A Study of Romans 14
I. I remember the shock I had a number of years ago to learn that Wayne Gretsky, the hockey player, was younger than I was. Somehow, I always thought that sports heros were older than me.
A. Oh, we know we are growing older, but sometimes all the ramifications of maturity doesn’t hit us.
B. We tend to think of everyone as being like ourselves.
C. Christians are not immune to this attitude. We often assume everyone’s maturity in the faith is just like ours. It surprises us to find that while everyone is maturing, we are not all maturing at the same rate or even in the same way.
1. Rom 12:3 - Each of us have different measures of faith.
D. Rom. 14:1 - Paul instructs the strong to receive the weak, to a limit
1. Tolerance should be shown, but not to the point that sin is tolerated.
2. II Tim 2:23 - We are to avoid questions that cause strife.
3. Tit. 3:9 - Some questions are just not profitable to discuss.
II. The question comes up when discussing Romans 14, who are the ones weak in faith?
A. Somehow, few people view themselves as weak.
B. Rom. 14:2 - The weak brother restricts his diet, though the strong recognizes that anything may be eaten.
1. Notice first that both the weak and the strong brother are acceptable to God. This is not a matter of right or wrong.
2. Heb 13:9 - Concerns about food do not build up spiritual strength.
3. I Tim 4:14 - Every creature is acceptable for food.
C. Notice the difference between the two. The strong will eat anything, since God has allowed it. The weak eats what God allows, but artificially restricts himself.
1. Why would any one restrict themselves?
2. A person weak in the faith, still has growing to do. He has not learn the full counsel of God.
3. When people are not mature, there is more strife - I Cor. 3:1-3
4. Unity comes when we come to the measure of Christ - Eph 4:13
III. God decides what is acceptable - Rom 14:3-13
A. The key point is serving God. Does God find it acceptable?
B. Don’t condemn, just because it is different. Too many assume different is wrong.
1. This implies study and learning what God has taught on a subject.
2. This the process of growing.
C. The weak is not to remain weak
1. Eph. 4:14 - Grow in faith
2. Heb 5:12 - Grow to clearly discern good and evil.
D. Even with study, a person learning that God accepts more than he originally thought may still have qualms doing so himself. That is alright, growth takes time. Do not do anything until you are fully convinced of the rightness of an action - Rom 14:23.
IV. Paul then turns his sights on the strong brother - Rom 14:14-22
A. Sometimes, when a person knows they are right, they insist on their rights to practice all that God allows and they do not consider the impact of their actions on those who are still young in the faith.
B. We are suppose to be concerned about every other Christian. Their needs must come before our own.
1. If a brother has just come out of the Jehovah Witnesses, don’t go holding birthday parties until you are sure they attend without feeling uncomfortable.
2. Don’t offer a recently ex-Jew a ham sandwich.
C. If we truly love each other, then we avoid situations may cause another to sin — even a sin due to a lack of understanding.
1. I Cor. 8:1-13 - There is a difference between knowledge (I know this is right) and love.
2. How much is a soul worth to you? Would it be worth an inconvenience on your part, if it keeps a brother out of sin?
3. I Cor. 9:22-23 - Paul adapted himself to the abilities and knowledge of those around him so that many might be saved.
V. The problems come when we let our pride interfere with our service - Rom 15:1-7
A. We are not here for our own pleasure.
B. We must seek what is good for others - I Cor. 10:23-11:1
C. Jesus is our example - Phil 2:5-8
1. Think about it: Why should Jesus accept us? Even the strongest among us is a pale weakling besides our Savior.
2. Why does God put up with our constant sins? Yet he did! He has brought us hope.
D. Can we not do the same for our brethren?
1. When one is overtaken in a fault, we need to gently restore - Gal 6:1-2
2. The next time it could be us.