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Romans 14 Judgment Free Zone

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Intro

17 hFor the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but iof righteousness and jpeace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is kacceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us lpursue what makes for peace and for mmutual upbuilding.

Background
Why Listen
Body
A Kingdom Approach
Approach (Golf, Batting, On ramp, landing a plane) — its the way we proceed in a specific direction/goal
What is a kingdom approach
Is not about food or drink:
-
Weak
Strong
It is about righteousness, peace, joy - produced by the Holy Spirit
Righteousness
It’s what we are only through Jesus. Apart from Jesus, our righteousness, the best that we can be, our best deeds, our best intentions are all but fifty rags/garbage. - “He who knew no sin became sin, so that we could have become the righteousness of God”.
It’s what we should reflect. The issue of is the opposite of reflecting righteousness. Quarreling, dispissicg, judging.
It’s what we seek.
It’s about peace - harmony. Harmony isn’t singing or playing the exact same note. Harmony is singing different notes, but in the same key. When we put ourselves assign, and seek the kingdom…seek righteousness…then the outcome will be peace. Again, the opposite of what the Roman church resembles evident of Pauls instruction in this chapter.
It’s about joy - the experience of gladness. Where there is righteousness, there is peace. Where there is peace there will be joy. Joy is more that just being happy. You can be sad and have joy. You can be persecuted and have joy. Joy is an attitude we have to put on. How…the source is the Holy Spirit. What does the song say, “They joy of the Lord is my strength”.
Illus: Rough landing. The application here is to yield for a moment. Before we just drop 10,000 feet and land the plane, you slowing approach the runway. If we slow our quick judgement of others, we won’t crash, but land in a peaceful connection.
A Kingdom Approval
What does kingdom approval look like
Based upon the pervious verse and how they serve the Lord…this is the person that is approved of God.
Service (Master) -
Serve to honor the Lord
If God approves them, we must accept them. We do not have the privilege to choose; we have the mandate to accept. Does this mean we allow another believer to do whatever they please. No. But before we can correct them, ask:
Does this mean we allow another believer to do whatever they please. No. But before we can correct them, ask:
Do we have a biblical foundation to correct them?
- Peter pulled away from those who were “uncircumcised”
- “must be “circumcised”
Are they bearing spiritual fruit or something else -
Is is helpful, hurtful?
Is it for your approval, or to direct them toward godliness?
Are you willing to do it the right way - go to them directly and discuss the offense?
Leonard Dawson…I wasn’t accepted because of his opinions, perspective. Once he understood who I was…more importantly whose I was based on how I served the company.
What does this mean for us
We must first realize that any believer, young, old, immature, mature has already been approved by God. (vs 3)
We must then apply Jesus’ words, “judge, let you be judged”. “How can you tell someone to take the speck out of their eye when you have a log in you eye?”
Earlier in the chapter Paul reminds us that we will all stand and be judged…
And, that he has already made them able to stand in the judgement.
A Kingdom Advance
As a church, we have one singular mission…the advance the Kingdom of God. How do we do that?
We pursue peace - the opposite, of what is going on in Romans.
We are to be peaceable
We are to be peace makers - which means we solve differences
We purse mutual upbuilding
Do everything in my power to build other up, encourage
Do everything in my power to not cause some to stumble…even if that means forsaking myself for the the sake of others.
Sports sidelines…It’s easy to sit as a bystander and judge. We can either sit on the sidelines, or we can get in the game and focus on the goal…advancing the kingdom.
Application
Kingdom is more than a one time decision…it’s everyday...
Recognize the kingdom is near
Remind ourselves of the gospel message
Resolve to follow Jesus
Must understand that we live in a post-Christian world where most people are foreign to church. We live in the fastest growing area in Kansas City and in order to advance the gospel, FBC Raymore but be a place of
Peace and Upbuilding of each other
It must be a place where outsiders are invited in
Upbuilding of each other
It must be a place where the mature put their desires, their preferences, their opinions aside so FBC Raymore can advance the kingdom of God pushing back darkness through
Intentional relationships focused on evangelism
Intentional small groups focused on transformation not information
Intentional discipleship based solely upon the Bible intake
Intentional worship that is missional
Conclusion
We are not to judge others, that is not what we do because it’s not who Jesus is
We accept one others
We accept those who need Jesus
We nurture people, through the Holy Spirit to be Jesus followers
But we will be judged
You Christian, will be judged. Do you serve with righteousness, peace, and joy. Are you a spectator or in the game?
But for those who are not yet a true believer…you also will be judged - not because God condemns you…you condemn youself
Sinners in need of a savior
Jesus came to save us, not to condemn us. If we decide to stay in our sin, we condemn ourselves.
Danger to church unity - self righteousness
says that we should make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desire. The word flesh is key here. Paul uses this word several times throughout Romans. And, it seems, that it carries two different, but similar meanings. In one sense of the word, flesh refers to the material that covers a body (). In another sense of the word flesh is the i as instrument of various actions or expressions (BDAG). These actions go both ways; toward sinful desires found in where accessive drinking would lead to other disdainful behaviors. The other way is toward self-righteousness based upon a persons efforts to display their own righteousness; thus taking the spot light off of Jesus and placing it on themselves. The best way to pictures this is the practices of the Jewish leaders whom Jesus said, “you’re clean on the outside, but on the side you are full of dead bones”.
I believe that Paul is making a transition here: from pleading with the Romans to make no provision for disdainful behaviors to pleading with them to make no provisions for self-righteous judgment of other believers. Chapter 14 and into chapter 15 Paul will caution the Romans as they weaken Christian unity and fellowship through judgment of others.
as instrument of various actions or expressions
If we are to make no provision of the flesh and guard ourselves against judging other based upon our self-righteous opinion; we must have be kingdom focused or we will easily become near-sighted and put more attention on minor details than the major focal point of our lives.
Body
A Kingdom Approach
In order for us to have a Kingdom Approach...
Can’t focus on the minors. The issue in this chapter is believers who are “stronger” in their faith quarreling with those who are “weaker”. These two words are not offensive in nature, but more descriptive of a person’s spiritual maturity.
Background - in the days of the early church pagan practices were rampant. Common meat markets would sell products that would have been used in pagan rituals. For those from a Jewish culture, such meat would be considered unholy and therefore they couldn’t purchase or eat the meat. However, for some Christians, they understand that an idol is nothing and would take advantage of the meat sales. Thus a conflict. Should we eat of it or should we not. Those who are less mature would avoid it, those more mature would see no problem with the meat.
These minor issues caused great conflict within the church. Paul says, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking...” But the Roman church has made it such. You can see the ugliness that the issue as cause in 14:3.
One group despises the other. This is a strong word that suggests the accused party has no merit or worth. Here those who are strong despises the ones who are weak. Instead of encourage, they discourage. Instead of building up, they tear down. Instead of assisting, they argue. Instead of yielding, they yell. Instead of accepting, they reject. Why? The root to why is self-righteousness. Since they have the knowledge, which puffs up, they view themselves in a position where they can look down upon those who are weaker as they are not worthy.
The other group passes judgment. Both groups are at fault here. For those less mature in the faith, Paul says to not cast judgment. They are growing and at this point of spiritual development, they have a major issue eating anything that revolves around pagan worship. Therefore, they view those eating meat used in pagan practices as participants. Therefore, they are quick to judge those who are mature.
The other group passes judgment.
Illus: kids out late at Culver’s…why can you have pop, but I can’t? Why can you have ice cream but I can’t.
So Paul says, “the kingdom of God is not about eating or drinking”. So we must learn to focus on the major issues.
Must focus on the major. The majors here are righteousness, peace, and joy. When we become to focused on our own self-righteousness, we forget about how we became righteous in the first place. Righteousness is not based upon your good works. That is a fleshy desire that suggests that righteousness comes from personal good works. Righteousness only comes from Jesus who gave us His righteousness.
We should reflect Jesus righteousness
We must seek first His righteousness
A Kingdom Approval
Approval must be based upon a person’s service to Jesus…not service to us. Paul was passionate about pleasing God and man but it is way to easy to get these out of order. We do this by first seeking what others might think verses what does God think. We also do this by assuming that a person is here based for my benifit, not the Lords.
Approval must also be based upon the fact that God has approved them already
If God has approved them, then we are demanded to accept them and treat them with respect.
The basis from approval is not based upon the maturity level of another. It is solely based upon their service to Christ. Before we begin to pass judgment on someone or count them as not worthy, pause for a moment and ask, “Are they reflecting the righteousness of Jesus. Are they peaceful? Do they have joy in their lives.”
If we answer yes to those questions, then what does that make the person we are worried about.
It makes them acceptable to God.
Reflects the transformed mind found in .
It they are acceptable to God, then that demands our approval of them. The best way to explain this is simply the word respect.
A Kingdom Advance
Pursue…the chase
Makes for peace
Building up
If pease and edifying of others characterizes who we are…then we will quickly advance the Kingdom.
Illus: Building up troops
Conclusion
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