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Summary: A scholar once said: "Matthew through John gives us the “Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ” The Acts of the Apostles give us the “Gospel of the Holy Spirit” But it is in Romans that we are given the “Gospel of God”

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Sermon Series “The Gospel of God – A Study of Romans”

Week #7 “The Application of Unity”

Sermon Text: Romans Ch. 14

Opening Text: Ch 14:1-4

INTRODUCTION: Welcome to our eighth week of studying through the doctrines found in the book of Romans

You will remember that the first 11 chapters of Romans dealt with doctrines of sin, righteousness and sanctification while from chapter 12 and on we are given the practical applications of these doctrines

***Tonight we are going to continue with our application and I would like to begin with a question:

When was the last time you really felt a spirit of unity with other believers in Christ?

Chapter 14 of Romans deals with Satan’s attack on the unity of the church where he uses mature (strong) believers against immature (weak) believers

Let’s look to God’s Word concerning this topic:

I. RECEIVE WEAKER BROTHERS

Read 14:1 “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.”

1. We are called to accept those who may not be as strong in faith as we are and to not squabble over things that are uncertain

a. Keyword: ‘Doubtful things’ actually could be translated ‘opinions’

b. When someone has a difference of opinion with us, we are not to deny fellowship with them, but accept them

2. Later we will discuss this further, but this is really warning us against being judgmental

a. This seems contrary to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he says, “Do you not judge those who are inside?” (I Corinthians 5:12) Where he encourages the church to “not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner” (I Corinthians 5:11)

3. The difference is in the type of judgment

a. When we judge based on feelings, traditions or personal preferences we are wrong (These are the ‘doubtful things’)

b. But when we judge according to God’s Word and allow it to be our discerner or arbiter of what is right and wrong, we are not doing the judging, God’s Word condemns the person

4. Many might use this verse to say, “Homosexuality is OK because it is a ‘doubtful thing’ – but this is not true

a. The Word of God shows on multiple occasions (Exodus 18:22, Romans 1:27) that this is not a question of opinion, but a sin

5. An example of a ‘doubtful thing’ would be to stop your fellowship with someone because of their preference of worship music

a. The Bible does not give us a type of music to worship with, it just says that we are to offer a ‘joyful noise’

b. Joke: Now most of what is passed off as music today is just noise, but that’s another sermon!

c. To argue that southern gospel, contemporary or hymn style music is wrong is a ‘doubtful thing’ or an ‘opinion’

d. I just remind you all that at one time even ‘Amazing Grace’ was a contemporary song!

14:2 “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.”

1. Keyword: Weak

a. These brothers who are considered ‘weak’ in faith because they have refused to let go of religious ceremonies, not because they are vegetarians

i. Remember Daniel (the one in the Lion’s den) was a vegetarian

ii. Daniel 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

b. The weak Jewish convert still felt compelled to comply with the dietary laws of the Old Covenant

c. The weak gentile convert still felt that eating meat would taint him with sin because this was taught by many pagan religions

2. The One who eats all things recognizes his liberty in Christ and in such displays a greater faith

a. History lesson: Pagan worshippers would offer animals to idols and, because they could not eat the meat, would sell it cheap in the market

b. The Christian believers, who were strong in faith and recognized their liberty to eat what they wanted, would buy the inexpensive meat for their homes

c. A former pagan would never do this because of his previous teachings

II. RESPECT OTHER OPINIONS

14:3 “Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.”

1. Keyword: Despise

a. This means to “take no account of”

b. This means that simply because you may be of a stronger faith than another does not give s you the right to not take their opinions into account

c. We are to respect even the ‘babe’ in Christ

2. Keyword: Judge

a. To separate from or pronounce judgment on wrong doing

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