The Church: Unity in Diversity (Part 2), Romans 14:13-22

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”  – Romans 14:13

You may read Romans 14:13-22 here: Bible Gateway.

With the Roman believers in disagreement about eating meat and observance of special days, Paul laid out three principles to encourage peaceful relationships.

Last week highlighted the first principle: Judgment is God’s right, not man’s (vs. 1-12) . . . . Next principle please:

Principle #2: Love requires self-limitations for the sake of others
(Biblesurprise.com)

(Biblesurprise.com)

Paul directs his advice to mature believers. He warns them to beware of placing obstacles—or occasion to sin—before the weaker Christian.

Although the old rules about ceremonial foods were dismissed by Jesus (Matthew 15:10-11; 16-20), Paul addressed the issue of those who felt compelled to follow Judaism’s regulations: Anyone who violates their conscience, and doesn’t act in faith, has sinned (vs. 23).

Shepherd’s Notes comments: “God has called us to a life of faith. Trust is the willingness to put all of life before God for His approval. Any doubt about the rightness of an action removes it from the category of what is acceptable. This principle is of special help to the Christian in what is sometimes called the ‘gray area.’ If it is gray to you, it is wrong—not in itself, but in the eyes of the one who considers it inappropriate.”

Paul warned mature believers to take into account their influential actions. Those who encouraged others to violate their conscience “no longer walked in love” (vs. 15).

So What?

Although we live in a different time and culture than the early Roman Christians, we still vary in our convictions today. It’s important to continually monitor our behavior and its effects on other believers, even if we don’t feel convicted in a “gray area”. Although we don’t have to give up our freedom in Christ, if God convicts another believer differently we should avoid exercising that action in his/her presence. Mutual respect and love mark Christ’s true disciples.

What steps can believers take to ensure peace when differences arise? How does focusing our minds on Christ help promote unity?

The Church: Unity in Diversity (Part 1), Romans 14:1-12

Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things.” – The Puritans

(shereadstruth.com)

(shereadstruth.com)

You may read this passage here: Romans 14:1-12.

God is able

Paul’s writing to the early Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome certainly reflects this belief. Although God was—and is—“able”, effort from every believer would be needed. In an arena immersed in vast cultural and societal differences Paul offered some guidelines to help bring about this seemingly impossible task: unity in diversity.

Principle # 1: Judgment is God’s Right, Not Man’s

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand,” (vs. 4). Paul made it clear: Observing or not observing special days and/or food laws—the early church’s main divisive issues—wasn’t sin to God, so long as one’s conscience was clear. Rather, the flaunting and flouting of other believers’ convictions was the culprit. Convictions vary. God has accepted both the “weak” and “strong” servant by grace. Equal desire to honor God may be found in both the observer and nonobserver of special days and food laws (vs. 6).

“None of us lives to himself alone” (vs. 7)

Shepherd’s Notes comments: “This has been understood in the sense of John Donne’s statement, ‘No man is an island.’ Paul’s statement, however, was not a sociological observation regarding the oneness of the human race. What he said is that all believers live out their lives accountable to God. Decisions about such matters as special days and eating meat are not made in isolation, but in accordance with the will of God as understood by the individual.”

So What?

Judgment belongs to God alone. And we will all stand before the judgment seat of God (vs. 10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10). Individuals should act according to their own conviction in trivial gray areas that are unclear in the Bible, without passing judgment on those with different convictions. We can—and should—rub shoulders with other believers without judging in these areas. If something offends a brother or sister, then we should abstain from that activity in their presence.

Are there strained relationships in your church? How might this principle help bring the unity God desires?

Jesus: The Door, The Way and Truth

The more we study the names and titles of Jesus, the more we understand who He really is.

10 More Titles and Names of Jesus

The Door – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

 

The Way – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6

 

The Word – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

 

True Vine – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

 

Truth – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

Victorious One – “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and were able to attend a worship service. If not, my pastor, Cliff Purcell, gave a great message. If you are connected to Facebook, you may listen to him here: Easter Sunday.

What is Good Friday?

Why do Christians refer to Good Friday as “good”? After all, the Romans and Jewish authorities were anything but good to Jesus (see Matthew 26-27).

The results from Christ’s death, however, go far beyond “good”. There really are no words that ascribe the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice, or the depth of gratitude we should have for the eternal, abundant life He purchased for those of us who believe and place our faith in Him as Lord and Savior!

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18

Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday in a serious and reverent manner. This is a time of remembrance of Christ’s death, usually expressed through prayers of thanksgiving, solemn hymns, a message centered on Christ’s suffering, and observance of the Lord’s Supper.

The events of that day, Good Friday, should always be present in our hearts and minds. For Christ’s death on the cross—along with His bodily resurrection—is the foundation of our Christian faith. You may read more about Good Friday here, What is Good Friday/Holy Friday?

You can trust the One who laid down His life so we might live. Blessings!

What About Jesus?

“What about Jesus? ‘And you shall call his name Jesus,’ the angel told Joseph, ‘for he will save his people from their sins’ (Matt. 1:21). More than a great teacher, more than an enlightened man, more than a worker of miracles, more than a source of meaning in life, more than a self-help guru, more than a self-esteem builder, more than a political liberator, more than a caring friend, more than a transformer of cultures, more than a purpose for the purposeless, Jesus is the Savior of sinners.” –  Pastor Kevin DeYoung

10 More Names and Titles of Jesus

Prophet – “And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4

Redeemer – “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

Risen Lord – “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Rock – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4

Sacrifice for Our Sins  “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Savior – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

Son of Man – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Son of the Most High – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32

Supreme Creator Over All – “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” 1 Corinthians 1:16-17

Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’” John 11:25

This may sound shocking to some, but Jesus is the only way to heaven. The Bible clearly teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. If you haven’t checked out what the Bible teaches about where we go after life here on earth, and how we can attain eternal life, then I encourage you to not put it off for later. A great starting place is to explore via questions. I like gotquestions.org. Type in a question, or topic, in the search field and you’ll find some concise and insightful biblical teaching. Here is one such post to explore: Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Wishing you a wonderful week!