- “Especially as Seventh-day Adventists, we rest on the principle of sola Scriptura.” These are words from the introduction to this week’s lesson. Have you ever felt a surge of pride ripple through your thinking as you contemplate the joy of relying on the Bible, and only the Bible, for spiritual doctrines? Have you also noticed an apparent reluctance of churches that are not based on reformation principles to celebrate the Protestant Reformation? Perhaps this lesson, along with others for three months of lessons, can help us shout the joy of the reformation that leads us to the Bible and the Bible only.
- Weak in faith. Are the first three verses of Romans 14 puzzling to you? Can we interpret the text to say that “He who is weak” is the one who eats “only vegetables”? or is it rather the one who doesn’t want to do anything that contradicts his ideas about what could be wrong, in this case eating food offered to idols? Paul says the “weak” (over conscientious) person deserves full membership and friendship in the church. Does this mean it doesn’t matter what a person believes? How can this admonition apply to us Christians today?
- Before the judgment seat. What kind of judgment can we expect from God, the author of all that is just? Imagine being a follower of Christ when Paul talks to believers about judging others. Does Paul teach that each Christian is responsible only for his or her beliefs? Continuing the subject of foods that are clean or unclean, did Paul preach that eating food offered to idols or unclean in some other way was indeed a sin by a Christian? Do you think Paul was trying to get believers to be kinder to fellow Christians with a somewhat different take on what was right and what was wrong? Should we follow that teaching?
- No offense. Again, speaking of food offered to idols, what do you think Paul meant when he said, “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”? What is your response when a fellow Christian says Paul has approved of whatever we choose to eat or drink? Then Paul says (Romans 12:20) that “All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.” Read on to verse 22 of Romans 12. How can a Christian “condemn himself by what he approves”? Do you agree with the conclusion of this presentation, that we are responsible if our example leads others astray? How much care should you and I give to our actions, to present a helpful example to others?
- Observance of days. In this section of the discussion Paul warns us not to offend others by certain days we observe. Is Paul saying, “You can ignore the fourth commandment of God’s law”? How important is the Sabbath and the law of God in Paul’s teaching? Why did some Christians of the time observe Jewish festivals? What did Paul say about that? Does his advice go along with his words about food offered to idols?
- Final words. Now we come to the final chapters of Romans. Do you find in Romans 15 a special collection of thoughts to share with Christians in Rome before Paul leaves? Do you ever hear similar thoughts from the pulpit to close the Sabbath service? In the next chapter, Romans 16, Paul brings this sermon for us as well as early Christians in the Roman church, to a rousing conclusion packed with words of commendation, special greetings to friends, a word or two of advice, greetings from Paul’s friends and, finally, a rousing benediction. Has the time you’ve spent with Paul’s thoughts and prayers been a blessing to you? Share with your class.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons