Summary: As we reopen churches from Covid 19 we will see that life has changed and that opinions wildly differ on the issues. Romans 14 deals with similar food fights that have erupted in the church and how to solve them
The difference between us #2
this is a serious message today about something that could become a serious problem.
The comeback 2020.
Last week we read about it. We’re going to read about it again. A food fight that erupted in the Bible that threaten the split apart a church.
Romans (ESV) 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Let’s understand that these people weren’t throwing French fries or grapes at each other – the real travesty was that they were throwing belittling attitudes, and judgment, and heated debates, and name-calling, and arrogance at each other and it was actually leading to the destruction of some people’s faith. They left the fellowship. Relationships were broken. Family split. Some would never return.
Let me let you in on a little secret about this food fight that they were having. Much of the meat that was being eaten came from pagan temples and the animals that the meat came from had been offered as sacrifices to idols. And so those with a tender conscience and a streak of passion wouldn’t eat the meat - it made them feel like they were participating in something that was wrong.
Maybe it’s sort of like how I feel if I were to spend money on tickets to see Elton John or Taylor Swift. Frankly, I don’t want my money going to support the lifestyles that these people have and the causes that they support.
On the other side of this issue with a more pragmatic and mature Christians who understood that the meat wasn’t infested with demons and that eating it wasn’t going to fill their body with some satanic presence. So they ate it.
And a food fight started.
And one side said the other side weren’t true followers of Jesus.
And the other side made fun of the immaturity and ignorance of their lack of knowledge.
And the other side retaliated with harsh judgment.
And the other side simply laughed and ignored them.
And both sides claimed that Jesus was on their side.
And do you know what the weird thing was? Jesus was on both of their sides. The eaters in the non-eaters were both God’s people.
The history of God’s people and the church are littered with these kinds of food fights. If you know nothing about the Church of God then let me tell you about a Church of God food fight that happened way, way back. It wasn’t food but it was about neckties. That’s right. Ties. One group said that ties were worldly in just a sign that you have aligned yourself with popular culture and you were prideful. And the other side said that ties are just another article of clothing that come and go with the fashions.
And they quoted Scriptures.
And they butted heads.
And they both said they were right.
And then they divided.
And they both said that they were the true church of God.
And now we see that the no necktie crowd were probably the smarter ones especially on 90° days.
Before Paul had written Romans 14 he had already faced this same kind of food fight and wrote these words in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 8:1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
Paul might be saying here that these food fights that we have are really not a knowledge problem, they are a love problem. It’s right in verse 2; If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. What should you know? You should know love. You should know how to build up.
In other words, we all have knowledge, we all think we know what’s right, we all have the facts on our side, we think we have Jesus in our corner, BUT Paul is arguing that your knowledge is simply puffing you up, it is making us arrogant, it is dividing us. Part of our problem today is that we weapon eyes our knowledge and opinions and preferences.