Romans 14-15

                                               

Charity is to rule which Christians owe to one another

as members of a religious community and united by a

common faith.

 

Our actions should be with a view of the Lord Christ!

 

The motive of Christian conduct is the love of Jesus Christ!

 

Love to Christ and sympathy for His self-denial leads us

to regard the welfare of our brethren for whom Christ

died  - thus His sacrifice becomes the model and inspiration.

 

Differences of Opinion

 

Zealous people are wont to push their own views, and

zealous controversialists are given to attacking the practice

of others - men often substitute their whims and fancies as

remedies for moral and social ills   - we would do well by

going by the Bible - led by the Holy Spirit - considering

one's neighbors and with love towards our fellow Christians.

 

Strong mindedness and harshness bring about friction in

church and private relations - often this difference of

opinion is over non-essentials and we give "the enemies

of the Lord reason to blaspheme" - this is a menace to

the church

 

v. 4 - "who art thou that judgeth?" -

v. 10 -

 

15:1 - "not to please ourselves"

15:2 - "Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good

           to edification"

15:3 - "Christ pleased not Himself"

15:6 - "with one mind and one mouth glorify God"

15:7 - "receive ye one another, as Christ also received us

            to THE GLORY OF GOD"

 

Bear with the weak - Christ exemplified this principle -

when we submit to reproach and exhibit Christ-like

endurance - our comfort and hope are strengthened.

 

v. 5 - "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind"

 

v. 6 - Both parties are supposed to be equally desirous

            of serving God

 

This gets back to the "calling of God" and Old Testament

examples of usurpers -

 

v. 7 - The influence of our lives upon others - life is a trust -

          not a possession to do as we like with it  - though we

          live, we do not live unto ourselves

 

We cannot live unto ourselves even if we tried - we all

influence one another - we are to live for the glory of the

Lord! 

 

We are the Master's property for the Master's use!

 

The great matter is for every one of us to live near to God,

to cultivate a Christ-like character, and then our life will

be a blessing.

 

One must walk with God if he would have weight with man:

 

"as a prince hast thou power with God and with men and

hast prevailed"

 

Approval of God and the glory of God should be our aim

and hope.

 

v. 8 - "we live unto the Lord"  - Christ has lived and died

            for us - we live and die unto Him

 

vs. 10-23 - Three principles laid down that would cover

            almost every case of difference between

            fellow-Christians:

 

            (1) law of charity

            (2) law of Christian self-denial

            (3) law of Christian helpfulness

 

 

vs. 10-13 - Consider the harm that one might do to

            the very souls of the weak ones by tempting them

            by word or example, to disobey their own conscience.

 

v. 12 - Individual Responsibility - Men are prone to pass

     judgment one upon another - unfortunately, our habit

     is to be lenient with self and severe towards others

 

What should correct this bias is the great fact that

WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD  - there WILL be

a JUDGMENT - "Every man's work shall be manifest:

for the day will declare it"  - I Cor. 3:13

 

Individuality of Judgment - None is so high as to be

superior to justice - none so low as to escape it  - the

Omniscience of God cannot be deceived - His justice

cannot be evaded -

 

IT IS NOT WE/ME WHO ARE TO BE THE JUDGES

OF OUR/MY FELLOW-CHRISTIANS - BUT GOD!

 

Each one shall stand alone before God to give account

of self - ( how will me, myself and I and selfishness

play there?)

 

Whether others have done their duty or not will not

affect your or my responsibility!

 

There is not safety in numbers - for Matthew 7:13 says

"broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many

there be which go in thereat"

 

God will judge them - surely we may with confidence

leave judgment to His hands!

 

Better to think how we shall meet Christ's scrutiny

ourselves than be contemptuously condemning the

weak brethren around us.

 

When all our relations are carried up to the feet

of Christ there will be peace and progress.

 

"But judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumbling-

block in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling"

 

LAW OF CHARITY

 

v. 15 - "thy brother is grieved.....now walkest thou not

            charitably"

 

"destroy not him" - this seems to denote his moral and

religious ruin by shaking his conscientiousness and

upsetting his faith which though weak, is real.

 

v. 16 - "Let not then you good be evil spoken of"

 

LAW OF SELF-DENIAL

 

v, 17 - "For the kingdom of God is not meat and

            drink, but righteousness and peace and joy

            in the Holy Ghost"

 

The Christian has higher enjoyments than those of

selfish indulgence.

 

The virtues which are of highest importance in the

sight of God and which bear the most upon the

welfare of human society.

 

Righteousness - is what man was made for

Peace - strife and hatred are a curse on humanity

Joy - the gladness of him who is at peace with God

         and has the assurance of eternal life!

 

St. Paul's practice - I Cor. 8:13 - a readiness to deny

himself lawful things, if he might avoid offence to weak

brethren.

 

The example of Christ - ch. 15:3  - "For even Christ

pleased not Himself"

 

Remember  - "If any man will come after me, let him

deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow

me"  - Luke 9:23

 

Self-pleasing is a besetting sin with most of us!

 

LAW OF CHRISTIAN HELPFULNESS

 

v. 19 - "let us therefore follow after the things which

            make for peace and things wherewith one may

            edify another"

ch. 15:2 - "let every one of us please his neighbor for

            his good to edification"

 

The Christian life should not just be the abstention

from evil but a positive doing of what is good!

 

It is a low type of Christianity that is satisfied with

its own salvation and going through the world as

harmlessly as possible.

 

True Christianity is the salt of the earth, the light,

the leaven; an active, helpful, beneficent influence

upon those around us.

 

It is one thing to sacrifice your freedom for a weak

brother and quite another to do nothing where there

is heresy which will adversely affect all who follow!

 

Contemporary Christianity seems to me to be an

omission of the blood of Christ in salvation with a

substitute of dreamy/feel good/pleasure driven/hey

world see me/ type of religion  - I HOPE I AM

WRONG.

 

To act against a conscientious feeling is always wrong  -

many a man who boasts of his ability to pass unscathed

through a fiery ordeal is being singed and maimed

by his recklessness.

 

v. 5 - "let every man be fully persuaded in his own

            mind" - No one is authorized to come between

            you and God in such matters!

 

v. 19 - read again - the trick is how to be tolerant without

            laxity - A PROBLEM IN OUR SOCIETY THAT

            IS NOW FILTERING DOWN TO CHURCHES.

 

Christ as Lord - v. 9 - there would be no difficulty in

society or in any area of church fellowship if the

AUTHORITY OF CHRIST WAS FULLY RECOGNIZED!

 

"One is your master, even Christ and all ye are brethren"

                                    Matt. 23:8

 

LET MEN BEWARE LEST THEY CUT OFF LIMBS

FROM THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND BY THEIR

DIVISIONS AND EXCOMMUNICATIONS REND

HIS SEAMLESS GARMENT.

 

Dissention is impossible where "righteousness and peace

and joy in the Holy Ghost" prevail  - v. 17 - ignoring

this makes the quarrellings in church history a

weariness to read - whether internationally or local!

 

 

                                    ch. 15

 

With Christ-like endurance will come comfort and a

strengthening of hope beyond all our trials & troubles!

 

 

 

Christ's receiving of the Gentiles was to His glory

and it is implied that the mutual receiving of each

other would be to His glory also - God's glory

being the end - runs through the whole passage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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