Sunday May 31, 2020 Minister Avery Ford
We just went through a series on messy relationships. The first five were LOVE, ENCOURAGE, FORGIVE, SERVE, and YIELD. Finally, we’re on our final word, ACCEPT. In one sentence, put others before yourself. So, what does it mean to accept? Are we as believers required to accept all persons regardless of behavior? I think not but is that with this lesson is trying to tell us. Let’s consider the scripture in today’s lesson.
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Believers come in all maturity levels. I believe many would agree with this. Oftentimes contention and friction unnecessarily occur when we forget this point. Maturity is not based upon the time since getting saved. Neither is maturity determined by church attendance or any other works. Paul in this text gives us one end of the spectrum but we can infer the other. On the one end, you have “weak in faith” and presumably “strong in faith” on the other. We must be careful not to assume that this scale is gradual where we start on the one end and progress towards the other. Here he is talking about the differences of opinion regarding non-essentials to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, pet peeves, preferences, and opinions, many of which stem from cultural upbringing.
Think about your last disagreement with your spouse, friend, sibling, or parent. Was the argument even about something that should’ve been detrimental to the relationship? Of course, in some cases it is, but in many, if not most probably weren’t. Ignorance or unwillingness to accept this truth has left many sorrowful once the relationship fails beyond repair.
Few if any would claim to be weak in the faith. Paul gives us an example so that we can better understand the spiritual implications of our actions and attitudes that negatively impact our relationships. He says, one can eat all things but the weak can only eat herbs. This may be confusing, but strength or maturity isn’t measured by our variety in food choices. Maturity is in being able to accept the person while differing in your practice of faith.
It’s funny how Paul uses the simplicity of food and drink to illustrate this point. Why would we be so concerned with what our fellow-servant of Christ eats or drinks to the point of division? Does it really matter? Maybe but probably not to the extent of severing relationships.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Relationship is everything!
Christ died (in your place and mine) and rose with all power and authority for one reason. To give us an opportunity for relationship with the Father through him.
1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
We either love or hate. No longer caring about the welfare of another is akin to hate.
Lord, please forgive us for the sin of indifference. When our heart grows cold to avoid the pain and eventually solidifies as stone, ceasing to function as you intended. Regardless of the pain, Lord, please cause our heart to beat again! Give us the grace to endure that we might obtain fellowship with you, In Jesus name, Amen!
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Preferences, Pet Peeves, and Opinions
Consider your brother’s testimony and faith. In matters trivial don’t hinder or disrupt their faith in God because of your preference, pet peeve, or opinion. If you are mature avoid this division that leads to hard feelings and unforgiveness which in turn disrupts our relationship with God. Forgiveness isn’t an option if you want to be forgiven. I love the way verse 17 sums it up and I paraphrase. (You) Do the right thing for peace and joy as the Holy Spirit is leading you. Hint hint, peace, and joy provide good directions. Not really mystical but super practical. Ask the Lord. How can I make peace and have joy in you?
Consider what the hot head Peter (like us at times) said.
1 Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
That sounds very much like what Paul said in verse 17.
To “eschew evil” is to proceed in righteousness. “Seek peace” speaks to the effort in order to obtain. To “ensue” peace is the actual prize which brings joy.
My prayer is that we learn to accept the person even as Christ has accepted us. All the while knowing that all behavior isn’t acceptable but that we would LOVE, ENCOURAGE, FORGIVE, SERVE, YIELD and ACCEPT until we all come to the fulness of fellowship at the marriage supper of the Lamb.