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Romans 14-15: United or United?
by Bob Young
Text: Romans 14:1-15:7


Introduction
We have been discussing the tension between truth and unity in our adult Bible classes. These are two great pillars of faith. Faith demands commitment to truth. Faith demands commitment to unity. We are torn between two biblical principles. We are not the first people to experience this tension.
Today's lesson has only two parts: we begin with a Bible study and conclude with applications.

I. Bible Study

II. Applications
Great danger here, but let me suggest some things that may be in view in our contemporary world, as we seek to apply these principles. Cannot apply this to basic items--where function is intimately tied to form. This is not about deity of Christ, this is not about whether everyone is a Christian irrespective of obedience to gospel. The items here are not of the doctrinal, non-dialoguing type. We have no small task to discern these as we consider our relationships to our religious friends and neighbors.
But my application today is for us. Within body of Christ as we know it. Do we ignore this passage? Do we judge and look down to our own harm, and to the harm of the kingdom? From my own personal observation and experience, suggesting things I have seen as divisive, from own reading of Scripture, things that seem worthy of dialog to me. On some of these, I am on the weak, on some on the strong. Not going to tell you which is which.
Tie at table, men praying with hat on, attire at worship, men's hair length, earrings, tattoos, whether we can clap in worship in America, whether we can clap in worship in Africa, whether we can alter our body positions in prayer (kneeling), whether we can alter our hand positions in prayer (or in song), whether we have to have a sermon to have biblical worship, whether we can sing during the supper, whether we can sing a prayer, whether we can take anyone out of the assembly without violating the together command, whether a widow can marry a non-Christian, whether any Christian should marry a non-Christian, what authorization do two Christians have for divorcing one another, the list goes on and on. I have my opinions, based on my study and understanding. Can I allow you any freedom when I am restrictive? I have learned that I can, without offending my conscience or denying the doctrine of Christ.
God did not send me to police others, but to police self. Judge if you please. I do not ask that you agree with me on every item, nor even on this understanding of Rom. 14-15. I do ask that you study it at least one more time before you tell me you know immediately when we conclude this assembly that I am wrong and you are right.
Such is the entire point of the passage. Can we follow this passage? Can we be church? Can we glorify God in our diversities? Which ones? How much?


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Last updated November 23, 2014