Summary: The things that divide the body: are they worth it?
THE THINGS THAT DIVIDE US Rom 14:1-12
The favorite indoor sport of most Christians is sizing up each other, identifying the differences, and slicing up the body of Christ.
1) In case you have not looked around lately we are very different. We look different, we act different, we talk different, we have different jobs, we come from different backgrounds.
2) When we walk in the flesh then those differences divide but when we walk in the Spirit those differences can make us more effective in reaching the world.
a) In Paul’s wildest dream wouldn’t have imagined the many denominations we have today
3) Imagine the differences in the New Testament: how much difference can you be than the differences between the Jew and the Gentile. Diet – Feast Days – Circumcision - Sabbath
Think about the things that divide us: You can’t be a real Christian and _______ not speak in tongues, go to Church on Sunday, be baptized in any church but ours, go to movies, go to dances(functions) play cards, work on Sunday, have musical instruments in church, mixed swimming,…..what about raising hands, what about escatology, calvinism verses arminianism, baptism verses sprinkling, If the KJV was good enough for Paul then it is good enough for me. Radio wrong because satan is prince of the power of the air.
Dion Dimucci: 60’s pop star who sings Christian music. Saw on Catholic channel explaining why a Catholic. Round of non-catholic churchs and kept finding out we are different because so came back to catholic because ‘one guy is in charge’,
Paul is dealing with a problem which has been around a long time and still exist today in the church: Legalism
Pharisees: Beat people us with thousands of extra-biblical rules and regulations which put huge burdens on people’s lives. Tack in shoe, mirror, spit making mud,
1) Passage runs throughout chapter 14 and ends in 15:14
It is an extended passage begun in chapter 12 about loving one another and how to do it. 13:8 Owe no man anything but to love one another. To love someone who is different from you is a real test of love. Is the grace of God so miraculously strong that the body of Christ can stay together even though so many differences exist? ‘Grey areas abound’
Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
RECEIVE OTHERS IN SPITE OF WHERE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY (1) Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgement on his opinions(disputable matters). PBPGIFWMY
Cindy’s Sunday School class: Come in to get drilled. What if came in and said ‘Explain Eschatology, name 3 Apocalyptic events, what is the english meaning of the Greek: kononia, pisteo, storge. You don’t know? Out of here, never come back. They are different because they are weaker in faith
1. Accept means to receive or welcome. Don’t reject, ignore or treat in a second-class way. Don’t feel like you have to straighten them out. Many love to debate and argue and can dishearten a person who is young in the faith in no time at all. Don’t dwell on disputable matters that divide.
Notice how adults talk with children: stoop to their heigth, speak at their level, don’t come down on them for their way of expressing themselves.
Grumpy Father: Angry at mess daughter had made with wrapping paper. Later she came and brought him a box with a gift for him. He opened and box was empty. He yelled at her, ‘Don’t you know you are not supposed to give someone an empty box as a gift?’ It isn’t empty daddy, it is full, I blew it full of kisses before I wrapped it’.
2. We are all at different points on the road in our journey of faith. You haven’t always believed like you do now. You have learned, you have grown. Acceptance allows room for growth to occur.
21 year old baby believer: Bible study: What is faith? Faith is like ‘faith of our fathers, what people believed before us’. Invited to college gathering of Christian’s, people milling around, TV right there, lost people love TV and new believers were just lost a short time ago. Me and a few other children in Christ got on the floor in front of the TV and watched baby Christian TV: Dallas, not the football team but the TV show. Still hooked on it, in time God would change my heart.
a. Criticism not to be aimed at where we are on the road but one whether we are moving or not. Am I growing or backsliding? Am I open to God’s Word or close minded?
b. There are definite things that Scripture addresses that are not debatable(Essential of our faith and issues of sin) Being drunk is always wrong, adultery, homosexuality, fornication are always wrong: Both OT and NT have spoken and we are called to rebuke, exhort, reprove and even if necessary discipline one another. 99% of battles in churches aren’t in those areas.