Summary: We must realize that our sisters and brothers in faith belong to God and so do we.
Romans 14: 1 - 12
Intro: A man died and met St. Peter at the pearly gates. Peter offered to give the man a tour of heaven. St. Peter took the man down a long hall with many doors. They stopped at the first door where St. Peter opened it and whispered: ”These are the Presbyterians.” He quietly closed the door and lead the man to the next door. Quietly opening the door St. Peter whispered, “Here are the Baptists.” Quietly closing the door St. Peter led the man to the next door. Opening it quietly he whispered, “Here are the Methodists.” St. Peter opened quietly opened each door with the same procedure. After he quietly closed the last door, St. Peter led the man back to the pearly gates. The man asked St. Peter, “Why did you whisper?” St. Peter replied, “Because each group thinks they are the only ones here.”
I In this passage we note that Paul addresses some divisive behavior over non-essential issues.
A One issue arose over eating meat or just vegetables. The other issue was over observing “holy days.”
B Paul says that neither side should pass judgment on the other because God has welcomed both.
C Today, we see Christians who not only hate the sin AND the sinner; but, are energized by their hate to take action against each other
II Salvation is not based on what you know; it’s based on WHO you know.
A Paul recognizes that in Christ there is no place for self-centeredness, because as Christians our entire life should ultimately center on Christ and our love of God.
B Paul encourages us to welcome / accept / and aggressively receive all. Neither side should pass judgment because God has welcomed both.
C I love God. God loves me. You love God. God loves you. Therefore, I must love you. I do not have to like you; but, I must love you.
III The focus of this passage for the Roman church and us is found in VSS. 7 – 8 “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
A Many find strength in becoming church police, enforcing church policies that serve no real purpose other than to rob the community of its vitality and newness.
B Beyond actions and opinions, one must see every child of God as a soul never beyond the reach of transforming grace.
C Christ Jesus has freed us to love and honor God and to love one another. The matter of living and dying in a way that honors Christ Jesus is what is ultimately important.
Concl: An issue of National Geographic included a photo of the fossil remains of two saber-toot tigers locked in combat with this caption: “One had bitten deep into the leg bone of the other, a thrust that trapped both in a common fate.” The cause of death of the two cats is as clear as the reason for their extinction. They could not survive because they were too busy fighting each other.
We must realize that our sisters and brothers in faith belong to God and so do we.