When I went to study at Bible College, I wore a beard. I had sailed on a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa to the United States and having a beard was practical for me. But for some Christians, at that time, I was judged. It was during the late 60’s and the ‘Hippy’ era. A classmate told me when we became acquainted that he questioned whether I was really a Christian because I told him I had gone to movies. I am sure I was also guilty of judging my ultra-conservative brothers. We are all prone to judge those who are different to us. God has put us together as a family in His church to accept one another (Romans 15:7) and love one another (Romans 13:8).
The matter of how we get along with those who disagree with us on non-essential matters was very important to Paul and should be important to us. He focused on this for the best part of the application section in the book of Romans. The Holy Spirit chose to give us 35 verses (14:1-15:13) on how we are to accept and not judge one another when we differ on non-essentials.
There are reasons why this is important: For one, the unity of the Body of Christ is at stake. There are those matters that are critical to the gospel and for which we must take a stand. But, if we separate on the minors matters, we will soon destroy Christ’s work in building His church. Another reason is that the Body of Christ is to be an earthly example and demonstration to the world of the love of Christ. Jesus said (John 13:35), “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If we quarrel and divide over minor issues, we damage the testimony of Christ and the gospel to a watching world. It is therefore very important that we learn to work on our relational differences. We need to agree to disagree on these matters.
This Sunday’s sermon, entitled “Not wrong, just different”, we will study the passage in Romans that instructs us how to handle non-essential differences. I trust that you will join us, in person if you can, at 10:30 am for the worship service and fellowship afterwards.
At 12 noon the Ladies are having a Bring ‘n Share lunch of finger eats with the theme of “Getting to know you”.
You friend and pastor,