In this message we need to consider some more points concerning the matter of transformation in receiving the believers.
We need to receive the believers in the principle of love. In 14:13-15 Paul says, “Therefore, let us judge one another no longer, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause of falling before the brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing common in itself; but to him who reckons anything to be common, to that man it is common. But if because of food your brother is grieved, you no longer walk according to love. Do not destroy by your food that man for whom Christ died.” If we receive the believers in love, we shall not judge others, not put stumbling blocks before them, not grieve the brothers, not destroy the man for whom Christ died, but rather walk according to love. We must receive in the principle of love all the believers for whom Christ died. Please remember that Romans was written shortly after Paul had written 1 Corinthians, and that he wrote Romans from Corinth. Paul devoted 1 Corinthians 13 to the matter of love, inserting it between the two chapters that deal with spiritual gifts. In chapter thirteen Paul presented the most excellent way of exercising the gifts and he listed many of the attributes and characteristics of love. I believe that this concept of love was fresh within him when he wrote chapter fourteen of Romans. Therefore, in Romans, it seems that Paul was telling the saints, “You must receive others in the principle of love. Love must govern you. Love must be the controlling principle in the receiving of the saints.”
The receiving of the believers is not an insignificant matter. It is related to the judgment seat in the future and it concerns the kingdom life in the present.
According to the context, verse 16 refers to the eating by the ones who are stronger in faith. It is good to be strong in the faith that there is nothing common and that everything is suitable for eating. But you should not let your good be slandered in your being unwilling to take care of those who are weak in faith. For their sake, you must be careful about eating what you think is good for eating. Paul’s intention is that, for the sake of the weaker ones, it is better that you not eat.
The church is the kingdom of God in this age (Matt. 16:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5). There is much argument between various schools of teaching concerning the kingdom of God. One school of thought claims that the kingdom of God is not with us today. According to this school, the kingdom of God was suspended at the time of Matthew 13. This school affirms that when the Lord Jesus came He came with the kingdom of God and presented it to the Jewish people. Since the Jewish people rejected the kingdom of God, the Lord suspended it until the time of His return. Thus, this school teaches that during the period in which we live there is no kingdom of God. However, Romans 14:17 says “the kingdom of God is .” This is a strong proof that the kingdom of God is here today. Further evidence that the church is the kingdom of God today is found in Matthew 16:18-19, where we see that the words church and kingdom are synonymous and are used interchangeably by the Lord Jesus Himself. In verse 18 the Lord said, “I will build my church,” and in verse 19 He said, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Hence, the building of the church is actually the establishing of the kingdom. Furthermore, Paul in the epistles considered the kingdom of God as equivalent to the church (1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5). How wrong it is to say that the kingdom has been suspended and that it will return at the coming of the Lord! We should not accept this concept concerning the kingdom. We must return to the pure Word which says that the church life is the kingdom of God.
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