wrong With This Approach? Assumes inherent sin in Rom 14 while strong did not sin by eating meatsAssumes inherent sin in Rom 14 while strong did not sin by eating meats The weak brother did not sin unless he bound his beliefThe weak brother did not sin unless he bound his belief In 1 Tim 4 and Col 2, false teachers had bound error which came from demonsIn 1 Tim 4 and Col 2, false teachers had bound error which came from demons What if some honestly believed the error?What if some honestly believed the error? Is ignorance an excuse for sin Acts 17:30Is ignorance an excuse for sin Acts 17:30 “Honestly mistaken” error will send souls to hell – see Paul 1 Tim 1:12-13“Honestly mistaken” error will send souls to hell – see Paul 1 Tim 1:12-13 John’s disciples Acts 19:1-5John’s disciples Acts 19:1-5

24 Can We Fellowship Some Sexual Sins? In 1 Corinthians 5, remember, you’ve got the case of the incestuous man there, a man living with his father’s wife and Paul says the man is an immoral man. Verses 1 and 2, he said this is immorality of such a kind that even the Gentiles wouldn’t tolerate that. So he classifies this man as an immoral man in his incestuous sexual relationship with his father’s wife. And look at what Paul told the Corinthian brethren to do with that man: “to deliver him over to Satan,” and he gave several synonyms: “remove him from your midst,” “cast out the old leaven,” “don’t associate with him.” In other words, he’s saying don’t fellowship this person. Don’t accept him as a faithful Christian …

25 “Alright, but in the very next chapter, you’ve got other Corinthians who are going to the temple and having sex with the temple prostitutes in Corinth. Now Paul condemns that vehemently but Paul still treats them as saints. He still addresses them as saints. And he never says in chapter 6 that those who are committing immorality with these temple prostitutes, you “deliver them over to Satan,” “remove them from you midst.” Why do you think that’s the case? Why? What’s the difference? Same error in practice, right? I mean, it’s still sexual immorality, okay? But what’s the difference? Why does Paul not say that those in chapter 6 should be delivered over to Satan and no longer accepted as a Christian? (ibid)

26 Were the Corinthians Ignorant of Sexual Sin? “Okay, so this was their background and they had done this in their pre-Christian life and so, in other words, I think what you’re getting at is, these people were not, at least at this point, they were not saying, “We know this is sinful, but we’re going to keep doing it, Paul.” There were just continuing to live the same sexual life style they had lived before they were Christians and they hadn’t got all this that, “Wait a minute, that’s wrong.” “You can’t do that.” It does matter what you do with your body, as Paul teaches them in chapter 6. (ibid)

27 Were Some Ignorant That Sexual Acts Were Sinful? Were those in 1 Cor 6 just “honestly mistaken?” (see v. 9-11) Did Paul ignore the practice or condemn it? How long could they continue to visit the temple before being held accountable? If they were still “saints” in the practice, why not leave them in ignorance? Is sexual immorality parallel to Romans 14 “pure,” “clean,” “good?”

28 If Misuse of Romans 14 is Accepted: Practice of sin must be allowed v 1 Practice of sin must be allowed v 1 All debate about sin must stop v. 22 (compare Jude 3 - “contend”) All debate about sin must stop v. 22 (compare Jude 3 - “contend”) Moral and doctrinal error will increase Moral and doctrinal error will increase False teachers cannot be stopped 2 Jn 9-11; 2 Tim 4:1-4; Jude 3 False teachers cannot be stopped 2 Jn 9-11; 2 Tim 4:1-4; Jude 3 Satan will win the battle by default! Satan will win the battle by default!

29 Preaching This Kind of Lesson: ! Does not suggest anger or animosity ! Does not suggest closing doors - rather open up for Bible study - Acts 17:11 ! Proof of error being taught is available to those who doubt present need to study ! Private study, open communication to those interested in deeper study ! Goal: Eph 4:1-3 unity of God’s people


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