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What is the Role of Christian Standards?

David Shin

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Pastor David shares a sermon on the role of standards in the Christian experience.

Presenter

David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK

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  • July 7, 2018
    11:30 AM
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Father in heaven we thank you so much for this opportunity that we have to spend time reflecting on your word and today as we talk about the internal struggle in the role of Christian standards we pray that you would bless us to us we pray in Jesus' name amen Well what do you think of when you hear the term Christian standards any of you here have a positive response to that get warm fuzzy you know a lot of endorphins when you hear standards or Christian standards what typically within the evangelical community when you hear the term Christian standards it really raises the blood pressure doesn't it there's usually a negative response when you hear the word Christian standards many times in some circles maybe for some it's a little bit differently but I think I'm pretty close to this idea at least for me when I heard the word Christian standards I'm like oh no here we go again because it's a bunch of do's and don'ts you can't do this you can't do that and these these requirements and and conditions and all these types of things that come into play when you hear the term Christian standards and a lot of times Christian standards has been used as a weapon or a hammer to beat people into submission and into compliance when I was in evidence the cademy that would be a lot of talk about Christian standards and you need to be this way and you need to do this thing and our teachers sometimes were many to all the time I believe were well intentioned but sometimes the way they administered to it left a lot to be desired. People have been abused by standards and it's been used as a hammer and I think of this woman caught in the act of adultery in the Gospels you remember that story that woman that was caught in the very act I always ask the question where was the man in this situation and Anyway this woman is dragged through the streets cast before Jesus. Now was she in the wrong but were those men that dragged her through the streets in the wrong as well absolutely you know the way that you administer things is important when my professor said the way that you preach the gospel is as important as the gospel. This woman caught in a very act was treated in un-Christ like way and I think that that's the same way with standards many times sometimes standards has been used and administered in an uncrossed like way people have been hurt people have been abused by standards there's a lot of people that are recovering from this type of abuse legalism and I think of water our bodies are composed of water you can't live without water but water can be abused you know that you can drink too much water it's people that die seems like every time they were in America we have a marathon as Chicago Marathon someone's hydrating in the over hydrate you flush all the electrolytes out of their body and they die from drinking too much water you can torture people with water waterboarding. But does that mean that we go out and we say OK I'm going to do a abstinence from water no water anymore I'm going to drink Coke and Pepsi the rest of my life. Which is has water in there by the way sugar water but but my point is this Never judge something by its abuse just because standards have been abused does not mean that standards it does not have its proper use and I want to make this important statement before we have our study for today if you are to verse 8 through 10 For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of yourselves it is a gift of God Not of works so that no one can boast standards cannot save us should hear loud Amen amen right I mean no matter what you do or don't do none of those things make any sort of contribution towards buying your salvation you can not on it you can't buy it so this needs to be out of the entire conversation when we talk about standards and I used to think that if I ate something that that was like earning myself in my struggle with legalism I'm a recovering legal list. And I would feel guilty if I ate that thing as though my standing with God was predicated on my diet and we struggle with this or if I did this thing I thought that I was earning God's love and God's favor and I really struggled in my Christian experience and this was liberating for me that you can't earn salvation you can't buy it so when we talk about standards there is nothing that you can do that can buy yourself nation so here is the question if standards do not save us then why do we need standards that a fair question. If if standards do not earn a certain salvation if they can't buy our way to heaven then why do we need standards in the 1st place this is a question that we need to ask ourselves and I think that when we talked about standards we haven't reflected on this question very well because sometimes it comes into people's administration of standards the implication that if you do this you can earn salvation with God now what our standards list ask that question standards usually is referring to our bodies and our minds our bodies what we put into our bodies diet substances what we put on our bodies are what we don't put on our bodies OK dress adornment those types of things that's typically what we talk about when we talk about standards what we put into our bodies what we put on our bodies and the clothing and things like that that typically is standards and we do with our bodies how we relate to pick lean terms of sexuality and morality and things like that what we do with our bodies so there's standards in reference to that what you should wear your that be for what you should drink what you should not drink in all those types of things now going back to our earlier statement what you wear and what you drink what you do does not earn our salvation OK standards has to do with what we do with our bodies and what we do with our minds as well what we put into our minds media and what we listen to their standards in terms of of that aspect as well so why do we need these types of standards and let's go on this journey together. And I've Kambal this together out of my own reflection in my own experience I wish someone had told me this early on after I accepted Christ it would have call just liberated me of a lot of angsty in my own experience and let's go in our Bibles to Romans Chapter 7 verses 14 through 21 and we're going to hopefully by the grace of God answer the question why do we need standards that's the question and we're going to go into our study today hoping to answer that from the Word of God Romans Chapter 7 wrist for 18 for we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal sold under sin for what I am doing I do not understand for what I will to do that I do not practice but what I hate that I do if then I do what I will not to do I agree with the law that it is good but now it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells in me for I know that is in me that is in my flash nothing good wells for to will is present with within me but how to perform what is good I do not find but the good that I will to do I do not do but the evil that I will not to do that I practice now if I do what I will not to do it is no longer I who do it but sin who dwells in me verse 21. I find a law that evil is present within me that the when one who will is to do Good Friday lie in the law of God according to the inward man but I see another law in my members warring against the law my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin that is in my members and look at the way that Paul ends this Oh wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of death I think God through Jesus Christ our Lord so then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God but with the flesh the law of sin what is he talking about here Paul is talking about this real battle that all of us face within us and I think that the easiest way to illustrate this is every time that we eat you've experienced this I'm sure you've eaten of wonderful meal and the host say you're eating at someone else's house the host conveniently did not tell you that there was dessert so you you did not plan accordingly you stuffed yourself OK thinking that there was no dessert I've had this happen and then you're just you're bloated you're comfortable and perhaps you need for the menu unbuckled top of your you know that I'm buckle your belt the a few notches and so forth you sit there comfortably and then the host says. Oh I forgot to mention there's dessert and it's your favorite dessert whatever it is German chocolate cake or whatever Apple Pie OK and they bring it down there Romas just wafting in and you're just like oh wow this is incorrect and immediately the battle begins right there's a part of you that tells you David you really shouldn't eat that. You really don't need that you should need it and then there's another part of you that says I've got to have it just one bite and it never ends that way right just one piece one bite and this battle goes back and forth just just within yourselves and it's interesting the way that sin works you ever eaten something and taste wonderful in the mouth and then you swallow it you eat the whole cake part of that cake and then 5 minutes later what is it it threw. At least for me I'm like why did I hear that it's the way the sin works a moment of pleasure and a lot of regret afterwards so this battle rages within us and and we're conflicted and he says that look there is a a law within my members warring against the spirit in my mind and here is Chapter 5 verse 17 that summarizes it well again as well for the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh they are in conflict with each other so that you do not do whatever you want all of us if your live experience this real internal struggle between these 2 entities between the spirit and the flesh I put a little diagram or whatever you call it here on the screen to help us to see what Paul is talking about on the left hand side you see the spirit the higher powers Ellen White says the powers of conscience the moral sense of the law and then you have your flesh the lower powers the appetite the passions and the animal propensities and now when you look at the flesh there is nothing wrong with those things in and of and themselves there's nothing wrong with appetite there's nothing wrong with passions and sexuality the issue is that because of sin. By the way Adam when he came forth from the Creator he was created perfect so the higher powers the spirit was in control of the lower powers moral of the reason conscience moral sense of law controlled the appetite and the passions so Adam when he was going through his day he would see a wonderful piece of fruit and his appetite would say I want to eat it and then his reason and conscience would send in and I don't know if they had atomic clocks for his sense of oh it's not time to eat I'll eat later and they feel wonderful if so that's the way it was but after the fall what happened after the fall it got reversed not only did it get reversed but it got twisted it got pervert it so not only do we struggle with appetite we struggle with a perverted appetite not only we do do we struggle with sexuality we struggle with a good sexuality and it got twisted and warped in that sense and that's what happened after the fall and every person that's born into this world is born with inherited and cultivated tendencies the flesh and the lower powers are just crying out. For for gratification for gratification I'm experiencing it with our one year old son it's amazing no one has to teach him certain things he just gets pulled in a certain direction. And what happens in conversion is that conversion is a really orientation of that relationship it's a reorientation so that the spirit controls the flesh now in this battle how many times have we every year with the New Year's resolutions you're like I'm never going to do this thing again and you make these bold promises and it's a real challenge to how do we deal with this now you can suppress your appetites and passions for a time but I found sometimes that it just takes a stressful moment and you go on this binge chocolate whatever it is that you struggle with and it becomes a challenge and this is a longer quote from steps to Christ but it's encouraging I have it in my devotional book I I read it every single morning as a reminder to me it says many are inquiring how am I to make the surrender of myself to God you desire to give yourself to him but you are weak in moral power in slavery to doubt and controlled by the habits of your life of sin you are felt like that before your promises resolutions are like ropes of sand you cannot control your thoughts your impulses your affections what you need to understand is the true force of the Will this is the governing power in the nature of man the power of decision or of choice everything depends on the right action of the will the power of choice God has given to men it is theirs to exercise you can not change your heart you can not of yourself give yourself to God it's affections but you can choose to serve Him you can give him your heart thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ so here's the battle let's say you're dealing with an addiction you're dealing with a habit in your life no matter what you try to do You can't beat this thing it is just tightening it's it's cords around you and you're like I just can't beat this and this is what this is telling us is rather than focusing on the habit. It says we need to give our will to God to give your will to God That's the most fundamental important decision that we can make give your will to God Now what does that look like this is a prayer that I have in my devotional book as well I try to read this every morning pray this prayer then the language of the soul will be lowered take my heart for I cannot give it it is the property keep it pure for I cannot keep it for the saved me in spite of myself my weak on Christ like self mold me Fashion me raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere where the rich current of the I Love can flow through my soul that's how you give your will to God you say Lord take it because I can give it save me in spite of myself my week on Christ like self this is the most fundamental decision that we can make and I encourage you to get this quote and these other quotes I have these references for you read these quotes in the morning and give your will to God What is a doing is giving God consent and permission consent is the most powerful thing that you can do in your relationship with God because God is not going to barge his way into your life but when you say Lord I give you my will. He's got the opening he's got the window he's got the permission and the Consent to say OK David wants my intervention this is the most foundational thing that that we can do in our Christian experience everything else is built on this premise of giving our will to God because so many times in my own experience I've tried to beat things without doing this step as the Lord God I'm going to handle this on my own and I've failed miserably every time one more quotation Bonser on the mount a blessing. Page 142 the will must be placed on the side of God's Will you are not able of yourself to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God But if you're willing to be made willing God will accomplish the work for you well you can praise Lord I don't even want to give you my will help me help me to desire it I want to give myself to you but I don't even know how. Please help me that's that's the only window that he's really looking for the foundational element in this battle between the carnal desires and our conscience we face it every single day it requires us daily to say Lord I need help I give you my will the governing element in the nature of man and we need this daily every single day to get up in the morning the spend that time with gun said Lord pray that prayer to the Lord I give you my will today I need help in this internal conflict with sin. Here's a question what happens to the flash the sinful nature after conversion. And let's read the next chapter which is after Chapter 7 Romans chapter 8 there were no chapter divisions These are here for our convenience Romans chapter 8 there is now therefore no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh because the flesh is no longer present anymore so what it says oh yeah I'm falling asleep yet OK it is those who do not walk according to The Flash but according to The Spirit for the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ says made me free from the law of sin and death what this indicates is that when you give your will to God. He gives you the ability to choose to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh but the implication of that is that your flesh your carnal nature still exists after conversion you don't get a lot Bonamy when you get converted God doesn't come down and erase all of those neural pathways with a with a magic eraser and suddenly you don't have to deal with your carnal nature any more of the carnal nature still exists I would say until the 2nd coming until Jesus comes a 2nd time the carnal nature will still be there and then at the 2nd coming all of us will get that dramatic upgrade and you will no longer have the sinful nature inside of us anymore according to The Book of James the book of James says that we are tempted one tempted of our own lusts and enticed he's given the anatomy of temptation but notice in the book of James there is no mention of the devil if the devil and his angels were to be exterminated today we would still be tempted we'd still be tempted from within with their own perverted desires that's the implication of the book of James so after conversion the sinful nature still exists within us that that that lion that wants to come out and just reread his head and I think of those days when I was canvassing like I told in our children story I sold books and I believe the Lord put me in these situations for there for the forming of my own character because I sold books and you meet all types of people all over the country and I knocked on thousands of doors I knocked on so many doors that my my fingers would get calluses on them from knocking on so many doors some people smile at you others spit on spit on you. And I think of instances like I told my children I think of this other instance I told the story I just tell it again I was in another state that will go unnamed in a rural town I don't know why this always happens to me I'm walking along and these teenagers saw me they didn't like what they saw evidently and they rode by on their bicycles and rode by again and then I looked up and I barely ducked as a flurry of eggs were just raining down upon me they were egging me on taking eggs from their home and just throwing them at me so I'm going from door to door dodging these eggs I had egg splattered all over my pants and shoes and finally had to call my leader for backup and he walked me door to door and they said come over to our house I will punch you in the mouth I thought to myself Please tell me where your address is and I'll be sure not to miss it I'll be sure to miss that but he was there going through this and and I as I was driving home that day or in the car sitting in the passenger seat being driven home that day there was a lot of anger that was just welling up within my soul because of the vitriol that I had been subjected to in the abuse that I had been subjected to that day all of us even after we accept Christ Have you ever had someone talk to you and say something that was disrespectful. How does that make you feel I remember I was being helped by somebody and the person was so disrespectful I could not believe it it's just incredible I want to call customer service but but the thing is like in those moments you feel something rising within you when you're driving on Highway one and someone cuts you off and says some things and make some motions and things like that how does it make you feel there is an internal rising of what self and the passions that arise now the question is Why is that there is because after conversion the sinful nature still exists but the difference is that now you are empowered to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh now the question is Where do standards come in standards come in right here now I want to make a very important point standards come into our relationship with God after we've accepted Him as Savior when I make that statement again standards come into our relationship with God after we have accepted Him as Savior before it you know has its benefits but it is to be after we accept Him as Savior we accept him as a savior 1st and then Lord after this is the way it looks with the Free Will we're able to choose to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh but here is where standards come in after you've accepted Christ and your walk in the Christian walk notice what Paul says this is after his conversion this is a very important text 1st Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 27 but I keep under my what. I keep under my body and bring it into subjection lest that by any means when I preach to others I myself should be a castaway here is Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament it's telling us a little window into how he he relates to his carnal nature his body his flesh his passions and appetites How does he relate to them he says that he keeps under his body and puts it into subjection Now the question is here is the most gray centered person who is talking all about Grace and how we're not satisfied by salvation through works telling us about his own Christian experience saying that look I approach my carnal nature a certain way in other words he has standards he holds his flesh in check because the reality is the flesh still exists after conversion when I was a child my parents began to change their eating habits because of me because they noticed that when they fed their son in infancy certain types of food that I would become uncontrollable. Become this little monster I mean it was just. In their own words I mean it was crazy and they started to change their dietary habits do you know there are certain foods that feed your carnal nature. There are certain things that you put in your body that feed not your conscience and your moral sense of law but it feeds your appetites and passions foods affect that reality and so here Paul is saying look I want to be very careful and hold the sinful nature in chag because if I do not that sinful nature will rise up you know I talked to people that have been baptized and they're going through the Christian experience and as a pastor I'm struggling and so I say tell me a little bit about your week it was like What do you do you tell me Look I listen to this type of music and I watch these types of movies and all these types of things and do that all week and I sit and I say hey D.M. is time for a prayer and Bible study and so forth they said well on Sabbath and what does happen is all week they fed the carnal nature they fed the lion and they haven't fed the spirit here Paul is saying look I hold certain standards certain parameters to keep the sinful nature in check so here it is standards do not save us but they help to keep the carnal nature in check that's a summary of 1st Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 27 I keep under my body and bring it into subjection lest having preach to others I myself should be a castaway So here is the idea that Paul says we need to have certain boundaries around our sinful nature many of these boundaries are universal some of these boundaries are personal I know if I eat a certain type of food it's going to affect my temperament. It's going to affect the way I relate to people so I avoided I know if I partake in certain types of media it's going to affect my carnal nature and so this is the way that it is and it's interesting the way that the devil has framed media is is the way that media is today feeding our spiritual nature of carnal nature for the most part it's feeding our carnal nature that is what it's feeding the passions and the tights and sinful desires and boundaries are good is a famous poet that says fences make good neighbors all right and these boundaries are wonderful when you think of boundaries in the road it tells you where your lane is there is freedom in these types of boundaries and I like this illustration here this is this is a boundary and notice this person doesn't seem restricted He seems very free says Warning crossing this fence may cost you your life crossing this fence may cost you your life so we need to have balanced trees in our relationship with God and in relationship to our sinful nature if a person is an alcoholic a recovering alcoholic or a person that has as gotten the victory by the grace of God over alcohol but as an alcoholic and a boundary a standard that they may make is never to walk by their favorite liquor store that's a standard now is it a sin to walk by their favorite liquor store No but they know that in a weak moment walking by their liquor store that their favorite liquor store is just a moment where they go in that is a fence a boundary that keeps them from going over the edge if a person is struggling with pornography. Which is the scourge of the 21st century today a personal standard they can make is not to be on the computer late at night or in those vulnerable moments or by themselves that is a personal boundary that they have made standards are an important part of the Christian experience after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior they do not save us but they help to keep a boundary around our sinful nature and I love this from G. K. Chesterton don't ever take down a fence or don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up all right don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up and that is a good perspective to have in relationship to standards if standards were abused the question is what is the proper application and the role of standards in the Christian experience last text as we wrap up here today here's the motivation 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 20 you were bought to add a prize there for honor God with your bodies you were bought with a price therefore honor God with your bodies in other words because of what Jesus has done for you the response of the Christian is to say Lord my body what I do with my body what I put in my body what I put on my body what I put into my mind what I listen to Lord it's yours I want to glorify you and it's after we've experienced the grace in the mercies of God that the natural human response is saying Lord I want to dedicate all the me. To you that your prayer today by the grace of God Let us pray Father in heaven we pray that you would just motivate us by your love by your amazing love may we get a picture of Jesus as never before and man may that be the motivation that drives us to say Lord all that I am my body my mind my heart I saw all I give to you and I want to glorify you with whatever I eat or drink or whatever I do. That is our prayer today for me as these things in the precious name of Jesus. This media was brought to you by audiophiles a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to W.W.W. dot audio Verse dot org.

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