Doubtful Disputations Rom 14:1-23 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Romans 14 deals with one main topic and a very important subtopic. The main topic is doubtful disputations. The subtopic is the judgment seat of Christ. We won’t have time to deal with both topics in Sunday school. So, this morning’s sermon will be on the judgment seat of Christ and this Sunday school lesson will be on doubtful disputations.
Doubt arises between:
- You and God Rom 14:22-23 – Paul said, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Christians can condemn themselves in the things they allow when they don’t do them by faith. As a preacher said, “If you can bow your head and ask God to bless what you are about to put in your mouth then eat it. But if you can’t then don’t put it in your mouth.” The doubt will “damn” [condemn] you if you eat it without faith.
- You and your conscience Rom 14:5, 14 – people often eat different things and observe different days based on their own conscience. Each is to be fully persuaded in his own mind. For instance, some Christians are vegetarian and some are not. There is no right or wrong diet. Some Christians decorate their homes and exchange gifts for Christmas and some don’t. Again there is no right or wrong observance.
- You and a “weaker” brother Rom 14:19-21 – herein lies one of the main problems with doubtful disputations. What do I do when something in my diet is offensive to a brother in Christ? Paul says, don’t eat it. See 1 Cor 8:7-13. We have to be careful not to wound or embolden the conscience of a fellow Christian concerning his diet and ours.
We are not to judge because:
- We serve the Lord Rom 14:3-4 – God is the master of each of his children. Therefore, we are not to judge or despise a brother in Christ because God is his judge. If he is eating something that God doesn’t want him to eat, then God will have to take it up with him.
- We live unto the Lord Rom 14:6-9 – We are the Lord’s and to the Lord we live. So, we are each responsible for our conduct before the Lord. We have enough to do to keep up with ourselves without worrying about judging a brother for what he does.
- We will be judged by the Lord Rom 14:10-12 – Each Christian will give account of himself to God. In 2 Cor 5:10-11, we see that the judgment seat of Christ is where we give account of the good and bad things done in our bodies after salvation. At this judgment we face the “terror of the Lord.”
However, in two cases we are to judge by:
- Our effect on a brother Rom 14:13-14, 19, 21 – We are not to put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in the way of a brother. Don’t do things that cause him to fall.
- Our effect on the kingdom of God Rom 14:16-18, 20, 22-23 – the kingdom of God is not about meat and drink. So, don’t let what you do about and with those things destroy the work of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Conclusion: Strife, envy and contention would generally cease among Christians if we would just follow what Paul tells us to do in Romans 14. So, dispense with doubtful disputations.