Avoiding Judgmentalism

Greg Wetterlin September 27, 2020 Romans 14:1-12
Outline

Romans 13:8 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Ephesians 4:1-3 - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Proverbs 6:16-19 - There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.

Galatians 6:1 - Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Romans 15:14 - And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Matthew 7:1 - Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

Matthew 7:2-5 - For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

1 Corinthians 5:2 - You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7 - Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened…

Romans 14:1 - Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

accept – proslambano – personal and willing acceptance of another person

Acts 28:2 - The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

4 reasons believers should not wrongly evaluate one another

I. Because God Receives Every Believer – 14:2-3

Galatians 3:24 - Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Galatians 2:21 - I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Romans 14:2 - One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

A. The command to the stronger Christians – 14:3a

Romans 14:3 - The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat…

B. The command to the weaker Christians – 14:3b

Romans 14:3 - …and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

Colossians 2:16-17 - Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

II. Because God Sustains Every Believer – 14:4

Romans 14:4 - Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

A. We should not judge someone else’s servant

B. The Lord is the one who enables us to stand

III. Because God Knows Every Believer – 14:5-9

A. We have freedom in areas that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture

Romans 14:5 - One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Ephesians 4:5 - …one Lord, one faith, one baptism…

B. The real question is the motivation behind our choices

Romans 14:6 - He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

C. The gospel empowers us to make these choices properly

Romans 14:7-8 - For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

IV. Because God Will Judge Every Believer – 14:10-12

Romans 14:10-12 - But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will 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 give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

A. We should never “play God” in someone else’s life

B. The Lord alone is the One who can and will judge everyone properly

Does anyone else find the relevance and timeliness of the Word of God just amazing? As the election is really heating up, Romans 13 and submitting to our government is what we studied last week. And then obviously, if the pastors were just really smart, they could have planned and timed that out perfectly when we were putting together the preaching schedule last year. But, then you add the pandemic into the equation and now the message on submitting to authority becomes even more timely. And then, in case that wasn’t enough, you have the death of Justice Ginsberg—one of the more prominent political figures in the country—that takes place just a few days before the message on Romans 13…all that to say, it’s almost as if we have a God who is alive and active and still speaking to us today through his powerful Word…amazing!

Praise God for how he gives us exactly what we need, when we need it, in order to help us grow as a church and individually to be more like Christ.

Well, in case last week wasn’t relevant or timely, or convicting enough, don’t worry our text today in Romans 14 will surely deliver.

So, let’s just get right down to it:

SHOULD CHRISTIANS JUDGE ONE ANOTHER?

Just let that question sink in for a moment. And while that question is sinking in, consider that one of the most often cited reasons for why someone wouldn’t ever go to church is because Christians and church goers are…can you guess???...judgmental.

So, should Christians judge one another?

Without a show of hands or a vote—we don’t want to wear out your voting muscles before election day in a couple months—but for those that would answer the question, “no” consider the following, realistic yet hypothetical scenario.

  • Consider that a family that are members of our church come to services this morning and you notice that the children and the wife have recent bruises on their arms, legs and faces. You also notice that the man has bruised and cut knuckles…do you as a church member, and we as a church have any responsibility to do anything about this situation
  • Would not saying anything and keeping our nose in our own business be the appropriate response to a scenario like that?
  • In fact, if we do not judge that situation and call it out as sinful and inappropriate and deal with it would we not actually be failing in our biblical responsibility to love one another?
    • o A verse that we studied last Sunday was Romans 13:10 - Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
  • o According to that verse, could we ignore that situation and “do no wrong to our neighbor?” Would ignoring that be loving to the wife and children?...
  • o Would ignoring that even be loving to the husband?
  • This is where a very important principle of Bible Study and interpretation comes into play…The Unity Principle…
  • The unity principle – means that the whole Bible is consistent and in unity with itself. So we must interpret scripture in light of Scripture.
    • On simple face value it might seem that Scripture contradicts itself on the matter of judging. For example, Jesus says in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” and then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:3, “For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.”
  • But, although it might seem like a contradiction, when we study each verse in its own context and then interpret Scripture in light of itself, we find that there is actually no contradiction at all and that the Bible indeed is consistent and in unity with itself.
  • The view that everything is a disputable matter and an area of conscience.
  • The view that almost nothing is disputable and a matter of conscience.
  • So we are commanded to love each other, and to be in unity with one another. Sinful judgmentalism must be avoided for that to happen.
  • It’s been just the opposite. An opportunity to walk in pride…which we saw God hates in proverbs 6…an opportunity to be harsh, not gentle, to be angry rather than patient, to be intolerant rather than tolerant, and to diligently sow discord, rather than to diligently preserve the unity of the Spirit.
  • There has been all kinds of sinful judgmentalism regarding things like, masks, vaccines, church re-opening policies, government restrictions, and social justice issues.
  • - And the arguing has largely been around things not clearly outlined in Scripture.
  • - And this is important, but people have “in-scripturated” their views and opinions.
    • o Inscriptured means, they have elevated their opinions and views to the authority of God’s Word.
  • o When we do that, we will be guilty of sinful judgmentalism and will be running the risk of sowing discord among our brothers.
  • Scripture has spoken clearly on these matters. Physical abuse and violence is absolutely wrong and objectionable and a church that has Jesus Christ as their Lord has to judge appropriately and act appropriately in that situation.
  • That issue isn’t a matter of opinion or conscience, and so as a church we have a responsibility to hold one another accountable for living obediently to Scripture.
  • Well, a good place to start would be to keep reading…that’s an important principle of Bible study by the way…Matt 7:1 is one of the most misunderstood and misquoted passages in the Bible. The rest of the passage goes on to say…
  • Do you know who I’m talking about? I’m talking about the incestuous man as discussed in 1 Corinthians 5…and the apostle Paul was a bit hot about the situation…but he wasn’t most upset at the incestuous man, he was most upset with the Corinthian church who wasn’t dealing with this man’s sin.
  • In fact, Paul rebukes them for their pride and boasting, and their belief that this man’s sin wouldn’t affect them negatively.
  • As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must hold each other accountable to issues that are clearly outline in Scripture.
    • Issues like sexual immorality, stealing, honesty, modesty, and all kinds issues regarding our speech.
  • But when it comes to issues that are not clearly addressed in Scripture, then we must allow freedom and not give in to sinful judgmentalism.
    • Sadly, that can easily take place in the church. And while our church has been extremely blessed with a congregation that isn’t characterized by judgmentalism, it’s such an easy trap to fall into and if we’re honest every person in this room has room to grow in the area of putting off sinful judgment of others.
  • So this is not going to be a judgmental message casting stones at all kinds of other churches and other people, rather it’s going to be a message to help our church and our members deal with the logs in our own eye for God’s glory and for the good of brothers and sisters around us.
  • The church should be an accepting and welcoming place, so long as we understand the balance that we’ve been talking about up to this point this morning.
  • Food, special days and drinking, which comes out in Romans 14:17 and 21.
  • These illustrations are important because none of these illustrations are specifically addressed in Scripture.
    • So the food, the special days and the drinking all falls under the heading of Christian Liberty, which means that believers have the freedom to choose differently based on whatever their personal conviction is that would be most pleasing to God for them.
  • So these issues are matters that if we were to judge, we would be falling into the sinful judgmentalism category.
  • Those kinds of things are still in the category of Christian Liberty today, but other things that are in that category are things like who you vote for. If you want to vote for Joe Biden, then vote for Biden. If you want to vote for Trump, then vote for Trump. The Bible doesn’t specifically say who to vote for. Now, that’s not to say that you throw the Bible out when we’re talking about matters that the Bible doesn’t specifically address, which we’ll get to later in this sermon. But if someone votes differently than you, you’re welcome to disagree, but we cannot sinful judge them.
  • Well, remember at this point in the church’s history, Jews and Gentiles coming together in one body under Jesus Christ is still a pretty new thing. A large part of Romans has dealt specifically with that issue, and that’s certainly a large part of the issue here still.
  • The weak brothers and sisters in some cases were going to be Jews who had be saved out of Judaism, but struggled to let go of the dietary restrictions or the festivals and special days under the old covenant.
    • In some cases the weak are going to be Gentiles who once they come out of paganism want nothing to do with the meat, or drink that was associated with idolatrous rituals.
  • The strong were those who understood that because of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone meant that the dietary restrictions and special days under the old covenant were no longer binding…or they were the ones who knew those idolatrous rituals didn’t automatically defile the food or drink that was sold in the market.
  • As a result the strong in faith might not follow the special days or eat meat or drink. And then when the weak in faith see it, you have the potential for what we’re talking about this morning…sinful judgmentalism.
  • We are not talking about clear moral commands or clear doctrinal issues.
  • Not to just be mean, but we do not agree with the false teaching of the Catholic church that believes Mary is sinless and that we pray to here.
    • That’s not a disputable or conscience matter with freedom to believe differently. The Word of God is very clear.
  • The reason this would even be an issue has to do with what Paul has addressed earlier in the book. So I know what I’m asking you to remember and think about happened before the pandemic…hard to imagine life before the pandemic. But think with me back to how this book began.
  • Here’s what that means…every person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ came to Christ on exactly the same level, in exactly the same way…
    • Regardless of your past morality or immorality, or your ethnicity, or your economic background, or your political views…
  • Everyone has to come to God through repentance…which is admitting exactly what Scripture says about your sin, and then asking God to freely forgive you of your sins through the powerful, sufficient, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
  • And that’s a gift…a completely free gift to you and me, that we cannot earn.
  • We need the free gift of forgiveness, but we also need the free gift of Christ’s righteous life on my account.
  • - That scenario of different opinion could cause division in the church, unless we heed the two commands given here.
  • Think about is like medicine?
    • Some people chose to use all kinds of natural remedies, like natural honey, certain kinds of juices, supplements, etc. etc.
  • Other people chose to use more traditional health approaches of hospitals and doctors.
  • What people choose to do with those options is their business. But people can bring that kind of stuff into church with their Bible and be a whole lot more excited about their natural supplements that have helped them out so much, more than they are excited about the Jesus that died to save their soul.
  • And when those kinds of things become more exciting and important than cross of Christ, that’s when quarreling, and arguing and judging others can enter the equation.
  • Again, these are in regards to issues that are matters of opinion.
  • So one family gives their kids all kinds of sweets and sugary things, and another family keeps it a secret that food could actually taste good, and that not all cereal was card board, and that there were desserts that you actually would want to eat because they really did taste good!
    • Can you guess what house I grew up in? Not that I’m judging…
  • So on all kinds of matters of parenting, if it’s an issue of opinion, then do not look on with contempt or judge one another…
  • That person isn’t your servant…
  • The opinions of this counselor, or this politician, or this person who spot on in their assessment of the pandemic and masks…none of that really matters.
  • Those people, and their counsel will fail.
  • But God and His firm sure Word will never fail and he enables us to stand firmly in the gospel.
  • But even using God’s Word and the clear principles he’s given us in His Word, will still mean that believers will land in different camps on different topics and issues.
  • As long as a persons motivation is to please Christ and honor the Lord, then we need to not judge them and let them make their own choice.
  • Praise the Lord for that, truth.
  • - Some believers love that holiday…they love the opportunities it provides with family and friends, they enjoy candy, and themed parties, etc. They could celebrate that holiday unto the Lord…
  • - Some believers hate Halloween…they’ve read anti Halloween books, and study the origin of the holiday and don’t want anything to do with it at all…and they don’t want anything to do with it because they want to live for the Lord.
  • This is the critical argument of the passage…they can both be right, and they can both be brothers and sisters in the same church, and they can lovingly choose to not judge one another.
  • But that’s why the gospel is such good news. Because of Jesus Christ and what he’s done for us, we can with confidence look forward to giving an account to our loving Lord and Savior.

Based on that scenario, would anyone want to go back and change their vote to the original question? Should Christians judge one another?

So on the one hand, the answer must be yes, Christians have to judge. But on the other hand, as we’ll see in our text today, judging one another is expressly prohibited!

That’s why it’s so important to be balanced, as Scripture would be when we address questions, like the question posed this morning…should Christians judge one another?

To help us approach this question in a balanced way, I want to set out for us 2 extremes that we need to avoid. And these are extremes that Scripture teaches us to avoid…so this is not Greg’s extremes that he came up with.

These two extremes need to be guarded against, so let’s look at some passages in Scripture that will address both of these.

In the first view of seeing everything as a disputable matter and an area of conscience, any judgment whatsoever is objectionable and unloving.

In the second view of seeing nothing as disputable and an area of conscience, judging all kinds of things and being critical towards issues not clearly outlined in Scripture is necessary.

So, how does the word of God help us avoid these extremes?

As we already saw in Romans 13:10love does no wrong to a neighbor… therefore, we must make sure that we do not cast judgment on anyone in any way that is unloving and does wrong to our neighbor.

God calls his people and his church to live in unity and love. Paul strongly makes that point in Ephesians 4:1–3 - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

It follows that if we are to love each other and live in unity with one another, then something must be done when God’s people are living contrary to that. If people are disrupting unity in the body of Christ and sowing discord, is the Lord going to be pleased with that?

Proverbs 6:16–19 is one place where God makes it clear that he hates when people disrupt unity.

16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

Friends, we are 7 months into this pandemic. And unfortunately for many church’s, COVID19 and politics has been a platform to spread strife among the brothers. It’s been used as an opportunity not to dig into “walking in a worthy manner of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness and patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

When the dust settles after this pandemic, it will be sad to see how many churches had to close their doors. And while “financially” it may not have been feasible to continue on for these churches, often times the reason behind the financial woes, is disunity. And behind a lot of the disunity in churches during this pandemic has been arguments and fights over all kinds of things not directly addressed in Scripture…

We must conclude that kind of judgment is wrong and cannot be tolerated in the church.

But if we go back to the illustration of the spouse/child abuse…is that situation different? And the answer is a resounding yes!

Now, I realize that there might be some people who would say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” People actually quote that as a reason to not get involved in other people’s business. But that is quote from wicked Cain right after he murdered his brother Abel in Genesis 4…so the answer is absolutely yes, you are your brother’s keeper.

On matters that are clearly outlined in Scripture we have to hold one another accountable.

Here are just a few passages of Scripture that teach the principle of us holding one another accountable.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

We already look at Matt 7:1 which says, “judge not lest you be judged.” So what are we to do with that clear command?

Matthew 7:2–5 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

So what’s the reason that we need to judge our own sin strongly and get the log out of our own eye? It’s right at the end of verse 5…so that we will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of our brothers’ eye.

So we don’t want to judge in the way that this passage uses the word “judge.” Being judgmental in this passage means that we are not dealing with our own sin, but instead making a big deal out of others sin…that is sinful judgmentalism. But if we are humbling dealing with our own sin and repenting, then we’ll be able to see clearly to help another brother with their sin.

Did you know that there is an example in Scripture of a man that was living in clear disobedience to the word of God and yet the church was doing anything about it?

1 Corinthians 5:2–3 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. 3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.

1 Corinthians 5:6–7 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Some might say that is a bit judgmental…some might even say that’s not very nice and even unloving. But according the perfect, sufficient, authoritative Word of God, they would be wrong.

Now, how about that for an introduction to a sermon. 15 minutes in and still not to the first point and not even to the first verse of our text this morning.

Well, you can turn to Romans 14. And while you’re turning their I’ll just quickly sum up where we are at, at this point.

Follow along with me as I read Romans 14:1–12 and be looking for how this text is going to help us Avoid Judgmentalism.

The command is pretty clear there in verse 1 – Romans 14:1 – Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

Accept – proslambano – personal and willing acceptance of another person.

That same word is used in Acts 28:2 The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

Can you guess which word is proslambano there? It’s the word “received.” The way the natives received Paul, is exactly how the church should be receiving others.

Before we jump into the main points of the sermon, there is some more explanation that has to take place.

Surely you noticed that there are two groups of people that are addressed in this passage…there are those who are “weak in the faith” and those who are strong. Our text this morning doesn’t say “strong” but in Romans 15:1 that’s where the term for the second group comes in. But both the weak and the strong are present in this passage.

We need to understand both of those groups. We also need to understand the three examples that Paul addresses in this passage.

So who are the two groups…who are the weak and who are the strong?

So the weak in faith, have a conscience that is triggered by something other than the Word of God.

So, one more time just to be clear…we are talking about issues not clearly called out in Scripture.

So with that final caveat, how about we get to the main point on Avoiding Judgmentalism…4 Reasons believers should not wrongly evaluate one another.

The first reason is…

I. Because God Receives Every Believer – 14:2-3

We see that clearly at the end of v.3…”for God receives them.” And the first issue that Paul addresses is the issue of food.

Paul in the last half of Romans 1 made the point that all immoral people are lost—which there really is no shock their.

But then in Romans 2 he made the shocking argument that all moral people are also hopeless lost before the Lord…and just incase that news wasn’t hard enough, he drove the final nail in the coffin of self-righteousness in made the point that even religious people are hopeless lost before the Lord.

The only thing that saves a person is the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So the dietary laws, and special days, and moral laws were impossible to save a sinner.

That’s why Paul the Galatians…Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

That’s why Paul included these 2 great verses in his introduction to the book:

Romans 1:16–17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

The power of Christ and the gospel makes both Gentiles and Jews righteous…it makes people of different backgrounds brothers and sisters in Christ…

But because of that diversity of background, people come into the church with different memories, experiences, and different opinions on all kinds of things…even things like food as we see here.

Some Jewish Christians, who used to follow dietary laws, like not eating bacon, might still feel guilty eating. And some Gentile Christians, might wanting nothing to do with meat that could have been offered to idols, so they won’t even touch meat, but rather just eat vegetables the rest of their life.

But you also have Jewish and Gentile Christians, who understand that in Christ they have freedom to eat, because idols aren’t anything and the dietary laws aren’t anything.

So Paul says, Romans 14:2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only

First, we have the command to the strong Christians...

A. The command to the stronger Christians – 14:3a

Romans 14:3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat…

The one who knows the freedom they have in Christ, and who has a more mature faith and understanding is not to look down and hold in contempt—or judge—those words are basically synonymous in this passage—they are not to judge their brothers and sisters who have a different opinion and choose not to eat meat.

And then likewise what are the weaker Christians to do?

B. The command to the weaker Christians 14:3b

Romans 14:3b …and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

In this scenario, the weaker brother cannot make eating meat the test of someone’s spirituality…in other words, the people that do eat meat are the immature believers and the ones who don’t are the more spiritual and mature believers.

That’s why Paul said in Colossians 2:16–17 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Now, the issue of food was almost 2000 years ago…aren’t you glad we don’t deal with judging each other of dietary things today?...or do we?

Paul goes on to say that God receives them, so we must receive them as well. But even more than God just receiving every believer, he also sustains every believer.

II. Because God Sustains Every Believer – 14:4

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

The point is, that other person is not your servant…he is the Lord’s servant. As a result, on matters of opinion that other person isn’t your concern…God tells us that…

A. We should not judge someone else’s servant

A pretty clear application to which is often a cause for judgment inside the church is how other parents raise their children.

B. The Lord is the one who enables us to stand

The last part of this verse says the Lord is the one who enables us to stand…the point is, that God is who we need. He is the one who is going to sustain us, not another person.

Another reason to not judge others wrongly is…

III. Because God Knows Every Believer – 14:5-9

And the point here, is that the motivation of our hearts is really, really important.

A. We have freedom in areas that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Did you hear that? Each person must be fully convinced in their own mind…now that doesn’t mean that you throw the Bible out the window and make choices apart from God’s Word.

The Bible doesn’t explicitly say you have to buy American made cars…that’s not a clear moral choice laid out in Scripture. But you need to make sure that you’re fully convinced that whatever car you buy is in order to please the Lord.

Which leads to the next subpoint…the real question is the motivation behind our choices.

B. The real question is the motivation behind our choices

Romans 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

The main question is, are you doing it in order to please the Lord or not?

And the good news for all believers is that…

C. The gospel empowers us to make these choices properly

Romans 14:7–8 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Because of the good news of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit inside of us, we can actually make right, God honoring decisions!

But what’s honoring and pleasing to the Lord for you might not be for someone else.

For example, Halloween is just over one month away.

Now, is it possible that both groups of people can be right and honor the Lord?

The same kinds of things could arise over Christmas Trees, Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies, Valentines Day, etc., etc.

The last reason that we all can just take a deep breath and relax and judge one another on these matters is…

IV. Because God Will Judge Every Believer – 14:10-12

Romans 14:10–12 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

That means…

A. We should never “play God” in someone else’s life

You can see what someone is doing, but you cannot see someone else’s heart…so unless it’s something clearly spelled out in Scripture, we need to let God be God in their life, rather than trying to be god for them.

Now, lest this message about not judging one another starts to make us feel real warm and cozy, so now I can start living lackadaisically because others can’t judge me…we need to remember this last verse.

B. The Lord alone is the One who can and will judge everyone properly

While other believers may not get to judge me, the Lord will. I will have to give an account before the God of the universe for everything I’ve done in the body.

So whatever I do, I better do it with the intentional motivation and thought of honoring the Lord and not just doing whatever I want to do. Because as challenging as it can be to be judged by another person, standing before the perfect, and holy, eternal, almighty God, will be much more uncomfortable.

For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord, therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Greg Wetterlin

Roles

Pastor of Men’s Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Restoration Men's Ministries - Restoration Men's Residential Program

Bio

B.S. - Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Greg Wetterlin and his wife, Erika, joined the Faith staff in July of 2016. Greg’s responsibilities include oversight of Restoration Men's Ministries as well as shepherding and teaching in Faith Church.