In Galatians 5:23, Paul lists one of the fruits of the Spirit as self control, in 1 Corinthians 9:27, he talks about the measures he took to subject his own body and bring it under control so that he would not be “disqualified for the prize.” Paul knew that through Christ, he had the freedom to do many things, but he also knew that if he did those things he could harm someone else’s walk with Christ so he trained himself out of love for others. Last week we talked about not being a stumbling block for others and part of not being a stumbling block is, through self control, not doing a thing that you believe, through Christ, you can do.
Romans 14:15, 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. Paul is saying that if you flaunt the freedoms you have in Christ, you are abusing that freedom. Our rights through Christ are less important than our responsibilities to Christ. We live in a world that tells us “me first,” “my rights,” “it’s all about me,” but Paul says no. For the Christian, it’s all about God. Freedom says that we can do a thing or say a thing, but love asks is it going to harm a fellow Christian. Romans 14:13-23
We are all guests at Christ’s table; invited by Christ alone. The question Paul asks in verse four is who are we to judge. None of us have the right to make someone feel unwelcome. Paul says that if someone needs to be corrected, that’s for God to do, not us.
Y’all think about something. One of the last things Jesus spoke was “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus died welcoming people to the table, who are we to think that we have the right to uninvite them? Think about it, we will stand before our Savior. Jesus Christ who suffered torture and an imaginable death so that we could be with Him in Paradise.
Imagine the feelings that we will have when Jesus looks at us with His love for us showing in His eyes and His face and He tells us of the things we did that broke His heart – the times that we lived for self, for our glory. The times that our self-righteousness led us to judge another’s faith.
Paul says in verse ten, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Think about that, think about the difference between keeping the law out of love verses keeping the law out of consequence. Now, for most of us, the consequences of cheating, stealing, or murder would keep us from breaking those laws even if we weren’t Christians. But what about bearing false witness, what about telling a lie about someone, what about spreading gossip that may or may not be entirely true? Typically, there aren’t legal repercussions for these things but, as Christians, we know that these things could bring harm to a neighbor and is not showing love to them, it’s not the way Christians should act, and definitely not anything we want done to us so we don’t do it. The law itself doesn’t keep us from it, love does. Love therefore, as Paul says, is the fulfillment of the law. We love God and we love each other to the point that we are basically saying, “I owe you my very life.”
If we are going to be the people God calls us to be, we can’t just love Him, ourselves, and those inside the church, we have to love those outside of the church. In some cases, we will have to have much patience to show them love, but we have to remember how much patience God has with us.
Verse 19 says Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath. As hard as it can be, we must leave this judgement up to God. We cannot be plotting revenge if we are truly trying to love others. We cannot be praying for their salvation if we are dreaming up ways to get them back for something.
If you have to do something to get over your mad then do something for them instead of to them.
Y’all the power of good that we have is so much greater than evil. We need to use that power to overcome evil. Don’t waver from good, feed your enemy, and help them in every way that you can think of.
Do you want your enemy to find Christ? Then be Christ. He is your silent witness and He lives in you, give Him a voice!
The world says pay people that wrong you back, Jesus says feed them. Overcome evil with good.
Jesus died thinking about each one of us, shouldn’t we be living thinking about Him?
Consider whether your activities, actions, and words are an acceptable offering to God. In Malachi 1:8, God says that offering less than is acceptable to Him is showing contempt for His name. It’s wonderful to gather on Sundays and worship together, but so often, we are not showing our true self. Paul says that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God is our true and proper worship. So the measure of our living sacrifice to God isn’t our best moment, it isn’t when we’re all spiffed up and on our best behavior to come into God’s house, the measure of our living sacrifice, our offering of ourselves is our worst moments.
Paul continues in Romans 12:4-8 to list the spiritual gifts that God gives us to bring glory to Him. Paul is saying that it takes us all but remember, in this section he is talking how our attitude toward ourselves in cooperation with others as we go about the tasks that utilize our gifts. Basically, he’s telling us to stay in our own lane. How many cooperative projects get derailed because folks spend more time worrying about how someone is using their gifts than they spend utilizing their own?
If you are unsure what gift(s) you have, go to this website and take the survey. Every believer has been given one or more spiritual gifts for a very specific purpose: to glorify God by ministering to people. God invites each one of us to reach out in His name. Spiritual gifts are God’s provision for the Holy Spirit to minister to people, through people.
How is God calling you to be part of the body? If you truly want to offer your body as a living sacrifice, if you want to be holy and pleasing to God, you need to discover and answer your call. Are you willing to do that?
The Jews ignored the fulfillment of prophecy, refused to see it, refused to believe it, and were bound and determined that nothing could be except what had always been. Their stiff-necked pride caused God to harden their hearts to the point that then they couldn’t see truth.
I hear and see people these days talking about microchips coming that will be the mark of the beast, a moneyless economy coming as foretold, a one-world government blah, blah, blah!
What are they doing with what they see? Is it reaching their hearts or have their hearts already hardened to the point that they are only concerned with themselves?
This week, I have seen many posts about the lack of news coverage of the senseless murder of a five-year-old child. Instead of people posting and talking about the depravity of a society where someone executes a baby, many have chosen this horrific event to use as an example of how the mainstream news ignores some and highlights others. These posts aren’t as much about that precious child as they are about how individuals themselves feel persecuted. Frankly, that is missing the point that Christians should be focusing on if we are going to fulfill the mission that God has for us.
Paul was so distressed over the rejection of Christ by many Jews, he would have given up his own salvation if it would mean that they would accept Christ. Is there anyone that you would be willing to give up your salvation for in order to assure their salvation? If your answer is yes, do you act like it? What are we willing to give up to bring others to Christ? We know that it is not in our ability to bring others to Christ by giving up our salvation, but what are we willing to do? Are we willing to give up arguing and fighting amongst ourselves? Are we willing to quit deciding who are sheep and who are goats? Just like Paul told the Jews, we must understand that we don’t get to choose who is acceptable to God and, just like Paul we need to be more concerned with bringing others to Christ than we are about ourselves.
Paul tells us why we can have hope in that glorious future. in verse 31, If God is for us, who can be against us.” and he goes on to say that we are justified by God Himself, no human and nothing else can condemn us. Jesus who died in agony because of us is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us. Satan can’t condemn us, he’s already been beaten. Other humans can’t condemn us because they too have fallen short of the glory of God and will stand before the righteous Judge just like we will. Jesus could, but He won’t. He died for us and is now our Mediator and Advocate. God Himself, as we are told in verse 33, justifies us, there is no one to condemn us so there is no condemnation for us!
Because of God and Jesus, we can be sure that nothing will come between that future and us as long as we keep our focus on God and the plan He has for us. God made the way for us to come to Him and Paul says that because of that plan we are conquerors. The things of this world cannot separate us from the love of Christ.
Paul isn’t talking about our current physical bodies dying, he is talking about the death of the Spirit in us if we continue living by the flesh. If we are not trying to control our desires that go against the will of God, trying to mortify our base nature, Paul says that we will put to death the Spirit in us.