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"Gray Areas - Part 1"

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2020 5:00 am

"Gray Areas - Part 1"

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Thanks so much for joining us today for so what radio you know God is giving me the privilege of taking 55 tours to the holy land, and I love leaving people over there and showing them how the archaeology of the history confirms the Bible and I'd love for you to go with us were planning to go in October 2020, Lord willing.

And so all the information is available on long Solomon and if you have a friend please tell them about our trip and invite them to check it out as well long Solomon phone numbers on the brochure that's on the website and now let's get to the teaching of God's word.

Now you know back in the late 70s and we were living over in Maryland Brenda and me but we bought a house and we were to save some money. We were having some friends help us move and know what we were there we get ready to move our living room and table 1 of the men that was helping us pull the drawer out to set it aside to move the table and inside the drawer, he saw a brand-new bright red, still wrapped in the cellophane deck of playing cards. What you think this guy had just found 75 pounds of cocaine in my drawer. He went absolutely nuclear, and he began to break me in front of everybody that was there.

He began telling me that that I let the Lord down the God was never gonna bless my life and finally I did the only thing that I could possibly do to calm things down. I picked the cards up so I'm in the trashcan. Well he calm down a little bit but you know he and I worked at the same place in Santa Fe for years to come. Whenever we would pass each other in the hall that your brother never had a whole lot more to say to me after that different than a follower of Christ. 31 years and I've learned something I've learned that the meanest, nastiest, most emotional flights that happen between Christians have nothing to do with theology. They have everything to do with these gray areas like playing cards and where involved in the study right now on Christian liberty and today were to start talking about gray areas and you know a lot of churches won't talk about this bill talk about one gray area or know the specific gray area, but never hit the whole picture and this is really really important for us because if you know there a lot of areas were working to have disagreements. As followers of Christ. How do we handle those things in a way that doesn't stop our relationship.

Our churches this is really important now little bit of background we saw last week from acts chapter 15 that the Jerusalem Council reaffirmed the truth of Romans 52, which says, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have gained access into this gracious position in which we now spare as a follower of Jesus Christ. My relationship to God is a gracious one. I'm in a gracious position with God. I am a child of God in a way that the rest of the human race isn't here here today and you've never trusted Jesus is your real and personal savior. I like to say to you that this gracious position is something God would love to give you but the only way as you see from this verse that it's given to people is through faith in Jesus Christ. It's not offered under any other circumstances of your ear and you like to become a child of God and move into this gracious standing with God you can do that but you gotta do it the way God says, through faith in Jesus Christ, think about for those of us were in the gracious position with God, as we saw last week.

What this means is that my relationship with God as his child is not based on my human performance that God loves me unconditionally and that my relationship with him is based upon his grace is undeserved mercy that he shows me as his child.

Romans chapter 6 verse 14 for we as followers of Christ are not under law we are not under a system of human performance. We are under grace and we also said last week that what this means is that as God's child, I have the liberty I have the freedom to act in any way I want to act without endangering the bond between me and my heavenly father because I'm his child and he loves me unconditionally. Now we also said last week that every once we become followers of Christ. Every issue in our Christian life falls into one of two general categories and that our Christian liberty applies equally to both categories. Category number one on the black and white issues. These are the areas to which God week six blessedly in the Bible.

Things like adultery, line stealing, pornography, premarital sexual activity, homosexuality, abortion, nonbiblical divorce, slander, gossip, cheating in school unethical business practices and we said last week. As sad as it makes God, and it makes God very sad that we and I can do these things and God will still love us just the same in our eternal life will be just as secure.they were to go on as we been today were going to want to talk about the other area into which all of our human actions may fall if it's not a black and white issue that it falls into the area we call gray areas. These are areas of the Bible where the Bible never speaks to this explicitly, you can look in the Bible, and you won't find a valid shelter.

Thou shalt not anywhere in the Bible about these things. You say like what will like a playing cards like playing the slots in Las Vegas buying lottery tickets going to the movies Danson going out trick-or-treating on Halloween like listening to secular music, wearing short skirts are going to the mall on Sunday by drinking the beer smoking a cigar, get the tattoo were dying your hair purple like have an ear rings, nose rings, like on one piece bathing suit versus two-piece bathing suits.

There are a lot of things in life that the Bible simply doesn't speak to in black-and-white terms so how do we as followers of Christ know what to do in those areas.

How do we develop our convictions in those areas.

What if we have a conviction in the area we come across a fellow Christian who has a very different conviction in that area.

How do we relate to one another.

How do we keep from busting up our friendships and busting up the work of God, how we do all of that and why do I have the convictions I have versus the one somebody else have this what we want to talk about over the next couple weeks, and here in Romans 14. This chapter is all about gray areas and how we relate to one another in the exercise of our liberty and gray areas. Look at verse one it says except him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters. This chapter is all about disputable matters. It's all about gray areas. Those areas were sincere Christians can have sincere differences of conviction with one another and there are two characters to key players in this chapter. The secret to understanding this chapter and everything God says about gray area behavior is to understand the definition of these two characters. The first one mentioned in verse one were to call the week brother. The second one it's mentioned later in the chapter working to call the strong brother. The Bible never uses that exact term word and use that term. But before we define let's figure out first in this chapter. What is the strong brother in the week brother, what are they fighting about what they disagree with, but with one another.

Well, verse two says one man's faith allows him to eat everything but another man whose faith is weak eats only vegetables you go. While this is great to get a biblical commentary on vegetarianism, no were not. That's not the issue at all, let me tell you what the issue was in the ancient Roman world, much like in the Third World today wherever you go.

If you want to buy a T-bone steak and going to the open meat market in there.

The media's just hang in there and you buy well in the Roman times.

Some of the meat in the meat market came from the slaughterhouse, but there were other pieces of meat that came to the meat market that came out of idols temples out of idol worship. The animal he been killed.

The blood and organs used to worship this island and they said the carcass off into the meat market to be sold so as a follower of Christ.

Here's the problem. I walked out into the meat market to buy T-bone and I don't know where that piece of meat came from I don't know whether came from the slaughterhouse or whether came out of an idle sample which means I got a dilemma. Do I purchase to meet in the market and take the chance it came from some idol worship or do I simply never eat meat again which means I never take the risk that I'm supporting idolatry and possibly defiling myself to understand what they're fighting about now it's a gray area. There is no verse in the Bible it says thou shelter.

Thou shalt not go to the meat market and so Paul in dealing with the specific issue here in first Corinthians 8 to 10 in dealing with that specific issue is going to give us principles that will work in dealing with any gray area issue. Now let's look and see what the strong brother would say about this issue.

Here he is.

Verse 14 he says as one who was in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself, that's a strong brother speaking first Corinthians chapter 10 eat anything in the meat market without worrying about where it came from because Psalm 24 the earth is the Lord and everything in the strong brother says hey man, I understand every T-bone steak in the universe is from Almighty God. He owns every T-bone in the universe, and it doesn't matter where it went through before it got to me as long as I understand that and I give thanks to God for my T-bone. It doesn't matter who touched it before me. I'm thanking God for it's all right. Furthermore, the stronger brother would go on to say that my spirituality is based on what I do what I don't do anyway. First Corinthians 88 food doesn't bring us closer to God. We are no better. If we don't eat, and we are no worse.

If we do week the strong brother says hey I understand that my spiritual walk with God depends on my heart where my heart is a done. The panel what I do and what I don't do and it doesn't get measured by what I eat what I don't.

This is the strong brother.

He knows that as long as he gives thanks to God as long as he doesn't miss you something in God's creation.

He's free to enjoy all God's creation without any guilt. So let's bring it in the 21st century what was wrong. Brother sound like today will strong brother would sit down and play gin Rummy with his Christian friends because even though he knows that the cards are using Las Vegas to bankrupt people's lives.

His attitude is hey there is nothing inherently evil in little plastic coated pieces of paper with numbers on the fact that their use somewhere in a wrong way.

Hey, if I'm not using them in a wrong way of words having some fun playing gin Rummy it's okay for me. I'm not misusing these plastic pieces of paper strong brother could walk in the blockbuster run a PG movie, even though he knows that somebody else might walk in there and rent a much stronger R-rated movie as long as he doesn't read it is like, what would you know I mean, I'm okay. Strong brother would dance with his wife or his girlfriend, and I feel a bit of guilt about the strong brother could have a glass of wine at dinner, a glass of champagne at a wedding. He could have a beer and a cigar while watching a football game on he could listen to oldies music. Country music smooth jet as well as Christian music because he understands God made the harmonic scale music is not a spiritual issue would God all music is clean and the sight of God. Strong sister could wear two-piece bathing suit at the beach. Even though she knows that the people in Victoria's Secret where similar clothing. She's not in Victoria's Secret where in some of that's not as long as it's a reasonable bathing suit she don't have a problem. Strong sister could go and shop on Sunday at the mall because she understands that every day is the Lord's day, not just Sunday and if you shop on Monday and that's the Lord's day.

What difference does it make if you stop on Sunday that the Lord's day.

This is a strong brother, the strong sister they understand the liberty that they have in Christ and the Holy Spirit is giving them the freedom to exercise that liberty in this area that area or the other. Now what about the week brother, let me say, don't forget, in using the word week here the Bible is not trying to say that this person is weak when it comes to their faith in Christ. That's not what the Bible single not affect some of these brothers are among the strongest and most committed followers of Christ will ever run into the weakness columns when it comes to the freedom of conscience they have to exercise their Christian liberty in this gray area or not greater in the repeat that there weak when it comes to the freedom of conscience. They have, to exercise their liberty in one gray area or another gray area so first Corinthians 8, verse seven, Paul says not everybody has the same knowledge as a strong brother.

Some people simply cannot eat marketplace need without worrying about the fact that it was sacrifice to an idle a week brother's attitude is hey you know that meat came out of the idle sample I can't shake the feeling that it's just innately defiled and if I eat it.

It's going to defile me and by purchasing it. I'm endorsing and supporting the industry of idolatry. I can eat. That means you write about. I just can't. I can and you know what friends.

The Bible says that when your conscience. My conscience puts a block up like that and says this is not an area where you can exercise liberty. Your week brother in this area. The Bible says for us to press through that and go exercise our liberty anyway is soon. It is wrong.

Look at verse 14 it says if someone considers something to be unclean in his heart for him it is unclean. Verse 23. For whatever is not of faith is soon. In other words, whatever you and I as followers of Christ can't do and feel completely right about completely good about completely pure about is something that we can have the faith that is absolutely okay before God to do it, then guess what we shouldn't do to once a week brother sound like you in our world today will if you got a with your week in Erie, going to movies.

That is a week brother you can't walk in a movie theater, and even seen Bambi without feeling wrong about your supporting an evil industry and you just can't do it and you know what's ready to talk somebody in who feels like that into going to a movie still sit through the entire movie and feel guilty and feel wrong and I can go home and confess it to God that no business being there. They don't have that liberty of conscience, though some people are are weak when it comes to alcoholic beverages. They can't even do a champagne toast at a wedding they got have sparkling cider or nothing.

They just can't do it.

They just is just they don't have the freedom of conscience to do it. Some people are weak when it comes to dance and they can go to wedding and dance with their wife or their husband or boyfriend or girlfriend. Even if Glenn Miller's plan. They can't do some people are weak when it comes to music that can only listen to Christian music. Nothing else is allowable for them. This is the week brother he's just as precious and he's just a special in the Lord sight as the strong brother. He's just as much on his way to heaven as a strong brother, but he either doesn't understand the marvelous liberty that God's given him in Christ or if he understands it in a Z. The spirit of God is not giving him the freedom to live it out in his conscience. We all understand what were talking about here now want to close with two questions. Question number one is lawn okay let's say I'm a week brother in some area of my life. What made me that way I get to be that way. Why am I that way.

Well, there are three forces that make us weak in areas of our life, and you may be a combination of all three of them, but here they are your week brother.

I guarantee one of these three things is true of you for someone is our upbringing, meaning our parents are home life. Our church exposure as a child, but even the location in which we were raise. I mean if you were raised go to a legalistic Baptist church in a small town in rural Georgia where every week the preacher preach hard against one gray area and in the next week he preached hard against another gray area. If you grew up going to a church where people don't smoke or custard drinker to or hang around with them which do and if you grew up with parents who were wonderful followers of Christ, but they really didn't understand and exercise liberty in much of their Christian life if that's how you grew up that my friend Juergen have a lot more weak areas in your life today than if you were raised by non-Christian parents in Southern California and you gave your life to Christ as a senior at Berkeley. Are you with okay that's part of now number two course number two that makes brothers is our early Christian training our early Christian formation, meaning that when we first come to Christ. The people who mentored us, the people who shaped us in our early Christian life. The church we went to the pastor. We studied under the a Christian leader that we looked up to and try to model our life. After these people have an enormous influence on how we end up being the Christian life. How we end up approaching gray areas. The convictions we end up developing.

They have a huge impact on us because were we were open were formed were being formed and were letting them do the forming and were going to end up mirroring a lot of what they think number three if your week brother. I am in some areas of our Christian life. It's very possibly because of our background before we became followers of Christ. What I mean by that is, areas of life where you and I had very strong ungodly sinful behavior before we came to Christ. Usually, if not always, when we come to Christ. The spirit of God immediately makes those weak areas in our life and friends.

This is a blessing, listen to me because what God is trying to do is protect us if you had a huge gambling problem before you came to Christ. I'll bet you when you come to Christ you're not going to feel comfortable playing the lottery going to Las Vegas or play in general me with your friends. Why, because God's trying to protect you from being drawn back into something that ruined your life if you came to Christ with an alcohol problem before you came to Christ, I guarantee you you're not going feel comfortable walking in a barn having a beer and watching a football game after work with your friends because God's trying to protect you from something that almost ruined your life if you were promiscuous as a young lady before you came to Christ, I guarantee you as a young follower of Christ you have a real problem with short skirts and skimpy little bathing suits and if you were involved in the occult before you came to Christ, you are going to have a real problem when you become a Christian, going to movies about the occult and going out trick-or-treating on Halloween. This is a blessing from God. He's trying by not giving us liberty in certain areas to protect us from getting drawn back in the things that even as followers of Christ could ruin a lot and if your week brother and some area.

One of those three or combination of those three forces is why you are well and summarize what we learned today we learned that strong brother is a person who understands their liberty in these gray areas and who the spirit of God gives them freedom in their conscience to exercise it in a particular area.

A week brother is a person who either doesn't understand their liberty, or even if they understand it intellectually, the spirit of God. For whatever reason has not given them the freedom to live it out in a particular area of life we all understand that you need somebody who can do something you can't do we have to be very careful we don't brand them as me and backslidden liberal uncommitted. I mean all these nasty words we throw in people friendly, just maybe a strong brother were your weak sister, and maybe just that simple. Understand what I'm saying and we need to talk next week about some of the ways that we relate to one another at some of the questions we want to answer. Next week is how should number one strong and weak brothers relate to each other in areas where they passionately disagree, I mean if your church member who has a strong conviction against playing cards and you walking the church and see the youth pastor playing poker with the teenagers. What are you supposed to do and may God help them. What is that you pastor supposed to do with the Bible we need to know the answer to that question pay question number two is there ever a time when God calls on a strong brother or sister to limit their liberty. I mean, some of us here to walk out and go a hot dog man strong brother in that area. Hey man you know I do whatever I want, Willow Hall women.

This chapter doesn't consist of just three verses. This chapter consists of 23 verses and the other 20 are all about telling strong brothers how to limit their liberty for reasons of advancing the kingdom of God.

So your strong brother. I invite you to be back next week because God didn't finish talking to you. You are only halfway through) were only halfway there. So number in question number three. Finally, is what I don't want just tell us what's right and wrong and will do will no no no no I can't tell you what I friends I can only tell you what my convictions are that the spirit of God is given me because I mean I can give you some biblical principles to go by, but you got to seek God on the convictions that work for you. I can answer the third question will do the first to house that we'll see you next week whispering for.

Thanks for talking to us today about areas. Write down where we live. Frankly, areas a lot of churches won't talk about but we need to talk about the more because those very same churches often are carrying the scars of nasty mean and emotional conflicts that came out of people not understanding what were teaching Lord my prayer is that you would take what what the Bible is teaching us in this area and that you would teach us what it means to be gracious and loving and unified, both as as friends and his family and as a church family. We interact with people who just don't see things the way we see it web liberty is that we don't have what we need to know how we react to one another and so continue to mature us as followers of Christ continue to teach us how to handle these differences in a biblical and godly way that enhance our unity and it further the work of God, we commit ourselves and this is a continuing series to you in Jesus name. Need to say went with Dr. Lon Solomon said land is an outreach line found in ministering to listen to today's message, or for more information visit our website.

Lon Solomon Thank you for your support. If you would like that, please visit our website or call 866788777 we have. You will join us next time in line. Answer one of life. West End

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