The central command of Romans 14-15:13 is to welcome one another in the church even when we hold different opinions over nonessential issues of the faith.
We have been considering this long section of Romans for a few weeks at Grace Community Church. We have put the vision of God’s glory in front of us (Romans 15:5-6). This vision gives us our reason for being. We exist to bring glory to God, and one primary way we do that is to live together in such a way that we show his power and grace in Christ. Welcoming one another as those who confess Christ as Lord brings glory to God.
We have reminded ourselves of the grace of God in Christ. Christ has welcomed us to himself, forgiving us of sin and granting us the gift of righteousness before God (Romans 15:7). This grace grows in our hearts and produces love for one another in the church.
With the glory of God in our vision, and the grace of God in our hearts, we are now ready to consider welcoming one another.
The Christians in Rome are reasoning within themselves about issues related to conscience but not essential to the faith. The problem was they were not relating well to one another when they came to different conclusions about these issues. In this passage, Paul reasons with them, giving them reasons for welcoming one another.
Here are several points of reasoning from Romans 14-15 for you to consider this weekend.
1. Welcome one another with different opinions when the issues are not essential to Christian doctrine or practice as revealed in Scripture. Romans 14:1 refers to opinions, which means matters open for debate. Some matters are not open for debate because they are addressed in Scripture directly and with the force of truth and command. But other issues, like eating certain foods and observing special days for spiritual purposes (Romans 14:2, 5), are matters of opinion. In these matters, welcome one another without disputing.
2. Welcome one another because we each are God’s servant, who stand before him upheld by his grace (Romans 14:4).
3. Welcome one another because we each are seeking to honor Christ as Lord in the decisions we make about the matters of opinion (Romans 14:6-9).
4. Welcome one another because we are to be convinced in our own mind about these matters without binding the conscience of another regarding them (Romans 14:5, 22-23).
5. Welcome one another as a way of walking in love, not grieving another or causing him to stumble (Romans 14:13-16).
6. Welcome one another for the purpose of mutual upbuilding in faith in Christ (Romans 14:17-19).
7. Welcome one another to seek the righteousness, peace, and joy of the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17-19).
8. Welcome one another to be like Christ (Romans 15:1-3, 7).
Brothers and Sisters, imagine with me the beauty and health of a congregation committed to the essential truths and practices of the Christian faith, where we welcome one another in a way that reflects the welcoming heart of Christ. Let’s pray and press on toward that end.