Preacher: Josh White
You know Western night is kind of like this this annual marker the now summer is definitely officially over and now we’re kind of into the the cooler weather and so it was great to have that last night and I would say that last night by far was the Best Western night that we’ve ever had here on 12th Street wouldn’t you agree we had a great time and it’s funny when we were looking at this building last year one question that kept coming up was yeah we like you that’s great but where are we going to do with us tonight well now we know right out there right in the parking lot.
I also think that because this is the 1st place Matt was extra motivated to win the pie contest you know he got to get the 1st one here well we have 2 more sermons in our series on one another one another commands that we have some scattered throughout Scripture and last week we started to just kind of wrap up the remaining random one and other passages and so last week what we did is we talked about the importance of speaking the truth to each other and not lying the last 2 that we’re going to do for today and next Sunday I want these to be more like conclusion sermons we’re going to kind of wrapping up this entire series on the one another commands and the main point I believe of all The one another commands that we look all throughout the New Testament God wants us to be one with each other Jesus Christ prayed that we would be one with each other so that the world would know the truth about who Jesus Christ is. And so all of us are in this one another ring together God wants us to represent Christ to the world and so what we should do is we should root for one another we should cheer each other on we should build up and encourage one another and we’re not in competition with each other we’re not competing against each other but human nature being what it is sometimes we do kind of fall into that trap and we do try to kind of compete against one another and so that’s what today’s sermon is really going to focus on well one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible is Hebrews 121 and I can because it has like this reference to it but he was 121 says Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses those witnesses are former one another worse right such a great cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and then it says and let us run with in durance the race that is before us and so in a spiritual sense the Bible teaches us that you and me were running a race but we’re not competing against each other we’re running this race together and so with that thought in mind the final 2 sermons will be about today we’ll talk about how to not trip up your fellow racers don’t prevent them from running the race and the next week we’re going to look at how we can help motivate our fellow racers but today we’re going to talk about not tripping up our fellow racers and the issue that we’re going to be dealing with is judging each other
are we supposed to judge each other. Are we supposed to do that you know I think this is probably one of the most misunderstood topics in the Bible when taught when people talk about judging oftentimes they’ll quote a couple different passages one that they’ll talk about or the quote is Luke $637.00 and Luke $637.00 it says judge not and you will not be judged condemn not and you will not be condemned forgiven you will be forgiven so a lot of people I’ve heard them say Probably you’ve heard them say maybe you’ve even said this to you is don’t judge me don’t judge me the Bible says don’t judge me and then if you go a little further in Luke Chapter 6 down a verse 42 we talk about the hypocrisy passage and says How can you say to your brother brother let me take out a speck that is in your eye when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye you hypocrite 1st take out the log of your own eye and then you will be then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye you know I think today there are some people who think that there are some magic words that they can say and they can do whatever they want and there are just simply the phrase Don’t judge me have you ever had anyone do that now don’t judge me but it’s like soon as you sprinkle those magic words then you can do whatever you want or or this is a non judgement zone Have you ever seen someone do that or are posted on Facebook non judgement zone it’s like magically you can do whatever you want now it’s kind of crazy how people think but they are main passage for today is found in Romans Chapter 14 verse 13 so read that right now in Romans $1413.00 it says Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another there is our word all alone any longer but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. And so this passage says that we should not pass judgment on one another make it our determination to not try to trip each other up or make cause a hindrance in the way of our brother or sister and I think for one of the most for most of these one and other passages what I’ve done these sermons I’ve looked at several different passages that use the words that we’re looking at but for this morning what we’re going to do is we’re going to really focus on this passage but in the section of Romans 14 so I encourage you open your Bible sarong and Chapter 14 we’re going to be there pretty much the whole morning and we’re going to kind of see what Paul is saying here in verse 13 he kind of has a big build up to it in the in the preceding verses but before we look at Romans Chapter 14 and see how it applies to us I do want us to realize that there is a time when we are supposed to judge each other all right there is a time when we’re supposed to do that and in 1st Corinthians 5 I’ll just put this up on the screen so you have to turn there this is these are the times that we are supposed to do this 1st Corinthians Chapter 5.
Verses one and 2 Paul says to those in Corinth it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and of a kind it is not tolerated even among pagans for a man has his father’s wife and you are arrogant ought you not rather to mourn let him who has done this be removed from among you in verse 2 some of your verses probably say something different than arrogant you think why why are they being arrogant about this well I think the idea was this was taking place within that church there in Corinth and the people that knew this was taking place they said oh we’re just going to love them anyway we’re not going to judge them we’re going to be tolerant of each other and we’re just going to let them live their lives and so Paul says no this is going on in your midst you need to expel this wicked person and then if you go down in 1st Corinthians 5. I’ll start reading in verse 11 but I have verses 12 and 13 up here Paul is writing to the same people and he says but now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed or is an idolater a reveler drunkard or swindler not even to eat with such a one in verse 12 says For what have I to do with judging outsiders is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge God judges those outside purge the evil person from among you so the Bible clearly teaches that we are supposed to judge each other specifically determine whether an action is a violation of God’s moral commands if someone is clearly living deliberately against what God says we’re to make a determination we’re supposed to judge whether that is right or wrong and in some situations the judgment goes beyond just deciding whether it’s right or wrong actually passing out judgment and so in certain circumstances we can do that one such setting where this judging should always be taking place is within the home parents and children parents should always be determining whether the children are living up to the standards of the house and if not they should punish their children to discipline them because they love their children why I hope this makes sense I think it probably does for everyone so let’s go back about and talk about when we should not judge each other. You know I feel very blessed I am 44 years old I have lived in 3 different parts of this great country I grew up in the state of Washington then I moved to Michigan and then now I’ve been here for 12 years going on pretty soon will be here 13 years and pretty soon will I will have lived here longer than I lived in Michigan so I was kind of crazy but I was texting my friend yesterday watching the Michigan football game which I know all of you should have been doing. If you weren’t and Michigan they played Penn State they absolutely destroyed them and during the 1st half I’m texting my friend well this is great we’re going to win we’re going to destroy him so hey after halftime I have to go to church I have to set up for an event tonight so don’t tell me the score I am recording it and he said You’re doing what do you do want to church and I said we’re doing this thing called Western night it’s pretty cool we have barbecue we do it outside we have country music and we have a pilot in championship and he said really that sounds pretty cool that’s awesome because they can’t do that in Michigan. It’s ways you’re cold they’re like building their igloos right now they’re getting ready for hibernation but I’m just thinking it’s so we need that we can take our faith and we can create some fun things to do with it because of the climate in the geographies that we live in and that’s true of every believer everywhere in the world we have the same faith but because of a variety of circumstances sometimes we get to live out that faith in different ways different methods whatever it is and sometimes the differences of where we live and the cultures that we live in sometimes those differences kind of creep into the way that we live on our face and sometimes if we’re not careful when we see someone living out their faith in a different way than us we say how I do this is right and how they do this is wrong when the issues have absolutely nothing to do with the truth of God And so what Paul did is he wrote this passage to help the Romans and ultimately to help us to know how to be good one another worse all right and that deals with not judging one another so I have 2 points for my passage today from my sermon today and it’s about how we can avoid tripping up fellow racers right and the 1st way we do that the 1st where we avoid tripping each other up in this race that we’re in is that we need to understand what it means to say that the sufficiency is found in Christ we need to understand the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Let’s go to Romans Chapter 14 verse one Romans 14 verse one this is reading from the E.S.B. It says As for the one who is weak in face welcome him but not to quarrel over opinions all right
isn’t that strange to hear Paul say that someone has weak faith I mean what does that mean have you ever thought about that I mean because isn’t face to face either you either you have a face or you don’t well to have face or to believe means that you entrust something of yourself with another person or something else you’re in trusting yourself to another person and specifically when we’re talking about face in this setting we’re saying that we have face in Jesus Christ we have placed our faith in him and we entrust ourselves specifically to what Jesus Christ did on the cross. We’re putting our face in him and in that and we’re fate putting our face in his resurrection in all those things to save us from our sins and give us the hope of eternal life and so our face in Jesus Christ is in his completed work it’s done he has already died for our sins he’s already raised back to life so that he can give us the hope of eternal life and our face in Christ is complete it’s completely done and so Paul is criticizing these people here Romans for their lack of insight into some of the implications of their face in Christ these are Christians who are not able to accept for themselves the truth that they’re facing Christ has liberated themselves from the Old Testament ritual system and so Paul desires in this passage here in Romans Chapter 14 he desires for couple things for those who are strong to help those who are weak to become strong but then also for those who are strong to put unity before their desire to be right among the other believers and the 3 issues that he brings up in this passage in Romans 14 we’ll look at 2 of them but the 3 issues are food the food that they eat their observance of special days or certain days and we will get to this it’s later on the passage but wine whether it’s a permissible to drink wine and I want to make kind of a personal comment on this and I think as we’re reading here in Romans Chapter 14 we’re going to deal with the issues that they were dealing with at the time but I think it’s.
It’s easy for us to take for granted how this happened a long time ago and these significant changes that these people in Rome had to really deal with for them and especially for the Jews they had a lot of changes to keep up with 3 things in particular they had to change they had to deal with the fact that all the old testament was pointing to this Messiah that was about to come and he already came and it was Jesus of Nazareth and so they had to just really. Stan that these prophecies about the coming Messiah partially have been fulfilled some obviously have not yet been fulfilled they also had to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law they have grown up being taught this is how you live out your face you do all of these different rituals and in all these different customs we have the benefit of looking at the like the book of Galatians we spent about almost a year and elations. We are told the law was not given so that people can be saved the law was given to point people to the fact that they can’t save themselves through their works and that it was to point to Jesus Christ and so we should have a we have a greater appreciation how Jesus completed the law and they also had to deal with the fact that Gentiles are now equal so they had all these things to deal with and those are huge substantial changes for them to take in in a very short amount of time and so for many of them who were used to the old way of doing things it was a process to see how those rituals had now been completed and they no longer had to do those well so keep reading a little bit and kind of deal with the issues that they were they were having to struggle with Romans 14 beginning in verse 2 it says one person believes he may eat anything while the weak person eats only vegetables Let not the one who eats despise the one who have stains and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another it is before his own master that he stands or falls and he will be held for the Lord is able to make him stand and so in those 1st couple verses there Paul is talking about what they eat but he’s not talking about like a specific diet he’s not telling them that they have to have a specific diet like the actions diet or to be paleo or the Kido diet those these fads that come around some are some are very helpful some are probably nonsense or vegetarianism. I didn’t mean that about vegetarianism but my favorite diet my absolute favorite diet is it’s called the donut diet.
You eat a maple bar on Monday and a fritter on Friday and life is just great so you don’t a diet I think is the best but there’s probably a few issues that this could be alluding to what you know what he’s talking about eating the 1st is the dietary laws one point in time God said you can eat these foods but you can’t eat these foods but that had changed in Acts chapter 10 God since Peter a vision he sends down a sheet from heaven and it’s filled with all sorts of sorts of animals and he says go Peter kill and eat and so we realize that now we’re able to eat anything that we want especially bake it we can eat bacon and that’s a real that’s a good thing that’s an that’s an upgrade he also most definitely is talking about food that was sacrificed to idols and this was a very common practice among the Gentiles they were pagans and they lived in idolatry and so what they would do is Gentiles would sacrifice food or meat to appease the local god which there is no local god actually but they would take me they would sacrifice it to the local god and because the local guy doesn’t exist he doesn’t eat the meat so you know what they do with that meat they turn around and sell it at a discount and so people could get that meat at a discount and so people are eating meat that had. And sacrificed to idols and so a weak believer would associate that food with the pagan lifestyle that they just came out of so can you see how this would be a problem for them they’re brought up learning and being taught that there’s these foreign gods there’s these local gods and we’re supposed to sacrifice them so the so so that we don’t so that they we are in their favor and when they realize that that’s nonsense and that’s not true they want to disassociate everything in their life from that pagan idolatry.
We don’t do that today but maybe we have other things that might be similar and I think I’ve shared this at one time but I remember I had this friend and I think when he was when he was younger I don’t know if he was a believer at the time or not but he used to do drugs and when he would do drugs he would listen to a very specific rock band. And he said later on in life he could not listen to that band because obviously it would bring him back to that emotional and physical place where he would do drugs and so and I’m not going to tell you the name of the band so that you don’t associate forget it. But so dealing with this issue with food sacrificed to idols those who are strong in the face they knew that there’s only one God and the food that was sacrificed to an idol guess what it’s just food that’s all it is there’s nothing special to it but some of the weaker brothers couldn’t make that distinction and so they would say I’m not going to eat that meat and they wanted to remove themselves from all of that pagan idolatry and this is the way that they would do it but they would also judge the people who would eat they didn’t have enough faith in themselves and they would they would they would judge the people who would continue to eat the meat that was associated with pagan idolatry and so these were the issues that these true believers were not seeing eye to eye on back then well that was the 1st issue another disputable matter that they were dealing with back in those days were some of the feast and festivals in the religious days let’s keep reading here in Romans Chapter 14 beginning in verse 5.
Says one person esteems one day is better than another another esteems all days alike each one should be fully convinced in his own mind
the one who observes the day observes it to go on or.
In on or of the Lord the one who eats eats in honor of the Lord since he gives thanks to God while the one who abstains abstains in on her of the Lord and gives thinks to God. With the setting aside of the law this was a big issue back then should they celebrate certain feast and festivals are they required to do that are they permitted to do these things another passage I’m not going to put it up on the screen but kind of addresses this is found in collages Chapter 2 Paul writes to them and says therefore let no one pass judgment on you in question of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath these are a shadow of the things to come but the substance belongs to Christ and so Paul is telling them all those things were to point to Christ they are not doing these things to earn salvation and this is why it’s so important for all of us to understand the sufficiency of Christ in Christ the entire law has been fulfilled in Christ the work has been completely done and what we are left with is the freedom to enjoy God’s grace and the freedom to worship God alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ but back in the day these were the disputable matters that they had to deal with eating meat sacrificed to idols whether they were supposed to continue to follow the law these are big issues today are they but because we’re believers and we live in culture and society there are issues that we have to deal with I I kind of came up with a list of issues that might be disputable matters and I also think that you go you fast forward in time every 20 years and you’re probably going to come up with a new list of disputable matters just as society changes but when it comes to living out our Christian faith I know for a while on there was probably very a disputable matter whether people could go to movies or not or play cards things like that could you go dancing as a believer or how about video games I mean could you to imagine telling a junior high kid or high school kid you can play video games I mean I be the end of life or what about holidays can we celebrate all holidays as a Christian can you celebrating Can you participate in Halloween. What about Christmas all of these holidays are we able to do that or how about this can a believer get tattoos or body piercings or bodily augmentations upgrade you know who worshipping with uplifted hands in prayer and. About home schooling should Christians send their kids to public school or charter schools or should they just keep them at home for homeschooling and I just listed off a whole bunch of items did any of them kind of get your blood going oh my God there’s other ones they don’t matter but you know that no one subject and that’s really really important probably depends on the culture in the society that you’re brought up and back in West Michigan I don’t know how much of an issue it is today but a denomination split over a specific issue the reformed church split into the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church whether or not they should send their kids to a Christian school or public school and a denomination split over that issue and so these are the issues that we deal with. I think it’s human nature to think about how our behavior affects our face and it does and so maybe when we read Chapter 14 we can read a little bit more like this that we should accept him who prefers to worship God by singing only him is that the right way so much the same in the right way to practice our faith or how about this except him who prefers to worship God by singing praise him sir praise and worship and looking randomly or or except him who chooses to attend Saturday evening worship services or accept Him who likes to eat coffee earth drink coffee and donuts during the service you know one year back when we were in Michigan week off I went to go visit church with a buddy of mine because when I’m on vacation I like to do that and it was the local megachurch and they had the worship center filled to capacity and they had an overflow room in the gym and it was the neatest thing because they serve coffee and donuts during the service and so I remember I’m sitting there I’m thinking you know I’m always preaching i never going to do this I want to see what this is like and so I got up during the middle of the sermon which none of you should ever do.
And I went back to the back and I got coffee and donuts and I came back and I felt like the biggest heathen in the world.
I got over it I lived I don’t get struck by lightning but I’m sure How about this is it OK to read your Bible on your i Pad or is this the only acceptable way to read your Bible so there’s all these disputable matters that come up and you know I think from time to time we’re just going to be dealing with these new issues.
As they come up you know I’m going to make a prediction and I know this is going to be true no I’m not going to predict when Christ is going to come back but here’s a prediction and it goes something like this. When a believer is younger they genuinely embrace the new changes that come into a church in this kind of exciting in the say yeah let’s let’s do it this way let’s change and as that person goes through time and they get older you start looking at these new changes are going on that’s ridiculous you know why would anyone want to do it that way and I can even see the change taking place in me you know I’m not necessarily a young believer anymore and young and in my own years and I’m getting older and sometimes you look at change that way.
A piece of advice that I heard I read in a book a long time ago when it comes to matters like this is for us to understand that there is a different difference between the contents that we’re supposed to look at and the container that they’re in so we can look at our face in terms of contents and container when it comes to the contents of our faith those are timeless and will never change the Jesus is the Son of God that salvation is only through Him However the containers that they’re in sometimes can change even over different periods of time or maybe from one culture to another and so if you’re dealing with disputable matters we should ask ourselves the question are we dealing with an issue of contents or the containers that the same content should be in and if you can kind of make that determination maybe it helps us to know whether a response to judge or not judge on a certain issue another piece of helpful advice I read when it comes to matters like this it says that we should avoid the 2 extremes when it comes to situations like this the 2 extremes are legalism and libertinism All right legalism I’ll give you kind of a definition here legalism is when we make a list of rules and we conform to those rules then we attempt to make our personal convictions normative for others all right that’s legalism the other side of the spectrum that we should avoid is where we say since I’m free in Christ and the Bible for bids none of these things than I feel free to do any of them or all of them no matter how it effects my other brothers and sisters in Christ so we should avoid those 2 extremes you know sometimes I think we can get caught up in what the container should look like instead of focusing on the contents but the content of our faith is the finished work of Jesus Christ he completed it so it’s done we don’t have to add anything to it and that sometimes we’re. Disputable matters come in so it’s the 1st way to avoid tripping each other up in this race and that is to understand the sufficiency of Christ if he has completed and finished the work well the 2nd way to avoid an I’m not going to spend much time on this is to avoid tripping each other up in this race is to understand that we are own we are each individually accountable to God Each of us are not accountable for another person to God we are accountable for ourselves to God if we continue on in our palace of the Romans we get to verse 10.
In here Paul writes to them and he says why do you pass judgment on your brother or you why do you despise your brother for we all stand before the Judgment Seat of God For it is written as I live says the Lord every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God So then each of us will give an account of himself to God we’re not going to give an accounting of anyone else to God it’s ourselves and so we should give people sometimes the freedom to express their face in ways that don’t change the contents you know as a as a read through this and as a read the passage here in Romans Chapter 14 I have of one last thought I guess that comes to my mind it’s amazing that God is completely OK with each of us developing different convictions. He really gives us the freedom to develop different convictions on these disputable matters he good leaves room for all these different things to happen in our lives and how they affect our relationship with them and so in the end what God is most concerned about is us being genuine in the way that we live our faith what I want to do is I want to finish Romans Chapter 14 here at least go up to verse 19 so let’s continue reading so therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean for if your brother is grieved by what you eat you are no longer walking in love by what should we do not destroy the one for whom Christ died so do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil for the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men so then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual building I love that last phrase let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual building. You know I want to I want to conclude my sermon by talking about one of my passions there’s Michigan football and cross fit so I talk about Michigan football I want to talk about CROSSFIRE just for a minute and I don’t do this every Sunday so don’t judge me on CROSSFIRE but I’m really glad that I found cross-eyed for a couple reasons but I think the 2 top reasons are it has helped me get stronger for those of you don’t know across what is a it’s a high intensity workout that combines Olympic weightlifting gymnastics movements and just body weight so it’s intense to kind of get the heart rate up but I love it because it’s helped me get stronger and I wish that I would have done this you know 1520 years ago so I could have been even stronger than I am now but the 2nd thing is that I love about it is it satisfies that competitive it that I have I’m a competitive person I don’t know if that’s every come across any of you but I discovered especially in my 1st church the 1st couple years that I should not take my competitive energy and focus it into the church it just is not good it does not go over well for anyone and so I found crossword is something that I can be competitive with every day that I do it I try to go a few times a week and I’m competitive with other people but I’m also definitely competitive with myself so I see myself getting stronger and better but something that is so unique about Cross Fit is this even though you’re working out every day and technically you’re competing against other people in the class of the same time but you do genuinely as you get to know them you genuinely root them on and cheer for them when they progress as well when they hit a personal best when they lift a weight that they’ve never been able to lift or they’re able to do a certain movement you’re genuinely happy for them it’s such a unique environment and I think the world needs more environments like that. There are not many groups where you can find that kind of camaraderie and and sportsmanship and they’re really rooting each other on but you know the place that should even be better than that when it comes to rooting ensuring each other on it’s the local church it’s here at church where we should genuinely cherish and love and care for each other and Root 3 chugger to mature in their relationship with Christ there’s no room for competition in the body of Christ this is where we root for each other and said being Judge Mental over disputable matters can really harm that and so because that is what God has called us to do let’s make sure that we don’t trip each other up by judging each other over these disputable matters and this definitely pray that God gives us the wisdom to know what is what was going let’s close in prayer
Dear Lord we thank you for this morning we thank you for these one another commands that you’ve given us in your word and we we thank you for the one anothers that we that we have in the relationship with each other here agrees to Phoenix Florida it’s so easy for us to take our own opinions and our own preferences and and make them very important parts of our face well or there’s a lot of danger in that because we might trip each other up as we’re all running this race together it’s a father as we look at this passage in Romans Chapter 14 I just pray that should just give us the wisdom to be able to determine what what those issues are in our life and when there is grace and when there is freedom for another believer let’s celebrate with them and when there is not let’s a definitely have to point that out before either I pray that as we go through this race together that we will share each other on and do would ever it is within our power to pursue what leads to peace and mutual building like your Holy Word says we pray is now increasing their man.