We will be judged before Christ and given rewards in the kingdom based upon our faithfulness to what God has called us to do now. We're saved by grace. You go to heaven, not by your works, but by His finished work, right?
We know that. But your position in the kingdom is determined by your faithfulness to what God has called you to do. It's so important as God's people that we avoid trying to impose our own convictions on others.
Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how you can be a loving, encouraging neighbor to fellow believers and focus on God's calling for you. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you discover the Bible's extraordinary relevance and transforming power. Guinness World Records has again confirmed that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time.
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Observation must lead to interpretation, which must lead to application. As somebody once put it, if you want the meat, it's in the street. It's where you take the Bible truths and you put shoe leather on them.
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Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now we're in Romans chapter 13, as we join Skip Heitzig for today's teaching. So there were 10 commandments. Jesus comes along and turns them from negative into positive and reduces them to two commandments. He said, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two hang all the law and the prophets. So instead of, thou shall not, thou shall not, thou shall not, Jesus said, well just do this. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
You'll keep it all. Then he really reduced it down to one when he gave the golden rule, do unto others as you would have others do to you. Now again it's put in the positive. Love, verse 10, does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Now I just want to touch on something if I can briefly, and I say if I can, like you're going to say no you can't, but you'll notice in verse 9 how he sums it up with that summary verse I just mentioned, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. What does that mean, you shall love your neighbor as yourself?
And the reason I ask that is because there has come a teaching, I've heard it over the last couple of decades, but it resurfaces every few years. And it goes like this, if you really want to love your neighbor, you have to first begin by loving yourself. You won't be able to love others until you are in love with yourself. And once you learn to love yourself, then you're equipped to love your neighbor, and I've even heard this, and equipped to love God. You can't love God, they say, unless you love yourself first.
Because we're told to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So you begin with self-love, and then you love God, then you love your neighbor. Well, I'll answer that by saying first of all, never is there a commandment in the Bible to love yourself. Two commandments are given by Jesus, not three, and say love yourself, and then love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then love your neighbor as yourself.
That's never there. And then second, when it says love your neighbor as yourself, it's because it presupposes the love your neighbor as you love yourself, that's the presupposition. The presupposition of the truth is that you already do love yourself. And because you already love yourself, and everybody on earth knows that we all love ourselves, based on that, love others with that same kind of care, that same kind of interest that you have in yourself.
Turn that outward to others. It presupposes that everybody already does love yourself. So loving yourself is not the solution. Loving yourself is the problem.
And yet, this teaching has come into the church. We're going to teach you how to love yourself so that you can love others. You already love yourself.
Paul said if you didn't love yourself, you wouldn't nourish your flesh. You wouldn't eat. You wouldn't put perfume on.
Somebody's dressed up nicely in perfume. Oh, I hate myself. Really?
I couldn't tell. So it's a presupposed fact, and often the very root of the problem. So love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor.
Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, knowing the time that now it is high time to wake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. If you were saved 20 years ago, you are 20 years closer to heaven than you were then. I know that's pretty obvious. But I do believe, first of all, I do believe we're in the last days.
I'm not going to make any prediction. That's been done to the detriment of the church for years. But Paul always believed and taught, and the New Testament teaches the imminent return of Jesus Christ. And for us, our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent. The day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness. Let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.
Paul is using a word picture that was familiar. A Roman soldier would get up and would strip himself of his common clothes and put on his battle gear. And then at night, he would put off his battle gear and put on his sleeping clothes, et cetera. So the idea is, let's likewise strip ourselves of the things that are wrong and hold us back.
And I love this. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Put on Jesus. Invite Jesus everywhere you go during the day.
In fact, ask yourself, if I know that Jesus is sitting next to me during this activity I'm about to engage in, would he approve? I'm going to invite him. I'm going to not just bring him in. I'm going to put him on. When you put Jesus on, you'll find he's a perfect fit.
He fits you perfectly, and you'll find it to be a perfect fit in every situation. So like the soldier who would put off the works of darkness and put on his armor for the fight, put on Jesus in every situation. Now, in chapter 14, as we get into this, Paul continues this practical section, but he is going to be dealing with what we would call gray areas of the Christian life. There's no specific that's right, that's wrong, but it could be right, it could be wrong, depending on who's doing it and for what reason. The boundaries aren't as clear.
So you'll notice this. Receive one who is weak in faith, but not to dispute over doubtful things. 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. Let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has received him. Who are you to judge another's servant? 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. There are issues that are secondary issues. They're not issues of salvation, they're not issues of major points of doctrine like the deity of Christ, the character and nature of Christ, of God, etc. They're secondary things. Dieting and days of worship are a couple of them.
Here's what's interesting about this. In the context of this chapter, the weak brother, the weak sister, is the legalistic brother. Usually we would think, well, you know, a weak person, you know, just sort of is just kind of eats whatever he wants, does whatever he wants, worships whatever days they want, but a strong believer is somebody who has those strict parameters of this and that.
That does not seem to be the context here. The stronger believer receives the weaker, more legalistic believer who's hung up on diet and hung up on days of worship. Receive, that is received into fellowship, one who is weak in the faith, but not to dispute over doubtful things. So don't bring them in and then point your finger at them, corner them, because you're there to straighten out their life. No, just keep the essentials essential. You love Jesus, you walk in in fellowship with him, you keep the basic tenets of the Christian faith, and then when it comes to diet and days, you receive them in the faith.
You receive them in the corporate faith in which we have. When I was still living at the beach in California, I remember I was out in my front yard one day. I've used this analogy before, but my mind went back to it this week. I was in the front yard. I don't remember what I was doing, but I think I was either cleaning the salt off my wetsuit or waxing my surfboard, one of the two, but I was in the front yard and I'm working and I see a shadow of a person stop right in front of me. I looked up and I kid you not, there was a man in a flowing white robe with a beard and long hair. Well, I'm a young Christian, what am I to think?
I'm thinking, this is it. He's come for me personally. I mean, here he is. I almost wanted to say, what is it, Lord? But I looked up to him and I said, hello, and the first words out of his mouth was a question. He goes, do you eat meat? Pardon me? Hello, what is your name?
Nice to meet you. I mean, that's kind of a common thing you first say, not do you eat meat, but do you eat meat? And I said, well, yeah, from time to time, I eat meat.
If I can afford a good hamburger, I'll pick it out and eat it. And then he went into a little tirade about how that I, as a follower of the Lord, should not eat meat. And he was just really hung up on diet. And he seemed to be very rigid and very strong, quoting this and quoting that. He was somebody weak in the faith, if he was in the faith at all. I didn't have that long of a conversation. He got mad when he found out that I didn't mind eating a hamburger.
He sort of stormed off after that. In the New Testament, unlike the Old Testament, there are no dietary regulations. There's no kosher palate or menu. There are not specific days of worship that you are bound to, like in the Old Testament, you rested and worshiped on the seventh day of the Sabbath. That does not seem to be the case in the New Testament. You remember Acts chapter 10, Peter's on the rooftop in Joppa. He sees a vision, all these animals let down on a white sheet before him. And the Lord says, Peter, rise and eat.
And Peter goes, not so, Lord. I've never touched anything common or unclean. As if to say, I've only eaten kosher my whole life. God said, what I've cleansed, don't call common or unclean. Now, he didn't know that what he was getting at was not diet per se, but at admitting Gentiles, whom he called common and unclean, allowing people of faith into the church. The same basic principle.
So there aren't the same kind of regulations as in the Old Testament. Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to dispute over doubtful things. One believes he may eat all things.
Right? That's a lot of us. Now, you might not want to eat certain things because of what it does to your physique or your hips or your weight or your complexion. But other than that, you probably don't have a religious hang up on it. Somebody else says, he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has received him.
Who are you to judge another man's servant? I've always found it interesting that there seems to be a kind of worldliness in circles, in Christian circles, that I would describe as geographic worldliness. So among fundamental Christians in America, they would say, we don't drink. We don't smoke.
Right? We don't chew. I don't smoke. I don't chew.
I don't go with girls that do. We have our little set of things that we say, if you do that, that's worldly. Drinking and smoking would be on the list. And yet, we might eat to the point where it's unhealthy and we're obese. We don't have a problem with that, because I'm not eating or I'm not drinking or smoking. You might break the speed limit, but I'm not drinking or smoking.
You might do a lot of things that are wrong and sinful and worldly, but I'm not drinking or smoking. DL Moody loved Charles Haddon Spurgeon, read his sermons, always wanted to meet him. I remember reading the story and I loved it. So on one occasion, Moody was in England, had the chance to visit with Spurgeon, knocked on the door. And wouldn't you know it, the one who answered the door was Moody's hero, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
In the flesh, he opened the door. His hero was there. The problem was Spurgeon had a big old cigar hanging out of his mouth. He loved cigars. He was a cigar smoker. He found no problem doing that. So open the door.
G'day, hello. That was really more Australian. And Moody was shocked. He looked back and he instinctively pointed at Spurgeon and said, how can you as a man of God do that?
And Spurgeon was witty and he was quick. He quickly looked at DL Moody, who was quite rotund, quite large physically. He's a fat man. And when Moody said, how can you as a man of God do that?
He patted Moody on the belly and said, the same way you as a man of God can do that. So what you eat or what you smoke, it might be unhealthy for you, but it doesn't make you far or near in terms of your relationship with God. So you receive one who is weak in the faith. Why? Because they are weak in the faith.
Why? Because they are in the faith. Now he goes on, one person esteems one day above another, another esteems every day alike.
Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. He who does not observe the day to the Lord, he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord.
He gives God thanks. He who does not eat to the Lord, he does not eat and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die, we die to the Lord.
Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. So the debate is, well, which day is the right day to worship? Which is the real Lord's day? Well, if you're in the Old Testament, the day to worship is what day?
Saturday. Actually, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, that's Shabbat. That's the day of rest. That's the day of worship. That's the Lord's day.
In the New Testament, there really isn't such a day. It became a practice of the early church to meet on Sunday, the first day of the week, because of what it stood for. So the seventh day of the week speaks of a finished creation. The first day of the week speaks of a finished redemption. And because Jesus rose on the first day of the week sealing that redemption, early church members worshiped, met together on the first day of the week.
But every now and then, I'll have a Sabbatarian. That is somebody who says, you have to worship on Saturday, not Sunday. You know, get a hold of me and kind of corner me and say, you worship on Sunday. I believe Saturday is the only day to worship. I say, well, I invite you to our Saturday service.
You're welcome to come. You have a Sabbath service? Well, we don't call it a Sabbath service, but it begins at 4 o'clock, and then at 6 o'clock, you can come at 630. And if somebody says, well, I don't believe in worship on Sabbath, I believe on Sunday. Well, let me tell you about the two services we have on Sunday.
Now, I love the way Paul handles this. He doesn't say, this is the right day of the week. He just says, let each be persuaded in his own mind.
Figure it out inside here, your head, your heart. So for me, Sunday is the day to worship. So is Monday. And by the way, so is Tuesday. And then Wednesday, obviously, because here we are.
Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Every day is a day to worship. And I think it's dangerous to take one day and say, this is the Lord's day.
Because when you only say, this is the Lord's day, you are inferring the rest of the days are yours. And none of us lives or dies to himself. We're his.
He bought all of us. All of our time belongs to him. So I'm persuaded in my mind that every day is exactly the same before the Lord, that we should worship him every day of the week. So the Sabbath didn't change in the early church.
They met on Sunday, the first day of the week, because it spoke of a finished redemption. For none of us lives to himself, none of us dies to himself. Verse 9, 9, or to this end, Christ died and rose and lived again, that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother?
Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the word bema seat, the raised platform, often used in the Olympics to give rewards to the runners. Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 said, Don't you know that all of us who all those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize, so run that you might obtain it. So we will be judged before Christ and given rewards in the kingdom based upon our faithfulness to what God has called us to do now. We're saved by grace. You go to heaven, not by your works, but by his finished work, right?
We know that. But your position in the kingdom is determined by your faithfulness to what God has called you to do. Two different issues completely, bema seat of Christ, for it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, every tongue shall confess to God, so then each of us shall give an account of himself to God. He's quoting Isaiah 45 to show the universality of God's sovereign jurisdiction. And to use the verse to say this, you're going to give an account one day for yourself, not for anybody else, not for your husband, not for your wife, not for your adult children, not for your neighbor, not for the Christian down the street that you need to straighten out.
You won't give an account for them. You will give an account only for yourself, and you'll give it to God, not to a committee, not to your neighbor, not to anybody else, but only to God. That's the point of this.
That's the thrust of it. Each of us shall give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block, or to cause to fall in our brother's way. Certain things we have the freedom to do might actually be an impediment if others see us do them. Now, when it comes to diets and days, let each be persuaded in their own mind, but there is a caveat. There is a consideration that might change our involvement in certain things.
And to understand what that caveat is, and that little condition, we'll have to wait for next week. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound Romans. Right now, we want to let you know about a special opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule. Going to church is a great way to learn about God, but what if you want to learn more?
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 01:37:50 / 2023-03-25 01:47:22 / 10