Why Christians Should NOT Do What They Have the Right to Do
October 4, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (1Corinthians 6:12)
A. Personal liberties and rights are some of the most precious things any human being actually possesses.
B. People have fought long and hard to have freedom:
1. The freedom of religion, of speech, of travel, of association.
2. Freedom from slavery, from oppression, from the control of a foreign state. Ireland fought long and hard to be free from England!
C. But when a person gets born again by the Spirit of God, we learn from the Bible that there are times that we are supposed to LIMIT our freedoms, and NOT do what we have every right to do.
1. That is what Paul is saying in 1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
2. And then again in 1Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
D. Now, that may come as a complete shocker to you, but it is a way of life that other groups have had to learn
1. Because, THAT is what it means to be a professional athlete
2. It’s what is required of most of us if we are going to get the best grades in a school exam
3. That is what is required of people who develop health problems
4. Think about it… To be a professional athlete…
a. Their lives for at least 6-8 months out of the year are very limited and completely restricted – they are not free to live and do as they please
b. They don’t take holidays, and they work the hardest during weekends, when everyone else is sitting on the couch and eating pizzas and doing whatever they want
c. Athletes however, get up early and go to bed early – 7 days a week
d. They are limited in what they can do
e. Question: Is it illegal to stay up all night, watch TV, or talk on the phone until 5am?
g. Yet athletes cannot just stay up as long as they want
h. They cannot just eat whatever they feel like
i. Not if they want to win a match, or win an upcoming race
5. Here is another example: If I want to have good health:
a. I have to walk away from all drugs, and all drink
b. I can’t just sleep in all the time and not exercise
c. I have to eat very healthy foods, simple foods, and maybe take vitamins
d. It is not illegal to eat what I want. To sleep as long as I want.
e. But if my goal is to have good health…
f. Then I have to limit my “liberties”
E. The same is true with living the Christian life
1. People who have been born again have “glorious liberty” now
2. But we have more important goals than just our freedom
3. And even though some things may not be wrong to do, we still don’t do them, because we yearn to excel in our Christian walk and reach the “prize” of the Christian life…
II. What is THE “prize” of the Christian Life? Philippians 3:13,14
A. This is the focus of all that we are learning this year…
B. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
C. Our goal is NOT just freedom
D. Our goal is NOT just happiness – even though, there is a lot of joy being a Christian
E. Our goal is NOT wealth, or power – like so many others seek
1. Our “prize” is Accomplishing the Will of God
2. Fulfilling God’s Purpose for our lives.
3. And succeeding at it – doing it well!
G. In order to do that, you and I often have to limit our liberties – NOT allow what other people are free to do, to hold you back (1Corinthians 6:12) All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
A. The Restrictions On Getting To Heaven (1Corinthians 6:9,10)
1. Sin keeps everyone out - look at the list: Sin is Unrighteousness – doing things that are not right
a. Fornication – sex outside of marriage
b. Idolatry – worshipping any thing, object or person other than Almighty God
c. Adultery – the abandoning of the marriage bed
i. Revilers – fighters, violent protesters
j. Extortion – manipulators, blackmailers
2. By the way, we ALL sin
a. Romans 3:10 says, As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
b. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
3. So all the education, all the money, all the good looks, all the friends, all the efforts, cannot make up for the fact we are not good enough
4. Hell is full of people who thought they were not bad enough
5. But the truth is, none of us are good enough for the kingdom of God
6. That’s the bad news
B. But, Here is the GOOD news…
C. We Have Been Made Free by One Person (1Corinthians 6:11)
1. A Born Again Christian has been Made Free by Christ
a. Not just ‘set free’ but MADE free
b. No born again believer is working to become free anymore
c. We ARE free – free indeed – by the infinite efforts of the Son of God
2. Jesus Himself, as a real Human Being fulfilled the requirements of all of God’s laws, for all mankind
a. THAT is why God became a baby at Christmas
b. Not just to die on the cross 33 years later
c. But to live up to all of God’s requirements, as a Man, for all men
d. Jesus fully accomplished all the requirements of God’s laws
e. But that wasn’t all
3. When Jesus died at the hands of wicked politicians and religionists, He shifted all of our failures to live up to God’s laws ourselves, onto Himself, and He personally paid for our failures – every last one of them
a. That’s why Jesus was able to say in John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [TOTALLY FREE]
b. Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
4. So, We are NOT recovering alcoholics, or recovering idolators, or Christian fornicators
5. We are free!
a. A born again child of God is FREE of the bondage of all that sin!
b. Why? Because we ARE washed, sanctified, and justified – fully forgiven
c. Those are such wonderful words!
We are NOT free
from sinning, but from SIN!
Free from sin’s grip and power and damnation
a. That is a lot to understand, but it is true if you would only believe it!
b. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
c. Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
D. What Do We Do With All This Freedom Now? (1Corinthians 6:12; 10:23)
1. This is what I want to teach you this month!
2. Question: If we are free, Can we not do as we please now?
a. Can I sin and still go to heaven when I die?
b. Can I be selfish, and self-centred; mean and grumpy, and still be with Jesus for all eternity?
c. Can I just live with someone and not be married to them?
3. Sadly yes!
a. I say sadly, because we all know it shouldn’t be that way - but it is! Especially today
1) Because my sin does not affect what Jesus did on the cross
2) A born again Christian is safe and secure in His perfect care, all the way to heaven
3) So, thank God that He does not require perfection from us anymore!
b. But even though you will still be going…
1) You will lose a lot of rewards in heaven
2) And there will be a lot of tears of sorrow and regret in heaven
4. But, the truth is, We were saved from hell’s eternal punishment, NOT so that we could live as we please
a. Titus 2:11,12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live [HOW?] soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
b. 2Corinthians 5:14,15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one [JESUS] died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
5. All things are lawful unto me but may not be best for me
a. 1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
b. 1Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
c. Paul repeats that phrase, “all things are lawful unto me” four times!
d. But then limits his own freedom – why?
1) Because “all things are not expedient” – they are not always the best for me
2) Because “all things edify not” – not everything that I am free to do helps me at all
3) Because as a Christian, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I have decided that “I will not be brought under the power of any [THING]”, except HIM
e. The point is that I should never allow anything to take control of my life, even though it may not be illegal to do
1) Like the super addicting habit of smoking – did you know there is no Law against smoking in the Bible?
2) Like watching late night TV, and unrestricted YouTube videos
3) Like sports and fishing and hobbies
E. What is Paul saying?
1. Our liberty needs sometimes to be limited by ourselves
a. EXAMPLE: Just because something is “legal” in the country in which we live, does not mean a Christian should be doing it
1) Drinking is legal. Smoking is legal. Soon marijuana will be legal
2) Divorce is legal, and getting easier by the year
3) Living together without any kind of marriage vow or covenant is legal
4) Being angry and staying angry is legal
5) Corrupt communication is legal – people can say such awful things
b. But that does not mean a Christian should be doing any of the above
c. As Christians, we don’t do what everybody else may be free to do
2. We still live by God’s rules
a. We are free from sin, but we are NOT free from God’s law, because it is still good!
b. Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
c. Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. [I NEED LIMITS AND RULES TO LIVE BY]
d. James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Psalm 119:45 And I
will walk at liberty: for I seek [TO DO] thy precepts.
A Christian actually lives FREE when they live in the boundaries of God’s laws
3. All things that are lawful, are lawful unto me, but they are not always the best for me
a. Everything that is okay to do, I am free to do
b. But it may not be best for me to do
F. Paul Makes His Point in 6:13-20
1. He talks about Food and Fornication (6:13,14)
a. What we can eat: Food. Meats are the foods we eat – here, the discussion was about unclean, or unhealthy foods
b. What we do with our bodies: Fornication
c. Neither are eternal – both in the end are destroyed
2. There were loads of extreme views about both
a. Very strict dietary rules
b. And then there were those who just did and ate whatever they wanted
3. But our very bodies belong to the Lord Jesus now, not to sin, and not to ourselves (6:15)
a. Fornication is sex without the limits of marriage
b. Our bodies are important to GOD
c. Even though our bodies die, they won’t stay dead – will be resurrected
d. We have been joined to Jesus Christ – married to Him
e. Why would we step out on Him and be with an harlot?
f. Strong words!
4. So, FLEE fornication – pornography, living together with someone (6:16-18)
a. Even though it is so easy to do
b. Even though no one stops you
c. Run away because it is wrong – it is a sin against your own body
5. Your own body is the Temple of God (6:19,20) – treat it that way
a. Just as holy and special as Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem was!
b. The Holy Spirit of God is actually living IN you now
c. God bought you when you were a slave to si, and made you free
d. And even though you are free, you made a choice when you got saved, to belong to God now
6. That’s Why we limit our liberty, our freedom, for a higher calling
A. You and I have been called out of bondage to sin, Satan, the world, and our old nature
B. To freedom in Christ!
1. All it takes is repentance towards God, and child-like faith in Jesus Christ
2. And you are from that moment on, FREE
3. But NOT to live as we please
4. We have every right to do as we please, but we don’t
1. Because there are More Important Things Than My Personal Rights
a. Like Reaching the World with the life changing Gospel. We need to be willing to lose our freedoms in this life, so that someone else will find eternal life by faith in Christ
b. Like SERVING each other! Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
c. Like SHUTTING THE MOUTHS of critics! 1Peter 2:13-16 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
d. Like Protecting Weaker Brethren is more important than my own personal freedoms
e. Like Doing The Will of God
f. All so that we can be Like Jesus
2. All of these will be explained more as we study this out this month
A. But it all begins with repentance
B. And crying to God to save a sinner like you
C. You are NOT free until Christ has made you free