Summary: Message 45 in our exposition of Romans. This if the first of two messages dealing with our Christian liberty.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Free to Do What” Romans 14:1-15:12 with other selected passages
Last time we blitzed through 35 verses of instruction regarding how we should respond to those whose convictions lead them to different conclusions and practice. See last week’s notes for a description of the situation. I give you a simplified version of the passage.
1. Embrace each other in spite of differences stop despising and judging 1-4
? God already welcomed both the “strong” and the “weak” Christian
? Who are we to reject or judge whom God welcomes?
? God is the Master not us
2. Focus on personal convictions and motives
? Our lives should revolve around the Lord not ourselves 7-9
? Each person will give account to God as the ultimate Judge
3. Build each other up don’t break each other down 14:13-21
? Beware of causing the weak to stumble 13
? Don’t let your convictions be considered evil by its damage to others 16
? Don’t destroy or tear down the weaker brother over food 15,20
? Pursue peace and the building up of one another
? If we perceive something to be sinful it becomes sinful so don’t pressure them to do things your way 14
? If we perceive something clean but it hurts others it then becomes sinful 15, 20
? The heart of the kingdom is not eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit 17
? A kingdom focus pleases both God and men 18
? It is good to abstain from things that cause others to stumble 21
A clarification is in order at this juncture. Paul warns against something more than just hurting someone’s feelings or irritating a person’s personal sense of propriety or cultural preference. He addresses injuring a Christian’s spiritual life to the extent that they risk falling away or stumbling in their faith. If we stopped doing something just because it violates someone’s personal preference concerning non-essential issues we would not do anything and come under a new kind of bondage to the whims of people. Paul warns against causing severe damage to one’s faith and walk with God by our actions or by what we try to convince them to do that actually violates some sincerely held personal conviction. That is why Paul urges us each to embrace and practice our own convictions.
4. Live by faith according to your own convictions 22
? Blessed is the one who lives by their good convictions 22b
? Violation of personal convictions brings condemnation 23a
? Whatever is done apart from faith (trust) is sin 23b
5. Focus on pleasing others not self 15:1-4
? Live to bear the weaknesses of the weak and not please ourselves
? Each person should live to please their neighbor 2
? Christ set an example for all of us by not pleasing Himself and bearing the punishment for our sin 3
? Hope comes through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures 4
Prayer for Family unity 15:5-6
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The central focus of this passage is glorifying God by a unified testimony. People will know we are Christians by our love for one another. Unity demonstrates the true nature of Christ’s power. Paul’s summary instruction to those struggling with differences regarding non-essentials...
Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Such unity brings glory to God because it is the opposite of life in a fallen, sinful world; a world of pride, selfishness, fighting and broken relationships.
Jesus came to unify both Jews and Gentiles as a people for his own possession to glorify God with one voice for His wonderful salvation.
Sermon in a sentence
Warmly welcome and embrace one another in spite of our differences and determine to pursue only those things which produce growth not grief.
Having mined the truth of the original focus of this passage concerning unity in the face of differences, I want to spend the rest of our time today delving into this passage and others in search of insight into the whole issue of Christian liberty. On what basis did the Gentiles feel free to eat anything? What did Paul mean when he said that he was convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself? How can we determine whether something is right or wrong, good or bad when Scripture dos not specifically prohibit it or prescribe it?