Romans Series #20
I Am Not My Own
Eating and Drinking
Under the New Covenant they are NOT limited to what they can eat or drink.
They have the right to eat whatever they want.
Some Christians however were choosing to follow a conviction that had them eating vegetables ONLY which was even MORE of a restriction than the law. Their reason was that in the gentile countries they lived in, they weren't sure about the meats. Perhaps the meats were sacrificed to idols and since they didn't know and didn't want to defile themselves with this meat sacrificed to idols, then they chose to not eat meat at ALL.
Also some of those who had COME OUT of Pagan religions didn't want to eat the meat because it reminded them of the sacrifices to idols so for them it was too similar to what they had come out of
Paul teaches that there is nothing to eat or drink unclean of itself but it boils down to the teaching of scripture and the personal convictions from God that determine it's uncleanliness or not.
He talks about "Special Days" whether it is the Sabbath or other "Holy Days" Some of the believers held days as precious and holy while others saw EVERY DAY as a day dedicated to the Lord and thus equal
How does Paul teach us to determine. We are responsible for the conviction of God within us. He says we should be fully convinced that your actions are acceptable. In other words, if you are in DOUBT then Don't.
Some questions to ask yourself regarding a choice and whether it's acceptable or not
1) Will this please the Lord? Will it displease the Lord?
2) Will this negatively affect my brother/sister
3) Am I convinced that it is acceptable
But Hey IF I am "FREE" then why do I even care?
I am FREE to do as I want right?
1 Corinthians 8:1-8 (NIV)
Food Sacrificed to Idols
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. "
Knowledge is important but knowledge by itself PUFFS up but LOVE builds UP
I believe in training and teaching.
I want New Life to be known as a place where from the Pulpit to the Sunday School to Small Groups to Awana Club, we teach with integrity, faithfulness, and truth. But if we have Knowledge and have NOT love we will FALL apart!
Love is the mortar that holds the bricks of this household of faith together.
So why should I have to worry about this?
I'm FREE right?
Well, NO ONE LIVES to Himself ALONE
Freedom is NOT Free
Freedom does NOT give way to Spiritual Anarchy
You remember from scripture that we are forbidden from "doing what seemed right in their own eyes"
God is STILL a God of ORDER not Anarchy
Training and Submission are STILL part of God's Order.
We can't throw out the Chapter's previous, we must build on them
Anarchy, which is doing what I want, doesn't care about the Needs of Others
But LOVE demands that I care for the needs of others
If my freedom binds you, then I'm not really free nor are you
If it's all about me then chances are someone is NOT free
Every knee bows to Christ NOT to my way of thinking
If I'm bowing my knee to Christ then It's going to give YOU freedom to respond to him as Lord and I'm going to trust Christ to bring you where he wants you to be
Part of the evidence of the immaturity of the Roman Believers was that fact that they were labeling themselves as "Strong" and "Weak".
If you have to tell me how mature and strong you are then chances are that you are not.
As we read in 1 Cor 8:2 "the man who thinks he knows something, doesn't yet know what he ought."
So, am I "free", I think not "FREE" in that we are not responsible nor accountable to others
So, Why Not?
1. I Belong to the Body
(1-3, 7, 10-13, 19)
Romans 12:5 (NIV)
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
If my actions done in "freedom" cause my brother to be harmed or discouraged, it is not worth it.
You must be careful that you don't give someone your "freedom" before God gives it to them or you could plunge them back into the bondage to sin that they were freed from by Christ in the first place.
V 19 teaches us to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, and v 23 tells that everything that doesn't come from faith is sin
I love my WHOLE Body. If my hand has lost its sense of touch, then my eyes are going to be extra careful to watch that the hand doesn't get hurt. If my hand is about to come to rest on a Hot Stove, then my eye will tell my Brain which will in turn tell my hand to pull back.
My other body parts don't ignore the pain of my hand.
My legs will move me away
Why? Because all of my body parts belong to each other as members of the same body.
I belong to the body and thus while I only answer to Christ, I still am responsible to the body.
V 12 says that we will give account to Christ
Luke 12:41-48 tells us that the Master is returning and while it may seem like a long time until he returns, we still need to be ready
As we learned last week though, we learn to respond to Christ's leadership by learning that we belong to a society.
We respond to leadership in our home, through the body of believers, through participating in the community in which we live.
We are to continue in him 1 John 2:28 so we will not be ashamed when he returns
Submit to authority within the body that the work of the leadership might be a blessing and a joy and not a burden or a chore. (Hebrews 13)
We don't have time to be fighting or nit-picking because we are a body and we're preparing for the "bema" seat of Christ where our work on this earth will be rewarded or burned up
2. I Belong to the Mission of Christ
(4, 15-17, 19-22)
Don't "flaunt" your freedom
That's between you and God
A. Mission More Important than my Freedom
There are 3 levels of Convictions
1) Biblical Commands - if the Bible is clear on an issue then we are all bound by the Biblical commands and it is even our responsibility within the body to lovingly encourage and correct other Body members that they might come in line with Biblical Commands
It is most effective out of relationships of love and trust.
We are all responsible for obedience to Biblical Commands and must respond to the leading of the Spirit in correction and training in righteousness
2) Personal Convictions - there are some things that are permissible for some and not permissible for others. It is NOT a conviction because scripture specifically forbids this action, but God has made it clear that for YOU it is not permissible or best for God's plan for your life.
I Am Responsible before God for obedience to this conviction but you might NOT be.
For me this would be a SIN because of God's revelation, but for you it might NOT be -
I also must exhibit Grace and liberty to others who may not have the same convictions
3) Personal Preference - There is no Biblical basis for this it's just a matter of personal taste, perhaps even bad taste or out of date tastes. But is it just a matter of preference
I am NOT bound by God to keep or be obedient to this preference because it is just about me
No one ELSE is bound to be obedient to this preference
I must exhibit complete liberty to others in this issue
The Cause and Mission of Christ are more important than my personal preferences or even my personal convictions and there are times when liberty is expected and even demanded.
B. "freedom" can cause Harm
1. Stumbling Block - small choice that causes someone else to stumble, slows down progress for a younger believer
Many young believers are stunted in their growth by the freedom of a more "mature" believer "aw don't worry about that, it doesn't matter" yet it often hinders them from going deeper as they don't separate themselves and so the "no big deal" mentality keeps them from going deeper
2. Obstacle - that stops a young believer in their tracks
worse yet some believers have recklessly disregarding watching out for younger believers and have even thrown up obstacles that haven't just caused unbelievers to stumble and slow up but have stopped them all together. We have a great responsibility to the cause of Christ.
3. v 15 "distressed"
a. we have an obligation toward all of the body, but especially for those who are young
b. a crime against any person is terrible but against a child is much worse
c. we are not talking about hurting their feelings, that would have to do with pride
d. the text here means to distress or hurt their conscience
e. we must be especially tender to never cause someone to go against their conscience as they serve the Lord.
f. if you cause a young believer to "relax" their conscience you may be opening them up for going much farther than they should go as a young believer
g. the danger here is that you cause them to take their eyes off of Christ to follow you
4. destroyed or ruined
a. we are not talking about destroying a persons eternity because we are talking here about believers
b. we are talking about slowing up or damaging believers
c. the word literally means to "cause the ruin" or "cause the loss"
d. it carries the picture of causing one to lose their reward in Mt 10:42 and 2 John 8 it instructs how we will NOT Lose reward and here it says that when you put up an obstacle you cause someone's reward to be destroyed or ruined
e. the ultimate in spiritual selfishness or lovelessness is causing someone else to lose their reward by your "freedom" and taking them with you
5. You are NOT answerable to me or the body in this, you are answerable to God.
6. Don't let anyone look down on your liberty, but don't drag anyone down with your liberty either
V 22 - since you belong to Christ keep the personal convictions between you and God lest they damage your ministry and the mission of Christ.
C. The Offense of the Cross NOT of the Christian
1. the cross is offensive enough without us being offensive to the mission of Christ or one another
2. Some have tried to say we have to come to Christ by living a certain way and of course that is NOT TRUE. We are naked sinners before a holy God and are saved by grace through faith alone.
3. Others have rightfully stated that we are saved through grace and even kept by grace but that we must prove it by following a Legalistic observance of the law as a way of life that proves our salvation
4. It seems that this passage may be referring to this form of error vv17-18
a. Barnhouse says "God wants us to instead focus on the Indwelling of Christ within us showing himself in love lived out in every word, thought and action"
b. when we live this way, we will be acceptable to God as well as approved by men.
c. Chrysostom said of these verses "a believer who was a man of peace and uprightness would always be admired by the unsaved world, even when they did not like his faith."
5. "APPROVED" - the greek - dokimos -
In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called "?dokimos?" or "?approved?"
Don't Shortchange each other and thus short change the Mission of Christ in your freedom
On the most personal level, not only do I belong to the Body and to the Mission of Christ which affects the exercise of my Freedom but more importantly …
3. I Belong to Christ
(4-5, 6-12, 22)
Isaiah 45:23-24 (NIV)
23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, 'In the Lord alone
are righteousness and strength.'"
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
I belong to Christ.
I don't make my decisions regarding freedom based on the actions of someone else, I have to answer to Christ Jesus.
I will answer to Christ, not to you for how I live and exercise my freedom.
With responsibility, accountability increases
Personally I'm responsible not for my co-workers or acquaintances etc. but for myself
But as a Parent
Sunday School Teacher
Pastor, I bear responsibility and will give account before Christ and cannot shirk my responsibility
I belong to Christ.
Revelation 5:9 (NIV)
9 And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
What price Freedom?
I must consider the price that has been paid and in obedience to Christ live a life of gratitude for the enormous price paid
<Saving Private Ryan>
"earn this" - you can't earn a price like that but you can live a life of gratitude
"tell me I've been a good man
Jesus died to free you and purchase you from the bondage to the Law
Jesus died to free you from something
Jesus died to free you TO something
He didn't die to set you free
He died to Make you Free
There's a difference.
He didn't set you free and say "alright go on out there and have a good time, do what you want."
He made you free to complete his plans for your life that you might be rewarded
As followers of Christ we know we will be saved and enter Heaven.
But I belong to him and I don't want to be just "saved by and from Fire"
Lot was "saved" by Fire from Sodom and Gomorrah, he lived and was taken out of it, but he took NOTHING with him. Everything he had done was burned up and he was saved "as it were by fire"
I Belong to Christ and I want to present my life to him as a beautiful gift.
I am FREE but I want to give my freedom back to him in a lifestyle of obedience as I recognize his sacrifice for me.
I am NOT my OWN, I am bought with a price
Externals don't make us right with God
Eternals, Internals make us right with God.
Externals are just evidences of our priorities in our relationship with God
Jesus didn't Free you so that you could abuse your brother or sister, his children
I might give my son a baseball bat for Christmas but not so he would hit his brother with it!!
Another illustration of love in the expression of my personal freedom
I read of a famous Road Racer on the European Road Circuit years ago. He was from Argentina in South America. When he would return home though people would pull alongside him while driving the roads and recognize him and "rev" their engines in challenge to him. He would slow down and drive even slower below the speed limit. He was a GREAT driver and could have outdriven anyone beside him. He would have been safe and uninjured.
On one level he sacrificed his pride because he had nothing to prove.
However in his liberty and ability he could have floored it and laughed at them. Yet he would have tempted many to follow him that were NOT able to safely follow him. At the high rate of speed his knowledge and ability would have saved him, his split second reaction time would have enabled him to avoid a tree or cliff in a hairpin curve but most other drivers would not have been able to handle the same conditions and would have crashed and burned and he would have been guilty of a crime against the humanity that was precious in the sight of their creator who made them in love and died for them.
A believer who abuses their spiritual abilities breaks equally the law of love.
Jesus didn't free you to abuse yourself
I am NOT My OWN
Belong to Christ, to the body and to his Mission in the World