1. A problem had arisen at Rome. Could believers eat meat taken from an animal that had been sacrificed to a pagan idol?
2. This is a non-moral issue — something neither forbidden in scripture nor morally impure in itself — yet people had very different and definite opinions.
a. v1,2–These verses make it clear there is liberty in non-moral areas.
b. v1–lit: don’t criticize his scruples; don’t judge his doubtful thoughts.
c. v3–Don’t despise; despise = to make utterly nothing of (also used in v10.) d. v4–Each believer is first and foremost responsible to God.
e. v5,6–In the things we do, we must be fully assured that God allows it, and we must be able to thank and glorify God in it.
f. v7-9–We are the Lord’s (dead or alive). We are here for Him, not for us.
g. v10-12–God is our judge and we must all appear before Him to give account of ourselves — not others.
h. v13-23–Don’t let your freedom become a source of harm to your brother.
3. The emphasis is not on what the other guy is doing but on your attitude.
a. You may think what he’s doing is foolish, but don’t look down on him. b. The issue is love; believe the best; assume he thinks he has a good reason. c. v3–Christ died for that man and he’s acceptable to God in Christ like you. d. Instead of focusing on how his actions are affecting you, focus on how your actions are affecting him. v15;19;20-22
e. v21–Can you put self second for the sake of another?
4. In I Cor 8:4-13 the Holy Spirit, through Paul, deals with the same issue.
a. We can presume that every point made in Rom 14 applies here as well.
b. But the Holy Spirit adds an interesting element– knowledge vs charity.
c. Sometimes, the more you know, the harder it is to walk in love toward others because knowledge can feed your pride.
d. I Cor 8:1-3–Next is your question. About eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. On this question everyone feels that only his answer is the right one! But although being a “know-it-all” makes us feel important, what is really needed to build the church is love. If anyone thinks he ows all the answers, he is just showing his ignorance. But the person who truly loves God is the one who is open to God’s knowledge. (Living)
5. My actions, which are lawful, could in fact be sinful because of their impact on my brother. v9-12
a. What is the sin here? None of the 10 commandments have been broken.
1. It’s not the letter, but the spirit of the Law that is involved here.
2. You didn’t consider the affect of your actions which weren’t necessarily wrong in themselves (eat meat offered to idols) on others.
b. This sin is called a sin against Christ. Why? We are His body. Acts 9:4
6. I realize all of this has the potential to get very complicated because we all hurt people from time to time because we are all flawed.
7. But, the bottom line is — what is your attitude, your goal in how you treat people with whom you have disagreements?
a. From a superior position based on your greater knowledge? I Cor 4:7
b. Rom 14:3–Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed. (Amp)
c. This should be our goal: I Cor 14:1–Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love — make it your aim, your greatest quest. (Amp)
d. Eph 4:1,2–I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called — with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, living as becomes you — with lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. (Amp)
e. Bear = forbear = lit: to hold self back.