February 23, 2020 – 10:45am Sunday Service

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I was glad I was glad when they said
unto me let us go into the house of the Lord. Aren’t you glad to be here this morning? What a wonderful day yes what a
wonderful day of worship lies ahead the preaching of the word the fellowship
with other believers and the worship of God’s people through music through song
what a great morning of music we have to share together we have assisting us in
worship the Stonebriar string quartets we have Kristin Hightower soprano
singing with us and we have Dwayne Funderburk who is a marvelous pianist
arranger and composer and a dear friend Dwayne is at the piano presently Dwayne
and I served together years ago at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena California
he’s been our guest this weekend presenting two concerts here at the
church and if any of you were there I know that you had a wonderful experience
and will enjoy that together again this morning Don McMinn is not well and we’re hoping to see him well soon and so I have the
joy of being part of leadership this morning be prayerful for Don won’t you
and now let’s listen prayerfully as these wonderful musicians bring as our
Prelude our great Savior this beautiful music and we’re glad
you’re here to enjoy it with us if you’re a guest of ours today you have
helped make our day special thank you for coming if you’ve not noticed already
there’s a part of the worship folder where we have you in mind if you’ve
opened it all the way out you will see on the far right-hand side a little
detachable section that you complete with your own hand and that will help us
get to know you better as you drop that off at the Information Center when you
leave if you are carrying a handheld device as most of us do you’ll want to
make sure it’s turn on silence or if you’re not using it just turn it off for
now and you can turn it back on later so it doesn’t go off at the wrong time let
me remind all of you that following this service we will have a baptismal service
in the atrium folks sometimes think that seems a little weird
all baptisms were outside in the days of the Bible so we’re saving you the
weather today and doing it inside but you can see outside from there and we
have 23 of our students and adults who will be baptized today and we we
celebrate with them this decision they made to follow Christ and to make known
their testimony of the Savior as they step into the baptismal waters and we
are thrilled to do that today and you’re welcome to attend may I mention also
that today is the day for you to receive your copy of our annual report the large
numbers of 2020 are obvious this is a report that looks ahead anticipating
what’s that beyond as we set goals and we we set forth seven of our goals
for the future you don’t want to read about that the details as it relates to
our budget where we are financially and a little bit of our history but mainly
about where we’re going you’ll be very interested in these areas of the future
be sure and pick up your cunt I feel like Vanna White right now this
is your folder for when you leave we have these for when you are on your way
out be sure you pick up a copy and each of the exit you will find individuals
that have a stack of these we want you to take it keep it and have it so that
you’re able to read it in in the days ahead thank you for doing that
and by the way to our guests thank you for visiting we hope you’ll be able to
return before we dedicate a few children to the Lord I’d like you to stand and
greet each other if you will find someone you’ve not met before and say
hello a child dedication service is really
apparent dedication he goes back to the days of First Samuel or Hanna who found
herself barren and without children which was for a Jewess almost like a
curse so she came before the Lord and said if you will give me a child I will
dedicate him to you for the rest of his life and when God gave her a child and
Samuel reached that age she brought him before the Lord and she literally gave
him to the Lord in that statement of dedication these parents today bring
their children before you and their Lord to testify to their faith in Christ and
to let all of you know their desire is to rear their children God’s Way the
psalmist has said that children are the heritage of the Lord and the fruit of
the womb is his reward how happy is the one who has his quiver full of them
remember that parents you’re happy for your children filled your quiver by the
way I need to recognize you who are a part of these families if you’re a god
father or a grandfather grandmother you’re out in our congregation and
you’re related to these up here would you please stand let us give you a
little special welcome there they are thank
you you parents will face me I have several
questions to ask and these all relate to your life and your statement of faith
regarding you and your child I’d like you to respond with the simple words you
used when you were married you’ll simply say I do as a result of these questions
first do you today testify that you have personally received Christ as your own
Saviour do you desire that your home be a place where Christ is honored for his
word is read and obeyed like Hannah do you today give your child to the Lord
anticipating by faith that he or she will someday come to know Christ as you
do in light of that do you promise before God that you will give of your
time and attention devotion and prayer to instill within
your little one an appetite for spiritual things regardless of the
sacrifice it may entail good for you wonderful statements that you have made
today where we stand with these parents today for a moment of prayer of
dedication about with me please we do acknowledge Lord that the children held
in arms today and standing beside parents today are yours
they’ve always been yours they will return to you when they pass from this
earth to heaven in the meantime Lord we pray for their
cultivation the development of their lives and you will use these parents to
prepare the for life that they might become part of
the answer for this world that has long since lost its way
give these parents the discipline the energy encouragement wisdom perspective
they need to rear their children your way may they make a serious study of
each child so that they adapt their training accordingly we commit each
child to you and anticipate by faith that each will come to know your son as
Savior and Lord thank you for the role the grandparents and godparents will
play in their formation use the wisdom that they bring under these homes to
deeply impact these children for your greater glory we ask it in the name of
Christ everyone said amen you may be seated and for each of these we have
certificates for this day that will be given by Dave and actually first forever
Gayle joy and first for Abigail joy and Hannah grace Tiffany yes and then for
Isaac Richard shade and then for Aiden John
and Avery Marie Derby and finally for Evelyn Joe sell black etre please join
me in thanking Dave and Ashley for their commitment to rearing our children and
caring for them so well thank you good now time for you to sing
we’ll sing after we hear this call to worship by our choir and by our string
quartet the words will be on the screen and if you’ll locate fairest Lord Jesus
there in your worship folder you will see that to be on page 87 have that
ready to stand in a few moments but first we’ll enjoy the music as they sing
for us praise my soul the king of heaven the Lord we all said amen amen won’t you
be seated the great reformer Martin Luther wrote the hymn we often sing a
mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing think on these words as
Dewayne and Lucas play think on God’s faithfulness think on the way the enemy
comes against us in the midst of life and yet that through our God there is
triumph many people have mistaken idea that
Romans is all doctrine and from start to finish it is just one doctrinal treatise
it certainly includes that all the way through but when you get to chapter 12
and all the way through chapter 16 the focus turns from the vertical to more of
the horizontal and Paul writes to those of us in the church and those of us who
desire to relate to one another well counsel and wisdom on how to do that
with grace what he really does is describe what living by grace is all
about he sort of reaches a special climax when he gets to chapter 14 where
we are today and it isn’t that that’s the only chapter but there is something
wonderful about this particular chapter in that it talks about extending grace
to other people who are different from us they differ in the realm of the
non-essential things in life we’re to have unity and essentials those great
great truths and that list is short but in the areas of the non-essential where
scripture does not declare that to be wrong or taboo we’re to give people room
to be and to believe as they wish as they feel most comfortable we’re not
good at that Christians can be very narrow men and women even teenagers we
want to learn from Paul’s words in Romans 14 how to let others be and what
the guidelines are for doing that let me read for you several verses out
of Romans 14 I’ll choose excerpts from various verses
have your Bible open to this chapter and follow along I’ll be reading from the
New Living Translation as you read in whatever version you may have may we
stand together for the reading of God’s Word Romans 14 begins except other believers
who are weak in faith and don’t argue with them about what they think is right
or wrong for instance one person believed it’s
all right to to eat anything but another believer with a sensitive conscience
will eat only vegetables those who feel free to eat anything must not look down
on those who don’t and those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those
who do for God has accepted them who are you to condemn someone else’s servants
their own master will judge whether they stand or fall and with the Lord’s help
they will stand and receive his approval in the same way something one day is
more holy than another day while others think every day is alike you should each
be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable
those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him those who eat any
kind of food do so to honor the Lord since they give thanks to God before
eating and those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the
Lord and give thanks to God for we don’t live for ourselves
or die for ourselves if we live it’s to honor the Lord and if we die it’s to
honor the Lord so whether we live or die we belong to the Lord verse 12 yes each
of us will give a personal account to God so let’s stop condemning each other
decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer
to stumble and fall I know and I’m convinced on the authority of the Lord
Jesus that no food in and of itself is wrong to eat but if someone believes it
is wrong then for that person it is wrong and if another believer is
distressed by what you eat you’re not acting in love if you eat it don’t let
your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died then you will not be criticized for
doing something you believe is good for the kingdom of God is not a matter of
what we eat or drink but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in
the Holy Spirit our desire today is that God will really open our eyes and give
us hearts to receive what he has written rather than continue to be guided by
long-held beliefs that lack scriptural support may God give us the grace to
live happily and harmoniously alongside one another please be seated before I lead us in a brief prayer may I
mention what is ahead for a number of us late this week Cynthia and I leave for
Israel and a day or two later 731 others will make the journey to Israel to join
us we’ll be there from March 1 through 12 leading us together a rather simple
plan only 16 buses as we go from well not quite Dan to Beersheba but from
Caesarea Philippi down to Judea we’ll enjoy that time we come from all over
the states and several international sites oh we need you to pray for us that
we’ll be protected on the flights there and back and also that of course all of
us will be and that will make our destinations safely and God will give us
good health in light of the coronavirus these days there seems to be a little
fear on the part of many and we pray that there will be none of that only one
case has been found there in the State of Israel and that individual was left
on the plane was quickly taken to a facility and remains there to be treated
so they are doing their best that Yahoo recently made the statement that it is a
safe place to be and they’re taking steps to make sure of that so thank you
for praying for us while I’m away we will enjoy that the preaching of Steve
Farrar on the 1st of March a mark young dr. mark young from Denver seminary
where he serves as president will return he had been a part of our ministry for
years he’ll preach on March the 8th and Bill Butterworth will come up from
Houston to preach on March 15 and then I’ll join you again the last Sunday of
March so pray for these men Steve and Mark and bill as they minister here I
join me as we pray together Lord you are a god of the same today and tomorrow and
yesterday and you were faithful you’ve never left us in the lurch
not even once you’ve never abandoned us one of the prophets writes can a woman
forget her nursing child that she would not have compassion on the son of her
womb yes she may forget but I will not forget you says the Lord I have
inscribed you on the palms of my hands your ways are continually before me
whether we are here or Israel or whatever part of the world whether it is
morning or night day light or dark whether it is late or early you are
faithfully there watching over us give protection we pray as we go in the power
of your spirit give the joy of instruction and meditation the beauty of
worship as we acknowledge your presence there just as here for you are
everywhere the same at the same time thank you Father for your empowerment
and for your grace that pervades may we not only enjoy it from one another may
we model it open our hearts to accept others even though they are different
from the way we are and show us the beauty of grace
as we let others be because if your faithfulness you’ve provided us with our
occupation from which we draw salary from that we give our gifts and today we
do so with great delight use these gifts we pray in places far removed from us as
well as in our own community reach out to those who are in great need the
broken the sick the poor the lonely we pray that you will reach out through
these gifts into the lives of those that need what they can provide and use them
for your glory we give our gifts today gratefully and generously in the name of
Jesus we ask these things and everyone said amen In the church we rarely have difficulty
with the essentials those things we would call the foundations of the faith
the list is short each one as important as the other the inerrancy of Scripture
how valuable is that truth we stand on it the deity of Christ the power and
work of the Holy Spirit the substitutionary death of the savior on
our behalf the miraculous bodily resurrection of Christ from the grave
the absolute assurance of Christ’s return those are the foundations there
are several not many but we’re in agreement on those and every
conservative Church in the realm of Protestantism would embrace those same
foundational points those are the essentials set forth in the scriptures
and God doesn’t stop doesn’t stutter he doesn’t mumble about them he he
declares them clearly we embrace them now the non-essentials form another
subject entirely those would be the things that would not be specified as
taboo or wrong in the scriptures and and the list is so long I’ll not even
attempt to start or I’d leave out one that’s your favorite and we all have
those those non-essential lists you may have been reared with them you may have
come from a home that was rather rigid and you were taught you’re not to do
this and you’re not to do that even though it wasn’t
specified in the scriptures your parents weren’t comfortable with that going on
in the home and family and so you didn’t do those things and then you grew up and
you realize that the Bible didn’t teach against them and you began to stretch
your wings and you became an adult and that’s when your parents began to drop
your notes or maybe hints along the way that that’s not the way you were raised
and on and on it goes I could go on and on with that but let me give you an even
better illustration great people can disagree and both can be right or both
can be wrong in the Victorian era of England Charles Haddon Spurgeon and
Joseph Parker were two of the better known preachers their churches were
often packed with parishioners who appreciated them and they appreciated
one another early on in their ministry on occasion they would exchange puppets
and Spurgeon would would preach for Parker and and Joseph Parker would
preach for Charles Spurgeon in his pulpit as time passed it came to be
known that Joseph Parker enjoyed an evening at the theatre in those days
there weren’t movies but there was live stage there were live stage plays and
Parker enjoyed going he saw that as very pleasant and enjoyable entertainment Oh
Spurgeon would have nothing to do with it and began to criticize him for that
in fact it became a break in their relationship and their their friendship
became frayed over it to make matters interesting Spurgeon enjoyed the taste
of a good cigar Joseph Parker had no place at all for
tobacco his world was free of that and he did not believe one should one should
ever smoke anything Spurgeon took delight in it and often
talked about it publicly on one occasion someone asked him about his habit of
smoking and asked if it bothered him he said no no I certainly don’t take it to
excess and the man said to him what would you call excess Spurgeon said well
two cigars at the same time great sense of humor Joseph Parker didn’t laugh
there was another end of that story another part of that story that’s the
rest of it many don’t know about to show you that Spurgeon though he had for the
longest time enjoyed a good cigar had a very sensitive heart he had reached the
zenith of his fame in London and was walking along a busy street in London
when he came upon a large sign that read we sell the cigars that spurt that
Spurgeon smokes right there in big letters
Spurgeon stopped studied the sign and was pricking his conscience that day he
stopped smoking he thought to himself I I can’t keep doing this for this would
lead some to begin a habit they can’t stop it’s causing some to stumble and
even though it wasn’t specified in Scripture I challenge you to find cigars
mentioned once you know it’s not but that’s not the point
there is a principle greater than whether you enjoy something or not
has to do with your love for others and whether it causes them to stumble you
see that principle overrides the others now my main reason for bringing all of
this up is to deal with letting other people be to hold to certain things that
they enjoy or to live a lifestyle that they find comfortable though it’s
different from yours now a couple of things stand in the way of that and I
have given you an outline if you wish to follow along and the replacer for you to
fill in whatever you may wish so if you wish to do that this would be a good
time to pull it out and get your pen ready let me address these two things
there are two strong tendencies that nullify grace that is giving other
people the grace to be the first we tend to compare Christians are especially
vulnerable to this temptation we’re uneasy with differences we were uneasy
with those who think differently who make different choices than we would
make who enjoy different entertainment than we’re comfortable enjoying they
have different lifestyles than our lifestyle they vote for a different
candidate than we would vote for or a different party than is our party they
were different types of clothing than we would wear they wear their hair
different assuming they have hair they wear hair different than you do
the man wears an ear ring were uneasy with that or the woman wears pants and
we think she should only wear dresses that’s how petty we can be none of that
is specified in the scriptures is wrong we compare those things we put people in
categories and we of all things break our friendship with them if they
continue to do those things that we don’t agree with let me take the
pressure off for a moment mentioned children we start this early in our
homes by comparing report cards Oh as soon as I say that my stomache card it
sort of turns i’m raised in a family of three I’m the baby of the three and we
had an older brother who was brilliant beyond words what’s interesting is that
he brought home the most boring report cards you would ever want to look at the
very same letter all the time all the time
I had variety like a letter yeah there it is
you like that light there there’s that one my sister miss personality just
seemed to do it all right and here I was left compared to my brother and my
sister wasn’t that I wasn’t loved that I wasn’t then let me ask you why do you
compare your children to report cards in front of the other children why do we do
that it never makes the child with a variety
report card make straight A’s and it certainly doesn’t do anything but
enhance the pride of the straight-a student looking at the younger one being
put down because he isn’t stop comparing your children if I may be bold enough to
step into it God loves variety the last time I checked the world he created I
found a buzzard and a butterfly made by the same God
I found a slow moving koala and a sleek fast cheetah
made by the same God I found a strange-looking zebra alongside a donkey
or a dog and then there is the the slippery squid along with a great white
shark or the little frog and the big always aggressive alligator God made
them all put them all together I remember growing up I was sharing the
room with my brother he’s in this twin bed and I’m in this one and I love
sports he didn’t care that much about sports
and but he was deeply spiritual I wasn’t and I used to look over there and see
him on his knees the moon shining through the window and I would think
could why couldn’t I have peyton manning for her brother
you know our Dick Butkus that’d be okay I got Martin Luther over here
but I’ve come to realize I had a lot to learn from my Martin Luther like brother who
loved Christ far more deeply than I did and whose walk with the Savior was much
more consistent but my seeing that could motivate me I didn’t need my parents to
bounce one of us against the other you’ve got the point careful about doing
that with others in the family of God one may enjoy a glass of wine for an
evening with an evening meal and you may not you may you may think that’s that’s
taboo you you can’t find it in the scriptures in fact II Paul even tells
Timothy to take a little wine for his stomachs sake I I did not say get drunk
and don’t leave this place and tell your best friends that Chuck is telling
people go out and get smashed at the party tomorrow night I’m not saying that
I’m talking about a glass of wine for dinner periodically you may enjoy that
there’s nothing in the scripture that says you shouldn’t unless you have
someone there that could be offended so because you love them you don’t bring
out three bottles of wine and pour everybody you know half a gallon to
drink for the supper that’s not what it’s about
it’s what you personally enjoy and so you enjoy it
with your with your family alone you don’t flaunt your liberty you care about
others and you don’t want to needlessly offend them you’ve got the point we
compare here’s another problem we try to control other people the fact is we are
not in charge no one has ever put a list together and put your name at the head
of the list saying you’re in charge of all these Christians I’m not in charge
of you you’re not in charge of your neighbor let’s not control legalists legalistic
leaders become bullies let’s not bully others I almost ruined our marriage by
trying to control my wife I called it submission guys are good at that I would
try to make her like me you think of anything worse than a female me and she
would say I don’t see it like that or III don’t agree with you she didn’t she
wasn’t ugly about it she just has a different a color scheme or set of
values in that area and for 10 years I worked on her I mean she was my project
till I about ruined our marriage thankfully she stayed with me and I
finally learned to value her for who she is I mean after all the thing that
attracted me to her as we dated were the differences following I try to make her
like me or before you get to feed me too proud wives you can do that too
you try to make your husband like he ought to be meaning like you think he
ought to be learn the story from Ruth Graham who used to say of her husband
Billy it’s my job to love Billy it’s God’s job to make him good it’s not your
job to make your husband good lighten up a marriage can’t survive that kind of
pressure so whether it’s comparing or controlling let him go while I’m on the
subject if your children are grown would you like to finish the sentence they’re
grown all of our children are in their 50s well one is almost he’s just one
year shy they’re they’re all in there fit and you know what they’re able to
dress themselves you’re married they’re able to fix their own meals they’re able
to make their own decisions determine what car they want to drive
they don’t need little hints little notes little unsigned notes left at the
door little emails what’d you do last night why’d you stay out so late hey
they’re in their 50s if they were 15 it would make a difference they don’t
answer to you you’re not in charge so just make it
easy I mean makes you almost want to have more kids
not really you get the point
lighten up one of the most beautiful things to be around as a Christian who’s
easy to live with God is a lot easier to live with and most Christians he really
is he understands us completely he knows what kids sit in church and
pick their nose because they’re bored he understands why God sits in the car and
reasons paper while his wife comes to church and he doesn’t SAP that car with
lightning people because the man sitting in the car reading his newspaper he’s
not there yet got his long string of patience I mean
look at your life he never zapped you yet by the way when I mentioned letting
your kids go I mean it they may need to go to jail let it be let it be
heartbreaking as it is you would never want that but it’s not your reputation
it’s it’s theirs and because they’re responsible
individuals or should be if they do what’s irresponsible they’ll suffer the
consequences if they keep suffering the consequences that’s where they wind up don’t be too quick to bail em out let them be it’s called tough love be
careful about always rescuing them you know when you learned your best lesson
when nobody rescued you and you had really blown it and you had to work
yourself out of it as you would put it that’s when you became a real woman or a
real man because you learn the hard way now with all of this in mind we come to
Romans 14 and we want to find four guidelines that magnify grace all four
are sort of written within and between the lines of these verses that appear so
get your pen ready and we’ll give them to you 1 2 3 and 4 verses 1 to 4 accept
other believers oh wow we’re already there the first guideline accepting
others is basic – letting them be accepting others accept other believers
who are weak in faith and don’t argue with them about what they think is right
or wrong for instance one person believed it’s
alright to eat anything what’s that about
well in the church at Rome it was very difficult to find kosher meat and there
were believers who were Jews who had been converted to Christ but still at a
very tender conscience about kosher food so to them it needed to still be kosher
for them to feel comfortable eating it because they couldn’t be sure added to
it some of the meats had been offered on an idol as a part of idol worship the
rest of the animal was sold in a meat market nothing wrong with it
and a person who didn’t have a tender or sensitive conscience would go to the
meat market and buy those delicious steaks and bring them home and and and
char-broil him and serve him to his family and here’s a neighbor that looks
over the fence and see them eating meat that they got down at the shambles which
is the meat market and and they think khana work and they even can they eat
that meat and and they would judge them for eating meat that was that was sir
that was sold there and the one who could eat the meat would look over
across the fence and would look down on the one that wouldn’t need what’s the
matter with you these are become vegetarians over here
and these have become meat-eaters over here they’re called the meat eaters were
the strong they were called in this passage and and the vegetarians recall
the weak don’t push that too far because the strong can still be wrong and the
weak can be wrong as well or both can be right
depends on what they do with it and the first principle is to accept the other accept the other you know a person who
has two or three houses and you only have one and are barely able to make the
mortgage payments let it be you don’t make his salary
unfortunately when salaries are learned it changes people’s attitude to what to
how they feel about it because it’s more than I make we’re quick to say it’s a
judgement statement maybe you shouldn’t make that much or maybe you could if you
work that hard and I’m assuming it’s from hard work maybe a person drives an
extravagant car and the best you can do is a 1974 Chevy station wagon nothing
wrong with the seventy-four station wagon that’s all you can afford just
don’t spend your time chucking the guy that drives a brand-new whatever Jaguar
Cadillac Lexus whatever maybe in your mind
an extravagant car it’s none of your business
you know how much he or she gives you don’t if you did you’d be a better job
but you can’t you can so accept it let’s not judging each other or looking down
on each other regarding vehicles or salaries or size
of house or possessions or jewelry or clothing or tattoos or whatever I could
name they’re all non-essentials except is the secret visitor this statement I
love it acceptance means you were valuable just as you are it allows you
to be the real you you aren’t forced into someone else’s idea of who you
really are it means your ideas were taken seriously open they root because
they reflect you you could talk about how you feel inside and why you feel
that way and someone really cares they even respect you acceptance means
you can try out your ideas without being shot down
you could even express a heretical thought and discuss it with intelligent
questioning because you feel safe no one will pronounce judgment on you even
though they may not agree with you it doesn’t mean you will never be corrected
or or you’ll never be shown to be wrong it simply means it’s safe to be you and
no one will destroy you out of prejudice amen
amen what what a great way to live I wish that were true of every one of us I
wish I were better at that than I am I work on that I deal with all kinds of
people as you can imagine and I don’t agree with many of what they the things
they do you know what it’s not my business they’re responsible adults they
answer to their God our God I’m not their God I’m never gonna have to stand
up and say well let me let me give an account for Johnny Brown my name in
Johnny or Brown I will one day give account for one person and it won’t be
my dear brother it’ll be me only me so how helpful it is when I’m in an
assembly of people who accept me for who I am and I’m weird in some ways you know
that you are too so don’t look at me like that well we all got weird stuff so
acceptance is valuable it’s basic to letting each other be here’s the second
principle you ready for it versus five to eight letting others be allows the
Lord to direct their lives I like that principle verse five down
through verse eight letting others be allows the Lord to direct their lives
look at it in the same way something one day is more holy than another day while
others think every day is alike you should be fully convinced that whichever
day you choose look at that whichever day you choose is acceptable
those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him see we answer to
him those who eat any kind of food do so to honor him since they give thanks to
God before eating and those who refuse to eat certain
foods also want to please him before we give thanks to God for we don’t live for
ourselves but or die for ourselves we live for one another if we live it’s
it’s to honor the Lord if we dies to honor the Lord so whether we live or die
we belong to the Lord there it is so when we let others be we allow the
Lord to direct their lives you want to get petty follow this rule believers 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 then and only then I’ll fellowship with you please let’s get
beyond that you’re in a church that does not have a denominational name this is a
Stonebriar Community Church I named it when I founded it it’s in the community
it’s a church and Stonebriar was the name used in this area of the city of
Frisco it seemed a good name you have no denominational hierarchy you
have to answer to our pleas we’re the community here getting along with each
other is plan a for a happy church and a church that operates in harmony here’s a
third principle verses 9 to 12 freeing others means we
ever assume a role we’re not qualified to fill freeing others means we never
assume a role we’re not qualified to fill let’s look at the verse and then
I’ll explain the principle starting at verse nine Christ died and rose again
for this very purpose to be the Lord both of the living and the dead so why
do you condemn another believer why do you look down on another believer
looking at both sides now remember we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God Scripture say as surely as I live says the Lord every knee will Bend to me
every tongue will confess and give praise to God yes each of us will give a
personal account to God that means he alone is qualified to judge he’s
equipped to do what we’re not equipped to do you know why
I’ll give you quickly a few reasons number one we don’t know all the facts
about anybody else oh you think you do I didn’t even know all the facts about my
wife even though we had lived together for years you don’t know all there is to know
about the other person or what prompts them to do or say what they do and say
you you’re not that smart I’m not either so we don’t know enough to judge here’s
another were unable to read another’s motive I don’t know why you’ve done that
I you’ve not told me why so I’m left to judge and I’m I’m limited in my ability
because I can’t read motives here’s another none of us is totally
objective we’re all prejudice and one way or another even though we hated
about ourselves we judge according to the surface the Lord says man looks at
the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart we have a hard time
looking at the heart if only we would do that were put off by the physical were
turned off by the skin color by the clothing the condition of the clothing
the expense of the clothing furthermore we lack the big picture and we live with
our own blind spots have you ever thought about the Lord he knows
everything he has no blind spots he sees the big picture all the time so he’s
qualified to judge that’s what Jesus said
don’t judge another you you’re reaching for the speck in your brother’s eye and
you’ve got this log in your own eye he means that to be a little humorous here
you are this big log in your eye looking for a speck oh excuse me my log ran into
you I’m trying to find that speck you’re not qualified everybody has those specks
the one you marry has those specks don’t say Amen
the kids you raise have those they get them from you they do because of this
we’re all imperfect so to live together means we’ve got to leave room – oh and
love overlooked those things that believe me most people wish were not
true about themselves but they still are we still wrestle with imperfections
there’s one more principle I want to mention as 13 to 19 this is the one that
would check your maturity loving others requires us to express our Liberty
wisely verses 13 to 19 loving others requires us to express our Liberty
wisely we’re not to flaunt our Liberty you feel free to do such-and-such keep
your mouth shut you have things in your refrigerator that others wouldn’t have
in their refrigerator keep your refrigerator to yourself when I come in
your home I don’t check your refrigerator when you come in my home
you’re gonna come to check mine it’s none of your business
now all you wonder wonder what’s in his refrigerator
you’d be surprised how boring it is but I gotta say it you know how to make it a
part of this you don’t know I don’t know you wanna know something I don’t care
my life’s bigger than what’s in a refrigerator or whether you have a beer
on a Saturday afternoon or whether you drive a brand-new Porsche
every year or whether you were two hundred and fifty dollars sneakers
that’s your business it’s not fodder for me to talk about with my buddies surely
I’ve got more to talk about then what you wear now because I love other people
I don’t flaunt my sneakers or what I Drive I simply enjoy it before the Lord
look at 13 look so let’s stop condemning each other
decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer
to stumble or fall there it is I love that the meat eater who lives next door
of the vegetarian when he has the vegetarian over for supper if he’s wise
he serves vegetables he doesn’t need to serve meat every meal and that offends
the vegetarian neighbor plus the Vig might come up in the subject and while
you have no meat on the table the vegetarian might say you don’t want to
talk to you about something I’ve noticed you folks really you a lot of meat here
and we just don’t feel comfortable doing that how do you do that and they want to
talk about it so don’t don’t lecture them just say well I’m glad you brought
that up here’s the way we view it meats meat there’s no big thing to us and we
certainly don’t want to eat it and offend you
we’re not here to make you unhappy now yes when we’re inside and eating our
meal we’ll eat a lot of meat that’s just our preferred diet and look at it verse
14 No and I am convinced I know what I’m
convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food in and of itself is
wrong to eat look at that no food is wrong or right it’s just food it’s how
you exist there is not to be used as a leverage or in-your-face type thing if
someone believes it’s wrong then for that person look at that it becomes
wrong suddenly Spurgeon realized these cigars
don’t taste anything as good as I thought they did now they’re advertising
me for being a smoker I’m a preacher of the gospel I’ve been moving down the
wrong direction I I can’t keep doing that
I I don’t want to keep doing that look at how he puts it if another believer is
distressed about what you eat listen to me if you want to be mature you’re not
acting in love if you eat it don’t let your eating run something for
whom Christ died then you’ll not be criticized for doing something you
believe is good kingdom of God is not a matter what we eat or drink but living a
life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit if you serve Christ with
this attitude you will please God that’s our goal
let me give you three actions that work you’re ready here we go number one
concentrate on what encourages harmony and builds up others concentrate on what
encourages harmony and builds up of you see I realize no matter what you do on
some occasions somebody’s going to get offended the point is you don’t do it
not caring you’re just living out would you feel
comfortable doing and if your car offends the guy that drives by that’s
his problem really you’re not driving it to offend him but it’s when you flaunt
it it’s what it becomes wrong you’re deliberately wanting to hurt someone
else or offend them let’s not go there number two remember that sabotaging
fragile Saints hurts the work of God when you bring people down God’s work is
hindered verse 20 don’t tear apart the work of God by what you eat remember all
foods are acceptable but it’s wrong to eat something if it makes another person
stumble it’s better not to eat meat or drink wine or anything else it might if
it might cause another believer to stumble you may believe there’s nothing
wrong with what you’re doing but keep it between yourself and God there you have
it keep it private keep it private remember the sabotaging fragile Saints
hurts the work of God there’s one more determine where you stand then follow
your convictions that’s in verses 22 and 23 now if you have doubts about whether
or not you should eat something you’re sinning if you go ahead you want to be
free of doubts you ought to be that confident in how you live you know what
this is all saying love must rule in the family of God love must rule and let’s
make sure we’re not making more of something than we should I read this
past week of a true story between a father and a son their relationship was
moving more and more toward intense the boys getting older
the father is getting more rigid and the son and father are not getting along
well and finally it comes to a head and the boy begins to talk about just
leaving they both go to bed that tonight neither one can sleep the Sun
gets up in the middle of the night and goes down to the kitchen to fix himself
a sandwich and there sits his daddy who’s fixing himself a sandwich and so
they sort of pick sandwiches together and when they do they begin to sort of
reminisce began to think about early days and the dad brings up when he was
much younger the boy was much younger they went on a hunting trip together and
remember the fun we had when we camped out it rained and in the tent leaked if
we worked out a way to fix that yeah I remember that daddy and remember that
fishing trip we went on and wasn’t that fun in fact when you graduated we shot
the rapids together and the boat turned over and we kind of climbed back in when
that very time and they were laughing together and the dad said I remember or
the son says I remember dad when we went out and you’re in your green boat and we
tried to catch fish and I kept saying well there’s something wrong with the
color of this boat because we never can catch fish and the dad said the boat was
blue son and the son said no it was green dad
and the dad said it was blue I don’t know it was my boat the son said dad it
was green it was a green boat blue three blue three the boy got up walked out
never saw his dad again over the color of a boat really really
you’re in the process of letting your friends go and letting your adult children go don’t stop just remember
this little piece I’m going to read to you it’s called the bicycle learning the
bicycle I found it in the magazine title of the American scholar listen to this
touching moment the older children pedal past stable as little gyros spinning
hard to supper bath and bed until at last we also quit silent and tired
beside the darkening yard for trees now shadow up instead of down they’re
predictable lengths can only tease her as head Lord she walks her bike alone
somewhere between her wanting to ride and her certainty she will always fall tomorrow though I will run behind arms
out to catch her she’ll tilt and then balance wide wide of my reach till
distance makes her small smaller beyond the place I stop
and know that to teach her I had to follow and when she learned I had to let
her go when she learned I had to let her go let him go I speak on behalf of your
children who will no longer come to church I speak on behalf of those who
were getting into trouble on those who were buying into a lifestyle that isn’t
yours or mine let him go to teach her you finally have to follow and when they
learn you have to let them go may we bow together you said quietly right there
I’m thinking of my four children and I want you to think of yours and if you’re not
married or if you no longer married or if you don’t have children you’ve got a
friend who’s moving in another direction you used to be close and you’re no
longer close let it be forced friendships rarely build into close
friendships maybe you’re afraid let it be let it be the Lord is able to help them on their
own bike and if they don’t make it like you have they’re not you they’re not you if they need the Lord Jesus of course
pour your heart into prayer for them and hold them before him counting on him to
reach them and their save their souls but leave your little notes unwritten
your little hints unspoken let them be thank you Father for knowing us better
than anyone on this planet will ever know us and loving us more than we’ve
ever been loved by anyone else thank you for accepting us thank you for changing
us thank you for giving us grace now Lord use these words in specific lives
that need them desperately and reach those wavered ones in your time and in
your way may we learn how to back off and let you take over in the name of
Jesus we pray everybody said amen Hey friends, I’m Melissa Renner pastoral
leader of our women’s ministries here at Stonebriar Community Church thank you
for tuning into our live stream this morning if you live in the Dallas area
we would love to connect with you in person whether that’s on a Sunday or at
any of our events throughout the week visit stonebriar.org to find out what we
have to offer and come see us soon

 

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