A Warning to Wine-Drinkers
We have just posted the newest sermon in the “Transformed Life” series:
Here’s an excerpt:
Thirteen years ago I met an Israeli tour guide named Zvi. He was remarkable in many ways, but most of all because he is a born again Jewish Christian believer in Jesus Christ. One morning he told the amazing story of his conversion to Christ. Members of his family perished in the Holocaust, but others escaped and moved to Israel. Zvi showed us the neighborhood in Tel Aviv where he was raised. Regarding Christianity, he said it was “more than impossible” that he should become a believer. But through the grace of God and the witness of the woman who would become his wife, Zvi confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. One day we asked if he still followed the Jewish dietary laws. He said yes he did, especially in terms of not eating pork. Now Zvi knows all about Christian liberty, but he and his family still follow the major kosher laws. Why? Partly out of personal preference and partly because he wants to win his Jewish neighbors for Jesus Christ. Eating pork would scandalize them and stigmatize him as a man who was embarrassed of his Jewish heritage. So he doesn’t eat pork. He doesn’t make an issue of is or try to convince anyone else. And he doesn’t think that eating pork is a sin. He just chooses not to do it.
That’s exactly what Paul is talking about. Sometimes your conscience will tell you, “Don’t do that. Don’t touch that. Don’t join that club. Don’t take that job. Don’t go to that movie. Don’t date that girl (or guy).” In those cases, the Bible says you should follow your conscience. In short, don’t do something you believe to be wrong even if others are doing it. I confess that in my rule-keeping days, I regarded this as a weak principle. But I now see that it is just the opposite. Only the strong can say “no” when everyone else is saying “yes.” It’s the weak who give in to pressure.
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