Summary: Simple thought -- IF TRIPPING IS NOT ALLOWED IN FOOTBALL, a game where people are supposed to be knocking each other down, it CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN CHURCH, a place where people should be helping and holding one another other up.
TITLE: NO TRIPPING ALLOWED
Autumn is approaching and begins in just 12 days. With this change of seasons it also means there will be lots of football games on television. College football season has already begun, therefore; at least occasional reference to football will probably make its way in my sermons. Would you agree with me that one of the objectives of football is to knock the other guy down. It is a rough contact sport and how you Tackle and knock your opponent down is fundamental to the game. In this process, however; TRIPPING IS NOT ALLOWED. If a player on the offensive line blows his assignment and his opponent gets around him and about to Sack the Quarterback - as the offensive player on the front line attempts to avoid their Quarterback from being sacked they are not allowed to STICK OUT A LEG AND TRIP THE DEFENSIVE PLAYER UP. If he does, and the referee sees it, they would be assessed a 15-yard penalty.
My focus this morning is this simple thought -- IF TRIPPING IS NOT ALLOWED IN FOOTBALL, a game where people are supposed to be knocking each other down, it CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN CHURCH, a place where people should be helping and holding one another other up. Some of you are thinking, "What in the world are you talking about, Pastor? I don't see anyone tripping people in church.” Well….I know there was that one time that person tripped over my leg in the foyer, I keep telling everyone it was an accident."
• On a serious note, today we are not talking about physically tripping someone
• This morning our focus will be placed upon Spiritually Tripping another person
• Or as Paul says - Being a Stumbling Block to another Christian
Our text, read this morning, we find Paul as he addresses a problem which was very specific to the Church at Corinth. We find the Lord reminding us of some things which are very important for us and our church even today. Paul’s main point is we are to accept one another and not judge or look with contempt on those who differ with us over non-essential matters. He was talking both to weaker and stronger believers. The weaker believers were not weak in the sense of not being able to resist temptation. That kind of weakness is sin.
• Rather, they were weak in that they were hung up with scruples about things the Bible does not command
• They were caught up with the Jewish law that was fulfilled in Christ and thus no longer in effect
• ST. MATTHEW 5:17 “THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, OR THE PROPHETS: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFILL”
Paul turns mostly to the stronger believers. He was concerned they would flaunt their LIBERTY IN CHIRST to the detriment of weaker believers, who may be influenced to violate their consciences. Paul tells the stronger believers that LOVE FOR THE BROTHERS SHOULD TRUMP THEIR USE OF LIBERTY. Those that are strong in the Lord have a tremendous responsibility. ROMANS 15:1 “WE THEN THAT ARE STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK, AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES.”
• There is an underlying tenant to Christianity that many professed Christians seem to overlook, leading to a weak church and misdirected members
• It has to do with the obligation of the stronger members toward the weaker ones
The reality is SOME CHRISTIANS ARE WEAK IN FAITH WHILE OTHERS ARE STRONGER. Those who are stronger in their faith must be careful not to put stumbling blocks in the way of their weaker brothers and sisters. We have the tendency to want to identify as “Weak” Christians when we have been in Church 20-30-40-50-60 years talking about I’M NOT THERE YET! It’s just like driving our automobiles. When we set out to go to Walmart and leave home at some point we are going to get there, we are going to arrive. I know that is simplistic, but so is our growing in God’s grace. It is not as complicated as we try to make it.
• On our job we are expected over time to become Proficient at our assigned tasks
• On our job we are expected to grow over time and advance in responsibilities and pay
• In military we don’t stay a Private for 20 year career or LT for 20 year career
• Become proficient more knowledgeable and Progress through the Ranks
• We are expected to become good on our jobs and advance to Supervise or Team Leader
• Christianity is the only place we can get away with not Growing or saying I’m not there yet