Sunday, June 16, 2013

Keep It To Yourself

Keep It To Yourself
June 17, 2013
Romans 14:22  "So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves."

Controversy and division is not new to the church.  It has been around as long as the first church.  Christians were divided about controversial topics from the onset.  It's perpetuated today between denominations of churches and among devout believers.  A church might believe strictly regarding some topics while others may not hold the same values.  The Apostle Paul called these topics of debate "disputable matters."  Paul offers some advice regarding the disputable matters.  He said we should have nothing to do with them.

Just one generation ago, the church disputed such menial topics as a woman's make-up, hair style, or clothing choice during a church service.  You may laugh but it separated the church, creating debates and leading others to pass judgment.  In this generation church members debate things like alcohol consumption, whether or not it is a sin to drink a glass of wine.  While the Bible doesn't say it is a sin, it can certainly lead to sin.  It becomes a source of dispute that we like to debate.  We judge others if they do not hold the same belief regarding alcohol or anything else.  Paul said it is completely irrelevant to your salvation and you should keep such matters tightly between you and the Lord.  In fact, he even said if you think you are more righteous than others because you hold a certain belief, then you are actually in sin with your judgmental attitude.  Your "superior" belief dishonors yourself and the Lord, creating an embarrassment within the church.  Paul said if a topic is disputable, then error on the side of conservative in front of others and keep your mouth shut.

It is difficult to keep our mouths shut.  If the topic of discussion is not black and white in the Scriputures (such as Thou Shalt Not Murder), then it is to your own personal benefit to keep the discussion to your self.  It does not build others up by suggesting your level of righteousness is superior or actually what the Lord intended.  Your only job is to manage yourself; you manage you.  Allow the Lord to breath His values into the lives of others.  If someone is intent on following the Lord, then the Lord Himself will convict a person's heart regarding important topic matters.  Only do not be a stumbling block to others.  To be a stumbling block is to create a point of contention or temptation into another person's life.  That will not lead others to righteousness, rather it will draw them away from a right relationship with the Lord.

So, within your church walls there will certainly be other believers who hold slightly different interpratations of Scripture than you.  That is OK with the Lord and that should be OK with you.  I'm not talking about homosexuality or abortion, but I am referring to disputable matters within the church today (communion, gifts of the Holy Spirit, consumption of alcohol, tattoos, seeker sensitivity, once saved always saved).  Instead of joining in the debate with others regarding your point of view, let it go.  Do not judge someone, rather love each person the same.  Keep it to yourself and let the Lord be the shepherd.  Paul says this is the epitome of representing Christ to each other.  As soon as you judge someones beliefs, you have brought judegment upon yourself.  There is only one church and that is the body of believers, regardless of denominational interpretations of Scripture.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Romans 14

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