Last week I started writing about principles of Christian liberty. First I explained that not everything we have to deal with in life comes in the form of a “thou shalt” or a “thou shalt not.”
The things that the Bible says “thou shalt not” on are always wrong. The things that the Bible says, “thou shalt” are always right. In between these two poles is our liberty in Christ.
(wrong) | — LIBERTY — | (right)
ThenI began writing about how to determine whether something that falls between the poles of “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” is something that we ought to do. These are some principles that should guide our exercise of Christian liberty. I’ve put these principles in question form to make them more personal for us.
The questions we’ve seen so far are:
This leads to our last question.
Will this hurt my Christian testimony?
In the Purpose Drive Life pastor Rick Warren says, “You were made for a mission. God is at work in the world and He wants you to join Him. This assignment is called your mission. God wants you to both have a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers. Fulfilling your mission I the world is God’s fifth purpose for your life.” The Bible is clear that God wants every Christian to be a witness for Him.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NKJV)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
We have all been called and commissioned by Jesus Christ to go and tell others about what He has done. Since this is the case we must ask ourselves if what we are going to do will be a hindrance to our mission. Will this affect our ability to talk to others about Jesus? Will this hurt my credibility as a witness for Christ? This was certainly the example of the Apostle Paul.
“If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 9:12 (NKJV)
Paul was the one that had started the Church in Corinth (Acts 18). He stayed there for a year and half preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During the time he was there he didn’t take any money from any of the people. He either worked as a tentmaker to provide for himself, or he had Timothy and Silas work to provide for their needs while he spent all his time preaching. He did this to make sure that nothing he did was an obstacle that would prevent someone from coming to Christ.
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.” 27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 (NKJV)
Here Paul is again dealing with the issue of exercising our Christian liberty. He says that just because we can do it, doesn’t mean that we should do it. We shouldn’t only think about ourselves but what is good for others as well.
In verses 29-30 Paul asks the rhetorical question, “Why should I limit my liberty?” The answer is found in verse 33. We do it so that we aren’t a hindrance that keeps someone from coming to Christ. We must ask ourselves if this will hinder our effectiveness as witnesses for Christ.
Are there ways you are exercising your Christian liberty that you know is hindering hurting your Christian testimony? If so, what do you need to do?
 Rick Warren, The Purpose Drive Life, pg 281