All the Rest is Commentary

All the Rest is Commentary

Scripture: Romans 14:1-23, Romans 15:1-33, Romans 16:1-27
Date: 09/25/2010  Lesson: 13
The final three chapters of Romans cover a variety of issues not directly related to salvation.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome all of you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. I want to invite you to lift your voices this morning and praise God, all of you, whether you're joining us on television, on radio, internet, across the country, around the world, let's lift our voices this morning to our wonderful Lord and our creator. We're going to start this morning with a song called, "oh let me walk with thee." This is a request from pedro and renika in barbados, roxenne in California, beene in Canada, cheryl in Colorado, gary in Connecticut, ali in malawi, frank in morocco, John and lydia in new zealand and mainza from zambia. "Oh let me walk with thee.

" We're going to sing verse one, two and three. Hymn number 554... Amen. I want to thank you so much for requesting that song, 'cause whatever we are going through, that is a great encouragement that we can walk with God. Let's sing hymn number 206, "face to face.

" Oh, I can't wait to see my Savior, face to face. Oh what a day. This is a request from Moses, sokula, Michael and rita in australia, delores in the bahamas, leon in belgium, fabio, Moses, fernando, ismenia in brazil, Davidson and karina in brazil, leonard in California, Jacob, symphoney, betty, terrie in florida, Elijah in Georgia, phyllis in Idaho, francisco in Illinois, winston in indonesia, julian in Kentucky, aleksandra in macedonia, kelvyn, myriam, janice and aurelie in mauritius, leo and dorothy in Michigan, owen and leny in netherlands, iheanyi and ekpendu nigeria, mable in North Carolina, marianne in norway, melanie in taiwan, aleasha and cindy in tennessee, garraway in turks and caicos islands, and sherly in Washington. Thank you for that request. It's a favorite of many.

And it's hymn number 206. We'll sing verse 1, 2 and 4... Oh amen. I can't wait. Let's pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, I just want to thank you so much for the love you give to us. Lord, please will you be with us this morning? Would you bless this service? Will you bless the message? I pray that you would please, please give us each a word and speak to our hearts. Lord, we cannot wait to see our Savior face to face. Lord, I pray that you would help each of us to be ready for that day and to not just make ourselves ready, but to help others be ready. Lord, I pray that you would fill us with love, love for each other, love for your lost children.

And I just thank you so much for that. We love you so much. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our message this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, our senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Morning.

Thank you to our musicians. And jenny, we might be related, 'cause my dad's from Oklahoma, so I'm half-okie. Some of you heard her earlier comment about that. I thought that was cute. Welcome.

I want to welcome all of our friends who might be visiting here in Sacramento central. And welcome those who are watching. Now we've got people that watch each week in the Sacramento area, because this program is on cable as well as on satellite. I want to welcome our friends. You're always welcome to come down and study the Word of God with us right here at Sacramento central.

And I want to welcome our friends who are watching via satellite on hope channel or abn, in sweden lifestyle tv, and a number of others I'm probably forgetting. But I want to welcome you. We're very thankful. It's always encouraging to hear the requests that come in from all over the world of people who are watching. And then on the internet, which of course opens it up to virtually every corner of the planet.

And even those on the space shuttle. I can't prove that, but you never know. And so we just want to welcome all of those who are studying with us. A couple of announcements quickly before we get to today's lesson. One is I want to remind our friends, if you know a teenager that you would like to be closer to Jesus, we are having a special program in, well just a few weeks from this broadcast, that we'll be uplinking live on abn from Michigan.

And it will be from the great lakes adventist academy there. And it's not only going to be on abn, it's going to be in about million homes on the inspiration channel, which is an evangelical channel that's all over the world. And it's called "miq." That stands for "most important questions." We're going to be doing a live ten-part series for teenagers. You remember we did the Amazing Adventure program for young kids from like 8 to 12. This is a program, it's called "the most important questions.

" We're going to be especially preparing new lessons for teens. And I hope you'll pray for that event right now. And I hope you'll tune in and tell your friends and academies. A number of academies are going to use this for their week of prayer. Maybe they don't know about it.

And more information is at the website. It's called miq teens, miqteens.com. And you'll find out about that. Please pray for us as we go. This is such a very important group of our society.

The teens are right now asking so many of those questions about the purpose of life and decisions they're making during this age lasts them for life. And so we pray that the Lord will bless that series. Let me think, what else am I going to say here? We got a new lesson coming up. Now today we're finishing Romans, but I just want to tell you in advance, we're getting ready for a new lesson. I'm holding up the large print edition--not that I need it yet, some day, but it's easier for you and the camera to see--and it's dealing with "background characters in the old testament.

" And I'm really looking forward to this. We're going to be talking to people like caleb and hannah and jonathan, abigail, uriah, abiathar, joab, rispah, the widow of zarephath, gehazi. I've done sermons on all these characters already so I can't wait to get into this, 'cause I won't have to study. I'm all ready for it. No, I'll study.

Anyway, so for our class here, we'll try and get these out to you following the lesson. What am I forgetting? I think that covers it. We've got different Scriptures we've handed out that some are going to be reading along with us. And into Romans, the last three chapters in Romans, I'm not going to get through it all, but I'll do my best. Romans 14, 15, 16.

This is lesson 13, so that's confusing, lesson 13, talking about 14, 15, 16. Lesson 13, last lesson. Oh, by the way, whenever we do the last lesson, now we record these about 3 weeks in advance, but you might want to take special note of the mission offering on the back of your quarterly deals with the 13th Sabbath offering where it's going to be directed for this quarter. And I just wanted to bring that to your attention. The title is, "all is commentary," "all the rest is commentary.

" And our memory verse is Romans 14:10. Now why don't you say that with me. Romans 14:10, and you can read it right there out of your lesson. I think that's the new king James version. You ready? "Why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

" Now, I don't want to sound critical. And my opinion is probably worth about a nickel. But if I was going to name this last lesson, I probably wouldn't have named it, "all the rest is commentary." I would have named it, "one another." Because when you study these last three chapters, the emphasis is on the relationship that the church should have with one another. He sort of is summarizing our love for one another. Let me give you an example.

Now I'm going to quickly go just right through Romans 14 to 16 and try to illustrate what I'm saying. It says in Romans 14:1, "receive one who is weak in the faith, not to be disputeful over doubtful things." So first he says, "receive one another." Matter of fact, someone read for me Romans 15:7. I think we gave that out. Who has that? Right back here, elizabeth. Romans 15:7.

"Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." Therefore what? "Receive--" "receive one another--" "one another." So you find right there in Romans 1--Romans 14:1, "receive;" Romans 15:7, "receive." We need to receive one another. Now the next one is, "do not judge one another." Romans 14:13. I'll read that. "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall on our brother's way." Then it talks about to build up or to edify one another. "Edificio" is building in spanish, an edifice.

It means to build up. So when you say edify. Romans 14:19, "therefore let us pursue the things that make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another." And I think I asked someone, Romans 15:1-2, who has that? "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification." Then it says "rejoice with one another." Matter of fact, I'm not going to read it all, but if you read in Romans 15:9-13, the emphasis there is on rejoicing. Let me turn to that real quick and I'll just highlight a couple of points here.

Verse 10, and he says again, "rejoice oh gentiles with his people." In verse 13, "now let the God of hope fill you with joy." Joy is connected with of course rejoicing. And so he says we should rejoice with one another. Then you go to Romans 15:14, "admonish one another." It says here, "now I myself am confident concerning you my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another. Now what's the word "admonish" mean? You probably know what rejoice and please means. But let me give you a definition.

To admonish means to caution, to advise or counsel against something to reprove or scold, especially in a mild and good-willed manner. So it's not thumping someone over the head, but to encourage but caution in a good-willed manner. To urge to duty, to remind. So we do bear one another's burdens. We should care for our brother.

And then the final one is the last chapter, Romans 16, greet one another. "Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you." Matter of fact, let's all give each other a wet kiss right now. No. But they did greet each other in the Bible time.

They would kiss on the cheek. You've probably seen them do that in the middle east or in russia. They give that big bear hug and they smooch on the cheek. And in the middle east they used to greet each other that way. And so it's talking about after it deals with all these heavy doctrines through Romans that they should be united in love and be thinking about one another.

Now what are the great commandments? Love the Lord with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor. And so his emphasis in these last three chapters is in how to relate to and love and care for one another. Quick review of that, receive one another. Do not judge one another. Build up one another.

Please one another. Rejoice with one another. Admonish one another. Greet one another. And so that's an overview.

Now let's get to Romans 1. Here we get into the nitty gritty of some very important and I think deep theology actually. Romans 14:1, "receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." Alright, first thing is we're talking about some things that may be doubtful. Those are areas where we may disagree. There's doubt.

And you might have some who come into the faith and it doesn't mean when it says they're weak that they haven't been to the gym. The word "weak" here has nothing to do with physical strength. The matter of fact, when I talk right now about the weak brother or sister, I want you to picture somebody who's about 6-foot-6, pounds, 5% fat, all muscle. But that could be the weak brother or sister. Hopefully a sister's not that big.

So don't think physical weakness here. Some people--'cause it talks about eating and vegetables and then people think of somebody who's anemic and scrawny. It's not talking at all about physical weakness. Let's remember what we've been studying here in Romans. You've got these Jewish believers who had all the Jewish laws and traditions and holidays and ceremonies.

And let's face it. Did Jesus teach that the jews in the time of Christ had a lot of manmade laws that they had attached to their religion that had nothing to do with the Bible? Didn't Jesus talk about--he said, "you set aside the commandment of God that you might observe your tradition." And they made laws that seemed to trump, manmade laws that they were letting trump the law of God. In other words, they had a law called "corbin," where you could say I'm willing everything I've got to the temple when I'm gone so I can't take care of my mother and father in their old age because it really belongs to God. And Jesus said, "you set aside the commandment that says, 'honor your father and mother,' so you could observe this manmade ordinance that you created." And they had all kinds of laws about the Sabbath that weren't in the Bible. They were manmade traditions.

And so when the Jewish people that were living in rome were converted to believe in Christ, they still came to the faith with these apprehensions and a hypersensitive conscience. And they were trying to know, "what do I hang on to, now that I've accepted Christ, from my Jewish heritage? And what do I let go of?" Because of fear of letting go of the wrong things, they hung on to a lot of things they should have let go of. But Paul says, "look, receive them." He gives a couple of principle examples of what were the things that they were--their faith was weak. And faith being weak doesn't mean they didn't really believe. It means they also were not instructed thoroughly yet.

One of the big issues was diet and days. Now let me illustrate here. "One believes," verse 2, "that he might eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables." Ha, I can't count how many times I've run into somebody that underlines this and says, "Pastor Doug it's the weaklings that eat the vegetables." And that is actually the antithesis of what is true. It is now proven among the hyper science of athletics that the best performing athletes, even while they're training, especially while they're training, eat a vegetarian diet and many a vegan vegetarian diet. The ironman winner, talk about a grueling race, six times over, was a vegan vegetarian when he was training.

Evander holyfield, champion boxer, vegetarian while he's training. I could go down through a list of all these very power-- karl lewis, more gold medals than practically anybody in the track and event, a vegetarian when he was training. I mean they'd eat a lot of carbohydrates like starch and stuff, but they stayed away from meat, because it was not a good source of endurance calories. So there's no question about it, this idea that if you're vegetarian, you're weak. That's a myth.

He's not talking about that. Let me give you a picture of what was happening, and then I'll prove it from the Bible. Back in the time of Christ, and in the roman empire, there were more idols than people. They were everywhere, and they had temples everywhere. When they butchered animals--now you realize that when the jews and the priests when they butchered animals, those animals were also eaten.

The priests typically ate them. Sometimes the people would get a section of them; you read in the book of Samuel. Same thing in the pagan temples. They didn't just kill an animal without trying to get some kind of divine credit for it. So everything from a chicken to an oxen, when it was sacrificed, was sacrificed to some deity.

Well, the jews had a problem with that. They said, "now, we go to the roman Marketplace where they're selling meat." And I'm talking about clean meat here, sheep, goat, you know, cattle. And they said, "are we endorsing their idols and their Gods by buying and eating their meat? I can't eat their meat, it's like condoning their God." Now let me give you some examples, some Scriptures to prove this point here. And I'm going to be jumping around a little bit, so stay with me. Oh, let's see here.

Corinthians 8:4. Matter of fact, who will read that for me? I didn't give that to anybody. So andrew, hold your hand up here. Let's get you a microphone. And I might even have you jump to a couple of them.

Corinthians 8:4. And then we'll also be looking at 1 Corinthians 8:7. "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one." Alright, go ahead and read verse 8. "Howbeit, there is not in every man that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled." Alright, notice the word "weak," notice "idol," notice "eat" there. Oh, by the way, somebody has Corinthians 10:25.

Right up front here. Boy, we're working our cameraman today. We need to put a hummer under that thing. Alright, we're going to read Corinthians 10. And this is one of the most important verses to understand, this idea of things offered to idols.

Corinthians 10:25. Are we ready? Go ahead, mike. 1 Corinthians 10:25, "eat whatever is sold in the meat Market, asking no questions for conscience' sake." Alright, do you understand what's going on here? Paul is saying, you know, "they eat the thing that was offered to an idol as though it wasn't offered to the idol. And it creates a lot of confusion." Let me bring this up to modern terms. Anyone here like chinese food? See your hands.

How many of you have ever been to a chinese restaurant where you like chinese food and there's a buddha in there somewhere? Now is there a religion in the world called buddhism? How many of you like indian food? We have a dear sister here who has a sikh background. She came to our house, prepared some wonderful sikh indian food for us. Any of you ever been to an indian restaurant where they got a hindu idol, all the arms and--so are you idolaters now? Were you supporting idolatry when you ate there? Some think that. I have met Christians before that walk and say, you know, "I just don't feel comfortable here, doug." I say, "why not?" "There's an idol here. These people are buddhists.

" And it's just, "you know, I don't feel comfortable." There's an italian restaurant right here in town called buca di beppo or peppo or I can't remember. What's it called? Yeah, something like that. It's an italian restaurant. And they got statue of the pope. They got this one room called the "pope's room.

" Oh, for Seventh-day Adventists. Now can you eat in that room? What did we just read here? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:4, "we know that an idol is nothing. It's a rock." One thing that, if nothing else, one thing that it says all through the Bible is they're dead. They do not speak. They do not walk.

They can't do anything. They're idols. But if you are going to make it look like you're worshipping it to someone else, then you better go somewhere else and eat something else. You don't want to do anything to make a brother or a sister stumble. Now this idea of people who maybe have a hypersensitive conscience have nothing to do with the benefit of meat or pork or vegetables.

You do not find, it says, anything about pork or beef or chicken anywhere in here. It's not talking about clean and unclean meats. The context of meat here is talking about those clean meats, but they've been offered to idols. And that's what the problem was. Could you eat it if it--alright, let me try and make it more modern for you.

Anyone here like orange juice? Okay. Do you buy your orange juice at the bar? Do they sell orange juice at the bar, the local saloon? Sure. How do you know? [Laughing] because you can't make a screwdriver without it. I know that from my past. Alright, why don't you get it there? Well, several reasons.

Probably not very good environment. Probably not a very good witness. You're going to pay too much. And, you know, probably doesn't smell very good there. There's a lot of reasons you won't get it there.

Do you get your orange juice at the liquor store? Can you also--I'm not talking about a bar now. Now I'm talking about a liquor store. Can you buy orange juice at a liquor store? Sure you can. You can buy soda pop, all kinds of things at a liquor store. Is that where you get it? Well, maybe sometimes if you had no other option.

I've done that before. I don't--i kind of look over my shoulder. But you know, if I'm driving and I'm hankering for some orange juice and I don't see anything else around, I might run in there and run out. Put my baseball cap down over my eyes in case they're picking me up on video. But you know, I normally don't do that.

Why? I don't like to have anybody see me go in a liquor store. And sometimes they call them convenience stores, convenience store, one notch better than a liquor store. Right? Don't they still sell beer and wine at 7-eleven? Do you get your orange juice there? Maybe more often. Or do you get it at the supermarket? Do they serve beer and wine there? Some people might have such a hyper conscience, they say, "I can't go into the supermarket. They sell tobacco and they sell alcohol there.

They sell pork there. I can't eat there." You see what I'm saying? There are people like that. And they can only buy their orange juice at an orange juice stand, orange julius or something. I'm not sure where they go. You understand what I'm saying? So some people are very sensitive.

And there are a number of other areas where this dynamic comes into play. I've been in restaurants before where I enjoy the food very much. And I'm a vegetarian. Most of the time I'm a vegan vegetarian. I'm not doing that to try and be religious or sound sanctimonious or better than you.

I do it just actually for very selfish reasons. I find I feel better. I go to occasional potlucks where I have no idea what's in the food and I just ask God to bless it. And I ask no questions for conscience sake. Do you know what I'm saying? I went to a restaurant one time and I'd been going there for years enjoying the food, and I was there with a brother who had a very sensitive conscience.

And he said, "now, do you refry these beans on the same skillet where you fry your pork?" I said, "why'd you ask that?" "Yes, we do." "Oh, I'll have vegetables today." You know, he just couldn't even eat the beans. And so, you know what I'm saying? So Paul is talking about these jews who are coming into the church, said, "I can't eat that meat. It might have been offered to an idol. We have no idea." And this is the issue. It had nothing to do with clean and unclean.

Some people had a hyper-sensitive conscience and they went around with trepidation all the time. And Paul says those people are weak in faith. They seem so preoccupied and nervous that they might offend in some of these little details. They're not able to really work for the Lord and enjoy the relationship. They're constantly going around wringing their hands because they need to be taught faith and taught the practicality of being a Christian.

Now but what do you do if you're traveling with somebody like that, and they say, "doug, you can't eat that salad. The chicken touched it." I reach into my bag and I get my granola bar that I took with me. Because I don't want to make my brother stumble. You know what I'm saying? Then you got that other dynamic. Alright, let's go back to Romans here.

There was a bunch of things I was going to read to you. Luke 10:8. Now Jesus is sending out the disciples preaching and he gives them a little bit of information about--now keep in mind, they're going among the Israelites. He's sending them among the lost tribes of the house of Israel. And here's some advice he gives them as they travel and stay in people's homes.

Go ahead. "Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you." Jesus said, "when you go into the cities, and people receive you into their homes, eat what they offer you." "Pastor Doug, there you have it. You can eat anything, just say a prayer." No, Jesus sent them where? They're going to the lost sheep at the house of Israel, to jews in Jewish cities. The idea that someone was going to give them lobster and pork chops was not even in the picture. It had nothing to do with clean and unclean food.

Jesus was saying, "be gracious and grateful. Don't--you're trying to represent me. Don't say, 'you got anything else? I don't care for that stuff. I'd much rather have-- can you--?'" That's not--when you go to people's house and they feed you, be grateful. Be gracious.

Some people make great sacrifice to bring their food to you. Now if they had plopped a pork chop down in front of you, you might say, "oh, we got a problem here." But that wasn't going to happen when he sent out the 12 disciples in Israel among Jewish cities. Does that make sense? So there's a principle of being gracious and being grateful when people serve you. Alright, let's keep going here. And by the way, in--i got Matthew 10:5-6, it makes it clear he sent them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

I want to read something else while we're talking about diet. This is a big question, so 1 Timothy 4:1-5. People always turn to this. Timothy 4:1-5, "now the Spirit expressly says in the latter time that some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." And now it's identifying this religious entity in some of the characteristics, "forbidding to marry." Can you think of a religious movement that forbids its priests to marry? Does it say anywhere in the Bible that pastors can't marry? "And commanding to abstain from foods--" I hear pastors periodically point to that and say, "there you go. Them Seventh-day Adventists, they tell you there's some things you shouldn't eat and Bible says you can eat anything.

" Bible doesn't say that. He continues in this sentence. People put a period where they're not supposed to end the thought. "Commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving." So to command people that they should abstain from things that God created to be received. That means there's some that are created to be received and some that are not.

He says, "those which are created to be received, this group says you can't." Now are there some churches that say you can't eat even clean fish on certain days of the week? Why? Isn't that kind of strange? He's identified very clearly what this group is and what the fulfillment is. "To be received by those who know and believe the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving." Now again, Paul is talking. Paul wrote 1 Timothy. Paul wrote Romans.

They had a problem again eating things sacrificed to idols. He says, "every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused." "Wait a second, Pastor Doug, it says right there nothing to be refused." Does that mean if you go to someone's house, and they offer you puppy dog--they eat it in some countries. "Nothing to be refused." Some places they eat worms and maggots. They aren't even listed among the clean insects. "Nothing to be refused, every creature.

" Cannibalism, you know, instead of burying the dead or cremating them, we could help with the world's food crises. "Nothing to be refused." Is that what he's saying? Oh, come on. You take it to that limit and it's absurd. And again, I always like to remind people, we insult the Lord. Don't mock God.

Nobody here would let our children quote that back to us. And I always like to paint the picture, 'cause I've seen kids do it before. Getting ready for school, they're going to make their own breakfast. And so you caved in and you bought them sugar frosted flakes, shame on you, or fruit loops. First ingredient, sugar.

And so then they get their bowl out, and they begin to pour their fruit loops or count chocula. Can you imagine giving a kid count chocula for breakfast? I know, I'm making some of you guilty. Shame on you. And then, they get the sugar bowl down. And they begin to heap additional sugar on it.

And then they get the chocolate syrup and the caramel out of the fridge. And you go, "wait a second, what in the world are you doing?" And they say, "mom, dad, don't you worry about it. I found a verse in the Bible. It says all I gotta do is pray and it is sanctified by the Word of God in prayer." You're mocking God. The idea you can eat anything and there's no consequences, that's not what he's talking about.

He's talking about things offered to idols. Let me read the whole verse. "Every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it is received," now here's the criteria. It's not to be refused if it is what? "Received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word--" that means those things that are received with thanksgiving and sanctified by the word, they must be approved by the word. The word says some things are unsanctified, unclean food, and some things are sanctified.

Does that make sense? "Sanctified by the Word of God and by prayer." You can't--it's not saying just pray over anything. Let me give you another verse that's often misapplied in this context here. How many of you remember the sheet that came down in acts 10, Peter saw in a vision? And some of my pastor friends from other churches love to go to this verse and partially quote it. For those of you who don't remember, the Gospel is about to go to the gentiles, who the jews called "unclean." And Peter, hungry, is up on the roof and he's praying. And while he's praying he kind of drifts into this trance.

And in this trance he sees this sheet at the four corners come down from heaven like a great big hammock. And in it it's got all these creatures, unclean creatures. And God says, "arise, kill and eat, arise, slaughter and eat," like you would with the fatted calf. And it's got, you know, camel in it. It's got buzzard in it.

And it's got, you know, who knows what's in there. And all these creepy things, crocodile. And God says, "arise, kill and eat!" And Peter says, "not so!" I mean how dare you ever say not so, but Peter's saying I can't do that, Lord, Your Word forbids it, "not so." And then Peter goes on to say, keep in mind, this is about /2 years after Jesus has ascended to heaven. Peter says, "I have never eaten anything common or unclean." Well that would tell you that Jesus never said anything to the disciples that led them to believe it was okay to eat unclean food. 'Cause all these years after Christ ascended to heaven, Peter is still saying, "I have never eaten anything common or unclean.

" Three times the sheet comes down. Three times God says, "arise, kill and eat." Three times Peter says, "no." He never takes anything out of the sheet and butchers it. While he is wondering what the vision means, three gentiles come knocking on his door saying, "please come and preach to the gentiles that are gathered in joppa or in caesarea, at the house of cornelius." While he's wondering what does this vision mean, it is a symbolic vision. It has nothing to do with hamburgers or pork chops. It has to do with the Gospel going to the gentiles.

God says, "what I have cleansed, do not call unclean." What was it that God cleansed in this vision? Unclean meat? That is a terrible abuse of the Scriptures. And if you don't believe me, please believe Peter. You look in acts 10:28, someone read that for me. Got a hand right here. Acts 10:28, keep in mind it says in acts 10:17, while he's wondering what the vision means, he has gentiles knocking at the door asking him to preach to gentiles.

Then when he relates this vision to the church to explain why he went to the house of gentiles to preach and baptize them, "how dare you baptize gentiles, how dare you eat with them, how dare you, Peter, go into their house." That used to render them unclean. You remember when they were condemning Jesus, they could not go into pilate, the judgment hall, 'cause they would have been unclean for the feast. It's what it says. Alright, so read acts 10:28. "And he said unto them, 'you know how it is unlawful thing for a man that is a jew to keep company or come into one of another nation.

But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.'" What was the meaning of the vision? "God has shown me not to call any meat unclean, or man unclean?" It had nothing to do, Peter never takes anything out of the sheet and eats it. It had nothing to do, yeah, pork was still unclean. But the gentiles were clean, 'cause Christ had cleansed them by his blood. It had nothing to do with all of the sudden these bad foods suddenly being healthy. Does that make sense? So I just wanted to make that clear, 'cause in Romans, people take this, "a weak man eats only vegetables.

" And people love to twist the things that Paul says to their own destruction. That's what Peter said. Alright, let me keep reading here. "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.

" Now when we go to the potluck, at our potluck sometimes we got some vegan things and we got some non-vegan things. And I'm hoping that there's nobody here looking down their nose that the vegans aren't looking down their nose at the non-vegans saying, "we're not going to receive you." Or heaven forbid, they might say, "on the side, I also eat clean meat." Does the Bible say they should be received? Does the Bible say they should be received? Yes! Yeah, come on! I'm a vegetarian. I'm a vegan, but if you're going to be a Bible Christian, do we tell someone they can't be baptized because they eat clean meat? How come you're not answering me? You're not--what is Paul saying here? This is really clear. Receive them. It doesn't mean people stop growing.

I mean if I've got a brother that's hyper-sensitive 'cause there's a buddha in the chinese restaurant, I'm going to receive him. I'll labor with them. But they should be received. You know what I mean? Some people, their conscience is just very sensitive. Their faith is weak.

And they just need to be taught by example and by word. Alright, continue on here. "One man esteems one day above another. Another man esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind.

" Alright, here's the other part of it. I told you it's about diet and dates. People take Romans 14 and they love to insert the word Sabbath here. Someone show me where the word Sabbath appears in Romans 14. I'm not even sure the word Sabbath appears in the entire book of Romans.

I'm scanning my hard drive, I can't think of anywhere. You're maybe scanning yours. Is the subject the Sabbath of the commandments? What was happening here? These same jews that were hypersensitive about things that might have been offered to pagan Gods that they couldn't eat also were still keeping all these ceremonial holidays and seasons and feasts. And they were coming into the churches in rome and saying, "what about this day, and what about that date?" And he says, "look, if you want to keep the day, keep the day. If you don't want to keep the day, don't keep the day.

But I know the only day I'm supposed to keep is the Sabbath day of the weekly Sabbath, of the Ten Commandments written by God. The others were written on paper. They're part of the ceremonial law. They're nailed to the cross. You want to keep it, keep it to the Lord.

I'll receive you, but don't judge me." That's what he's talking about. Now how do we make that modern? Okay, where did Christmas come from? Was Jesus born December 25th? No. Did it come from paganism? Let me see your hands. How many believe that Christmas came from pagan roots in any way, they're solar worship in some--most of you, okay. So, when Christmas comes around, do we receive and exchange gifts and or cards? Pagans! Well, some believe it that way.

And, you know, I'm personally a little conflicted. I'll tell you why. Because I know that the roots of Christmas are pagan. I don't want to make anybody else stumble. I'm Jewish, so I don't really care.

We didn't grow up with it being such a big thing in our family. My wife on the other hand, they kept it. I'm hearing voices. So year after year, Karen runs out with the boys to get the tree, 'cause it was a wonderful time in the family. And by the way, Jeremiah chapter--is it chapter 10:5 where it talks about they take a tree, cut it down, has nothing to do with Christmas, has to do with idolatry.

And it was, you know, a lot of fond memories. And they remember Christ. They don't talk about santa claus. They don't talk about the elves and the poinsettias, and it's not the pagan part of it. It's saying, "look, if the world's gonna celebrate the birth of Christ, then let's overcome evil with good and let's make the most of it.

We don't know what the date is so one date's as good as another." And that's the attitude some people have, and they say, "great opportunity to witness for Christ. And even though it's got pagan roots, make the best of it." And then others say, "don't come near it with a ten-foot pole." Karen and I one year as a compromise, I say, "why do you want to cut down trees? You know, you got all these trees. There's a shortage of trees. Put a tree." And so one year I think I told you I took our aluminum folding ladder while she was gone, before she could go out and buy a tree, and I put up the ladder, and I decorated the ladder. And we put all our presents under the ladder.

And we got the strangest looks from people that came in our house. So are we going to tell people in our church that exchange gifts on Christmas, "you're not welcome. We're not going to receive you." Or are we going to say, "look, if you're going to regard the day, regard the day to the Lord, not to santa, under the Lord regarded. If you're not going to regard the day, you've got that prerogative too." It had nothing to do with the Sabbath. It had to do with holidays and annual Sabbaths or feast days that the jews were trying to impose on the gentile Christians.

And the gentile Christians were saying, you know, this is not what they told us from the counsel in Jerusalem that we need to keep these Jewish feasts. Are we running into an increasing number of Christians today that are talking about the Jewish feasts? Yeah, you're running into the same thing and they're making it--I've run into folks that say, "if you don't have a beard, you're compromising with the greco roman effeminate worship. You want to be a real man, you got to grow a beard or you're not spiritual enough." Have you met these people? They're out there. I've met 'em. I've had people give me whole studies on beards.

And I did a study on beards too just so I could, I'm ashamed to say, so I could answer them. And you might be happy to know the word "beard" does not appear in the new testament. And they take that place where it says, "do not mar the corner of your beards." And then there's those who are beard-free who think that those with beards are unkept and less holy. So you got the beards judging those who don't have beards and the--come on. I mean the angels look down.

We're to receive one another. He's talking about--don't forget what it says in Romans 14, "doubtful things," "don't get divided over doubtful things." Have you seen churches split down the middle over doubtful things? When I was young in the faith, I split a church over a tie. I was a baby Christian, and I was very idealistic. And someone gave me a quick study and said, "you shouldn't wear any kind of clothing that restricts your flow and ties come from paganism and it doesn't--it's just totally--at least your belt holds your pants up. Your tie has--it doesn't hold your head on.

It doesn't do anything." And they made a pretty convincing argument that it just really--and I still hate ties. And so I went to church tie-free. And then got into--i was starting to share my study on ties with people in the church. Pretty soon I got that church divided. I wasn't the pastor, I was just a layman.

We had the tie group and the non-tie group in the church. And the Lord began to convict me that this was not, this was a doubtful doctrine. And I was getting all tied up on little things. And then I got an invitation to preach at the local assembly of God church. Great opportunity! And I said, "I'd love to!" It was pastor alan wine in this little church.

He said that, "you know, we'd like to have you preach." I was visiting them from time to time. Great opportunity to preach the Gospel! And then he mentioned to me, "now, you know, Pastor Doug, I notice you don't wear a tie. If you're going to stand at our pulpit you'll need a tie." Oh man. I finally said, "okay." And the Lord spoke to me and said, "you know, doug, if it's going to make someone stumble because you don't have a tie on, don't do anything to make your brother or sister stumble, put on a tie." You know what I mean? And I figured there's more people stumbling if I don't wear a tie than if I do wear one, so I put on a tie. But I want to take it off right now! I hate ties.

Suddenly being very conscious of it. Alright, so I'm not getting very far. But I think I'm covering the principles here. Back to the day, "he that observes the day to the Lord, he observes it. And he who does not observe the day," I'm in verse 6, "to the Lord, he does not observe it.

He who eats to the Lord, and he eats to the Lord and he gives the Lord thanks. And he who does not eat to the Lord, he does not eat and he gives God thanks. None of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. We are to live unto the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether you live or whether you die, you are the Lord's.

" That's one of the great verses in the Bible. No matter what, you are the Lord's. We're God's property. And then he talks about judging your brother, verse 10. "For why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

" And through this whole thing, he's showing that we are to be bearing one another's burdens and caring about those things that might make our brother or our sister stumble. And so it's not just what you would do for yourself. When it comes to wine, alcohol--now frankly, I believe there's plenty of Scriptures that talk about the bad results of drinking alcohol. And I don't even have time to go through them all, I'm looking at the clock here. But you know what I think one of the best arguments is? One out of seven people who drinks has a problem, becomes an alcoholic.

Why would any believer, even if they thought they could justify it from the Bible want to do something that would jeopardize the life and salvation of one out of seven people? Is it necessary? Don't do anything that's going to make your brother or your sister stumble out of love for them. And so, you know, we don't live unto ourselves; we live to the Lord. And by the way, I did some counting when I went through this here. You find in chapters 14-16, "God" is mentioned 26 times, "Lord" is mentioned 22 times, "Christ" is mentioned about the same number of times. The emphasis is on, by the way, "God," "Lord," and "Christ," Paul uses interchangeably proving, I think, it's a very strong, but subtle proof that Christ and Jesus and Lord is God in Romans.

You read through and start circling in your Bible how often he interchangeably talks about God, Christ, and the Lord, and Jesus in those chapters. And he blends them all together as one. And so I think a pretty compelling proof that Christ is God The Son. And so we're not to do those things that--oh, by the way, "love" is mentioned 15 times. This is the book of Romans, not just those chapters.

"Faith" is mentioned 39 times. And "believe" 24 times. So what's one of the principle interests here in the book of Romans? Faith, believe, God, Christ. And then these last three chapters in particular he's talking about loving your brother and loving one another. Finally, he gets into the benediction.

And I know I'm out of time, but they have to edit some stuff out here anyway, so Romans 15:1-3, it says, "when those who are strong ought to bear the scruples of the weak, and do not please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please himself." Christians follow Christ. Christ did not come to live for his own self-pleasure. "But as it is written, 'the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.

'" The reproaches of God, they fell on Christ. And so we don't want to be living unto ourselves. Anyway, well that ties off the book of Romans. Hope you got something edifying out of at least this study. I want to thank our friends who have been studying with us.

Next week we're into our new study dealing with "background characters in the old testament." And I'm looking forward to that. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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