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March 25, 2019 3:00 am
In days gone by when I used to do weddings.
I used to invest a great deal of time in the premarital counseling because I figured is of vital importance to investors Steinman to make sure that the couple understand what they doing and if so is one thing sought to do is to bring the couple to reality now some of them probably didn't tell me that there probably call the killjoy or spoiler, and I think of that that there be absolutely correct help make no bones about it.
The most important issues that I would emphasize over and over and over again is that each of them are bringing into the marriage. Some old baggage from their childhood all the way up to that point, but in all relationships. We bring our old baggage with us. It doesn't matter whether it be in marriage and family and church.
Whatever will but I know some of us travel light and like to carry carry-on baggage selected bring suitcases nice to tell the couple that I wish that there is a button that you press and the all of the past baggage is can be erased. I wish, but that was wishful thinking but reminded him again that is not possible. Scientists tell us that what children learn growing up is like a mental needle engraving on a steel plate it stays there forever.
It can never be erased now. Some of these engravings are wonderful.
There are positive that the godly moms and dads that I know in this church and what they doing.
There are engraving wonderful things about loving God and loving the word of God memorizing the Scripture. And I'm just so thankful for that. But some of these engravings, particularly in older generation is negative and the positive and therefore it takes an absolute commitment and surrender to the Holy Spirit of God to slowly but surely blunt.
These negative and destructive programs. It takes an absolute commitment and faith in the power of God to let go of these negative buildups. It takes a total surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to learn how to major on the majors and minors on the minors.
It takes a dogged determination to allow the transforming power of God to help us to love the other person and overlook the baggage. Can I get an amen to him regarding this one because this principle does not only apply to marriage it applies to all relationships, all relationship within the family, church, whatever limited and that is why the best place to start and that's what I love to do and I do with young parents. The best place to start is the beginning and bringing up godly children and bringing up spiritually healthy children their future spouses will thank you for but how you do this well by parents choosing to listen to me carefully by parents choosing not to nitpick on their children and all the children said amen.
When we as parents choose to fight on every hill we lose the battle but we we as parents prioritize the issues in life. Choose the hills in which we are ready to fight. When we as parents choose to overlook the minor issues instead of focusing on them and then leave out the major issues or mother of the major and minor. And they grow up not knowing which is which.
This is my beloved, the one thing that I'm standing here to testify to you that I have tried an emphasis here is on tried that your get that tried to do now is not always successful, but I tried to give you an example. Back in 1993 Joshua was not quite 15 yet and he and I were in the car and picking him up from somewhere and were driving and when he gets quiet. I know that he's about to ask you something so you got quiet and then all of a sudden the sedan yet waiting for that. Can I shave my head well without a moments hesitation I said to him, only if I shave it and he kind of got over the shock literally was almost in a state of shock and all good sales group and I remember very distinctly I remember exactly where we were. We were passing. So, we old-timers remember service merchandised is going out of business now but used to be all over Atlanta and we were driving near service merchandised and I made a U-turn and I walked in there with him into service merchandised in about one of the shears in the electric shears and then come home and man up on a chair in the garage and I loved it. This howitzer that baby self. It was a lot of fun. What he had forgotten that it was winter in his head was getting cold so he began to wear a bandanna just to keep his head warm.
Well, he wore that red bandanna for several weeks until the hairs are growing in and among other things, he was wearing it in church.
Well that didn't settle well with the lady in the church, a lady whom I've never seen before and I have never seen since so she walked up to me and she said well well I guess your son is going through this rebellious stage want to be quite honest I have forgotten and I wasn't thinking and I said what did you do now.
I truthfully did not know which talk about. She said well since this changing of the hand and winning the bandanna visa the sign of rebellion as it really but I did that mean she was ashen and she all she could say is well well and disappeared of never seen her again Whatsoever.
She maybe if the apostle Paul is saying one thing in Romans 14 is this he is pleading with believers to major on the majors and minor on the minors focus on what's important to God. Focus on the heart, not now. To the appearance. Stop wasting your energy on that which is not necessary for salvation.
Your 20 arguments over things that are not scriptural things that have nothing to do with holy and righteous living things that has nothing to do with spiritual development and growth in the spiritual life. Things that have nothing to do with the heart and loving God with all of your heart is my understanding of what Paul is saying here in Romans 14. Just as in my experience in sharing with the premarital counseling for those who come into marriage with baggage.
The same thing happens in the church, the sensei, most of us when we come to Christ, we come to church and we bring our pre-Christian life.
Our pre-Christian baggage into the church and the church. These issues and less intense as they are in a marriage, because thank God we don't live together but just to be sure that no one was understatement.
I am not talking about the people who are bringing their blatant sin into the church.
That's all talking about. I am not talking about people who want the church to accept their blatant sin and immorality, and call it just difference of opinion.
I'm not talk about I talking about things that are not necessary for salvation, not necessary for righteous and holy living on talking about closing food and drink. I'm talking about matters of Christian liberty.
That's what Paul is saying that's what I'm amplifying my boyhood. I used to hear the preacher all the time. Say thou shall not smoke. Thou shall not drink thou shall not play cards. There shall not go to the cinema. What if Jesus returns in your in the cinema.
To this day I'm still afraid the genes are going to come back and I want see the end of the movie so much so that I honestly began to argue with one of my friends who was gracious and wonderful and loving but I was arguing with him and he was such a patient person and an acid. The Bible said there's the parts in the Bible and who just loving loser.
Michael is not in the Bible.
Michael, there's nothing the pipe and thankfully he put me straight because I thought I honestly thought there were in the Scripture somewhere. Now I know these are not burning issues today. I know that another not burning issues but I'm giving them as an example of personal example so you understand what is important. What is not. It is important for us and it's a plea of the apostle Paul, is that we be able to distinguish what is contrary to the Scripture and what is not. We live in a time when there are so many evangelical pastors who have placed blatant sin in the same category as Christian liberty like food and drink. They know today we have churches that have accepted Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and remain in their cerise religions is called insider movement.
We have churches that have acquiesced to the pressure of society and accepted homosexual marriage to be equal to that of heterosexual marriage, which the Bible is very clear about universal law of the land is because abortion is the law of the land that we have to do it. Are you with me that these churches twist the words of the Scripture found in other places in here in 14 and they say that these immoral issues just a matter of preference that these immoral since her just a matter of life choices lifestyle of these un-biblical choices are issues of Christian liberty. And that's why I'm trying so hard to make sure you don't misunderstand me when I'm talking and expounding on the word of God that we can distinguish between what is absolutely biblical injunction and what is not and that is why now more than ever is the biggest burden of my heart for recently and for the years to come is the biggest burden of that we need to be disorganized, not drifters and that is why now more than ever we need to learn to be biblically accurate, and that biblical teaching is non-negotiable. When you summarize Romans 14 under three headings so that we can delegate our arms around us. First of all, in verses 1 to 4 Paul is saying don't sweat the small stuff, but immediately but but is very important here in verses 5 to 12 here saying.
Be patient in helping the weaker Christian. Finally, verses 13 to 23. He says keep your focus on the big picture.
Keep your focus on the big picture. Don't sweat the small stuff verses 1 to 4.
I know management gurus can come to your company or institution organization or charger big bucks just to tell you this, keep your eye on the my goal in mind all of your back there.
Look getting it for free today. Okay the big bucks. It is not made 2000 years ago. That's what the apostle Paul said that the word of God that says that but Paul immediately after saying this, he said, but when I explained this very important scene in the early church, particularly in the city of Rome: things well, but wrong, particularly the Jews who converted to Christ the Gentiles who converted to Christ.
They came in they joined the church and they brought with them the pre-Christian life is a Jews wanted to keep on eating kosher meat apostle@Gentiles were buying cheap meat because the meat that was offered to idols. Very cheap. Meanwhile, there were believers from among the Jews and the Gentiles who understood very quickly that they are free in Christ regarding food and drink, and these things are not necessary for salvation. Those whom the Paul calls strong Christians.
So they began to see people who were sweating the small stuff to be inferior. They are the week Christians. Not only that but the strong were flaunting the liberty in Christ still flaunting it. There showing it to everybody. Let me repeat with her there be no misunderstanding.
This is not flaunting immorality that the church is a flaunting today and calling up liberty or minor issues not these strong Christians in Rome were flaunting things that are totally unnecessary for salvation. It is totally unnecessary for righteous living and holy living. But nonetheless, the apostle Paul sees half the small stuff can fester and become a big stuff and then can destroy the church. That's what his concern here is all about and that is why I'm only telling you what Paul is saying they say it is not good to sweat the small stuff, but if the small stuff bothers the conscience of the weaker believer don't do it for Christ's sake don't know it is not a big deal when it comes to our walk with God. The strong must be seen as not offending the week. The mature believer must be sure that he or she is not riding roughshod over the mature that liberated believer needs to be patient with the requests them.
Explain this in days gone by legalistic churches thought that smoking will affect your selfish now even the pagans essay smoking is not good for you and loving Christian Hannah if a believer smokes and he is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not an effective salvation of going to heaven. It may get into heaven much sooner. Hello in the same way about drinking alcohol is not an effective believer salvation.
It may give you a cirrhosis of the liver. If his axis drinking and get you to heaven sooner to alcohol might begin a process of addiction, a grant stronghold in a believer in the least of drunkenness, which is a sin, but will not affect salvation. Some children taken issue with me. I know that I know that but that's okay been preparing for the week. This is the list can go on and on and on. Vegetarians look down upon those who eat red meat and vice versa seen above waist charismatics look down upon reform people, and vice versa seen the both ways is some view style of worship to be absolutely vital.
Most importance, and this causes people to kind of look down on each other over that issue. Beloved, if it is not necessary for salvation.
If it is not vital for your Christian walk in righteous living. You need to be flexible. Our salvation is not dependent on these things.
Listen listen listen. Why simply because when you come to Jesus Christ in faith and repentance and you receive his death upon the cross to be your death when you come in repentance and faith and believe you have been transformed from death to life and the Bible said, therefore now there is no condemnation upon those who are and where Christ Jesus. Listen, I have seen Christians all over the world pointing fingers. I've seen it in every culture and every place that I preach about brother preacher listen 23 countries and adjust and are always pointing fingers is something that always endeavor to do personally listen to me carefully.
This is my personal testimony when I am taking on some erroneous teaching from the Scripture by certain individuals. I stay away from names and personalities because I have nothing against those individual many of them I don't know you can be sure I will face the era head-on. I will name the error I will refute the era, but I leave the person's name out is just my way of understanding the Scripture. I was thinking about judge mentalism squabbling over matters with counterpoint to people's faults and shortcomings. And I thought of that husband actually were elderly couple and the husband was convinced that his wife is having hearing problem.
So he brings a chair on the other side of the room not facing him, but behind him she cannot see him and he whispered can you hear me didn't hear anything so he came closer, can you hear me and hear anything that he come closer still. Can you hear me no response.
Finally come very close to her ear and said can you hear me and to his other most amazement and chagrin, she yelled out and she said for the fourth time I said yes but forgot. Don't sweat the small stuff, but secondly, be patient with those who are weak in the face. What Paul is saying here he is saying the two people may disagree over matters that are not really important for salvation is not an effective salvation. And yet they both are right before God to give an example from history present. Both men went to be with the Lord now long time ago in the City of London.
There were two prominent evangelical preachers both pastored a very significant flourishing Bible believing churches.
Dr. Joseph Parker and Charles Spurgeon. Dr. Parker thought that Spurgeon was not spiritual because he smoked a cigar and Spurgeon thought. Dr. Parker is not spiritual because he went to theater and you know what the media did Army leader Chris love that stuff got out in the media was in the newspapers front page is a media love to see Christian squabbling, especially over some silly things is a principal that endeavor to follow when you hear me say the word endeavor or try, you must fully immediately go to understand that I haven't always been successful as a matter fact I'm conscious of the fact that I made my fair share of mistakes. This is not false humility is absolute truth and I'm conscious of and my younger years I was not only extremely judgmental, but I used sarcasm in my judge. Mentalism from which I deeply regret. I deeply regret if the Lord convicts me of not doing something, even if fairly single preacher and every single believer is doing it. I don't do it. Why because the Lordship of Jesus Christ is paramount to me. I don't have to do what others do. If the Lord convicts me of not doing years ago I heard this axiom in the essentials unity in the nonessentials liberty and in all things, charity. I has emphasized this majoring on the major just about for all the years I've been pestering you, beloved, I literally dedicated my life on the promise of Jesus seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and I stacked everything alive on that promise, and I'm here to say to you that God keeps his province releases all these things be added to.
I didn't realize how incredible overwhelming. These things can be. What a blessing of God. Don't sweat the small stuff, but the patient in helping those who are weak in the face. Thirdly, keep your focus on the big picture. Keep your focus on the big picture. When our eyes are focused on the truth of the gospel. We will not have a space in our lives or time to criticize others regarding nonessentials. When our eyes are focused on the glory of Jesus. We will not waste our time focusing on social habits of others when our eyes are focused on pleasing the Lord above everything else in life, we will not be spending time concerned about clothing or drinking of food or well this stuff. Look at verses 16 and 17 of Romans 14. Don't allow what you consider to be good to be spoken of as evil. Why because the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but about the righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit can I get an amen.
I have never found the person with a critical spirit to be a joyful or peaceful person I have not seen a busybody who is constantly concerning themselves with what others are wearing, and eating and doing is never joyful.
A person who makes a big deal regarding traditional matters is never the contented person.
There are even who even get carried away that they think more righteous than our Lord. You admit people like that story I told not long ago is been repeating. It was during the reign of Queen Victoria. And as always, the royals go to Scotland in the summer there was a very hot day in Scotland where she was at that moment I was at that moment I buy more on a Sunday afternoon was extremely hot.
She decided to go down with her staff to get on the boat of the gun the like in the rolling around in there. The crowd began to build up and one lady looked to the guy next door.
She recognizes a pastor and she said to him, look look is not disgusting for the Queen to get into the boat and let us stuff roll around on the Lord's day upon which the pastor said he said Mme. do you remember what in the Gospels were Jesus himself went to the Sea of Galilee in the boat on the Sabbath. She was so indignant and looked at him and said two wrongs don't make it right. I have met somebody like that in years gone by, but is something very important regarding those who flaunt their freedom. Please listen carefully. The Mrs. you and I have the responsibility to ensure that our freedom is not causing others to stumble. Whatever form of freedom, it might be for you and may be different for you in different for me. If it is going to cause a weaker Christian to stumble. We are under obligation to forgot you, so I don't want these legalistic self-righteous people to get away with will do it for Jesus sake.
Okay verse 21, Paul calls this beautiful behavior on the part of the strong Christian why why because it's free from arrogance is free from selfishness. It is full of selflessness because it means that my eyes are on the gospel in the kingdom of Jesus and not on my freedom. It is beautiful because it will not cause the weaker Christian to fall into sin. Can I get an amen. I'm gonna tell you this is our conclude. This is a true historic story that can illustrate what I'm trying to say in 1750s the British and the French were at war with each other in Canada.
Adm. Phipps. He was the commander of the British fleet was told to draw and anchor outside Québec. He was given clear instructions clear instructions to wait for the British forces when they land when they arrive then to support them with attack from the Canon and the ship Phipps Navy arrived really early and he was hanging around was getting bored and then he got irritated when he looked at the Cathedral with some stretches of the saints on the Cathedral and in his kind of irritation he said let's shoot at the statues of the saints. Let's destroy them and saw the Canon the big cannon and the ship began to shoot the dispatchers and we don't know how much ammunition or how many of the statues of the saints were destroyed or knocked down. But when the land forces arrived signal was given to the admiral to attack but he was of no help.
He was no help. Why he acted on his admonition on the examination on the saints, beloved, let's not waste a single minute.
Let's not waste an ounce of energy. Let's not waste our breath shooting and fighting the saints. Let's turn our almost toward the enemy of your soul is focus on Jesus, his kingdom what is near and dear to his heart that she is all of our ammunition to defeat sin and temptation in our lives, and God will honor you because you have his promise. Amen father in the name of Jesus in the power of his might. Holy Spirit I thank you for offering these words and for literally controlling the hands in the minds of the apostle Paul as he penned them down so that they can remain as true today. On the 21st century as they were in the day. He inspired by you Holy Spirit to write them down by every person at the sound of my voice be ready to renew their covenant with you. Be ready to focus on you and your kingdom ready to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness above all else, for Jesus, you promised that you gonna meet all of our needs when we do that thank you father that you have not only heard our prayers, but your radiance of them because we are praying according to your will and in Jesus name, amen and amen. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org@LTW.Ward