Summary: Message 46 in our exposition of Romans. This is the second of two messages exploring the principles of christian liberty and how to make wise choices.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Deciding on a godly Lifestyle”
Romans 14:1-15:12 and selected passages
On what basis did the Gentiles feel free to eat anything? What did Paul mean when he said that he was convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself? How can we determine whether something is right or wrong, good or bad when Scripture dos not specifically prohibit it or strongly prescribe it? What are some principles and test to aid our discernment in a world clouded by sin? Last time we looked at seven basic guiding principles that should shape our thinking in regard this subject of liberty.
Seven guiding Principles
1. The Principle of personal conviction
2. The Principle of personal accountability
3. The Principle of Lordship
4. The Principle of salvation by faith
5. The Principle of inherent purity
6. The Principle of freedom from food & special days (shadow and substance)
7. The Principle of abstinence and avoidance of evil
Christ has truly set us free, but that does not mean we engage in harmful activities because we are free. The newly regenerated heart has a new desire to serve in the newness of the spirit. Even though we have liberty in Christ, we are encouraged to avoid those things that hinder the race that God sets before us. Hebrews encourages us to lay aside every sin and encumbrance that trips us on the way. Even though the early church council declared that it was not necessary for Gentiles to adhere to the Jewish laws in order to be saved, they did urge them to avoid some things that might be of harm to their life.
“Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:21-22
“Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.” Rom 12
Having laid a foundation of guiding principles by which we should live, how are we to determine whether an activity or practice is right or wrong in the absence of specific Biblical reference? The question of what is wrong with it must also be balanced with the question what is right with it.
These ten tests are like filters. Pour your lifestyle, your behavior, and your convictions through these filters. You can be pretty sure that if what passes through these filters is pure. What comes out at the end will be pure in God’s eyes and bring eternal benefit.
1. The Test of God’s glory
Will it glorify God? Will it cause others to gain a deeper appreciation of the person, presence and power of God? Will it cause others to see God in a new light?
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. 1 Cor. 10:31-33
Something as common as eating and drinking can draw attention to God.
2. The Test of motivation and gratitude
Am I doing this (or not doing something) as an expression of my devotion and gratitude to God? Can I honestly say I am doing it TO THE LORD, to honor Him and express my love for Him? It is not a reluctant response but one that flows out of a grateful and willing heart. Much of the time we do things because the benefit or please ME!
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord, and he who eats, does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. Romans 14:5-9
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (as His representatives), giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col. 3:17
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude 1 Tim 4:5
How much of what I do is truly for the Lord?
3. The Test of love
Does it show my love and concern for others? Will it hurt others? Will it build up or tear down? Is it designed to primarily give me pleasure or will it benefit my neighbor?