Scripture Reading: Romans 14:13-23
Our goal to be a part of the Kingdom of God is the believer’s concern, not pleasure. The Kingdom is not eating and drinking: that is, it is not concerned with external matters but with the heart. It is not a sin to abstain from food and drink and questionable practices, therefore, the believer must readily stay away from anything that will grieve or cause others to stumble. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, being and doing what is right, establishing and maintaining the highest possible good with God and man. We need to be at peace, in the right relationship with both God and man and maintaining that relationship working for the highest possible good between God and man. We need to experience the fulfillment and right relationship with God and with himself, not with the right to eat and drink and socialize.
Paul is talking in these verses about the limits of one’s freedom. Love is the external limit of Christian freedom, that is, the limit of what the Christian can do in relation to others in the exercise of Christian freedom. The love of fellow human beings places external limits on Christian action, and the love of God places the internal limits on that action.
Even though we believe very strongly about some practice within the Church, we must limit our reaction to others who do not believe the same way. Love of our brethren is much more important than adhering to a secondary doctrine that has no effect upon our salvation.
- What does Paul say that we are to judge (Romans 14:13)?
- When we are around those whose faith is weak, what principles should guide our actions and why (Romans 14:13-21)?
- To whom is any particular food unclean (Romans 14:14)?
- What external limit is placed upon our freedom in Christ (Romans 14:15)?
- Is the Kingdom of God a matter of whether we get what we like to eat and drink, or not (Romans 14:16-17)?
- What other important thing may be destroyed by permitting our liberty in Christ to go unchecked (Romans 14:20)?
- What things may we do, though it causes our brother to stumble (Romans 14:21)?
- Discuss Paul’s argument that liberty or restraint be exercised wisely, according to each man’s own convictions (Romans 14:22-23)?
- Someone somewhere is bound to be offended by almost anything we do. How can we practically apply these principles stated by Paul?