1. We went through the verses seeing Paul give several exhortations to the mature believers.
A: In v. 13, Paul exhorts the stronger believers to not pass judgment any longer, but to decide to not impede or obstruct the faith of weaker Christians. This exhortation is speaking to our volition: our power of will. What’s it look like to decide to not impede the faith of other believers today?
B: With v. 15, Paul explains why this issue of eating is such a major ordeal: it can lead to not walking in love & destroy the one for whom Christ died. Why does Paul take time to heighten the weight or importance of this issue? How are we are adept at making our decisions justifiable, explainable, less serious?
C: In v. 16 & 18, Paul says that we are not to act in a way that gives others an improper view of the gospel, but instead to treat each other in a Christ-like manner. We were challenged to examine how we treat each other…does it lead to others having a proper/improper view of the gospel? How can we intentionally treat each other in a way that shines the goodness of the gospel before the world?
D: Verse 17 Paul explains the goodness & power of the gospel…that it isn’t reduced to mere eating & drinking…but impacts right standing before God, true peace, & lasting joy. Why is it important to be reminded of the true impact of the gospel regularly?
E: We see the primary exhortation of the passage in v. 19: chase after the unity of the church & the building up (edification) of the church. What are ways we can specifically & continually seek to strengthen one another in the faith?
F: With v. 20-21, Paul again shows the importance of our love for one another & expands the issues. He also speaks to affirm freedoms that we have in Christ, while balancing that with seeing that freedom as a way to act selflessly. What changes when we see freedom not as a license to do whatever we want, but as a means to accomplishing God’s purposes & reflecting God’s values?
G: In v. 22, Paul encourages those that are stronger in the faith to not flaunt their freedom in Christ…but to see it as a gift from God. How have you experienced the gift of freedom in Christ in your life?
H: The passage ends with Paul highlighting the severity of acting apart from faith in Christ. We were asked to consider our own lives: Are we operating out of faith in ourselves/others, fear of others, or faith in Christ? How do we determine where our actions proceed from?