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July 19, 2020 5:00 am
Hi there, thanks so much for joining us today for saying what radio you know God is giving me the privilege of taking 55 55 tours to the holy land, and I love leaving people over there and showing them how the archaeology of the history of the holy land confirms the Bible and encourages our faith and I love for you to go with us were planning to go in October 2020, Lord willing. All of Israel has opened up as of June 1, restaurants, hotels, everything, and so all the information is available on long Solomon ministries.com. If you have a friend or you know the church whose trip got canceled. Please tell them about our trip and invite them to check it out as well long Solomon ministries.com have them call us the phone numbers on the brochure that's on the website and now let's get to the teaching of God's word morning everybody wonderful to have you guys here.
Hey, want to take a Bible and open it this morning. Romans chapter 14 the letter Paul wrote the church of Rome. You know, in the John chapter 13 Jesus said these words he said. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. We have a contemporary song today that's put this in diverse and said they'll know we are Christians by our love. Now the truth is that so often the way the world knows that we are Christians by our fight and we sent several weeks ago that what most of what we fight about in the church of Christ has nothing to do with theology. It has everything to do with gray areas of the Christian life that is areas of the Christian life that the Bible does not speak to specifically with the valve shelled or thou shalt not, and what happens is we as Christians develop very strong opinions and and very strong convictions on one side or another of these gray areas and then to make matters worse, we lose all tolerance for followers of Christ who have a different conviction than we have not gotten those that were going to have disagreements on these areas. But God also was deeply concerned about us figuring out how to handle those disagreements in such a way that we don't damage one another and we don't damage the work of God in the process. This is what we want to talk today about in our very last message on Christian liberty. We want to talk about how we can handle disagreements in the gray areas of the Christian life without harming ourselves, and the work of God in the process. But before we do that, let's review just a little bit. Remember several weeks ago we said that there are very few black and white areas that cover the everyday issues of our Christian life.
Very few thou shalt and thou shalt not most of our everyday Christian life falls into the gray areas. So for example, drinking and dancing, and playing cards, going to movies and listening to secular music, smoking cigars, having tattoos, nose rings, ear rings, belly button rings wearing bikinis.
What ever there are no there's no thou shalt thou shalt not anywhere in the Bible for these issues and we learn that God has given us Christian liberty when it comes to these gray areas in the Christian life. We also learned that God has a car has two categories of followers of Christ when it comes to these gray areas you and are one of these two categories when it comes to every single gray area. We mentioned and beyond.
Category number one. The Bible calls for strong brother or the strong sister the strong brother is a person who a understands his Christian liberty and be who has the freedom of conscience from God to actually live out exercise that liberty in some gray area or another. So, for example, strong brother in the area of drinking wine can go to a wine tasting party with his Christian friends even though he knows that there are lots of people in America who have alcohol abuse problems.
He is out of his attitude is very hollow here in the Bible. I don't want a single verse in the Bible it says I can't drink wine and you know what is long as I drink it responsibly as long as I drink it in a way that doesn't dishonor God then what difference does it make up other people drink differently. You know I can exercise my liberty here and I feel perfectly right.
He forgot about now. The other category when it comes to these gray areas.
The Bible calls the week brother will the week sister, let me just reemphasize when we say we we don't mean weak when it comes to their commitment to Christ. That's not what were talking about, we mean that there we when it comes to the freedom they have to live out Christian liberty in some area or another. These are people who either don't understand that they have Christian liberty, or even if they understand it in their mind they are not able to live it out there.
Conscience just won't let them do it in some particular area or another. So if your week brother sister when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages. You can't go to a wine tasting party with your friends. You can go drink a beer after work with your friends you can have champagne in a wedding if you did that your conscience would go on red alert you feel terrible you feel so guilty you have to go home and confess it to God and asked to be forgiven a person of the week brother is our sister in this area. You can even have cooking wine in your house, yet music bothers you, you can't do and it's not about what we know, and I had theologically it's about the freedom of conscience, or lack thereof, that we have in our spirit. She said while salon with the big deal is within the week brother does not drink. I mean is that simple. Who I wish it were that simple. See the problem is that we brothers and sisters in various gray areas.
What they tend to do is they tend to measure everybody else's spirituality by the restrictions of the boundaries that they feel and that we carry order put it another way, if you were a week sister in the area of drinking alcoholic beverages not only could you not drink yourself you would charge the spirituality of every other brother and sister wouldn't drink and friends.
That's where the fireworks start now. Romans 14 is all about how to keep the fireworks from happening and that's what we want to talk about today. And remember this chapter is divided into two hands and one half God speaks to the weaker brother and the other half he speaks of the stronger sister and we need both hands because there's nobody here and every gray area was strong or weak role some combination so we need both hands of this chapter. Listen carefully. Let me start by telling you what God says to the strong brother and sister about how to promote harmony how to promote unity in the body of Christ. Even though I feel free to exercise my liberty in a bunch areas. Okay, what is God expect for me to promote harmony in the body of Christ.
Verse three. The Bible says the person who feels free to eat everything. This is a strong brother who doesn't care whether the meat came out of an idol simple where it came from.
This is a strong brother who says you know, I know that every T-bone in the universe is from God and what difference does it make where went before got to me. I give thanks to God and so I don't have a problem with it.
This brother. The Bible says must not look down upon the weaker brother who can't have that attitude who can't eat that me the word here means to the Greek word means to despise, to disdain, to regard with contempt and strong brothers were strong brother or sister in some area it's always the case that we tend to get irritated with other Christians who aren't as free to exercise their Christian liberty as we are. We tend to resent them trying to lay their restrictions and their narrowness on us and the way comes to us getting along in the body of Christ what God is from us a strong brothers and sisters. Is that instead of resenting our weaker brothers instead. We love now there's a novel concept. We love look Romans chapter 15 verse one says when you are strong ought to bear with the failings of the week and not to please ourselves and the way that we express that love and that difference that that concern for our weaker brother. The Bible says the way we promote harmony in the body of Christ. In spite of the fact we feel liberties in certain areas is by being willing to limit our liberties for the sake of our brothers.
Now there are two situations here in this chapter were God's expressly says to those of us were strong brothers and sisters. I want you to consider limiting your liberty situation number one is situations where we can protect week brothers and sisters from spiritual harm. Now little bit of this is review but we can do it anyway.
First Corinthians chapter 8 verse nine. Be careful that the exercise of your liberty doesn't become a stumbling block to the week for anyone with a weak conscience and some gray area sees you exercising your liberty in that gray area that person may be emboldened to do the same thing and maybe destroyed by the way you exercise your liberty when we sin against our week brother and wound his conscience. In this way, we sin against Christ. So I don't understand what you talk about.
Well, maybe you invited Christian sister over to your house just getting over a gambling addiction as soon as she gets there. You break out the poker chips and sit down and condenser playable poker with you. Well, she may go home and have to confess that the God and asked to be forgiven her conscience maybe striking her to death, or by doing that it may reopen the door to gambling in their life in this person's life friends when we do this we abuse our Christian liberty were not looking out for the welfare of our brother or sister or maybe we invited Christian brother over our house is going to Alcoholics Anonymous and we know that we sit down to watch the game and we break out the beers and we invite you to have one and it feels like you got something here got all these people drink and I don't want to seem like I'm not part of the gang so he drinks a few beers and at the next AA meeting has to stand up and confess that is a failing or worse.
This opens up about his life or resurgence of a drinking problem. This is abusing our Christian liberty.
Romans 14 verse 15 do not by the exercise of any Christian liberty damage your brother for whom Christ died. You stable. Why should his issues limit my liberty. Well, we just read Romans 15 because God didn't put his ear to please ourselves. God put us here to bear with the failings of our week brothers and sisters. The other situation were God asks us in the sake of harmony to defer liberty or situations number two where we by deferring our liberty can protect the work of God from division disruption, embarrassment, verse 19 for a chapter 14 let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace in the body of Christ and mutual edification do not destroy the work of God for the sake of some Christian liberty friends as it weren't damaging a church over your right to drink beer. Is it weren't damaging the work of God over playing a game of general me you're going to the movies, or wearing a bikini. God says no know those things are not worth damaging the work of God first Corinthians 1031 whether we eat or drink. Whether we play cards, go to movies drink of beer where bikini what ever do all the glory of God and when we use our liberties in such a way that we cause division and strife among fellow Christians were not using our liberties for the glory of God.
I told you about my wife's hometown where when I go there, they they they did not lock Christian liberty exercise in this town. I leave all my Christian liberties in Washington.
I don't think any of them with me they'll stay here and you say, why is that because you're worried if you went to this town and you exercise your Christian liberties. There you would draw some of them in the copying you and my spiritually harm them friends listen. These people are intractable. I'm not drawing them in the anything believing they are not moving, they are set in stone with what they believe. No, that's not why leave my liberties here. I leave my liberties here because I realize for me to go there and exercise him. Set these people it would cause a breach in our friendship a breach in our fellowship as Christian brothers and sisters, it would polarize them.
It would scandalize them. This is not using my liberty in a way that promotes the glory of God's will, even here in town. Did you realize that the members of our pastoral staff team here in Washington are prohibited from driving certain kinds of automobiles similarly talk know that we have an internal policy that doesn't allow us to draw certain kinds of cars were not allowed to drive BMWs, Mercedes, jaguars, or portions say that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of in my life know it isn't. We don't drive them because we know what you would say if we do what you and how much are we paying these people that they can drive automobiles like this we know that I would never say that. Oh yes you will all yes you would you talk about it over dinner.
Yes, you will, and we decided you know what do we have the Christian liberty to drive a Porsche. Of course we do but is it worth causing trouble inside the church and damaging the work of God know Porsche is worth that we just don't drive and say what I'm saying is that long wait a minute that's gotta be a limit here mean if you let people decide what you're going to do and not do you when you get out of bed to some people would like, I didn't mean it can't be a limit somewhere.there. Of course I got a letter you might imagine, I got a lot of letters in the last several weeks. I mean, I never knew anybody was listening that closely you know my mailbox is full. Anyway, this is what this one young man right. He says long you spoke about a town where you felt fortunate not to live because to do so would mean to give up anything. Well I hate to be the one to tell you but that town is also the Washington metro area if you need enough people.
I had a person tell me that because I said gosh what I really meant was God, and therefore I had taken the Lord's name in vain. Gosh, that's not what I meant it. All he said we are to change every time bodies offended, then who are we on the what percentage of offended people do we need to listen to all go cover this in your series.
Why is it that we only need to be concerned about those who see things in black and white. Some of us walking in the gray areas need support. Well, all right. I hear that the letter now I want to cover this in with this done talking of the strong brother today. He's absolutely right. At some point in our lives. We have to draw a line and say okay that's as much as I feel comfortable limiting my liberty. That's as far as I'm going in this particular case and using lawn.
Where is that why friends I can't tell you because even where you draw that line. As a matter Christian liberty God says you draw wherever you and I feel together we should draw it. It won't be the same as everybody. I mean two of us could be in the very same situation we could draw that line a little differently.
Yes it's okay to draw that line and say okay enough is enough. But on the other side of that line, there should certainly be things that were willing to defer rather than damaging people and hurting the work of God now want to move on to talk to the week brother consult for y'all of escape.
Those of us were weak in certain areas.
We have really talk much at all and you know this idea promoting harmony in the body of Christ is not just a one-way street. It's not just about strong brothers limiting their liberty limiting the liberty limiting there's a thought for the week brothers to play and and it's all found in Romans chapter 14 verse three. Here's what it says let him who does not need. This is the week brother who doesn't feel free to eat this meat that came out of an auto sample led him not condemn literally charge him who does he see in those areas were were weak in our exercise of liberty. We are all prone to make our views our convictions.
The standard of truth than we expect every Christian to live by. And when they don't live by man. We charge them. We say things like, can you believe it. How could anybody who called himself a follower Christ wear a bathing suit like that that woman I she could not be a Christian but a Confederate can you believe that man at music he listens to anybody, be a Christian and listen to music like that. I will see how God could ever use those people those people are compromisers, their liberals and their the reason the Bible is not here in America right over there. You look so I never said that, will you thought it is you have.
We all have in friends this kind of thinking this kind of judgment on all the people is what causes so much conflict in so much polarization in the work of God is what causes churches to split this is what causes friendships to break up this, judging of all the people. In fact, the hardest thing for week brother sister to do is to accept the fact that God can actually use somebody who feels more liberty than they do that were very difficult time accepting that. So let's say that you feel that you doesn't really feel strongly about the fact that drinking alcoholic beverages is just wrong. The Christian just shouldn't do that, you will see how God could ever use somebody who did this and you go over one like your small group leaders house for your small group meeting and you open the refrigerator to get a coke in their sit in the refrigerator is a six pack of Budweiser. What do you do, do you shriek do you leave the house and they are likely to be a small group with somebody's got beer because God can use anybody got beer in the refrigerator.
What do you do need to talk about it all over church.
When you do you know what I saw in his or you will not believe what I saw in his refrigerator.
I give you three guesses as horses.
The full I give you three guesses. Now what we do willingly sum up what God says we should do with right here in this chapter verse four it says who are you to judge somebody else to serve verse 10.
Why do you judge your brother. Verse 13 therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. You want me to sum up what God says our response needs to be knock off the judging cut your brother some slack and you say why should I God gives three reasons right here in this chapter number one because the strong brother deserves the benefit of the doubt.
I mean verse six says he who eats meat you exercise is a liberty does so as under the Lord, for he gives thanks to God and doing it the reason you don't drink any alcoholic beverages is because you really believe that this is what's pleasing to God and you're doing what's right before God correct you say sure okay why can't you granting him that he can drink beer with the very same attitude and say I think I'm all right before God. I think this is okay and pleasing to God and I'm trying to do what's right before God we grant somebody the benefit of the Dell you say what what if one of the really of the compromise will all right.
Reason number two reason number two is God will judge that strong brother if he really needs to be judged.
Verse four says who are you to judge somebody else's servant, that strong brother was drinking that beer is not your servant is not your job. Judging he's God's servant, and if there's any judging to be done. God will do it, and friends. Reason number three. Besides you and I got a much bigger job to worry about and that is reason number three.
Don't forget God phenomena judge you to verse 12, so that as a follower of Jesus Christ. Each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
He didn't say we give an account of our Christian brother when you and I stand in front of Jesus.
He's not going to discuss with us what was in the refrigerator about small group leader is not interested he's going to discuss what was in refrigerator and in all parts of our life. And so we don't have time to go around judging our brothers. Both will you and I have a full-time job just bring about ourselves.
Anybody was raised more than one child understand this principle. They come to us and they go to visit you, me, and they got to do is get to do that, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. You know what I'm saying and what we say what we say to these children when they come to us like this we say to them, don't worry about your brother and your sister. You worry about you that's exactly right.
We understand that principle so well when it comes to our children and we don't understand it when it comes to our Christian brothers and sisters, friends, God says you were that you that's a full-time job you were about you.
You have time to worry about them.
And the good news is you not going to have to give an account for them what they do is between me and them you were that you caught him slack friends, remember we have bigger fish to fry that our Christian liberties.
The bigger fish. We have the fries reaching the city for Jesus Christ and we can't afford to get hung up on Christian liberty. So, I invite you whether your week brother strong brother. Let's be mature about it and let's learn to rise above those differences and get on with the real job, we gotta do in the city and that's reach the city for Christ. Help us here is been helpful for you next week we move on to start talking about Paul's second missionary journey and I hope you will be with us in spring father, thanks for the opportunity for us to talk about areas where disagreements definitely happen were followers of Christ have very strong differences of opinion, and I pray that what we've achieved. Lord is not only a better understanding of why we act the way we do in these areas.
While the people act the way they do, but also father that we've achieved the definition of maturity and that we as a church family will will aspire to rise to that maturity and demonstrate to an onlooking world that we can have differences, but we can also learn to relate to one another in love and harmony because Jesus Christ is a bigger issue with us that our liberties so father change our lives change our church family. As a result of this study, and grant that weather were weak or strong that we might be mature both as individuals and as a church family, and we pray this in Jesus name God's people said they may have been listening to say let Dr. Lon Solomon said, when is an outrage of Lon Solomon ministering to listen to today's message, or for more information visit our website. Lon Solomon ministries.org. Thank you for your support. If you would like to contact us at our website or call us at 788777 yet you will join us next time. When one answer one of life, my stand