Romans Chapter 14

Part 4

KLMX June 2010

Bryan Kimsey

1st Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

Welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio. I’m Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. If you caught any of my messages this week, you know that I’m working thru Paul’s letter to the Romans and that I’m currently in Chapter 14. Before beginning, I need to have God’s blessing for this message and I pray that it will glorify Him thru the truth that is Jesus Christ. Amen.

So far this week, we’ve seen that this section of Romans deals primarily with how to behave toward one another with regards to our Christian liberty. Paul is making the point that in this liberty:

Romans 14:2 … one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

And:

Romans 14:6 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.

From these, he concludes that:

Romans 14:3 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.

And:

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.

With the reason for these conclusions being this:

Romans 14:4 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.

That pretty much catches us up for today. Paul continues to expand on this concept of what is good and what is not in today’s passage:

Romans 14:14-18 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (15) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. (16) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; (17) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (18) For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

The first 2 verses re-emphasize what we’ve already discussed- "if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love." This goes back to some of the verses I used yesterday which emphasize that we’re to consider one another and look after each other’s needs first. According to today’s passage, if we deliberately do something that causes our brother to stumble, then we are no longer walking in love. If we do it unintentionally, then we apologize and ask forgiveness.

And just as we saw on previous days, this application isn’t limited to just food. With all Biblical passages, we’re to study them to get their meaning and this one is no exception. I know this because Paul says "…there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean…" He’s speaking in broad terms here, not just about food. Food is his example.

I think v 17 really sums up the issue when it says "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." I can only assume this was an important topic in the churches as Paul addresses it several other times;

1 Corinthians 8:8-9 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. (9) But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

Colossians 2:16-17 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, (17) which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

As far as his statement about righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, there are so many passages that back up and expand on that statement that I can’t begin to do them all justice here. A few that really stick out, though, include:

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The first passage tells us that the peace of God surpasses all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Just a few minutes ago, I was replying via e-mail to atheist wanting know why I left evolutionary biology to become a Christian. In my reply, I tried to explain to him what I felt when I walked into the church in which I was saved. I couldn’t do it. All I could say was "when I walked into that church, I felt a peace. I can’t explain it. It was just…peace. I’d never felt such a thing before and to be honest, it was a little strange. But it was…peace." That is the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. And just like the verse says, that peace has guarded my heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Not one of the arguments my atheist friend has advanced to try to convince me my faith is invalid has worked. They have not tempted me in the least because I’ve felt and still do feel the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and which guards my heart and mind through Christ Jesus. It’s an amazing thing.

The second passage, from Galatians is- I’d probably better read it again:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

This one says that the fruit of the Spirit- that is, the results of the Spirit of God working in us- is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. This is what the Kingdom of God is all about, not works done by eating or drinking. Again, these things point to Christian liberty and our freedom in Christ. Oh, and another verse on peace and rejoicing comes from earlier in Romans:

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

It is justification by faith that gives us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ we access into a grace in which we stand, and furthermore we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. There are certainly a lot of powerful words there! Peace, access, grace, stand, rejoice, hope, glory, and above all, God.

We’ve got one more verse to go today and it repeats what I’ve just been saying:

Romans 14:18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

He who serves Christ via righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit is acceptable to God and also approved by men. Now that’s an interesting verse because, for one thing, it demonstrates the workings of the Trinity. Christ is Lord and we serve Him, we have fruits of the Holy Spirit, in order to be found acceptable by God.

It’s also an interesting verse, though, because of the statement "approved by men." Elsewhere in the Bible we find some negative verses regarding the praise of men.

John 12:43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Paul perhaps refers to this one when he says:

Romans 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Both verses put the praise of men well below the praise of God and point out that many men seek the praises of other men, rather than the praises of God. But elsewhere we find that approval by men is a good thing. In the qualifications for elders, for instance, it reads:

1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Those who are "outside" are those outside the church and our prospective elder must have a good testimony among people outside the church. At first, these might seem like contradictions, but they’re really not. A Christian who displays Christ-like attributes will be honest, caring, helpful and praising God. The world will see these things and they’ll respect them. Who doesn’t respect an honest and helpful man? That these are qualifications for an elder mean that there’s little chance of a person being two-faced; one person in church on Sunday and another person outside of church. And so in some cases, the approval of men is important. It just shouldn’t more important than the approval of God. Therefore, our text in Romans can rightly say:

Romans 14:18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

Let’s close with a quick review. From the passage:

Romans 14:14-18 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (15) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. (16) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; (17) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (18) For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

We saw many things, one of which was that "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." We are not to make our brother stumble because that’s not walking in love. If we have to back down in order to not make him stumble then that’s what we do. We’ll stop here. Tomorrow we finish up Romans 14.

Romans 14, Part 3

Romans 14, Part 5