Living for the Lord
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
What does it mean to live for the Lord? We might think of it in terms of what we do with our time, our money etc. Or we might think in terms of our vocation. However we view our lives in this way, eventually we will come into differences of opinion with others around us as it relates to something. At that point, living for the Lord applies to however we view our relationships with others. Do we have to win all the time?
It seems to me that we have a view of leadership in our culture that relates to winning and getting our way. Great leadership is defined as getting people to go along with what the leader wants. And then if folks do not agree, then moving them aside and moving ahead. This passage points out more ways to think about ourselves and others as we relate to God’s kingdom (which seems to have remained mysterious now for more than two thousand years!) and our role in it.
The issues at dispute in this culture are eating meat sacrificed to idols and Sabbath days. Those are not our issues. But the issues are not the real problem that we have. The real problem that we have is that we are not willing to submit to others. Everyone thinks that they are right. And because of that they are unwilling to cooperate with others.
- The Goal is to be Fully Convinced v.5
- This invites intractability
If we are in disagreement, I don’t think I will be as happy with you if you are fully convinced in your own mind. It means that I am gonna have to stay away from that particular issue. And to add to that, I am going to have to let you stay where you are too.
- Someone will have to be flexible
I don’t see how we can come to understand that we differ from others on individual issues without some conversation. But, once we see that there is an issue, we need to be extra careful with the faith of others!
- This will take trust in God
I will have to entrust you to God and I will have to entrust myself to God. We do not have to give up the truth. We may just have to be careful about what we are discussing.
There are times that I counsel with people where I spend a great deal of time deciding if I should broach issues. Your faith is very important. You need to be fully convinced in your own mind.
- The Directive is to Live for the Lord
- If you abstain from certain behaviors
Whatever you think about matters of conscience as they relate to how to have a healthy relationship with God
- If you participate in certain behaviors
Can you pray and thank God for what you are about to do?
James 4: 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
I Cor 10: 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
- See all of our lives as directed by God
Is God directing you to engage in this behavior? Does it honor His glory?
James 1: every good and perfect gift comes from God. And we are tempted to displace Him with His good and perfect gifts. Being aware of this, we should be careful with others!
III. God is the Judge of us All
- If God is patient, we should be patient
I could say the same thing about submission!
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
- We do not need to establish standards of judgment
Even if we are right, we are not the ones to decide when to draw the curtain, when to give up on patience. That is not our ability or our right.
Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.
Reflecting hatred and contempt for others is not going to be positively received by God.
I believe that there is a style of leadership in our culture that is really challenged by this!
- We are challenged plenty to love others
The more excellent way. I Cor 12: 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
More excellent than what?
- Than expressing a gift given to you by the Holy Spirit.
- If I speak in tongues…
- If I have the gift of prophecy and have incredible knowledge…
- If I have faith that does miraculous things, but I don’t have love… NOTHING
- More excellent than any individual act of service! Give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship
All of our behavior in Christ is to be defined as expressing Love as defined by the love of God.
Patient: patience requires an irritation
Kind: kindness needs a contrast too!
Not: envious, boastful, proud, dishonoring others or self-seeking. (Lots of pride and competition here!)
Not easily angered
Doesn’t keep track of wrongs (forgives readily out of habit)
Always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.
Galatians 5:6 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.