Summary: To establish that there are some things which are permitted in Christian Liberty, that is left entirely up to every man’s conscience. These liberties are not matters of doctrine; but, matters of indifferences, pertaining to the heart and conscience.
1. Regarding Their Own Diet
2. Regarding Their Observance of Days
3. Regarding Their Occasional Drink
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “Let every man be fully persuaded.” My early years in the Baptist Denomination; I heard this sentence mentioned many times in sermons. The pastor as he is called, was suggesting, that this had reference to ones belief. I do believe we must be fully persuaded in our faith; but, Paul was not discussing “the faith” in this verse. He was affirming; that, each person must be “fully persuaded” regarding: their own diet, their observance of days, and their drink of wine. This was not a discussion of things that were of “the faith”; but, things that were matters of conscience.
2. First, we will give attention to Paul’s instruction regarding ones diet. He wrote: “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth (only) herbs (i.e., salads, vegetables and fruits). Let not him that eateth (meats) despises him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not (he who is content to eat only herbs), judge him that eateth: for God hath received him,” Romans 14:2-3. It is important to note that those that eat meat, should not despise them that eat not; and them that eat not, should not judge them that eat meat; for God hath receive him that eateth; and him that eateth not. For he has been good: “giving us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness,” Acts 14:17. Let both rejoice and be thankful for the goodness of God.
3. Second, we will discuss Paul’s instruction regarding ones observance of days. He wrote: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another (man) esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind,” Romans 14:5. Here Paul speaks of ceremonial days; such as Pentecost: as well as religious day; such as the Sabbath. These were considered holy days. The Law has been abolished, and there is no requirement for such observance; it now becomes a matter of conscience for the believer. Please note that “Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas,” was not being discussed; within the context, of this text. These days, are observed; by the mature believers, as holidays and not holy days unto the Lord. David wrote: “For this is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” Psalms 118:24.
4. Lastly, we will investigate Paul’s mention of this phrase: “nor to drink wine” in this lesson. He wrote: “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak,” Romans 14:21. In that he mention the drink of wine within the context of these two other matters of conscience; it must be understood, that the believer must be “fully persuaded in his own mind,” regarding ones drink of wine. I know this has been debated in every generation of the church; but, still there appears to be no prohibition for the saint against the drink of wine. There are however, commandments of: “Not being given to wine,” 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3. But, yet another giving instruction: “to use a little wine,” under certain circumstances, 1 Timothy 5:23. We will consider each of these at the appropriate time. With this brief introduction, let’s consider our first point.
BODY OF LESSON
I REGARDING THEIR OWN DIET
A. The rule. Paul begins our discussion of this lesson setting a firm foundation. He wrote: “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye (the strong), but not to doubtful disputations,” Romans 14:1. Also, in Chapter 15, verse one: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves,” Roman 15:1. These two verses make up the golden rule of Christian kindness. He wrote, “receive them that are weak, but not with doubting disputes.” Consider:
1. Doubtful disputation. These two words:
a. First, the word doubtful in Gr. is dialogismós, dee-al-og-is-mos'; which means discussion, i.e. (internal) consideration (by implication, purpose), or (external) debate:—dispute, doubtful(-ing), imagination, reasoning, thought.
b. Second, the word disputation, in Gr. is diákrisis, dee-ak'-ree-sis; which means judicial estimation:—discern(-ing), disputation.
c. Together they mean to argue and dispute, over things doubtful or indifferent.
d. In our text it means to doubt and dispute over things of indifference, i.e., whether to eat meats, or to eat herbs.
2. In this context, Paul is speaking of a believer, having the liberty to choose his or her own diet. One might eat meat; and the other might desire to eat herbs. In either case: “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”