Romans Chapter 14

January 31, 2013

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Romans. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

In Romans 14 Paul shifts away from the discussion on how the Christian is to conduct himself in society and discusses how the Christian is to live within the believing community.

The believing community is the environment where individual believers can develop in to their full potential as the people of Jesus. The believing community is also to be a witness of the love of God to the world. With this in mind, Paul talks about how we are to live in community with each other.

Romans 14:1-23 (NIV)
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:1-13

Accepting One Another

One of the things that can cause problems in the environment of the believing community, the church, is how we feel individually feel about different issues. We are not talking about matters that are clearly defined as sin in scripture, we are talking about issues which seem “wrong” to some believers, and “right” to others.

We all have different opinions on what a believer should and shouldn’t do. At the time Paul was writing to the church in Rome some thought it was “Christian” to be vegetarian, while others liked a good steak. Some then felt Christians should observe special “holy” days, and others felt all days are alike.

The problem is that these differences of opinion often divide believers into sub-groups that take on an ‘us against them’ mentality. This often causes great division and disunity in the church.

In these verses, Paul lists for us some things we are supposed to do and some things we are not supposed to in dealing with these issues.

We are to be accepting. This doesn’t necessarily mean we agree, we are just accepting. We are to always try and be, loving, accepting, and forgiving. Being loving, accepting and forgiving does not mean we are licensing sin. It means that we are trusting in Jesus to work in all of our lives by His Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:1
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

We are to be willing to examine and pray about where other people are coming from.

Romans 14:5
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

We are responsible to Jesus as the Lord of our lives. We are living to please Him. He is our focus.

Romans 14:8
8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

We are not to condemn people who disagree with is on “opinion” matters.

Romans 14:3
3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

We are not to look down on people who we think are “less spiritual” than we are.

Romans 14:3
3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

We are not to judge them at all on disputable matters.

Romans 14:1
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Romans 14:13-23

Selflessness

Paul then goes on to say that these differences can cause huge problems in the community of believers. To avoid this, we need to be willing to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters in Christ whenever possible.

Paul is very clear here. Nothing, unless it is clearly identified as sin in scripture, is unclean or wrong in itself. But it is also not more important than your brother or sister in Christ.

Paul gives a couple of really good ideas for walking this out in the context of community.

Romans 14:19
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

We are to always try and live at peace with everyone. Remember Jesus told us that “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God”.

Romans 14:22a
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.

We don’t always have to let everyone know about our opinions.

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