This sermon from Pastor Mark covers Romans 14:13-23 and encourages Christians to be a help, a burden lifter, and a servant, not a hindrance, burden giver, and selfish.
Church Family: Supernatural Liberty (Romans 14:13-23)
-As new XN in college – my church was new – other churches – ethnic & international
- XN – new Father & Family
- Christ – came in Jewish culture (language, diet, holidays)
Christians – started mainly Jewish, then jumped cultures
1. Colonialism – Galatians (be fully Jewish)
2. Compromise – Corinthians (be fully Gentile)
3. Contextualization – ? What is Biblical (closed hand)? What is cultural (open hand)?
14:1-12 “strong” vs “weak” – unhealed hurt triggers legalism in a broken area
Be a help, not a hindrance
Romans 14 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
- NOT GOD’S SIN but YOUR “conscience” (2:15) and personal “opinions” (14:1)
- Things are neutral, people are not.
- Problem not just around us, but in us.
Matt. 23:27–28 “Woe to you, scribes & Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matt. 5:20 “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- church a/c, website, tech, English
- XN abortion clinics, drug cartels, prayer to other gods, non-traditional marriage
If something has a pagan origin is it forever pagan?
- Volkswagen & other German engineering from Nazi empire
- Halloween – pagan Samhain witchcraft connected the living & dead
- Esostre – possible ancient pagan goddess of fertility
- Christmas – Saturnalia
· Real person – loved Jesus – lots of folk tales piled on top
· Nicholas born 3rd century in Turkey affluent family, parents died when young
· Raised a devout XN, used inheritance to help poor, gifts to kids.
· 3 sisters couldn’t afford marriage, he paid dowry to free prostitution/sexual slavery
· Bishop of Myra (Paul visited Acts 27:5-6)
· 325 @ Council Nicea defending deity of Christ
· Died Dec. 6, 343, canonized as saint, w/in weeks of Saturnalia
· Myths – Siberia (near north pole) shaman entered homes thru chimney to leave mushrooms & reindeer would eat them, get high, & flight
· Protestants opposed sainthood. Puritans worked on Christmas in protest
=Don’t want to lie to our kids, or undermine their faith in Jesus Christ.
Be a burden lifter, not a burden giver
Romans 14:15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
- Jesus served us: Loves each of us so much He died for us
- We serve each other: Walk together in love
Kingdom Down! – 14:17 only explicit reference to the Kingdom of God in Romans
Matt. 6:33 “seek first the kingdom of God & his righteousness..”
1. “love” – what is best for you?
2. “righteousness” – God takes care of me so I can focus on you
3. “peace” – w/self & others not strife, easy to get along with = Jesus Prince of Peace
4. “joy” – fun practice Heaven
5. “serves” – helping, adding value, humble & helpful
6. “mutual upbuilding” – A. Lose-Lose (demonic) B. Win-Lose (flesh) C. Win-Win (Spirit)
2. “not walking in love”
3. “destroy” – a person/family/church
4. “good be spoken of as evil”
= Taking up offense – Prov. 18:17 hear both sides, gossip, meddler, busybody
A. God is a red-light Father – everything “no” unless the Bible commands
Holiness Codes (old BJU Handbook pgs 94-95)
-Female: “9th grade & above are to wear hose at all times. Jean skirts & jumpers are permitted after 7pm on weekdays, on sat’s, & on outings. Jean jackets are permitted on outings only. Split skirts (not culottes) may be worn to weekend ball games.”
-Male: “Coats & ties should be worn to evening assemblies & at all times when on front campus on Sun’s, except for Sun. bfast, when only ties [sic] are required.”
-“Men are to have their hair cut so that the back is tapered & does not come over the collar or ears…Sideburns are to be no longer than the lower opening of the ear. Mustaches & beards are not permitted. In front the hair must not fall lower than 2 finger widths above the eyebrows…”
-“may watch only G-rated home videos…VCR’s are not permitted in..dorms.”
-“…students may listen to…only…1. Classical. 2. Semi-Classical…3. Serious Religious Music.”
B. God is a green-light Father – everything a potential “yes” unless Bible forbids
Be a servant, not selfish
Romans 14:20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
1. Some people are easily influenced & we need to be careful not to pressure them
2. We sometimes need Primary Separation, but Secondary Separation impossible
Simeon the stylite (“platform”) (390-459 AD) was a monk but they were not strict enough, moved onto a platform 6 ft high, later moved up to 50 ft & lived 37 years
3. You are responsible for you. They are responsible for them.
#1. 21 in college XN buddies watch a game at a sports bar 1 guy recovery
#2. Pastor full house college & young XN & NON lots of beer
#3. Dinner party @ house – ask everyone about food & drink convictions
= Real vs hypothetical stumbling brother – “weak” legalists use this loophole for control
-no cake in case kids come from obese families
– no ice cream in case kids come from Hindu families
-no presents in case kids come from poor families
-no singing “happy birthday to you” because it may be a secular song
-no games = indicate chance which undermines the sovereignty of God,
= CANCEL: only 2 people in the Bible OT Pharoah’s, NT Herod = pagan holiday
- God Father – adopts, loves, knows, raising all His kids
- Jesus – Big Brother goes before, helps us, sets our example
- Holy Spirit – lives in us, leads us & guides us into righteousness
- Weak – like little/younger bros & sis
- Strong – like bigger/older bros & sis