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Sermon By:

Pastor Bob Paquet

UNITY IN THE CHURCH Part 1

Romans 14:1-12 (Part 1 of 2)

Respecting the Life Style Choices of Others

Warning

If you really like today’s sermon, you need to come back, because you probably won’t like next week’s. If you get upset today, I think I can be your friend again next week.
This is a two part message and you need to hear both parts to get a balanced view.

Introduction

What are lifestyle choices?

Things that most often divide the Body of Christ

How do we feel when others make different lifestyle choices then ours?

Love and respect

or

Judgment, condemnation and contempt

Each one in the Body of Christ has been created for a purpose

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephes. 2:10)

Each one in the Body is unique

1 Cor. 12:4-7
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. [5] And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. [6] And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works
all things in all persons.[7] But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1 Cor. 12:11-12
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Psalm 139:13,16
13 For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. 16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

Three Types of Behavior

Behavior That Is Right

(Intrinsically right - right for everyone)

Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength - Love your spouse - Present your bodies as living sacrifices - Love your neighbor

Behavior That Is Wrong

(Intrinsically wrong - wrong for everyone)

Stealing, murder, adultery, drunkenness, evading taxes, revenge, selling illicit drugs, pornography, prostitution, ....

Behavior That Doesn’t Matter - Amoral

(Between the believer and God)

(Morally neutral - doubtful - not right or wrong)

Diet - Regarding one day above another- TV - Participating in sports on Sunday - Christmas Trees - card playing - movies - mixed swimming
- dancing Reading the RSV vs the KJV of the Bible.

If Only Everyone Was Like Me

Believe as I believe, No more, no less,
That I am right and no one else, confess.
Feel as I feel, think only as I think,
Eat what I eat and drink but what I drink.
Look only as I look, do always as I do,
Then and only then I’ll fellowship with you. Two Kinds of Christians - Relative to “Things That Don’t Matter”

Those That Are “Weak In The Faith”
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. [2] One man has faith that he may eat all things,
but he who is weak eats vegetables only.”

A Doctrinal or theological problem

Weak because....
His conscience still binds him to the Mosaic law

He has not accepted the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ

He has not fully released himself from the efficacy of works

He still thinks he can do more for God than God can do for him

He may think, “If the Bible hasn’t specifically approved something, then it is probably wrong.”

Those That Are “Strong In The Faith”

Approach is different...

“If the Bible hasn’t specifically forbidden something, then it’s probably within my rights to do it.”

Enjoys his freedom in Christ

Is not inhibited by his conscience in things that do not matter.

He understands experientially the following scriptures...

John 8:31-32
Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
[32] and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Galatians 5:1-2
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

1 Peter 2:16
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

2 Cor. 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Whether you are “weak” or “strong” has nothing to do with ...

How long you have been a Christian

How much scripture you have memorized

What degree in divinity or theology you have

The issue is , “Do you accept the freedom that Christ has given you with respect to “the things that don’t matter.”

God is telling us that He requires both the weak and the strong to accept one another in “things that don’t matter - our life style choice
s - in things that are morally neutral - in doubtful things...

Accept One Another

Now accept the one who is weak in faith... [3] Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats,
 for God has accepted him [10] But you, why do you judge your brother?

Paul is speaking here of things that are neither clearly right or clearly wrong as judged by the scriptures. It is not unscriptural to say to a brother,
“Your adultery is a sin in the eyes of God.”

Four Good Reasons To Adopt An Attitude of Acceptance

Both the strong and the weak Christian have been accepted by the Lord

[3] Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, for God has accepted him”

The Lord accepts each of us the way we are - there is room for both the weak and the strong Christian in the Body of Christ

Both belong to the Lord

[4] Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand
 “Who are you to judge the servant of another? Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.....”

Both recognize the Lordship of Christ

[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.

Both Will Be Judged By The Lord

“But you, why do you judge your brother? We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God each one of us shall give account of himself to God”

Conclusion

T.R. Glover said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might - but remember that someone thinks differently.”

When we come to the cross we find it has a great leveling effect - we are all in desperate need of the grace of God.

SOME THINGS ARE RIGHT
SOME THINGS ARE WRONG
SOME THINGS DON’T MATTER
(They are between the believer and God)

SOME ARE WEAK IN THE FAITH
SOME ARE STRONG IN THE FAITH
ALL WHO PROFESS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR ARE...
ACCEPTED BY THE LORD
BELONG TO THE LORD
WILL BE JUDGED BY THE LORD

Romans 8:1-2
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
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