Sunday, May 3, 2020

Disputable Matters/Questionable Issues

Romans:  we're in the "to do" section - which = practice & lifestyle

Rom. 14:1 - sets stage for this chapter.  hence:  title of this post.
Definition = issues of faith and practice for which we have NO clear absolute word!!
Therefore, we have differing views, opinions, practices!!!

Example:  Paul mentions 3 things here ... issues in the Roman church
(1)  Eating meat - (probably 'kosher', probably not about vegetarian)
(2)  holy days (which day(s) of worship?  Sabbath keeping = may include other Jewish Holy days as well.  No clear word regarding which day to worship.
(3)  later in Rom. 14:21 - drinking wine (alcohol leads to intoxication).  Has always been an issue

What length - men and women?
                 ........ dress code - women and pants, beach attire, jewelry and adornments, makeup, etc.
                 ........ music - in church (some = "non-fiddlers") no instrumental music at all
                                      otherwise - Rock, Rap, country, contemporary Gospel.
Will have differing views on these issues.
                ....... Bible translation - example:  KJV only
               ......... Baptismal formula (what to say, in what order), mode of baptism, age of baptism
               ........ tattoos?
               ....... legal marijuana?
               ....... prescription drugs?  medical care?
              .......  casino gambling?
               ....... R-rated & violent movies?

This is a question that is Always relevant to Christians!!  Every age, era, society

Paul does NOT give a "list" .... rather gives...
    (1)  a general Christian approach
    (2) based on previous text and last week's lesson - ie:  AGAPE and your neighbor - Rom. 13:8
We have continuing debt to love our neighbor.

Quick Summary = ACT IN (Agape) LOVE!!!
  ie:  (1)  Love for God  (and His cause, His Kingdom)
And (2)  Love for neighbor  (his good, to build him up!)

(as so often with Christ ...) the Concept is simple!!
                                         the Practice is tough!!!

Text:  Rom. 14:1-2 15:1-2    (Rom. 14:8 - serving Christ by forfeiting rights)

Question?  How important is this?
Paul deals with it AT LENGTH here
AND in greater length in 1 Cor. chap. 8, 9, & 10!!!

So.... look at KEY verse in that (lengthy) passage ....
1 Cor. 8:1 - Knowledge is GOOD (admirable, Essential!!)
BUT ... it tends to swell the HEAD, (tends to develop arrogance, pride),  not the HEART!

Example:  1 Cor. 8:4-13 - issue = love and concern for brothers

1 Cor. Chap. 9  - Paul addresses his "Rights" as a Christian and Apostle.
ie:  example:  'free' to receive support from churches he started, 'free' to have a wife, children, family...
BUT he forfeited, sacrificed these 'rights' FOR the Gospel!!! - ! Cor. 9:12

This is about voluntary, conscious, intentional) FORFEITURE of personal rights ...
FOR the sake of souls, the sake of Kingdom - 1 Cor. 9:23

Paul goes ON!!!  1 Cor. 9:24-27 - compares Christian life to a Race  "in a race I don't dawdle, piddle, snooze ... I RUN!!"

Then (1 Cor. chap. 10 - uses example of 1st. Generation of Israel
On one hand, they entered the race  (came out of Egypt)
However, never took it Seriously!!  Consequences = 40 years in wilderness.
(hence left a legacy of indifference and failure!)

Universal, all time argument!!!! - 1 Cor. 10:23 - not everything is beneficial, constructive to people around you
Paul's answer to that argument ... 1 Cor. 10:24 - don't seek own good but the good of others.

Call this:  The Ministry of Edification
A ministry ... (1)  ALL Christians should engaged in
                    (2)  Mature Christians should Excel at!!!

Summary:  1 Cor. 10:31, 11:1

This = a lot of material!!!
Which indicates the Importance of the issue!!!
Yet ..... largely overlooked or ignored by Christians today!!

BECAUSE ... "my rights are more important than......
                       my neighbor's Salvation
                 or  my brother's Edification!!!

Question:  How far do we GO with this???
Jesus offended!!  Paul offended!  The Gospel is offensive!!!
We can't live without offending, can't always concede!!

1st. NOTE:  This does Not apply to clearly stated "thou shalt & shalt nots" (can still practice agape here, BUT cannot concede, compromise)  - are not dealing with sin.  This is about questionable issues.

2nd. NOTE :  we do have to 'draw a line' and often "Hard to know where!!  (are no lists!)

So..... ASK SELF  (and attempt to be honest!  We are notoriously good at fooling ourselves)
#1.  is this act offensive?  to seekers?  to believers?
#2.  is it really necessary  to me?  to others?
#3.  why am I so reluctant to give it up??
#4.  Can I practice this without flaunting it?
#5.  What would Jesus do?  really!!!

Add:  when really not sure ... "GO THE EXTRA MILE"!!! - err on the side of love, charity, Agape

Conclusion:  1 Cor. 9:23 - "I do all this for the sake of the gospel ... THAT I MAY SHARE in its Blessings!!
Which = Your SACRIFICE will be Rewarded WITH interest!!! Matt. 19:27, 29


No comments: