Title:  Love in Action

Text:  Rom 14:13-23

Focus:  Since God accepts both the weak and the strong, so should we.  This 
involves loving each other actively by respecting one another's convictions, 
limiting our freedom when it violates a brother's conscience, and pursuing 
what builds each other up.

Function:  To encourage those in the body to accept and honor each other 
regardless of whether they are weak or strong.

1.  Conduction checking tickets
a.  Argues with and throws passenger off train because it wrong train.
b.  After third passenger, realizes he is on the wrong train
2.  Sometimes our perceptions and convictions are mistaken
3.  That happen in the church?
	a.  This is the focus of Chap 14 and 15
	b.  14:1-12 - Paul said not to judge those with different convictions
-  Not hold in contempt 
-  Accept those with differing convictions
c.  How are we to get along with differing convictions?
4.  Answer - Love one another.  Love in action.  3 Actions - - -

I.  Respect your brother's convictions (v.13-14)
	A.  v.3  Says not to regard with contempt
	B.  Why should we respect it if we think we are right & they wrong?
		1.  God accepts those with differing convictions
			a.  Those who convinced unclean foods & special days
			b.  Those who convinced all clean and no special days
			c.  God accepts strong and weak, liberal and conservative
			d.  God accepts those we are true to their convictions
		2.  If God accepts, who are we to judge?
			a.  On what basis do we condemn?
			b.  Need to remember we don't serve rules, but a living God
			c.  There is a real person behind the rules
		3.  Earlier in 12:10
			a.  Outdo one another in showing honor
			b.  Honor = Respect / Value
			c.  I value you, even if we have differing convictions
		4.  Often times, it does little good to pronounce who right & wrong
	C.  ILL:  A couple, Ralph and Cindy learned this (fictitious names)
		1.  Marriage counseling
		2.  Both wanted to lay blame
			a.  They wanted to talk about whose fault problems were
			b.  Both convinced the problem was the other spouse
		3.  Counselor laid down rule - No talking about spouse
			a.  You can't change spouse, only they can
			b.  You can only change you, so lets talk about you
		4.  How can you change to be a better spouse?
	D.  That is the rule we need to live by in the church
		1.  Not - What does my brother need to do to change to suit me?
		2.  But - How can I be a better brother or sister?
		3.  Brings us to the next point

II.  Limit our Freedom (v.13-17)
	A.  When our freedom becomes a stumbling block, limit it
	B.  This is not something in line with the spirit of the age
		1.   We all have inalienable rights, which include "liberty"
			a.  Interpret that as my "rights" which are most sacred
			b.  I have my rights, and no one will tell me what to do
			c.  World asks - What about my rights?
		2.  But Paul asks, "What about my responsibilities?"
		3.  Life is not about exercising my rights and freedom (v.17)
			a.  Eating and drinking, my freedom, is a self-focus
			b.  Righteousness, peace and joy come from selfless focus
				- Righteousness - Focus on God's will
				- Peace - Getting along with each other
				- Joy - Not from self-focus, but God and other focus
				  (Scrooge had no joy when self-centered)
		4.  We need to be selfless, not selfish
	C.  ILL  Church was discussing use of multiple song leaders
		1.  There was a lot of discussion and arguing
			a.  Some tried to make doctrinal case against it
			b.  Some said it not unscriptural or scriptural, but nonscriptural
			c.  Some accused others of selfishly wanting entertainment
			d.  Some accuse others of selfishly sticking to old traditions
		2.  Finally, an elderly lady spoke up
			a.  She simply didn't like it, it didn't feel right, felt wrong
			b.  She didn't know if she could worship God this way
			c. Several brethren said they felt same way
		3.  Elders said it first legitimate reason they saw NOT to do it, and 
     		    they didn't do it.  Worship is about us worshipping as a body
		4.  If they ignored anyone, would have said they didn't respect their 
     		    convictions and probably divided the church
	D.  This was Romans 14 in action!
		1.  This is love in action
		2.  This is how Joy came about (no joy in selfishness)
		3.  Righteousness, peace and joy flourishes in selflessness
		4.  But there is more than merely limiting freedom - proactive ---

III.  Pursue what builds up (v.18-23)
	A.  Some Bibles say "edification"
		1.  Related English word - Edifice, which is a building
		2.  Similar meanings in Greek (oikodomeo)
			a.  Of a house - Means to build or construct it
			b.  Of people - Encourage, support, strengthen
		3.  Not the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit of edification
	B.  Note how Paul phrases his own convictions here
		1.  (v.14) - Didn't pronounced judgment on the weak or strong
			a.  Could have said he was right, and all else were wrong
			b.  Instead, he said "these are my convictions"
			c.  Otherwise, he could have split the church
		2.  Paul acting out of love
			a.  Like a brick house, the mortar of love will bind us together
			b.  If not, we chisel away at the mortar, divide and weaken
		3.  Paul didn't split bricks by obsessing on him being right (v.21-22)
			a.  He understood everyone must be true to convictions 
			b.  If we respect convictions, then we can build up
		4.  We must edify, encourage, support, strengthen, build up
			- That will make for a strong and healthy church
	C.  King Akubu learned this
		1.  His wife weak haggardly, though he fed her finest food
		2.  Neighboring poor farmer had robust healthy wife
			a.  Asking him how he kept wife so healthy
			b.  Farmer fed wife the meat of the tongue
			c.  So King got every kind of meat, and fed wife
			d.  Wife still weak and frail
		3.  So he took farmer's wife and gave farmer his wife
			a.  His new wife gradually became frail
			b.  Farmer's new wife gradually became robust
			c.  King was confounded
		4.  Came to witness farmer feeding the meat of the tongue
			a.  Saw the farmer saying encouraging positive things
			b.  Meat of the tongue was what built up farmers wife
	D.  We need to focus on building up the church
		1.  We can be a body even with differing convictions
		2.  What draws us together is not 100% agreement
			a.  I didn't have 100% agreement with my family
			b.  But our devotion to parents made us family
		3.  Same in family of God
			a.  God accepts us whether weak or strong
			b.  What we do, we do for God
			c.  Part of that involves love for one another

1.  Respect convictions; Limit Freedom; Pursue what builds up
2.  Question:  Do I build up (selfless) or tear down (selfish)
3.  Do I feed brethren meat of the tongue (God accepts and love, so do I)
4.  Does God accept you?  (Invitation)