Introduction: We have come to our last study in Romans and I am sad.
What a great discussion we have had about our salvation! I have
learned more about God’s will, and if you have been with me each
lesson, I trust that you, too, have advanced in your knowledge of
this important topic. This week we learn about the advantage of
being a hypocrite. Well, perhaps not. I’ll let you decide. Let’s
dive into our study of the Bible once again to see what we can

  1. Vegetable Eaters and Sabbath Keepers

    1. Read Romans 14:1-4. What does eating vegetables have to
      do with faith? I’ve been a vegetarian for decades! Has
      my faith been weakened (but my heart strengthened)
      because of it?

      1. Read 1 Corinthians 10:18-21. What is the issue?
        (Whether those who eat meat offered to idols are
        giving allegiance to demons.)

      2. Paul’s first answer is found next. Read 1
        Corinthians 10:23-24. What would you conclude that
        Paul thought about eating meat offered to idols? (It
        might be permissible, but not beneficial.)

      3. Let’s continue by reading 1 Corinthians 10:25-29.
        What is Paul’s final answer? (Don’t worry about it
        unless someone raises the issue.)

    2. Now that we have a better understanding about the nature
      of the vegetable debate, what does Paul counsel those who
      think God does (or does not) require the eating of
      vegetables to avoid any issue of worshiping idols? (Paul
      tells us that this is one (of presumably many)
      “disputable matters,” ( Romans 14:1) and that Christians
      should not get into arguments about it or condemn those
      who disagree.)

    3. Read Romans 14:5-6. Is Paul talking about the day we go
      to church? Is that a “disputable matter” like eating
      vegetables? Does this mean no church attendance on any
      special day? Would it be okay to join with our Muslim
      friends and worship on Friday?

      1. Read Hebrews 10:25. Why would Christians be told not
        to neglect a regular religious meeting if no
        particular day mattered? (Many of the older Bible
        commentaries, like Barnes’ Notes; Adam Clarke’s
        Commentary; Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown; Matthew
        Henry’s Commentary and others argue (convincingly in
        my mind) that Paul is not talking about the weekly
        Sabbath. Rather, Paul is talking about the Jewish
        Sabbath feasts. The Jewish Christians were brought
        up celebrating them and the Gentile Christians were
        not. In general, these festival Sabbaths were
        fulfilled in Jesus, so continuing to celebrate them
        was purely optional.)

      2. Read Isaiah 66:22-23. What does this suggest about
        the weekly Sabbath? (We will continue to observe
        Sabbaths in Heaven! Read what Barnes’ Notes says
        about this verse: “There can be no permanent worship
        of God, and no permanent religion on earth, without
        a Sabbath; … while the observance [of the Jewish
        festivals were] made a part of the ceremonial law,
        the law respecting the sabbaths was incorporated
        with the ten commandments as of moral and perpetual
        obligation.” I agree.)

  2. Tolerance and Hypocrites

    1. Read Romans 14:7-12. What should be our main worry in our
      Christian walk when it comes to obedience and our fellow
      Christians? (Our own salvation! In the end, we will be
      judged by God, not by each other. Thus, judging each
      other on disputable matters is a waste of time – and
      harmful to the body of Christians.)

    2. Read Romans 14:13-14. What should be our goal with regard
      to fellow Christians who disagree with us on disputable
      matters? (Don’t create problems that will discourage them
      from staying in the church!)

      1. Is it possible that something which is sin for one
        person is not for another? (Yes. Paul says he does
        not think that eating some food is sin. But if a
        vegetable eater thinks it is sin, then for that
        person it is sin.)

    3. Read Romans 14:15-18. What does Paul say about hypocrites
      – people who hide some of the things they do? (If we
      think something is fine (meat-eating, for example), and
      we eat meat in front of a vegetarian (who thinks meat
      eating is not fine), then we are not showing love. Paul
      tells us to refrain from this.)

    4. Let’s list Paul’s rules on disputable matters:

      1. Don’t look down on those who disagree with you;

      2. Don’t judge those who you think may not hold the
        proper standards;

      3. The standard for one person may not be the same as
        for the other; and,

      4. If you have a different standard, don’t practice it
        in front of those who have not yet mastered rules 1-3!

    5. Read Romans 14:19-20. Do we have some goals that are
      more important than others? (Yes. Peace and lifting up
      fellow church members are our goals. Getting the
      standards straight on food is, at best, a lesser goal
      that should be submitted to the higher goals.)

    6. Read Romans 14:21-22. If you are a righteous meat eater
      and wine drinker what may you be called upon to do? (You
      are at least called upon to keep it to yourself. Paul
      endorses some hypocrisy. But, more than that, you may be
      called upon to give it up altogether if it causes a
      fellow Christian to lose faith.)

    7. Read Romans 14:23. What is the theological basis for
      approving different standards? (Remember, Paul starts out
      this discussion by saying this is limited to “disputable
      matters.” The key to recognizing sin in our life is ask
      whether we are living a life led by the Holy Spirit. Our
      life in the Spirit, our Christian walk, is progressive.
      Paul suggests that the Christian with the stronger faith
      realizes that meat offered to idols means nothing. But,
      until the Spirit leads you to that higher ground of
      faith, you should act based on your current level of

  3. The Love Angle

    1. Read Romans 15:1-3. What do love and self-sacrifice have
      to do with our tolerance towards those with a weaker
      faith? (Just like Jesus gave up His own rights, so we
      need to adjust our freedom in faith to benefit the weak
      Christians in our circle.)

      1. What rights did Jesus give up? (The right to live as
        God, the right to be free from harassment, the right
        to be free from torture, the right to be free from
        unjust accusations and unjust punishment. The right
        to be free from being put to death for a crime He
        did not commit – just to name some.)

    2. Read Romans 15:4. How does Paul’s call for you to
      possibly give up your rights on disputable matters
      compare to the rights given up by Jesus? (Paul tells us
      that history should teach us something to bolster our
      hope. The little we give up compared to what our Lord
      gave up reminds us of the astonishing love He has for

    3. Read Romans 15:5-7. When God accepted you, were you off-course on only disputable matters? (I think Paul has now
      gone beyond his discussion of those things which are
      merely disputable.)

      1. What seems to be Paul’s goal for us? (The ultimate
        goal is to give glory to God. We don’t do that very
        well if we are divided. A “spirit of unity” among
        His believers is the best vehicle for glorifying

    4. We can, by God’s power, decide to control our own
      divisive impulses. What do we do about fellow Christians
      who are creating division? (Read Romans 16:17-18. Paul
      tells us to avoid them.)

      1. What does Paul suggest motivates those who create
        division? (“Their own appetites.” Paul does not say
        exactly what those appetites might be, but pride,
        arrogance, the love of a dispute come to mind.)

    5. Read Romans 16:25-27. Friend, we have learned how,
      through Jesus, we are saved by grace alone. If you have
      not made the decision to rely only on Jesus for your
      salvation, will you make that decision right now? We
      have also learned how those who are saved have an
      obligation to live like it. If you have crossed over
      into salvation, will you make the choice every day to
      live a life led by the Holy Spirit? A life that brings
      glory to God?

  4. Next week: We start a new series of lessons on the lives of
    special people in the Old Testament.