Summary: Romans 14 offers some clear guidelines to help us sort out how we can be free in Christ without creating bondage for someone else.
Life, Love, and Liberty
Intro: John Wooden won several college basketball championships in a row while at UCLA. He was once asked, ‘What does it take to make a winning team? 3 Things:
1) Get players in right condition (right with God/Salvation/Worship)
2) Team them the fundamentals (Discipleship)
3) Teach them to play together as a team (fellowship/ministry)
Church needs to learn lesson #3 especially. (Adapted from Guy McGraw, sermoncentral)
The church has caused unnecessary hurt by imposing greater laws on believers than God has.
-There was a time Christians opposed the radio because Satan is the god of the air.
-Christians fight over “King James only” translation.
-Can a mature Christian drink or smoke?
-Can a mature Christian play a game of cards or use dice?
-Can a mature Christian go to the movie theatre?
-In my younger years I’ve known and been in churches that were against bowling, TV, women wearing pants, men having long hair, and many other rules & regulations.
-The story is told about a Catholic priest who was walking down an alley behind his church when a thief jumped out from behind some garbage cans and pressed the muzzle of his gun into the priest’s ribs.
The thief said, “Give me your wallet!”
Without hesitation, the priest went and reached for his wallet in the front pocket of his coat. It was then the thief got a glimpse of his collar.
“Are you a priest,” the thief asked?
“Yes I am,” said the priest.
“Well, put your wallet back,” the thief said. “I don’t rob priests. I am Catholic too.”
At that point, the relieved Catholic priest pulled out 2 cigars and offered one to the thief. The repentant thief responded, “Oh no, I could not do that. Smoking is wrong and I can’t believe you would do such an evil thing!”
Sometimes people have convictions about certain things, but fail to deal with the things that really matter in their lives. (Scott Kircher, sermoncentral.com)
AUGUSTINE: In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity or love. The message Paul is delivering in this section of Romans 14 is the same message he gives in 1 Corinthians 13: The greatest of these is love! Just as mercy triumphs over judgment, so love trumps liberty! Thank God for your freedoms, especially the freedom to worship Him from your heart in a free country. But hold your personal liberties loosely while holding tightly to the 2nd greatest commandment – loving one another.
-Let’s look at some guidelines to help us sort out how we can be free in Christ without creating bondage for someone else.
1. Stop Judging One Another over matters of personal preference
Romans 14:10-13a 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.