"Stumbling Blocks" (Part 2)

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:49
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the basic skills to face any opponent
the basic principles to apply to any situation


We should decide not to spiritually trip or trap another believer (v. 13).
The trip or trap is what another Christian believes is wrong (v. 14).
You could bring down a fellow Christian by what you exercise, and that’s not loving (v. 15).
In this way, what may be right for you is wrong in this way (v. 16).
After all, what you have by the rule and reign of God does not even compare to the things of this life (v. 17).
And living for Christ includes living for others (v. 18).


General law, rule, or code of conduct (in verse 19)
Paul is addressing an area that would be identifiable to the Romans (vv. 2, 5, 14, 17, 21), though foreign to us.
But the principles are clear and primary - and applicable to us.
Verse 19 seems to be the primary principle in this text. It is a sort of conclusion that Paul has more to say about.

What should we pursue? (v. 19)

(“pursue” - run after, strive for)
“What makes for peace” - promotes or leads to relational harmony
“Mutual upbuilding” - edification of one another
This is the context or the relationship.
This is the goal or guide.
1 Corinthians 10:23 ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”
The application of this principle will likely be clear when the specific situation arises.
The closer the relationships, the clearer the application.
Ephesians 4:11–16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

What should we avoid? (vv. 20-21)

Destroying the “work of God”
Tare down (opposite upbuilding, v. 19)
The accomplishment or product of God - this qualifies the edification as spiritual
This seems to be the same idea as in verse 15(b).
How could we destroy in this way?
“Make another stumble”
To cause to trip up in this way (by doing what they think is wrong).

What should we keep to ourselves? (vv. 22-23)

Our “faith,” that is, our belief about these types of things (things that are not wrong, but some think they are).
“and God” - because this should always be in mind. This is what we believe personally before God.
It is right for you to enjoy your freedom. It is a good thing to exercise liberty. “Keep” it (imperative). Don’t let it go.
Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Colossians 2:16 “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.”
“Approves” - draw a positive conclusion about, accept
It is a happy thing to know you have no reason to feel guilty about a particular thing (especially what others think is wrong).
But others may not be like this with the very same issue (v. 23).
This verse elaborates on verse 14.
You must still consider others who do not believe in this freedom.
If they think something is a sin, then it is a sin for them to do it. That’s how serious everyone should take sin. And, we should be serious about that when relating to those like this.
If they do what they think is sin, they’re sinning. You should not cause people to sin. Therefore, you should not cause people to do what they think is sin.
So, enjoy your freedom, but consider others in that freedom. You should limit your freedom to avoid influencing others to sin (even if it is in this way, that is, violating a belief about sin).
In Summary:
Look at what is actually to be avoided here (vv. 13, 15, 20, 21).
So what is to be avoided is the exercise of a liberty in a way that may cause someone else to exercise the same thing, but not with a sense of liberty.
This is the same emphasis of...
1 Corinthians 8:9–13 “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block [tripping] to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged [built or strengthened towards], if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed [torn down], the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble [cause to sin], I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble [cause to sin].” [Paul doesn’t say here, “this is why I never eat meat.” He’s basically saying, “I never want this to happen.”]


I should not put a fellow believer in a position where they may give in to me or follow my example in contrast to their belief.
Why? Because I should have a different agenda (14:1, 19).
Benediction: Romans 16:25–27 “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:11–16
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