April 16, 2020

Build Up One Another – Encouragement from Pastor Kyle

Passage: Romans 14



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Good Afternoon Church Family,

We live during a time when hyper-sensitivity to offending others and political correctness has become the replacement of true unity and acceptance. When principles like these are left to the unsaved world to decide what’s moral and right, they’re sure to swing to one extreme or the other, and our country (though not the only) is sadly a good example of this. That’s why we MUST rely on the Word of God to be our compass for all things. The balance between tolerance and offensiveness is no doubt one of the toughest things for even Christians to sort out. When do we stand our ground on a truth, and when do we leave something alone? This is sometimes very hard to determine, and what a blessing it is that God has given us Scripture to help deal with such matters.

I’m only going to touch on a few verses out of Romans 14, but I strongly encourage you to read the whole chapter in order to capture the complete thought of what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate through Paul.

First off, the truth of God is not intended to be “non-offensive.” In fact, the Gospel is supposed to be offensive to our flesh, because without offending the flesh, repentance can’t occur. Sadly, however, too much of the church has given in to being hyper-sensitive to offending people with the true Gospel. In response, they’ve watered it down by leaving out the very thing that separates us from God, and in turn, the Gospel is presented as more of a sale’s pitch to happiness than a plea for repentance and reconciliation to our Creator. I say all this to make clear that Romans 14 is not talking about essential doctrines, like the Gospel and the deity of Jesus Christ (amongst countless others), but is dealing with secondary issues such as preferences and one’s level of spiritual maturity.

God has made each of us unique. We each have different personalities, we’re all at different levels of maturity, we all have different back grounds and perspectives, and we have all been given a unique spiritual gift. All of this helps make the body of Christ well balanced and complete, but it can also become the source of division in the church.

In Romans 14, Paul is strongly reminding us of what’s important, and what’s not. Verse 17 makes this abundantly clear when it says: “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Preferences are preferences, and truths are truths. As we study God’s Word, we should see the difference between the two, and we should not be having divisions between one another over preferences. Nor should we be causing unnecessary division over someone’s lack of spiritual maturity in an area of a secondary issue.

Preferences, like how we dress for church and what genre of worship music we prefer (amongst many others like these), are good if they’re motivated by sound biblical convictions. But to expect everyone else to have come to the same conclusions at the same time on these preferences and secondary issues, shows a lack of grace and love. That’s the key issue that Paul is trying to address here. Verse 15 makes this point clear: For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

The problem is not the secondary matter or the preference, it’s the heart attitude behind it. If what motivates us is the love of Christ in us, then our focus will be to pursue what’s best for one another. If that is in fact where we’re at, then verse 19 will come naturally: So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. There’s no doubt that we’re to challenge one another, and even hold one another accountable, but this can all be done in a way that is intended to build one another up.

To God be the glory,
- Pastor Kyle

Kyle Mangum circle pic


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