Romans 14:14-23/ The Law of Liberty pt. 2 (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on August 8, 2014

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This is the fifty-sixth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of August 3, 2014. This message deals with the believer’s liberty in Christ, and the importance of avoiding division over non-essential matters of conscience. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Rom 14_14-23

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SERMON NOTES:

Romans 14:14-23

The Law of Liberty pt.2

v.14:

At the Jerusalem council (Acts 15), the Jewish church in Jerusalem asked the Gentile church in Antioch not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

Paul was at the Jerusalem council, and he accepted this request, not because he felt that eating such meat was wrong in itself, but because this practice would deeply offend many Jewish believers.

Paul did not think the issue was worth dividing the church over; his desire was to promote unity. So he concludes, “if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong.”

Paul’s practice was to honor, as far as possible, the convictions of others.

Paul makes it clear that this truth was not the product of Paul’s own thinking or the teaching of others, but of divine revelation.

Galatians 1:12

If a believer is convinced a certain behavior is sin—even if his assessment is wrong—he should never do it.

If he does, he will violate his conscience, experience guilt and perhaps be driven back into deeper legalism instead of moving toward freedom.

1 Corinthians 8:4-7

v.15:

A weak believer may be hurt when he sees a brother do something he believes is sinful.

But still worse, the strong believer may cause his weaker brother to violate his own conscience.

Why would we deny ourselves for the sake of others? Love!

Love will ensure that the strong Christian is sensitive and understanding of his brother’s weaknesses.

1 Corinthians 8:8-13

Love would keep us from ever wanting to be a stumbling block to other believers.

After all, it is they for whom Christ died.

v.16:

While our Christian liberty is a good thing, if it causes a brother to stumble, then that means we have abused it.

To abuse God’s gifts is a bad thing. Doing so will cause our good gift to be perceived as evil.

v.17:

The thrust of this is that the kingdom of God is seen in the internal (the attitudes of the heart), not the external (our actions).

This is consistent with faith based salvation. If one believes in a works based salvation, then he would place his faith in these external measure.

In such case, we would all fail. Thankfully that is not the case.

Ephesians 2:8-10

v.18:

One with such an attitude as mentioned above, exhibits the fruit of the Spirit.

That person is accepted by God (the fruit of the Spirit testifies that one is indeed saved).

That he is approved by men, actually refers to approval after a careful examination.

It is akin to a jeweler inspecting a diamond to determine its quality and value.

Christians are under the microscope of a skeptical world.

All too often, we fail the test. We should take care to do better.

Philippians 2:15

v.19:

This whole section has dealt with the issue of causing offense to a brother.

When we offend a brother, the world takes notice, and the church is weakened.

Our goal should be, as much as possible, to pursue peace.

Romans 12:18

vv.20-21:

Trivial issues and matters of personal conscience are simply no reason to cause division among God’s people.

If that means that we sometimes have to deny ourselves, then so be it.

Our job is to please God, not to satisfy our fleshly desires.

v.22:

We are urged to understand this liberty, enjoy it, and keep it between God and ourselves.

The strong believer maintains a healthy conscience because he does not give a weak believer a cause to stumble.

v.23:

We should seek to obey Scripture, but when Scripture is silent, then our conscience guides us.

In such cases, it is possible for your conscience to condemn you.

When you violate your conscience in such areas, you have sinned.

We must take care, as much as possible, to consider the conscience of fellow believers.

If we cause them to stumble, then we too, have sinned.

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Posted in: Sermons