Thursday, January 14, 2021

Romans Session 19 - Christians Love Romans 14:18-15:13



The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now in a detailed study of Paul's epistle to the church in Rome. These are the notes for Session 19.


How can a church full of people with different backgrounds, genes, personality types, ways of communicating and thinking, struggles, emotions, values, desires, experiences expectations, and convictions ever expect to find unity?

We are going to finish up Paul’s instructions around the conflict that easily arises between those to whom he refers as  “strong” and “weak” believers, those who are mature in the faith and those who are immature, those who understand and enjoy freedom in Christ and those who still feel either shackled or threatened by certain religious and cultural taboos and practices that were deeply ingrained parts of their lives before coming to Christ. When we finish talking about respecting each other Paul talks about ministering together 


Click below to read my notes.

We are going to finish up Paul’s instructions around the conflict that easily arises between those to whom he refers as  “strong” and “weak” believers, those who are mature in the faith and those who are immature, those who understand and enjoy freedom in Christ and those who still feel either shackled or threatened by certain religious and cultural taboos and practices that were deeply ingrained parts of their lives before coming to Christ.


When we finish talking about us respecting each other Paul talks about ministering together 


Christian love 


Romans 14:14‭-‬23 NLT I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


Verses 13-15 Paul urges the ‘strong’ Christians to think about their actions. These actions will affect their Christian brothers and sisters. In Rome some Christians thought that to eat meat is wrong. Some Christians thought that they ought to obey the Jewish food laws. They thought that some food was unclean (not acceptable for Christians to eat). Jesus had shown that all food was clean (acceptable)


Mark 7:18‭-‬19 NLT “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?  Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)


We read earlier about Paul’s approach to eating certain foods.   He said that you should feel free to  eat any kind of food. But one Christian’s freedom to act might hurt another Christian’s conscience. To respect another Christian’s conscience in situations like this would be to show him love. A good reason to show him love is that Christ died on his behalf. Every person is valuable to Christ.


However, if someone forced that ‘weak’ Christian not to obey his conscience, that Christian’s faith would become even weaker.


So other Christians ought to encourage that person. They ought to care about him, because God loves him.


Romans 14:15‭-‬18 NLT And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.


Verses 16-18 Christians must not cause trouble for someone else because of their own personal opinion. They must not think that food and drink are more important than God’s kingdom. To be a member of God’s kingdom is not about food and drink. It is to be in a right relationship with God. 


Then the Holy Spirit will give a person peace in himself. He will give a Christian the power to have a calm and content relationship with other people. A Christian will show sympathy for another person’s opinion. A Christian will have joy when he makes other people happy.


Romans 14:19‭-‬23 NLT So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


Verses 19-23 This is for all of us. Christians must do everything possible to make the Christian faith strong. A Christian must not do anything that will cause another Christian to sin. Paul mentions ‘wine’ as well as meat. Many Christians feel free to drink a little wine on social occasions. But some believe that they should not drink wine.


Christians do not have to tell everyone their opinions about such matters. But they should always obey their own conscience. To act against one’s conscience is a sin. That is because a Christian must always act in faith. In other words, a Christian must trust God completely. Because without faith, it is impossible to please God 


Hebrews 11:6 NLT And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.




Chapter 15


Live to please others 15:1-13


Romans 15:1‭-‬13 NLT We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”  Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” And yet again, “Praise the Lord , all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Romans 15:1‭-‬6 NLT We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”  Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Verses 1-3 People with a strong faith should support those whose faith is weak. Paul did not mean that we should praise a person in an untrue way. And we should not encourage that person to continue his wrong acts. Instead, we should always act to help him and to encourage his faith to grow. Christ did not please himself. Paul uses words from Psalm 69:9 in verse 3 when he said that those who insulted the writer of the psalm and fell on him, and that was in fact a prophecy.  Christ suffered because he was serving God. 


John 5:30 NLT I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.


John 14:30‭-‬31 NLT “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me,  but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.


Philippians 2:6‭-‬8 NLT Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges ; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.


The insults that people gave to God came to Christ.


Verses 4-6 Because he has used words from the Old Testament, Paul speaks about the purpose of the scriptures. The study of the scriptures will show how God has acted in the past to rescue his people. So the scriptures will encourage all Christians. The Old Testament speaks about God’s faithful love. And it promises to Christians ‘a future and a hope’


For example;


Jeremiah 29:11 NLT For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.


The hope that God gives will never disappoint us. 


So Paul, in verse 5, prays that, with the help of God, Christians may live in agreement with each other. 


Romans 15:5 NLT May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.


When we are all on one accord we will be able to declare the gospel in a powerful manner. And bring glory to God.


Romans 15:7‭-‬13 NLT Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” And yet again, “Praise the Lord , all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Verse 7 Paul repeats what he said at the very beginning of this section to accept or to welcome all Christians weak and strong, because Christ welcomes them.   When Christians show their love for each other, God will receive honour.


John 13:35 NLTYour love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”


Romans 15:8‭-‬9 NLT Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”


Verses 8-9 Christ became a servant for two reasons:

1. His life showed that we can trust God. God had done the things that he promised to Christ’s Jewish ancestors. 


John the Baptist’s father said as much in his song of praise after John the Baptist’s  birth. 


Luke 1:72‭-‬75 NLT He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.


2. The Gentiles would receive God’s mercy.


Paul then uses a series of verses from all three parts of the Jewish Old Testament: the Law, the Prophets and the other books.  Paul is showing how the Old Testament teaches about God’s plan for the Gentiles.


In verse 9 Paul uses 


Psalms 18:49 NLT For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.


In Psalm 18 David, Israel’s king says that he will praise God among the Gentiles.


Verse 10 This comes from  Deuteronomy 32:43.


Deuteronomy 32:43 NLT “Rejoice with him, you heavens, and let all of God’s angels worship him. Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles, and let all the angels be strengthened in him. For he will avenge the blood of his children ; he will take revenge against his enemies. He will repay those who hate him and cleanse his people’s land.”



Verse 11 The writer of Psalm 117 declares that people from all nations should praise God because of his love and faithfulness.

 

Psalms 117:1 NLT Praise the Lord , all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth.


Verse 12 Jesse was the father of David. The *Messiah came from the family of David. The Messiah would rule the nations, who would learn to trust him 


Isaiah 11:10 NLT In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.


Verse 13 Paul had just talked about the hope of the Gentile,  he speaks about the God who brings hope. Faith in this God who brings hope also brings joy and peace. Paul had already spoken about joy and peace as evidence of those who belong to God’s kingdom.


Romans 14:17 NLT For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


So Paul prays that Christians will know that joy and peace completely. The Holy Spirit will give hope to them. And that hope will encourage their Christian life.


Romans 15:13 NLT I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


The hope that God gives will not disappoint.


Romans 5:3‭-‬5 NLT We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.


Hope is found not in the avoidance of suffering but the working through it. So, what is hope? According to this passage, hope i confident expectation,  and has to do with an experience of God’s love that does not disappoint but instead feels like a flood of God’s love in the heart. This overwhelming experience of love, through the process of suffering, perseverance, and character, offers us a sense of certainty about God and our future.  


Titus 2:11‭-‬13 NLT For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.


Christians eagerly expect the time when Christ will return. He will then complete their salvation when he will give to them a resurrection body and a new life in heaven. 


Ministering Together


So after talking about us respecting each other Paul now talks about ministering together 


Romans 15:14–16:27         

         

Background of the Passage


After completing the major doctrinal treatise of this letter            (1:18–15:13), Paul now begins what amounts to the conclusion of his letter  in which he mentions, his plans for future service 

(15:22–33), personal greetings from himself and others 

(16:1–24), and a closing benediction (16:25–27).


Because Paul had spoken so forcefully on so many issues to a church he did not found and had never visited, he wants to make sure he does not seem insensitive, presumptuous, or unloving. So Paul makes several important statements in the last paragraphs of his letter—He commends them corporately for their involvement in the gospel. He shares a bit of information about his own ministry and future plans. He reiterates his heart’s desire to minister in Rome and to fellowship with the church there. He mentions by name more than two dozen colleagues and co-workers.

         

In chapter 16, we get a rare glimpse into Paul’s working relationships and close friendships. We can see sense the deep affection that Paul had for those with whom and to whom he ministered. We also get to see the sincere gratitude the apostle felt for those who had been such a help and encouragement to him in life and ministry.

         

As the faces of redeemed and transformed Jews and Gentiles flashed through Paul’s mind, the apostle closed his epistle, fittingly, with a final hymn of praise: “to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen” (16:27).



Paul’s service as an apostle 15:14-22


Romans 15:14‭-‬22 NLT I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.


Verses 14-16 Paul calls the Christians in Rome his brothers. He then shows that he appreciates their good qualities. He praises them and he feels confident that they will understand his letter. They seem well able to teach the gospel. And they will warn those people who are doing wrong things.

Paul did not want to offend them. In fact, Paul’s words may seem to praise the Christians in Rome a little too much. Paul had not even visited their church yet, but he had written to them in a bold way. He may have been a little concerned that he had upset them. He explained that he wrote this letter to remind them about important matters in the Christian faith. People are quick to forget so he wanted to remind them of the important things about salvation, sanctification, and fellowship with one another.  There are many references in the New Testament about the need to remember. 


1 Corinthians 15:1‭-‬2 NLT Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.


2 Peter 1:12‭-‬13 NLT Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.


Peter did not think that his readers were weak Christians. They already knew the true gospel message. They may have heard this message from Peter himself in his first letter. They may have heard it from Paul or from other Christians. Peter did not want them to forget it. There were false teachers who taught them the wrong things. So Peter wanted to remind the people about the true gospel message


That’s why I seem to go over the same scriptures time and time again. It's to remind us of very important things in our relationship with God and what He has tasked us to do as members of His family and kingdom, and His ambassadors in reconciling man to God.




Saturday, January 9, 2021

Romans Session 18 - Chapter 14:1-17 Strong and Weak Believers

 



The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now in a detailed study of Paul's epistle to the church in Rome. These are the notes for Session 18.


How can a church full of people with different backgrounds, genes, personality types, ways of communicating and thinking, struggles, emotions, values, desires, experiences expectations, and convictions ever expect to find unity?

In 14:1–15:13 Paul addresses conflict that easily arises between those to whom he refers as  “strong” and “weak” believers, those who are mature in the faith and those who are immature, those who understand and enjoy freedom in Christ and those who still feel either shackled or threatened by certain religious and cultural taboos and practices that were deeply ingrained parts of their lives before coming to Christ.

Click below to read my notes.

For an audio recording of the session click on the YouTube icon.


Chapter 14


The Danger of Criticism


How can a church full of people with different backgrounds, genes, personality types, ways of communicating and thinking, struggles, emotions, values, desires, experiences expectations, and convictions ever expect to find unity?


A major theme of the New Testament is that of sin’s power to destroy the spiritual and moral character of the church. But outright, blatant sin is not the only danger to a church’s spiritual health and unity. Certain attitudes and behavior can destroy fellowship and fruitfulness, and they have crippled the work, the witness, and the unity of countless congregations throughout church history. These problems are caused by differences between Christians over matters that are neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. They are matters of personal preference and historic tradition, which, when imposed on others, inevitably cause confusion, strife, ill will, abused consciences,  and disharmony.

         

The particular danger to unity that Paul addresses in 14:1–15:13 is the conflict that easily arises between those to whom he refers as  “strong” and “weak” believers, those who are mature in the faith and those who are immature, those who understand and enjoy freedom in Christ and those who still feel either shackled or threatened by certain religious and cultural taboos and practices that were deeply ingrained parts of their lives before coming to Christ.

         

This section is extremely helpful to anyone who finds himself or herself in a congregation of diverse believers and who struggles to accept those who are different. And isn't that all of us?


Christian freedom 14:1-12


Romans 14:1‭-‬12 NLT Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. So why do you condemn another believer ? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord , ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.


There were many disagreements between the Christians in Rome. The Christians could not agree whether they should be obeying the Jewish laws.  Paul wanted the Christians in Rome to love each other. He did not want them to argue about rules and customs. He knew that some Christians only had a little faith. He asked the Christians whose faith was stronger to encourage those people.


For example, some Christians thought that it was still necessary to obey certain food laws. They thought that they must be careful to keep special holy days. Those Christians were ‘weak in the faith’. They had not discovered the real meaning of Christian freedom. They were worried that certain practices were still necessary.


Paul did not hesitate to accuse people who denied the essential beliefs of the Christian faith. But when people have different opinions about certain actions, the ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ Christians should respect each other. In things that are not essential to the faith, a Christian must be free to obey his own conscience. 


Some Essential Christian Beliefs


  • We believe in the authority of Scripture, which is another way of saying that the Bible is God's inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word. It's the ultimate source for knowledge about God, as well as the definitive guide for our daily lives.


  • Next we affirm the existence of a triune God or one God in three distinct persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This God is self-existent, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, righteous, and loving.  God created the universe from nothing and He rules sovereign over His creation, including both human and angelic beings.


  • We also hold that man is a physical and spiritual being who is created in God's image. But because of his sin or transgression, man has lost his fellowship with God.  The extent of sin is so great that its effects continue to this very day in the form of cruelty, sickness, suffering, and death.


  • By God's grace, Jesus Christ - Who is fully God and fully man - was sent to save us from our bondage to sin. We believe that Christ was born of a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the dead, and will one day return to judge the world and deliver His people. Faith in Christ alone (not faith + works) is the only means by which an individual can escape eternal damnation and judgment.


  • Finally, we recognize the church as God's ordained institution headed by Christ. The church is composed of all believers, and is organized for teaching, worship, fellowship, for the administration of communion and baptism, for spiritual growth and support, and for evangelizing the world. True believers seek to be part of local church assemblies where the Word of God is taught





Romans 14:1‭-‬4 NLT Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.


Verses 1-4 ‘Accept’ means ‘give a welcome’. So people in the church should be kind to a Christian whose faith is weak. Nobody should judge him just because he has a different opinion. A Christian might decide to eat only vegetables. So a Christian might not eat any meat. But that person should not argue with someone who eats meat. The first man should not think that the second man is not true to the faith. Some people feel free to eat whatever they choose. But they must not think that the ‘weak’ Christian is stupid. Paul gives two reasons in these verses why they must accept the weak Christian


1. God has accepted him (verse 3).

2. That Christian is Christ’s servant. Only Christ, his master, can decide whether he is a loyal Christian.


There was a dispute in the Corithian church about food offered to idols which address this issue about food.


1 Corinthians 8:1‭-‬13 NLT Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many Lords. But for us, There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live. However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.


Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 8 that the main concern for a Christian is to not defile his own conscience or the conscience of other Christians. Jewish Christians especially might have been inclined to feel contaminated by anything related to idolatry. But because an idol cannot, by itself, render anything pure or defiled, a person's conscience, not the idol, is the real issue.


So what is the point of Paul's instruction about eating or not eating in Romans 14? Depending on their consciences, early believers had several choices. Those wishing to be sure of avoiding meat sacrificed to idols could choose to eat only vegetables or fast—avoid food altogether—when faced with the prospect of consuming foods of suspicious background.

For those whose consciences were not troubled by eating meat purchased in local markets just because it might have been ceremonially offered to idols, that option was open to them with one important restriction. They were (especially at group meals where offenses were more likely to occur) to consider first the conscience of others who were present, to be careful to give no offense.


Romans 14:5‭-‬6 NLT In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God.


Verses 5-6 The ‘weak’ Christians wanted to have some special holy days in the calendar. For example, the new moon or the Sabbath.


It is not wrong to have special days for rest, prayer and worship. But Paul believed that every day is special. It is a gift of time from God and it is an opportunity to serve him.


Colossians 2:16‭-‬19 NLT So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.


Some people eat whatever they like. Then they thank God. Other people eat only what their conscience allows them. But they also thank God for their food. So all these people are giving honour to God. Everyone must be sure that he does the right things. ‘Whatever you choose to eat or to drink, do it all for the glory of God’


1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.


Romans 14:7‭-‬8 NLT For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.


Verses 7-8 Each Christian’s life affects other Christians. He should feel responsible towards them. He should not only think about himself.


Let’s go back yo what it says in 


Romans 12:3 NLT Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.


Paul was telling them that since everybody had been saved because of God’s grace and their faith, and nothing the did themselves that they must not be proud. They must not think that they are better than other people. 


The standard by which they must judge themselves is the standard of faith. That faith means to trust in Christ. He lived and died for them. When they think about Christ’s action they will be humble.


Romans 14:9‭-‬13 NLT Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. So why do you condemn another believer ? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord , ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.


Verses 9-13 Christ died and was resurrected. So he is the Lord of people who are dead. And he is the Lord of people who are alive. He is the Lord of everyone. So the ‘weak’ Christian is also a servant of Christ (verse 4). So the ‘strong’ Christian should not accuse the ‘weak’ Christian. Everyone, strong Christians and weak Christians,  will have to appear to give an account.  


2 Corinthians 5:6‭-‬10 NLT So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.



Then Paul uses words from Isaiah 45:23. 


Isaiah 45:23 NLT I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me. ”


In Philippians Paul shows that everyone will have to respect Jesus as Lord, that’s everybody, strong Christians, weak Christinas, non-believers, everybody.


Philippians 2:9‭-‬11 NLT Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Here the words remind Christians that we are all responsible to God. We must be careful to help those Christians whose faith is weak. We should not hurt them by our unkind words. Instead, we should love each other.


Christian love 


Romans 14:14‭-‬23 NLT I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


Verses 13-15 Paul urges the ‘strong’ Christians to think about their actions. These actions will affect their Christian brothers and sisters. In Rome some Christians thought that to eat meat is wrong. Some Christians thought that they ought to obey the Jewish food laws. They thought that some food was unclean (not acceptable for Christians to eat). Jesus had shown that all food was clean (acceptable)


Mark 7:18‭-‬19 NLT “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?  Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)


We read earlier about Paul’s approach to eating certain foods.   He said that you should feel free to  eat any kind of food. But one Christian’s freedom to act might hurt another Christian’s conscience. To respect another Christian’s conscience in situations like this would be to show him love. A good reason to show him love is that Christ died on his behalf. Every person is valuable to Christ.


However, if someone forced that ‘weak’ Christian not to obey his conscience, that Christian’s faith would become even weaker.


So other Christians ought to encourage that person. They ought to care about him, because God loves him.


Romans 14:15‭-‬18 NLT And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.


Verses 16-18 Christians must not cause trouble for someone else because of their own personal opinion. They must not think that food and drink are more important than God’s kingdom. To be a member of God’s kingdom is not about food and drink. It is to be in a right relationship with God. 


Then the Holy Spirit will give a person peace in himself. He will give a Christian the power to have a calm and content relationship with other people. A Christian will show sympathy for another person’s opinion. A Christian will have joy when he makes other people happy.


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