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Summary: The basis for Paul’s exhortation in verses 13-23 is that neither the exercise of Christian liberties nor the abstinence from them is intrinsically good or evil. The rightness or wrongness of these liberties is determined by our attitude toward them

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SELF-JUDGMENT

Are we stumbling blocks or stepping-stones?

Romans 14:12-23

INTRODUCTION: As we begin, it is important to note the following: The Ultimate Issue Is Not One of Right or Wrong.

The basis for Paul’s exhortation in verses 13-23 is that neither the exercise of Christian liberties nor the abstinence from them is intrinsically good or evil. The rightness or wrongness of these liberties is determined by our attitude toward them: “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean to him it is unclean” (Romans 14:14).

I THE SET UP – 14:12

A Each one of us has an individual accounting

B Each of us has an individual accounting to God

C Each of us doe not have an individual accounting to each other

II THE CHARGES – 14:13

A Charge #1 – Stop passing judgment

1 Do not assume the office of a judge

B Charge #2 – make up your own mind

1 Play on words

a Judgment

b Make up your mind

c Same word in the Greek

d Rendered: “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any more, but let us come to this verdict—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in our brother’s way.”

WE ARE CHARGED TO JUDGE OUR ACTIONS AS TO WHETHER WE HAVE PUT A STUMBLING BLOCK IN THE WAY OF SOMEONE ELSE!

III THE ISSUES TO CONSIDER – 14:14-ff

A Unclean

1 Notice that Paul does not say evil or wrong

2 Basic issue is with holiness and cleanliness with an object

3 Through the death of Christ, holiness and cleanliness are rightly associated with a person (Jesus) and not objects.

4 Everything is pure – it can be used wrong.

a Even our conviction regarding those things can be used wrong!

B The impact of our convictions on those who do not share the same convictions

1 Must see the practice of our convictions as they are related to God

a God is the real issue

b Our liberty in Christ is not the real issue

c It is important to see that we are to forgo our liberty to avoid spiritual hindrance

2 We must avoid letting our convictions to be spoken evil of

a The evil it did to others

b Christian liberty has its limits when it impacts the liberty of other Christians

c “Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive” (1 Cor. 10:23)

C The Kingdom of God

1 Not a matter of what we eat or drink (the kingdom of God is not our relationship to things)

2 The reflection of God’s Kingdom

a Righteousness – my respect towards God

b Peace – my respect towards others

c Joy in the Holy Spirit – my respect towards myself

3 Those who truly reflect God’s kingdom in their actions are:

a Pleasing to God

b Approved by men (men are constrained {have no choice but} to approve)

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

§ Determine if your convictions are essential for Christian fellowship

§ Acceptance of God is the only proper criteria for Christian fellowship

§ A zeal for the minute is no excuse for abandoning the realities of your Christian life.

§ Prefer what is safe when in doubt


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