Romans 14- 16
Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
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Romans 14-16 Videos-
.CAN WE WEAR SHORT, SHORTS?
.THE ATHEIST KNEW
NEW NOTES BELOW-
. ON EATING MEAT [I wrote this commentary years ago- so I added some recent notes below].
.DAVID KORESH- KING CYRUS?
.RETHINKING HOMELESS MINISTRY.
.TIMOTHY CHAPTER 6]
(869)ROMANS 14:1-9 Paul discusses Christian convictions. Things that are personal habits of discipline where the scripture is silent on. Some believers abstain from certain types of food. Others see certain days as ‘more special’ than the others. It’s important to see that in this discussion Paul is not concerned with ‘who is right’. Though he will describe the legalistic believers as ‘weak in the faith’. And he himself will say he is convinced that ‘nothing is unclean in and of itself’. He is speaking about the convictions mentioned above. When I first became a believer I attended a good church. It was a Fundamental Baptist church that was a little legalistic in these areas. I remember a funny story, some of the brothers went on a canoe trip. We had a blast. One of the guys was wearing these old cut off shorts that looked like ‘blue jean hot pants’ [who wears short shorts, we wear short shorts!] the pants were old and the ‘fly’ kept unzipping. We told the brother ‘hey James, your gonna get us arrested or something if you can’t keep your shorts on!’. He got mad and called us a bunch of legalists! As you can see there are times where this accusation can simply be an excuse. But seriously the church was old fashioned [though well meaning]. I had another friend of mine that I led to the Lord and he asked ‘what’s wrong with the Christian rock, I like it’? He had heard some songs from the group Petra and he thought they were great. He also questioned why it was wrong for his boys to play mixed sports in public school. He was taught that the boys and girls wearing shorts in mixed company was wrong. So things like this are personal convictions that believers should not use to judge others. I want to stress that Paul does not condemn the more legalistic brothers, but he does make it clear that this is a sign of ‘weaker faith’. A faith that looks at the insignificant things and makes them significant. Many ‘Emergent’ church folk [of which I am one to a degree] seem to have had this type of background. Or at least are familiar with the classic evangelical message and preaching. Some have found a revolution in their thinking by re-organizing their lives around the actual lifestyle and teachings of Christ [which is a very good thing!]. But some seem to despise the older type churches and expressions of Christianity that they experienced while growing up. Some even cast away the good with the bad! Though many of the more legalistic churches practiced this type of Christianity, yet I commend them on spreading the gospel of Gods grace. Taking seriously their faith in the Lord. And being historic defenders of the faith at a time when the more liberal universities were throwing out the baby with the bathwater [the 20th century fundamentalist movement].
(870)ROMANS 14: 10-23 ‘As I live…every knee shall bow and every tongue confess’. Paul teaches that we will all give an account of ourselves to God. He shows that one of the proofs that ‘he lives’ rides on this fact. How? The context of every one giving an account of his life is speaking of a future judgment day. But we also see the reality of Gods existence in the fact that most people [even atheists!] have at one time or another ‘spoken to God’. I was listening [or reading?] a testimony of a woman who was an atheist. Her child became critically ill and as the days went by in the hospital she had a conversation that went like this ‘I cant pray to God now. I would be a hypocrite. I have denied him my whole life’. The point is she actually knew that in time of need you should pray to God. This universal reality that most people on the planet have at one time or another ‘confessed to God’ is proof of his existence. Paul says because of this fact that we all will give an account to God, therefore don’t judge other people [motives] before the time. If you have the freedom to ‘eat meat’ [less legalistic] then by all means do so. But if this freedom causes another to stumble, then your first priority as a Christian is to live your life in an unselfish way for the benefit of others. So do not let your freedom become an offence to those who have ‘weaker faith’. Do all things with the benefit of others in mind. When Paul says ‘don’t judge your brother’ he is not saying there is never a time for correction and reproof. Paul used very harsh language when dealing with the Judaizers. These Jewish legalists did believe in Christ, they just mixed the law in with the gospel. Paul rebuked them harshly [just like Jesus and the religious leaders of his day]. But when dealing with new believers, those who are ‘weaker in the faith’ you don’t want to overload them with too much stuff. You want them to grow and mature in the proper time. If you used to be legalistic [not going to movies, not eating pork, all types of stuff] and now are more mature in your thinking [though some movies are bad and pork isn’t real good for you!] you should not despise those who still see the practice of their faith thru this lens. Paul said ‘he that eats, eats unto the Lord. He that abstains does it also to the lord’. In these less important restrictions that some believers abide by, most of the times their motives are pure. We shouldn’t demean them. We should try to live peaceably with all men as much as possible, we will all give an account some day.
IS EATING MEAT OK?
The question of food and Holy Days are a subject that the Apostle Paul deals with more than one time in his letters to the churches.
For us today- it might not seem like a big issue- but for various reasons it was an issue for the 1st century church.
When he wrote the church at Corinth- their issue was whether or not it was ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols.
Corinth had a tradition [non-Christian that is] where the town folk would sacrifice animals to various ‘gods’.
Now- the priests who dealt in this trade- would take the leftover meat from the animal- and either eat it- or sell it to the local ‘butcher’.
These sacrifices were to false gods [also understood to be demon entities by the 1st century Jewish/Christian communities].
So- the question was- is it ok to eat the meat?
The apostle Paul tells them that we know there are no other gods but the true God- and meat in general is ok for us living under the New Covenant [he also says in the End Times some will command to not eat meat- and that God gave us all animals to be received with thanksgiving].
So- in general- the meat was fine.
But- if doing it offends a weaker brother- then don’t eat it.
Meat also played a big role in another sense- the Jewish converts to Christianity were indeed taught kosher rules for food/meat.
Were these converts not to obey their old religious rules about food?
We read of this type of debate all thru the New testament- not just about meat- but about the whole transition of the Jewish believers- and their relationship to the Old Law.
In Acts chapter 13- and 15 you can get a good feel of this debate.
There are Christians today who still struggle with the Old Law- and how we today should relate to it.
Paul says he is persuaded that there is nothing unclean in and of itself [here talking about food- not things like adultery- which some of my friends think is ok- I can’t stress enough that when the bible says ‘nothing is unclean in and of itself’- it is NEVER TALKING ABOUT BREAKING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS].
So- in the end- if in areas of what we call Christian convictions- it’s simply a matter of choice-
If the bible is silent on an issue- then lean towards grace-
But- if your freedom hurts your brother- because he thinks it’s a bad thing- then be willing to abstain from it- like eating the meat that was sacrificed to the idol- at least while their around.
Some see a contradiction in Paul’s teaching- at one point he says ‘meats ok- even if part of it was used as a sacrifice to idols’- yet he also says ‘don’t eat at THE TABLE with devils [demons]’.
Ok- one of the practices at the city of Corinth was you ate in a sort of ‘demonic’ Eucharist- those who worshiped false gods had a sort of meal like Christians celebrated- which we call Holy Communion.
These idol worshippers did sort of the same thing- they ate together at their own TABLE_ in a sort of celebration of their gods-
So- Paul did forbid this practice- he told the church at Corinth you cannot eat at the table of the Lord and the table of devils-
If you were actually participating at the Table- eating the meat there- in celebration of the false god- then it’s wrong.
But- if you simply bought some of the left over meat- at the local butcher- that was fine.
No contradiction at all.
KING CYRUS- DAVIVD KORESH?
Paul uses a quote from Isaiah 45 ‘every knee shall bow- tongue confess’ – talking about God using a pagan king- King Cyrus- to restore Israel to their land.
We read about him in the book of Ezra and Daniel-
He gave the famous decree for God’s people to return to their land [2nd Chronicles 36, Ezra 1].
Josephus the historian indicates that Cyrus was shown the prophecy about him [written by Isaiah about 150 years before].
It’s possible that Daniel himself showed this to Cyrus- being he held a high position in the Persian empire- at this time.
David Koresh- the infamous leader of the branch Davidians [a breakaway sect from the 7TH day Adventist church] took his name from Cyrus-
Koresh is the Persian name for Cyrus the Great.
.IS THIS ABOUT US GETTING STUFF?
.WHO ‘RAN’ THE CHURCH?
.WHAT WAS PAUL’S SERVICE TO THE CHURCH?
(871)ROMANS 15:1-7 ‘we then that are strong [more mature] ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves’. In Philippians we have the ‘KENOSIS’ the act of Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not something to be used for his own advantage. He did not see his purpose in the kingdom as one of ‘let’s find out our rights in the covenant and posses what’s rightfully ours’. A few years back it was common to hear ‘God told me his people don’t have a problem with giving [oh really?] but they need to learn how to receive’. While there might be a ‘speck’ of truth in this, the overall ethos of the kingdom [according to Jesus and Paul] is ‘we are not here to please ourselves, but give up our rights and blessings for the purpose of pleasing others’ [building them up, edifying them]. Paul makes this statement right after the chapter on Christian convictions. He shows us that even if we are right on a particular issue, it is ‘more right’ to not offend or put a stumbling block in our brother’s path. It is possible to ‘be right’ in a particular doctrine or truth, and yet ‘be wrong’ in that we might have used it in a way that destroyed the purpose of God in building others up. Many in the church [at large!] have unwittingly ‘tore down’ the poor and oppressed by seeking ‘their own pleasure’. Many overseas countries have been hurt by the amount of pleasure seeking doctrines that went into their countries. Many 3rd world Pastors gave sacrificially out of their extreme poverty to rich American ‘pleasure seekers’ and their poor people suffered greatly when they did not get a literal 100 fold return as was promised. Paul said ‘we that are strong ought to help the weak, and not please ourselves’. [Some sites see here https://corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com/2022/12/romans-14-16-text.html?m=0 ]