Jesus’ words — John 13:34 (ESV)—34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
A major way we love one another is by withholding judgment in the area of liberties.
This week: In liberties, don’t judge. Next week: In liberties, don’t stumble.
Today: We are to welcome varying Christian convictions (1-3).
- God changes people, not us (4)
- God regards their convictions as devotion (5-9)
- God is the judge in these matters, not us (10-12)
Welcome Varying Christian Convictions (1-3)
Who are those weak in the faith?
- They quarrel over opinions: not black and white areas regarding sin, but areas Scripture is silent.
- Good cross reference to see black and white issues: 1 Corinthians 5:9–13 (ESV)—9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
- They eat only vegetables.
- Perhaps because of the potential that they’d be eating meat previously sacrificed to idols.
- Perhaps because they had come out of Judaism.
Note — it is the person with restrictions who is weak. Grace has not yet reached that area of restriction.
Here are some areas Christians come to personal convictions about: Television / Beer & Wine / Work on Sundays / Body art / Musical preferences / Fashion / Politics / How we spend our money / Environmentalism / Parenting styles / Jewish practices applied in Christianity / Video games / Singleness calling / Diets / Exercise
The strong should not despise the weak (the sensitive). The weak should not pass judgment on the strong (those at liberty).
God’s Changes People, Not Us (4)
It isn’t my responsibility to decide if your gray area convictions are right or wrong. You are a servant of God. His opinion is the significant one.
Matthew 7:1 (ESV)—1 Judge not, that you be not judged. This isn’t lack of discernment (context — speck, dogs / sermon — holy living).
Jesus is changing His people. He makes us stand.
God Regards Their Convictions As Devotion (5-9)
God regards their convictions as for Him, worship. God reads hearts. God sees the convictions — in either direction — and loves the devotion.
- Perhaps he’s saying death decisions (abstinence decisions) and life decisions (liberty decisions) are all for Jesus.
God Is The Judge In These Matters, Not Us (10-12)
There is a judgment of the non-believing world for salvation (Revelation 20:11-15), but this is a judgment of the believing world for rewards.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)—10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Our eternal destiny is not at stake here.
We don’t need to take this role from God!
How will Jesus assess my convictions and life?