Wednesday, 15th December 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-13 Must Have the Trust
We are all born with selfish intentions, if we do not learn to love, then we can never see the weaknesses and needs of others, instead, we can only see what we can do and what we can achieve. It was the same issue the churches in Rome were facing. They looked at themselves more superior than others, they used their own standards to judge other people, but this is not the truth. This is not the Bible’s teaching; we must learn what is the truth!
A lot of times, we overthink things and we mix up the truth with our attitude towards living. In churches, we tend to mix up our standards with the truth, and we focus too much on how other people are not doing what we expect them to do, yet we miss out on the truth, and we miss out on the love. What is our attitude to live as the ones being called? This is our identity as the ones being called, and when we know our identity, we must have a firm belief. Our belief shows that we trust this calling, and we trust our God.
V1 ‘Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.’ We are being called to do what we are doing now is not because of our good deeds. The foundation of our belief is that everything comes from God. Do not think we are better than others, and therefore receive those who are weak. Do we believe that when God chose something, He will have a plan for this person? Stop focusing on the problems and start focusing on trusting in God. God chose His servants, He has His good purposes, our job is to have faith, to firmly believe in God’s choosing and God’s calling.
Thinking about the faults of others or judging their actions will not make things better, it will only make us dislike them more. That’s why there are so many problems in church, in workplace, in community… because we do not trust, we make assumptions, we complain about others, and we don’t have faith for God. Furthermore, when we judge and complain about our others, we also show that we don’t believe God will deal with them. In a marriage relationship, the husband and the wife will always have something to complain about each other; and in the family, the parents always have something to nag their children… because we don’t believe God will deal with them, and we don’t see God’s good purpose in their lives. On the other hand, we need to focus more on living out a good example for our families and our friends. Do we bring God into their lives? Do we help them to understand the Word of God?
V2-3 ‘For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.’ It’s not for us to judge others about what they eat or what they don’t eat. In the Garden of Eden, God did not tell Adam not to eat the animals, He only told Adam not to eat the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But how did Adam know to only eat the vegetable? Because Adam knew the heartbeat of God, he knew God did not create the animals for him to eat. There were no Ten Commitments during that time, because God did not need to set too many rules and boundaries, men knew. Do we also have an intimate relationship with God to know His heartbeat?
V4 ‘Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.’ It’s easy for us to see other people’s mistakes and to correct others, we would easily judge others: a Pastor should be like this, a cell group leader should be like this, a husband should be like this, and a wife should be like this… But we do not realise that when God allows us to see the truth, it is for ourselves to observe, we should leave the teaching to those who God appointed to teach.
V7-8 ‘For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.’ Joseph was the president of Egypt, he was wealthy, and his family was well treated in Egypt, but after many years, the Israelites became slaves to Egyptians. Because they did not give thanks to God for what they had. Do we know that we live for God, not for ourselves? Do we really see everything we have today is from God? When we just focus on ‘doing’, our children will also focus on ‘doing’, but what we should do is to educate them, to be a good role model for them, and to believe that God can break off the family curses of slavery. Open our children’s eyesight, let them see the world and explore more things than what they see in their everyday lives.
If we want our children to be blessed, we must let go of the lives of slavery, to break-through the curses of the earth, and to see God is giving us the opportunity to live our lives different from our forefathers. When we live for God and die for God, He will lead us to the end. Trust in God, have the belief that God will never put us to shame. V12-13 ‘So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.’ If we want other people to live under our standards, then we may trip people. We are called not for anyone else but for God.
Section Two V14-23 Must Have the Love
Have trust in God and have love for people, this is what Paul is trying to tell the church of Rome. V14 ‘I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.’ Do we believe that everything God provides us is clean? When we think they are unclean, then they become unclean. God had these rules for the Jewish, but did not emphasise them on the Gentiles, because God did not want the Gentiles to be Jews. What is the intention behind God’s rules and standards? It’s love! Love is behind God’s every decision, but we tend to see things on the surface, not the purpose behind it.
We can easily see the problems of others because they are different from us, then we judge them according to their habits and ‘doing’. God does not see people the same way we see people, we cannot force our values on others. V19 ‘Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.’ Unity is for us to build up the church together, to support, and to encourage one another; not finding faults.
V20-21 ‘Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.’ Everything we do must do for God, this is what we should do as the ones being called. Let us focus more on pleasing God and listening to His heartbeat, and have the love for people as the intention of everything we do.
罗马书 14 – 蒙召的人的回应
当我们有一个新的生命 – 是已经与耶稣同死同埋葬同复活了 – 我们看到的是什么？我们很容易“自私”，看到的是自己的需要、用自己的标准去衡量别人，这也是罗马教会当时的问题 – 没有看到别人的需要，反而硬将自己的一套加在别人身上。在真理上我们不能歪曲或妥协，但在谈论其他事情的时候，我们不需要坚持自己的看法。我们是否将真理和人的生活态度混在一起？我们对生活态度的判断是否是真理呢？当我们将非真理的事情跟真理混在一起的时候，就没有办法去爱人、包容人了。蒙召是一个身份，我们要用什么态度来回应神，活出蒙召的人的生命？
V1 我们要信任自己的蒙召，要明白自己蒙召后需要做什么 – 就是要爱神爱人。我们是否相信神对我们说的话？我们要接纳“信心软弱的”人，因为我们的蒙召不是一个doing。我们很容易用外在表现出来的事情来表明自己的身份不一样，却没有办法信任神。神拣选人，不是因为我们多厉害，而是因为他爱我们。我们看到人的时候，是否相信神拣选了他？如果没有这份对神的信任，我们在人身上看到的都是问题，无法去爱他们。我们接纳了信心软弱的人之后，“不要辩论所疑惑的事”。“所疑惑的事”指的是推论不明白的事。对于我们不知道的事，使徒保罗教导我们不要去论断。我们要信任神拣选了他的仆人。当我们心里去论断他人的时候，我们的人际关系就会出现很多问题，这都是源于我们对神的不信任。神在创造天地的时候就已经为人预备了一切食物，当他将以色列人带出埃及、经过荒芜的旷野后，他供应了所有以色列人。我们是否将神当成一个“很灵”的偶像来拜？对于我们不明白的事，我们不需要去想去辩，只要单纯信靠神就好了。我们整天的忙碌是为了什么呢？是否相信神不会忘记我们、会供应我们呢？“耶和华是我的牧者，我必不至缺乏”- 我们愿意相信神会为我们处理我们所在乎的事吗？当然，我们自己该尽的责任也要尽，正如父母要好好教导孩子从小明白圣经，而不是把责任推到主日学或学校老师身上。
V3-4 我们不能论断他人。保罗在这里讲的是当时罗马教会的属灵领袖 – 犹太人看不起外邦人，觉得外邦信徒不配服事神。我们要相信神，对神有信任。
V5-6 “各人心里要意见坚定”- 意思是我们要去完成我们自己看到的部分。比如，我们看到“安息日”很重要，我们就要自己去坚守，而不是强逼别的弟兄姐妹也要跟自己一样。神让我们看见，就是让我们去行出来，而不是随意教导别人。“教导”不是每一个人的责任，是教会里有从神而来的权柄的人的责任。
V17 “神的国不在乎吃喝，只在乎公义、和平并圣灵中的喜乐”- 别人的饮食习惯跟我们不一样时，我们不要去论断他们，只要跟他们开开心心一起用餐就好。我们不要将自己的信念强加在别人身上，因为我们所相信的东西不是“真理”，不需要别人去做到跟我们一样。