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Romans Message 12, Romans 14:1-15:13

Romans: The Gospel of God

Message 12: The Gospel and Disagreements Between Believers (14:1-15:13)

Dr. David Shumate


Problem: The work of the Lord is sometimes hindered when believers disagree about personal convictions and perspectives.

Theological Truth: We do not live to please ourselves but to further the work of the Gospel in the believers and in the world.

Our Response: We must deal with disagreements with fellow believers in humility and charity.

Introduction: Paul has demonstrated that believers transformed by Gospel truth serve effectively in the church and have a good testimony in the world. Nevertheless, because believers come from all different backgrounds and have different personalities and gifts, we sometimes have disagreements that hinder the work. Paul, therefore, lays out the principles that should govern our behavior in such times.

In this passage there are three key principles that should govern how we approach disagreements with fellow believers.

I.    We must avoid looking down upon or having a critical spirit toward our fellow believers (14:1-12)
A.    We must realize that being right does not give me the right to have a critical spirit (14:1-5)
B.    We must respect the fact that some things are left by God to the conscience of the individual believer (14:6-12)

II.     We must place the spiritual welfare of our fellow believers above our personal rights and preferences (14:13-23)
A.    Because their spiritual wellbeing is far more important than my personal rights and preferences (14:13-15)
B.    Because my ministry to Christ is all about the ministry of reconciliation and edification (14:16-19)
C.    Because what is good and permissible for me is not necessarily good and permissible for another (14:20-23)

III.     We must maintain our focus on the ministry of Christ (15:1-13)
A.    Christ’s earthly ministry is our example of sacrificing ourselves for the glory of God and the welfare of others (15:1-7)
B.    Christ’s ministry to Jews and Gentiles teaches us that we should be thankful for one another and seek to serve one another (15:8-13)

Questions:
1.    Are there times when being seen to be right about a matter is more important to you than building up others spiritually?
2.     Are you a good listener who really seeks to understand the point of view of those that do not agree with you before passing judgment on their position?
3.    Do you remember that you owe a debt of gratitude to your fellow believers and that your purpose is to minister to them?

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