Eric followed up his “Word to the Strong” last week with a “Word to the Weak” this Sunday. We find help in this passage to answer the question, “How do we live out the tension of holding strong convictions while relating to other believers who don’t share those convictions?” Eric gave us 4 guidelines to help us think about this from the perspective of Paul’s exhortation to the “weak.”
First, remember it is not sinful to abstain. In this, we find encouragement to hold strong convictions in particular matters where the Lord has spoken to us individually. Second, do not judge the “strong” but commend them to God their master. This means avoiding the game of second-guessing a believer’s motives, behaviors, or choices. Third, avoid forcing your personal conviction onto the whole group. This is a subtle tyranny that turns your personal conviction into a demand for all “good” Christians. Fourth, be aware of what is at stake. There is a whole world out there that needs Jesus. It’s important that we not try to portray the whole of Christianity as a mirror of our own private convictions. We need to let each other live our lives before God in freedom and communicate our love for each other because of Christ.
Read Romans 14:13-15:1
Finish this sentence with a personal Christian conviction that’s hard for you to understand: “It’s difficult for me to accept that some Christians __________.”
Describe a conviction that has been important in your life with the Lord, and how the Lord led you to that conviction.
Have you experienced a situation when the personal conviction of one or few was forced on the majority? How do you see Paul’s exhortation applying to that situation?
What is the difference between the idea of being “personally offended” as we often hear it in our culture and what Paul is addressing as an offense or hindrance to a brother or sister’s faith?
How do you sense the Lord calling you to love according to this text?
Pray that we as a church will love one another.