Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2020

Romans 15:3: For Christ Did Not Please Himself

Romans 15:3 [3] For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (ESV) This verse should jar our very senses. It there was ever a person on this earth who should have lived to please himself it was the Son of God himself. He alone is fully God. As a result he should be glorified. In fact, if he lived for himself it would mean that he was giving glory to himself. That would completely appropriate. Jesus did not please himself. The King of kings humbled himself to the point of allowing himself to receive the reproach of godless, rebellious, wretched mankind. It would have been one thing if the God of the universe would have added humanity to his being and then been worshiped and honored. Instead, the thanks he received was to be falsely accused, mocked, and killed on a cross. Now consider what our society teaches us on a daily basis. We are told that we should live for ourselves. We need to believe in ourselves. M

Romans 15:2: Let Each Of Us Please His Neighbor For His Good, To Build Him Up.

Romans 15:2 [2] Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (ESV) We are told here to please our neighbor. Does this conflict with the Scriptural admonition that we are to please the Lord? Actually, no. The direct result of a life that pleases the Lord is one that will obey him. If we truly want to please the Lord we will do what he says. He is telling us here to please our neighbor for their good. The fact is, we can only obey this command if we have first obeyed the command to please the Lord. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment in Scripture was he replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).  Loving God comes before loving our neighbor. One of the primary ways that we know someone is a believer in Jesus Christ is that they care more about others than for themselves. The character of Christ becomes the character of his followers. We begin

Romans 15:1: We Who Are Strong Have An Obligation To Bear With The Failings Of The Weak

Romans 15:1 [1] We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (ESV) There are those in the body of Christ who are strong and those who are weak. We may not like these categorical distinctions, but they are reality. Scripture talks about those who are babes in their faith, and those who have matured and are eating solid food (Hebrews 5:12-13). We need to understand the distinction and how to live accordingly. Those who are strong are the ones who have matured in their faith in Christ. They are grounded in their knowledge of the Word of God. Their conscience has been finely tuned to be in submission to what God's Word declares. This maturity brings a freedom. They are not questioning their every move because their behavior has been consistently informed by the Word of God. Those who are strong could easily find the failings of the weak to be a burden. Not only are the strong supposed to bear with the failings of the

Romans 14:23: But Whoever Has Doubts Is Condemned If He Eats, Because The Eating Is Not From Faith.

Romans 14:23 [23] But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (ESV) This is a difficult verse to make sense of. What does it mean that our eating is not from faith? We have to remember the context of this verse. Paul is finishing a section of instruction dealing with those who had differing views on what a Christian was free to eat. Meat sold in the marketplace was first sacrificed to false idols. Should a Christian be permitted to eat such unholy food? Paul made clear that all things are free for a believer in Jesus Christ to eat (Romans 14:14). Just because it we are free to eat something does not mean that we should. The believers whose conscience made them feel that they should not eat the meat offered to idols should not eat that meat. This is precisely what Paul is talking about in today's verse. Whoever has doubts...speaks of the one whose conscience is telling them that eati

Romans 14:22: The Faith That You Have, Keep Between Yourself And God.

Romans 14:22 [22] The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. (ESV) Paul is not talking in this verse about saving faith, the faith that is required to receive our salvation in Christ. We know that every step of our life after we receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ is a step of faith. He leads. We follow. We have faith in his direction in our lives. The more that we walk in that faith the more we grow mature. Paul is telling us that our faith in God is a personal faith. If we have grown in our mature walk with Christ and we know that we have freedom in that faith, then we will use that freedom in a way that respects others. If there are certain things that we are free to do in Christ that would make another brother stumble we keep the expression of that freedom between ourselves and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself. In other words, the ma

Romans 14:21: It Is Good Not To Eat Meat Or Drink Wine Or Do Anything That Causes Your Brother To Stumble.

Romans 14:21 [21] It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (ESV) There are people who claim that the Bible is full of confusing philosophy that is too difficult to understand. While it may be true that some portions of Scripture require more of our attention to detail and responsible research than other, it is also true that there are some portions that are very direct, and require some basic common sense to be understood. This verse of Scripture fits into the category of needing some basic common sense. We ought not do anything that causes our brother to stumble in their walk of faith in Jesus Christ. There were a lot of arguments in the Church concerning whether or not it was right to eat certain kinds of meat or whether or not it was right to drink wine. Paul has made clear in the previous verses that we have the freedom in Christ Jesus to eat whatever we like, as well as the freedom to drink wine. With that freedom comes

Romans 14:20: Do Not, For The Sake Of Food, Destroy The Work Of God.

Romans 14:20 [20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. (ESV) It is truly amazing how petty people can be who claim to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. You have likely heard of churches that have split over things like: the color of the church carpet, the length of hair of the youth pastor, individual seats instead of pews, guitars being played in the sanctuary, or having deviled eggs for a church picnic. Petty. In Paul's day the petty argument was over what food could be eaten. Meat was sold in the market after it had been sacrificed to the local idol of the city. Some Christians said that idols are not gods at all and meat was created by God to be eaten. Freedom. Other Christians felt that eating meat that was sacrificed to an idol was the height of sacrilegious behavior. As you may guess, this created all kinds of tension. It created so much tension that w

Romans 14:18-19: Whoever Thus Serves Christ Is Acceptable To God And Approved By Men.

Romans 14:18–19 [18] Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. [19] So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (ESV) Paul has given instruction in the previous verse about how we are to treat one another in the body of Christ. We are not to turn our involvement in the kingdom of God into a squabble about who can eat certain kinds of foods and who cannot. Rather, our focus should be on pursuing righteousness, walking in peace, and choosing to have joy in all circumstances with the help of the Holy Spirit. The ones who walk obediently like this, with their eyes on Christ Jesus, will not only be acceptable to God, but also will be approved by men. We understand why our obedience would be acceptable to God, but what does it mean that we will be approved by men? After all, shouldn't God's approval be all that we need? This idea of being approved by men speaks to the fact that the world of non-believers is constantly exa

Romans 14:17: For The Kingdom Of God Is Not A Matter Of Eating And Drinking

Romans 14:17 [17] For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (ESV) Have you ever had to break up a family squabble? Perhaps you had a couple of children who were at each other's throats, fighting over every little inconsequential thing? I would like to tell you that childish squabbles never happen in the family of God, but I think you and I both know differently. In this verse Paul is dealing with a squabble in the family; the family of God. This dispute between those who felt that their freedom in Christ permitted them to eat meat sacrificed to idols had continued with the believers who were shocked and offended at such actions. Someone needed to grab everyone by the backs of their necks and tell them, "Knock it off, kids. The kingdom of God is far more important than focusing on eating meat or not. Get a grip." As believers in Jesus Christ our focus should be found in pursuing the th

Romans 14:16: So Do Not Let What You Regard As Good Be Spoken Of As Evil.

Romans 14:16 [16] So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. (ESV) To understand this verse we need to continue to look at the context. Paul is dealing with those who have embraced freedom in Christ and those who are not sure if that is a safe thing to do. All of this is because of the impact that the Law had on it's followers. Before Christ came into the picture the Jews rigidly attempted to live according to the Law. We may wonder why anyone would want to continue pursuing the Law when it was no longer necessary. It would be easy to think that at the first sign of freedom in Christ, everyone would abandon their legalism and bask in their new found freedom. That is not what happened. There were some who embraced freedom in Christ. Others were so set in their ways they feared freedom. For those who feared freedom they were concerned that if they acted in freedom they would appear to be very unspiritual. One of the by-products of following the Law was fixa

Romans 14:15: For If Your Brother Is Grieved By What You Eat, You Are No Longer Walking In Love.

Romans 14:15 [15] For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. (ESV) In our society we are very proud of the freedom that we have. There is good reason for this. Our freedom was purchased at a very great price. With that freedom there needs to be a sense of concern for our fellow man. I walked into a store this morning that had to have a sign outside the door reminding people to "be kind to one another." Freedom needs to be accompanied with compassion. This concept of using our freedom in a way that considers the needs and concerns of others is even more important in the Church. Paul was writing to a church in Rome that had experienced spiritual freedom. They had been set free from sin and from ritualistic legalism. This had been purchased at a great price. It cost Jesus his life, and many of the disciples at that time had also been martyred. Freedom in the church at