Sunday: Romans 14:1
In this section (Ro 14:1-15:13) Paul is teaching a diverse and growing church how to ďwalk according to loveĒ (v15). God was bringing in people from very different backgrounds. Some were Jews learning to stand firmly in the righteousness of faith and to reject legalism. Some were Gentiles learning to live obediently to Godís righteous laws instead of the lawlessness they had known before. If the church was going to reach that city it would have to maintain a wide-open door and a warm welcome for all sorts of people. Those who were mature in faith needed to roll up their sleeves and help care for the steady stream of new faces coming in. It was a good problem to have but it was a problem nonetheless because some had begun looking down on those less knowledgeable or those with a painful history to overcome. And to make matters worse, some of the new believers were shocked at what they saw long-time believers doing.
Monday: Romans 14:1-3
v1: Paul begins by addressing those who are strong in faith. He tells them: Draw close (take to yourselves) those who are new believers or still wounded (weak in faith). But when you do make sure you enter into a true friendship with that person, not just watch for an opportunity to criticize them because you think they are doing something wrong. vs2-3: Be patient with those who are less knowledgeable than you or have a painful history to overcome. Sincere believers vary widely in what their conscience allows them to do. And thatís okay. Some peopleís faith is still weak in areas but that doesnít give those of you whose faith is strong the right to look down on them or push them out of the church. Nor should those of you who see another believer doing something your own conscience would not permit you to do, judge that person, deciding they are a sinner or question whether theyíre even saved. God has drawn close (taken to Himself) all who believe in His Son.
Tuesday: Romans 14:2, 3
vs2-3 (continued): For example, many in Rome have strong feelings about whether or not to eat the meat sold in the public markets because, as you know, most of that meat comes from animal sacrifices conducted in the pagan temples scattered throughout the city. The animal was presented as an offering to those gods and goddesses in a service filled with demonic spirits (1Co 10:19-21). Many of you Gentiles have only recently come out of that environment. Youíve felt for yourselves the dark enchantments in those ceremonies. Youíve watched curses implored by pagan priests strike people down, so you know demons exist and you want nothing to do with meat left over from those terrible ceremonies. It stirs old memories you want to forget.
Wednesday: Romans 14:2-4
vs2-3 (continued): Others of you have been out of those temples long enough so that in your minds itís just meat, and after youíve given God thanks for it youíre confident there are no demons still attached. And some of you Jews donít want to eat any type of meat that hasnít been slaughtered according to biblical guidelines. v4: Letís keep this fact before us, that what really matters is what Jesus thinks about us, not what other people think. He knows whatís inside each personís heart, we donít. And remember this, Heís totally committed to that person. He never abandons anyone because theyíre weak. He patiently works with us to remove our fears and build our faith until each of us stands firmly in Him.
Thursday: Romans 14:5
v5: I also hear thereís arguing going on about which day to gather for worship. Of course many of you Jews prefer Saturday since itís the Sabbath, and you Gentiles prefer Sunday since itís the day Jesus rose from the dead. Some donít consider any one day as more important than another. And some are arguing about whether or not a Christian can still observe Sabbaths, new moons or the special feasts that are part of Israelís yearly calendar (Col 2:16). Frankly, it doesnít matter whether you do or donít. What does matter is that you follow your conscience. To the best of your ability to what you believe to be right.
Friday: Romans 14:6, 7
v6: If one of you wants to worship on a certain day go right ahead, with the understanding, of course, that you are in no way earning your righteousness or that you are somehow better than those who donít. And you who feel free to eat the meat sold in the markets, go ahead, and you who donít, donít. But whichever course you take, do what you do as an act of worship to the Lord. v7: Real Christians do everything they do for one reason: to please Jesus. Itís actually a great sin to be guided by what others think rather than what God thinks.
Saturday: Romans 14:8-12
v8: As believers our greatest desire is to please Him, even if His will leads us to death. Issues like what we eat or what day we worship become opportunities to express our submission to Him. v9: By His death and resurrection Jesus became Lord over everything in this life and the next. vs10-11: Donít forget, Heís the judge. It wonít be up to us to decide who belongs to Him and who doesnít. v12: He will evaluate everything weíve done. He will reveal our true motives. This fact should cause us to examine our hearts rather than judge others. Heíll look to see if we have selflessly loved people, especially those who are weak.