Summary: With God's help, Christians can walk hand in hand when we do not see eye to eye.
Title: Getting Along Despite Our Differences (Food Fights)
Text: Romans 14:1-12
Thesis: With God’s help, Christians can walk hand in hand when we do not see eye to eye.
I’ve only been in one food fight and it was an impromptu event. It occurred at our kitchen where we lived in Fullerton, California. We had a nice formal dining room but we usually ate in the kitchen where there was something of a breakfast nook. It was cozy.
One Sunday we were eating a perfectly wonderful dinner... There was a quiet moment when all of our eyes met and in one serendipitous moment the food fight was on. Green beans. Mashed potatoes. Dinner rolls. Butter. Pickles. Condiments. If it was on our plates or in serving bowls it was an airborne projectile. It was an awful mess but fortunately fairly confined... but suffice it to say, there was a lot of food spattered all over the place.
Occasionally I enjoy watching a cooking competition on the Travel Channel called American Grilled. Basically they travel around the country trying to discover the best and boldest flavors competitors can fire up on their outdoor grills. It is definitely a competition and the winner walks away with $10,000.
Even the promos of the various area competitions suggest it’s a griller’s food fight.
• Meat Me In St. Louis
• Battle on Beale Street (Memphis)
• Beef in the Heart of Texas
• Pensacola Beach Brawl
Our text today speaks to another kind of food fight... not an amiable chili cook-off competition but a dispute over what good Christians should and should not eat.
I. Accept and Respect Each Other, Romans 14:1
“Accept other believers who are weak in faith and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” Romans 14:1 LNT (Reference “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Romans 14:1 NIV and “Him that is weak in faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” KJ
Our text today is part of a larger story that includes two groups of people in the Church at Rome. There were “the weak in faith” (14:1) and “the strong in faith (15:1).” The weak in faith were those who were Jewish people who had become Christians and as such, had brought along sensitivities that were rooted in their Jewish background. The strong in faith were those who had become Christians who had either outgrown their sensitivities or simply did not share those sensitivities. Romans 14 is a straightforward approach as to how the church is to deal with disputable matters.
So strength of faith and weakness of faith does not refer to what a person believes (theology) but rather to a person’s convictions (practice). Paul’s references to weakness of faith and strength of faith do not refer to their commitment to Christ. Their “belief” is not what Paul speaks to; he speaks in reference to their “practice” or personal “convictions.”
It is generally understood that the stronger in faith found themselves with freedoms in Christ that the weaker in faith did not. The weaker in faith thought of the stronger in faith as liberals and the stronger in faith thought of the weaker in faith as legalists. And… both thought they were better Christians than the other.
However you perceive it, the Apostle Paul identified himself with those who are stronger in faith and urged the strong in faith to be considerate of those more legalistically inclined. He said, “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this.” Romans 15:1a
As I mentioned earlier, our text today is part of a larger text that serves as an encouragement for all to live together in harmony.
• Romans 14:1-12 rebukes for criticizing and condemning others.
• Romans 14:13-23 urges consideration for differences.
• Romans 15:1-6 pleads for patience, encouragement and help to live in harmony with each other.
The reason Paul so strongly urges the two factions to live together in harmony is because, essentially their differences in faith and practice were over disputable matters.
There are indisputable matters.
A. Indisputable Matters
The Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Christian Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen