Summary: The ideal Christian life is a balanced life. But how can we attain that balance? Our text can be divided into several steps that lead us toward a balanced mentality.
How to Find the Right Balance
1. Mr. Alvin Verette of New Roads, Louisiana, owns and operates the nation’s first drive-in Funeral Home. For the convenience of time-pressed mourners, the deceased is displayed before a five-by-seven foot picture window. Friends and relatives can drive up to the window and pay their last respects without getting out. Mr. Verette says, "We wanted something for people who didn’t have time to dress for the occasion." (sermoncenral)
2. When you hear stories like this, you conclude, "people are TOO busy."
3. For many, their life’s motto is the old Schlitz beer commercials, "You only go around once in life, so you may as well get all the gusto you can."
4. But the gusto seekers are like people crawling out of Ryan’s steakhouse moaning, "I ate too much. I can’t control myself." More is not always better. We need balance.
5. This is even more true for the Christian who must not only balance this life, but must also balance his responsibilities to two kingdoms. It’s tough.
Main idea: The ideal Christian life is a balanced life.
But how can we attain that balance? Our text can be divided into several steps that lead us toward a balanced mentality.
I. Step One: Allow People ROOM to Disagree (15-16)
A. Paul realized some people are not as MATURE as others (15)
B. He recognized that even mature believers might disagree on finer points (16)
• David Guzik comments, "Paul has great trust in the ability of the Lord to deal with His own people. He doesn’t have the attitude that if he doesn’t convince them, they will never be convinced."
• Paul plays the authority card only when important
C. We should not lose ground fighting over minor things over which we disagree (17)
• Many of us have a conviction or two that is out of the mainstream; I am not passing judgment as to whether that is right or wrong; but we can get along with our differences if it is in a non-essential area and if we do not make an agenda from it.
• What happens is that people make a big deal out of their viewpoint, and this causes conflict and results in some Christians becoming totally disenchanted with the church of Jesus Christ.
D. Balanced people expect some FLEXIBILITY, not complete CONFORMITY
The ideal Christian life is a balanced life.
II. Step Two: SELECT and Imitate the Genuinely Balanced (17)
A. Paul was not into PROTOCOL or false humility, which is PRIDE in disguise (17a)
1. We must fight what I call the "Christian handicap"
2. Decent lost people tactfully share what they are thinking, but Christians have learned that fellow believers will pounce on them if they are honest
• what we are not allowed to say: I have feelings of hatred, I’m worried, I wish he would go jump in a lake, good luck, I felt like strangling him
• so we experience those feelings but learn to deny them both to others and ourselves
• same is true with admitting a strength; that becomes arrogance; if I say I am good at table hockey, I have committed a sin of arrogance, according to some; but what IF I AM GOOD and KNOW IT? Wouldn’t saying, "I’m not so good at it" therefore be a lie? Bragging involves either lingering on the subject or exalting our worth above others…
B. You must KNOW your potential mentors well (17b)
--so that you can "take note"
C. When selecting folks to imitate, choose SEVERAL (17c)
The ideal Christian life is a balanced life. If you make the genuinely balanced your role models, you are more likely to be balanced yourself. But remember: the greatest successes in one area are often miserable failures in others; choose balance.
III. Step Three: Know Whose Example To AVOID (18-19)
A. Recognize that many who claim to serve Christ are His ENEMIES (18)
1. Many of us are raised to reverence all religious leaders
2. But we must also realize that many religious people are enemies of the Gospel…
3. To just call them misguided is to be kinder than Paul; some are misguided, but most are simply enemies…there is an element of evil, not just naiveté, involved
4. Model yourself after individuals who are solid in both doctrine and lifestyle
5. That was one point I did not like about Rick Warren’s "Purpose Driven Life;" he quoted and used used examples from people like Ghandi or Mother Theresa; true, he did not endorse their beliefs, but many readers will think he has…
B. Besides the "dogs" or 3:2 (legalists), we need to beware of the LAWLESS (19)
Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position." 2 Peter 3:17