Summary: Part of a series of sermons on Romans. How important is the unity of the church? Why should we Make Every Effort to keep unity? Can Christians have different opinions and still fellowship with one another?
Make Every Effort
Sibling relationships are, at best, sometimes strained. I can remember growing up, the fights my brother and I would get into. I forget what the fights were about, only that we fought. Most of the time, I’m sure, it was just nitpicking things. I wanted to do everything my older brother was doing and he didn’t want the bother of his kid brother around.
Occasionally, when these arguments would drag on for hours, my mother would do what I thought at the time was surely the dumbest thing she could have done. Instead of separating us until things cooled down she would force us to stay in the same room together until we could “learn to get along.” “How crazy is this,” I would think? “Maybe she is hoping I’ll go ahead and put the entire family out of its misery and kill my brother during this, surely, unlawful imprisonment,” I would think.
After time would pass, we would come around to the fact that, if we were going to be cooped up with each other we might as well make the best of it. Soon we would be playing with each other and getting along in spite of our differences. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized my mother’s wisdom and then later that my mother had gained her wisdom from God.
• I am firmly convinced that more than a timeless letter about the gospel of Christ, Paul as an effort wrote Romans to unify a church on its way toward division.
• Romans starts with a reminder of The Promise of God.
• It continues by showing that all people are alike under the condemnation of sin.
• We all share a Common Bond of Sin.
• Paul then shows us the common denominator that brings everyone together and that is the Righteousness that comes through faith in Christ.
• Christ paid the price through His work on the cross and everyone who comes to Him in obedient faith becomes a part of His glorious church.
I. Receive your Brother. Romans 14:1–6
A. The wisdom of my mother was that she knew we were a family and in that respect, my brother and I were stuck with each other. We had no choice but to work out our differences. Where else could we go? We are family.
B. Paul uses the same idea here by admonishing us to accept the brother who is weak in faith. Why?
1. He is a brother. 14:1
2. God has accepted him. 14:3
C. “Disputable Matters” or “Doubtful Disputations” or “decision of scruples”
1. The weak brother should be received, scruples and all.
2. Although the brother is received, it should be done in a way as to not make his differing opinion the rule of the congregation.
3. Neither should he be received for the purpose of pressuring this brother to change his opinion.
4. Receive him, plain and simple.
D. Paul’s admonition here clearly shows that Christians can disagree on certain matters and yet still fellowship one another.
1. More than that, Paul commands it by stating, “Accept him.”
2. Any question that arises among the brotherhood that does not violate a command of Christ is by very definition secondary and of minor importance.
a. This applies especially to situations where division is apparent.
b. Eph. 4:2–6 “2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
II. We will all give a Reckoning of our lives to God. Romans 14:7–18
A. The very fact that we are all sinners has been driven into the bedrock as a reminder of our need for justification before God.
1. Romans 3:23–24
2. 2 Cor. 5:10 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
B. The danger of trying to find the wrong in someone else is evident throughout the bible.
1. Luke 6:41–42 41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.