What were they arguing about?
Well, two main things. Whether they should eat Levitically, and what day they should worship. And apparently these things that got pretty heated, the Jewish believers, they wanted to worship on the Shabbat.
The Gentiles had no really tie to the Shabbat, and keeping the Sabbath is the only commandment that does not appear in the New Testament. And so they started arguing these things, and people are still arguing about these things. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. If we're looking around, we can always find something to complain about. But as the body of Christ, we needn't waste time arguing over what doesn't matter. Find out more about this today as Pastor David continues in Romans 14 with unity. So we're in Romans 14.
Last week we covered about five verses, and we're going to pick it up with verse five, because there's some stuff in there we want to kind of grab ahold of here, and then take it into verse six. Romans chapter 14 verse five says, one person esteem's one day above another. Another esteem's every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
Important concept. Verse six, let's read on. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. And he who does not observe the day to the Lord, he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks.
He who does not eat to the Lord, he does not eat, and gives God thanks. So what is Paul, who wrote the book of Romans to the church that was at Rome. While he's writing this letter, he hasn't been to Rome.
There's a church already established there. Somewhere, you know, in the two thirds of the book, through the book of Acts is when this chronologically or timewise occurs, this writing. And he's writing to them, and he's dealing with several issues. And one of the things he's dealing with here is they're starting to fight about stuff that really doesn't matter. Now, even though we never do that anymore, it would be good for us to reflect on what problems they were going through, because we only argue about really important stuff.
Who's going to win a game or the race or, you know, or political office. But what were they arguing about? Well, two main things they were arguing about, whether they should eat Levitically or not, and what day they should worship. And apparently these things that got pretty heated, the Jewish believers, those Jews who had come to a knowledge and belief of Yeshua Meshech, Jesus as the Messiah, they wanted to worship on the Shabbat, which was from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. The Gentiles had no really tied to the Shabbat and keeping the Sabbath. It was the only commandment that does not appear in the New Testament.
All the other nine do. They said, no, we're going to worship on Sunday. We're going to worship on Sunday.
And so they started arguing these things and people are still arguing about these things, arguing about silly stuff. There's, you know, there's the Jehovah's Witnesses and actually Islam, Muslims don't have birthdays. They think if you celebrate a birthday that that's a pagan ritual and that you should never do that. You know, I don't know.
My take is, you feel that way, don't have a birthday. But there's a saying, and Augustine said this, and I love this saying, it says, in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, love. In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, love. So I think, you know, I guess when you see that you have to decide, well, what's an essential? Well, to me, there's certain essentials. Is Jesus the only way to heaven? Absolutely.
That is an essential. Is there another way to heaven? The Bible says no.
So you have to choose. Well, do you believe the Bible or do you, you know, believe the plurality of, well, there's, there's lots of ways to heaven, pluralism. Is the Bible the anointed word of God?
I believe yes. It's kind of interesting. It's almost like fundamental is a dirty word now, but do you understand the five tenets of fundamentalism or the, the Bible being the word of God, Jesus being God, Jesus dying for the dead, God, Jesus dying for the sins, Jesus being of a virgin birth and that he's coming back. Those are pretty essential to Christianity. And yet we, we toss that fundamental word. Like it's somebody screaming, foaming at the mouth, eyes bulging, throwing things at us, you know?
So they're arguing about all these things. Then you can eat this, don't eat this, don't eat that. The first Timothy chapter four, verse one and through four says, now the spirit especially says that in latter time, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from foods, which God created to be received with Thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Yeah. You know, when you read those verses, a couple groups come to mind and Paul in the new Testament consistently says, Hey, you know what? If you pray about it and you feel like it's okay to eat it, eat it, eat it. Now we're going to get into the exceptions to that probably next week, probably not going to get there this week, but, uh, and we'll talk about that, but you know, we need to be conscience of these things now. And we talked, you know, last week, verse four, well, let's read verse four says, who are you to judge another servant to his own master?
He stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand for God is able to make him stand. Now we need to understand there is a difference between discernment and judgment to judge is a catacreno in the Greek or to condemn. Who are you to condemn? And in other words, if you look at somebody and say, you're absolutely not saved, there's no way you're going to heaven. That's a condemnation discernment.
Creno is to discern or separate literally to separate good from evil wrong from right. Every Christian should have discernment. Now we shouldn't condemn people, but we should have discernment between good and evil.
So the Bible saying, Hey, it's okay to eat this. It's okay to worship when you want. And, and now, okay, now we've got a problem because whatever everybody in here wants to worship at a different time on a different day.
Now you can worship at home any day you want to any time you want to, but as we gather, guess what? Somebody has to decide when we're getting together and that somebody is, I guess myself, board of directors, elders, deacons. So, you know, somebody has to make that decision. So that doesn't mean that we're judging or condemning somebody means we're discerning what would, what would work, what would, you know, when should we do this? And that sort of thing. We want to be discerning, but we don't want to be judgmental.
Now, how can we know the difference? Well, you, you have to really search your heart and there is something in us that wants to be judgmental of other people. And when I say us, I mean, just this half of the room. I do.
No, no. When I say that's all of us, all of us, we tend to judge people. I have people all the time that attempt to judge me and say, well, this and that, and you're doing this because of that. And this goes, and it's like, how do you know that? How can you see what my heart is in the Lord? So we need to be careful about that. And again, we need to be discerning.
Why? Because second Timothy and then this passage in first Timothy that towards the latter part of humanity, before the coming of Jesus Christ, there's going to be more and more and more spiritual garbage out there. If you watch Christian television, you've seen some of it. I watch Christian.
I love watching other guys, pastor and preach and stuff. I just, you know, but some of the stuff sometimes that some of them say, it's like, what? That, that, that does not mean that, you know? So you have to be really, really careful.
You have to be discerning. And now there's, there's one group that, uh, well, there's more than one group, but one main group. And they used to say, well, we worship a Christian group.
They say, well, we worship on the, on the Shabbat and everybody that worships on Sunday is going to hiyo. That's two syllables here in North Carolina, hiyo. I'm from here. I can say that.
If you're not from here, don't joke like that. It's not fun. And they took a stop. I mean, they said you were, you're worshiping the anti-Christ. If you worship on Sunday. Now they've since kind of backed off from that. Praise God. Or most of them have. They, well, they say, and Dan Brown, a bunch of people say, well, it switched to Sunday under Constantine. It did not.
That's just poor research in history. It was Sunday already in the book of Acts. I'll give you a couple of verses. First Corinthians 16, one says, now concerning the collection for the saints is I've given orders to the churches of Galatia. So you must do also on the first day of the week, let each one of you lace something aside, storing up as he may prosper that there'll be no collections when I come. First day of the week was Sunday. Saturday was the last day of the week. And then Acts 20 verse seven says, now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. Wasn't under Constantine.
Tertullian 160 to 220 AD spoke about the church meeting on Sunday. Oh yeah. And let me mention Acts 27 says he continued until midnight. And somebody fell out the window and died.
You guys think I go a long time? I think my hope is we're going in before midnight. That's a nervous little chuckle gang. The new people laughed.
They didn't know. We can get caught. And maybe you're sitting here going, I worship on Sunday. You know, and that's fine. You should worship seven days a week. I mean, hopefully even when we add a Saturday night service, I mean, you're not going, oh, we shouldn't do that.
And maybe you sit in here and go, well, Levitically, yeah, whatever. We've got freedom. You know, I can go down here to Prissy Polly's and eat barbecue. And whenever I indulge in my liberty and eat pork, which I abstained somewhat just for health reasons and whatnot, I eat bacon.
I eat barbecue, but I always, I usually, especially if I'm with another pastor, I say, God, may you now bless under grace what you cursed under the law and Jesus name, amen. Enjoy the liberty. But maybe you're sitting here and go, well, you know, I'm not really struggling with these things. How does this apply to me?
I guarantee you it applies to you. Why? Because we love to argue about stuff that doesn't matter. I see it all the time. As pastor of this fellowship, people want to argue about this link to service.
What does it matter? I, you know, I'm trying to undo, I don't know how many hours of TV on a Sunday morning, you know, we're okay with a movie being two or three hours. Why does it freak us out if a church service goes along? I don't get that. We argue about, I don't know, clothes. We argue about music. We argue about stuff that Jesus is not going to ask us about when we get there.
Stuff that really doesn't matter. We argue. You know, when I was younger, I used to love to argue.
I know you have a hard time seeing that, but I did. You know what? Not so much anymore. Not so much anymore. Why?
Because see, I see it degrade. In all my times of witnessing to people, I've never been witnessing to somebody and go, oh, you know what? You're right. I lose the argument.
Let me pray the prayer. Not one time. I've driven people off regrettably, trying to argue with them. And as I argued with them, I was not showing them the love of God. Now, of course, we all feel like our personal pet peeve is worth arguing about, but be careful. I know as I've grown in the Lord, there's stuff that I used to feel like was worth arguing about.
I'm not so sure now. John, in the gospel, Peter and John are talking to Jesus. And Jesus is speaking to Peter and saying, this is going to happen and that's going to happen. And then Peter goes, well, what about this guy pointing to John? Pointing to John.
What about this guy? Peter and John didn't get along real well. I'm taking it from the Bible.
They had different little things where they, you know, where they were arguing. You go through the gospels and, you know, Peter cut off the ear of the guy in the garden. We don't know that because Matthew didn't tell us. Mark didn't tell us.
Luke didn't tell us. John told us. It's Peter. When they ran to the garden too, if you read the book of the gospel of John, it says Peter and John raced to the tomb and John ran on ahead. And John got there first. So they're having this moment in John 21 and Peter says, what about this guy? Jesus gives a great answer. John 21, 21. He says, Peter asked Jesus, what about him Lord?
And Jesus replied, if I want him to remain alive until our return, what is that to you? You follow me. We get so caught up in stuff.
We get, I can get so caught up in, in, in what you're doing or what you're not doing. And, and you know what Jesus says, you know what? Just, just follow me and love each other through these differences. And if somebody wants to eat Levitically, God bless them. But they don't, God bless them. If they think this is okay, God bless them.
God bless them. Environmentalism. Now I'm not one of these people. I am, I guess I'm in the middle. You know, I don't, there's some militant environmentalists that are being sterilized people.
So they don't impact the earth. That's a little weird, especially when God said go multiply. Okay. But then you have on the other extreme people say, I don't care.
Who cares? You know, both of those are unbiblical. We are stewards of what God has given us and all these natural resources. So I think Christians need to behave responsibly as it, you know, we compost and all that stuff.
And now I'm a militant. No. Am I going to sit up here and tell you that if you don't compost, you're going to hell?
No. I think that's silly. You need to pray about it and see and do what God would have you to do.
And, and, and gang, you know, if you recycle and you, and, and, uh, compost, great. Don't condemn people that don't. Pray for them. And maybe say, hey, you know, we're supposed to be stewards. You might want to pray about this.
You might want to think about that. You've been listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's study in Romans in just a moment. But first I would like to let you know about a new product that we're excited about here at Cross the Bridge. Each year David McGee spends countless hours combing through the Bible in preparation to teach God's Word. This is clearly seen every week as he proclaims the amazing truths found in the Bible to his home church and through the radio ministry. That's why this month we want you to be blessed by some of our favorite teachings from this year with the Cross the Bridge Best of 2013.
These three powerful teachings will help you to live victoriously in Christ through a better understanding of who Jesus really is. The Best of 2013 is our gift to you this month when you give to Cross the Bridge. Your gift will be used to reach countless people with the Gospel while also encouraging other believers to stand firm in the faith. To help us take God's Word to the world, please contact us at 877-458-5508 or visit us online at crossthebridge.com. Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name and if you put your name and email address in there I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
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Verse 7, for none of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. See you have your convictions about a lot of things. I have my own personal convictions about a lot of things. They're not the same.
They're not the same. A lot of times we try to find a church where all our convictions are going to be exactly the same as that church. You're never going to find that. What you have to find is a church where you agree on the essentials and you agree to disagree on some of the non-essentials.
Why? Because none of us are an island and I've heard people say you know if I could just be on an island by myself I could really be a good Christian. No you couldn't. You would be taking most of your problems with you because a lot of them are in our and then as we you know iron sharpens iron as we bump against each other and we have disagreements and we get over them and we love each other through them we grow. That's not the world's way. The world's ways you have a disagreement you walk away. Doesn't matter if there's kids involved if it's a marriage doesn't matter you just walk away. That's not God's way. God's way is you disagree you get over it you love each other through this.
Why? Because none of us lives to himself none of us dies to ourselves. The living Bible puts it like this and it's not a particular study favorite of mine but it's an interesting take on this versus we are not our own bosses deliver dies we ourselves might choose.
We're not our own bosses deliver dies we ourselves might choose. Paul in another place talks about the liberty and you know in this chapter talks about a little bit but later on in the chapter we're going to find out you know what your liberty should be constrained by the love of Christ. Life lesson here is our lives influence others so we should not just do whatever we please. Our lives influence others so we should not just do whatever we please. This is something that you know as a pastor I have to be careful. Why? Because my life influences others I'm aware of this and so you know and you just when you're out you just you just never know so I need to be careful something I may feel is okay to do. I want do because I don't want to stumble somebody. Two pastor buddies I saw this past week told story they were kind of I won't use the names but they they have these you know we have these bags too that we give out to people in the corners of homeless people and you might want to keep some of those bags in your car and there's a track in there and stuff but you know he was at a stoplight and the light turned green and the car in front of him didn't move so he laid on the horn you know about that time he saw one of those church bags from his church go out to the homeless person that was sitting at the corner they didn't know it was the pastor but another pastor he was in a shopping center waiting for this person to pull out person pulled out and he was waiting to pull in the parking space and you know so while he was waiting this other person slipped in there and stole the parking place for him and so he beeped you know person got out of the car and said oh hey pastor we don't live to ourselves we give our lives to the lord there's a responsibility that comes with that let's look at verse eight for if we live we live to the lord and if we die we die to the lord therefore whether we live or die we are the lords this is a verse that I use in funerals whether we live whether we die we're gods why because see when we come to jesus and we say jesus forgive me of my sins we're saying give me your life i refer to it as the divine transaction no lords jesus died for our sins when we come to him say jesus forgive me of my sins that's a divine transaction we are given jesus our life and jesus has given us his life now jesus knows us and loves us still willing to go into the divine transaction i guarantee you who got the short end of the stick on that one with me but now i'm bought with a price my life is not my home i belong to god friend of you've asked jesus to forgive you of your sins then you belong to god and there's something that happens in our heart and in our lives when that happens and sometimes it happens instantly sometimes over time but things begin to change i know many of you have shared that you you never in your whole life wanted to go to church and you come here and you've gotten saved you've gotten born again you asked jesus to forgive you ever since and now you're excited about coming to church so no longer is it do i have to come to church it's i get to come to church and we approach your life with the lord it's not well god do i have to do that god'll say no you don't have to do it i want you to do it god do i have god do i have to tell people the good news no you get to tell people the goodness that's the little thing i picked up from my dad because my dad had an incredible work ethic hard-working guy ran several businesses and you know and and one day he was going to work i said dad you gotta go to work he said no son i get to go to work that made a big impression on me a lot of things in the church we go well do i gotta do i gotta give do i gotta serve do i gotta do this do i gotta no you get to do those things we don't belong to ourselves anymore for if we live we live to the lord if we die we die to the lord verse 9 for to this end christ died and rose and lived again that he might be lord of both the dead and the living let me dispel something because a lot of people the approach christianity is like a get out of hell free card and here's what i mean by that it's like okay you know i'm gonna pray this little prayer just so i can get into heaven and you know and so i'll come back to church and you know when at my funeral you can live like that and according to god's grace he may honor your prayer for forgiveness but you will miss out something on that's a treasure and what's that to live a life with god see i used to believe the lie will you know the the life of the world or following the enemy is really exciting and i pursued that life as hard as i could go man you know what i found a lot of broken hurting people including myself and i believe the lie will follow in god you know that's really dull boring and then but you know what that is a lie i can tell you i can assure you as somebody that's gone as hard as they can in both directions following god is an incredible adventure it's not boring at all he wants to be the lord of the living not just your little get out of hell free card because if you approach christianity like that and you're gonna you're gonna weather a lot of storms by yourself that are going to be really hard because those storms are going to come friend do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven you can know right now i want to lead you in a short simple prayer simply telling god you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him now god wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you please pray this prayer with me out loud right now dear jesus i believe you died for me that i could be forgiven and i believe you were raised from the dead that i could have a new life and i've done wrong things i have sinned and i'm sorry please forgive me of all those things please give me the power to live for you all of my days in jesus name amen friend if you prayed that prayer according to the bible you've been forgiven you've been born again jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him and he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness those who were sick not the righteous the righteous so congratulations friend you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make god bless you if this was your first time praying that prayer with pastor david we would love to hear from you you can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our first steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with christ also if you contact us this month we will send you to cross the bridge best of 2013 for your gift of any amount if you've ever wondered how we can walk in the full power of 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