Romans Chapter 14
KLMX June 2010
1st Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Here we are again on the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX radio. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. If youíve caught my messages this week, youíll know that Iím working thru Paulís letter to the Romans and that Iím currently in Chapter 14. If you missed any of these messages, you can find them on the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org and if you donít find them there, itís because Iíve been too lazy to put them up. However, Iím currently writing this while sitting propped up on the recliner with a possibly broken foot. Iíve been propped up here for just over a week, have gone thru all my videos, most of my books, and Iím running out of excuses for not updating the website. So, maybe itíll be updated! Before beginning, I need to have Godís blessing for this message and I pray that it will glorify Him thru the truth that is Jesus Christ. Amen.
So far in Chapter 14, weíve seen Paul exhorting Christians to behave, well, like theyíd want to be treated. Imagine that! He instructs those of greater faith to not despise those of weaker faith, and those of the weaker faith to not judge those of stronger faith who are exercising the freedom in a way that the weaker might find inappropriate. At the same time, a person is not to use their freedom as a cloak for the flesh. We see Paul proclaim that the reason for this tolerance- and I mean "tolerance" in strictly a Biblical sense- is because God is their master and God will make His servants stand in the way He deems appropriate. Personally, I take great comfort in the knowledge that God is able and willing to make me stand.
Today, weíll look at this passage which is a development of the above themes:
Romans 14:10-13 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (11) For it is written: "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD." (12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (13) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
Paul asks the question- why DO you judge your brother? Or why DO you show contempt for him? If a person claims Jesus Christ as their savior then who are we to say otherwise? Again, it will be God who judges, God who makes stand or fall, and God who fits members into the body of Christ. These are serious questions because, as Paul says now, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" where "each of us shall give account of himself to God". So, when you come before the seat, what will your account be? Will it be one of hypocrisy in which you criticized others for things that you yourself committed? Will it be one where you refused to associate with your fellow Christians, with whom youíll be forever and ever with in Heaven? Will it be one in which you looked at a person having hard times and said "they just need to pick themselves up and get on with it?" Or will your account be one in which you helped others grow in faith and Christ? Did you cherish fellowship with Christians, and not just the ones you liked but all of them, upbeat and downtrodden, clean and dirty, rich and poor? Will it be an account where you personally reached down and helped the downtrodden person up?
Now, donít get me wrong here. If youíre a Christian and your faith is in the atoning works of Christ alone, then you are saved. Youíre in. But your reward and your praise will indeed be based upon what you did with that faith and with the freedom given you by Christ. Letís look at this passage:
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. (11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. (14) If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (15) If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Thatís a pretty clear verse which needs little explanation and it plainly shows the relationship between the foundation of faith in Christ and the works by which we build upon that foundation. Another passage, from Ephesians, also shows that relationship:
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. (10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
One passage says that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works and the other says that Jesus Christ is our foundation. One says that God has prepared beforehand those works; the other says that our works will be tested by fire. So, we really donít have to wander around, wondering what our work is- it will be right there before you. Some will have an obvious gift; some will simply be part of the support team. In all cases, though, our works will serve to glorify God through Jesus Christ- those are the only works that will survive the fire by which theyíll be tested. I note, though, that there are no exceptions to the Ephesians passage and it certainly seems that ALL those in Christ have works to do.
Well, those are the works; now letís get back to our responsibilities toward one another.
Romans 14:(13) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
Recall the discussion on Christian freedom for a minute and its application to strong and weak faiths. At the beginning of this section, Paul, said:
Romans 14:1-6 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. (2) For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. (3) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. (4) Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (5) One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (6) He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
And so, if one person believes they shall eat only vegetables and another believes he can eat all things, the one who eats all things should not eat those things in front of the other person. If one person esteems one day above another and another person esteems every day alike, neither one should flaunt his belief. Letís use wine for an example. Some people think that only real wine should be used at the Lordís Supper. Others do not. Now, since some people can develop a real addiction or problem with wine and since itís quite illegal to serve alcohol to minors, those who believe in wine will need to temper their belief for their brothers. At the same time, those who do not use real wine should not judge those who do. One solution, if itís acceptable to both parties, is to simply make both available, either at the same time or at different times. In any case, whatever is done must be done with your brotherís welfare in mind. Here, let me get some versesÖone comes from the next chapter of Romans;
Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.
One from 1 Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.
And another from Philipians:
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Oh, thereís another in Galatians on this theme:
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Who, in seeking anotherís well-being, and looking out for anotherís interests, and bearing one anotherís burden, would put a stumbling block or cause to fall in that personís path? The answer, of course, is no one would do that. All of this is just another example of looking at the whole counsel of Scripture- when all the passages are laid and out taken as a whole, the correct way should become very clear.
Iíve saved one verse for last and that is v. 11:
For it is written: "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD."
If you recall, the context of that verse was:
Romans 14:10-12 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (11) For it is written: "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD." (12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Paul is using the verse, which is a quote from Isaiah 45, to demonstrate the fact that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to show that every man will give account of himself to God. No one will be exempt from this account giving. The difference is that those whose foundation is Christ will be sustained from Godís wrath by that foundation. Those who do not have that foundation will be destroyed, along with their works. This is very clear from:
Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
And so, as we finish todayís lesson from Romans, I have to ask if youíve applied this lesson and taken it to heart. Do you have the foundation of Jesus Christ upon which to stand? If not, I urge you ask God in prayer to place you on that foundation and give you the faith which comes only from God.
Romans 14, Part 2
Romans 14, Part 4