THE KING’S BUSINESS
4 /9 follow his conscience, to claim our help, and to be safe from our hindrances (v. 1 3)./ ‘Peace," for there can be no peace among us but by charitable concession, and no peace within us while disregarding our brother. “Joy in the Holy Qhost" for when, we “grieve” our brother we grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30), and there is no joy like abstinence, denial of self for an other’s good. IV. T h e A rgument of t h e ^T ext . 1. Self is not the end of existence (v. 7). The ideal of the Christ-life is—no thought of self as the end of action or existence. 2. Christ the End, the Lord of life (v. 8) . If we bow to His Lordship we bow to service of men. 3. Christ Set the Example (v. 9). He sought Lordship only for service (Phil. 2: 5-8; Heb. 10:5-7). 4. Accountability (vs. 10-12). With such judgment as we judge we shall be judged (Matt. 7:12). 5. Do Not Trip Your Brother (v. 13). 6. Where the Error Lies (vs. 14, 15). (1) In an erring conscience; (2) in un charitable conduct; (3) not in material or formal matters. 7. 'Where the Reality Abides (vs. 16, 17). God is a Spirit; therefore, good is spiritual (John 4:24). 8. The Principle Patent to All (v. 18). Whatever, differences of opinion may be, universal consent of heaven and earth ap proves of the man who sacrifices himself for the sake of his neighbor. 9. The Conclusion (vs. 19-21). “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth (Greek,—strikes his foot), or is offended (Greek,—is made to fall).” 10. Prayer.
Questions of church polity; of forms of worship, as of baptism, of song, of attitude in prayer, etc. These we may deem im portant, but spiritual men, taught in the Gospel must admit that they are not es sential to salvation, nor reasons for con troversy and division. 2. Our Social Conduct. Such as style of dress; amusements'or pastimes; as danc ing, card-playing, theater going, society- functions, moderate drinking—if there be such (taking these items in themselves, apart from manifest immoral practices and sinful emotions). It is possible, no; it is actual, that multitudes of believers allow many things without compunctions of con science, and are convinced that the Scrip tures nowhere specifically forbid them, but grant them under the law of liberty. Here is occasion enough to practice the principle of Christian charity and denial-of-self. Ex travagance and immodesty in dress, danc ing, card-playing, theater going, and even moderate drinking are held to be inconsis tent with that unworldly and charitable life which believers should live, by a large portion, if not the majority, of pure and spiritual Christians. Now, so long as this is so, whatever argument may be pleaded for liberty in the matter, according to Paul, according to charity, according to Christ, we must all be abstainers, that is, neces sarily, total abstainers! For the sake of others’ feelings (v. IS) ; for the sake of others’ consciences (1 Cor.8:12); for the sake of others’ salyjtion (v. 20); for-the sake of your own justification (v. 12) ; for the sake of Christ (v. 8). Paul practiced what he preached (1 Cor. 8:13). But in all things we must maintain our freedom to do what in our charity we refrain from doing (Col. 2:14-23); yet remember that to circumscribe our liberty for the sake of others, is the essential spirit of Chris tian practice, and that public sentiment in and out of the Church, is such that we should be total abstainers. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, that we should use or not use, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (v. 17). “Right eousness," for our brother has. a right to
Am I my brother’s keeper? Lord, fit me, for my trust, With love, deep, aye, still deeper, Till thought of self is lost. Till doing what I would not, Foregoing what I would, I could becomes I could not, All for my neighbor’s good.
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