Romans 14:3-6

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 13, 1999

Introduction

Paul has moved through his doctrinal section in Romans and now has moved on to the practical side of things.  Heís been telling the church in Rome how they are a "body", and like a body, they are all separate parts that belong and function together. Heís talked to them about their obligations to each other like loving without hypocrisy, meeting needs, blessing, and not taking vengeance. Heís talked about our need to submit to those in authority and the debt of love we owe others, as well as our motivation to obey because of Jesusí soon return.

Now we move on to talking about how we deal with others who have different convictions about certain "gray areas" than we have. Some example of "gray" areas might be:

What you can eat or not eat. Movies. TV. Dancing. Celebrating Christmas. Pokémon cards. Going to the beach. Drinking alcohol. Smoking. Clothing styles. Makeup.

Weíve covered so far Ö

(Rom 14:1-2 KJV) Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Meaning, "To you who are strong in your faith, keep accepting those who are weak, but not for the purpose of making judgments on the things they struggle with, or for trying to "set them straight"".

{2} For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Those who are "strong" in the faith arenít stumbled by eating or not eating certain things. Those who are "weak" in the faith are the ones who think that eating or not eating certain things is bad.

:1-6 Receiving the weak

:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not;

despise Ė exoutheneo Ė to make of no account, despise utterly; to have contempt for, to look on someone as totally worthless.

This seems to carry the idea that you look at a person and think theyíre not saved anymore because of what theyíre doing.

Here the idea is that the "strong" brother, who doesnít have a problem eating different kinds of foods, shouldnít look down on a person who is struggling with food problems.

:3 and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth:

judge Ė krino Ė to separate, put asunder, to pick out; to judge; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.

There are people who think that if you are saved, you wonít drink or smoke. Not true. Again, itís funny how we might tend to think that people who have a strong feeling that Christians shouldnít smoke might be the "stronger" Christians, yet Paul puts them in the category of "weaker" brothers.

Paul is saying that these "weaker" brothers should not stand back and criticize those who are smoking, especially when they donít seem to have a problem with smoking.

Donít confuse these "gray" areas with things that the Scripture specifically prohibits.

(Gal 5:19-21 KJV) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, {20} Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, {21} Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Continuing in these things without any desire to change shows that a person must not know the Lord.

Do you have contempt for or judge others who do or donít do certain things?

Sometimes we judge those who seem to have more liberty than we do because we wish we were able to do the same things. Weíre jealous of them. We think, "How come they can do this things and get away with it while I feel condemned when I do it?"

There may be times when you are not listening to the Spirit and following His leading. Sometimes your convictions are more a product of what your parents thought than what the Lord thinks.

Lesson

Life ainít fair. Get over it.

There may be times when you feel a conviction about something from the Holy Spirit, and you may indeed be correct. But that doesnít mean that the Holy Spirit has put the same conviction about the same thing on others as well.

Illustration

As parents, we often try very hard to make sure that one child isnít exalted above the others. If you buy a shirt for one child, you buy one for each of the others. But sometimes you just canít keep things balanced. Sometimes one child will simply get blessed with something that just canít be matched for the others. And when the other children will complain (which they will), the only thing you can respond with is to say, "Sometimes life isnít fair!" And thatís absolutely the truth.

Just because the Holy Spirit convicts you about a certain area doesnít mean that you have to make sure that everyone has to learn the same lesson as you, just to be fair. Sometimes it isnít going to be fair.

The important thing is not whether life seems fair. The important thing is that you are learning to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

:3 for God hath received him.

received Ė proslambano Ė to take to, take in addition, to take to one's self. This is the same word that was used in verse 1, when we who are strong were encouraged to "receive" those who are weak.

Itís not my place to be deciding who God accepts and who He doesnít. My job is simply to accept who God has accepted. Because God has accepted this person, so should I.

:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.

another manís Ė allotrios Ė belonging to another. This isnít just about judging "another servant", but judging a servant who belongs to someone other than you. This isnít your servant, itís Godís servant.

servant Ė oiketes Ė a household servant, one who lives in the same house as another, spoken of all who are under the authority of one and the same householder

standeth Ė steko Ė to stand firm; to persevere, to persist; to keep one's standing

Lesson

Itís Godís place to give the report card, not you.

If this person is a Christian, they belong to the Lord. Itís the Lord who will one day judge them.

That doesnít mean there isnít a place to warn people about the danger of continuing in a particular sin. But itís a whole different viewpoint to be warning someone about what itís going to be like when they have to face the principal for what theyíve done compared to you taking the place of the principal.

:4 Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

holden Ė histemi Ė to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set

is able Ė dunatos Ė able, powerful, mighty, strong. A related word to "dunamis", power. God has the power, the ability to make His own servants stand.

stand Ė histemi Ė to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set

Lesson

God will help you stand.

It doesnít matter what other people think about you, God is able to help you make it.

Jude says the same thing:

(Jude 1:24 KJV) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Pastor Chuck writes,

"Many people thought that I would never make it through Bible college, because I liked to get into mischief. However, they underestimated the power of God. He has sustained me and will continue to do so."

Can you imagine that from Pastor Chuck? No way! But maybe thatís because we didnít know him when he was in Bible college. Actually this is quite a statement about Godís ability to "keep" you from "falling". I donít know of many church leaders of Chuckís caliber who have his reputation for being "above reproach".

Lesson

Use the exit.

Itís important to realize how God helps us to stand.

(1 Cor 10:13 KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Every temptation that comes your way must first go past the desk of God for approval or disapproval. Nothing goes across His desk that He doesnít first approve and agree that you are able to handle. Nothing. But along with every temptation that God allows to head your way, God also provides the "way of escape". He will always give you a way to say "no" to the temptation. And from there the choice is yours. You can either choose to believe that God is faithful and that you are able to take the way of escape before you, or you decide God isnít right and you give in to the temptation.

The "Exit" door is always going to be there. It may be a phone call that temporarily breaks the thought processes of the temptation. It may be that you hit all red lights on the way to your sin. It may simply be the still, small voice of a Scripture calling out for you to flee. The real question is whether or not you use the exit.

Lesson

God isnít finished with them yet.

And Heís not finished with you either.

When Iím working on some kind of a project, it kind of bugs me when someone looks over my shoulder and starts criticizing it. "Hey, Iím not done yet!" I donít want to hear their critique until after Iím done.

Give God time to finish the project Heís working on.

(Phil 1:3-6 NLT) Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. {4} I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy {5} because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. {6} And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

You may not be very pleased with how things seem to be going in a personís life, but itís not your job to make sure they change. God is the potter who is shaping the clay. They are the clay and are responsible to stay pliable in the potterís hands. You may be a part of Godís process of growing people up, but the responsibilities for their growth lie with God and with them, not you.

:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.

esteemeth Ė krino Ė to separate, put asunder, to pick out; to judge; to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong

Another "gray" area. The subject here is "days". Do we consider one day better than another, or all days the same?

In Paulís day, the Jewish believers were giving honor to God on the Sabbath, on Saturday, much as todayís Seventh Day Adventists do.

Chuck: "There are those who are very vehement in their feeling that Saturday is the only day to worship the Lord and if you worship the Lord on Sunday that is the same thing as taking the mark of the beast, for Sunday worship is the mark of the beast because Sunday was actually named after the sun god. Thus we ought to worship on Saturday, but they don't tell you that Saturday is named after the god Saturn."

In contrast, the Gentile believers of Paulís day were already worshipping on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1Cor. 16:2), out of respect for the Resurrection, which took place on a Sunday.

Some folks feel that all days are really the same and that we really ought to be thinking about worshipping God every day! I kind of like that idea myself.

:5 Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

be fully persuaded Ė plerophoreo Ė to bear or bring full, to make full; to fill one with any thought, conviction, or inclination; to be persuaded, persuaded, fully convinced or assured. Present imperative, to be continually persuaded.

in his own mind Ė Robertson: "Intelligent and honest decision according to the light possessed by each."

There is no right or wrong way to these things. You need to make up your own mind on these gray areas and then just be faithful to your convictions without judging others.

God isnít as concerned about what you do in these things as He is why you do it.

Be faithful to what you are persuaded about. Where it gets ugly is when a person is persuaded that one way is correct, but they do it another way.

: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.

regardeth Ė phroneo Ė to have understanding, be wise; to feel, to think; to think or judge what one's opinion is

unto the Lord Ė the idea is that the person is doing or not doing these things in order to be pleasing to the Lord. Thatís the attitude that God is looking for.