Ever been just a tad bit frustrated by the arguments Christians can have with one another? Ever been a part of an argument where you wish you could go back in time and not say what you said? Join Nicole and Sharon for a sobering look at how we ought to live with one another, learning from Paul and some of the arguments earlier Christians had. Yeah. This arguing thing? It goes waaaaay back. But guess what? We are in this together forever. We need to get along. Come ponder with us on today's episode.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. Today we’re talking about getting along with other Christians. After all, those of us who love Jesus are going to be living in heaven together. So we ought to learn how to get along now. Episode 69 is called We’re in This Together. We’ll look at how God took Jews and Gentiles who had nothing to do with each other and knit them into a whole new community in Ephesians 2 today. And we’ll also learn some life lessons for getting along with others now. Sharon, do you have any good stories about struggles with other Christians that you care to share?
Oh, Nicole, Christians can be an argumentative little bunch. We feel strongly about evidently everything. (Nicole: Yeah) We’re always going against the flow by believing in God. So it’s not surprising that we’d all have strong opinions about all sorts of matters.
That’s a good point.
I can remember in all the different churches I lived in arguments about alcohol, arguments about modesty, whether you should always wear skirts, whether wearing pants was acceptable, even arguments about jewelry, believe it or not. (Nicole: Huh) I once was told that wearing earrings that had feathers in them was sinful.
Someone was horrified.
Oh my word.
I mean, horrified. And because they believed that feathers represented a sort of nature worship spiritism (Nicole: Oh) So when they saw feathers hanging out my ears, they thought I was by being like an idol person, like worshiping idols. (Nicole: Wierd) It was strange. (Nicole: Huh, yeah) I had no idea. I had never associated feathers with idol worship in my entire life. I just thought they were pretty.
And you liked them.
Yeah. Anyways, the answer to your question, yes. (Nicole: A few) Just a few. How about you?
Oh yes. Well like you, I grew up, um, you were married to a military man, but I grew up in a military family. So we went to several different churches over the years and we heard some pretty silly arguments too. But one of the bigger ones I remember as a teen was a debate over King James Version (Sharon: Oh yes) versus any other version and don’t have it in the pew. It was a big deal to even have another Bible in the church. And I remember when they started to add chorus or praise books?
Yeah. Not even worship songs and drums, (Nicole: No) just a praise chorus. A chorus was like, hmmm?
Just the praise choruses. It was. It was like quite a thing.
It was written now. We only sing hymns written in the 1800’s.
Yes. That was a big thing too. And then one of the most ridiculous arguments I ever encountered, I was just old enough to start going to like the, you know, the body meetings or whatever at this one church. And they were fighting like head to head about the carpeting in the church. They were trying to renovate the sanctuary and people were like angry about the carpet, the carpeting.
Good gravy. I’ve heard that used as an example, but I’ve never met anyone who actually had witnessed a carpet fight.
Yes. It’s just like, it’s sad that we get so distracted with trivial things.
Feathers and carpets.
I would say carpets are pretty trivial. (Nicole: Yeah) Well, before we go deeper into all the silliness I think we’re gonna look at the Ephesian church because this is related to what we’re gonna read today. We’re gonna see how God broke down hostility and knit two very different groups together. You know, just like, I mean, you’re never gonna agree on carpet. exactly cause people have different favorite colors, you know, things like that. So anyways, so God’s, knitting two very different groups together in Ephesians. We’re gonna read from Ephesians 2:11-22. Paul has just finished telling us that we did nothing to earn our salvation and right-standing as God’s beloved children. And then he reminded us in that last verse we read that we were created on purpose and for a purpose and we need to gladly fulfill God’s calling on our lives. We’ve got work to do. So we don’t need to waste time arguing over things that ultimately don’t affect our salvation or our walk with God.
So I’m gonna start with verse 11 and we’ll read back and forth. Here we go. God’s time. “Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be the outsiders. You were called uncircumcised heathens by the Jews who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.”
“In those days, you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship, among the people of Israel. And you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.”
“But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”
“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.”
“He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.”
“Together as one body Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross and our hostility toward each other was put to death.”
“He brought this good news of peace to you Gentiles, who were far away from him and peace to the Jews who were near.”
“Now, all of us can come to the Father through same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”
“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people, you are members of God’s family.”
“Together we are his house built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets and the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”
“We are carefully joined together in him becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
“Through him, you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his spirit.”
“Aw, this is so nice.
That’s so nice.
Listen to us aww. (Nicole: Loving the Bible) So tell me why Gentiles and Jews didn’t actually hang out together back then? What was this hostility thing?
Yeah, this is a big transition for both of these groups, Sharon. The Jews had always kept themselves as a separate people because of their strict laws for purity and such. And the Gentiles took offense to that. You know, they kind of thought the Jews just hated everyone else and they felt slighted or not good enough to hang out with them. (Sharon: Yeah, yeah) So that was that one side. And then the Jews believed that the Gentiles had to follow the law, like they had been following it before Christ, to the letter before they could be true believers. And they were a little appalled about their eating habits as well since the Gentiles ate many things, the Jews had been told were unclean by the law. So these two groups definitely had some things to work out.
Oh they did. I’m laughing at that so much because one of my biggest fears if God had asked me to be a missionary, which he did not. But if he did was, what if I had to eat bugs, you know, to be polite somewhere?
Right. I mean, that’s a valid concern.
Yeah. So anyways, you just made me laugh. Sorry. So, okay. So there’s a big divide there. Jews really did keep more separated and you know, Jewish men even looked different because every boy as an infant was circumcised.
They wore tassels on their garments. And sometimes even those phylacteries, those little boxes with a scripture in them, on their heads (Nicole: Oh, yeah) and stuff. They looked odd, I suppose, to the Gentiles, you know? But all that outward stuff was not what saved them. I love verse 17 so much, “He brought this good news of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him and peace to the Jews who were near.” Neither had the peace of Christ before Jesus came though they were far away or near. They both needed it. Neither had the Holy Spirit living in them, did they? The Jews knew more about God, but they couldn’t be close to him either because of sin. Those sacrifices were not sufficient to keep them clean. And all those rules made some of them kind of proud. And Nicole, I have to confess that during my homeschooling days when I was a homeschooling mom, I was guilty of rule-following pride. We wore dresses, not pants. All the time. Jumpers were particularly appropriate. We kept ourselves from anything that might be even remotely considered to maybe be ungodly to someone else. And I strictly regulated what the girls could watch or read.
You know, my motives were partially good. I really did want my girls to be saturated with godly things but my pride started to grow. My people-pleasing, started to grow. I wanted all the other home school moms to think I was a really good home school mom and did all the rules the way home school moms did rules. And my ‘judgy-ness’ of people who drew different boundaries, (Nicole: Yeah) you know? It was an abomination before the Lord. Let’s just be honest here. God tells me to love. (Nicole: Yeah) And I had become so judgy about silly carpet things. Right?
But I lost my ability to love. I was fearful of everybody that wasn’t like us, like they’d somehow contaminate the kids. It was just, it was just so wrong.
I know. It’s so easy to get off track though. And it’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to make sure like, oh, I don’t wear feather earrings, it might offend someone who might think…? Or wear the dresses and we can get so consumed with the law again and the rules and we’re meant to love.
We can. Then we’re trapped again.
Yes. We’re just as, as bad as we were, you know?
But you know, I think we can get off track and think we’re doing great, but start to be consumed by pride. (Sharon: Uh-hmm) And you know how the saying goes, pride always comes before a fall. And whenever we’re filled with pride, there’s little room for anything else in our heart or no room for love for others.
You know it, that’s so true. There’s a verse in, I think the New International Version, that says, (laughing) that says pride puffs up; it fills the space.
Good visual word.
Yeah. And therefore there isn’t room for love. There isn’t room for humility there isn’t room for forgiveness. Pride puffs us up and we’re just full of ourselves. And when we’re full of ourselves, we’re not empathetic.
We’re not seeing things from another person’s perspective.
I like that. Yeah.
I know. And it, it can start from a place of, of like wanting to do good.
Wanting to do good.
It’s not always like, oh, I’m just so cool. It’s just, we need to be really careful.
We do. We do.
Pride is a sneaky sin.
It’s sneaky. It is so sneaky. So alright. Well, I’m gonna make a list or let’s make one together (Nicole: Yeah) From this passage of what Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles had in common, because we’ve talked about their differences and how they look different, how their body parts were different cause of circumcision you know? How they had different rules (Nicole: Yeah) but now that they’re saved, now that they’ve been brought together by the Holy Spirit, this is what they have in common. And we find these things from these verses. In verse 13, they both, both Gentile and Jew were united with Christ Jesus, brought near by the blood of Christ. So they had that in common.
Mmm, and verse 14 says that Christ himself has brought all of us who are his, his peace. We are now one new people and we all have his peace.
We have his peace. (Nicole: Yeah) And we’re one people. (Nicole: Yes) Awesome. Verse 15 sort of clarifies that and says he created himself that one new people from two groups, we are one in him. He abides in us. We abide in him. We share that in common.
Yeah, um, verse 16 goes even further and says our hostility toward each other was put to death.
Okay. So when we’re resurrecting, that particular thing, resurrection of that, that’s really bad. (Nicole: Yeah) Verse 18, “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit. Okay. So we all come the same way now. Right? It’s not the rules. It’s not the regulations. Whether we were far near it’s, we come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit.
That’s pretty cool. Verse 19 reminds us that we are citizens together and members of God’s family.
Yeah. I loved what you said at the beginning. We’re gonna live in heaven together. Nicole: Right) Hello we might as well get along.
Jews and Gentiles.
Verse 20 says that we are his house built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. We share that foundation and the cornerstone is Jesus himself. He’s our rock. All of us who love him. He’s our foundation. Our foundation cannot be any other little principle that we think is more important. (Nicole: Yeah) Jesus Christ and his saving death for us has to be the cornerstone.
Mm, absolutely. (Sharon: Yeah).
And then verse 22 declares that we are part of the dwelling where God lives by his spirit. (Sharon: Yeah) So we’re all together.
All together. Yes.
Yeah. So there are some things we have to share in common in order to be God’s family. (Nicole: Mm) We need to agree Christ is the cornerstone and that he is the one who saves. What other things do we need to share in common to be part of God’s family?
Hmm. Well, we all are a family now united under Christ. So other differences just don’t matter. Now we are all his children and we all have the same Holy Spirit in us.
We are and we do.
We just have to remember that.
Yeah, we do. Yeah. And knowing that, we believe Jesus is God, we believe he rose from the dead. You know, we’ve got some, we’ve got some basic truths that define Christians.
Yes. Some fundamental things.
Some fundamental things.
We do need to agree on.
He died for us and rose again.
Right, right, right, right. The Immaculate Conception, or not that actually but the one where Mary was a Virgin. (Nicole: Yes) That made Jesus God and man. There’s some, there’s some core beliefs and they’re recited over and over again in the Bible. They’re pretty easy to follow, but there’s a lot of things on which there can be disagreement.
Without losing your salvation, you know what I’m saying? So here we go. So when we argue about how long the skirt should be, or whether or not we should wear feathered earrings, we’re kind of resurrecting that hostitility, (hostility, laughing) that Jesus put to death. And it keeps us from a central purpose. I think that’s what makes me the most frustrated. (Nicole: Yeah) Our central goal, the reason we’ve been left here after we’ve received Christ and didn’t get scooped up to heaven cause we’re done, is to share with other people. (Nicole: Yeah) That’s the reason God left us here is because he wants more people to know him. And when we waste all our time on carpet color we’re not exactly doing the great commission. Why do we get so fussy, Nicole? And I say, we, because I get fussy too.
Oh yes. I hear ya!
Why is it so hard to give grace when people disagree with us?
Oh, what a great, hard question. (Sharon: ahuh!!) I dunno. I think for me it happens when I take my eyes off of God or if we turn our Bible time into like a search for condemnation for other people’s sins instead of our own.
Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah.
I’ve done that before looking for the answers to help fix them, you know, or even just wanting to make ourselves feel better if we’re struggling in our own walk with him. You know, picking at someone else, that beam in someone else, you know? That speck in their eye with the beam in ours.
Sometimes it’s just easier to pick out other people’s feather earrings or what not then to face our own sin and sit and work it out with God.
You know what? That’s so true. Sometimes, sometimes it’s hiding from God when we, when we get really judgy because we don’t wanna be in his actual presence.
Yeah. That’s tough.
Oowie, that was a zinger, good job.
Well, we’re gonna look for a bit at what the Bible has to say about disagreements within the church. Some have to happen. Some do not. (Nicole: Hmm) So let’s start with what Jesus said about how to deal with a disagreement or a hurt that we do have. So would you read Matthew 18:15-22?
Sure. “If another believer sins against you go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven. And whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. I also tell you this, if two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together, as my followers, I am there among them then. Then Peter came to him and asked Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No, not seven times. Jesus replied, but seventy times seven.”
I love this. And I love that this comes after Jesus’ way of dealing because I can just see Peter going, ‘okay, so someone has sinned, it’s a sin’. So they’ve been wrong. (Nicole: Yeah) It’s not a question of color of carpet. It’s a sin.
Right. Straight up sin.
So, okay. So I go to them privately, point out the offense and if they listen and confess, I’ve won the person back. Well, how many times do I have to go through that? I mean, do I have to do it over and over and forgive them over and over? Right?
Right. He’s so black and white. He asks the questions sometimes we’re afraid to ask.
I love Peter.
Yeah. It’s so funny. And Jesus is like, oh yes, yes you do. No matter how many times they’ve sinned. (Nicole: Yeah) If they genuinely say, I can’t believe I did that again, you need to forgive it. (Nicole: Yep) You just do. This is really a very gentle way, to deal with sin. I love it. (Nicole: It is) I mean, you go to the part where the church has to remove a person.
And you think, Ooh, that’s harsh. But if you look at it fully, including (Nicole: The steps) there’s so many steps, you go to them privately, you don’t go to someone else and say, do you know what someone did to me?
You go right to the person that did the wrong thing. Perhaps they gossiped about you, which would’ve been sin. (Nicole: Yeah) So instead of making it worse and gossiping about them, do you know what they did? They told this secret of mine. You go to them and you say, hey, somebody told me that you said this about me and it really hurt me. So it’s a private thing. (Nicole: Right) You give them the gentleness and the respect to solve it quietly (Nicole: Yes) without embarrassing them.
I was just gonna say you’re avoiding embarrassment or making it a bigger issue when it might have been an accidental slight. Maybe it was something that just kind of slipped, giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Because we are all messy, sinful humans. (Sharon: Oh, my goodness!) And I would love some grace when I do dumb things.
So going with that heart of, hey, like not on the war path but, hey, I heard this, is this true? And what was your intent? I think that’s huge for stopping conflict.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful way to begin.
It really is.
You can nip it right there before you go to all the other steps.
Yeah. And then that next step is still gentle. You’re only taking two or three. (Nicole: Yes) And again, it’s a small amount and it’s coming with a desire to win the brother or sister back.
Yes. Not condemn them (Sharon: Right) or tell them how horrible they were to hurt you.
Not pound them over the head.
But to restore fellowship. Right. It’s again, a very gentle, like, okay, let’s work this out. Maybe you two can’t come to a reasonable, so now we have two witnesses to intervene or to help.
Exactly. And you know what that does too?
That brings humility to yourself because now people are watching how you interact with this person.
Ooh. That’s a great point.
Oh, and what if you had a part in it?
Then your sin’s revealed, then you have to go through the process.
You’re gonna have to go through it. So when you bring in another couple people, you do it with the humility of knowing that the whole story’s gonna come out.
Right. And you have accountability right there on the spot.
Oh, Jesus was smart.
Like he knows what he’s doing!
I know it. And only at the very end, is there the kicking out and an example of that is the Corinthians’ example where a man was actually sleeping with his father’s second wife. I feel that was really bad. Yeah. (Nicole: Yeah) You can’t be doing that. So there are times when you’re like, you know what? You can’t be walking around saying, I love Jesus, and I belong to this church while you’re doing something so blatantly, repeatedly wrong with no remorse. (Nicole: Yeah) Because that’s not what Christians do. (Nicole: No) And we want you to be a Christian that reflects Christ. So for now we think you should be somewhere else, but please come back when you realize you’re wrong.
And there’s always restoration. And this happens so rarely. (Sharon: Yeah) That’s because the other methods work so well, it’s only a person who’s heart is really hard (Sharon: Exactly) that they have to come to the point of, you know, going away.
But I’ve seen restoration. People have come back.
After the church had to get involved. (Sharon: Yes) And it’s such a beautiful thing.
It is. And when the church welcomes them like the prodigal, it’s beautiful.
Yes, what a beautiful… And I just love it, that’s a great you know, showing of God’s grace.
Yeah. Yeah. And it all goes along with the, how many times do we have to forgive? Seventy times seven.
Exactly. So even after that final step, don’t count God out.
Don’t count God out. Absolutely. I’m gonna read one more. John15:12-17. “This is my commandment Jesus says, love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You’re my friends if you do what I command, I no longer call you slaves because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I’ve told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for using my name. This is my command, love each other.”
He says that twice. This is my commandment. Love each other the way I’ve loved you. And then he ends with that. This is, love is a big deal.
Love is a big deal.
We can’t do any of those steps of restoration without love, (Sharon: We can’t) because we’ll go with, like self vindication, like, well, you did this to me. You have to have love.
Yes. The puffed up pride will push out the love.
Absolutely. Yep. I mean, I would, every time go just to get, well, you wronged me. We have to have love.
Yep, exactly so. And he makes it very, very clear here. He really does. If we wanna produce that lasting fruit and we do, we best be loving people.
It’s a command.
Oh my goodness, okay. Well now let’s finish up with a look at Paul’s discussion of what, um, Ray likes to call disputable matters. Some matters are not disputable. (Nicole: Yes) Jesus is God come in the flesh and we’re only saved through Jesus.
Absolutely. The Bible is the written word of God.
Those are kind of like, you know, if you’re gonna call yourself a Christ-follower, you gotta get those.
Right. There’s some basic things we have to agree on.
Yeah. But in Romans 14, he talks about disputable matters. (Nicole: Hmm) So it’s kind of fun. And this controversy is certainly not one we have, but it was a big deal to the Christians back then. And it was the controversy of meat that had been sacrificed to idols.
Now, naturally you sacrifice this meat to the idols and oh yeah, idols don’t eat it. Right?
And it’s so weird.
I know. It’s still good meat.
So then it’s sold in the marketplace. So, um, you got two groups of Christians here. One group of Christians goes, well, of course you can buy it. So what, it’s meat.
It wasn’t sanctified by idols. You know, it’s just meat.
They didn’t touch it. It’s just meat.
Cut before a stone statue.
Eat it. Give me a break, right? (Nicole: Exactly) But the more sensitive Christians are saying, but now we’re supporting the temple, which is about the only way you could get meat. You know, because now we’re buying meat that people gave to false idols. It’s an evil thing to do. You know? So you have this huge thing where they both think they’re right. They both think they’ve got the higher ground. They’re both trying to do what’s right. And it could get very self-righteous and heated.
Yeah. Yeah. So boy, oh boy. Um, too easily, they could end up enemies over an issue that had so little to do with the saving grace of Jesus, and that bearing fruit that lasts, oh yeah. Out the window. You’ve got your meat loving crowd and you’ve got the, you better be a vegetarian man crowd.
Right, it’s just easier.
And now you can’t even worship together, even though you’re gonna be in eternity together.
Because of a meat issue.
And how does that have outsiders see the Christian Church?
Wow. They can’t even get along with each other. Cool. Yeah. Another argument they had was holidays and holy days. Which days still had to be celebrated from the law.
Oh, yes. That’s right.
And, and which days could you skip? Because now you’re Christian. And can you add new days? You like Sunday, the day of rest because that’s the day Jesus rose from the dead. (Nicole: Oh yeah) So all these issues, I’m sure, delighted Satan. Cause they were so busy messing about with them that they weren’t focused on bringing people into God’s kingdom.
That’s a great point.
Or even talking to God. (Nicole: Right) You know, this is, Nicole, this is a sign: when you wake up in the morning and your first thought is an issue, not God. And you wanna read up on an issue, not God’s word. Right?
Oh, that’s so true, Sharon. That’s….
It can consume you.
It can. And when you reach for information you can gather versus God, I need you, that shows our heart is fixated on the wrong thing.
It shows it. Yep. And there we are idol-worshiping again. (Nicole: Yep) Man, zing! This is a zing-y one today!
I know. I’m hurting over here.
I’m feeling zonged. Well, okay. We’re gonna close with this, Romans 14:1-18. I’m gonna read verses one through nine. Great advice when you disagree with Christians on disputable matters. Paul says this “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 believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will only eat 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’ll stand and receive his approval. In the same way some think 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 they’re eating it. 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. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose, to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.”
Hmm. I’ll read the rest of it, verses 10-23. “So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the scriptures say, as surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bend to me. And every tongue will declare allegiance to God. 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 am 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 are 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. But 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. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you’ll please God and others will approve of you too. So then let’s aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God, over what you eat. Remember all foods are acceptable, but it’s wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if you might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there is something wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself. You may believe there’s nothing wrong (big difference) with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”
Wow. This is so fun. It really is. I think of all, and we don’t have time to talk about a lot of it, but verse seventeen, for the kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink or the color of the carpet in the church or the feathers in your earrings. (Nicole: Mm) It’s but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Hmm. This, we’ve gotta come back to what matters. (Nicole: Yes) And that’s putting him first, treating others with respect and love, doing what will help them not stumble.
Oh my goodness, Nicole. And we can make people stumble by our anger and our vicious clinging to something that is secondary.
You know, God will judge them. I love that part too where it says, who are you to judge someone else’s servants? God’s gonna get them or not. And tell them, pray that he’ll show them. (Nicole: Yes) But you don’t have to be beating people over the head with, with minuscule rules and in the process lose the big picture of bringing more into the kingdom of God.
And wouldn’t we much rather live in a place of goodness and peace and joy than of angst, trying to convince other people that our way is the right way.
Even, he always has a blessing in his commands.
Oh my goodness, grace, grace, grace, mercy, mercy, mercy. We gotta do it. We sure get it.
Okay. Well let me pray. Oh heavenly Father, thank you for this rich, rich lesson. Thank you for every zinger. Help me, Lord, help all of us to please you with the way we treat fellow believers with whom we disagree. Help us to see them as works in progress, whom you love, brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to figure out life like we are. Help us to extend the same mercy and grace to them that you have extended to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. We are so glad you joined us with this talk today. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what Sharon called ‘disputable matters’. Write us in the comments @sweetselah.org/podcast. Come back next week for episode 70, we’re giving it a question for its title. It’s called, So What’s the Plan? You won’t wanna miss it. Until then let’s show we are Christians by our love for one another. We love you.
Speaker 1 (31:05):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and view the transcript here.