88 The Weak and the Strong

Romans 14:1-12

1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.  (ESV)

Our passage addresses the problem of differences and teaches how believers are to live together in harmony: in inessential things, let there be unity; in non-essential, let there be liberty; in all things let there be charity.

  1. The Problem – Liberty VS Legalism.
    Believers are all at different levels of maturity in Christ.
    There is in all of us a desire that people bow to our will, but we must want everyone to bow to Christ’s will.
    Liberty is not licence – it is freedom to enter into a relationship with the living God.

  2. The Principle – Essentials versus non-essentials.
    We need to:
    a. Receive one another – even the lost sinner must feel welcome.
    We are to allow for differences in opinions, remembering where we were when Christ welcomed us, and what He saves us from. The very joy for that would lead you to welcome people in similar circumstances that you experienced prior to your conversion.
    b. Believers hold to the same essential, non-negotiable truths as taught in the Bible:
       (i) The Deity of Christ.
      (ii) The substitutionary, atoning death of Christ.
     (iii) The physical, bodily resurrection of Christ.
     (iv) The literal return of Christ.
      (v) The Trinity.
     (vi) The authority and inspiration of the Word of God.
    c. In non-essential matters we as believers must allow for differing opinions. We are to allow for different conclusions of honest believers seeking the mind of Christ – without criticism, contempt or judgement.
    d. God is the Master and we are all His servants. We are serving Christ, even if we serve others. Each one must be convinced in his own mind. Unless we can act in faith, we should not act at all.

  3. The Perspective – Surrender VS self-assertion.
    It is about the lordship of Christ:
    a. His Redemptiveness – He died to carry the punishment for our sins, to purchase us. He also rose to pardon us.
    b. The Relativeness – believers are the Lord’s.
    c. Are you living for the Lord and truly submitting to Him? If we are truly submitting to the Lord, we will not be so quick to criticise our fellow believers.

Are you surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ?