Summary: We who are strong ought to bear with, help and encourage those who are weak, what every it takes, to help them avoid the awful consequences of losing their Christian life.
We who are strong…
a. …there is nothing unclean of itself… (I Tim 4:4) When it comes to food, everything can be used for food if thanks is given. Often we as Christians forget to give thanks to God and sometimes our bodies reject food that is meant to strength us.
b. …yet if your brother is grieved…. Your brother being grieved because of what we eat is not the only thing a brother can be grieved about. We should always be careful not to grieve our brothers and sisters. I have heard it said, “We don’t want to hurt some ones feelings (even though they may be in error with the Scriptures) but we all know it would be better to tell some one of there errors and save a soul from hell than to not speak up and allow them to enter eternity lost. Also it is better to grieve a person than to grieve our God. Here we see it is possible, even on such subjects as food and cause some one to be destroyed or lost especially when we realize Christ died for all.
c. Verse 16 - Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil. There are many things we as Christians are allowed by the Scriptures to do but often ridiculed because of religious tradition. Yes we should study the Scriptures and always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (I Peter 3:15), but also be ready to give up those less important things to help our brothers and sisters to be Heaven bound. We should always present an image of good even though at times it might mean giving up something we are allowed.
d. …the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Righteousness is something that we do. It is not something that is forced upon us. It is right living for God because we choose to live right. Joy is realizing we have hope in God the Holy Spirit. We have hope that someday our joy will be over whelming and we will live forever in that joy. But peace is something that takes much effort. We find in the very first Church of Christ that there arose a murmuring in the church. This church was the church where the apostles attended. This church was a church where the power of the Holy Spirits’ presence was seen. Many of the members of this church had actually seen the Lord Jesus and yet there was murmuring. Peace is something that we must have if we plan to see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) but peace is something that takes much effort. I have heard many say, “O I forgive” and then there actions prove differently. We must have a lasting peace if we plan to go to Heaven.)
a. …he who serves Christ in these things… Here we notice when we pursue righteousness and joy and peace , there is a service to Christ. When we withdraw pursuing these things we withdraw from the service of Christ. To strive in these things is to strive in the service of Christ.
b. …acceptable to God… This means our efforts in service to Christ is acceptable to the Almighty God of the Universe.
c. …approved by men… If we ever plan to win anyone to Christ Jesus or if we ever plan to keep someone in Christ Jesus we must pursue righteousness and joy and peace.
a. Ro 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. (If drinking of alcoholic beverages causes anyone to stumble, that is reason enough to stop drinking alcoholic beverages.)
b. …Do you have faith? Every thing we do must be done with faith in our minds. To have faith in doing something is to believe the things we do is approved of God. To do something with out faith is to do something we feel God might not approve. A rule of faith is to thank God for what ever you are doing. If thanks to God cannot be given then there can be no faith.
a. …We who are strong… This simply means we who read, believe the Scriptures and live what the Scriptures say are the strong.
b. …the weak … The weak are the ones who have obeyed the Scriptures in becoming Christians but do not understand the things they are allowed or not allowed. These things are unimportant things, things that you can take or leave. Things are not “Thus says the Lord” but things that matter little. When the Bible speaks and we disobey that is pure sin.