Respect High And Low

Revere and respect the presence of God in every believer and you will have love instead of the abrasiveness of criticism.

Scripture: Romans 14:1-4


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. Something special about you I’m so grateful to be with you day by day to share with you from the Word of God. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? We’ve been looking at the opening verses of Romans chapter 14 “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Doubtful has to do with the idea of one’s inner thoughts, things about which you are not all that sure concerning which you have questions. Disputation is a word that gives the idea of judging.

So the idea then would be “Don’t be judging his inward doubtful thoughts.” God does not set you up as a judge; He is the judge. And so Paul uses the illustration. We got at this the other day. Paul uses the illustration of the person who says “I can eat anything under grace. I’m not any longer limited to Mosaic law.” And the other person says, “Well, you ought not only not to breach the Mosaic law; you are only to eat vegetables. You ought to be a vegetarian. That is the Christian way,” someone is saying. “Ah well,” says Paul. “To his own master he standeth or falleth. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?”

You and I are not called to be judges. Once we learn that, it takes a lot of the stress out of living. You don’t have to judge the other person. Leave him with God. Leave him with God. So he says “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not and and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth.” Now, you have two keywords here and I want to stop for a moment and talk with you about them. He says the person that is free under the grace of God, whose conscience has been, let us say, liberated and who doesn’t have any compunction, well, he says, “Your temptation is to look down on other people.” And say, “Oh, well, they really are weak in the faith. They really aren’t as advanced in the grace of God as I am. They don’t really know what it means to be really free under the grace of God and to look down on them.”

The word “despise” actually means “to look down on them,” you know. Consider them somewhat, let us say, spiritually inferior. Now, there’s a great temptation not only in matters of diet but in all of the things that have to do with the blessing of God on a given believer. There are some folk who, if you talk with them, will profess to a great and a high degree of spirituality. Then they’ll say, “Well, we’ll pray for you until you get what we have.” And they sure are looking down on you. You’re a second class citizen, you know, unless you have what they have.

Now, that’s a human temptation. If you have something that you enjoy tremendously in your spiritual life, the tendency is to look at somebody else who doesn’t quite have that experience and say, “Oh, well, he or she or they don’t have it.” And that’s why Paul is saying don’t despise, don’t look down on them.” Those who think it is all right to eat meat must not look down on those who won’t and if you are one of those who won’t, don’t find fault with those who do or judge them. That’s the idea. Now, there then is the one temptation–the temptation to look down on people who may not have gone as far as you in the Christian life.

Had you ever stopped to think of the fact that you are responsible to help people and strengthen them rather than to look down on them from the lofty eminence of your own spiritual attainment? Had you thought about that? As a matter of fact, the person who looks down on others has a good deal of mileage to catch up on in his own spiritual life, wouldn’t you agree. The closer you get in your walk with God, the more humble and helpful you are going to be with other people. The closer you walk with God, the more humble and helpful you are going to be with other people.

So let’s ask God to keep us from falling under the temptation of looking down on others who may not share our degree of spiritual attainment, let us say. Maybe you can pray eloquently. Another person can only blurt out a few sincere words. You encourage him and help him. That’s your job. Maybe you understand the Bible tremendously and as you open it, any place you open it, it speaks volumes to you because you’ve spent a lifetime in the word of God and you’ve gone on with Him in your study of the word.

Somebody else opens the Bible and comes forth with a tiny little teaspoon full of truth which is all that he or she can muster, you realize that that’s part of God’s working, as well, and you appreciate it. God says He listens out of the mouth of babes. Our Lord Jesus listened to what the children had to say when He was with us here on Earth. So let me say it again: the mark of spiritual attainment, if you walk really close with God, the closer you are with God, the more humble and helpful you will be. Don’t look down.

Now, the other temptation that you and I face is to judge, to criticize, someone who differs with us in matters that we may hold important. “Let not him which eateth not judge or criticize or find fault with him that eateth for God hath received him too.” “Who art thou” he says, “that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” This whole matter of criticizing other people because you differ with them, either on matters of belief or procedure, comes home with a tremendous impact when you realize what Paul has been saying here.

He said, “When you criticize somebody else in matters of belief or procedure,” he said, “you are actually criticizing somebody else’s servant. You are trying to boss around somebody else’s servant.” And he says, “As a matter of fact, because this person is dealing with God, the likelihood is that God will help him succeed in spite of the fact that you disagree with him.” How many times in Christian work you’ve heard people say “It’ll never work.” “It’ll never work.”

And then lo and behold, the plan turns out to be a whopping success. And you have to back down and say, “Well, I was mistaken.” I spoke with a man just the other day who said, “When such and such an idea was proposed in my church, I fought it. I didn’t believe it would work. But I was overruled.” And he said, “I found that God was blessing that plan and I had to admit that I was wrong.” Well, that’s just exactly what we’re talking about. “Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

The variable factor in human success under God is not your ability nor mine but God’s power poured out upon the individual. I was riding one day with Jim Savage, veteran of many years of missionary endeavor in South America, precious, wonderful brother. He and I were driving along. And I said, “Teach me something, Jim. Teach me something you’ve learned on the mission field.” He thought a moment as we drove along the dusty roads of Venezuela. And then he said, “I think, Bob, the lesson I’ve learned is that you must never assume what God is going to do in a given life.” He said, “There have been people who’ve come out to the mission field concerning whom we thought they were going to do a tremendous work and they ended up doing nothing. Highly gifted but nothing happening,”

Then on the other hand he said, “Here was a young man who came to our Bible institute at San Cristobal and we thought that he would never amount to anything. He couldn’t pass his courses. As he finally graduated through the kindness of the teachers and the grace of God after having spent more semesters at school than anyone really ought to but he finally made it. And we heaved a sigh of relief and sent him back to Colombia feeling that nothing really would happen through his life. And when he got back to his home area, he purchased a small motorboat and started up one of the great rivers there in Colombia.

And Jim Savage said, “Every place he stopped, he preached the gospel and started a New Testament Church. And in one year, there were more than a score of new little groups of believers, New Testament Churches established by that one young man. Concerning whom we thought he never would amount to anything. Well, dear friends, there you have it. God is able to make him stand. “Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Never criticize a person who differs with you either on the procedures or on the peripheral beliefs of the Christian life because it just may turn out that God will choose that person to bless and to use greatly.

It’s the old principle in business: Be kind to the office boy because you may meet him on the way up the ladder as you come down. God is able to make him stand. Let’s adopt the principle of revering the presence of God in every believer. Every person you meet who is a true believer on the Lord Jesus Christ has the Savior dwelling within him by the power of the Holy Spirit, right? “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” says Paul. “Nevertheless I liveth; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” says the apostle. “And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.”

Let’s you and I form the habit of revering and respecting the presence of God in every believer. This will make our relationship sacred, not abrasive. It will provide the binding of divine love. Paul calls divine love the “bond of perfectness.” It will bind us together in divine love rather than separating us in abrasive criticism realizing that anybody who really loves Jesus is my brother or my sister and that God is perfectly free to bless that life even though they may disagree with me about the color of shingles that we want to put on the sanctuary.

Revere and respect the presence of God in every believer and you will have love instead of the abrasiveness of criticism. Good idea? You try it on for size today, beloved.

Dear Father God, today, help us to see the value of the presence of God in other people, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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