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Showing posts from March, 2020

Romans 14:14: I Know And Am Persuaded In The Lord Jesus That Nothing Is Unclean In Itself

Romans 14:14 [14] I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. (ESV) There are times when we are not sure whether we should do something or not. We may look to Scripture and still have a hard time discerning what we should do. Paul recognized that this would happen and he gives us some practical advice on it. The types of things he is talking about are those things that Scripture is not specifically clear on. There are many things that the Bible is clear about. We do not need to wonder if it is ok for us to murder our neighbor. The Bible clearly says no. It is not a mystery to us whether or not we should steal items from a clothing store. The Bible clearly says we are not to steal. We know that it is never right to bow down to a false god. Again, the Bible is pretty clear. How about giving money to the church? Here is an example where some would say that the Old Testament tithe of ten percent

Romans 14:13: Therefore Let Us Not Pass Judgment On One Another Any Longer

Romans 14:13 [13] Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (ESV) We know that judging our brother is something that the Lord does not want us to do. This was something that was going on in the early church. As people became very convinced of their way being the right way they began to look at others with condemnation who did not worship and believe in precisely the same way. I am referring to secondary issues of preference, not orthodox issues. We know that part of the reason why it is wrong for us to pass judgment on our brother is because we are not qualified to judge. We are not holy. In fact, we will all stand before the ultimate judge and each one will give an account for his own actions. Without the saving grace of Jesus Christ we would not stand a chance before God's judgment. Paul now shows us in this verse a different reason why we should not judge our brot

Romans 14:12: So Then Each Of Us Will Give An Account Of Himself To God.

Romans 14:12 [12] So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (ESV) I have not had to go to a courtroom very many times in my lifetime. I would very much like to keep it that way. The idea of standing before a judge is very intimidating to me. Even if I am there and have done nothing wrong. There is something about being in a courtroom where someone else determines your fate that is terrifying. Perhaps you share my fear of courtrooms and judges. I am about to make it a little worse. As terrifying as any judge or courtroom could be there is nothing more terrifying than the idea of standing before the God of the universe. What is worse is that we can know for certain that we are not standing there in our innocence. No one is innocent! Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned." We will all have to give an account of ourselves to God. If you are not intimidated by this verse there is probably something wrong with your understanding of who God is or who you are.

Romans 14:11: For It Is Written, "As I Live, Says The Lord, Every Knee Shall Bow To Me."

Romans 14:11 [11] for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (ESV) When it comes to judging our brother or sister in Christ we are given a reality check by the Apostle Paul. When we pass judgment on our brother it is as if we are setting ourselves up as judge over our brother. Paul tells us here that we are not the judge. God is the judge that not only our brother will stand before; but all of us will stand before the Lord. This verse  is in the context of Christians judging other Christians, but Paul is bringing up a bigger concept. The bigger concept is that not only Christians will bow their knee to God as the ultimate judge, but all mankind is included in this idea of judgment. Every single person, whether they have placed their faith in God or not, will bow before God. I have often said that "Every knee will bow; some willingly, some not." Consider the sinner who has lived his whole life in

Romans 14:10: Why Do You Pass Judgment On Your Brother?

Romans 14:10 [10] Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; (ESV) We are all different. You can go to any church in America. You can read their doctrinal statement. You will find that while many church members will say that they agree on most things there are probably many things they disagree on. If you have any doubt, stick around long enough to see people in action at a committee meeting. Let's consider some of the things that we tend to disagree on that are not worth passing judgment on our brother about. Here they are in no particular order: the age of the Earth, style of worship, the use of modern technology in a worship service, how long the sermon is, the color of the carpet, whether or not to hire a youth pastor, etc. I have gone on social media and I have been dismayed to find Christians who claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior literally bashing other f

Romans 14:9: For To This End Christ Died And Lived Again

Romans 14:9 [9] For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (ESV) There is a wonderful hymn of the Church called, "I Surrender All." I can remember my father saying that most Christians should sing that song as "I surrender some." Surrender is a hard word for us. It implies that we have given over control to someone else. That is exactly what it means. The context of the word is that of an army giving up control to the conquering nation. Jesus is the conquering king who has fought against Satan himself to purchase our lives. Satan had a hold on our lives. In reality we were serving Satan before we were rescued by the Savior. In Satan's service we were chained and had no freedom. Like it or not, we were doing Satan's bidding. Through Jesus' victory on the cross we have been purchased, our sins forgiven, and we are now the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again. What purp

Romans 14:7-8: For None Of Us Lives To Himself, And None Of Us Dies To Himself

Romans 14:7–8 [7] For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. [8] For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. (ESV) The Christian walk of faith is counter-cultural. Far too many people view Christianity as some sort of club that we belong to that just makes us all a little better. We are in control of everything that we do, and occasionally, if it suits us, we will do what pleases the Lord. This way of thinking goes against the very clear teaching of Scripture. We are not to live to ourselves, we live to the Lord. Think about that for a moment. Do you think that most Christians truly live out this truth? If we lived our lives to the Lord we would not be upset when suffering and persecution came our way. We would not be overwhelmed when the trials and circumstances of life came our way. How about death? We are to die to the Lord, not to ourselves. What does that

Romans 14:5-6: One Person Esteems One Day As Better Than Another

Romans 14:5–6 [5] One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. [6] The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. (ESV) Christians have very different ideas when it comes to their freedom as believers. The context of these verses is the Christians who had a Jewish background and now were free from the obligations of the ceremonial law which had requirements regarding Sabbaths and Feasts. The Gentiles did not want to fall back into special days and festivities related to his previous way of life. For the Christians who had a Jewish background it was important that they be careful how they observed days. If they felt obligation to celebrate feasts and Sabbaths they were forgetting the wonderful grace of God that s

Romans 14:4: Who Are You To Pass Judgment on The Servant Of Another?

Romans 14:4 [4] Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (ESV) We love to criticize others who believe differently than we do. We can be so convinced of our own thinking that we quickly begin to despise anyone who disagrees. I can remember a professor at the Bible College I attended who said, "God is bigger than our bad theology." That was sound advice then and continues to be sound advice now. When we pass judgment on one who is a servant of Jesus Christ we do wrong. We are acting as if it is our judgment of things that matters. It is not. The only judgment that matters is God's judgment. Supposing that a person chooses to not eat meat because they are uncomfortable with the association of the meat with idol worship. God's viewpoint of their action is what is important. The two areas that tend to drive our opinions are areas in

Romans 14:2-3: One Person Believes He May Eat Anything, While The Weak Person Eats Only Vegetables

Romans 14:2–3 [2] One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. [3] Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. (ESV) I have said that I could never live as a vegetarian. I know that there are people who are horrified at the idea of eating meat. I am slightly horrified at the idea of having a diet that does not allow meat. For me, none of this discussion has anything to do with what Paul is saying here. I am referring to personal preferences. Paul is talking about something very different. There was a reason why there were people in the church who refused to eat meat. The meat that is being referred to here had been offered to idols before it was made available in the marketplace. Those who were "weak" in their faith could not conceive of eating meat that was sacrificed to idols. They viewed those who ate that meat as pagans.

Romans 14:1: As For The One Who Is Weak In Faith, Welcome Him, But Not To Quarrel Over Opinions.

Romans 14:1 [1] As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (ESV) In the church there are people at different levels of maturity in their faith. This is just like any earthly family. You have different expectations of a toddler than you do a teenager. While it may be ok for a 6 month old to not be able to control their bladder you can be sure that there are different expectations of the eighteen year old. Maturity. It is something that we are all working on in our walk with Christ. This was the case for those in the church whom Paul was writing to. Paul is speaking directly to those who were more mature. He knew that it was important for them to treat their more immature brothers and sisters in a proper and respectful way. They were to welcome the one who was weaker in faith. God had put together a new race of people who belonged to him. Jews and Gentiles were now one in Christ Jesus. The Jews were set free from the ceremonial law of fe

Romans 13:14: But Put On The Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:14 [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV) What is something you think about before you do it, every day? Give up? Putting on clothes! That's right, clothes do not magically appear on you when you stumble out of bed. You have to decide what you are going to put on. If you are a woman you might look at a full closet and say, "I have nothing to wear!" Kidding aside, we make a daily decision what we are going to wear. In this verse Paul uses the concept of us making a decision on what to wear and instructs us to make a decision to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Think about it, my friend. If you do not make a priority of "putting on the Lord Jesus Christ" you know that you will be prone to living in such a way that you fall into sin. Our natural state is sinful. Paul goes on to say that we should make no provision for the flesh. In other words, as we think about what kinds of things

Romans 13:13: Let Us Walk Properly As In The Daytime

Romans 13:13 [13] Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. (ESV) If you turn on the television it seems as if the producers of television programs are in a constant competition to see how morally corrupt they can be. What was considered disgusting and morally repulsive a few years ago is considered tame and there are new areas of perversion to be explored. This is the way of lust. It is never satisfied. It could be easy for us to see all of the moral filth around us and feel as if we were the only generation in history who has encountered this level of moral depravity. We would be wrong. In the first century church the Apostle Paul has to give warning to Christians to avoid "orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, sensuality, quarreling and jealousy." In every generation there is a need for the church to be reminded that we are to be pure and holy before God. The e

Romans 13:12: The Night Is Far Gone; The Day Is At Hand.

Romans 13:12 [12] The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (ESV) All throughout the Bible there are these metaphors that help us to understand theological truths. In this verse we see "night" contrasted with "day." In the same verse we also see "darkness" and "light." The night is paralleled with darkness. The day is paralleled with light. Now, the bigger question would be, "What is Paul talking about here?" The night is gone. The night is in the past. This is speaking of our former way of life when we followed Satan himself. We were rebels to God's Law. We lived to please ourselves, which was ultimately pleasing the enemy. A true Christian looks at the past as something to be delivered from, not something to be celebrated. The day is at hand. We live now for the Lord. Our life should be filled with the light that comes from Christ himself. Jesu

Romans 13:11: Besides This You Know The Time, That The Hour Has Come For You To Wake From Sleep.

Romans 13:11 [11] Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. (ESV) Time is a funny thing. The older one becomes the more you become aware of just how quickly time has gone by. Here we are, approximately 2000 years past the time that the Apostle Paul wrote these words. If the hour had come for people to wake from sleep in Paul's day, how much more so for those of us who are reading this now. What Paul is saying concerning "waking from sleep" is very important for us as believers. There is a tendency that we have to not be properly motivated to work as we should for the Kingdom of God. Paul David Tripp wrote in a devotional once that we are like practical atheists. We claim to belong to God. We believe the right things. Yet, we are not doing the things God wants for us to do. The time is short. We need a spiritual alarm clock to help us awake from our slumber. Er

Romans 13:10: Love Does No Wrong To A Neighbor; Therefore Love Is The Fulfilling Of The Law

Romans 13:10 [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (ESV) We read this verse and at first it seems very liberating. We can fulfill the law by simply choosing not to do any wrong to our neighbor. In fact, I have spoken to people who will go so far as to make the claim that they have never done anything to hurt anybody. They are confident that this is all that is required to fulfill God's Law. First of all, the sad reality is that according to God's righteous and holy standard we all stand condemned by our very nature, regardless of anything we have actually done. In our nature, we have a desire to please ourselves above any other, including God. So, before we even get to the question of whether it is possible to keep from doing wrong to our neighbor, we are lawbreakers by nature. Now, let's consider whether or not one can make the claim that they do not do any wrong to their neighbor. There were Jews, the Pharisees in pa

Romans 13:9: Commandments Are Summed Up In This Word: "You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself"

Romans 13:9 [9] For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV) There are theologians who have added up all of the laws found in the Old Testament Law of Moses. The number is 613. Can you imagine trying to keep 613 laws? I cannot even imagine trying to remember what all the laws were about. How in the world could an average person know whether or not they were obeying or disobeying one of the 613? Paul gives us the secret. All of the laws are summed up in this concept of loving our neighbor as ourselves. He references specific laws as examples. If you love your neighbor as yourself you will not commit adultery against your neighbor. You will not murder your neighbor. You will not covet what your neighbor has. It makes sense that loving our neighbor means looking out for their interests. The Jews tried t

Romans 13:8: Owe No One Anything, Except To Love Each Other

Romans 13:8 [8] Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (ESV) As of the writing of this devotional the average American home has approximately $135,000 of debt. That is a lot of people owing a lot of money. As it relates to the life of the believer in Jesus Christ we are instructed to make sure that we pay our bills. I do not believe that Paul is saying that we are not allowed to have debt, but we are instructed to be sure to pay it back. There is one debt that we will never be able to fully pay. That debt that we will never be able to fully pay is our debt of love for each other. When we hear of this debt of love that we owe to one another it is easy for us to ask the question, "Who am I required to love?" The answer is, everyone. We are to love the ones who love us and the ones who hate us. Christian or non-Christian. Everyone. For the Jews who read these words of instruction from the Apostle Paul I am s