Sunday, March 1, 2015

Shades of Grey

It was a cold day yesterday, but the rain and ice couldn't keep us from coming together, and what a GREAT DAY it was.  A special thanks to Andy Henderson & Colbi Mouser for stepping in and leading worship while Pastor Spencer took a much needed weekend off.

Yesterday we continued our series Living for the Glory of God.  In this series we have sought to simplify our faith walk by filtering our words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions through this one question: DOES THIS GLORIFY GOD?  In our time together we had a real life conversation about the fact that not all the decisions we face in this life are as simple as being right or wrong.  It would be nice if everything checked out as being black or white, but sometimes life is grey.  There are some issues that the Bible doesn't specifically speak to. 

So how should we respond? How are we to navigate the grey?

Some people navigate the grey with LEGALISM.  They respond by hunkering down and creating their own set of rules and regulations.  Not only do they (attempt to) abide by them, but they expect everyone else to do the same.  So even though the Bible doesn't forbid specific things, they do.  And they forbid you as well, often employing guilt and shame as a means to modify your behavior.  And while they may look "holy" on the surface, people who are legalistic tend to be incredibly prideful and arrogant.  Even their shadows cannot stand being around them. 

And at the other end of the spectrum you have those who practice LICENSE.  To this crowd, God is purely "tolerant" and "loving" and therefore man is free to live how he chooses.  So why not party it up?  God's grace will cover your sin. Go for it, right?  WRONG.  To not take sin seriously is to not take God or the Bible seriously.  Those who attempt to abuse God's grace and freedom show that they really do not understand the work of the cross.  Jesus died to save us from sin not to sin. Licentious people may bear the name "Christian" but they have no real intentions of surrendering their lives to Christ.

So how do we stay balanced?  How do we navigate the grey? Things like drinking, music, television, movies, tattoos, gambling, etc.  How do we live for the glory of God in these areas?  Yesterday we closed out with three questions to ask yourself.  These are three check points to help you know how to respond in a balanced and God-honoring way.  Let's look at them again quickly.

First off, don't call something grey that God has called black and white.  Example: while drinking is not necessarily a sin, getting drunk most certainly is.  Drunkenness is black and white, just like lying or stealing.  So don't justify drinking when your desire is drunkenness.  Remember, God cannot be mocked (see Galatians 6:1).  Before you act, consult the scriptures to see what God commands. 

If I do something that will push a non-believer away from God, I can know with confidence that this choice is NEVER God's will.  Is there a specific verse in the Bible that says "Thou shalt not go to a club?"  No.  But I told the story yesterday about being at a club when I was in college.  I ran into someone I had shared my faith with many years prior, my old friend Jimmy Perez.  He was totally disappointed in me and with the fact that I was there. Even though he did not believe in my God, he had believed in me.  And in one moment I failed him.  I can still hear his words ringing out in my mind.  Before you do something you think is harmless, take inventory of those around you.  Will your actions bring them closer to God or push them further away?

The majority of our message yesterday was spent addressing this issue.  As followers of Christ we must not live only for ourselves.  We must think about the good of others, especially our Christian brothers and sisters (see Philippians 2:4).  So while we may not personally have an issue with something that is grey, we should refrain from it if it will cause one of our brothers or sisters to stumble.  Let's say you and a friend grab a bite to eat one Saturday evening.  After dinner you suggest taking in a movie.  Your brother or sister says they are not comfortable with going to a movie.  They confess to you that they have struggled a great deal with profanity, and they know most movies (even with a PG-13 rating) are gonna have bad language and crude humor.  They just don't feel it wise to walk into a situation they know could influence them negatively.  Your response?  Even though you don't struggle with cursing, you decide not to go to the movies for the good of that brother or sister.  Can I tell you that when you do this it HONORS GOD BIG TIME?!?!?  Kudos to those of you who are already living this way. 

I hope these reflections are helpful and encouraging you to you all.  I am seeking to keep us all connected; growing and learning together.  If you ever have a question, comment, disagreement, etc. shoot me an email.  Would love to hear from you.

Below are some passages you may wanna check out this week as well as the link to this sermon series.  Hope your Monday is awesome. I love you guys.

Grace and peace,

Romans 14
1 Corinthians 6:12 
1 Peter 2:16-17 
Galatians 5:13-14 
Matthew 5:14-16 
Romans 2:17-24 
1 Corinthians 10:31-33

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