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Relating to Other's Whose Consciences Disagree

Conscience  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Dilemma/ Challenge

What do you do when another’s person’s conscience does not allow you to do certain practices?
Levels of Importance for Doctrines in Scripture
First level issues - things that you cannot deny as a Christian.
Second level issues- things in this category “create” reasonable boundaries between Christians”
TIming of the coming of Christ
Organization of church polity
Third- level issues - matters of conscience
What activities are appropriate on Sunday
These matters aren’t unimportant.
These matters are to be done unto and before God.
There can be disagreement on these and unity and fellowship in the church and in other relationships.
These differences do not need to be necessarily removed, but we do need to learn how to love people in these differences. Even in the closest relationship, two people do not agree on everything.

Controversy over the Third level Issues

The particular controversies addressed in dealt with eating meats, treatment of holy days, and drinking wine. The weak conscience is misinformed about God’s ways. The strong are acting based on what God has revealed. Jews are mainly associated with weak conscience and the Gentiles with the strong in this particular case.
Romans 14:2 NKJV
For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
Romans 14:2
First slide
However notice the divide that starts to happen with the attitudes of these groups toward each other. The strong become arrogant, and the weak become judgmental. These are differences in which brothers and sister should still be unified with. Every man’s accountability before God and the aim of honoring God should ultimately direct whether he does a certain activity or not. Because this is so, one is not in the place to be arrogant or judgmental.
Romans 14:3-
Romans 14:3–10 NKJV
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2nd slide
Notice how the divide gets even wider. Each person is in danger of a heresy. The strong conscience can use his freedom for lawlessness. The thinking of the weak conscience can turn into imposing restrictions that are contrary to the gospel.
1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:19–21 NKJV
What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
1 Timothy 4:1–3 ESV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Galatians 1:9 ESV
As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
So what do we do with the Divide?
Should the weak conscience just start eating meat?
Should the strong conscience stop eating meat?
It is important that one not be stricter than God. (John Murray)
There is room for calibrating and growing, but one should not be coerced into acting against his conscience.

The controversy is to be handled with love

It is important to remember that weak in faith deals with ones confidence of what He thinks he should be doing before God. This does not mean that one with a strong conscience is pleasing God more than the one with the weak conscience. Both can please God and both can sin.
There is importance in continually calibrating the conscience. We all have weak and strong consciences in certain areas.
Toward the brother, you are endeavoring not to cause them to stumble or grieve their conscience. When one uses his liberty to do such a thing , He is not walking according to love (v. 15). The name of Christ is not being advanced.
He is rather to seek for actions that build up the other brother.
He is to welcome him. Learn about them. Assume that they are exercising things according to a conscience that is trying to honor God.
Live in harmony. Don’t try to force others to obey the rules of your conscience. Don’t flaunt the use of your freedoms
The theological foundation for this is
the fact that God’s kingdom is much greater than me getting to exercise my rights.
Christ Himself did not live to please Himself.
The goal is that the believers may with one voice glorify God.
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