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Handle with Care (31 of 34)
Sermon Series: Good News from God
Have you ever used the right thing in the wrong way? Think of perfume or cologne. If you use it in the right way, a small amount actually makes you somewhat appealing to most people, but use it in the wrong way-use too much-and you will be appalling to people. This is also true of salt. If you use the right amount in your food, it is a delicious seasoning, but use too much and it can ruin your meal. The same principle is true with most medicines as well. Aspirin, for example, is a good blood thinner, but use too much of it and it will thin your blood to the point that it could kill you.
The apostle Paul, likewise, argues that it's possible to use the right thing in the wrong way. He applies this adage to Christian liberty. Previously, in Rom 14:1-12 Paul stated that we are absolutely free to decide for ourselves on non-essential issues like eating, drinking, dancing, music, and movies. We learned to "be slow to judge others; be quick to judge yourself." Now in 14:13-23 Paul presents the "other side of the coin" in our Christian liberty. Those who are free to enjoy their liberty are responsible for not having an adverse effect on other believers. Someone has recommended to Americans that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast should be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. Such a balance would be a helpful reminder. We need to recognize the same balance in our Christian life. Rights bring responsibility. How do you handle liberty? The answer is: you handle it with care. Liberty must be limited by love. Paul provides three warnings against abusing your Christian liberty.
1. Don't harm your fellow believers (14:13-15). Paul commands you to limit your Christian liberty because not all believers have the same freedoms in non-essential issues. In 14:13 he writes, "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-no ...
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