When Faced with Different Convictions

Now What?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:44
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One of the hallmarks of our Baptist heritage and faith is our belief in the doctrine of Individual Soul Liberty.
Romans 14 is a great chapter dealing with this very topic.
Definition: Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the freedom to choose what his conscience or soul dictates is right in the religious realm. Soul liberty asks the believer to accept responsibility for his own actions and not try to force anyone else to do or believe anything contrary to his own conscience. However, this liberty is not a justification for disobeying God. The believer must still act according to the principles of Scripture and honor the doctrinal position of the Bible-believing Baptist church to which he belongs.
This a particularly Baptist principle.
Many denominations attempt to exercise a level of control over their members by establishing a set of do’s and don’ts.
Baptist historically have tried to give this control ultimately to each individual believer, seeing they are each accountable to God.
Romans 14:12 KJV
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
This does not mean that each individual is not to submit to the leadership of their church, but rather that no one has the right to force you to believe or act against your conscious or theological viewpoint.
It should be understood, however, that individual soul liberty is never a justification for disobeying Scripture.
Here in Romans 14 Paul says we are to receive the weaker brother, not to argue with him.
The story has often been told of the culprits who entered a department store at night and stole nothing—they simply switched the price tags. This was before the days of computers and scanning merchandise. Refrigerators sold for $9.95 and candy bars were $500.
Someone along the way has switched the price tags for what we call the weaker and stronger brothers.
Notice that the Bible calls the brother with more rules the weaker brother.
This is not an insult, but just a description.
We are all weaker in different areas.
The areas I struggle with probably are not the areas that you struggle.
But when it comes to our area of struggle, the Holy Spirit will often come and convict us to establish some guidelines to help support us, to keep us from falling.
But we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters around us.
Romans 15:1 KJV
1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
But over all, in this chapter, Paul has two main imperatives!

I. Do Not Judge Others

In verse four we are given the reason for not judging each other.
Our brother is someone else’s servant, not ours!
Paul gives three examples of areas where Christians may be tempted to judge, especially in Paul’s day.

A. In Diet

Here, in the first example, Paul speaks of those who believe they can eat anything, and those who are vegetarians.
Whatever the believer does, he must be fully persuaded that it is right and not wrong.
but note:
He must make sure the matter is questionable, that it is not covered by some command in the Scripture.
He must be honest and intelligent in deciding if the behavior is right.
He must not violate his conscience at all, not in the least.
He must be absolutely sure to do no wrong.
The bottom line is you must live according to God’s will.
He gives a second area where Christians in his day often judged:

B. In Days

Holy days, or holidays.
In the Jewish society and even in the early church, keeping certain days holy was very important to them.
Some Christians celebrate Halloween and some do not.
Some Christians don’t celebrate Christmas with modern traditions, some do.
Whether you regard the day , or not, do it unto the Lord!
Offer it as an offering before the Lord.
This may curb some of the bad behavior if we are offering the day to the Lord!
Which leads us to...

C. In Dominion

Who do we live for?
We are the Lord’s!
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 KJV
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
This is the reason Christ died for us! 9
We are His!
And your Christian brother is His!
Therefore (10) Why do we judge our brother?
Why do we set at nought (to make of no account). Write them off.
We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ!
So then, don’t judge each other!
Judgmentalism is a predominate reason that people leave the church.
62% of this generation says the church is too hypocritical and judgmental.
Yes, we have to speak out against sin!
Things that are clearly spoken of in the Bible.
But for too long Christians have used Biblical principles to condemn others.
Don’t get me wrong!
Biblical principles need to be used to guide our lives! But they are not to guide the lives of others.
But our attitude determines our altitude!
How we speak the truth will determine what we accomplish.
So we must not judge others, let the righteous judge handle your brother!
This leads Paul his second imperative...

II. Do Not Tempt Others

He moves from not being judgmental, to not being a stumblingblock.
I never want to look back on my life and see areas where I was the cause of someone else falling.
If we are not careful we, in our liberty, can tempt someone else to disobey God.
God may have given me freedom to eat all things, or whatever the case may be, but I must still limit my liberty to prevent others from falling.
If we are not careful we can tempt others...

A. To Stumble

We may know that what we are doing is not wrong, but if someone else views it as unclean, we have to be careful not to cause another brother or sister to stumble.
Know and be persuaded by the Lord that what you are doing is right, but realize that although that act may not cause you to sin, it may cause your brother to sin.
Supporting your brother is more important than enjoying your liberty!
We must be careful not to tempt others to stumble.
Stuart Hamblen was a singing cowboy in Hollywood’s golden era who got saved and began to write some our beloved Christian songs. Songs like “It Is No Secret”, and “Until Then”, Well, some months after his conversion Stuart Hamblen said: "My greatest stumbling block has not been my old cronies out in the world but the skeptical Christians waiting and watching for me to stumble." "Nothing in the world is more beautiful than a new Christian before he has gotten around some old Christians."
1 Corinthians 8:9 KJV
9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
We must also be careful not to tempt others ...

B. To Sorrow

Our brother is grieved by our eating meat.
The natural man wants to say, “Hey! I have liberty from the Lord!”
“You can’t judge me, God is my judge!”
But Paul says, are you walking in Agape?
Destroy him not with they meat, for whom Christ died.
We have no liberty to defiantly destroy another Christian by our words or our actions.
Philippians 2:3 KJV
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Let not your good be evil spoken of.
Your liberty, your act that you have freedom in your conscious to do, can only be good if it is not evil spoken of.
“Well that’s none of their business!”
You may be right, but we cannot control them, we can only control us.
So Paul says we need to be careful in our liberty, not defiant in our liberty!
The truth is (17)the kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but ..
righteousness - is your reaction the right thing? Did you react the way Jesus would have reacted?
Peace - did your action bring peace or war?
Joy - how did everyone leave the situation? in turmoil, or with joy?
Paul says in verse 18 - if you are doing this as unto Christ, in serving Christ, you will be acceptable to God and approved of men.
If you handle it correctly, there will be peace among the family of God!
So, if we are not careful we can tempt others to stumble, to sorrow, but also ...

C. To Strive

We should never be guilty of causing division in the church.
Follow after - to pursue
We should be pursuing thing that bring:
peace &
Not things that are divisive and destructive.
This meat is not going to destroy the work of God.
This holiday is not going to destroy the work of God.
If something is going to destroy the work of God, God will mention specifically in his Word!
In fact look at the strong language used in verse 20
It is evil for you to eat, even though you have liberty, if it causes an offense.
1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Will God receive glory if I cause my brother to stumble, or offend, or make him weaker in his walk with God? v 21

D. To Sin

Do you have a conviction?
keep it between you and God!
Don’t condemn yourself (cause yourself to sin) in that which you allow (to test, approve).
23 - If there is any doubt, don’t do it!
As we have looked at these chapters of Romans we have discovered our Spiritual Gifts
We have learned to live peaceably with all men
We have learned to be subject to our authorities.
We have learned to love one another.
How important it is for us to live as Christians!
Change the way a Christian looks to the world around us!
Standards are a good thing.
Your standards keep you on the right path.
But my preferences cannot be your preferences.
Your preferences cannot be my preferences.
But even still we must do all things in faith.
Careful not to be a stumblingblock to those around us!
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