The Strong and Weak Believer

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:52
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Romans 14:1-23
The argument about Christian Liberty and License has been going for ages.
One person believes you can do something, another believes it is a sin to do it.
Where is the answer?
Can we drink socially?
Can we attend movie theaters?
Can we watch television, are all programs acceptable?
Can we gamble, where exactly is that line?
Can we dance, are there any forms of dance that are OK?
What about non secular music, what is OK, what is not good?
Can we attend or participate in athletic events on Sunday, is that a sin, since it’s the Lord’s day?
Each one of these issues has people on both sides in churches all over the world.
How can we truly know what the answer is?
This passage contains many principles that can help us in answering some of these questions.
But it all boils down to one thing!
You must listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading when it is not clearly spelled out in Scripture.
I have a very difficult time preaching that we ought to follow certain standards or rules unless they are clearly, in black and white spelled out in Scripture.
The truth is, God will lead one person to do one thing, and another He leads them away from it.
Many of this deals with the fact that we all have different areas of strength and weaknesses.
You may be strong in the area of addiction, whether it be alcohol, or cigarettes, or even marijuana or other drugs.
We might as well throw in caffeine and sugar in there as well!
There are others as well!
If you struggle in an area of addiction, the Holy Spirit may tell you to stay away from things like sugar, or caffeine even.
Now I believe there are very clear Biblical principles that we should all obey!
We need to take care of our bodies, they are a gift from God!
Things that harm our bodies should not enter our body!
But this also includes over eating!
Or even eating nutritionally out of balance.
Some people’s food pyramids are very interestingly shaped!
So when the Holy Spirit convicts you, but you see your brother or sister do what you were convicted of…what do you do?
Or…If you see your brother or sister is convicted of something, but you do not feel conviction in that area…what do you do?
Let’s look at some principles from God’s Word on how to deal with these issues.

I. Receive Each Other

1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Right off the bat, Paul says Him that is weak.
Who is the weak one?
Is this an insult?
No, not at all…this word just means you are not strong in this area.
In fact Paul says, one believeth he may eat all things another who is weak, eateth herbs.
So we are told…the one who restricts himself in what he can do is the weaker brother.
That doesn’t mean that the other Christian is more mature, and so there is nothing that he can’t do…no it just means the one who is weaker in this area needs more help…so God convicts them of the areas he needs more help.
Paul tells the Christian in Rome, whether you find yourself as the weaker or stronger on this issue…receive each other!
There is no room in the Christian family for judging each other!
In fact that leads us to our second principle:

II. Don’t Judge Each Other

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
If you only herbs, and you feel that is what God wants you to do ( I think of vegetarians, I don’t understand you, but I’m not going to judge you), don’t judge those who eat all things.
Why? Because God receives Him - what right do you have to reject them!!
He says who are you to judge another man’s servants?
They are not your servants, they are not under your authority…you are not their lord!
Let them answer to their own Lord and Master about the issue…you worry about yourself!
So Receive Each Other and Don’t Judge!

III. Be Sure in Your Convictions

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Here the example is given of one man esteeming one day above another, the other sees every day just the same as another.
This is speaking of holy days, in our world it would be Easter and Christmas and maybe more.
There are Christians that believe we should not celebrate Easter Sunday, but celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection every week.
They argue that Easter was ripped from pagan holidays and they feel uncomfortable celebrating on that day.
Or because of the commercialization of Christmas we ought not to celebrate it like the rest of the world does with gifts and special gatherings.
Most that have various levels of convictions in this area do so because they feel convicted in their heart that this is the right thing to do.
Verse 6 says, he who observes the day, observes it for the Lord
He who eats, does so for the Lord
He who eats not does it for the Lord
The bottom line is the last part of verse 5 - “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
Be sure of your conviction
And stand firm in it!
When I left Bible College I had to take a hard look at what i believed, and what I was convicted about.
When I got married, and started having children, we needed to balance both of our convictions together.
I lead my home, but it would not be right for me to stomp on her convictions if they are different than mine.
But we must be sure of what we believe, and stand firm, but as we will see…we need to be willing to bend toward the weaker brother to prevent offense.
Be fully convinced in your own mind, and then realize you are not your own, you are bought with a price!
So go forward and ...

IV. Represent the Lord

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
We do not live in our own little world…we must live together, but together representing the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
So whether we live or die, we live or die unto the Lord…we are the Lords.
He is the Lord of All, so we need to represent him well.
We do not get to just think of ourselves in these decisions, our wants, our desires, our ideas.
No, we are His ambassador, we represent Him, and we need to listen to what He wants us to do!
When you see someone that doesn’t do the same things you do…Receive Each other
Don’t judge each other
Be Sure in your Conviction
And Represent the Lord

V. Let God Judge

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
God is a much better judge than we are!
We have no right to stand in judgement of anyone on this earth…now listen to me…I’m talking about areas that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture.
If God says Thou Shalt Not Kill…we have every right, in fact a responsibility to be on a jury, if asked, and judge a person for the crime they have committed.
But areas that the Bible is not clear on…we must be careful…and let God judge!
Most standards that even the strictest and restricted Christian holds is usually based upon some biblical principle.
It would be foolish to hold a standard without it being based on some principle in God’s Word.
But One may see that clear connection to that principle through their conviction from the Holy Spirit, and another may not see any connection at all to that biblical principle at all.
We just need to be fully sure of our convictions, and let God judge His own servants.
Leave them be!
Receive each other...
Don’t judge each other
Be sure in your conviction
Represent the Lord
Let God do the judging

VI. Don’t Cause a Stumble

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Paul says let us not judge one another any more!
But rather only judge this one thing…You do not cause a brother to stumble or fall in his serving God.
If you are convicted that you are fully free to eat, or drink or do an activity be fully convicted in your own heart…and make sure that you truly believe that and it’s not just wishful thinking…But in your freedom, you are required to make sure your freedom doesn’t trip up your brother.
Paul made an astounding statement here:
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, (he was fully sure of his conviction) that there is nothing unclean of itself.
Does that mean we can go do anything and it is not unclean…it is not sin?
No, first of all the context of the writing is dealing with eating certain foods or keeping special holy days.
But secondly, He is saying God’s creation in it’s natural form is acceptable to God.
“And God saw that it was good.”
The grape is pure, but man takes it and makes an intoxicating drink out of it that damages the human body and leads to immoral behavior.
Fellowship is pure; but man takes it and turns it into a loose, partying atmosphere that leads to exposure of the human body, suggestive thoughts and conversation, and immoral behavior.
Vegetation and forest plants are pure, but man takes them and makes all kinds of harmful and intoxicating drugs, drinks, and foods that harm the human body and lead to immoral and unjust behavior.
But the point is, if one man says I am convicted that I may eat this, another man says I am convicted that I cannot eat that…If you see that as unclean to you it is unclean.
“…but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
And Here is the point!!!
verse 15 says, “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably (you are not walking in love with your brother). Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
We must not do anything that would cause a brother to stumble.
If we find that someone is offended, or may stumble into sin if we do something that we are absolutely convinced is OK to do…we are held responsible to not do it!
It is always a sin to cause your brother to sin.
Receive your brother no matter what he believes about these unclear issues.
Don’t judge each other
Be sure in your own conviction
Represent the Lord Well
Let God do the judging
Don’t cause anyone to fall or stumble...
and remember that...

VII. Testimony Is Key

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Don’t let your good…the things you do that you are fully convinced that you are allowed to do…Don’t let it be evil spoken of.
The all important thing is your testimony!
Verse 17 he says the kingdom of God is not meat and drink....that is not eternal…those things are small…what is important is righteousness (doing what you are fully convicted is the right thing for you to do).
What is important is peace (not fighting, not judging)
What is important is joy - We don’t need to live under this turmoil…have joy - that is from the eternal…that is what the kingdom of God is about!
Verse 18 says, he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
If you just concentrate on doing what God convicts you but also being careful not to cause a stumble…God accepts you, and man will too.
So follow after - seek after these things..that make for peace…that will edify (build up into, that which advances).
Your testimony is key!
And remember the next principle...

VIII. To Offend Is Sin

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Meat itself will not destroy the work of God....but eating knowing it will cause an offense will destroy the Work of God.
The Bible says here, it’s not just sin, it is evil! (eternally worthless, vicious, bad, hurtful, harmful).
It doesn’t matter what the issue is…eating meat…drinking wine…any thing that causes your brother to stumble or offends your brother…or makes him weak…you have sinned.
Don’t make your brother sin!
Instead...

IX. Do All in Faith

22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Hast thou faith - do you truly believe that you can do this thing…just have it to thyself before God…you don’t need to convince someone else!
Don’t condemn yourself by doing what you know is ok for you to do…by offending a brother while doing it.
Verse 23 says, “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:”
If you have any doubt in your heart and mind just don’t do it!
It is not worth it!
Don’t go against your conscience.
If you truly believe that God approves of this activity…Go forth in faith!
Oh how important this is!

Conclusion

I have some areas where I know that God has convicted me to not do something, drink something, play something, watch something, whatever it may be at the time…It would be a sin for me to go against that!
But it would likewise be a sin, if I expected everyone else around me to do it or not do it as well.
You say, “What areas are you talking about, Pastor?”
That’s none of your business!
That is between me and God!
But we need to just go forward being careful, being watchful…if doing something would cause someone around us to be offended…just don’t do it!
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