Faith brings Maturity and Growth!
Romans 14: 13b-23
This passage urges us to pursue peace and harmony and not let the childish and petty things of life divide us. We are not to cause people to stumble by our actions or inactions. Our faith and actions are monitored closely by God as well as by other people, and we must realize that our actions are more influential than our words. We will either lift people up or bring them down!
Maturity and growth in Christ is by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also a choice we receive (Phil. 2). This is called sanctification, or, the Holy Spirit working in us. We are to never let our immaturity make us jealous of those who are mature. Do not seek an easy way to maturity. It takes years of discipline. Even Paul was discipled for three years by Barnabas before he went on his missionary journeys, and Christ, Himself, directly interdicted Paul!
· Paul was overcome by his liberation in and by Christ (Mark 7:18-19). He stressed that we must behave and be responsible in the correct manner. We may enjoy our freedom, but freedom does not entitle one to do anything one wants, just as living in a "free" county like the U.S. does not.
· Consecration is the work we do to tear down the barriers of our self-will and pride that block the work of His sanctification!
· Our human tendency is to persuade others to agree with our views. God's purpose is to get us in line with His views. Yet, so many Christians spend all of their time as pursuers of argumentation and not pursuers of holiness! There are times when we need to take a stand for correct doctrine and virtue with His Word, and there are times we need to separate childish, petty things from real things.
· A true Christian will never destroy another person's faith just to have his or her own way!
· Our freedom must not bring dishonor, division, or disrepute to the church. We must not argue with people out of our petty presumptions and feelings. Rather, we are to let Biblical convictions and the core truths of our faith infuse us so we can maintain and model them!
· Conviction is the role of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Acts 1:8; 4:31; 10:45; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:5-6). We must never we allow ourselves to be swayed from our convictions (ones that are Biblically based) by peer pressure!
1. What do you think it means to behave and be responsible?
2. Why do so many Christians spend all of their time and efforts as pursuers of argumentation and not pursuers of holiness? What do you suppose is their rationalization? How does faith come into play here?
3. There are times when we need to take a stand for correct doctrine or virtue. What are examples of this?
4. Why is fellowshipping with one other, regardless of the level of maturity and faith, important?
5. Why would a true Christian destroy another's faith just so he could have his own way?
6. What does freedom in Christ mean to you?
7. What have been some of the petty presumptions and feelings you have observed among some Christians? What about you?
8. How can you prevent your freedom in Christ from being a detriment to others?
9. How can you let Biblical convictions and the core truths of faith infuse you so you can maintain and model them?
© 1992, 2001, completely updated and revised 2004 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word http://www.intothyword.org/