Summary: A message about the liberties Christians have and the warning about causing others to stumble
Christian Practices and Liberties
First, I want to say that this passage of scripture is a tough one for me and I am preaching to me more than anyone else today
Why? Because I have been guilty of what Paul tells us about in these passages.
We see Paul present principles of guidance concerning practices about which Christians differ
Let me ask, do you agree with everything that another fellow believer may do or say in living out their faith?
RESOUNDING NO! Most of you don’t probably agree with some of the things that I do or how I live…but that’s okay
I have to say that it is hard when you are trying to live your life for God and you have certain convictions about what is or isn’t right
And the pitfall that we can fall into with each other is to judge one another…listen saints – I AM THE GULITIEST OF ALL IN DOING THIS.
But, honestly, Christians are more judgmental towards each other than they are of unbelievers…why? Because of certain expectations
Most of the time, those expectations are personal convictions and not biblical ones
Truthfully, convictions about what constitutes Christian conduct sometimes reflects ecclesiastical and social backgrounds but not biblical practices
Let’s look today at some timeless principles that Paul has written to us in this passage in helping us with Christian practices and liberties
I will read the passages as we go along / Pray
Trans: The first thing I want us to see that Paul describes is…
1. Don’t be so critical of doubtful things
Read vs 1-10
Listen, there are some things in the bible I don’t understand; there are things I only think I understand; but there are things I can’t misunderstand
Paul says there are doubtful things or doubtful issues
Turn to Matt 7:3-5 and see what Jesus Says?
In other words, there is no scriptural basis for whether these issues or practices are right or wrong
Paul says that we are to accept one another no matter whether we are a mature or immature believer (strong or weak faith)
Don’t look down on one who doesn’t hold the same personal convictions you do
If you have been walking with the Lord for a while then you know that God has been working on you for a long time – and some of you He’s had to work overtime – Can I get a witness?
But some younger believers have not lived long enough in the Lord to be convicted about things in their life – but in time, they will be as God works to mold them
And He will mold them to what He wants them to be and not what we think they should be – Can I get a witness?
Listen, if there are scriptural principles that you can see without a doubt as to how we should live then we all should be striving to live by those principles
What’s amazing is the end of verse 3 “God has accepted him”
Paul says don’t criticize the weaker brother or sister because God has accepted them – it doesn’t matter whether you or I accept them
We have enough rejection by the world of unbelievers and we don’t need to come to church and also be rejected by brothers and sisters – AMEN
Paul says in vs 8 that “if we live, we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”
Isn’t it good to know that you belong to the Lord? Whether we live or die; early in life or late in life, we are His
And if we belong to Him, do you think He might have a plan for us and He will mold us for His plan?
We need to get out of the way and let God be God in each other – Can I get witness?
Now that doesn’t mean we don’t hold each other accountable for what the bible tells us we should be doing – but Paul says don’t be so critical on the doubtful issues.
Trans: Second, Paul says that all…
2. Christians Are Personally Accountable to God
Read vs 10 – 12
Vs 10 “tribunal” means “judgment seat”
2 Cor 5:10 “For we must all (say all) appear before the tribunal (judgment seat) of Christ, so that each may be repaid what he has done in the body, whether good or bad”
You know what is a scary thought…nothing gets by God – NOTHING!
Prov 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good”
Heb 4:13 (NIV) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”