Christian Questions Answered Forum Sermon
PASTOR STEVEN BIRNIE
Our primary call as a Christian believer is to desire and experience a true, lasting and deeply personal relationship with our very real God, Jesus Christ and that relationship begins, carries on and centres on one thing, His Cross. No matter how much an individual seeks God or study’s His Great Word to us, they’ll find no greater revelation than that of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ on the Cross, resulting in each Christian, having already obtained this great truth. Those who have truly realised these truths find a passion to love their God and follow His only command for us to love one another and in that, we live seeking to agree with the teachings of Jesus Christ by fellowshiping together giving each of us encouragement, instruction and a renewal of our minds.
This is where Online Christian Forums come into their own, as a great addition to our attending a local Church, giving Christians of all ages and backgrounds access to fellowship with individuals around the globe, at any time of the day or night. As a Christian website, we’ve been part and continue to support various Christian Forums on the Internet, so adding a forum to our own Online Bookshop was an obvious choice, as a helpful addition, for our friends and visitors to enjoy. However, some may have never used a Christian Forum before, so we’ve composed a very brief teaching so that you might know how the Lord expects us to fellowship together in all love, respect and tolerance, giving all the Glory to Him and showing all the love our brothers and sisters deserve….
Before we examine the chapter in question, it would be helpful to remember that although Jesus died on the Cross 2000 years ago, He continued to build His Church through His Apostles and carries on that same work today. So although we may read this teaching in the Book of Romans, it was God Breathed Scriptures. This is something which is vitally important in understanding the differences of Christ’s Teachings in the Gospels during His Earthy Ministry and His present Heavenly Ministry penned in the Epistles by various Authors. So when we examine the Chapter below, we remember that it was penned by men, but breathed by Jesus Christ.
- (Romans 14:1-23). Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Jesus Christ here shows us the difference between a strong Christian and a weak Christian in regards to their own personal faith and revelation. He explains that a strong Christian is one who has a deep grasp of God’s Love, Grace and Goodness in their heart and a weak Christian is one whose faith hasn’t fully matured, believing that they must ‘do this’ and ‘should do that.’ The strong Christian knows now that ‘all things are lawful unto them’ enjoying the great freedom and liberty that the Lord Himself promises, however a weaker Christian feels that they must follow laws, rules and observe days as part of their lives and these differences can, and will lead to disputes. This is why Jesus teaches us that the strong should not judge the weak for their beliefs and that the weak should not judge the strong for their liberty. Rather both should tolerate and respect each other, recognising that every Christian is at a different stage of their walk and experiences in Christ.
- One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
I believe the verse above explains so simply the great desire of our Lord Jesus Christ to tolerate others beliefs and love them for who they are. It also shows us again that we are all indeed different and at various stages of our Christians walk so God as a Good Father, encourages us again to love one another as He loves us….
- “…You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God…”
This is a great portion of this Chapter where our Lord asks us the question, why do you judge your brother or your sister? In the context of this Chapter, again, God is saying you need to tolerate and respect your sister and your brother and not look down on them from where you think they are or, where you think you are!
- “…So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God…”
Just like emails, blogs, articles or comments which are recorded, each and every word we breathe is recorded in Heaven and it’s these words, and the way treated others, in which we’ll be judged in that time (judgement with no punishment though!) It’s quite a thought and as a Christian Pastor, it’s one I take very seriously when teaching another not because of an unhealthy fear of God but out of a respect and love for the Lord that loves me….
- “…Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval….”
There are moments within our lives where we’re called to challenge or be challenged by another in regard to beliefs and there’s two ways we can take – We can have an aggressive, unloving attitude bred from inward frustration or, come along side another being careful not to put a stumbling block before another. And here God again encourages us not to judge one another in things which mean very little. Like he said ‘the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy.’
- “…Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall…”
Loving God and loving one another is not just the top two commands we follow in the Lord but the only two. Jesus Christ set us free from any kind of laws, other than to love God and love one another as Jesus loved us and so often, we forget this in the heat of a conversation. Our call is and always will be, to love one another and not purposefully make another fall by questioning their beliefs because friend, there may well be a deeper issue going on in that person’s life. It’s that issue God wants to deal with so in this, don’t hinder the work of God…
- “…So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
So, you might ask yourself, what’s the simple conclusion? The simple conclusion is loving each other and showing a respect and a tolerance for where someone is in their Christian life. I know fully the Grace of God, I’m shown and as a Christian I don’t need to observe days or eat any special foods. I know that His Grace covers all and it’s that Grace that sets you free to live a life for God, however, I do have individuals who are close to me who do observe the Sabbath Day and live their lives in that way. For me, I shouldn’t really challenge them for their weaker faith and according to God’s Word, neither should they challenge me for my beliefs so again, the encouragement from God is for us to love one another, respect each other and tolerate each other’s beliefs…
I hope this very short sermon will give the reader and the user of our Forum my personal mindset and give instruction so that we can have healthy fellowship in exploring God’s great Word to us. We can explore in two ways; be aggressive or treat each other with respect and have an exciting time experiencing God….