Preached by Evan Stewart (00:30)
When we become a Christian one of the first questions we ask is, “what am I supposed to do now?” You ask an older, more experienced Christian help you figure out what to do; to tell you the rules of the game. So, an older Christian comes along and says, “Well, that’s easy. Here’s what I’ve learned during my life. Do this, don’t do that, do a lot of this, and be sure to stay away from that.”
Within a short period of time, well-intended advice can become a wrong standard of salvation. More mature believers might sometimes unknowingly take good advice and turn it into a roadblock pointing people away from Jesus. We all want the rules of the game, but it’s a fine balance to keep advice from turning to performance based rules.
This is what the older Jewish Christians did for the new Gentile Christians in Acts 15. The new Christian men asked, “What now?” The older, more experienced men of God said, “That’s easy. For starters, get circumcised. This has been the practice of God-honoring men since the days of Abraham. It worked for my father and my sons. It is the law God gave us. So, come on, let’s make an appointment down at the clinic.” Then they took it further and added, “And if you don’t, then God won’t accept you.”
Just like the well-intended Pharisee Christians in the first church, we too will mistake rules for relationship with God. We must be watchful to avoid creating rules that Jesus never provided. If you want a rule to live by, then live by the two rules Jesus lived by.
Let these two rules be your standard: Will your action or thought show love to God? Will it help your neighbor feel love or experience God’s love? If yes, then do it freely. If not, don’t do it. These are the rules of the game, you don’t need any others.
Scripture Reference: Acts 15:1-5; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 7:1-5, 22:37-40
Related Sermon: Conform to Jesus Not a List of Rules
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