Bible Discussion — Romans 14

November 28, 2007, 12:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, David, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter in the book of Romans, Romans 14.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50

Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40

And the book of Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6
Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I) | Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
Chapter 14 illustrates one of the key differences between the New Covenant and the Law. Rules and regulations regarding dietary restrictions and Holy Days are lifted and replaced by a measure of liberty, but that liberty can not be used to wound others. In addition, Paul introduces the concept that we stand before God Himself as our judge, not man — rendering the priesthood obsolete.

Connie:
There can’t be anything more Christlike than laying aside your desires in favor of someone else’s. This whole chapter points out that if we truly call ourselves Christians, our smallest actions and most common practices should always reflect our heritage.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
David:
When it says here that “every knee shall bow to me,” it is intended as a warning to Christians like me not to judge others. It’s not there for me to threaten the world with.

Chloe:
Paul’s talking about another kind of sacrifice we don’t hear about often — the sacrifice of normal things for the benefit of those who see them as a medium of sin.

Steve:
Verse 9 presents a nice little nugget of theology about Christ’s resurrection, smack dab in the middle of a treatise on how to treat each other. Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living — to conquer death by paying the price of sin for all time. So who cares if I celebrate Christmas? Back off! God’s still on the throne!

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
David: Everyknee
Chloe: Everyday Alike
Connie: Stumbling Block
Steve: Every Effort

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF::
Steve:
The debate about modesty and behavior regarding young men and women. Mercy is perhaps (okay, definitely) not my strong suit, and so I find it very frustrating when fellow Christians dress or act in ways intended to provoke a response in members of the opposite sex. How you choose to live and carry yourself has a distinct impact on all those around you, and in this setting, it legitimately is “our business,” just as you have the same right to rebuke me when I’m not kind enough.

Then again, I’m even more ardently opposed to civil or church government imposing any such standards — which is part of why I can’t support Mike Huckabee.

Chloe:
Our current story — postmodernism. What’s right for one man (sorry, or woman) may not be right for another . . . um, person.

David:
Verse 17 reminds me of the man who tells Jesus: “Speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me,” and Jesus’ answer — “Who made me a judge over such things? A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things that he possesses.”

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Chloe:
Paul is teaching about tolerance, a term Christians generally cringe/hiss/scream at. Paul’s tolerance, however, is not for whatever outlandish or sinful lifestyle a person might come up with, but rather the opposite. Tolerate those who must abstain from things you don’t have a problem with. If necessary, you should abstain from those things, as well. It’s better not to do anything that might make your brother sin.

Connie:
What are your daily motivations based on? We need to be careful of the warning about Pharisaic whitewashed sepulchres.

David:
Paul taught the Galatians that the Law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ — but we are in a New Covenant now, where we walk as adults in relationship with God. That means treating others as adults too.

Steve:
Imagine the effect this had on an ancient church where one large group of believers had come directly out of centuries of strict dietary and behavior laws, while another significant portion had come straight from a life of unrestrained hedonism.

Paul doesn’t say Christians must follow the Law — and he certainly doesn’t put us at the mercy of the prickliest old crone with a hangup about women wearing slacks. Instead, he reorients the entire discussion by reminding everyone that in the church, it’s not about a list of rights and wrongs, and it’s not about our God-given American constitutional rights to do what we want all the time. It’s about loving our neighbor, above all.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Chloe:
No one finds chocolate sinful, right?

Connie:
What’s the big deal about giving up a couple of things if it helps someone else not to stumble? Is that thing and our “right” to it more important than “the one Christ died for?” “If your brother is distressed . . . you are no longer acting in love.” (v. 15)

David:
When Paul says that he is persuaded that “nothing is unclean of itself, but to him that esteemeth it to be unclean, to him it is unclean,” he is speaking within the confines of the aforementioned subjects (diet and holy day observances), not the entire realm of experiences available to the human race. Pornography, for just one example, is unclean, period — whether you think it is or not.

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
David:
Persuading Paul in his opinions of scripture (v. 14).

Connie:
He is the passage, as He was our example and our sacrifice. Dying on the cross shouldn’t be compared to not drinking wine in public, however. We need to get some perspective.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David:
14:17 — “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Chloe:
14:21 — “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”

Connie:
14:15 — “Do not destroy with your ______ the one for who Christ died.” You fill in the blank.

Steve:
14:13 — “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
David:
The proper boundaries to this thought in v. 22 — “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.”

Steve:
When Paul says “all food is clean” in verse 20, he didn’t mean to include mushrooms, did he? Because those things are just disgusting. Eat fungus at your peril.

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
David:
“For meat, destroy not the work of God.” We have to live according to the other person’s conscience. Tough one.

Chloe:
Everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Steve:
If one-third of the time we spend engaging in and defending our questionable choices about entertainment was spent in ministry or prayer, we would reap a huge harvest. If you have to defend what you’re doing or watching or playing with any version of “It’s not really that bad because…,” then it’s probably not as clean as you think — and you might just be tearing someone else down with your slick arguments. Even if you can handle it, can they?

Connie:
If there is a law of love, this chapter would be it. Lay aside your wants and love people by your small sacrifices of convenience — and watch your attitude.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Steve:
I think this passage is a brilliant example of how to deal with a problem not by telling one side or the other that they’re right, but by changing the focus to love and motivation — then letting the two sides decide for themselves if they want to continue the fight. They say that at a trial, the most powerful argument is the one you let the jury make in their own minds, directly from the facts.

Hammer somebody with something — even the truth — and they’ll resent you. But let them reach a conclusion on their own, and they’ll defend it fiercely.

David:
It is a necessary step in Christian doctrine, separate from the Jewish religion, to understand that we are not under the Law anymore. The thought that some men could eat anything and work on the Sabbath, while others still ate only kosher foods and kept the Sabbath must have confounded early Jewish converts. Heck, it confounds some people today.

 
CONCLUSION:
Connie:
Why do people get so hung up on these little things? Didn’t they read the story where God told Peter that all things are acceptable to eat and drink? Paul repeats it here too. Why all the fuss? Get back to work…

David:
Paul expands on this theme of living by the other person’s conscience in 1 Corinthians 8-10. “All things are lawful for me,” Paul says, “but not all things are expedient.”

Steve:
This chapter is all about preferring others above yourself, a very countercultural idea, but one that is truly at the heart of proper Christian living.


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