Final Summary and Review of Christian Liberty

Dr. Steve Viars April 21, 1992 1 Corinthians 0:

- our purpose tonight is threefold:

    1) I'd like to summarize and review some of the
       highlights from these verses (we'll do that with a
       crossword puzzle we're going to work on in a few

    2) I'd also like to propose a "Christian Liberty Decision
       Making Tree." This will be a grid we can use to
       evaluate questions in the future on Christian liberty.

    3) I'd also like to bring out a chart we showed you at
       the beginning of this series from another author so we
       can "bat it around" a little bit more after having
       studied these verses and principles.

    4) I'd like to conclude with some hypothetical examples
       of Christian liberty decisions and how these
       principles can be used to make these decisions.

I. Crossword Puzzle

    - let's begin with the crossword puzzle we handed out.
      What I'd like you to do is get with someone around you
      (be sure everyone is included) and take a few minutes
      and see how many of these you can get.

    - some points to remember:
        1) I gave you the verses that go along with the
           answer--but in a few cases the exact word that
           fits in the blank may not appear in the verse (or
           it may not appear in the verse in the particular
           version you have in front of you.)

        2) some of the words only fit in if you spell them
           backwards (please note the directions at the end
           of the clue.)

II. A Christian Liberty Decision Making Tree

    - what I'd like us to do at this point is to take the
      principles we've studied and organize them into a
      flowchart or a decision making tree
    - many of you use these kinds of things at work

    - if you work with computers, you know that computer
      programs are made up of decision loops
        - the computer tells itself " if this happens, then
          do this", "if that happens, do that"

    - if you're in management, you use flowcharts for
        planning and decision making
    - if you work in a medical field, you're constantly
       working cases through a diagnostic tree

- that's what we're going to do with these principles on
   Christian liberty
- these kinds of questions come up during the week, and we
    need a way to maneuver our question through a series of
    biblical principles in order to determine God's will in
    the matter

    A. Which distinguishing category does this fall in?

        - remember, we said at the beginning of this series
          that we distinguish things that truly differ
        - we said you can divide these kinds of questions
          into three categories

        - some are "black and white"--in other words, the
           Bible speaks directly to those issues
        - now, at that point - it's no longer an issue of
          Christian liberty
            - so the answer is - do what the Scripture
              specifically commands

        - another category is "standards that can be readily
            - while that specific subject may not be
              addressed, as we study biblical principles and
              and tie those principles together, the right
              course of action become apparent

        - a third category is "indifferent"
            - at first glance, the Bible doesn't seem to have
              anything to say about the matter

- at this point - questions in the first category are "out of
   the loop"
     - the Lord told us what to do and we just need to get
        busy and obey.

- for the other two categories, we need to keep going

  - the next question we need to ask comes from 8:1 and 8:4
  - remember, Paul said - "this isn't the end of the
    argument--but this is an important part of the
  - I need to ask:

    B. Do I need more knowledge?  (8:1, 8:4)

        - If the answer is "yes", what should I do?
        - Wait (Rom. 14:23) and study (II Tim. 2:15)

        - as I study, I may find the Bible speaks directly
          about that and I didn't realize it
        - so after study, if I find that the Bible does speak
          directly to that matter, I need to obey the

        - if after studying, there's still no conclusive
          answer, I need to go back to the "loop"

    - the next question I need to ask comes from verse 9
      - INPUT - ?

    C. Could this cause someone to stumble?

        - remember, Paul started this discussion by asking us
           to focus on the effect the way I handled liberty
           could have on someone else

        - if the answer to this question is "yes," what
          should I do?  (don't do it)
        - if "no", "keep going"

- we're going to skip Paul's first illustration of how he
   wouldn't take a salary and get to the point of that in
   verses 15-16.
- the next question I need to ask is:

    D. Would enslaving this liberty give me an opportunity
       for proper spiritual glorying?

       - remember we studied about how Paul wanted areas in
         His life that he could point to which were
         particular examples of how God had worked in his
         life and allowed him to do special things for Him.
       - Paul's refusal to take a salary was an example of

       - he said, "by all means don't pay me" - "I want the
         way I enslave my liberty to be a special cause of

- the next question comes from verse 19

    E. Would enslaving this give me more opportunities to
        witness?  (or help me be more effective at the ones I
        already have?)

        - over and over in these verses Paul talks about
           "winning others"
        - evangelism has to be an important part of our
          thinking on these questions

- now, the end of this chapter brings up the second
   illustration Paul uses - the illustration of the runner
- that brings up another important question:

    F. Is my body involved in this issue?

       - INPUT - if the answer is yes? - what thoughts should
              that bring to mind?  (need to show particular
              caution here--need to control my body like an

- we said that at the end of verse 27 and on into chapter 10,
   Paul makes a very important shift
     - so far he's said--beware of the effect the way you
       exercise liberty has on others
     - now he wants us to ask:

    G. Could exercising this liberty endanger me spiritually?

- in chapter 10, Paul "hones" down his argument and starts
   talking about our hearts.
- INPUT - what critical question do I need to ask now?

    H. What am I "wanting" to accomplish as I consider this

        - if the answer is "something other than pleasing
          God" -- I need to see that as idolatry and get busy

- now, maybe the question has made it all the way through
   these principles, but there's still some important ones to
- what question should I ask as a result of verse 12?

    I. Am I being proud?

        - Paul says it's possible for a person to think they
           can handle a particular issue when in fact they
        - most of us know that verse, but we need to remember
           that it's first application needs to be made to
           Christian liberty
        - I need to ask, "Am I being proud and thinking
           involvement in this area won't hurt me when in
           fact it really could?"

- now, these are heavy questions, and Paul gives us one in
  verse 13 to help keep this all in balance

    J. Am I losing hope?

       - if the answer to that question is yes, I need to
           concentrate on the truths of verse 13

- there's three more questions
- from verse 23 - what do I need to ask?

    K. Will this edify others?

- from verse 31

    L. Will this glorify God

- from chap. 11:1

    M. Will this help me be more like Christ?

- now you might say, boy PV – that’s a long list
- are you expecting us to carry that around and every time we
   have a decision to make--to pull out our "handy dandy
   liberty flowchart?"

- probably not
- a lot of these decisions won't get through the second or
   third question
- but there will be some tricky ones form time to time where
   it would be wisest to take some time and work it through
   all the principles

- I'd rather have to answer at the Judgement Seat of Christ
  for being too cautious than for being too lackadaisical

III. (Aldrich Chart)

      - go over chart

        - #1 - does exist  (cf. Mr. Kelly/beard)

        - #2 - does exist - I Cor. 8

        - #3 - Paul - I Cor. 8:13

      - problem with the chart as it currently stands:
         - often times supposedly the most mature person ends
           up in category #4

      - that's surely not the thrust of this passage that
         we've seen week after week

      - another problem with the chart as it currently stands
        is that it's incomplete

      - there's needs to be at least three more categories

          #5 - naive participating

          #6 - proud participating

          #7 - uninformed participating

IV. Practical Examples

    - let's run these through the grid

    1) seminary professor and the nude beach

    2) clothing that is on the borderline of immodest

    3) prom.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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