Paul's given pretty strong advice about, hey, don't get in a bunch of arguments about stuff that doesn't matter. Now we all think, well, yeah, I can think of some people that applies to.
No, no, no. That applies to each and every one of us. Why? Because we want to argue about stuff that doesn't matter. In you is that.
I have that in me too. There's a saying that says, where the Bible is silent, we should be. Where the Bible is clear, we should be. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee.
If we're looking around, we can always find something to complain about. But as the body of Christ, we needn't waste time arguing over what doesn't matter. Find out more about this today as Pastor David continues in Romans 14 with unity. Here's Pastor David. Romans chapter 14 verse 1 says, receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
In other words, receive somebody that is kind of messed up or doing things or whatever. But don't don't just don't begin to argue and don't get into arguments with them sometimes. And, you know, everybody has an opinion about everything. Everybody has an opinion about how to do church or what the word of God says. And, you know, and there's some things that are very plain.
And quite frankly, there are some things that are not as plain from the word of God. And what's important is when we come up to somebody and say, well, I think this or I think that, you know, the first thing you need to do is show them Jesus. Show them Jesus before you walk up and say you need to do this. You need to do that.
You need to quit. You need to show them the love of the Lord in your life, because when you show the love of the Lord to somebody, oftentimes they will come to you and begin to ask you questions about things and stuff. And but a lot of times, you know, and we're complaining and we're correcting and we're not doing it in really a loving manner. We're going to look at this chapter. It's going to kind of tell us when we should and when we shouldn't. And, you know, again, we're coming out of Romans Chapter 12 and Chapter 13. There are some things in that chapter that are very plain about what we should do and what we should not do. There are some places in the scripture there is no gray area.
OK. When you start talking about how to get to heaven. Acts 4 12 says that there's no other name under heaven by which we can be saved other than the name of Jesus. Jesus himself said, I am the way, the truth, the life and John 14. So guess what? How we get to heaven. That's not up for discussion. Jesus has already said it.
Probably seen that bumper sticker. God said it. God said it. I believe it. That settles it.
Really. It was settled when God said it. Whether you believe it or not doesn't really matter. God said it. That settles it. But but Jesus told us how to get to him. So that's not these other things. And there's a lot of other things we need to pray through. We can discuss them.
You know, what kind of car to drive, what kind of house to live in. And I don't know. You know, I thought it was a couple of years ago is like, what would Jesus drive? Thing was going on. It's like, I think you're missing the point, you know. And what was interesting is some people said, well, he just wouldn't drive an SUV.
I don't know. I mean, he really didn't tell us in his word what he would drive. And so I'm not going to pretend like, you know, somebody. Oh, he'd never drive an SUV. And of course, everybody's polarized. And there's the SUV. There's the non SUV Jesus driving crowd. And then there's the people think, yeah, he drove a decked out Hummer, man. You know, I mean, so what does it matter? We'd love to get into arguments over stuff that doesn't matter.
Would he drive an SUV or not? Well, let's talk about that instead of talking about whether you're loving your neighbor or not. Because, you know, you can sit down and academically talk about what Jesus would drive and you really don't get convicted, do you? But talking about loving your neighbor is like, hmm, worship music.
There's no sacred cows in here today, gang. Worship music. Some people have musical preferences. I love worshiping God to a pipe organ. We don't have a pipe organ. We're not getting a pipe organ. But I'm not going into a church that has a pipe organ. That thing's evil.
You need to take it down. You know, the Bible says praise him with a loud noise. So it's clap your hands. Raise your hands. It says praise him with the cymbals.
Praise him with a loud noise. So, you know, we're trying to do what the Bible says. Amen. Now, I understand some people like a little lighter music. And so we try to, you know, in our worship set, we try to work in some lighter songs.
And they're not all just crunch, crunch, bang, bang. See, I'm okay with that. But the moment we begin to say, well, this is my musical preference.
Anybody outside this musical preference is in sin or in the flesh. Ooh. Time out, gang. Be careful. Be careful.
There's a lot of stuff that's not real clear in here. What time to have church? What time to end?
How long it should go? What we should wear? It's not real clear.
It's not real clear from this book. All those things. Some people want to wear a suit. That's great. Wear a suit. But don't look down upon people who don't wear suits.
If you don't wear a suit, don't look at people who wear suits and think, you legalist. They might not be. So let's, let's be careful with this, gang. And please don't sit here and go, oh, yeah, but I wish my neighbor was here to hear this. Your neighbor's not here.
Well, maybe some of your neighbors are here, but you're here to listen to what we're saying here and looking at. Now, you know what I've noticed? Christians love to argue.
Well, let me back up. People love to argue. People love to argue. They'll argue about anything. And Christians, since we're people, love to argue, too. I don't like arguing. I used to love to argue.
I'm disliking it more. I used to, I'd argue with a brick wall, man. I know I got it from my daddy who would argue with a road sign. You know, we'd be on the beach, weigh the beach and say, go to the beach that way.
Dad said, no, I ain't the way to go. For years, I thought the North Carolina coast was about 12 hours from Greensboro, but we love to argue. And a lot of times we, you know, we try to identify who's a Christian. And sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not. Years ago, I was at a restaurant and this lady was just giving this waitress such a hard time. I mean, just, yeah, this is cold.
This is too hot. This is, you know, ate most of her lunch and wanted to send it back. The waitress was like, I'm sorry, you know, ma'am, you ate most of the food.
I'm not paying for this. I think, you know, back in the, you know, and I was like, oh, man, she sounds like, you know, a really miserable person. Then she got up and she had this button about the size of my head says, I love Jesus. I thought, oh, man, take your button off if you're going to act like that. But sometimes when you go out, you know, after service or whatever to lunch, you know, you can kind of identify.
Well, we're kind of at a loss for that. I don't know if you've ever noticed when we when you go out and, you know, because if you went to a denominational church and everybody wear suits, you just look for the other people who are wearing suits and you know, they've been to church. We go out like this and people look at us and go, you should have been a church, you heathen dog. Wearing T-shirts and shorts on a Sunday, just wrong. Now, again, you know, occasionally I'll wear a jacket up here.
I wear suits doing funerals and weddings and stuff. But, you know, we need to love each other. And I love talking about the Bible. I don't like arguing about the Bible. Now, there are some things I will argue about. If they're worth arguing for, if they really, really matter. I'll discuss them.
I'll, if you will, argue. I came across this quote, I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt, but great minds talk about ideas. Average minds talk about events and small minds talk about people.
What do we tend to do sometimes to sit around, talk about people? Does the Bible say that's OK? No. It says absolutely wrong.
Why? Because when we start doing this, you know, we're probably usually not loving somebody. Somebody shared that they were in a small group and they were getting ready to pray for people. And this lady said, well, I want you to pray for this lady and then start.
She's doing this and she's doing that. She said this to her husband. The group leader said, you know what? We can't be gossiping about people. She said, it ain't gossip. It's true. Gossip's not just about lying about people.
It's saying things about them in an inappropriate setting. Now, there's some things, again, that, you know, that are worth arguing. But here's the life lesson. We should not waste time arguing about stuff that really doesn't matter.
We should not waste time arguing about stuff that really doesn't matter. You know, I go to a clergy meeting every so often and there's other pastors there and they believe different things about different stuff, you know, or music or baptism or whatever. And, you know, when I go in, I just fellowship.
I don't go in there and say, oh, you know, what do you believe about baptism? Well, you know, I don't do that now. I went.
It was actually my first one. It was a marriage thing on being committed to doing premarital counseling. I thought, well, I'll go, you know, because I got a letter about it. And so I went and I was reading this thing about, you know, marriage and it didn't say for a man and a woman. And it didn't say for life. And I read that and I thought, I'm new here. I'm fairly bold.
I'll raise my hand and ask, you know, excuse me. I'm just and they copied it from another church group that came up with it and it did have man and woman for life. So that made me even more curious. So I said, hey, I just noticed that, you know, we took out the language man and woman for life.
Just wondering why we did that. This lady pastor said, because it was in there, I wouldn't vote for it. And it was on. I mean, I said, you know what? If it's not in there, I'm not voting for it. I'm not going to violate the clear teaching of scripture in my conscience. So so then so then, you know, then some other people realize the language had been talking, taken out and went back and forth.
We had to take three votes before we decided to put it back in. They didn't invite me back for a few months, but that was worth arguing about because it's a clear teaching of scripture. Had they been going, hey, let's make a group decision about baptism. I'd have handled it with a lot more grace, you know, because I don't know, you know, immersion. That's what we do here. I just, you know, it needs to take place after a decision for the Lord.
That's the big thing for me. And if somebody comes to me and says, hey, I don't believe Jesus on the way to heaven, I'm going to discuss it with them. You know why? Because it matters. It's not just a theological discussion. Their soul weighs in the balance, and that matters to me. And so I'll say, well, according to the Bible, this is what the Bible says. This is what Jesus himself said.
But after that, we tend to we just we like to argue and we got to die to that. A couple of years ago, we were at the Spring Folly and, you know, I was talking to people, a lot of unsafe people there, a lot of unchurched people. And I said, hey, you know what?
You guys can come just dress just the way you are in a guy in a suit so they can't come to my church dressed like this. I let it go from the platform. After it was over, I went up to him. I said, what was that, man? Oh, nothing. I said, no, no, no.
What was that? He said, well, I was just saying, you know, they can't come to my church unless they're going to dress appropriately. I said, friend, I don't think you have to worry about it.
See, it's sad when we draw lines in the sand over stuff that really doesn't matter. Paul wrote the Titus, he said, but avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable and useless. Rejected the vice of man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. The New Living Translation, it reads, same passage, do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws.
These kinds of things are useless and a waste of time. And if anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing to do with that person. So Paul's given pretty strong advice about, hey, don't get in a bunch of arguments about stuff that doesn't matter. Now we all think, well, yeah, I can think of some people that applies to.
No, no, no. That applies to each and every one of us. Why? Because we want to argue about stuff that doesn't matter. In you is that.
I have that in me too. There's a saying and it says, where the Bible is silent, we should be. Where the Bible is clear, we should be. See, the Bible doesn't deal with a lot of things and there's that gray area. Why is there a gray area?
Because we're all different. If God would have put in here, you're supposed to drive this kind of car and you're supposed to live in this kind of house and you're supposed to work this kind of job and wear your hair this way and dress like that and listen to this kind of music. There'd be no diversity in the body of Christ. You put five guys or five people in a room and say, OK, what's the most important thing church needs to be doing? One of them is going to say evangelism. Another one might say missions. Another one might say discipling and teaching or discipling. Another one might say Bible teaching.
Another one might say feeding the poor and clothing the poor and hungry. All those things are important. And so when we come together, we get to do all five of those things.
Why? Because each person thinks this is really important. But what if the guy doing missions says, well, you're just you're in sin because missions isn't as important to you as it is to me.
Come out. We all have our passions and we're all different. And God has called us to kind of fit together. You've been listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's study in Romans in just a moment. But first, I would like to let you know about a new product that we're excited about here at Cross the Bridge. Each year, David McGee spends countless hours coming through the Bible in preparation to teach God's word. This is clearly seen every week as he proclaims the amazing truths found in the Bible to his home church and through the radio ministry. That's why this month we want you to be blessed by some of our favorite teachings from this year.
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So here's how this helps. Now, God is the author of this book. He used men just like you use a pen to write. Okay, so God is the inspired author of this book. And then other books we say, okay, who's the author of the book of Romans?
Well, that's easy because we're told. Paul. Paul wrote the book of Romans. Who's he writing it to? Well, that's another fairly easy one, isn't it?
I mean, what's the name of it? Romans. Okay, so I'm thinking it's written to the church at Rome. Taking notes. May I want to jot that down? But then the third thing is a little more difficult.
What problems is he trying to address or questions is he trying to answer? Now, this had some light on this passage because in the book of Acts, we went through it and it's in there that they were discussing what kind of meats are okay and not okay to eat. Now, this is kind of a complicated but not so much. There was Levitical laws about what you should eat in the Hebrew Scriptures. There's no dietary restrictions in the New Testament. We're free to eat what we want, but some people wanted to keep kosher.
Okay, fine. But they wanted to make all the Gentiles not only eat kosher, but see, in Jerusalem, sometimes they would sacrifice animals to pagan deities and stuff, and then they would sell the meat in the market. And they said, well, you shouldn't be eating that meat. In Jerusalem, they said, okay, probably shouldn't be eating that meat. There's a lot of other meat to buy.
Rome was a different story altogether because all the temples, all the pagan deities, the majority of the meat there had been sacrificed to idols. So there was only a little bit of meat that was available that had been, you know, a lot of it being kosher, and they said, well, you can only eat this kind of meat. And some people said, no, no, I'm going to eat this meat. It's not a big deal. I'm not worshiping this idol when I eat the meat. And some people said, yes, it's too complicated. I'm just going to eat vegetables.
I don't even want to be bothered by this. The Living Bible gives a kind of an interesting insight into this verse. It's not a usual study tool of mine, but I came across it. It says, for instance, don't argue with him about whether or not to eat meat that has been offered to idols. You may believe there's no harm in this, but the faith of others is weaker. They may think it is wrong and will go without any meat at all and eat vegetables rather than that kind of meat. You stir into this that the Essenes were also a presence in Rome. Essenes were in Qumran, where we found the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they were pretty hardcore.
They were pretty set. This is the way it's got to be, and so you mix them into Rome. So you already got kind of three denominations over what to eat. The people say, well, we're just not going to eat meat at all. The people say, we're going to eat only kosher. And then the other group says, well, we're going to eat anything that's not moving. You know, you've got these three denominations there in Rome already.
Okay, but Paul's saying, you know, it's not worth arguing about. The New Living translation of this, for instance, one person believes it's all right to eat anything, but another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. I've been in places in ministry that, you know, would probably offend some people. You know, I've been in Sturgis and ministered there, and pretty crazy place during bike week when I was there to tell people about Jesus.
Now, for some, they might not want to do that. I felt called to go do that. And also in traveling, we had a couple that traveled with us.
I traveled around to teaching music in Laughlin, right on the border of Nevada, and also Las Vegas. We'd go minister, do street ministry, do work with churches and stuff, and it used to be that the casinos offered really cheap food. I mean, like five bucks you could go in there, and they'd carve and roast beef and stuff.
I had a family of five that kind of made sense to me. Now, I've never struggled with compulsive gambling, so I'd go in there and feed the family. Well, the people that were traveling with us were like, I can't go in there.
There's gambling. So, oh, don't go in. I'm going in.
I'm going to worship God eating that roast beef, brother. So, you know, if you don't want to go in, don't go in. But they kind of judged me for going in there. And I mentioned casinos because that probably is a tripping point for somebody.
He went to a casino. You know, I mean, the meat you eat at home is what, sacrificed to the idol of corporate profits or something. I mean, everything's unclean in some way. What's interesting is we were traveling, and they came in, and my, you know, daughter was playing with a Barbie, and they were like, she's got a Barbie. I was like, yeah, she should play with Barbies. I'm just grateful the boys aren't playing with them.
I mean, I'm just, you know. A Barbie is not a big deal, you know. But, you know, they started going, well, that's, you know, that's conforming to the image of the world, and it's a Barbie, and that's thinking women are supposed to do, you know. It's like, okay, well, then don't get a Barbie. You shouldn't, you're adults. You probably shouldn't be playing with Barbies anyway, but I'm, you know, that's my little girl. She's playing with a Barbie.
No big deal. Now, here's what's bizarre. We're in a hotel somewhere, and I walk into the room, and they're watching Baywatch.
And they go, it's our favorite TV show. And I'm like, Barbie, Pamela Anderson, God. Now, I don't watch Baywatch.
I've never been a fan of Baywatch, you know. That's a whole other discussion. But the point is, see, it's like, well, that's wrong. Why is it wrong? Because I don't do it. And this is right. Well, how do you know it's right? Because I do it.
Each one of us falls in that trap. Your musical preferences. Well, that's good music. If you like Southern gospel quartet, that's the most godly form of music. And you just kind of put up with our worship.
I like Southern gospel quartet. But God is a creative God. He gave us music to express ourselves to Him. I mean, the music that kids listen to now, I feel like my dad, man, because I'm listening to it. He's just hollering and screaming, what did he say?
I still remember my dad saying the exact same thing. But there's personal convictions. Here's the thing. While we're standing around arguing, you know what's happening? The enemy's laughing. And people are dying. And that's not okay.
And Jesus is weeping. While we argue about stuff that really doesn't matter. This whole clean, unclean thing.
You know what? I eat, my son gives me a hard time. I eat, I don't know what percentage it is. Mostly kosher.
Not completely. You know, I don't eat a lot of shellfish or, you know, or eat a lot of pork. I do eat pork sometimes. I had a salad with bacon bits last.
I'm so sorry. You know, big deal. Now, so that's okay. So if you want to eat kosher, fine, eat kosher.
I'm going to eat mostly kosher just because there's some health benefits and not eating bottom feeders in the ocean and stuff. But, you know, occasionally I will. But what I'm not going to do is come in here and say, you all have to eat Levitically. That's up to you. I'm not going to do that.
That would be inappropriate. Here's what God said to Peter, Acts 10, 15. And a voice spoke to him again saying, what God has cleansed, you must not call common. What God has called clean, you don't call unclean. Each of us needs to search the scripture and talk to God and see what he has to say.
Look at verse three. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat. And let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has received him. So again, you know, if somebody wants to eat kosher, great.
If they don't want to eat kosher, that's okay. You know, if you eat healthy, you know what you think? Everybody else should eat healthy. You know, if you see somebody eating a Big Mac, oh, you sinner. Don't you know that's the temple of God you're putting that in? If you don't eat healthy, you look at people that eat healthy and you're like, oh, what is up with that, man? Everybody just needs to decide what they're going to eat. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him, and he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll-free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Also, if you contact us this month, we will send you the Cross the Bridge Best of 2013 for your gift of any amount. If you've ever wondered how we can walk in the full power of God's Spirit, then this new product is just for you, and we'll send it to you as a way of saying thanks for your donation. You can give any time by calling us toll-free at 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While there, make sure to sign up for the free email devotional. That's just one more way we can bless you in your walk with Christ. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening, and I pray you'll join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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