The Law of Love in the Church

Course Introduction:

The Christian church on earth is never a showcase of perfect people, but more like a hospital of recovering sinners, who are to assist each other in this journey of recovery. True believers in Jesus Christ come from many different backgrounds, cultures, and ways of life, with various life stories, and have different personalities, and different levels of faith. These differences can create tension and disharmony in the church, but the Lord has given very clear and extensive directions on dealing with these issues. This is the subject of this series of lectures, with a focus on the Scriptures from Romans 14 and 15.

Lesson 1 - Introduction

The Christian church on earth is never a showcase of perfect people, but more like a hospital of recovering sinners, who are to assist each other in this journey of recovery. True believers in Jesus Christ come from many different backgrounds, cultures, and ways of life, with various life stories, and have different personalities, and different levels of faith. These differences can create tension and disharmony in the church, but the Lord has given very clear and extensive directions on dealing with these issues. This is the subject of this series of lectures, with a focus on the Scriptures from Romans 14 and 15.

Lesson 2 - Three Principles for Harmony

This lecture presents three principles regarding divisions in the body of Christ, which Paul the Apostle warns about in Romans 14 and 15. The first principle is that believers all over the world differ in their understanding of unessential matters of faith and practice. The second principle is that focusing on these minor, unessential matters can cause grief and damage to the conscience of fellow believers. The third principle is the importance of focusing on the major truths of the gospel, which are the Scriptural truths that bind us together as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The challenge is how to dwell in unity, how to bear and forebear each other in the spirit of meekness and love, when we deal with matters that are unessential.

Lesson 3 - The Strong and the Weak in the Faith

The previous lecture provided three principles of love in matters of Christian liberty. This lecture gives us two more principles to guide us, as outlined in Romans 14 and 15. The first is that believers in Jesus Christ have different levels of spiritual maturity. Some are strong in the faith, some are weak in the faith. The next principle is that the strong in the faith should bear the infirmities of the weak, and both should respect and honor the other. Rev. Vergunst provides several practical helps in this lecture for applying these principles in our lives.

Lesson 4 - The King’s Instructions for the Strong

This lecture provides a broader and deeper understanding of the fifth principle in the Law of Love, specifically outlining God’s instructions to those who are among the strong in the faith. The motivation of all we do as Christians is to be charity. Pastor A. T. Vergunst provides several examples and many Scripture proofs evidencing God’s will in this matter, urging with Paul the Apostle that the strong in the faith should sacrifice their Christian liberties to spare the weak in the faith.

Lesson 5 - The King’s Instructions for the Weak

In this lecture, Pastor A. T. Vergunst gives us yet another principle for avoiding disharmony and division in the church, and this time he addresses the weak in the faith and how they perceive the strong. He includes a list of criteria for determining whether brethren show themselves to be genuine Christians, and he shows that God gives us three reasons why the weak in the faith ought not to judge the strong in the faith for the use of their Christian liberties.

Lesson 6 - Conclusion and Exhortation

This last lecture wraps up Paul’s instructions on Christian liberty in Romans 14 and 15, with a special focus on how Christians should emulate the self-sacrificial life of our Lord Jesus Christ, by seeking the good of one another. The strong in the faith are not simply to tolerate the weak in the faith, but they are to, with love and meekness, help them to be freed from their burdens. This cannot be done without the help of the Holy Spirit, so it requires much prayer. Rev. Vergunst ends with some practical applications and admonishes us to seek holiness in all these endeavors. He says, “It is doubtful you can be a Christian in anything, unless you can be a Christian in everything.”