- Sermon Notes
As we get back to our study in the book of Romans, let’s take a running start and remember where we left off. These last few chapters are the fulfilling of a principle we learned in the first verses of chapter 12. “I implore you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Paul wrote.
As we’ve mentioned before, the problem with living sacrifices is that they want to crawl off the altar. Therefore, being a living sacrifice is something you do by choice, because you want to honor God with your life.
And when you offer your life to God, he’s going to do something with it; he’s going to transform your life. How? By renewing your mind.
When you came to Christ, you came out of the world, but you brought a lot of the world with you and that’s what God wants to transform. A lot of our thinking is off base and is worldly; we need to think so as to have godly judgment.
The best way to have godly and sound judgment is to have a plumb line by which you can compare your thinking to that which is “true to plumb.”
Amos 7:8, Then the Lord said, “Behold I’m about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel.”
When you set your life next to the plumb line of God and measure your faith against Christ, you’ll see that there’s much in our life that is catawampus. That’s an actual word. From the Greek – kata, meaning alongside and the Scottish word – wampus meaning a crooked monster. In other words, “that thing is ugly.” When we are transformed by the renewing of our mind there is something beautiful and honorable and that comes from setting your life next to the plumb line of God and building your life straight and true.
The theme for the entire chapter actually comes from the last verse, “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” In other words, whatever is not from faith needs to be transformed.
I. Faith Applies to Everyday Life
- Romans 14 is one of the best chapters in the Bible to show the day to day living out of faith.
- We need to apply faith to whatever we do. How we live and what we do is important to the Lord. Paul writes in verse 2 that it even applies to what we eat.
- How do you live out your faith in everyday living? By living before the Lord. In other words, you’re aware of His presence in everything you do.
- In other words, whatever you do, do it by faith.
A. Live to please the Lord
- When you build your life next to the plumb line of God and allow Him to transform your mind and rebuild your life straight and true, this is well pleasing to the Lord.
Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
2 Corinthians 5:7, 9, For we walk by faith, not by sight… Therefore we have as our ambition to be pleasing to Him.
Colossians 1:10, Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…
- When you live to please the Lord, it is the way of greatest blessing. To be blessed of God is the greatest life you can live.
- King Hezekiah is an example of living before the Lord with all your heart with God’s blessing on it.
2 Chronicles 31:20-21, Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; he did what was good, right and true before the Lord his God. Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and he prospered.
B. Whatever is not from faith is sin
- Paul makes another important point in this chapter that we need to understand so we can apply it…
Romans 14:23, He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
- In case you are ever wondering what is and isn’t sin, that is a great principle to guide your understanding.
- Here’s another principle that goes right along with it…
1 Corinthians 10:31, Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
- When you live for the glory of God, you are believing, by faith, that your actions, your words and your life give God glory.
C. Beware the righteous high hill
- Paul points out that there is a danger in comparing your life to others and believing that, for whatever reason, your way, your conviction gives more glory to God and therefore you are better than others.
- Often times, what creates the difficulty is when someone is convinced they’re standing on a righteous high hill; and because they believe they’re right, they become argumentative, divisive and unloving.
Illus – Can’t we resolve differences respectfully? A number of years ago I had a difference of perspective with city planning officials. And this, after we had done favors for each other.
- The problem with high hills is when a person feels their position is so correct it gives them the right to look down on others.
- This is about loving your neighbor. When you set your life next to the plumb line of God, one of the things that God transforms is how we relate to people around us.
- Here in chapter 14, Paul is saying that we need to have more grace and not pass judgment on how other people live out their faith.
App - Paul brings up food as an example. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but others eat vegetables only. There are some who believe we should follow the dietary laws of Moses and thus, we shouldn’t eat lobster, or shrimp, or pork or any other unclean animals of the Old Testament.
Illus – On our first trip to Russia, we gave a pastor’s conference and a leader with a long white beard, dressed in black with a black hat asked me to come to his flat for lunch…I respected him greatly.
- Paul is simply saying that we should respect each other and not pass judgment.
- Our convictions are to be personal. There are areas where scripture does not give us a precise definite teaching and so there is freedom to have your own convictions. Of course there are also areas of which scripture is quite straightforward, that’s different.
II. Live for the Lord
- That’s the point Paul is making in verses 7-8. Don’t live for yourself; live for the Lord.
- If you are living for the Lord, then live by faith.
Galatians 2:20-21, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
A. Be convinced by faith
- There are many, many areas where we have to decide how we are going to live.
- There’s eating and drinking, there’s music you listen to, movies you watch, how you dress, there’s video games, what you do with your money, how you drive, the words you use, and on and on.
- Paul gives us some principles to guide our understanding; whatever it is… Can you do it by faith? In other words, can you do it before the Lord?
Illus – Can you fish with three poles in faith? That depends. One time my boys and I went fishing at Lake Odell…
1 Thessalonians 1:5, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
Illus - Because of my faith, I do not drink alcohol. I believe that as a pastor I should not drink to help those who are struggling with this area in their lives. However, others may drink and I will not pass judgment on them at all.
- Paul brings up keeping one day above another. On what day are we to worship the Lord? Saturday or Sunday? Some people have very strong feelings. Fortunately, we have services on both Saturday and Sunday.
- Paul gives us to principles. First, let each person be convinced by faith. Second, don’t pass judgment if someone has a different opinion.
- Then he tells us why we should not pass judgment - verse 4 – Who are you to judge the servant of another? In other words, I’m not your master and you’re not my master, the Lord is Master to us all.
B. When in doubt, don’t
- If you’re not sure you can do something “as unto the Lord,” then don’t do it. Verse 23 - “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith…”
- There is a powerful result in our lives when we stand in full assurance of our faith.
2 Timothy 1:12, For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know in whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.
- I love the phrase “full assurance of faith.” That’s what we need.
Hebrews 10:22-23, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”
C. We must each give an account of our lives
- Passing judgment brings division. This is about loving your neighbor which is extremely important to God.
- In other words, this is not just about whether you have well-reasoned, godly convictions that guide their thoughts, words, and actions, it’s about how you respond to others that have different convictions than your own.
- If you pass judgment and regard your brother with contempt, then you might need a few more principles to help guide your life.
- One of those principles is that we will all stand and give an account not just about our convictions, but whether we loved our brother.
2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Illus - This is very helpful when dealing with a mature Christian brother or sister. I once agreed to something not realizing it was outside the boundaries of the law. My lawyer then pointed it out, “You can’t agree to that, the law doesn’t allow it.”
I went to my brother to make it right, but he insisted because I had given my word. We both agreed to pray for three days and God brought peace.
- In other words, it’s not just between us, it’s between us and the Lord. That is the greatest principle of all.
- When you set your life next to the plumb line of God, you realize that every principle, every conviction, every decision is made because of our relationship to God.
- In other words, we live by faith.
Romans 14:1-12 NASB
1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 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. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.