Summary: A message about the liberties Christians have and the warning about causing others to stumble

Christian Practices and Liberties

Romans 14:1-23


First, I want to say that this passage of scripture is a tough one for me and I am preaching to me more than anyone else today

Why? Because I have been guilty of what Paul tells us about in these passages.

We see Paul present principles of guidance concerning practices about which Christians differ

Let me ask, do you agree with everything that another fellow believer may do or say in living out their faith?

RESOUNDING NO! Most of you don’t probably agree with some of the things that I do or how I live…but that’s okay

I have to say that it is hard when you are trying to live your life for God and you have certain convictions about what is or isn’t right

And the pitfall that we can fall into with each other is to judge one another…listen saints – I AM THE GULITIEST OF ALL IN DOING THIS.

But, honestly, Christians are more judgmental towards each other than they are of unbelievers…why? Because of certain expectations

Most of the time, those expectations are personal convictions and not biblical ones

Truthfully, convictions about what constitutes Christian conduct sometimes reflects ecclesiastical and social backgrounds but not biblical practices

Let’s look today at some timeless principles that Paul has written to us in this passage in helping us with Christian practices and liberties

I will read the passages as we go along / Pray

Trans: The first thing I want us to see that Paul describes is…

1. Don’t be so critical of doubtful things

Read vs 1-10

Listen, there are some things in the bible I don’t understand; there are things I only think I understand; but there are things I can’t misunderstand

Paul says there are doubtful things or doubtful issues

Turn to Matt 7:3-5 and see what Jesus Says?

In other words, there is no scriptural basis for whether these issues or practices are right or wrong

Paul says that we are to accept one another no matter whether we are a mature or immature believer (strong or weak faith)

Don’t look down on one who doesn’t hold the same personal convictions you do

If you have been walking with the Lord for a while then you know that God has been working on you for a long time – and some of you He’s had to work overtime – Can I get a witness?

But some younger believers have not lived long enough in the Lord to be convicted about things in their life – but in time, they will be as God works to mold them

And He will mold them to what He wants them to be and not what we think they should be – Can I get a witness?

Listen, if there are scriptural principles that you can see without a doubt as to how we should live then we all should be striving to live by those principles

What’s amazing is the end of verse 3 “God has accepted him”

Paul says don’t criticize the weaker brother or sister because God has accepted them – it doesn’t matter whether you or I accept them

We have enough rejection by the world of unbelievers and we don’t need to come to church and also be rejected by brothers and sisters – AMEN

Paul says in vs 8 that “if we live, we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”

Isn’t it good to know that you belong to the Lord? Whether we live or die; early in life or late in life, we are His

And if we belong to Him, do you think He might have a plan for us and He will mold us for His plan?

We need to get out of the way and let God be God in each other – Can I get witness?

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t hold each other accountable for what the bible tells us we should be doing – but Paul says don’t be so critical on the doubtful issues.

Trans: Second, Paul says that all…

2. Christians Are Personally Accountable to God

Read vs 10 – 12

Vs 10 “tribunal” means “judgment seat”

2 Cor 5:10 “For we must all (say all) appear before the tribunal (judgment seat) of Christ, so that each may be repaid what he has done in the body, whether good or bad”

You know what is a scary thought…nothing gets by God – NOTHING!

Prov 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good”

Heb 4:13 (NIV) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

How we live our lives will one day be exposed completely before God and we will have to give an accounting for the life we lived here on this earth

That goes for both believers and unbelievers unlike

Vs 11 says that “For as it is written (Quoting Isa 45:23) As I live says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me and every tongue will give praise to God”

Don’t be critical of other believers; don’t judge; you live your life according to His Word and what He convicts you of

Because one day, you will have to give an account for your life…not mine…or sister Sally’s or Brother Joe’s…

At work…I don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing – I’m paid and evaluated by what I do…not them.

Trans: Lastly, Paul says about these principles that…

3. Christians Should Not Cause Other Believers to Stumble

Read Vs 13-14

Did you know that when you are critical of someone else…it could be a stumbling block in their lives?

Now, I am not talking about no accountability for sin as outlined in the bible…

But again the things that are doubtful or questionable or not supported by scripture one way or the other

Instead of being a stumbling block, vs 19 tells us that we are to pursue what will build up one another and vs 20 says do not do something that will tear down

Now Paul uses food here but it is metaphorically used for anything else that may cause someone else to stumble

EX: Having a glass of wine or a beer is not a sin – but getting drunk is – however, if I have the liberty to do that but know it causes others to stumble – I refrain from it

When you do this, Paul says you are no longer walking in love (vs 15)

And remember, we already looked at the law of love that Paul talked about to each other as believers

And basically Paul says that you have all the liberty and freedom in Christ but refrain from that liberty if it will cause another to stumble

We should want to live our lives in such a way to help other Christians grow and flourish – can I get witness?

Look at vs 22 “Do you have a conviction? Keep it to yourself before God. The man who does not condemn himself by what he approves is blessed.”

Listen, God may convict you of something that He may not necessarily convict someone else of

Why? Because it may be a weakness in your life and you need that conviction to have victory and overcome

The Bible may not come out and say point blank “Don’t do this or that” but in the reading of His word the Holy Spirit may bring a conviction on your life because of where you are at in your walk

You have freedom…just beware of your liberties that you don’t cause others to fall


As we grow, and depending on where we are in our walk, God will convict us of personal things in our lives

Paul says that when these things are doubtful or not addressed, if you will, by scripture then

1. Don’t be so critical and judgmental

2. God will bring everything into accounting one day

3. Don’t allow your liberties to cause someone else to stumble

Listen, we are a work in progress and I promise you no one on this earth has ever had it together 100% except for Jesus Himself

Let’s live our lives in such a way that we help others around us to grow and not be torn down

And allow God to do His work in people’s lives without our criticism of them.