As I was going back through some of my old Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) notes, I came across the words "disputable matters." It then reminded me of a discussion our pastor had with our new members class several years ago on this same issue. I thought it would be something good for us to look at today.
Do you ever look at someone and think "Are they really a Christian? If she does that or believes in that, how can she be a Christian?" Or maybe you give another Christian a hard time because they do or do not celebrate Halloween. Or maybe you think all Christians should homeschool. I could share lots of examples, and I am sure you have thought of some of your own. Here is an example that Paul gives in Romans.
Romans 14:2-4a "One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?"
We live in a real world and sometimes people that profess to be a Christian irritate us. Shouldn't they be exactly like us if they are a Christian? We need to handle our differences with acceptance and love. We are accepted by God by belief in Jesus Christ. We are not to tell other believers how to behave on disputable matters.
Romans 14:1 "Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters."
I will try to describe each circle from the center out. First, we have the indisputable matters which are the core of our faith. These are not open to dispute. These are essential to the Christian faith.
- innermost circle (teal): Jesus. He is the core!
- second circle (green): Confession and everything in the Apostle's Creed.
Non-Essentials/Disputable Matters (not a test of a person's saving faith)
- convictions (pink): things that Christians argue about and sometimes divide the church—Sabbath, gays, war, how you are baptized, etc.
- conscience (peach): things the Bible isn't clear about we will disagree and that's okay.
Romans 14:13 "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister."
1 Corinthians 8:9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."
The NIV Life Application Bible says this about Romans 14:13, "Paul wants his readers to be both strong in the faith and sensitive to others needs." So remember, don't destroy other believers or God's church. Lift them up. Encourage them instead of focusing on the disputable matters.
Today I have created Scripture Art Cards using the same background technique I used on Friday's art journaling page. If you missed that post, click here. I chose to use bright colors since it makes me think of being positive and happy not confrontational. I also chose to use butterflies as I think of being a new creation in Christ. I do not want to be a stumbling block to any other new creation in Christ.
Feel free to join us on the Facebook page where some people will be sharing their creations. We also have some discussions that will be going on there too about the study. If you don't use Facebook and want to share your creation here, do so below by using Inlinkz! To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies and art tips, please see this post here. Have a blessed week!
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