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HOLINESS & LIBERTY (Kent Smith 5/28/23)

HOLINESS and LIBERTY


Romans 14:13-15:2


Holiness: Week 6 of 7

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WHAT IS HOLINESS?

  • Holiness is the character of God, as separate from all else and all others.

  • To be holy is to be set apart by God, and unto God, and for His glory.

Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.

(1 Peter 1:15)

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“LIBERTY”

Is to the counterpoint to

LEGALISM”

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  • Last week we looked at the danger of Legalism as practiced by those weak in the faith, who felt that it was still necessary to keep the religious laws of the Old Covenant.

  • Specifically, Paul used the examples of dietary restrictions, not eating meat which was offered to idols, keeping the Sabbath restrictions, and holding to a specific day to worship.

  • His main thrust was that we should not judge one another regarding the manner in which we exercise our faith.

  • He continues now with the counterpoint for those strong in the faith, who fully embrace their freedom from the law.

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What do we mean by Liberty?


LIBERTY is the personal freedom granted to us under God’s revealed Biblical limitations

TO DO AS WE PLEASE

Without restraint or censure

From the arbitrary religious legalism of others.

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How our Liberty can threaten our Holiness


When we choose to exercise our liberty in a manner that reflects our commonality with the world, it diminishes the sense that we are “set apart as God’s people for God’s glory.

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Paul wrote to the church at Rome which was primarily a gentile congregation. Some of the converts may have been former Jews who still had a strong tie to the law and their religious traditions.


When God established the Law it was to “set apart” Israel from all the other nations around them.

The law created a distinction between the Israelites and the others around them.

The law is God’s expression of His own holiness. How He is truly “not like” any other!

For centuries keeping the Law showed the people’s distinction from the world, how they were “set apart.”


Now through Christ we are under grace and not the law.

We are not under obligation to keep the Law, and keeping the Law cannot and does not save us,

nevertheless

we are obliged to RESTRICT OUR LIBERTY to show ourselves “set apart” as God’s people.

Paul established some guardrails to keep us from moving too far astray in the exercise of our liberty.

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The Limits of our Liberty

(V. 13b - 15)


Guardrail #1


DO NOT CAUSE YOUR BROTHER TO STUMBLE.

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Do not put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced [f]in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.


We often have differing opinions.

If someone believes an action is wrong, then it is wrong for them.

If WE willfully offend others by doing something that we KNOW THEY believe is wrong, then WE have been unloving & selfish.

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The Limits of our Liberty

(V. 16 - 19)


Guardrail #2


PURSUE PEACE AND BUILDING UP ONE ANOTHER

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Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be [g]spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then [h]we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.


You do not have to agree with the opinions of others.

You do not have to argue the rightness of your opinion.

Serve Christ and others in humility.

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The Limits of our Liberty

(V. 20-21)


Guardrail #3


DO NOT ALLOW MINOR ISSUES TO CREATE MAJOR DAMAGE

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Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats [i]and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.


Do not tear down the work of God over opinions.

OFFENDING OTHER CHRISTIANS NEVER PLEASES GOD.

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Limits of our Liberty

(V. 22 - 23)


Guardrail #4


BE CERTAIN YOUR EXERCISE OF FREEDOM IS OF GOD.

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The faith which you have, have [j]as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.


Have your own convictions before God.

You will have more joy than trying to please everyone else.

But be certain that your opinions have God’s approval.

If you are uncertain of God’s approval, do not do it!

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The Limits of our Liberty

(15: 1 - 2)


Guardrail #5


PUT OTHERS BEFORE YOURSELF.

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Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor [a]for his good, to his edification.


Bear with those of weak faith (and many rules).

Do not just please yourself.

Seek to edify (build up) others.

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The guardrails help you stay in HIS lane!

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We may want to exercise our liberty to go wherever we want, but God has established some limits for our own good.

We need to respect the limits of our liberty in order to live a holy life as a people set apart for His glory!



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