Christ, the Hope of Jews and Gentiles (Romans 15:8-13)

Christ, the Hope of Jews and Gentiles (Romans 15:8-13)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October, 30 and Sunday, October 31, 2021

Think about something different about the church.

Philip Yancey shares: As I read accounts of the New Testament church, no characteristic stands out more sharply than [diversity]. Beginning with Pentecost, the Christian church dismantled the barriers of gender, race, and social class that had marked Jewish congregations. Paul, who as a rabbi had given thanks daily that he was not born a woman, slave, or Gentile, marveled over the radical change: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

One modern Indian pastor told me, “Most of what happens in Christian churches, including even miracles, can be duplicated in Hindu and Muslim congregations. But in my area only Christians strive, however ineptly, to mix men and women of different castes, races, and social groups. That’s the real miracle.”

Diversity complicates rather than simplifies life. Perhaps for this reason we tend to surround ourselves with people of similar age, economic class, and opinion. Church offers a place where infants and grandparents, unemployed and executives, immigrants and blue bloods can come together. Just yesterday I sat sandwiched between an elderly man hooked up to a puffing oxygen tank and a breastfeeding baby who grunted loudly and contentedly throughout the sermon. Where else can we find that mixture?

When I walk into a new church, the more its members resemble each other—and resemble me—the more uncomfortable I feel.[1]

My theme today is:

Christ is the hope of both Jews and gentiles.

Application: Don’t look down on anyone because Jesus is the Savior of all who believe.

Remember that the previous chapters have been about conscious issues. Now, Paul is bringing this to a conclusion that Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is our hope. This is true of the Jews and the gentiles.

  1. Christ came for the Jewish people in order to show God’s promises to the patriarchs, and so the gentiles will glorify God (verse 8).
    1. Read with me verse 8, Romans 15:8: For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs…
    2. Paul is continuing from the previous verses.
    3. In verses 1-7 Paul used the example of Christ in order to motivate us to love others and not judge one another over conscious issues.
    4. In verse 8 Paul continues to give the example of Christ.
    5. Witherington III: It becomes apparent in vv. 8–9 that Paul is thinking back to and building on the discussion in chs. 9–11. There are especially echoes of 9:4–5. One could argue that 15:8 and 9 sum up much of the argument and rhetorical aims of the whole deliberative argument. [2]
    6. Christ became a servant.
    7. We know that, right. In Philippians 2:3-11 Paul writes about how Jesus left His heavenly abode to become a man and die on the cross for us.
    8. Christ became a servant to the circumcised.
    9. Who are the circumcised? The Jewish people. Going all the way back to Genesis 17:10-14 the Jewish people have been required to circumcise their males.
    10. So, Christ came as a servant to Israel.
    11. For what purpose: to show God’s truthfulness.
    12. Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah.
    13. Jesus confirmed all of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are identified as the patriarchs.
    14. This continues into verse 9. Paul is about to mix together Jesus’ purpose to the Jews and to the gentiles.
  2. Paul uses the Old Testament to show God’s promises to the gentiles (verses 9-12).
    • Read with me verses 9-12, Romans 15:9-12: and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
    • Verse 9 continues on from verse 8. Christ had a further purpose.
    • MacArthur: To show that God’s plan has always been to bring Jew and Gentile alike into His kingdom and to soften the prejudice of Christian Jews against their Gentile brothers, Paul quotes from the Law, the Prophets, and twice from the Psalms—all the recognized divisions of the OT—proving God’s plan from their own Scriptures.[3]
    • Christ had a purpose that the gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.
    • “as it is written…” This means Paul is about to quote the Old Testament.
    • Verse 9 quotes: 2 Sam 22:50; Ps 18:49: God will receive praise among the gentiles. If you look up that passage and the following in your Old Testament you will find out that most of the time it is translated as nations. Gentiles are all those nations other than Israel. In Ps 18:49 the Messiah stands among converted Gentiles and offers their praise, along with his own, to the Father.[4]
    • Romans 15:10 Quoted from Dt 32:43. Rejoicing from the gentiles with His people. This would be Jewish people rejoicing with gentiles.
    • Romans 15:11 Quoted from Ps 117:1. Again, praising the Lord from the gentiles and all the nations.[5]
    • Romans 15:12 Quoted from Is 11:10. root of Jesse. A way of referring to Jesus as the descendant of David, and thus of David’s father Jesse.[6] From the descendants of David there will be a ruler over the gentiles, and He will give the gentiles hope. This is clearly about Jesus.
    • Paul strung together these Old Testament quotes in order to show that God is being consistent with His Word.
    • Paul’s prayer (verse 13)
    • Read with me verse 13, Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
    • It seems that in this verse Paul is back to his prayer from verses 5-6.
    • This is really more of an exhortation.
    • He identifies God as the God of hope.
    • Is our hope in God?
    • Is our hope for salvation in God?
    • Is Jesus our ultimate hope? Is He your daily hope?
    • Someone wrote: Someone without hope lives without a sail to drive him, without ballast to stabilize him, without a rudder to guide him, without an anchor to hold him. In every relationship, he is driven by the stormy winds of disappointment, conflict, and self-pity. But we hope in God. If that hope is real, it will slowly erode, and then wash away, the awful bricks sin builds between us in love.[7]
    • Paul asks that God, the God of hope, fills them with all joy and peace…
    • Do you have joy in Jesus?
    • Do you have peace in Jesus?
    • Paul asks that the God of hope fills them with all joy and peace in believing…
    • Luther comments that “the Apostle places joy first and then peace, because it is joy that gives peace to men, engendering it in their hearts” (Romans, 198–99).[8]
    • Are you believing?
    • Then Paul gives a purpose.
    • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, [and here is the purpose] so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
    • Wow!
    • Through the power of the Holy Spirit… There is power in the Holy Spirit.
    • Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, he asks that they abound in hope.
    • God is the God of hope.
    • God fills them with all joy and peace in believing.
    • The joy and peace are connected with believing. Believing what? John 3:16 and what he has written about Jesus saving Jews and gentiles.
    • Again, let’s continue to break down verse 13, I am starting from the beginning again:
    • God is the God of hope.
    • God fills them with all joy and peace in believing.
    • Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit Paul asks that they abound in hope.
    • We get the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not get just a little bit of hope, but Paul prays that they abound in hope.
    • We also get the hope by God filling us with joy and peace in believing, but this all comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Applications:
    1. Don’t look down on anyone because Jesus is the Savior of all who believe.
    2. Remember that the previous chapters have been about conscious issues. Now, Paul is bringing this to a conclusion that Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is our hope. This is true of the Jews and the gentiles.
    3. We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order to show God’s truthfulness (verse 8).
    4. We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs (verse 8).
    5. We must be encouraged that Christ came as a servant to the Jewish people in order that the gentiles might glorify God for His mercy (verse 9).
    6. We must see these Scriptures from verses 9-12 and remember that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    7. God has acted in a way that is consistent with His Word.
    8. May God be our hope (verse 13).
    9. May God fill us with all joy and peace (verse 13).
    10. May we receive this joy and peace because we are believing the promises of God (verse 13).
    11. May we seek the power of the Holy Spirit through believing the promises of God so that we abound in hope (verse 13).

Christians come together in unity and we make a difference:

In 2011 New York Times editorialist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column praising the work of many evangelical Christians. Kristof begins by noting that at times evangelical leaders act hypocritically and don’t reflect Christ. However, he also goes on to write:

But in reporting on poverty, disease and oppression, I’ve seen so many others. Evangelicals are disproportionately likely to donate 10 percent of their incomes to charities, mostly church-related. More important, go to the front lines, at home or abroad, in the battles against hunger, malaria, prison, rape, obstetric fistula, human trafficking or genocide, and some of the bravest people you meet are evangelical Christians (or conservative Catholics, similar in many ways) who truly live their faith.

I’m not particularly religious myself, but I stand in awe of those I’ve seen risking their lives in this way—and it sickens me to see that faith mocked at New York cocktail parties.[9]

Pray


[1] Philip Yancey, “Denominational Diagnostics,” Christianity Today (November 2008), p. 119

[2] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 343.

[3] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:9–12.

[4] Paige Patterson, “Salvation in the Old Testament,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1804.

LXX Septuagint

MT Masoretic Text

[5] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004).

[6] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:10–12.

[7] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-love-the-hard-to-love?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=80509707&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–pckFz68aJvhZnx0cZIBjtVMMnaQZ_K7FpaaB8RYlVr9yhY9d7smR7L8L4bBa9WBwaNotedH0WjopFkgDPuITpLgoWcQ&_hsmi=80509707

[8] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995).

[9] Source: Nicholas D. Kristof, “Evangelicals Without Blowhards,” The New York Times (7-30-11)

The Example of Christ (Romans 15:1-7)

The Example of Christ (Romans 15:1-7)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24, 2021

Joni Eareckson Tada shares:

My husband, Ken, serves as a track-and-field coordinator for Special Olympics. There is always band music, colorful banners, and flags everywhere. Scattered across the infield are teams of mentally disabled young people.

A few years ago at the games, Ken blew his whistle to signal the contestants for the 50-yard dash. A girl with Down syndrome with thick glasses and a short, stocky boy in baggy shorts were the first to line up. There was a moment of stillness, then a “bang” from the starting gun. Off they sprinted six contestants bobbing and weaving down the track.

Suddenly the boy in baggy shorts began running toward his friends in the infield. Ken blew his whistle to direct him back to the track, but it was no use. At that point, the girl with Down syndrome, who was just a few yards from the finish line, turned around, ran toward him, and gave him a big hug. Together they got back on the track and completed the race arm-in-arm, long after the rest of the contestants had crossed the finish line.

We must run the race not to please ourselves, but to please the Lord. That often means taking time to stop and put our arms around a weaker friend who needs to get back on track.

Have you watched a fellow believer get spiritually confused, and yet you’ve kept on going? Jesus doesn’t seem as preoccupied with “winning” as we do. The important thing is how we run the race. And we are called to run it, bearing with the failings of those who are weak.[1]

We are going to talk about a passage that deals with that subject; we must love and support each other.

My theme today is:

We are to accept others following Christ’s example.

  1. The example of Christ (verses 1-4)
    1. Witherington III: Origen offers a telling comment on this section of Paul’s discourse: “Eating meat and drinking wine are matters of indifference in themselves. Even wicked people may abstain from these things, and some idol worshipers, in fact, do so, for reasons which are actually evil. Likewise quite a few heretics enjoin similar practices. The only reason abstinence of this kind is good is that it may help to avoid offending a brother.”[2]
    2. Let’s read verse 1 (Romans 15:1): We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
    3. Remember that in context Paul has been talking about conscious issues. Paul has been encouraging them to respect their conscious and respect the conscious of each other.
    4. The conscious issues they are dealing with seem to be either Jewish dietary laws or food sacrificed to idols. Paul had said that as Christians they are free to eat the meat, but if their conscious is not comfortable with it then follow their conscious.
    5. Paul has encouraged them to respect each other.
    6. In Romans 14:13 Paul said never to put a stumbling block in front of another.
    7. So, now Paul continues this discussion.
    8. Paul says “We who are strong…” What does he mean? The strong are those that feel free to eat without following Jewish practices. Paul includes himself among the strong.
    9. Paul says they have an “obligation” strong term, they have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak.
    10. It seems that the lack of a true understanding of the weak is viewed as a failing. The weak feel that they must follow certain dietary laws because they do not know better.
    11. Paul says that they are not to please themselves.
    12. MacArthur: to bear: The word means “to pick up and carry a weight.” It is used of carrying a pitcher of water (Mk 14:13), of carrying a man (Ac 21:35), and figuratively of bearing an obligation (Ac 15:10). The strong are not to simply tolerate the weaknesses of their weaker brothers; they are to help the weak shoulder their burdens by showing loving and practical consideration for them (Gal 6:2; cf. 1Co 9:19–22; Php 2:2–4).[3]
    13. Look at verse 2, Romans 15:2: Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
    14. So, instead of pleasing ourselves, each of us is to please his neighbor, why? For his good. Of course, “his” could also be “her.”
    15. We are to be about building up our neighbor.
    16. In Luke 10:30-37 Jesus answered “Who is my neighbor” with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
    17. Now, verse 3, Romans 15:3: For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
    18. So, now we have the example of Christ.
    19. Christ did not please himself. Now, he quotes the Old Testament with “as it is written.”
    20. That is a quote from Psalm 69:9.
    21. Reproaches of those who reproached God fell upon Him.
    22. MacArthur: “Reproaches” refers to slander, false accusations, and insults. Men hate God, and they manifested that same hate toward the One He sent to reveal Himself (cf. Jn 1:10, 11, 18).[4]
    23. Let’s look at verse 4, Romans 15:4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
    24. So, he gives the example of Jesus and then talked about former days. Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.
    25. Through endurance and encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.
    26. Do you ever think about endurance?
    27. Do we endure through hard times while walking with the Lord?
    28. The Christian life is a marathon, not a short race. We must have endurance to keep going.
    29. Endurance gives us hope. Enduring through difficult times gives us hope.
    30. Also, encouragement of the Scriptures gives us hope.
    31. Are you in the Bible?
    32. The Word of God is endorsed here for our encouragement.
    33. Do you have hope, do you need hope?
    34. Read the Bible and focus on endurance.
  2. Paul’s prayer for the people (verses 5-7)
    1. Verses 5-6 read, Romans 15:5-6,: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2. Let’s break down these two verses. Now, Paul has a request: May the God of endurance– remember we just talked about endurance- and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another. So, Paul considers it important that we are in harmony with one another. That is why he has been saying not to argue over dietary issues.
    3. Paul continues, and this is VERY important. Live in harmony with one another, IN ACCORD WITH CHRIST JESUS. That is very important. They are to live in harmony with each other in Christ.
    4. To use another church metaphor, Christ is the groom, and we are the bride.
    5. But Paul is not finished yet. We are to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus with the purpose that with one voice we glorify God the Father.
    6. MacArthur: God and Father: This expression emphasizes the deity of Christ. Jesus is not an adopted son of God; He is of the same essential being and nature as God. This is such an important connection that it appears frequently in the NT (2Co 1:3; 11:31; Eph 1:3; Col 1:3; 1Pe 1:3).[5]
    7. Isn’t that powerful? Are we united in harmony?
    8. In Harmony we worship the Lord (Rev 7:9-10).
    9. We come together and worship the Lord with one voice.
    10. I love it when I can look out on the congregation, and everyone is worshipping the Lord with one voice.
    11. Now, look at verse 7, Romans 15:7: Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
    12. We might say, “Any friend of his is a friend of mine.”[6]
    13. This verse wraps it up.
    14. Welcome one another.
    15. Christ has welcomed you.
    16. Christ welcomed you for the glory of God.
    17. Some translations say “accept one another to the glory of God.”
    18. ESV Study Bible: Such mutual acceptance will bring great glory to God.[7]
  3. Applications:
    1. We who are more mature in our understanding must bear with the failings of the weak.
    2. This is about conscious issues. This is NOT about specific things that the Bible is very clear.
    3. In matters of conscious we must not flaunt our freedom. We must love and support one another. This is very clear. We have an obligation to bear the failings of the weak.
    4. We must all think of how to build up our neighbor (verse 2).
    5. Our neighbor includes our enemy (Luke 10:29-37).
    6. We must really think of how to build up our neighbor. Do we do this? Do we really think about how to build up others?
    7. Christ did not please Himself (verse 3).
    8. We must be in the Scriptures (verse 4).
      1. Are we lacking in our Bible time?
      2. Are we meditating on the Scriptures?
      3. Are we ruminating on the Scriptures?
      4. Are we studying the Scriptures in Sunday School/small groups, etc.
      5. Those of you who are not in Sunday School, why not? Are you in a small group to take the place of Sunday School? Someone once told me he did not like any of our adult classes. My thought was, “So you are saying that no Sunday School is better than a class you do not like.”
      6. We must be in the Word and in the Word with the community of Christians.
    9. We must focus on persevering in the Christian life. We must focus on endurance (verse 4).
    10. Are we living in harmony with other Christians? Do we realize how much it glorifies God when we worship in unity (verses 5-6)?
    11. We must welcome others as Christ has welcomed us (verse 7).

Dr Witherington III shares:

Philip Hallie’s Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed recounts a story of the transforming, subversive power of shared living—what the author terms a “kitchen struggle”:89 Nineteen hundred years after Paul wrote Romans, André Trocmé, a Huguenot pastor in the village of Le Chambon in the Haute-Loire region of France, underscored the recognition of commonality. Refusing to ostracize the Jews of France despite their religious “otherness,” he affirmed, “We do not know what a Jew is. We know only men.”90 Pohl asserts, “When, by acknowledging difference, we only endanger, then we must only acknowledge our common human identity.”91 Trocmé’s commitment and that of his village to such a way of living made Le Chambon the safest place in Europe for Jews during WWII. Through the subversive practice of Christian hospitality, a kitchen conspiracy of goodness, this small, impoverished village of three thousand in occupied France saved an estimated five thousand Jewish refugees from the Nazi extermination camps. Like the Israelites before them, the Huguenots of Le Chambon recalled their own history of persecution and realized that Christian faith demanded a refusal to participate in oppression and violence, always the first fruits of focusing on differences.[8]

Prayer


[1] Devotion 05.26.2021

[2] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 345.

[3] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:1.

[4] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:3.

[5] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 15:6.

[6] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 261.

[7] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2182.

89 Philip Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed (New York: HarperPerennial, 1994), p. 9.

90 Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, p. 170.

91 Pohl, Making Room, p. 83.

[8] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 348.

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble (Romans 14:13-23)

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble (Romans 14:13-23).

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17, 2021

It was 2018. I was ready to start my first and my only Tough Mudder competition. This is a 10 mile competition with super muddy obstacles. It is something in which you work as a team. So, one has to work with others to climb over 10 foot walls and crawl through mud under barbed wire. There are obstacles in which one is literally swimming through mud. I wore old shoes because I knew how muddy it would be. That was a mistake. I was at the starting line. It was crowded. It was sunny and it was hot. I look down and I see that the toe of my shoe was split open. I asked around for duct tape and no one had any, so I tied my shoelaces around it. I go through the first obstacle okay. The second obstacle was one in which we run and jump to climb over a wall. There were things sticking out of the wall to hold onto. I run and as I go to grab hold of the wall my foot slams into the wall. That would have been okay, but the toe was now opened. I got over the wall. But my toe was broken. I kept going and by the 3rd or 4th mile I was swimming through mud and got mud splashed into my eye. To make matters worse I had contact lenses in. My brother was ahead of me trying to pull me out, but I could not see. My eye was burning and my toe was throbbing. I had to reach into my eye and pull the contact lens out, throwing it on the ground. It is probably still there. Maybe they will find it in an archaeological dig in the future. At mile 5 I left the competition.

What I just described was a competition in which I experienced multiple “Stumbling blocks.” These caused me to exit the competition before the finish line. In today’s passage Paul will exhort the Christians not to cause a stumbling block in another Christian’s path.

My theme today is:

Do not cause another to stumble.

  1. Do not cause another to stumble (Verses 13-15).
    1. In Romans 14 Paul began to talk about conscious issues.
    2. Last week we talked about that. Paul was talking about disagreements about whether it was okay to eat certain meats. It seems that the issue was whether or not it was okay to eat food sacrificed to idols. Though some think it could have to do with Jewish dietary laws. Some, who Paul calls “the strong,” thought it was okay to eat food sacrificed to idols and not follow the dietary laws. Others, Paul calls “the weak,” thought it was not okay. Yet, Paul calls everyone to live at peace with one another. Paul continues that idea in these verses.
    3. Remember, last week I shared that Paul is saying that we are not to judge in matters of conscious.
    4. Let’s read verses 13-15, Romans 14:13-15: 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. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For 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.
    5. Paul says, “let us” and this is including himself. We are not to pass judgment on one another.
    6. We are not to put a stumbling block in the way of another.
    7. Paul gets more specific; we are also not to put a hindrance in the way of another.
    8. What is a stumbling block? Obviously, that would be something that makes a person stumble.
    9. I have ran many nights after dark. There have been at least a handful of times that I have stumbled on uneven sidewalks. That is what I think of when I read these verses.
    10. We do not want to make another stumble.
    11. We do not want to hinder their faith. We do not want to put an obstacle in another’s faith. “Hindrance” could be translated as “obstacle” or “snare.” I was fishing with Mercedes and she thought she caught a big fish. No, she caught a big rock. That is a snare.
    12. We do not want conscious issues to be a snare in someone’s faith journey.
    13. We do not want conscious issues to be a stumbling block in someone’s faith journey.
    14. Paul said something similar in 1 Cor. 8:13.
    15. In verse 14, Paul shares truth. He knows, and he is persuaded by the Lord, that nothing is unclean in itself. The food is technically clean. However, if someone thinks it is unclean, then for them it is a conscious issue which they must take seriously.
    16. In 1 Cor. 8:7 Paul builds on this.
    17. Later in verse 20 of this same chapter Paul will explain more of why this matters.
    18. In verse 15 Paul starts the “why” question which we will continue in the next point.
    19. We do not want to destroy a relationship. We do not want to harm someone’s faith. If we flaunt our freedom then we harm someone’s faith and Christ died for that person.
  2. Remember love (verses 16-18).
    1. Let’s read verses 16-18, Romans 14:16-18: So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
    2. It seems now Paul is exhorting them to move beyond these things.
    3. So, do not let what is spoken of as good, what would that be? That would be the meat that some are offended by. Don’t let that be spoken of as evil. Why would that be? It would be spoken of as evil because it harms a relationship. Further, the other person’s conscious considers the meat as evil.
    4. In verse 17 Paul says the Kingdom of God is way more than that.
    5. Paul shares what the Kingdom of God is NOT and then what the Kingdom of God is.
    6. What is the Kingdom of God? I like how one person defined the Kingdom of God: God’s people in God’s place under God’s universal ruler, King Jesus, whose unique earthly ministry announces the already inaugurated but not yet consummated Kingdom of God/heaven.[2]
    7. The Kingdom of God is NOT eating and drinking. Moody: Drinking anticipates drinking wine in v. 21. Wine was used as libations in the temples, and Jewish believers refused to purchase and drink wine just as they did meat.[3]
    8. Here Paul says the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
    9. The Kingdom of God is not what they are arguing over.
    10. The Kingdom of God is about righteousness. This is pursuing living God’s way and recognizing that Jesus has made us righteous.
    11. The Kingdom of God is about peace.
    12. Paul has been exhorting them to be at peace with one another.
    13. The Kingdom of God is about joy, but the joy is in the Holy Spirit.
    14. Verse 18: whoever serves Christ… this means whether they eat the meat or not, is acceptable to Him and approved.
    15. So, Paul is telling them both sides are okay in this matter.
    16. Paul is telling them to let this go.
  3. Pursue peace (verses 19-23).
    1. Let’s read verses 19-23, Romans 14:19-23: So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 20Do 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. 21It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The 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. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
    2. Verse 19 encapsulates this whole argument.
    3. Paul makes an inference, “so then…”
    4. “pursue peace…” Now, that is a way to live, isn’t it?
    5. How many of us pursue peace?
    6. Paul then gives more detail about how to pursue peace. He gets more practical. Pursue what makes for mutual upbuilding.
    7. How are we doing with this?
    8. Are we critical of others?
    9. Are we trying to build one another up?
    10. In verse 20 Paul gives the truth again. Everything is clean, remember verse 14? In verse 14, he said something similar to what he shares now.
    11. IVP: The issue here is not eating meat or drinking wine per se, but that Gentile meat (suspected of having been offered to idols or not having the blood properly drained) and Gentile drink (some of it possibly used for libations to gods) were suspect to Jews. But like a good rhetorician, Paul calls his readers to concede his point even in the most extreme case, requiring abstinence from all meat or wine (and if it applies to the extreme, “how much more”—following a standard style of argument—to all lesser cases). (Although some Jewish groups abstained from wine for periods of time—Num 6:3; cf. Jer 35:5–6—diluted wine was a normal part of meals; thus the language here is probably hyperbolic.)[5]
    12. Do not… this is a command.
    13. “For the sake of food…” In other words, there are more important matters to champion. But look at the rest. For the sake of food, do not destroy the work of God. Wow! God is at work and when we argue and separate over conscious issues, we are hurting what God is doing.
    14. Even though it is clean it is wrong to make someone stumble.
      1. Now, I want to spend a few minutes on this verse.
      2. It is wrong to knowingly make someone stumble.
      3. I don’t think Paul expected them to go to the marketplace looking around and self conscious that they would make someone stumble.
      4. A contemporary example might be if you know someone is offended by alcohol don’t drink alcohol in front of them. Or, if you know someone is an alcoholic don’t drink alcohol in front of them. Don’t do anything that would trigger their alcohol addiction.
      5. However, I have heard people take this too far. One person might think they are free to drink alcohol and said person only has 1 glass of wine. However, others would say they better not even buy alcohol because suppose the cashier is offended by it.
      6. That is not the point of this passage. We ought not to knowingly be a stumbling block.
    15. Verse 21 goes into more detail. If meat is a stumbling block, or wine, or anything, don’t partake.
    16. We willingly alter our pace of walking while leading a small child by the hand so he or she will not stumble. How much more should we be willing to alter our Christian walk for the benefit of a weaker brother or sister in Christ whom we are leading.[6]
    17. Verse 22: This is interesting. The faith you have keep between you and God. In other words, if you feel that you have the freedom, keep it between you and God.
    18. Blessed… that is nice. Blessed is the man who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. In other words, blessed is the one walking blamelessly, not causing strife.
    19. Verse 23: whatever does not come from faith is sin. In other words, if someone’s conscious says it is wrong, they must abstain.
    20. Cicero (De Officiis 1.30) says: “It is an excellent rule that they give who urge us not to do a thing, when there is doubt whether it is right or wrong; for righteousness shines with a brilliance of its own, but doubt is a sign that we are thinking of a possible wrong.”[7]
    21. “Faith” here as in verses 1 and 22 does not refer to the teachings of Christianity but to what a person believes to be the will of God for him. If a person does what he believes to be wrong, even though it is not wrong in itself, it becomes sin for him. He has violated what he believes to be God’s will. His action has become an act of rebellion against God for him.[8]
  4. Applications:
    1. We must not cause harm over conscious issues.
    2. We must not be judgmental of another believer over things that the Bible does not clearly condemn.
    3. If someone does not feel free to eat or drink certain substances we must respect them.
    4. At the same time, we must understand that we are not bound by a law, and all things are clean (Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Timothy 4:4).
    5. We must be walking in love and be less critical (verse 15).
    6. We must not allow the freedom to be spoken of as evil because of our lack of love (verse 16).
    7. We must seek God’s Kingdom, knowing that God’s Kingdom is about right living, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (verse 17).
    8. We must be seeking peace (verse 17).
    9. We must be seeking peace more than discord (verse 17).
    10. We must be walking by the Spirit (verse 17 and Galatians 5:22-23).
    11. Verses 19-23 seem to be a restatement for emphasis and that reminds us of how important these matters are.
    12. We must not destroy the work of God, in other words because trivial matters harm what God is doing in a believer’s life.
    13. We must obey our conscious so long as it accords with Scripture (verse 23). Further, we must not cause another person to go against his or her conscious.

I began this message talking about the Tough Mudder. The Tough Mudder is a competition that tries to put stumbling blocks in the path of each person. There is one in which you slide down into ice water. There is another one in which you get electrocuted. My brother is crazy, he has finished three of them! I, on the other hand, have competed in normal races. I have ran 10k’s and 5k’s and three marathons. In those races we run with no unnatural obstacles. The Christian life is a marathon and the goal, in the Christian life, is that we try not to put stumbling blocks in each other’s spiritual lives.

Pray.


[1] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 339.

[2] Dr. White, Cedarville University Chapel message on 09.17.2021

v. verse

[3] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1768.

[4] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995).

[5] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 14:20–21.

[6] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 14:21.

[7] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 341.

[8] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 14:23.

Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another (Romans 14:1-12)

Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another (Romans 14:1-12)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10, 2021

Jefferson shared:

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.[1]

In Colson’s book “Who Speaks for God” he writes about a 60 minutes interview with Mike Wallace and Yehiel De-Nur. De-Nur was a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor. He spent 2 years at Auschwitz. In 1961 at the Nuremberg trials, on June 7, 1961 he came in the courtroom for the Eichmann trial.

In his opening statement, Dinur presented a different opinion about the Holocaust than other well-known Holocaust writers (such as Elie Wiesel), by presenting the Holocaust as a unique and out-of-this-world event, saying: “I do not see myself as a writer who writes literature. This is a chronicle from the planet Auschwitz. I was there for about two years. The time there is not the same as it is here, on Earth. (…) And the inhabitants of this planet had no names. They had no parents and no children. They did not wear [clothes] the way they wear here. They were not born there and did not give birth… They did not live according to the laws of the world here and did not die. Their name was the number K. Tzetnik.”[5]

After saying so, De-Nur collapsed and gave no further testimony.

In an interview on 60 Minutes, aired 6 February 1983, De-Nur recounted the incident of his fainting at the Eichmann trial to host Mike Wallace.

Was Dinur overcome by hatred? Fear? Horrid memories? No; it was none of these. Rather, as Dinur explained to Wallace, all at once he realized Eichmann was not the god-like army officer who had sent so many to their deaths. This Eichmann was an ordinary man. “I was afraid about myself,” said Dinur. “… I saw that I am capable to do this. I am … exactly like he.”[2]

Again: In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.[3]

Today, we look at a passage dealing with style, not principle. But we must realize how corrupt and evil we can be.

My theme today is:

We are not to judge other believers regarding matters of conscious.

  1. Don’t pass judgment on one another (verses1-8).
    1. So, we have been going through Romans. Last week we talked about fulfilling the royal law, that is to love one another. Now, Paul continues how to love.
    2. Verse 1 seems to be more of a summary. Verse 1 reads (Romans 14:1): As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
    3. What does he mean by weak in faith? He will tell us in a few minutes. This is going to be about conscious issues.
    4. Paul knew that we have the freedom. It seems that this is really about eating food sacrificed to idols. One source shares: The weak were Jewish believers who felt that eating meat offered to a false god was an act of idolatry, so they ate vegetables only (v. 2).[4]
    5. This subject is addressed again in 1 Corinthians chapters 8-10. As part of a seminary class, I read someone’s dissertation on this topic.
    6. Paul believes as Christians they have the freedom to eat the food sacrificed to idols, but this does not mean participating in the idolatrous practice. In 1 Corinthians 10:25 Paul writes about eating meat that was sold at the market place.
    7. Regardless, I believe the principle is to welcome others. Paul says, the one who is weak in faith welcome him. But notice the rest of the passage, “not to quarrel over opinions.” Paul says welcome him, but don’t quarrel.
    8. LET IT GO.
    9. It needs to be noted that what Paul is writing about here concerns matters of conscious. This is NOT about things where the Scripture is very clear. If we talk to a brother or sister in Christ about something commanded in Scripture God is the judge and we are merely the mouthpiece.
    10. Again, the Moody Bible Commentary informs us: Food was offered in honor of the gods, and surplus fare was sold to the markets to provide income for the priests and maintain the temples. Gentile believers had the conviction (faith) that it was permissible to eat this meat. Paul directed the stronger Gentile believers to fellowship with Jewish believers, but not to coerce them to adopt the stronger brother’s position (v. 1).[5]
    11. Don’t judge based on diet (verses 2-4).
    12. Look at verse 2 (Romans 14:2): One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.
    13. Why does the weak person eat only vegetables? It is because the weak person believes that it is wrong to eat meat sold in the marketplace that had been part of a sacrifice to demons. In 1 Corinthians 8-10 Paul says that they are free to eat. But here Paul is saying not to judge one another. If another’s conscious does not allow it, that is fine.
    14. Look at verse 3 (Romans 14:3): 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.
    15. Paul is giving more detail of what he introduced in verse 1. Don’t despise one another. Don’t judge the person who eats the meat sacrificed to idols (gentiles), God has welcomed him.
    16. Look now at verse 4 (Romans 14:4): 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.
    17. He is now asking questions. We are not in a place to pass judgment. It is before his own master that he stands or falls. The Lord will make him stand.  
    18. Don’t judge based on days (verses 5-6).
    19. Look at verse 5 (Romans 14:5): 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.
    20. Now, Paul switches to days.
    21. He says that each person must be convinced in his own mind. It appears that Jewish people thought they had to follow sabbath days and certain holy days, though the gentiles did not feel obligated to do so.  
    22. The Bible does not give a direct command on this issue.
    23. Look at verse 6 (Romans 14:6): 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.
    24. Paul is saying that they both want to honor the Lord. The one who observes the day, observes in honor of the Lord. The one who eats meat gives thanks to God; therefore, honoring the Lord. The one abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord.
    25. The reason: we belong to the Lord (verses 7-9).
    26. Look at verse 7 (Romans 14:7): For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.
    27. We don’t live for ourselves. We are not to live for ourselves. We must always live for the Lord.
    28. Look at verse 8 (Romans 14:8): 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.
    29. That is self-explanatory. Whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s.
    30. Then, look at verse 9 (Romans 14:9): For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
    31. Christ died and He lived again, through the resurrection. This is so that He is Lord of the dead and the living. What does that mean? He is Lord on both sides of eternity.
  2. Every believer will be judged by the Savior (verses 10-12).
    1. Now look at verse 10 (Romans 14:10): 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
    2. Paul is now appealing to the ultimate judge, God.
    3. NET Bible: The judgment seat (βῆμα, bēma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a familiar item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city.[12]
    4. Look at verses 11-12 (Romans 14:11-12): for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
    5.  “as it is written” signals an Old Testament quotation.
    6. Every knee shall bow to God. Every tongue shall confess to God.
    7. This is a quote from Isaiah 45:23.
    8. Verse 12: we will all give an account to God.
    9. Dr. Constable points out: There is a strong emphasis on recognizing Jesus’ lordship in our lives in these verses. The word “Lord” occurs seven times in verses 5–9.[14]
  3. Applications:
    1. We are not to pass judgment regarding matters of conscious.
    2. This means if someone believes they must follow Jewish dietary practices (verses 1-4), we must not look down upon that person.
    3. If one person believes they are to follow other ascetic dietary practices (verses 1-4), we must not look down on them (some believe this could have to do with people who followed certain ascetic practices).
    4. If one believes they are okay to eat not following those practices they must be careful not to look down on others (verses 1-4).
    5. If one believes they should observe Saturday, or Sunday, as holy we must not look down upon them (verses 5-8).
    6. If one (the strong) believes they are free from observance of certain days they must not look down on others (verses 5-8).
    7. We must do whatever we do in honor of the Lord (verse 6).
    8. We must live for the Lord (verse 8).
      1. Are we living for the Lord?
      2. Are we organizing our affairs around the Lord?
      3. Are we making Jesus Lord of our life?
      4. What is in the center of our life?
      5. Jesus must be the center. Oftentimes we put our self in the center. Imagine your life like the solar system. Oftentimes we put ourselves in the center and everything revolves around self: hobbies revolve around self, sports revolve around self, job revolves around self, family revolves around self, church and Jesus revolves around self. If that is our life what can happen? You get busy and your relationship with Jesus can easily spin off of our mini-solar system. What needs to happen is that Jesus is in the middle COMBINED with self. Everything revolves around Jesus.
    9. We must recognize we will all submit to God as the ultimate judge (verses 9-12).
    10. We must not judge one another concerning matters of conscious.
    11. If the Word of God is clear about something anytime we talk about anything we must quote Scripture.
    12. We can easily substitute other things in place of days and food. What about alcohol? I was taught that Christians are not to drink alcohol. This was wrongful Bible teaching based off an inaccurate teaching that the alcohol in the Bible was non-fermented. Upon a little bit of study, I soon realized that was a wrong teaching. This passage is saying don’t judge someone regarding that. Now, don’t misunderstand, the Bible is clear about drunkenness. The Bible clearly calls that very sinful, but if someone drinks in clear and careful moderation that is not wrong. Don’t think someone is a better Christian because they have liberty to have a glass of wine with dinner, or because they abstain.
    13. We can apply other things. We can indirectly apply this to how one dresses for worship. Right, one thinks they must dress up, another thinks they are free to wear shorts to church.
    14. We can apply this to other sensitive topics. Vaccines… Facial coverings… In these cases, we are indirectly applying this principle. The principle is being applied.  
    15. The point is clear: DO NOT JUDGE ON MATTERS OF CONSCIOUS.

Again, from Jefferson: In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.[15]

Remember the illustration from the beginning of this message?

Yehiel De-Nur. De-Nur was a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor. He spent 2 years at Auschwitz. In 1961 at the Nuremberg trials, on June 7, 1961 he came in the courtroom for the Eichmann trial.

He gave testimony and then collapsed. Why?

Was Dinur overcome by hatred? Fear? Horrid memories? No; it was none of these. Rather, as Dinur explained to Wallace, all at once he realized Eichmann was not the god-like army officer who had sent so many to their deaths. This Eichmann was an ordinary man. “I was afraid about myself,” said Dinur. “… I saw that I am capable to do this. I am … exactly like he.”[16]

Dallas Willard was answering “why are Christians so mean”? He said we are mean because we think we have to be right. So, we must settle down and not quarrel over things not commanded in Scripture.

The Scriptures from Romans 12:9-10:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Prayer


[1] Thomas Jefferson, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

[2] Swindoll shared the illustration. I tried to find it in writing but could only find wikipedia. I think it is accurate since Swindoll also quoted it (Insight for Living 09.08.2021).

[3] Thomas Jefferson, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

 

[4] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1767.

v. verse

[5] Ibid.

[6] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 14:2.

[7] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 14:2.

[8] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-not-to-correct-a-fellow-christian?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=131213461&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9_Z88-JEcVlIoZninEQCskcovWMMH8B57fDjiVKq9IYZkgjIl27rRYg0I8CSLt87LUedMJUkGVUmqADl5aqQBx3qbOLQ&utm_content=131213461&utm_source=hs_email

 

[9] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1767.

[10] Paige Patterson, “Salvation in the Old Testament,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1802.

[11] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 14:9.

[12] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ro 14:7–10.

[13] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-not-to-correct-a-fellow-christian?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=131213461&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9_Z88-JEcVlIoZninEQCskcovWMMH8B57fDjiVKq9IYZkgjIl27rRYg0I8CSLt87LUedMJUkGVUmqADl5aqQBx3qbOLQ&utm_content=131213461&utm_source=hs_email

[14] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 14:12.

[15] Thomas Jefferson, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

[16] Swindoll shared the illustration. I tried to find it in writing but could only find wikipedia. I think it is accurate since Swindoll also quoted it (Insight for Living 09.08.2021).

Fulfilling the Royal Law (Romans 13:8-14)

Fulfilling the Royal Law (Romans 13:8-14)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3, 2021

Do you ever think about Christian conduct? How are we to behave?

Our conduct is to be decent and honorable (v. 13). It must be acceptable in the open light of day. One example is Augustine. In his Confessions Augustine tells of his conversion to Christianity (viii.12). In a.d. 386, at a time when he was deeply moved by a desire to break from his old way of living, he sat weeping in the garden of a friend in Milan. Suddenly he heard a child singing Tolle, lege! Tolle, lege! (“Take up and read! Take up and read!”). He picked up a scroll lying there, and his eyes fell on Rom 13:13–14, “Not in orgies and drunkenness …” Immediately his heart was flooded with a clear light, and the darkness of doubt vanished. No other theologian has made a greater contribution to the theology of the Western world.[1]

The passage today talks about these ideas.

My theme today is:

Christian living means loving our neighbor and clothing ourselves with Jesus, making no provision for the flesh.

  1. Owe love to others (verses 8-10).
    1. Let’s read verses 8-10: Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For 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.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
    2. Paul had just been writing about being submissive to authorities and now he begins to write about motivation. What motivates us, and how do we respond? Love must motivate us.
    3. We must owe loves.
    4. ESV Study note: Verses 8–10 focus on the Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic law. Owe no one anything links back to v. 7, and thus the command does not prohibit all borrowing but means that one should always “pay what is owed” (see v. 7), fulfilling whatever repayment agreements have been made. The debt one never ceases paying is the call to love one another. Indeed, love fulfills what the Mosaic law demands.[3]
    5. New American Commentary: The Christian is to allow no debt to remain outstanding except the one that can never be paid off—“the debt to love one another.”76 The obligation to love has no limit. We are to love not only those of the family of God but our “fellowman” as well. As God’s love extended to all, so must our concern reach out to believer and nonbeliever alike (cf. Matt 5:44–45).[4]
    6. We must love.
    7. What do we owe? Do we owe service? Do we owe money? Do we owe Bible teaching? No, this passage says that we owe love.
    8. For the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Jesus said this (Matthew 22:38-40). James 2:8 is very similar as well.
    9. In verse 9 Paul lists some of the ten commandments (see Ex. 20:13ff and Deut 5:17ff) and says they are summed up in “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    10. Paul lists 4 of the commandments dealing with human relations.
    11. You shall love your neighbor as yourself comes from: Lev 19:18; Matt 19:19.
    12. Remember in Luke 10 Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus responded with the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). The Good Samaritan served his enemy and so even our enemy is our neighbor.  
    13. In verse 10, Romans 13:10, he says that love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
    14. If we love someone, we do not make fun of them. If we love someone, we do not harm them physically. If we love someone, we do not try to have competing comments that are one-uppers. If we love someone, we care about them. If we love someone, we want them to know Jesus. If we love someone, we won’t cheat them out of money. If we love someone, we want the best for their children.
    15. Think of how you feel if something bad happens to your children. Go further, think of your children as a young, innocent, vulnerable child, how did you feel if they were mocked or harmed? We should strive to love everyone that way. We, as Christians, ought not to harm anyone. We should try to think of all people like an innocent vulnerable person and then I think we are more likely to love them.
    16. By the way, I think God likely thinks of us that way.
    17. Gal 5:14; James 2:8 are good cross references.
    18. augustine: The rule of love is that one should wish his friend to have all the good things he wants to have himself and should not wish the evils to befall his friend which he wishes to avoid himself. He shows this benevolence to all men. No evil must be done to any. Love of one’s neighbor works no evil. Let us then love even our enemies as we are commanded, if we wish to be truly unconquered. of true religion 87.[5]
  2. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ (verses 11-14).
    1. Now, Paul challenges them to step up. Now, Paul wants them to think in a wartime way. The time is coming for them to wake up in the faith.
    2. Look at verse 11, Romans 13:11: 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.
    3. Do you ever feel like you are sleep walking through the day?
    4. Do you ever drive somewhere and it was such habit you don’t really remember passing certain roads?
    5. Do you ever feel like you are almost in overdrive through life?
    6. Paul is urging us not to live the Christian life like that.
    7. It is time to wake up. This is a common exhortation for Paul: 1 Cor 15:34; Eph 5:14; 1 Thess 5:6.[6]
    8. ESV Study note: Sleep here is a metaphor for a life of moral carelessness and laxity. Salvation is viewed as a future reality here, and it draws nearer every day. the day is at hand. The nearness of the end summons Christians to put off all evil works and to live in the light.[7]
    9. Salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. What does that mean? I think it means Jesus’ coming is getting closer and our death is getting closer.
    10. Verse 12 expands on this, Romans 13:12: 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.
    11. There is often a contrast of light and darkness in the Bible. Darkness is sin, and wrong, and evil. Light is good.
    12. So, we know Jesus, get rid of the works of the flesh, of the devil, of sin, and live for Jesus.
    13. Look at verse 13, Romans 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.
    14. Walk properly… This means walk as Christians. Again, it is daytime, we know Jesus.
    15. Paul lists some of the sinful ways we are not to walk. Don’t walk in orgies and drunkenness.
    16. Don’t walk in sexual immorality.
    17. Don’t walk in sensuality. This is literally debauchery, that is excessive indulgence, sensual pleasures.
    18. Dr. Constable: The practices he urged us to avoid here were common in Corinth where Paul wrote this epistle. He observed them constantly. Intemperance often leads to sexual sin that frequently results in contention and quarreling.[9]
    19. Now, let’s look at verse 14, Romans 13:14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
    20. This verse really sums up verses 11-14.
    21. Put on the Lord Jesus.
    22. It is like we are clothed with Jesus. It is like Jesus is our uniform.
    23. ESV Study note: The metaphor of putting on clothing implies not just imitating Christ’s character but also living in close personal fellowship with him.[10]
    24. This passage is famous for bringing Augustine of Hippo to salvation (Confessions, 8:12.22).[11]
    25. Don’t give the flesh any chance. The flesh is the worldly ways. We are to be different. Why? Because we love one another.
    26. Don’t give the flesh any opportunity to gratify its desires. They are not of God.
    27. This is a common exhortation: Job 29:14; Gal 3:27; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10, 12[12]
  3. Applications:
    1. Do we aim to love another (verse 8)?
    2. Do we realize that we will always owe love to others (verse 8)?
    3. Do we view other people as created in the image of God, or do we objectify people? When we view them as created in the image of God it will help us to love them.
    4. How do we view that waitress and waiter? Chik-Fil-A, that is God’s chicken, once had a training video. It showed people coming up to the counter to order. Over their heads a little bubble was shown that shared what each person faced that day. For example, this person just got news that their husband died. This person’s child was just diagnosed with cancer. This person just got laid off of their job.
    5. We must remember everyone has something they are dealing with and they are all worthy of grace. We need grace too.
    6. We must give up the old ways and clothe ourselves with Christ (verse 14).
    7. This week, try to be less demanding and try to be extra gracious wherever you go. This week give a good tip at a restaurant even when the service is not worthy. This week try to think of others as created in the image of God.

Prayer


[1] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 248.

57 M. Volf, Exclusion and Embrace (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996), p. 276.

[2] Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 320.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2180.

76 Moule says the debt of love is not like a forgotten account that is owed to a lender but like interest on capital that is continuously due and payable (Romans, 358).

[4] Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 245–246.

[5] James Stuart Bell, ed., Ancient Faith Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bibles, 2019), 1409.

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[7] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2180.

[8] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 13:12.

[9] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 13:13.

[10] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2180.

[11] Paige Patterson, “Salvation in the Old Testament,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1802.

[12] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).