Accept the Ones Whom Our Lord Accepted
Romans 14:1-12 (Pastor Heo)
14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Bible says, “be completely humble, gentle, patient, very accepting of one another in love. Do you best to keep the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace, because there is ONE body, ONE spirit, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God, who is the Father of all – who is above all and in all and through all.” (Eph?)
Disunity is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses to destroy the body of Christ. This is one of the most common devices in church history. Almost EVERY church mentioned in the Bible had disunity. For example:
The Corinthian church
- “I follow Peter”,
- others, “I follow Paul”,
- others “I follow Apollos”,
- others, “I follow Christ” –
- some were even suing each other.
Galatians – some were biting each other.
Even today we have some areas in our church that are not clearly defined in the Bible.
A few years ago we know that Antioch Church experienced BIG disunity over the location of the main sanctuary (here or Chonbuk Uni). Some members left – but thankfully now, all matters all solved and we are growing.
Some people in church fight each other over small, simple things:
- curtain color,
- size of the pulpit,
- position of the piano
Yes, just as fighting among children makes their parents sad, so fighting among church members makes God unhappy and Satan happy.
Today’s topic: “Accept the Ones whom our Lord Accepted”
It handles small topics:
- daily activities
Food sacrificed to idols
At that time, some members had very strong convictions about meat sacrificed to idols:
- “I must stay away from this ‘dirty’ food.”
But others had the opposite conviction,
- “No, idols are meaningless to this food. I can eat all things through Christ…”
Day of worship
Also some people thought certain days were more holy than other days
- “Sunday is the most holy because Christ rose from the dead” –
- “No, Saturday is the most holy because it’s the Sabbath and God rested” –
- “No, Friday, because Christ was crucified for our sins on that day.”
Do you eat only veggies? Snake? Lion? Horse? Cow? Lamb?
Whatever your conviction – you are free to follow your own conviction – because this is NOT a matter of:
This is just a collective, personal, cultural custom – or has its roots in these things. This is not about justification, salvation, sanctification.
Therefore, we should NOT despise others who have different opinions and convictions (about these small things) than we do.
There are 4 reasons why we should not judge other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Also, 4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Negatively: 4 reasons NOT to judge
- Positively: 4 reasons TO accept our brothers & sisters in Christ
- To self: “Do not judge others.”
- To neighbor: “I accept you.”
Why NOT to judge
#1 We have NO PERMISSION from God to judge
“Do not judge” is not a suggestion from God, but a command of God. To judge others is to go against the command of our Lord.
Matt 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. In the same way you will be judged, with the same measure you will be judged. Don’t look at the speck in his eye, but ignore the plank in your eye. How can you say, ‘Let me help you with that’ and ignore the plank in your own eye?”
What is a plank? The judgmental eye. If you have this kind of eye, you are carrying a plank in your eye.
Remember, we have no permission to judge others
#2 We have NO ABILITY / POWER to judge
What does this mean? To judge correctly, I must know perfectly and completely
- the MOTIVE someone is doing something –
- the REASON and
- also the PURPOSE –
- as well as the INFLUENCE
- and IMPACT his action has on others,
- including HOW his behavior will be JUDGED by GOD.
In order to judge fully and completely, we must be omniscient. Perfect in knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom. Only GOD is this.
We are limited in our understanding, time, space, knowledge, wisdom, etc.
Therefore, no one has the ability to judge.
#3 We have NO RIGHT to judge
To be qualified, we must be perfect, infallible, faultless, blameless, esp in our character – particularly in the area we judge others.
For example, if I want to judge others in the area of HONESTY, I must be perfectly honest – throughout the course of my life.
If I want to judge others in PRIDE, I must have been humble throughout the whole course of my life.
We must be perfect in our character and personality. But nobody is perfect.
Therefore, we have no RIGHT to judge others.
#4 We have NO AUTHORITY to judge
The authority to judge belongs to a judge (God is the ultimate judge).
To judge is a judge’s job – no one else carries this authority nor title. Raise you hand if there is a judge among us.
In the matter of spiritual things, nobody is a judge. We are all to be judged by God – the only, ultimate authority and judge over human life.
The title “judge” belongs to God alone.
Romans 2:1 “YOU therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else. For wherever you pass judgment, you condemn yourself because you do the same things.”
James 4:11 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him is speaking against the Law and judges him. When you judge the Law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment only. There is only one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbors?” (네가 뭔데?)
4 reasons to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ
Say one more time to your neighbor: “I accept you.”
- Really? Do you really accept me?
- Yes, I really accept you.
#1 BECAUSE GOD accepted him
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”
Conclusion in this passage:
- Starting word: “Accept him”
- Finishing word: “God has accepted him”
This is VERY, VERY clear.
We are Christians, true? What does this mean? Christian = “Children of God” – those who accepted his grace – and are accepted BY his grace and mercy.
If we are Christians, this means that:
- GOD accepted us AS WE WERE (as we still are).
- God accepted us WHEN WE WERE children of the devil.
- God accepted us WHEN WE WERE sinners.
- We were the object of wrath, but he accepted us as the object of blessing.
- We were his enemies, but he accepted us as his children.
We have and enjoy and experience this kind of wonderful acceptance by God – so HOW can we refuse those others whom God has also accepted?
- Please, do not reject the one who God rejected.
- If we reject this person, we reject GOD who accepted this person.
- Please, do not despise the one God loves.
- Please, do not reject the one God accepted.
Christian = “group of people accepted by God unconditionally by his mercy and grace simply because we have put our faith in him”
#2 BECAUSE GOD makes him/her stand/not fall
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Once justified by faith – NEVER changes.
Once real salvation is granted/experienced – it never changes, this is eternal.
If it is possible for salvation to be lost, then it CANNOT be called “eternal life.” But in the Bible, salvation and eternal life are synonyms.
Jesus “I give you eternal life. You shall never perish, and no one can snatch you out of my hand.” (John)
No matter how someone looks right now, if he has salvation, he will not fall, he will stand. God will make him/her stand, not fall. So, how can we reject the one God makes stand in the final situation in his/her life? So, we must accept this person as well – because FINAL victory, life, salvation is guaranteed by the grace of God.
#3 BECAUSE his Lord is my Lord, my Lord is his Lord
We worship the SAME God. So how can we reject him whose Lord is my Lord? curios “Lord” is repeated 8 times in this passage.
Key verse is verse 8:
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
Conclusion: Jesus Christ is the Lord of ALL – both Christians and non-Christians. The only difference?
- Christians KNOW he’s our Lord.
- Non-Christians DO NOT KNOW he’s their Lord.
He is the Lord of
- the living,
- the dead,
- all creation,
- even non-living things.
- “God is sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”
The moon, stars, sun, planets, etc. ALL things in the universe and on earth are THERE and sustained / supported by Christ. (Heb 1)
This means – if you reject somebody (yes, you are free to do so) – it means you are rejecting the one for whom Jesus died and returned to life to be his Lord.
v. 9 “9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
How can we reject somebody for the very person that Jesus died and returned to life for to become his Lord.
v. 8 “8 If [I] live, [I] live to the Lord; and if [I] die, [I] die to the Lord. So, whether [I] live or die, [I] belong to the Lord.”
Jesus is forever a living presence – and all life is lived in his eyes. We do not need to speak of living as if he doesn’t see us. We can no more escape from the risen Christ than we can escape from his shadow.
In this world, we are living in his unseen presence.
In the next world, we will be living in his physical, visible presence. Even physical death cannot break this presence.
Physical death is the gateway / entrance that leads to Christ. Therefore, whether we live in this world or the next, we live in the presence of Christ.
#4 BECAUSE we are brothers and sisters in Christ – and our judge is only Christ
We are to be judged TOGETHER – by the same Judge. Your judge is my judge, my judge is your judge. All human beings are judged by this ONE judge.
“10 You, then, why do you judge your brother [and sister]? Or why do you look down on your brother [and sister]? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
In Christ, through the same faith, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you believe this? Amen.
By faith in Christ, if we are brothers and sisters – by the same faith in Christ – the question is: FOR HOW LONG will we be brothers and sisters in Christ? (Forever.)
We have no choice / no option to accept each other together because we are to live as brothers and sisters together forever. Are you bored? Tired of this? You actually have no choice in the matter.
v. 10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Are you happy or worried about this final judgment seat?
“The Bema Seat”
This is the final judgment seat – but we do not need to be afraid of this seat.
- To the Lost / unsaved = the Final Judgment = final entrance into Hell
- To the Christians = the Bema Seat = final place to receive the reward “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to each according to what he has done.”
The Bema Seat has nothing to do with our sin – because Jesus has already paid our WHOLE sin on the cross. “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:4 “Blessed is the man whose sins are not counted against him.”
BUT – even though we have this Bema Seat – it should not give us license to sin again.
So, how can we prepare for this? We must recognize and acknowledge Christ as Lord and God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
v. 11 “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
God bless you.