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Romans 14:1-23

The Weak and The Strong

1) Do not judge.
2) Do not tempt.

Seems pretty simple. Paul is addressing the Christian brotherhood in Rome. What is going on?

In Rome - Christians were made up of converted Jews who had a background of ritual, ceremony, and festivals. Also there were Gentiles who had come to righteousness in faith through Christ. Slaves and freemen. These also had varying degrees of past worship styles. Some of the above preferred to cling to some old traditions, some wanted nothing to do with them.

In non-essential things there were some differences amongst the "church body".

Even more so in America today:

"Within the church are people at all different levels of life, both physically and spiritually--young people to old people. Some people have been saved fifty years; others have come to know Christ within the last forty-eight hours. Some come from irreligious, atheistic, or humanistic backgrounds; others come from devout Roman Catholic families. Some used to be Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses. Some come from legalistic fundamentalist churches, and others come from loose, free-wheeling churches.

Within the church today are new Christians holding onto old habits and traditions. It takes time before they can let go of such things because they're so ingrained. People have preferences in things from dress to music to diet to entertainment. -
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg45-108.htm

Define "Strong" and "Weak"

Strong: Liberated brothers and sisters in Christ fully understand what it means to be free in Christ-- they don't cling to meaningless traditions and forms of religion. They understand fully that they are free from sin, death, hell, and Satan. They understand they are not obligated to follow holy days and ceremonies. They know they are free to make choices dependent on how the Spirit of God moves in their hearts. Such people are strong in the faith.

Weak: These individuals continue to hang onto the rituals and ceremonies of their past, refusing to let go. They don't believe they have freedom in Christ to do otherwise. Such freedom threatens them, so they prefer remain as they are. - ibid.
======================================================
Do not Judge.

Jesus said it on the Sermon on the Mount, and Paul is saying it here.

The admonition goes out twice to the strong AND the weak. We are all brothers in Christ, saved by the grace of God. Judging one another hurts the unity of the "body", and hinders the Christian growth of the body. If "bickering" becomes public it also reflects badly on God. (Ex. Christians act like that? I want no part of them.)

Besides it is not our province. If one is convinced in his own mind about a non-essential - then let God judge at the appropriate time. Everything we do is unto the Lord - so let it be - and do not Judge one another on these non-essentials.
======================================================
Do not Tempt

Paul harkens back to the theme of "subordination".

If in public or in mixed company with unbelievers. The Strong in faith should subordinate himself to the weaker. Strong should yield to the weak. Honor his interests over your own. Love him.

Rom 14:15b "...Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died." NIV

I can think of two ways that brother is destroyed:
1) Weak brother gets so worked up in contempt and disdain for what you ate. That he loses focus on God, loses grace and Power of holy Spirit and languishes as a Christian.

2)Weak brother joins you because you are of strong faith - overiding his conscience. By ignoring conscience he may establish a trend, and ignore when the Holy Spirit prompts him, in the future, on a crucial issue through his conscience.

Every action we do as Christians shoul lead to harmony and growth of the "church" - not dissension.
======================================================
Contemporary Times

While Paul is talking about food and drink. The same thoughts should apply to non-essentials of today.

Hair length, dress, style of music, Lent, eschatology, to name a few.

Here are five questions to ask yourself, if not at the time - later when you reflect on an incident or choosing to exercise a liberty in Christ:

1)Will it violate my conscience or my understanding of the Lordship of Christ?

2)Will it be a bad example or a good example to others if I do this?

3)Will it be spiritually profitable?

4)Am I exercising this freedom to cover my sin?

5)Would Jesus do this?
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/80-95.htm

You know - I looked at my list of examples in last section and I think most of those apply to "not judging".

I think John MacArthur's questions go more to behavior - smoking, drinking, gambling, entertainment choices, body piercings, etc.

II Chronicles 29:1-36
This is a joyous occasion, Temple worship is being restored, purification of the sanctuary and the utensils used in worship, yet I feel so sad because of the futility of their actions. My sadness comes from knowing that Judah will go into exile, the temple will be burnt and torn down because Judah, like her sister Israel has a wicked heart and will be carried off. However, God always provides for Himself a remnant.

To me it is sad that Hezekiah had to command the burnt offerings to be resumed (27), he had to order the Levites to sing praises to the Lord (33). It is sad that the Levites who were commanded to worship also were in a better spiritual place then the priests (34)

All of these things can be and are committed by believers today and that includes me. How sad that we wonder off and when brought back into the fellowship of the Saints, we have to be commanded to worship God. The Old Testament was written so that the believers today would not fall into the same traps, sin and the same thinking that the saints of old fell into (1 Cor. 10:6;11)

Let us not grow wary in our well doing (Gal. 6:9) so that we wonder off down the wrong rode.

II Chronicles 29 34 But there were too few priests to prepare all the burnt offerings, so their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and until more priests had been purified. For the Levites had been more conscientious about purifying themselves than the priests.

Sad, so sad.

Romans 14:1-23
I have always called this chapter, well not always, the “Mind Your Own Business” chapter. Unless it is “sin”, someone’s setting of the table a particular way, eating of food, dancing before the Lord, wearing make-up or no make-up is their own business. We in the body of Christ seem to haggle over things that do not matter as far as our salvation goes. Yes, sin is not to be practiced, but when we make our personal convictions the law, we become like the Pharisees, we put our “laws” above God’s.

Your personal convictions [on such matters]--exercise [them] as in God's presence, keeping them to yourself [striving only to know the truth and obey His will]. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves [who does not convict himself by what he chooses to do].
(Rom 14:22 AMP)

Psalm 24:1-10

7
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
8
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, invincible in battle.
9
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
10
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD Almighty--
he is the King of glory.

I love the above refrain it gives me Goosebumps. It brings me back to my childhood when I became excited when a parade was coming down the main street. The marching bands the drum major and the twirlers. It is a sense of something big is coming, a sense of anticipation and great expectations. I think that sense, that child’s sense of opportunity and hope should be our state of mind every time we opened up the Bible to read, something good this way comes.

Proverbs 20:12

The hearing ear and the seeing eye--the Lord has made both of them.
(Pro 20:12 AMP)

Hmmm, if God has made both the ear and eye, then we are without excuse when we say about His Words, I didn’t see or hear that, or know that. We have been given the facilities to use in asking, seeking and knocking to discover God and the His will for our lives.

2 CHRONICLES 29 (NKJV)
5
and [King Hezekiah] said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.

10
“Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us.

18
Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offerings with all its articles, and the table of the showbread with all its articles.
19
Moreover all the articles which King Ahaz in his reign had cast aside in his transgression we have prepared and sanctified; and there they are, before the altar of the LORD.”

27
Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel.

30
Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.

NOTE:
Verse 27: What is “the song of the LORD”? From the context, it seems like when they sang “praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer” (verse 30).

May we cleanse ourselves—that is bring ourselves to be cleansed in the Presence of the Lord—daily and regularly so we are fit for service.

The Lord Jesus tells us how.
~~~

John 3 (NKJV)
20
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21
But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

The LORD God already sees and knows. The Lord Jesus wants us to come into His Light so all the idols can be removed and we can be cleansed, ready to properly love and serve the LORD.

Then all of the confused and mixed up areas can be put in order under the guidance of the LORD.
~~~

Romans 14 (NKJV)
7
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
9
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

16
Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
17
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18
For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

NOTE:
What is my passion? Yes, I thank God for the many giftings, talents and skills that God has placed within me. But, what do I do with them?

What is my passion? It needs to be that I love the Lord Jesus first and foremost with a passion.

It needs to be to that Christ “might be Lord of both the dead and the living”.

And since Christ ALONE is Lord, I have no right to be someone else’s “Lord” and demand agreement with everything I say or feel.

Where God’s Word is clear—we all need to completely clear as well. Where the Holy Spirit is unclear in Scripture—we need to give each other freedom to learn.

We always need to walk in true love and respect out of reverence for Christ towards one another.
~~~

Psalm 24 (NKJV)
3
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
4
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
5
He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah

NOTE:
The "generation of those who seek Him".

That is, this is the TYPE and QUALITY of people in all ages whose worship the Lord Himself seeks and is pleased with.

Cleansing and preparation. Yes, we need to be cleansed and prepared for service to the Lord—because we love Him.

But we first need to cleansed and prepared to be IN HIS PRESENCE and to properly love the LORD GOD.

Everything we do is to flow out of our love and passion for the PRESENCE of the Lord God as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The LORD demands purity—and He alone can make us who He wants us to be as we yield to Him in worship.

Then we can serve God acceptably, walking in the mind of Christ with His Love and Wisdom.

2 Timothy 2 (NKJV)
19
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ [the Lord] depart from iniquity.”
20
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
~~~

Proverbs 20 (NKJV)
12
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.

Thank God for the ability to see with human eyes. But WE NEED more desperately to see Christ with the eyes of our heart.

Ephesians 1 (Amplified Bible)
17
[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,
18
By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),
19
And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
20
Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places]

Vance


This morning, I was praying and asking God to remove any idols from my life, and to cleanse my life from all and any filthiness.

Then, the Holy Spirit brought back to my mind this verse from His Word in Romans 6 (NKJV):

4
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

~~~
WE HAVE BEEN BURIED WITH CHRIST THR0UGH BAPTISM INTO THE DEATH OF CHRIST.

Note this verse from Romans 6 (NKJV):
3
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

~~~

The word "baptize" is a very rich and powerful word:

GREEK: Baptizo – Strong’s # 907
a. To dip repeatedly; to immerse; to submerge

b. To cleanse by dipping or submerging; to make clean; to wash one’s self; bathe
~~~

PICTURE TWO MEN ALONE, RUNNING THROUGH THE FOREST. One man is a very bad man chasing the other man to kill him.

Finally, the first man realizes as he runs into a body of water, that there is no more place for him to run.

So he faces the bad man.
The bad man chasing the first man has his mind intently fixed on only one
purpose: to kill the man he is chasing.

Either the first man kills the bad man or the bad man will kill the first man.

No room for any other compromise.

The first man turns to face the bad man as he realizes this is his last battle with the bad man. Only one can win.

The bad man eagerly and angrily jumps into the water and the two men struggle.

Finally, after much struggle, the first man feels an adreline rush and he gets the upper hand. He is able to hold down the bad man until he is weakened.

He pulls up the bad man to see if he is still breathing. The bad man, through weakened, is still filled with hatred and is will not leave without killing the first man.

So the first man holds the bad man down again and agaiin and again... until the bad man's body desperately tries to get out of the water so he can breathe.

Finally, the bad man's life leaves the body and his body is lifeless.
~~~

That, in word picture form, is how I picture BAPTIZO in Romans 6:3.

We are powerless against the old man, and the old man is part of us. There is no escape from the old man.

On the Cross, the Lord Jesus Himself enters the struggle. Jesus Himself submerges the old man over and over and over again... until the life is gone from the old man.

He is completely dead.
~~~

WE ARE COMPLETELY DEAD TO SIN... in Christ.

Now, we have the wonderful opportunity and joy (and responsibility) to enter into the death of the old man which Jesus has accomplished for us.
~~~

All of came to me in a flash of imagination as I was asking God to help me remove all idols and to cleanse my life -- so I can be used by the Lord for His glory.

Romans 6 (NKJV)
4
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Vance


You know another awesome song that would go with the Psalm 24 today is: Give us Clean Hands, I think that is by Chris Tomlin. Just a suggestion..

Do not Tempt

This is a theme not often digested by the mass media today - marketing companies encourage the Jones family to be ostentatious.

Paul harkens back to the theme of "subordination".

If in public or in mixed company with unbelievers. The Strong in faith should subordinate himself to the weaker. Strong should yield to the weak. Honor his interests over your own. Love him.

Rom 14:15b "...Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died." NIV

This theme is explored in a discussion on http://www.wondercafe.ca

Praise the Lord - the King of glory!

Thank you Mike! You are such a blessing :)

The Romans passage today begs the question: what is a disputable matter? Paul was using dietary regimens as an example, but its not clear what else we are meant to assume in that category. I can think of many matters in the church today which are frequently disputed... where someone somewhere has decided that a matter is wide open for re-interpretation, however many of these, from the standpoint of orthodoxy, were never intended to be and frankly, ought not to be. I.e., they are not disputable in the eyes of God.

The distinction makes all the difference in the world. I may call something core doctrine and someone else can easily quote this passage back to me and say don't put a stumbling block in my path.

Which is all to ask: where are the boundaries of what's disputable? Thots?

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