Christian Liberty and Unity of Believers
November 15, 2020 | Gary Jackson
Passage: Romans 14:1-23
Paul is not concerned with an external conformity as he is an internal UNITY.
There is only one way to be saved – Jesus is The Way the Truth and the Life!
- Resolve to welcome your fellow believers because they belong to Christ
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
- What Paul is saying
Unity is not dependent on us agreeing on every single practice. Our unity is in Christ.
Who is weak? We come to Christ at:
- Different times
- Different Backgrounds – here Jewish background vs Gentile background
- Different speeds
Illustrations – a couples love connection leading to marriage
- What Paul is not saying
- He is not talking about the core issue of the gospel
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother?
- Not talking about CLEAR Doctrine
Romans 16:17 (KJV) 17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
- He is not talking about clear commands of righteousness.
For example, sexual immorality. This is clearly wrong.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 (KJV) 1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
Difference was not doctrinal but conscience
- Resolve you never judge another
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
- They are accepted by God
2 Thessalonians 2:13-16 (KJV) 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
William R Newell puts it this way: There being no cause in the creature why grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His care. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing! He is not on probation. As to his life past, it does not exist before God – he died at the cross, and Christ is his Life. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn.. for God knew all the human exigencies beforehand. God’s action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.”
- They are loved by the Father
God’s love for me is not conditional
Romans 8:31-39 (KJV) 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
III. Resolve to never be a stumbling block
Always build up rather than trip up. I will ever live to edify my brother - I am a servant
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
- You will be a stumbling block or a stepping Stone?
We all are to be stepping stones
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (KJV) 23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
- To be a stepping Stone
- Be a prayer warrior
- Be an example – someone is watching you!
- Love them like Jesus
- Live to enjoy your liberty rather than exercise them
Christians have LIBERTY not RIGHTS
- Liberty leads me to LOVE others
Rights lead me to JUDGE others
- Liberty brings me to SERVE others
Rights cause me to RULE others
- Liberty results in Humility in my life
Rights result in Pride in my life
Wrote in “Freedom of the Christian Man” - “The Christian is the most free Lord of all and subject to none, is the most dutiful servant of all and subject to everyone.
- Leave the Judgement to the Lord
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Only one that has RIGHT to JUDGE
- He is my creator
- He is my master – I have been bought with a price!
Paul's favorite church may have well been the church at Philippi. He shares three things that are encouraging to him and should be part of our life. He first give Thanks - there is always reason for the child of God to give thanks. Secondly he prayers. We must always pray one for another. Three Paul is confident that God will complete the good work He has started in our life.