Balancing Grace with Love
Putting Grace into Action
Text: Romans 14:7&8
We do not live and die only unto ourselves.
This is true of humanity but particularly true of Christians.
Believers in Christ are interwoven and interrelated, comprising an interdependent system of cells and nerves, muscles and limbs in the same body — It is called the body of Christ commonly known as the CHURCH!
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Bible frequently emphasizes the importance of unity among the Lord’s people. Can I share with you just 2 examples from Scripture?
Eph_4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph_4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…
However, no one can deny the presence of diversity in God’s family.
We know the value of unity, yet we cannot ignore the reality of diversity. And therein lies “the rub”!
We all are called to…
Ø Work Together
Ø Pull Together
Ø Serve Together…
But yet we are all different… We were all raised different and have different backgrounds, opinions and value systems yet none of this discounts unity in the body… Psalm 133 begins “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ”
It was Jesus in John 17 as he prayed for us cried to the Father that we may all be one!
He knew the value of what we could do as a unit so Jesus prayed that, we the minority might affect them the majority, but the majority watches and sees the minority divided but Jesus knew that we could accomplish more together then we could with divided ranks.
It is found in the weak believer’s human tendency to judge those who don’t embrace their customs and convictions on the one hand.
On the other hand, it’s the strong believer’s decision to discount judgments passed by those who find fault in his or her expressions of freedom.
There are so many things in our society today that draws and pulls us away from the true matter at hand… The Gospel.
Ø Games that relate to gambling
Ø Music — In churches (Traditional vs. Contemporary)
Ø Service Times (Traditional vs. other times)
Ø Bible Translations — One preacher once said… If the KJV was good enough for Paul it is good enough for me…
Our tendency is to push down the one and lift the other.
In these two lie the conflict in our passage today and often time it emerges and persists. This is what we find in Romans 14…
We often become what someone once said…
Believe as I believe–no more, no less;
That I am right (and no one else) confess.
Feel as I feel, think only as I think;
Eat what I eat, and drink but what I drink.
Look as I look, do always as I do;
And then–and only then–I’ll fellowship with you.
So the goal is to live together even if we are disagreeable and… The solution to this is to put grace into action.
but to many times we have a Disgruntled Spirit…
This morning let me give you 3 thoughts into this thing called Grace!
First… let us discover the way in…
I. Those of Grace Do Not Judge but Rather Allow For Custom and Conviction In Our Lives As Well As In The Lives of Others! Romans 14:1-6
Frequently, at the core of conflicts, there are cultural issues or matters of custom and conviction.
Most convictions are not convictions in and of themselves, but preferences, or tradition that people use to judge others with.
In the church, the weak are often “rule followers” and tend to judge others’ freedoms.
The strong are often “rule breakers” and tend to discount others’ strict convictions. Don’t tell me what to eat and I won’t tell you what to eat.
One eats meat and the other is a vegetarian! Vs. 2
One says to observe the special days and the other says who cares? Vs. 5&6
This should not be… seeing that God receives both because God has saved both. Vs. 3
Both the weak and the strong must learn to accept the others’ convictions regarding diet and days.
We are not to judge what the other is doing. We all stand on our own before our MASTER! Vs. 4
But we have a tendency to judge, don’t we?
Two of the most effective preachers in the Victorian Era in England were Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1834-1892) and Joseph Parker, who was born 4 years early and lived 10 years longer.
Both were mighty preachers of the Gospel who fellowshipped together and even shared each other’s pulpits. Until one day they had a disagreement. Spurgeon accused Parker of being unspiritual because Parker attended the theater. Spurgeon however, smoked cigars which Parker criticized
We have 2 brothers who were exchanging pulpits who are now critical of each other because of theater and stoggies. Parker was never convinced that the theater was wrong, and Spurgeon was not persuaded in his heart that puffing on a stoggie was sinful and this was a cause of broken fellowship.
How sad when we live in the age of grace theology we act as we live in the age of retribution theology!
So how do we stop it? Verses 7-12 tells us how… and this will bring me to…
You remember point #1 don’t you? Well just in case you forgot, here it is again…
I. Those of Grace Do Not Judge but Rather Allow For Custom and Conviction In Our Lives As Well As In The Lives of Others!
II. Those of Grace Live Their Life Knowing That They Will Give Account Of Their Own Life And Not Their Brothers Or Sisters Life! Romans 14:7-12
So how do we do that… Live our life and not worry about the other?
Vs. 7&8 tell us how…
First… We live unto the Lord’s expectation and not our own or others expectations. and then…
We start by acknowledging these three practical principals that are both wise and workable in our life…
A life of grace is one that begins with mutual acceptance! Vs. 9
Don’t follow my convictions, but learn to think for yourself. The greatest thing a Christian can do is to learn to be disagreeable without being contentious.
The 2 killers to Christian grace is…
An attitude of grace requires releasing others to be who they are! — letting the Lord direct their lives. Vs. 11&12
Don’t follow my attitude, because many times it stinks, but learn to live your life and allow the Lord to direct you as well as others.
A commitment to grace means we never assume roles we’re not qualified to fill. Vs. 10
Never assume a role that is reserved for Christ. We should never take on ourselves the job to straighten somebody out… That’s God’s job to ring his hands over certain individuals, not ours.
Why? Because I cannot know all the facts. I cannot be totally objective.
Can I close with this? This does not mean we allow sin to go unchecked. We are called upon by the God of Heaven to hold each other accountable and to help each other as much as one will let us help.
There are times we must confront some things that are wrong, but we have a biblical bases for doing it and sometimes it will cause a division in relationship. It isn’t always pleasant but it is right.
But on the other hand we must be careful what we call sin if the Bible does not clearly state such.
As Christians we need to connect with Christ and not make other people your reason for living. This will drive you nuts because some will tell you how to make every move if they get a chance.
Quite making people your standard and start living for the Lord. He is our ultimate example.
Paul here is giving us some practical advice but look at 15:1. Paul was of those who were strong and enjoyed a good steak unless it made a weaker brother stumble then give me the veggies.