Understanding Romans 14

Argument

Romans 14 teaches the need to accept and not judge those with whom we differ on matters of opinion. Some have tried to expand the scope of this chapter to include matters of faith. However, we are not to tolerate departures from the faith (cf. Jude 3; Galatians 1:6-9; 2:3-5). Yet on matters of opinion, we need to be sure we understand and apply what Paul wrote in this chapter.

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

One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. 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.

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 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” (Romans 14:1-6).

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The Problem with Division

Division

The first of many problems that Paul addressed in his first letter to Corinth was that of division. There were factions that had developed within the church as the brethren became loyal to different teachers (1 Corinthians 1:12). Paul appealed for them to have unity. He did so by explaining what the problem is with division.

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Let us consider what Paul taught in the passage above.Continue Reading

Do This First

Number One

In every area of life, there are certain things that must be done first before something else can be done (e.g., you must put your socks on first before putting on your shoes). That does not mean that the secondary action is less important, but the sequence is.

Sometimes, the order in which we do certain tasks are of necessity. The wise man said, “Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then, build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). Housing is important, but if the planting is not done at the time to plant, there will be no harvest. The house will be useless if one does not have food to eat.

Other times, the order in which actions are to be carried out is of divine decree. Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). If one is baptized before he believes, he has not done what Jesus said he must do to be saved. One must believe first, then be baptized in order to be saved.

Matthew recorded a few times in which Jesus taught that something must be done first before something else could be done. In this article, I want us to notice what Jesus said on these occasions and see what lessons we can learn.
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Why Were They Called “churches of Christ”?

Church of Christ

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).

Paul referred to the congregations with which he was associated as “churches of Christ.” Many brethren, in an effort to follow the New Testament pattern, have also used this to identify local churches. However, some brethren have quit using this designation, choosing instead to identify themselves as “The Church in ___” or merely placing a sign in front of their building that says, “Christians Meet Here.” Of course, many more in the denominational world use other names to identify their churches (Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc.).

Our desire must be to please Christ and serve Him faithfully. So let us consider this question: Why were those local churches in the first century called “churches of Christ” and what bearing does this have on us today?
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The Problem with Denominations

Church building

Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it’” (Matthew 16:16-18).

In the first century, there were no denominations – only the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18). Paul said there is just “one body” (Ephesians 4:4), and that body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23).

But today, unlike the first century, there are thousands of denominations. Is this a problem? Many will say “no.” They have been taught to “join the church of your choice” because “one church is as good as another.” But the Scriptures teach that this is a problem. Why? In this article we will notice four reasons why denominationalism is a problem.
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Houses in Which to Eat

Family dinner

As time goes on, more churches (even among brethren) are hosting meals as a function of the local church. But should churches be involved in this practice? As with every question, we must strive to determine if such activities are authorized. This will be determined by examining the word of God, not by observing the cultural norms in our society or the current trends in the religious world. So let us examine what Paul had to say to the church in Corinth.

But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:17-22).

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David Lipscomb: "The Majority Seem to be Going Away"

Before the “official” division between the Disciples of Christ and the churches of Christ, David Lipscomb worked hard in doing what he could to prevent the need for division. But eventually he realized that division was inevitable. This deeply saddened him. He had opposed innovations like the missionary society and instrumental music in worship to God. But he lamented the fact that many would not stand with him, thus making division necessary.
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