Romans 14: Week 2

Romans 14:1 – 15:13 : Week 2

Last time we read the entire extended passage from Romans 14:1 through Romans 15:13.

Romans 14 through 15:13 is an application of what Paul taught in Romans 12:3-13, especially verse 10:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Having exhorted his readers to love one another and avoid dissension and jealousy, Paul now considers one of the most common causes of DISUNITY in the church:  /DISAGREEMENTS on the proper way to practice the Christian faith.\

Paul lays out principles that we are to use to fix our attitudes and guide our choices about our behavior in relation to other believers.

With that as an overall introduction, let’s begin tonight with the first section:

Rom 14:1-12

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.

Rom 14:10 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.

Rom 14:11 For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD,EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. NASU

We saw last time that in Romans 14 and 15, Paul is dealing with  two kinds of believers:

The “weak” and “strong”.

Weak HOW? Strong HOW?

The weak believer is one who is prone to have a guilty conscience concerning “doubtful matters”  or “disputable matters” that he would not have were he stronger or more established in the New Testament teachings concerning grace and not being under the law.

They have not yet come to a full understanding of the implications of GRACE in their lives.

So the faith here has to do not with belief generally but to one’s convictions about what that faith allows him or her to do.

They have a weak CONSCIENCE.

The weak in faith are not lesser Christians than the strong.

They are simply those who do not think their faith allows them to do certain things that the strong feel free to do.

Another word for such a believer is “scrupulous”.

In verse 1, we are told to receive or accept the fellow believer who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.   Boy is this up to date!

Rom 14:1-12

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.

Last week we saw some reasons why a believer may be weak.

[baby, sick, malnourished, not exercising]

And we saw further that each one of us can be weak in certain areas of behavior, because of our past or our upbringing or even our areas of weakness in our flesh.

Then we discussed some areas where certain believers because of their background or tendencies may find themselves as weak believers who in their conscience genuinely believe that they are not at liberty to engage in certain kinds of behavior that other believers have no pangs of conscience about.

So we are to welcome the weak believer,  - and not with the idea that we go to work straightening him out!

In verse 2, Paul brings up the subject of eating vegetables.

Now of course we have that sort of thing today but probably not for the same reasons!

Paul is talking about believers who refuse to eat meat for moral or religious reasons.

In the first century, this was a burning religious issue.

The thing to recognize is that for us the issues of eating meat, and later on in this section the issue of holding certain days to be special or holier than others,

These things are for us simply EXAMPLES of what we can call DOUBTFUL or DISPUTABLE THINGS. OPINIONS.

So here we come along with another key distinction.

When it comes to Christian behavior, certain matters are CLEAR things, and other matters are DISPUTABLE things.

The matter of a man having sex with his father’s wife and boasting about it – that is a CLEAR matter.

The Bible forbids such behavior in the strongest possible terms.

What are some other CLEAR MATTERS in the New Testament concerning proper and improper behavior for believers?

Stealing. Murder.  Adultery.   False Teaching

IN fact Paul just finished identifying these CLEAR matters in chapter 13.

Being subject to proper authorities.

  • Lying.
  • Gossiping.
  • Hating
  • Judging

The items in Ephesians 4-5, Romans 1, and other “sin catalogs” in the New Testament epistles.

When somebody’s legalistic bullying hurts another believer (Paul with Peter, the legalists in Galatia and Colossae)

But there are other areas of behavior that fall under the category of DISPUTABLE (DOUBTFUL) THINGS.

The Bible does not clearly spell out one way or the other whether the specific behavior is according to God’s will.

IN the first century, some believers in Rome saw nothing wrong with eating meat, while others saw much wrong in it.

Let’s identify some of these  DISPUTABLE  or DOUBTFUL MATTERS …OPINIONS …that are in play for us now as believers living in 2014 in our geographic location and congregation.

Things that are not specifically addressed in the New Testament…but things nevertheless where believers have STRONG OPINIONS about them that can produce CONFLICT and judging and looking down at others.

  • What are some “disputable matters” of our day that have caused Christians to be un-accepting and judgmental of one another?
  • What are some “disputable matters” in my life that have caused me to fight wrong battles with other Christians?
  • What day-to-day activities have caused friction between you and another Christian?
  • What activities that you know fellow Church members avoid that you believe are appropriate to participate in?

Let’s begin with areas Paul does address in Romans 14:

  • How about food and drink?  Maybe not food but definitely drink! 
  • The issue of fasting.
  • Smoking
  • How about the calendar?  Holidays?  What day is the Sabbath? When to celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
  • Here are some more:
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Vocabulary  (proper and improper)
  • Facial hair/tattoos, etc
  • Professions/Jobs
  • Music
  • Hobbies
  • Political views
  • Having/raising children
  • Homes, cars


How about things that relate directly to how we worship?

  • How we assemble?  How we socialize with one another? Our fellowship with one another.
  • My favorite pastor
  • You cannot read the Bible for yourself
  • When and how often to celebrate the Lord’s Supper
  • Weekly schedule
  • Elements of the building: tables versus pews, size of pulpit, what’s on the walls….
  • Dress during the worship service
  • How the collection is handled
  • How money is allocated
  • Details of church government
  • Pattern of attendance at worship service
  • That music is not Christian/Music
  • Where people sit
  • Who is in the leadership positions
  • What ministries we sponsor/offer
  • What we call things (ie prep school vs Sunday school)
  • Rituals/Candles
  • Length of the service
  • Church policies

OK, with that as our introduction, understanding the matters that Romans 14 is dealing with, we are ready next time to start mastering the PRINCIPLES we are to use to make wise DECISIONS regarding these matters.

Next let’s do some analysis on the passage:

Verse by verse let’s identify:

  1. Who it is addressed to (Strong or Weak or Both)
  2. Is it a command, a question, or a statement (or a combination)
  3. Is it addressing Attitudes or Behavior?

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