Donald Karnes - Romans 14

A marvelous chapter! It deals with the "gray-area" not explicitly covered. We find here at least 7 "guide-lines" to help us make this personal decision. We are not under law but grace! Liberty is not license! No hard and fast rules can be made for eat and drink, wear, and work and how to spend the Lord's Day, or proper recreation! Some are strong and some are weak. Yet everyone must reach a position of settled conviction:  verse 5, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind!" This chapter helps us to come to this place, "Fully persuaded." 


1) STAY OFF THE JUDGMENT SEAT:  Don't condemn anyone because he does not see things exactly as you do! "One believeth that he may eat all things, another who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth.” It is not our place to judge! "Who art thou that judgeth another man's servant?" I'm responsible to God for the way I live. Before God, I stand or fall! A young mother lost her husband in the war, and left her 6 year old child, who was going blind, in an orphanage. She said, "I'll be back!" 12 years later, now remarried and with means, she tried to find her child that had been adopted. A detective located her and after a long search found her in a fairly well-to-do home! Now a blind young lady, she was singing in operas, as she had a beautiful voice. First, she didn't want to have anything to do with her real mother. "She knew I was going blind and she abandoned me!" Finally a meeting was arranged. The detective led the blind young lady to her mother's arms. She placed her hands on both sides of her daughter's face! "Dear, how you have grown, how beautiful!" The blind girl felt the warm hands gently caress her neck, her arms, her shoulders, her breast - until it dawned upon her! Why, Mother, are you blind also? And she fell into her mother's arms to weep! What a difference the Truth made, now all was so clear. 


2) ACT IN THE LIGHT OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT OF CHRIST:  "Why dost thou set at naught thy brother?” We shall all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, and give an account of ourselves to God. This is His prerogative. We are not qualified! We do not have access to all the evidence. I Corinthians 4:5, "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who ‘both’ will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God." 


3) WRONG WHEN YOUR CONSCIENCE TELLS YOU IT’S WRONG:   True, (Romans 9:1) only when our conscience is bearing us witness to the Holy Ghost. 14:14,"There is nothing unclean of itself, but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." Another person’s conscience cannot be our guide! Verse 20, "All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence." He goes against his own convictions. Verse 22, "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." Each one knows what he can allow for himself. One man's meat is another man's poison. 


4) DO NOTHING THAT WOULD BE A STUMBLING-BLOCK TO ANOTHER:  Verse 13, Love should be stronger than conscience. Verse 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." Am I my brother's keeper? Your brother's spiritual welfare comes before your personal pleasure. My business is to help rather than hinder! Will this be an example, or will it mar my testimony? Our conscience must be exercised to remain sensitive. Thus His Word and His Spirit are monitors of the soul! Then, we'll know what is pure and what is doubtful. 


5) DON’T BRING SECONDARY THINGS INTO THE CENTER:  Don't major in minors! Verse 17, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." Goodness is not righteousness. Keep things in their proper prospective. Keep Christ front and center! Placing emphasis where God has not placed it makes for divisions and clicks. "For meat destroy not the work of God." Adjectives should modify, not determine! 


6) BE SURE THAT OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD SO-CALLED DOUBTFUL THINGS MAKE FOR PEACE AND EDIFY:  Verse 19, The goal is harmony! Be a “peace-maker" and not a "peace-breaker!" Encourage all by sowing "good-will" and "good-works." The joy of the Lord is our strength! You can't have a river with only one bank. We need objectivity:  both faith and works. 


7) MAKE ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS CONSISTENT WITH OUR FAITH:  Any weakening in our resolve to match our profession with a live performance will only impair a good conscience and dim our Vision! Verse 23, "He that doubteth is damned"… because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin!” These Guidelines give Jesus the benefit of any doubt. Whenever I consider my personal pleasure or pursuits a "higher goal" than I do the "Master's Service," (meetings, etc.) my actions are at odds with my faith and my life is powerless to convict and to convert. Jesus can never be second best. If He can't have "first place," He'll not have any place! We are responsible for our influence. We are either a carrier of health or of disease! We are under obligation to our Master to live so that the Holy Ghost, through us, may set forth Jesus to the Best Advantage!