I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!
Intro: The church of Jesus Christ is made up of
individuals at every possible level of spirituality. There are those who are fully aware of the freedom and the liberty
that they enjoy in Jesus and they live accordingly. On the other end of the spectrum are those who walk in fear of
becoming defiled with the contamination of the world and they live accordingly. If that were the end of it, there would be
no problem. However, those who realize
and enjoy their liberty in Jesus are constantly being judged by those who think
they live too loose of a life. While
those who are strict in their application of biblical standards are constantly
being criticized by those who have adopted a looser standard. One group is called liberal and
compromisers, while the other group is legalistic and harsh.
to find a balance in the verses we have read this evening. You see, there are some things in life that
are crystal clear! The Bible is plain
when it tells us that we should not drink, use drugs, curse, commit adultery,
kill, steal, lie, etc. These things are
beyond debate and people who practice such things are sinners. That is not my judgment, but that is a clear
statement of the Word of God. However,
there are other areas of life that are not so clear. For instance, how long should a man’s hair be? Should men wear beards and mustaches? Should women wear pants? Should Christians watch TV? Should believers go to the movies? You might be surprised to hear it, but these
are issues that people struggle over every day of their lives.
Paul gives us some insight into handling these doubtful areas of our
lives. At the very least, he helps us
to know how to deal with that brother or sister in Christ who has a different
opinion than ours. That is the subject
matter that I want to address as I preach for a while on the thought, I
Would Never Do That! Notice the
truths that are revealed here.
I. v. 1-4
TO AVOID FOOLISH JUDGMENT
A. v. 2 We Are Commanded To Recognize Our
Christian Brother Paul speaks
of a situation that was prevalent in the early church. There were Gentiles who had been saved out
of extreme paganism. These people had
turned their backs on idolatry, and would not dare go anywhere near anything
associated with that lifestyle. On the
other hand, there were Jews in the early church who had been shown, through the
Gospel, that they had the liberty to eat meats, even if those meats had been
sacrifices to idols. They knew the
idols weren’t real and that the meat was just that: meat! (Note:
This is an issue dealt with by Paul, at length, in 1 Cor. 8:1-10:33.) Of
course the focus of these verses is the weaker brother, that one who is more
easily offended by the practices of another.
We are to understand that there are people all around us who see things
differently than we do. We need to
recognize that fact! In other words, we
are not the only dog on the walk, and what others think about the way we live
our life matters! Not everyone is going
to agree with your standards or mine and that is OK!
B. v. 1 We Are Cautioned To Receive Our
Christian Brother Some people would like to shun those believers who
are weak in the faith. Why? The main reason is that they have all kinds
of hang-ups. You see the problem with
the weaker brother is this: He has never come to terms with the liberty that he
has in Jesus Christ. He is so afraid of
getting dirty that he places standards upon his life that are more restrictive
than those placed there by the Bible.
As a result, he comes to believe that he the stronger brother and that
everyone around him should live up to his standards. This causes problems for those who have to live with this kind of
person. Paul’s thought here is that we
are not to turn the weaker brother away from our fellowship, but we are not to
allow his self-imposed standards to dominate our lives. In other words, his restrictions should not
be allowed to cause division or disunity within the church family.
3-4 We Are Challenged To Respect
Our Christian Brother If we are not careful, we will allow our
differences to drive a wedge between us.
If I think you shouldn’t do a certain thing and you do it anyway, I have
to be big enough in the lord to over look it for unities sake! You see, there are some things that are
worth dying for, things like doctrine, the Bible, etc. They are worth standing for, even if it
makes the rest of the church mad as the devil!
However, there are some things that nothing more than mere personal
opinion. These kinds of things must
never be allowed hinder the unity of the church! Paul gives us two thoughts that will help us in this area.
1. v. 3 We
Are To Respect His Principles Whether a professing believer agrees
with us or not is not the issue!
Whatever convictions he may hold concerning some activity of life, they
are his and he has every right to them.
I may never agree with him or see it his way, but I am not to despise
him, (to say he is no account; to hold a lower opinion of), nor
am I to judge him, (to make a declaration regarding his spiritual
condition.) I may not agree
with him, but I am still to respect Him, and give him room to live his life as
the Lord leads him!
2. v. 4 We
Are To Respect His Position The whole idea of this verse is that
none of us is God! We didn’t save this
brother. We don’t keep him saved. We don’t lead him and he does not answer to
us! If his life is not an issue to God,
why should it be one to us? So,
regardless of what you think about what another believer does in his or her
life, ultimately, they are not accountable to you or to me!
(Ill. There is a sense in which we are all
accountable to one another. However, in
this matter of dealing with things that are not clearly defined by the Bible as
being either right or wrong, we are accountable to no one but God!)
II. v. 5-9 WE ARE TO ASPIRE TO FAITHFUL JUDGMENT
A. v. 5 In The Matter Of Convictions
Now Paul turns his attention to the matter of worship days and holy days. Some people elevate one day above another
and tell us “this is the day you are supposed to worship. However, Paul tells us that whatever day we
choose to worship, we are not to violate our conscience. We are to listen to the Spirit in our hearts
as He leads us from matter to matter.
There are some things that are simply not clear! In those issues, I have to base my decisions
about what I do solely on what I feel in my conscience. If I am bothered about doing it, I am
sinning when I do it. If I can do it
and can honestly do it “as unto the Lord, then it is all
right! We are not to violate our
B. v. 6 In The Matter Of Consecration
This verse reinforces the idea I just stated. In every issue that arises in life, I need to ask myself, Is
this something I can do to honor God?
Does this honor Him? Or does it
dishonor Him? Can I do this with a
clear conscience? Does it even contain
the even slightest hint of wrong or evil?
Can I really say that this glorifies the Lord? These are valid questions they should be
used to determine that which we allow or disallow in our lives. (Ill. I
Thes. 5:22; 1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Thes .5:18)
If the spirit of these verses cannot be maintained in doing whatever it
is you are thinking about, then it would be wrong for you to do it!
7-9 In The Matter Of Consequences
Regardless of whether we are a weak Christian or a strong Christian, there
are consequences for the choices we make in life. Paul mentions two realms in which there are consequences to
1. v. 7 The
Earthly Realm The idea is this: not one of us is an island to him or
herself, people are watching you. By
your life, they will either be helped in their walk with God, or they will be
hindered in that walk. There are
certain things that it would be perfectly lawful for me to do this evening;
however, to do them would result in other believer stumbling in their faith. Therefore, I must refrain from doing things
that are lawful for the sake of the brethren.
There are several verses in the Word of God that back this up: Mark
9:42; 1 Cor. 8:9-13; 1 Cor. 10:23-24.
What is in view here is a life of love!
The Christian who walks in the love of God for his fellow believer will
always put other’s needs ahead of his own, 1 Cor. 13:4-8; Phil. 2:4.
2. v. 8-9 The
Eternal Realm While the spiritual growth and life of our brother is of
vast importance, there is a concern that outweighs that: we are reminded that
above all else, our lives are to be pleasing to the Lord! We are His, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, and as
such, we have no rights over how we live our lives. The overarching consideration should always be: How does this fit
into the plan of God for my life?
Whether we grasp it or not, whether people teach it or not, Jesus is
Lord! His function as Savior cannot be
divorced from His function as Lord! In
the final analysis, He is the only One we have to please. If we live lives that honor Him, He will
take care of the rest of the situation for us.
10-12 WE ARE TO
ANTICIPATE FUTURE JUDGMENT
10a Judgment Is Restricted Here
- While we walk on this earth, may we
always remember that we do not have the right to play God in the lives of our
brethren and pass judgment on them. If
a brother is living in open sin, and is violating clear biblical standards,
then we have an obligation to speak to him about his life, Pro. 27:5-6; Pro.
17:10; Psa. 141:5. If we are
convinced that they are in the wrong, then we are to pray for them and trust
the Spirit of God to speak to their hearts.
However, if the power of God is on their life, then maybe we are more
concerned about that thing than God is! Therefore, let us learn to keep our
self-righteous judgments to ourselves!
10b-12 Judgment Is Rendered There
One day that brother that we think is such a compromiser will stand before
the Lord and he will give an account of his life to the Lord that saved
him. Than, the accounts will be
settled. Then he will be dealt with
properly. There, he will either be
blessed, or he will suffer the loss of reward, 1 Cor. 3:10-15. On that day, he will get exactly what is
coming to him, no more and no less!
However, just as that brother will stand before the Lord, so will every
single on of us! It may just be that we
will find out that everything was not as we thought it was either! It will be a day of perfect reckoning and
just accounting. Therefore, may the
Lord help us to learn to avoid judging the brethren and concern ourselves with
living the right kind of life before the Lord.
One day we will answer to Him and one another!
Conc: With all
this truth in our minds, it might be good to remember the words of Paul in Philippians
2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my
presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation
with fear and trembling. If I
am going to judge a life, let it be my own life! If I am going to be a blessing to my brothers in Christ, let me
not seek to do it by setting myself up as their judge and jury, but rather let
me love them, pray for them and live my life in such a manner that I am
blessing to them and not a hindrance!
Have you been guilty of imposing your standards on other believers? Have you been guilty of setting up your own
little kangaroo court from which you rendered judgment on everyone else’s
life? We have all done it from time to
time! Sadly, some do it all the
time! There is a cure for this problem
and it is called repentance. The help
you need to be a pleasant Christian and a blessing to the church is found in
Him. If there is that need this evening,
then this altar is open!