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).

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