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ROMANS CHAPTER 14

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1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

 

Rom 14,1-23

(97a) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about yourself >> A self-righteous attitude – If we are not mature enough, we should not trouble those who are weak, for God is able to make them stand without our help. The person who is not mature enough to know how to help someone shouldn't try, for God is able to make him stand without our help.

(108f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Balance >> Conscience is the balance between God and man – This chapter is about conscience; it is about defining who is weak, and it is about forming a conviction about what is right and wrong. The person who thinks that eating meat is wrong violates his conscience if he eats. In contrast, the person sitting next to him at the dinner table has a slab of meat on his plate and is rapidly consuming it without concern. Neither one is sinning. Should a person eat meat or not? The answer is not yes or no but to avoid violating our conscience or someone else’s faith. Whatever we think is right is what we should do; but if we don't do what we think is right, it is like breaking the law. On one hand, there are things that are universally wrong, but if we are not aware of it, we can commit sin without knowing it with a clear conscience. On the other hand, there are things we think are sin that are not, and doing them would violate our conscience, which is equivalent to sinning. Therefore, Paul’s main point in this chapter is not whether we are sinning, but whether we are violating our conscience, which defines sin. “Why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?” (1Cor 10-29). Rom 14-4 says the opposite, “Who are you to judge the servant of another.” We are not to judge or be judged in regard to nonessential issues of the gospel.

Rom 14,1-6

(79c) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Compromising your convictions -- These verses go with verse 10

(155a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> Doing right to the best of our knowledge -- These verses go with verses 14-23. We need to have an opinion about what is right and wrong to protect our conscience. Paul is saying that whatever we decide is right may not be right for everyone. The decisions we make determine how we live, but does not determine how other people live. Obviously we are not talking about whether murder is wrong or any other point of the law, or whether Jesus died on the cross, or whether He rose from the dead. None of these are opinions, but there are some things that do fall in the realm of opinion, as it were in the gray area, not well defined. Some celebrate holidays, while others “regard every day alike. Let every person be fully convinced in his own mind.” Paul was referring more to some of the Jewish holidays, saying if we feel that celebrating Passover is still important then by all means celebrate it, but if we don’t think it matters anymore in the new covenant, then we shouldn’t feel obligated to celebrate it. If we have certain convictions, we should live according to them, but the one who does not, should not judge the one who does. If God has accepted us, then we should accept one another.

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Rom 14,1-4

(2i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Do not offend the weak in faith -- these verses go with verses 10-16. Christians understand that they are the apple of God’s eye, but what we often fail to remember is that God feels the same about our brother in the faith. God would consider us giving offense if we ate candy in front of someone we knew had a sweet tooth and was trying to kick the habit. We would be tempting her to stumble back into an obsession from which she was trying to be free.

(17l) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Making distinctions between each other – These verses go with verse 10. The stronger and more experienced brother should make it his goal to live an exemplar life for the weaker and less experienced Christian. However, if the stronger person is just as weak, how can he help others find higher plateaus of spiritual development? The issue of this chapter revolves around our liberties in Christ: we can eat if we want, since there is no law against it, but some take their liberty too far and use it as a license to sin against the brethren. Those who are weaker in faith tend to live by a list of do’s and don’ts, legalism. Paul is trying to shed some light and balance on the difference between legalism and license, and of course truth is in the middle.

(130e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Committed to holding up one another -- These verses go with verses 13-15

(130l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Accept one another >> Accept the weak – Paul was talking about the subject of serving our weaker brother, and the first comment he made was, ‘do not judge them.’ We are to accept our weaker brother, but not for the purpose of judging his opinions. What an irony, accepting our brother for the purpose of judging him; that doesn’t sound very acceptable. Paul’s point was that people have differences. It is one thing to have variation in the body in terms of spiritual gifts (1Cor 12-18), but it is another to have differences that contradict the truth. Show me a church with many differences in faith, and I will show you a spiritually weak church. Paul was saying that the first step in strengthening weak faith is not to offend those we are trying to strengthen; for if we offend them, then we have lost them.

(199b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus >> Frustrating the Father -- These verses go with verses 10-13

Rom 14,1-3

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens These verses go with verses 13-21

(124f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love does not seek its own

(131d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Brother depends on you >> To help build the temple -- These verses go with verses 13-23

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others -- These verses go with verses 13-23

(163a) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> In bondage to peoples’ expectations of you -- These verses go with verses 14-16

Rom 14-1

(17g) Sin >> Judging in the flesh >> Evaluating circumstances with a carnal mind  

(53e) Paradox >> Opposites >> Freedom and bondage >> It takes one to know one

(58f) Paradox >> Opposites >> Accepting the weak to judge their opinions – The definition of spiritual maturity is the ability to discern right from wrong, which we think everyone should know, but not everyone does. What is ironic, any society that cannot discern these things is headed for destruction.

(75m) Thy kingdom come >> Having ulterior (hidden) motives

(130h) Accept One Another (Key verse)

(154c) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for sin -- This verse goes with verses 22&23

(158g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Special interest groups – Paul did not get involved in nitpicking about peripheral issues, but left it to the individual to decide for himself. These are things that create conflicts and arguments that never end. The only time these issues matter is when we let them cause strife among brothers. 

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2-8 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

 

Rom 14,2-4

(222l) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Conceit >> Thinking you are superior to others >> Treating people with contempt -- These verses go with verse 10

Rom 14-2

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty -- This verse goes with verses 5&6

 

Rom 14,3-5

(151f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The law – Food is just a diving board for a lot of other issues that this passage covers. The things that some people eat are considered distasteful if not evil to others, referring to the Jews and the list of foods that God commanded Israel not to eat, such as crustaceans and mammals with a split hoof, such as the pig that ruts in the ground and will eat just about anything, opening the door to parasites and other diseases that is transferred to the person who eats them if not properly cooked. The Israelites in their day erroneously equated the abstinence of these foods with spirituality. God commanded them not to eat; therefore, if they didn’t, they figured they were pleasing to God. It became part of their religion, abstaining from certain foods and participating in celebrations, being an example of misunderstanding the intent of the Law. People in the old covenant said they were breaking the Law by eating these forbidden foods, and when the new covenant came along, when somebody ate them, they essentially said the same thing, that they were unbelievers and didn’t know God, judging them based on their eating habits. God commanded these things for their health, not for moral or spiritual reasons, though it was immoral to eat after God forbade them, yet God is greater than our conscience. God didn’t inform them of parasites to avoid setting off an explosion of scientific knowledge, making the kind of world we have today before the time. He just commanded them not to eat.

Rom 14-3,4

(29g) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> He stands beside us through hardship

(203g) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God >> Dishonor God by dishonoring your brother -- These verses go with verses 10-13. There are many ways that people accuse others of not being saved, and Paul says that we don’t know their hearts. Therefore, it is better not to judge them at all. Instead, we should pray for them. Paul was writing to the Romans, who were strong in faith, encouraging them to help the weak. Instead of judging people, we are to abstain from sin ourselves, because it is very possible that our judgment is clouded by our own failures, in that we tend to see in others the sins we practice ourselves. We deny Christ by accusing others of denying Christ. This doesn’t mean we are not allowed to judge at all; rather, Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (Jn 7-24). There are some we know for an absolute fact are sinning and in need of rebuke, but for those who love the Lord and have made a claim to godliness, when they say or do something that is less than perfect, we shouldn’t judge them too harshly. Rather, if we are concerned about them, we should put it to God in prayer.

Rom 14-3

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification -- This verse goes with verses 13-21

Rom 14-4

(28a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects the faith of His people

Rom 14-5,6

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty -- These verses go with verse 14

Rom 14-5

(94n) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective is your personal reality >> How you interpret your point of view -- This verse goes with verses 14-16. Everything is a matter of perspective. For example, the late Ayn Rand was a popular author, who wrote the book “The Virtue of Selfishness.” She is an atheist and a republican. Richard Dawkins is also a popular author who wrote "The Selfish Gene," and is also an atheist, yet is a democrat, thus completing the circle. This proves that ideas don't have political boundaries, though the people who believe them do. This supports the notion that being republican or democrat doesn't really matter, for they are both points on the same circle. People can heatedly argue about a topic of importance and be agreeing with each other without knowing it, approaching the subject in different ways and viewing it from different perspectives. There are certainly differences between the political parties, but not between their ideas. In other words, it is all in the interpretation and not in the ideas themselves, for in this case they are both working toward the same notion of selfishness.

(122g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in yourself as you die to sin >> Confident in good conscience -- This verse goes with verses 22&23

Rom 14,6-9

(213i) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> Jesus owns you >> His will becomes our will >> We are God’s property

Rom 14,6-8

(233l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seek His glory without wavering >> By all means seek the glory of God

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Rom 14-6

(82i) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His blessings

(189j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting simulates dying to self – In the Old Testament in their sessions of fasting when they were attempting to get closer to God, they hoped He would recognize their commitment to Him and honor their efforts to seek Him, and they would come to some understanding about their problems that drove them to fasting and prayer. According to the new covenant, we can expect God to speak to us, for we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, giving us a direct link to Him, and so our fasting holds promise what the old covenant did not have, but if the Christian has a habit of suppressing the Holy Spirit who dwells in him and goes into a fast and expects to commune with God, he will not have any more success than the old covenant believer, but will have missed supper for nothing.

Rom 14-7,8

(192b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your life to gain God’s purpose – We should live for Jesus, who would lead us to live for one another and not for ourselves. We need to learn to consider the other person’s interests and concerns and opinions more important than our own. Paul said that none of us lives for himself, but apparently this doesn’t apply to Christians in America who are in fact living for themselves. Paul is talking about a level of commitment and zeal for the gospel that many Christians do not have. We are to place a priority on our faith in Jesus that transcends our own ability to live for Him, but what we see in the Church is just the opposite. In fact, we even hear their doctrines, whole belief systems supporting their complacency. Whatever we place after the word “therefore” will determine how we live. Often we understand the Scriptures well enough, but by the time we finish interpreting them, our lives do not reflect the Scriptures at all. Instead of being converted, we convert the grace of God into licentiousness, turning one of the greatest doctrines of the Bible into a license to sin. According to American Christianity, since Christ has given us eternal life as a free gift, we can proceed with our lives as usual. People don’t feel they need to be zealous for God. Instead, they have zeal for the world. Paul commanded us not to make full use of the world (1Cor 7-31), yet what do we see but people extracting as much as they can from the world with great zeal and commitment that they could have used for God's purposes.


9-12 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? 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 GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

 

Rom 14-9

(38d) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death (Satan) >> Resurrection brings about judgment

(66a) Authority >> Lordship of Christ >> He is Lord over all creation >> over life and death – Everything has changed in the new covenant about what happens to those who die in the Lord; they are wisped to heaven immediately. To be apart from the body is to be present with the Lord, and to be present in the body is to be absent from the Lord, it says in 2Cor 5,6-9. It’s an on/off situation, like a light is either on or off with nothing in-between. Those who breathe their last as believers in Jesus will suddenly find themselves standing in the presence of God completely forgiven of all their sin, but those who die in their sin apart from Christ, nothing really has changed from the old covenant. Jesus said in Lk 16,19-31 that the rich man died and was buried (v22), and in Hades he lifted up his eyes being in torment, Hades being another word for netherworld, a place for those who have died outside of faith in Christ, perhaps the Catholic’s version of purgatory, only no amount of praying or alms will save them. When Paul said that Jesus died and rose again so that He would be Lord both of the dead and of the living, he was talking about Jesus being Lord of both heaven and hell, based on the fact that their lack of faith has led them to hell. Phi 2-10,11 says, “Every knee shall bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Essentially, people are in hell because they refused to concede the lordship of Jesus Christ, yet their resistance was futile, for their knee will bow in hell just as those in heaven. They have lost everything and gained nothing by rejecting Christ.

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Rom 14,10-16

(2i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Do not offend the weak in faith -- these verses go with verses 20-23. Instead of judging the brethren we are to judge ourselves as to whether we put a stumbling block in our brother’s way.

Rom 14,10-13

(199b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus >> Frustrating the Father -- These verses go with verses 20&21

(203g) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God >> Dishonor God by dishonoring your brother -- These verses go with verse 15

Rom 14,10-12

(45b) Judgment >> God judges us for not judging ourselves >> Believer's judgment >> Judged According to your deeds – Paul was talking about Christians bowing in judgment before God. There is a separate judgment for those who have died in their sins, the White Throne Judgment, and then there is 2Cor 5-10, where believers stand before God. The believer’s judgment to which Paul is referring is something that the Church does not well understand. We have been forgiven, and there are no issues between us and God, yet we will must appear before the judgment seat of Christ and have a one-on-one consultation with our creator about what we did in this life compared to what He had in mind for us. The question most Christians have is that since we have been forgiven, why are we still being judged, and what are the consequences for that judgment? Paul said in Eph 2-10, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has prepared a trail of good works that we should follow throughout our lives, and to the degree that we wandered from it is the degree that God will judge us, and the sentence He will impose on us will be a loss of reward. This will translate to a loss of radiance that God will assign to our resurrected bodies, and the loss of authority that He will give us in His kingdom and the loss of position with Him among the saints. 1Cor 15-41,42 says, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is the resurrection of the dead…” He has forgiven us for the sins we have committed, but He cannot reward us for the good that we did not do. God will compare the vision that He had for us with the trail that we actually walked, and subtract the difference from our resurrected bodies. There will be people in heaven who will be almost completely without reward, and in this life they might say they don't care, but they will in heaven. When we look in the Old Testament, every time someone appealed to God, they always brought an offering with him. God diligently taught Israel that they needed an offering whenever they approach the temple of worship to seek mercy and grace from His throne, being a large section of the Bible and Jesus being the chief sacrifice. Our sacrifice is to do His will instead of our own. God will send us through the fire and we will come out the other side with silver and gold as our offering to Him. These are the good works that He has prepared for us that we should walk in them.

Rom 14-10

(17l) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Making distinctions between each other -- This verse goes with verses 1-4; see them for commentary.

(79c) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Compromising your convictions -- This verse goes with verses 13-16

(222l) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Conceit >> Thinking you are superior to others >> Treating people with contempt -- This verse goes with verses 2-4

Rom 14-11

(252i) Trinity >> You shall put no other gods before Me >> Worship God >> Worship God for who He is >> Glorifying God – This is an Old Testament verse found in Isaiah 45-23, and it is saying that God’s creation will worship Him whether it wants to or not. Those who live with Him in heaven will worship Him with joy, but those who hate Him will worship Him in hell; either way they will worship Him (Phi 2-10). Right now we mostly see mankind indifferent to God, pretending He doesn’t exist, but a day is coming when every man, woman and child will worship God. He values His children’s heartfelt worship, but He glorifies Himself by the wicked that worship Him against their will. The inhabitants of hell may have stated that they would never worship God, yet they will do so when they see Him in His glory on Judgment Day.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this -not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

 

Rom 14,13-23

(131d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Brother depends on you >> To help build the temple -- These verses go with verses 1-3

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others -- These verses go with verses 1-3

Rom 14,13-21

(1f) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> become all things to all men >> Conform without compromise

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens These verses go with verses 1-3

(100m) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to people >> Devoted to ministering to their physical needs

(139h) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Edification -- These verses go with verse 3. We understand freedom that food neither commends us nor condemns us before God, but there are some who don’t believe this, and if we offend them, they might decide not to come to church anymore. They may decide to conduct their relationship with God elsewhere or by themselves, becoming sheep without a shepherd, isolated, becoming an opportunity for wolves to have them for dinner, and it will be our fault. We caused it, because we considered our freedom more important than their well-being. Paul is commanding us to value our brother more than we value our freedom. That is a big statement in light of the value Scripture places on freedom; even Paul talked about freedom as the number one goal above all else. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5-1). Nevertheless, Paul is saying we should value our brother more, in that love is greater than freedom. It is good to be free, but it is better to love, for our freedom is for the purpose of love, suggesting that our freedom can lead us right back to bondage if we don’t make love our first priority.

(248h) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Values >> Valuing God >> Knowing God is more important than serving Him

Rom 14,13-16

(79c) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Compromising your convictions -- These verses go with verses 19-23

(130e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Committed to holding up one another -- These verses go with verses 1-4. Paul is rightly dividing the word of God and exonerating our freedom in Christ and saying with that freedom comes responsibility. For example, we can have a glass of wine with our meal if we want, but if our freedom offends our weaker brother, we should forego the wine. We can be defamed in the sight of the Church and offend our brother just because we wanted to enjoy your freedoms among those with less knowledge. There are some things we think are sin that are not, and there are other things that are not sin but give offense if we partake of them; therefore, we are not to let a glass of wine at dinner be spoken of as evil. We need to put ourselves in the other person’s place and try to understand and respect how he thinks and tailor our lives around their concept of freedom so we don’t offend him.

Rom 14-13

(123f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Compassion is greater than sacrifice -- This verse goes with verse 15

(163i) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the Church -- This verse goes with verses 20&21

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

 

Rom 14,14-23

(92m) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Walk it for the sake of your brother – If we do something that we know another person thinks is wrong, we are letting “what is for us a good thing be spoken of as evil.” We have freedom in our knowledge that all things are clean, that there is no substance or object that is evil in itself, only in how we use it. However there are some people who don’t have this knowledge, who believe that certain things are intrinsically evil or unclean. Instead of trying to persuade them otherwise, Paul advises us to respect their opinions, even if we know them to be wrong, because in the case of peripheral issues defending the truth is less important than the larger point of whether we offend our brother.

(155a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> Doing right to the best of our knowledge -- These verses go with verses 1-6. We are not to jam the finer points of our faith down people’s throats. Our personal convictions are not always the convictions of others, especially regarding peripheral issues. There are other matters to which we assign a much higher priority, so high that Paul risked his life trying to convey them, such as the tenets of salvation. These are greater than personal conviction but something we think other people should know and would even shove it down their throats if we thought it would help them believe it. However, there are less important things that a person’s conscience takes precedence over the truth, and we have these as our personal conviction before God. We must learn the difference between what is important and what isn’t, placing proper emphasis on everything. If we overemphasize trivial issues, we will try to make other people adopt our personal beliefs and needlessly offend them. We may know the truth better than others regarding trivial issues, but if we unnecessarily offend others regarding them, we have become the one in the wrong. The faith we have we should not only have as our personal conviction before God, we should also never contradict them. These trivial issues are not worth offending our brother, but contradicting them damages our own conscience, and a violated conscience is not confident before God, and this is what really matters. Whatever we believe is true, we are to live according to it, for “happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” We would get further ahead consistently following our conscience than wavering in our beliefs, for a clear conscience is more valuable than the finer points of our faith.

Rom 14,14-16

(14c) Servant >> Slave is free/Free is slave Paul is talking about destroying a person’s conscience for the sake of freedom. We must learn to be responsible with everything we use, not being ignorant of how we are affecting people around us, but using what God has given us as tools to bless others. For example, do not drink alcohol around alcoholics. One person thinks drinking a few beers and catching a buzz is harmless, while God may have delivered the other person from alcoholism, and if we drink alcohol in his presence, it may weaken his conscience to backslide into his old ways. Another brother may have never touched a drop of liquor in his life, thinking that any amount is wrong, and if he sees you with a beer in your hand, he may consider you to be in a state of apostasy and want nothing more to do with you or the Church. Freedom (from extraneous rules) is a good thing, but if it causes our brother to stumble, then it is sin. It is more important that we constrain ourselves than to showcase our freedoms and risk giving the wrong impression. Christ wants us free, but not at the cost of our brother. He would rather we understood there is no substance on earth that is intrinsically evil, but if some do not believe this, we should respect their opinions.

(27d) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Knowledge can bring a curse if you don’t walk in it -- These verses go with verses 22&23. “The one who thinks something is unclean, to him it is unclean,” even if it isn’t really. For example, many Christians think alcohol is intrinsically evil, like money, as though evil dwells in it (they may not actually say this, but it is what they think). Evil does not dwell within substances as Paul taught; it is not money that is the root of all evil but the love of it, and so it is with alcohol and every other substance. Evil resides in the heart of man, as Jesus made clear when He said, “"Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Paul says that if we are persuaded by a different viewpoint, that evil intrinsically dwells within alcohol, then don’t touch it, for doing so will damage your conscience. Paul said, “Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5-18), so he condemns drunkenness, but he encourages a little wine for our frequent ailments (1Tim 5-23). Medically speaking, alcohol in moderation can be beneficial, but over use of it has destroyed many people's lives throughout the ages.

(94n) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective is your personal reality >> How you interpret your point of view -- These verses go with verses 22&23

(163a) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> In bondage to peoples’ expectations of you -- These verses go with verse 20

Rom 14-14

(1l) Responsibility >> Responsible to avoid offending God >> Carrying a false burden >> Taking on responsibilities that are not yours

(93m) Perspective (Key verse)

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty -- This verse goes with verse 22. Nothing in God’s creation is intrinsically unclean or evil, including every known addictive substance. To the Jew, Paul declared all things clean, referring to the old covenant laws about cleansing that are no longer in effect, except in relation to hygiene. To the gentile, nothing is unclean or evil, such as alcohol or a gun, but both can be used in evil ways. The list goes on of all the things that people might consider evil or unclean, but the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth, and then He reflected on what He had made and said that it was “good” (Genesis chapter 1). Although the creation is under a curse, still no substance is intrinsically evil. Evil and uncleanness dwells in the heart of man and not in things.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

15-18 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

 

Rom 14,15-21

(250d) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> In all things ... >> Be innocent of all sin – We don’t want peripheral issues to get in the way of our faith and progress of the gospel. We are to prioritize our relationship with God far above the nonessentials and do everything in our power to protect our faith, dealing with minor issues that often cause trouble, because there will always be people who will think they are important, and place a greater an emphasis on them than they deserve. We are to respect one another and let God deal with each individual and with the body as a whole, and let Him direct each one into the truth and place the proper emphasis on everything. If we try to correct people about minor issues, we will invariably cause more problems than we attempted to resolve.

Rom 14-15

(123f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Compassion is greater than sacrifice -- This verse goes with verses 19-21

(124a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love takes from the rich and gives to the poor >> Love takes sacrifice

(203g) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God >> Dishonor God by dishonoring your brother -- This verse goes with verses 20&21

Rom 14,16-18

(142d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a good reputation >> A reputation of good works – It is just as important to be acceptable to God as it is to be approved by men as a minister of the gospel, for one refers to faith and the other refers to reputation, and both need to be in place before the gospel of Christ has any hope of making an impact in this world. If one were more important, it would be God’s acceptance, yet our lack of approval by men would limit our ability to make a positive contribution in people’s lives.

Rom 14-16

(54l) Paradox >> Opposites >> Do not let that which is a good thing be spoken of as evil – Paul has been covering the subject of conscience, and now he has opened the door to the subject of reputation; we must not allow what we do to be spoken of as evil. Contradicting ourselves brings about confusion and disturbances. If we keep flip-flopping, we will appear to others as uncommitted and faithless. We want people to know us, not only who we are in Christ, but also as a person in this world.

(62h) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Do not commit yourself too hastily

Rom 14-17,18

(32f) Gift of God >> Father will honor you if you die to self >> In His service

(137m) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Employing your gifts to mature the body (Spiritual fellowship) – Those who use food as an attempt to manifest the Kingdom of God are merely socializing and are not participating in genuine spiritual fellowship. The Christian version of a pot-luck is a “pot-bless”; essentially the name is changed but the event is the same, a social gathering where people eat and drink and talk about anything but God. They consider themselves spiritual because they are participating in a church function, but we might as well be socializing with the world, because the result is the same. There is no building up of one another, and edification was Paul’s aim throughout all of His letters. True spiritual fellowship is a matter of the brethren coming together and actually discussing their faith in an atmosphere of peace and joy with the result of unity. So if we have feasts and banquets, we should invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Lk 14-13,14). If we did that, people might become excited about their faith in Jesus and fellowship in a biblical manner; but if we keep our faith to ourselves, there really isn’t much to discuss, so we might as well eat and drink, for tomorrow we die (Isaiah 22-13).

Rom 14-17

(41h) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Seek His righteousness

(125d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of investing in the kingdom >> Investing in a life of service – For Paul to write this would mean there are other ways of interpreting the Kingdom of God, such as eating and drinking. How much of life constitutes eating and drinking? Isn’t that just about all we do? Ecclesiastes 6-7 says, “All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.” People who are poor and starving do everything to survive, but the rest of us use our mouth as a means of enjoying our lives. We go to festivals, celebrations, weddings and funeral receptions to eat and drink, and Paul said that these are not the things that pertain to the Kingdom of God. What is left of life after eating and drinking? We know that if we don’t eat, we will die, so eating and drinking are necessary, and so is money, but the love of these things are the root of all evil, so what is necessary is not always good. Eating and drinking and celebrating life in moderation is good, but what Paul is saying is better, “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We know that peace and joy are two of the nine fruits of the Spirit, so we can say that righteousness coupled with the fruits of the Spirit are better expressions of His coming kingdom than eating and drinking.

(125k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> God is at peace >> The God of peace

(225a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The holy of holies >> The Kingdom of God is in your spirit

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

19-21 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.

 

Rom 14,19-23

(79c) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Compromising your convictions -- These verses go with verses 1-6

(130c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one faith – The goal as Paul said in 1Cor 1-10 is that we all agree. This is one of the very first things he said to the Corinthians, which was a spiritually weak church. This whole concept of coming into agreement is the very definition of unity and the premise of spiritual maturity, for how can people unite if they are not in agreement? Coming into agreement with the truth is the ultimate goal of Christianity, but of those who are weak in faith unity is simply unattainable. We cannot tell a people who are weak in faith to come into agreement, because frankly they can’t. We might be able to tell two-year-olds that they must come into agreement with adults, because they are children and they know they need to be taught, but not every adult knows this. Children are more pliable and willing to listen and live under the tutelage of their parents and other adults, but Christians who are already adults do not have this premise. We cannot simply assume they will listen to us just because they are Christians. They may be children in their thinking and in their faith, but age-wise they may be in their thirties or forties. We can’t just tell a forty-year-old what to do; it is unacceptable to him. The first thing we must do in order to reach adults who are weak in faith and children in their thinking is to avoid offending them. Everybody comes from different backgrounds and we have no idea what some people have experienced. If we knew some of the things they suffered, we might be a little more sympathetic and understanding about their opinions. Nevertheless, the truth is the goal; we want all to believe the truth, regardless of their background. Just because someone has had experiences that have influenced them to think a certain way should not detract from the goal of unity. If people can believe God's truth under duress, they can add meaning to the Church. We have an obligation to help the body of Christ come into agreement, so unity can form among us.

Rom 14,19-21

(123f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Compassion is greater than sacrifice -- These verses go with verse 13

(131i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependence >> Encouraging one another – The result of building up the body of Christ is unity, and unity is the ultimate goal of the Church. The only thing that rivals the significance of unity is evangelism to save more souls and add them to the body of Christ, bringing them into a united church. With unity we have every tool at hand and the fullness of God’s plan and purpose for the Church. We could make reaching the lost for Jesus our ultimate goal, but without unity what would we do with those who got saved? If we brought them into a church that was not united, they would hemorrhage from the Church fast as we brought them into it; so all our efforts would be wasted. We would be better to strive for unity, so when new converts came, they would not be offended by immaturity but stay and be trained in the true doctrines of the faith, which unity guarantees, since false doctrine cannot build unity.

Rom 14-19,20

(135j) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Abortion >> God loves the fetus >> The human body is the work of God

Rom 14-19

(99m) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in ministering to the body of Christ

(126c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peacemakers are a blessing – Peace is centrally involved in unity in that it is the opposite of war, and what are the terms of war in the Church but having a contentious spirit, being argumentative and quarreling with one another. Paul said in 1Cor 1-10 that a major goal for the Church is that we should all agree on the truth. To be in agreement on something other than the truth is worthless, in that it will not produce the kind of fruit that Paul wanted to see in God’s people. When a body of believers live according to the truth and all in agreement, the fruit that comes from it is truly spiritual.

(234k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Be a blessing >> Be a blessing and love your brother – Paul wrote about building up one another. The word for this is edification with the root word “edify” or “edifice”, which refers to a house or domicile, specifically referring to the roof. If we have a good roof and a firm foundation, it could go abandoned for decades and then renovated and made into a home again, but if the roof has been leaking for some time, the house is doomed. We need to edify one another and repair each other’s roofs, so the life-giving rain doesn't leak into our homes and destroy it. That is, "Do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil" (v16). In order to protect the body of Christ and keep it healthy, a main ingredients is peace, one of the nine fruits of the Spirit, and what is good for one fruit is good for all.

Rom 14,20-23

(2i) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Do not touch the apple of His eye >> Do not offend the weak in faith -- these verses go with verses 1-4. It appears that Paul was speaking to those who were strong, according to the first verse of this chapter, "Now accept the one who is weak in faith...." These "stronger" Christians are compared to those weaker, yet based on these last few verses, if we offend the weak, it is an indication that we too are weak in faith. 

(197j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Unfaithfulness >> Unfaithful to your own conscience

Rom 14-20,21

(126l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> Be patient with your brother

(139j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Tearing down the temple through disobedience

(163i) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the Church -- These verses go with verse 13

(190f) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Circumcision >> Undressing >> Dismantling the outer tabernacle

(199b) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus >> Frustrating the Father -- These verses go with verses 1-4

(203g) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God >> Dishonor God by dishonoring your brother -- These verses go with verses 3&4

Rom 14-20

(163a) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> In bondage to peoples’ expectations of you – This verse goes with verses 1-3

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

22&23 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

 

Rom 14-22,23

(20h) Sin >> Doubt replaces faith

(27c) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Condoning evil can bring a curse on your life -- We might ask, ‘Why should I allow someone else’s beliefs to affect the way I live?’ The simple answer is to do it for love’s sake. It is more important to be a servant to our brother than to exercise our rights as a Christian. For example, God commanded Israel not to eat pork, because pigs will eat anything and often their flesh gets infested with parasites, and when people eat the pig, if not cooked right the parasites are transmitted to them. So it was better to forbid eating pork than trying to enforce cooking laws or farming methods. Paul is saying that if we think eating pork would condemn us, then don’t eat it, and if we know someone who thinks pork will condemn them, then don’t serve it. “Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died” (v15).

(53i) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contradicting your own standards >> Making accusations against things you believe in Whatever we think is true is true to us, and whatever we think is right is right to us, but if we contradict ourselves in what we believe, we condemn our own conscience. We may not be doing anything wrong, but if we think we are sinning, then in our minds we are sinning by violating our conscience. Proverbs 23-7 says, “As [a man] thinks within himself, so he is.”  

(94n) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective is your personal reality >> How you interpret your point of view -- These verses go with verse 5

(122g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in yourself as you die to sin >> Confident in good conscience -- These verses go with verse 5. This statement, “Whatever is not from faith is sin,” ties "faith" to conscience. Most people think what we believe is all there is to faith, such as the doctrines of salvation in the Apostle’s Creed recited every week in many churches, but there is more to faith than the doctrines we believe, such as conscience. To violate our conscience is to degrade our faith. Conscience determines our potential to believe in Jesus, so that the more we defile our conscience, the less can believe in God. This means "conscience" and confidence are also related; in fact, confidence is a synonym for faith, but there are differences between them too, just like there are differences between "faith" and belief. We believe in God through human volition, but faith is a God-given ability to believe in Him. On the one hand, when we say we believe in God, we are referring to that part of our belief system that translates to obedience, so when we believe but don’t obey, God says we don’t believe. We might think we believe, but if we walk against our conscience, how can we believe? Therefore, conscience acts as a ceiling to our faith; we cannot rise above it, whereas confidence is the result of obedience. On the other hand, faith is a divine pledge from God of our inheritance, representing the gift of eternal life. Faith is spiritual, whereas belief is the rubber that meets the road. We are expected to be spiritual because God is Spirit, and the only way to do that is through the confidence of faith.

(154c) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for sin -- These verses go with verse 1

Rom 14-22

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty -- This verse goes with verse 2

Rom 14-23

(1h) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> False burden >> Serving God in ignorance >> Not knowing His will -- This verse goes with verse 14. After we have deemed something evil, we must never touch it, even if it is not really sin. If we do, God considers it sin because we went against our conscience.

(1l) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Carrying a false burden >> Taking on responsibilities that are not yours – This verse is in conjunction with verse 14. 

(57h) Paradox >> Opposites >> More faith, less sin / more sin, less faith

(162d) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> A slave to unbelief >> Bondage to an unwillingness to believe (deception)

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