Summary: While we should stand uncompromisingly against things strictly forbidden by Scripture, we should not create additional rules formed from our opinions and give them the same standing as God’s law.
A. There have been many instances in church history where Christians have differed in their interpretation of certain Scripture passages or about doctrines.
B. Our day of worship is an example. I grew up being taught not to work on Sunday. For the most part, all the Old Testament stipulations concerning the Sabbath were applied to Sunday.
1. Sunday, however, is not the Sabbath though some refer to it as the Christian Sabbath.
2. Nor is there any justification that I can find for transferring Sabbath regulations to Sunday.
3. Here again, however, this is an issue believers differ over.
C. Other examples include: dancing, drinking, smoking, movies, playing cards, manner of dress, gambling, listening to other than Christian music, attending sporting events on Sunday, etc.
D. In fact, our denomination-Southern Baptists, was formed over the difference of opinion concerning slavery.
E. Our differences over such matters can be attributed to various things: tradition, what our parents taught, what a particular teacher or preacher taught, our culture, what we were taught in school, etc.
F. It is really not important who taught us what or why we think as we do. The more important matter is whether our thinking or conclusions align with what the Bible actually teaches. The passage is not dealing with clear commandments but opinions.
G. Jesus was fond of saying; “You have heard it said,” and then saying, “But I say.” So much of what the people had been taught-and from religious authorities, was wrong because they left out the inner motives. They bound people by traditions with the same intensity as they did God’s law.
H. We must be sensitive to and respect those who disagree with us, especially in matters the Bible is not clear on. An example would be the various opinions held concerning what events will take place near, at and after the Second Coming.
I. Paul deals at length with sensitivity among believers in this chapter.
J. Perhaps an old adage is pertinent: “In essentials; unity, in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love.
I. Grace And Dealing With Weaker Christians (vv. 1-11)
A. Our different stages.
1. It is important for us to remember believers are all at different stages of spiritual maturity.
2. I knew a lady once who was a Christian counselor, and we would talk about some of the odd ways believers would act-ways out of character for a Christian. She would always remind me that the actions reflect their level of spiritual maturity-babes, children, teens or adulthood.
3. Not only are we at different stages but we also have different things in our background-either before or after coming to know Christ.
4. Combine this with family and church tradition and it becomes easy to understand why we have differences.
B. Paul says we are to accept fellow believers who are weak in the faith while not arguing with them about what they think is right or wrong.
1. Arguing leads to further divisiveness and is never a good witness to the lost or those young in the faith.