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Sep 26, 2021

Bridging Differences

Passage: Romans 14:1-7

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Romans

Keywords: unity, differences, division, freedoms, weaker-faith christians, stronger-faith christians


God's word is very clear about the limits and boundaries of morality/immorality. But there is another huge arena of life decisions about with good and godly people may differ. For some it may be sin while for others it is not. The difference depends, according to this text, on the measure of faith we have. Both weaker and stronger Christians seek to honor God in these decisions. This passage should help us learn to live peacefully, respectfully and humbly with our difference while living in love with each other in the church.


Bridging Differences

Romans 14:1-7

September 26, 2021


How does it feel to be “accepted”?  (Responses)

What’s one of the most memorable groups/relationships/etc you were ‘accepted’ into?

  • A sports team?
  • A college?
  • A family (adopted)?
  • A fraternity or sorority?
  • A club?
  • A friendship?

For some of those things you might have gotten a “letter of acceptance.”  For others (friendship, family, etc.) you just got invited to be a part of their lives by their actions. 

            One of the challenges of life together in the church is that we’re so amazingly diverse in just about every way that it’s sometimes hard for us to really ‘accept one another.’  Some churches are more ‘accepting’ than others.  But all struggle with knowing how to accept people with differing opinions, differing beliefs, differing values, practices, traditions, you name it. 

            Today’s text in Romans 14 is all about teaching us how to live with each other.  Not just tolerate each other; really enjoy living with each other.  We’re now in the 3rd of 5 chapters that are all about HOW to live in love towards other people.  The first 11 of Romans was all about God’s love for us.  Now God is mentoring us on how to love each other.  Chapter 14 is actually the longest section of any in these 5 chapters.  And it is all about how to live together with our differences. 

            Now let me clarify one thing before we jump in.  Paul is not talking about differences of what is truth or what is moral or what is sinful.  God makes those quite clear.  Remember, a couple of weeks ago we just finished chapter 13 in which Paul gave a partial list of the deeds of darkness.  We’re now children of light who are to be ‘clothed’ in the life, character and behaviors of Jesus.  We are supposed to ‘judge’ each other—those within the body of Christ—when we’re walking in sin. I Corinthians 5-6 make it very clear that we are to judge evil IN the church and to even serve as judges between each other on matters that would normally drag us into court against a brother/sister. 

            But in today’s passage, God is telling us NOT to judge.  So clearly Paul is addressing those things of differences between us that are not sin issues.  They are differences—differences of faith, differences of freedom, differences of gratitude, of engagement and of abstinence from engagement. 

            So, let’s jump in with the first command here.  Romans 14:1—Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 

This word “accept” here is also used of God towards all of us in the kinds of differences Paul is going to be talking about.  In vs. 3 he says that “God has accepted them” [all of us—strong and weak in faith]. 

            What is Paul envisioning in this kind of “acceptance”?  Well, the same kind of acceptance God has for you! 

  • It’s the kind of acceptance you feel when Bob greets you! Big, friendly, warm hug.