Do Everything in Love by Faith
Romans 14:13-23 (Pastor Heo)
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and *everything that does not come from faith is sin.*
Actually, this second part of this chapter is a continuation / repetition of the first part of the chapter for more emphasis and development of our character in Christ – especially in terms of our relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Remember last week?
4 Reasons we should not judge our brothers & sisters in Christ:
- No position
- No ability
- No right
- No authority
4 Reasons we must accept each other:
- God accepted him
- God makes him stand finally
- We are together fellow servants of the same Lord
- We will altogether be judged by the one same judge
- If we try to drive a car without knowing how, we know what will happen to us.
- This is the same if we judge without knowing how.
- Also, if we drive with no license, we know what will happen.
- And if we judge with no license, what do you expect to happen?
When Jesus first met Peter, the first words he spoke to Peter were, “Follow me.” And after Jesus’ resurrection and first meeting of Peter to restore his position and relationship, he said, “Follow me.” Peter started to, but turned and saw John and asked, “What of this man?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
What does this mean? “Let me worry about John, not you. Let me be the Lord of John. You do your business, I’ll do my business.”
Negatively we should NOT judge each other. BUT we should not STOP with just non-judgment.
We are members of ONE body. That’s why today, we need this passage.
In the second part of this chapter, I want to share 3 points to see our position and standing.
#1 We affect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ
- sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, consciously or unconsciously
“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, *make up your mind* not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.”
Yes, we affect each other negatively or positively.
- Negatively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to fall down, be distressed, be hurt, angry, unhappy, even destroyed.
- Also positively, we can cause our brothers and sisters to be built up – edifying each other, serving each other.
So… do you have more interest in your impression, or your impact?
Impression vs. Impact
Worldly people have much more concern about their impression that they give to each other (look at social media). They think about what to wear, what to buy, surgery for their faces or bodies, what attitude to show, etc. This is for their “impression” that they want to convey to others.
Yes, this is not bad, but what is MORE important for Christians is what IMPACT you are giving to others – your brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost.
A Christian’s life is being evaluated by our IMPACT on this world, NOT by our IMPRESSION we give others.
v. 13 “make up your mind” (we make up our faces)
- Making up your face = for good impression
- Making up your mind = for good IMPACT
Yes, we want to grow in our knowledge. Strong Christians are strong in good knowledge of God. If you have this knowledge: “All food is neutral, no food is unclean, so I can eat all food. Idols are nothing.” If you have this knowledge, you have right, good knowledge and you are a strong Christian.
BUT, if somebody is hurt by your “right” knowledge, it means your “right” knowledge is destroying your brothers and sisters who are weak.
“Knowledge puffs up; love builds up” (1 Cor 8)
Yes, we need to grow in knowledge. But knowledge without love can destroy somebody. So knowledge and love must be balanced. These two must go together.
The moment we become Christians, the feelings of others become more important than our own.
What is true biblical Christianity?
- Putting Christ first,
- others second,
- self last
#2 We must have PRIORITY
What is your #1 priority?
Yes, in daily life, we have many obligations, but what is your mission, your #1 priority? This is very important as a child of God. Please check yourself very honestly right now.
“16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, [matter of priority] 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”
This is the matter of priority.
Yes, we must be very clear in the matter of what our priorities are.
Saying: “The second best is the greatest enemy of the best.” (not always, but often true)
We need food, material, clothes, shelter, but these things do not bring us closer to God. These things cannot be priority #1 in our lives.
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Jesus) Jesus knows what we need (physically), but this is not #1 priority in your life.
If you are not clear on the #1 priority in your life, you may regard less important things as more important. Therefore, we will major in the minor subjects.
Do not fight over minor subjects – the place, date of picnics, etc – because we must stick to our priority #1. These are heavenly things, not earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.
v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
Also, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all these things will be given to you.”
One day, Jesus condemned the teachers of the Law and Pharisees saying, “You hypocrites! You give 1/10th tithe, BUT you have neglected the more important matters of the Law – grace, mercy, faithfulness. You strain out a gnat but you swallow a camel.” Jesus criticized them because they majored in minor things.
v. 17 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”
Righteousness is having right relationship with God and man.
Peace is more than the absence of trouble. It is not a non-negative thing, but is EVERYTHING positive – it is for our highest good. Jesus says, “I do not give as this world gives. My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
There is joy in our hearts.
“Be joyful always (in Christ) – for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”
- Joy is not a selfish thing. It is not in making ourselves happy, but in making OTHERS happy.
- If you make yourself satisfied, you may feel happy.
- But if you make God and others satisfied, you WILL fell JOY.
Romans 5 shows these three elements of the kingdom of heaven: “Therefore since we have been justified through Christ, we have peace with God.”
- Justification through Christ.
- Peace with God.
- Joy in the glory of God.
These three items are essentials in the kingdom of God.
God bless us to be filled with real righteousness, real peace, and real joy.
Conclusion: We must do everything IN love, BY faith.
1 Cor 16:14 “Do everything in love [by faith].”
God bless you all – make up your mind, not your face.
“21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and **everything that does not come from faith is sin.**”
Memorize this last part. Keep it in your heart and brain and mind.
Conclusion: Do everything in love by faith.
Yes we know, everything we are doing is nothing without love. And everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Sin came into this world – we are fighting against sin as long as we are in this world. We are saved completely, once for all, from sin – but still we are struggling. So, we must be clear in this matter.
In the last part, I want to make two things clear:
- What is the meaning of salvation from sin
- “Everything that does not come from faith is sin”
#1 Salvation from sin
- Past: We *were* saved once for all from the **penalty and punishment** of sin the moment we accepted Christ as Lord
- Present: We *are being* saved from the **power and temptation** of sin through the power of Christ and ministry of the HS
- Future: We *will be* saved from the **presence** of sin when Jesus returns or when we see him, face to face
#2 Everything that does not come from faith is sin
What does this mean? What time is it now? Are you still with me?
I want to make it CLEAR what is sin.
In a Christian life, we are not sinless. Nobody can be sinless as long as we are in this world. But we must be clear about what is sin.
What is sin?
Biblically (not from the perspective of Man, but from God’s perspective – which is really important):
There are 4 things:
- The first two are related essentials and a matter of text (from the Bible).
- The second two are non-essentials and gray areas of things not directly mentioned in the Bible (depends on circumstances – depends on context, not text).
1. Not believing in Jesus Christ
(the greatest sin – which leads to death (eternally)) Jesus himself says, (John 16:9) “They do not believe in me.”
This is the greatest sin which cannot be forgiven. If you do not agree with this sentence, you are not a Christian.
2. Disobedience to the Word of God (God’s clear commands) –
- Sin of Commission: To do what God forbids,
- Sin of Omission: or NOT to do what God commands us to do
- Negatively: “Do not lie; do not cheat; do not steal; do not murder; do not commit adultery.” We should NOT do it.
- Positively: “Love your neighbor as yourself, forgive your brother; Love the Lord your God with all of you” – We SHOULD do it.
3. (Matter of context – gray area) Personal convictions
for example smoking, going to the movies on Sunday, etc. It depends on circumstances and context.
This depends on personal, individual faith conscience and conviction.
If I smoke with a Christian conscience, no sin.
But if I do something against my conscience or against my convictions, this is sin to me.
Keyword: Christian conscience and conviction (this is the message of this chapter)
4. (Gray area) – How personal convictions affect others
If I do something in my conscience and with big conviction, it is not sin to me.
However, if I’m doing something that is not sinful to me (my conscience and conviction are clear), but if MY action causes another person to stumble, it is sin.
1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23 (4x repeated – for big emphasis) “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial / constructive.”
1 Cor 8:23 “If what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat that food again so that I will not cause my brother to fall into sin.” (This is called “making up your mind”).
- In essentials: we must keep unity
- In non-essentials: we must be open-minded for variety and diversity
- In everything: we must do in love (by faith)
These are basic principles of the Christian life in this world.