Judging others concerning opinions
Romans14 – 15:7
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
When the Restoration Movement began in our nation in the early 19th century their slogan was: In essentials unity, in matters of opinion liberty, in all things love. This is the movement from which independent Christian churches, Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ emerged. People wanted to restore the church back to the Bible. The Bible would be the only creed. They understood that when it comes to our Christian faith, we must be united in the essentials; but when it comes to matters of opinions there is freedom. Today there are people who confuse their opinion with the essentials of theology. As followers of Jesus, we must know the essentials from the non-essentials of our faith. The non-negotiable from what is negotiable. Ex.essentials: the deity of Christ, sovereignty of God, triunity of God,
There was some tension in the Roman church over matters of opinion (things that were not essential). In this chapter you can clearly see what the issues were that created such tension among these believers. This conflict was between two groups which Paul addressed in this letter. The strong in faith versus the weak in faith. These two groups were being judgmental toward one another and Paul rebuked their attitude.
Paul started talking to the strong in faith, the more mature (accept, welcome those who are weak in faith) without being judgmental over matters of opinion (disputable matters)
Weak in faith: those who do not think their beliefs allow them to do certain things.
The issues at the church in Rome (v.2-3)
a) Eating or not eating certain foods
-The strong in faith believed they were free to eat anything (any meat)
-The weak in faith only ate vegetables.
They were being judgmental toward each other: (v.3)
The person who abstains from eating everything must not condemn the one who eats everything. (v.3)
Don’t judge each other over matters of opinion because:
-Both persons belong to the same Lord (master)
God has accepted both the one who is strong in faith and the one who is weak (v.4)
They both are God’s servants; they are serving the same Lord.
b)The observance of certain days (v.5-7)
-One person considers one day more sacred than another; another person treats every day alike.
To this attitude Paul responded: each person should be fully convinced in his understanding. You must have a clear conviction in your reason for treating the day this way.
Whatever you do, should be done to honor God (v.6-12)
-If you’re going to treat a day special, do it for the Lord.
-If you eat meat, eat to honor God, giving thanks for his provisions. If you refrain from eating do this to honor the Lord and give thanks to him.
Whatever we choose to do, we must remember our new identity in Christ. (v.7) We belong to him and we must always honor him with our lives. Whether we live, or die is to honor God. (v.8)
Christ’s death and resurrection made him Lord of both the dead and the living. He is our Lord, which means we don’t belong to ourselves. We are here for him.
He is the ultimate judge to whom we all (whether we are strong in faith or weak in faith) must give an account of our lives to him. (v.12)
Rather than being judgmental, decide not to make anyone to stumble (fall) (v.13)
Paul’s observation(v.14) I am persuaded in the Lord that no food is unclean. Paul may have had in mind the words of Jesus himself. Matt.15:11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
No food is unclean, but if you regard it unclean for you it is unclean. (v.14)
Remember to always act in love.(v.15)
If your brother is distressed by what you eat, then you are not acting in love. (v.15)
Do not destroy your brother or sisters by what you eat. Our job is to build each other up and not to tear each other apart by our opinions.
God’s kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Instead of being judgmental, we must pursue what leads to peace and mutual upbuilding. (v.19)
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. (v.20) Make up your mind not to destroy God’s work for the sake of (non-negotiable: ___________: food, clothes, music, building, etc. ____________I have seen churches split over music, stained glass windows, pews over chairs and so forth. People destroy God’s work over matters of opinion. Over things that are non-essentials.
-All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that would cause someone to stumble. (v.20) (It is better not to eat or drink anything that will cause your brother to stumble.
v.22-23 Blessed is the man who does not judge himself by what he approves, but the one who has doubts then is condemned if he eats because his eating does not come from faith and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Those who are strong in faith have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please themselves. Bearing with the failings of the weak is not doing anything that would cause your brother or sister to stumble.
The more mature are to act like Christ toward those who are weak in faith. (v.3 Even Christ did not please himself)
v.4 Everything that was written in the past, was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Paul’s prayer for these Christians 15:5-6
-Prayer for unity (live in harmorny) with one another. It is this unity that will bring glory to God, not the fights and quarreling over things that are not essential. Accept one another( welcome each other), just as Christ accepted you (15:7)
Application: It was eating meat and the observance of holidays that became objects of division in the church. As Christians we must know our essentials, so we can know what it is we can agree to disagree on. We have liberty (freedom in matters of opinions) and we must not judge those whose opinions differ from ours. Decide to build your brother or sister up and not to tear them down.
-Think about God’s kingdom: his kingdom is bigger than your opinion. It is bigger than what you accept and don’t accept. Don’t destroy God’s work in person’s life by what you accept.
We are called to pursue peace and mutual building up when it comes to things that are non-essential. Whatever you choose to do, you are to do it to bring glory and honor to God. Whether you eat or don’t eat; whether you think is a special day or not; you are to honor Christ with your decision.
Colossians 2:16-17 16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or about a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.