Do You Strive For Peace With Others? Rom. 14:13-23 (HCSB) Nov. 20, 2011
In a peaceful fellowship is the way to live with others. I have known families who always were having turmoil and friction. My family was never that way. Some churches have too much friction. The lesson encourages fellowship in all of our relationships. I want to be able to answer yes when asked; Do You Strive For Peace With Others? Don’t you?
1. Strive for Peace . . Eliminate Criticism. Rom. 14:13-15
A. Eliminate Criticism . . Consider Another’s Convictions. 14:13-14
13 Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall
in your brother’s way.
14 (I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who
considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean.)
B. Eliminate Criticism by Expressing . . Compassion for our Brother’s Convictions. 14:15
15 For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy that one Christ died for by what you eat.
If your convictions do not agree with another what do you do? We certainly should consider there beliefs. If it is a matter the Bible does not specifically address I call it a suburban matter; but it might be very important to another. They may believe God has specifically given them that conviction. If that be the case It probably will not hurt me, or you, to go along with their conviction and show compassion to a brother with whom I disagree. In the text the eating of certain foods was the central point of disagreement. More important than our right to eat a certain food is our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ and the peace of the fellowship.
2. Strive for Peace . . Encourage Priorities. Rom. 14:16-18
A. Encourage Priorities of Peace Through . . Righteousness. 14:16-17
16 Therefore, do not let your good be slandered,
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
B. Encourage Priorities of Peace Through . . Respect. 14:18
18 Whoever serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men.
We may encourage peace with a lifestyle that lives righteously. This kind of living is the by-product of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Today I noticed a churches web page where they encouraged input from anyone who would like to post a message about their experience in the church and with their workers. Someone who did not show respect for all the efforts the church put forth some nasty comments. Then a member answered with a kind rebuttal and some very fine comments. Peaceful actions can be supported with righteous comments of respect.
3. Strive for Peace . . Enlarge the Possibilities of Peace. Rom. 14:19-21
A. Enlarge the Possibilities Through the . . Pursuit of Peace. 14:19-20
19 So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
20 Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause
stumbling by what he eats.
B. Enlarge the Possibilities Through . . Preparation for Peace. 14:21
21 It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
If you and I make a real effort to pursue peace we can usually make a difference and through our efforts enlarge the possibilities of a peaceful environment. Some people are know as, “peacemakers,” and the Lord made this statement in; Matt 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.” (HCSB) If we deliberately refrain from actions we know offend others we will take a right step toward preparing for an atmosphere of peace. If drinking coffee offends some people I will not drink coffee and that is the principal Paul was emphasizing.
4. Strive for Peace . . Exercise Convictions for the Possibilities of Peace. Rom. 14:22-23
A. Exercise Convictions . . Personally. 14:22
22 Do you have a conviction? Keep it to yourself before God. The man who does not condemn himself by
what he approves is blessed.
B. Exercise Convictions . . Piously. 14:23
23 But whoever doubts stands condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from a conviction, and everything that is not from a conviction is sin.
I am a baseball fan and growing up in St. Louis I learned to really like the St. Louis Cardinals. When I pastored in St. Louis I was given tickets to the Sunday afternoon game of the World Series. The man knew I did not go to baseball games on Sunday and when he offered me the tickets he said, “I am not trying to get you to break one of your convictions but you can have these tickets if you want them.” I wasn’t really that tempted, but I do not judge others if the want to go to a sporting event on Sunday unless the Lord tells them not to do that.
As the text is telling us don’t disobey your convictions. When we do that we will be in a position when asked; Do You Strive For Peace With Others? To say yes! Amen ? Amen!