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 Five Types of Believers

Five Types of Believers


Romans 14:1-2

As we study the New Testament, Christians tend to fall in five different types depending on how they understand and respond to the liberty we have in Christ

I. The Weaker Brother: four weaknesses define the weaker brother.

A. He is weak in his faith.

(ROM 14:1-2) "HIM THAT IS WEAK IN THE FAITH RECEIVE YE, BUT NOT TO DOUBTFUL DISPUTATIONS. FOR ONE BELIEVETH THAT HE MAY EAT ALL THINGS: ANOTHER, WHO IS WEAK, EATETH HERBS."

(ROM 14:22-23) "HAST THOU FAITH? HAVE IT TO THYSELF BEFORE GOD. HAPPY IS HE THAT CONDEMNETH NOT HIMSELF IN THAT THING WHICH HE ALLOWETH. AND HE THAT DOUBTETH IS DAMNED IF HE EAT, BECAUSE HE EATETH NOT OF FAITH: FOR WHATSOEVER IS NOT OF FAITH IS SIN."

1. Faith as used here means a firm, intelli-gent conviction based on Scripture that something is okay or not okay.

2. It is a person who doubts and is not sure concerning what he believes.

B. He is weak in knowledge.

(1 COR 8:7) "HOWBEIT THERE IS NOT IN EVERY MAN THAT KNOWLEDGE: FOR SOME WITH CONSCIENCE OF THE IDOL UNTO THIS HOUR EAT IT AS A THING OFFERED UNTO AN IDOL; AND THEIR CONSCIENCE BEING WEAK IS DEFILED."

(ROM 14:14) "I KNOW, AND AM PERSUADED BY THE LORD JESUS, THAT THERE IS NOTHING UNCLEAN OF ITSELF: BUT TO HIM THAT ESTEEMETH ANY THING TO BE UNCLEAN, TO HIM IT IS UNCLEAN."

1. This is the reason for his lack of conviction, a lack of biblical understanding of God's grace.

2. His faith is either misinformed or lacking in biblical content which included three issues.

a. They did not realize the idol was nothing.

b. They did not know that food offered to "a nothing" was not spiritually affected and that it could not be unclean in itself.

c. They do not understand that food cannot commend us to God, that food in itself has no spiritual bearing on our spiritual lives (1 Cor. 8:8).

C. He is weak in conscience.

1. This means his conscience is based on human standards and norms.

2. His conscience is overly sensitive, condemning him for things Scripture does not. (1 Cor. 8:7; 10, 12).

D. He is weak in his will.

1. He is weak in his will because he can be influenced to do something contrary to his con-science, or to act without becoming fully convinced by Scripture that something is either right or wrong.

2. In this case, the weaker person acts on the example of the stronger believer without biblical conviction and faith.

3. This violates his conscience, and so causes him to sin against the Lord (1 Cor. 8:10).

The weaker brother is any believer who, because of the weakness of his faith, conscience, knowledge and will, can be influenced to sin against his conscience by the example or life style of a stronger brother.

The weaker brother is not just a new or immature believer; he is not a Christian who happens to differ with you or me on some issue, but he or she is one who can be influenced to act contrary to their conscience or personal convictions (14:23; 1 Cor. 8:9-12).


II. The Stronger Brother.

(ROM 15:1) WE THEN THAT ARE STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK, AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES.

A. Conversely the stronger brother is the one who is strong in his faith (conviction).

(ROM 14:22) HAST THOU FAITH? HAVE IT TO THYSELF BEFORE GOD. HAPPY IS HE THAT CONDEMNETH NOT HIMSELF IN THAT THING WHICH HE ALLOWETH.

B. Knowledge of grace and what is truly right or wrong (1 Cor. 8:7, 10)

(ROM 14:14) I KNOW, AND AM PERSUADED BY THE LORD JESUS, THAT THERE IS NOTHING UNCLEAN OF ITSELF: BUT TO HIM THAT ESTEEMETH ANY THING TO BE UNCLEAN, TO HIM IT IS UNCLEAN.

C. Strong in his conscience and will.

1. So the stronger brother is the believer who is certain of his biblical convictions.

2. He understands his freedom in Christ, and exercises his liberty without doubting and without being improperly influenced by differing opinions or behavior.




III. The Pharisee Believer

A. He lacks in biblical understanding of the believer's freedom in Christ and his deliverance from the works of the law, or from human works as a means of salvation or spirituality.

B. So he is a legalist.

1. Legalism is not simply the conviction certain things are wrong, nor the avoidance of certain things.

2. Rather it is an observance or an avoidance done in order to merit favor with God.

3. Not understanding God's righteous- ness in Christ, he works to gain God's righteousness or to be accepted with God.

C. He has very strong convictions about his list of taboos.

1. But his convictions are based primarily on his own background and prejudices rather than the teaching of Scripture.

2. They are based in the traditions and teachings of men.

D. He is often strong willed.

1. He is able to resist pressure from others to conform to their standards.

2. He tends not to be influenced by the example of others and often takes religious pride in his taboos, for to him they are a sign of his super-spirituality.

3. Above all he tends to be hyper-critical and judgmental and seeks to get others to conform to his opinions.

4. Those who will not conform he rejects and refuses to accept.

E. He is usually not too hungry for the in depth study of Scripture, He tends to be superficial and an externalist.


IV. The Stumbling Block Believer.

(ROM 14:13) LET US NOT THEREFORE JUDGE ONE ANOTHER ANY MORE: BUT JUDGE THIS RATHER, THAT NO MAN PUT A STUMBLINGBLOCK OR AN OCCASION TO FALL IN HIS BROTHER’S WAY.

A. This believer may have all the characteristics of the stronger brother.

B. But he uses his liberty without regard to biblical principles which govern behavior in the questionable things.

C. The majority of 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans l4 and 15 are aimed at this type of believer, or at keeping the stronger believer from misusing his or her liberty.

D. This is a believer who is weak on LOVE and concern for the one another responsibilities laid out in the New Testament.




V. The Servant-Type Believer.

(ROM 15:1) WE THEN THAT ARE STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK, AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES.

A. This believer too has all the characteris-- tics of the stronger believer.

B. But, he forgoes his liberty out of love…

1. For the sake of others, whenever it might harm another believer…

2. Hurt his testimony with unbelievers…

3. Or violate any of the principles necessary for exercising our liberty, and for guiding us as to when we should or should not do certain things.

C. The servant-type is strong on love and follows the model of His Savior.

1. He pursues the things which make for peace and the edification of one another.

2. Rather than becoming a stumbling block, he seeks to a stepping stone.

Guiding Principles Under Grace for Deciding Right and Wrong:

Freedom in Christ never means to freedom to do as we please, but the power to do as we ought in accordance with the character of Christ as His life is reproduced in the believer by a Spirit filled, Word filled life.



I. The Principle of Love

A. Though convinced that I have liberty to do something, nevertheless, out of love for the weaker brother, I will limit my freedom when necessary to avoid being a stumbling block (1 Cor. 8:1-13).

(ROM 14:15) "BUT IF THY BROTHER BE GRIEVED WITH THY MEAT, NOW WALKEST THOU NOT CHARITABLY. DESTROY NOT HIM WITH THY MEAT, FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED."

B. If my actions may cause a believer to stumble by influencing him or her to follow my example, the question is, "Do I really have liberty to follow my own conviction regarding the doubtful thing?"

C. The answer is an emphatic no!--not if I am walking by love.

D. Listen to the warning of the following passage: cf Romans 14:15-21



II. The Principles of Profitability and Edification

A. While all things that are not specifically forbidden by Scripture are lawful to me as a believer…

B. The question I must ask is, "Is it profitable to my spiritual life, to God's goals for me, to my health, to my testimony to the lost and my life as an example to other believers?"

C. (1 Cor 6:12) All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

D. (1 Cor 10:23) All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.



III. The Principle of Enslavement: Who and What is in Control

A. The answer to this question becomes a determining factor as to whether we really should or should not do the thing in question.

(1 COR 6:12) "ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL UNTO ME, BUT ALL THINGS ARE NOT EXPEDIENT: ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL FOR ME, BUT I WILL NOT BE BROUGHT UNDER THE POWER OF ANY."

1. Believers are to walk under the control of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16).

(EPH 5:18) "AND BE NOT DRUNK WITH WINE, WHEREIN IS EXCESS; BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT;"

(GAL 5:16) "THIS I SAY THEN, WALK IN THE SPIRIT, AND YE SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH."

2. The Holy Spirit is to have control over all aspects of our lives and never our practices or habits.

3. The body is a wonderful slave and God's instrument of service, but it is a poor master.

B. The questions we must ask are:

1. Will it enslave me?

2. Is it something that is known to be habit forming or addictive so that it could enslave me?

3. This does not automatically exclude something and anything can become a habit that controls me, but this principle does pose a warning.



IV. The Principle of the Temple

A. The New Testament teaches us that the body is the temple, the very dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for accordingly (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

(1 COR 6:19-20) "WHAT? KNOW YE NOT THAT YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS IN YOU, WHICH YE HAVE OF GOD, AND YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD’S."

B. The body is an instrument used by the Spirit of God, a vehicle of service by which we can glorify God.

1. A weak body becomes a weak instrument, so we need to care for it, protect it.

2. This means proper rest, diet, exercise, and the elimination of those habits which are unhealthy and harmful.



V. The Principle of Exaltation

A. Here we must ask the question, "Will it glorify or exalt the Lord and His glory?

B. (1 Cor 10:31) "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."



VI. The Principle of Constraint: Living as an Example in Supreme Self Sacrifice

(2 COR 5:14-15) "FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETH US; BECAUSE WE THUS JUDGE, THAT IF ONE DIED FOR ALL, THEN WERE ALL DEAD: {15} AND THAT HE DIED FOR ALL, THAT THEY WHICH LIVE SHOULD NOT HENCEFORTH LIVE UNTO THEMSELVES, BUT UNTO HIM WHICH DIED FOR THEM, AND ROSE AGAIN."

A. This principle applies to all Christians.

B. But it is especially vital for those in leadership.

1. One of the characteristics so necessary for a leader is that of self sacrifice, of giving up our rights for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.

2. Why? Because of their influence upon others.

(MARK 10:45) "FOR EVEN THE SON OF MAN CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, BUT TO MINISTER, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY."

3. This means the need for sacrifice whenever and wherever, or one forfeits the right of leadership.

(1 TIM 4:12) "LET NO MAN DESPISE THY YOUTH; BUT BE THOU AN EXAMPLE OF THE BELIEVERS, IN WORD, IN CONVERSATION, IN CHARITY, IN SPIRIT, IN FAITH, IN PURITY."

(TITUS 2:7) "IN ALL THINGS SHOWING THYSELF A PATTERN OF GOOD WORKS: IN DOCTRINE SHOWING UNCORRUPTED, GRAVITY, SINCERITY,"

http://www.brandonweb.com/gbt/sermonpages/romans22.htm


_________________
R.Chandrasekaran

 2009/5/27 9:54Profile





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