Romans 14 is a chapter that deals with differences in the church and how we handle differences among Christians. All true Christians will be in agreement on the major truths that the Bible is clear about. But there are some issues, more minor issues, that are not as clear and directly addressed in the Scriptures. In those areas there will be some differences in how we believe and put those things into practice in our lives. So Romans 14 provides some very helpful guidance in dealing with differences among Christians in the church.
Well, we spent the last two Sundays on a little study from Romans chapter 14. So if you’d like to open your Bibles there to Romans 14, we will continue on. Romans 14 is a chapter in the Bible that deals with differences in the church. How we handle differences among Christians. All true Christians will be in agreement on the big things, the major truths of the Bible. Everything that the Bible is clear about, Christians are going to embrace those things, they’re going to uniformly believe those things. But there are some issues, more minor issues, that are not as clear in Scripture. Things that scripture doesn’t address directly, and in those areas there’s going to be some differences. There are going to be differences in how we believe. Differences in how we practice in our lives. So Romans 14 provides some very helpful guidance in dealing with differences among Christians, differences in the church.
We looked last week at the first four verses of of Romans 14 and and these four verses talk about the three alternatives we have every time we encounter a brother or sister that’s different from us, that has some differences. We have three alternatives, three ways we can go with that. We will either 1) accept them. We will 2) despise them or we will 3) judge them. Of course accepting them is what we’re told to do in verse 1, “accept the one who is weak in faith.” And we accept them wholeheartedly, we accept them as they are. It says, “not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinion.” So it’s not just, “Well I accept you so that I can set you down and change your mind about everything and fix you to make you think like me and then you’ll be okay.” No we accept them as they are even if they never change their mind and on those areas of difference. So we are called to accept them.
Then there’s two pitfalls, to two things we can do wrong, verse three talks about, we can despise them, we can look down on someone that differs from us; we can look down on them from our intellectual pride. We could say, “Well, I know better than you, if only you were as smart as me you would understand things my way.” That’s trouble. We ought not to despise the other brother nor should we judge the other brother nor should we think, “Well if if you are if you are doing this thing differently than me you must be in sin over here, this must be wrong, I’m concerned for your soul, maybe you’re not even a Christian if you’re living that way.” No that’s wrong as well. We’re to accept, not to despise or judge the other brother when we when we come to these to these minor differences in Christian doctrine and practice.
(Rest of the transcript may come at a later time.)
Nathan Rages pastors in Columbia, Missouri, at Redeeming Grace Church.