Text: Romans 14:7-12 August 21, 2011
1) Wait and they break: Julie loves fresh tomatoes. She planted some tomato plants in pots, setting them in sunny side of her house. Before she knew what was going on, the plants grew so fast and some of the vines began to bend, twist and drop downward. So, she found some stakes, lifted the vines carefully, and fastened them in an upward position. Even though she tried to be gentle and very careful, a couple of the twisted large vines broke when she tried to straiten them upright.
2) Waited and they rotten: Priest Eli has 2 sons whom he failed to discipline. When their wickedness go so bad that he could no longer ignore it, he tried gentle rebuke, but it was too late. God announced the dire consequences: I will judge Eli’s house for the iniquities he knows because his sons made themselves vile and he did not restrain them.” (1 Samuel 2:27-30, 3:13.) In the text today, Romans 14:7-12, Paul warns us of the importance of self discipline on our life style, attitude to others and to the Lord and the ultimate judgment when we see the Lord.
GROW UP ON LIFE PURPOSE: (Romans 14:7-8)
1) No one lives for himself: “For none of us lives for himself alone.” (14:7)To live for oneself is a popular and acceptable way of life in today’s society. This is very true in the political arena and the business world. No one is looking out for you but for himself. The insistence of “self” is so strong even in marriage and family. Many times, the self is so big that all others and their well being are being forgotten. But that should not be the mindset of believers of Christ. In the community where God assigns us to live, we do not live only for ourselves.
2) No one dies for himself: “And none of us dies to himself alone.” (14:7b) Death is the ultimate-sacrifice anyone could give for a very high purpose. We see, read and are told of touching stories of self-sacrifice of someone for someone else who was so dear to them. If we want to die for good meaning and purpose, Paul says, we should not die for ourselves. In today’s society, people die for many reasons and mostly for their own benefit or desires. But God doesn’t want us to die for the self. Our life is not for the self, be it to live or to die. We need to have a much better or higher purpose to live or to die.
3) All live or die for the Lord: “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (14:8) The Lordship of life is the center of spiritual growth. All believers of Christ want him to be our Savior so our sins are forgiven and we receive from him eternal life. But not all believers want Christ to be the Lord of their life. If we truly belong to the Lord, we can’t live according to our hearts but his heart. We can’t live to satisfy our desires but his desires. We are to seek his kingdom and his righteousness to be the center of our life so Jesus can be truly the Lord in control.
GROW UNDER HIS AUTHORITY: (Romans 14:9-10)
1) He paid the price for us: “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life.” (14:9) The purpose of Christ’ life is not to live with glory but to die with self-sacrifice. The power of his life is not on his living but on his death and then returned to life. Christ must first die on the cross, must go through suffering and death in order to return to life so he can give us eternal life. If we are truly his disciples and truly desire to follow his life style, we must first die to our self, to be buried with him, and to return to life again in his power. Death to the self is the key to our real growth. If we haven’t died in him we can’t live for him.
2) He is Lord of all people: “So that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” (14:9b)The dead and the living cover all the people in the world throughout history. No one had lived or may live outside the Lordship of Christ. Christ is in control of all people, all life, all time and in all places. Although there are people who may not want to submit to the Lordship of Christ, no one may escape His authority of being his/her Lord. He was there when the universe and all of us were created. He was there when we confessed our sins and were forgiven because of our faith in him. He was Lord to guide our life, to watch over us no matter our circumstances may be. He was there to protect, to teach, to help and to correct when we stray away from his path.
3) He sits on judgment seat: “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” (14:10b) Dealing with the topic of judging each other on food in the first part of this chapter, Paul directs our attention to the fact that we absolutely have no right to judge our brother base on whatever ground it may be. God is the only one who is worthy to sit on the judgment seat to deal with all the issues that may cause us to judging one another. We all are to submit to the authority of God by restraining our urge to judge others. We need to grow the right way.
GROW UP THE RIGHT WAY: (Romans 14:11-12)
1) Grow on the word of God: “It is written.” (14:11a) Paul quoted from Isaiah 45:23 where God proclaimed He is the sovereign God, he is the righteous God and he is the Savior. Quoting the word of God from the Bible bears the highest authority of any decision making process. How do we grow our life the right way as believers of God? The best way is to know God’s word and follow them in all aspects of our life. When we make decision or choose a path, we need to seek the word of God as our guide and be humble and obedient to follow God’s word. Parents are to train their children with the word of God, so when they grow up they know where to go for guidance.
2) Grow on reverence of God: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.” (14:11b) This is a direct quote almost word to word from Isaiah 45:23. This is about the claim of God on His majesty over all the people on earth. He is the only God all need to listen, to worship, to bow in reverence and to obey His commands. If we truly want to grow our life the right way, we need to pay our utmost respect and reverence to God. We need to treat God as God with our highest solemn attitude and respect. Often times we stray away into trouble because we haven’t paid God the reverence he deserves.
3) Grow on our responsibility: “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (14:12)This is about the need of growing our own responsibility for our words, decisions, actions and all their consequences. This is another important area we all need to grow: take responsibility for our deeds and do not push the bucket to blame others. Part of true growth of anyone is the need to take responsibility for his/her decisions. We all have to give an account of our words, deeds, actions, etc. before God when we see him someday in heaven. We will have to answer all his questions and give explanations for all our actions. This should be the basis on which we make choices of all kind.
1) Grow the right way. We all grow each day regardless of which way, for better or for worse. No one stays static or stop growing. If we are not paying sufficient attention to which do we grow, we tend to grow the wrong way because of our corrupted human nature. We need to examine the purpose of our life, our attitude to God’s authority and our respect to God’s sovereignty. Never take God too lightly or be arrogant to disregard His commands. You have to see Him and give your account someday.
2) Begin with the right start: The right start of growth is getting in a right relationship with God. The sooner to get to know God, the more time and opportunity you will have to learn from His word and follow His guidance, decision making and choices. If you never have God in your life before, this is the day you need to begin that relationship. Ask God to forgive your sins of the past, invite Him to stay in your heart and begin to read His word the Bible and live your life with the teaching in the Bible. It is never too late to start and the time is now.