Helpmewithbiblestudy.org

Christian Liberty
(K. Payne)

Author's bias: Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational
Seminary: Western (Portland)

Welcome to disciple making:

This series on disciple making is Booklet 1 – Essentials, which is part of the program Transferable Cross Training (TCT) developed by Dr. Karl Payne. The purpose of TCT is to help equip men and women to be effective disciple makers. The materials are field tested with various proof verses that can be memorized, and each lesson is focused on transferability. It is our desire is for those who accept the challenge of discipleship that, with or without a Bible and notes in hand, each individual who has taken the time to master the concepts and principles in this series will have confidence to comfortably and biblically respond to common questions and comments from friends or enemies of Christ. By God’s grace we can make a difference in eternity by being actively involved in the most important job assignment entrusted to mankind. For more information about TCT or obtaining the booklet series, see www.KarlPayne.org

Please remember that the uniqueness of this discipleship series is its simple transferability. It is the expressed desire of the author that students actually use these materials after completing each booklet, by sharing them with others in a manner consistent with 2 Timothy 2:2.

Contrast the following verses:

"And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)

Where is the balance between these two statements? Biblical truth has set you free to enjoy liberty. Authentic biblical freedom and Christian liberty should always be motivated by love, and display concern for others.

The words "legalism" and "license" are often tossed around in relation to competing Christian views on how believer's should or should not exercise their freedom in Christ. Where is the biblical line between legalism being used as a blanket to smother true freedoms and license being self-indulgently abused as a veiled religious synonym for feeding the flesh?

Are there questions that can be asked, and principles that can be applied, which are biblically based, that can help a Christian successfully maneuver through the areas often referred to in Christian areas as "gray"? The simple answer to this question is "yes", there are both questions and principles that can help us navigate through this potential spiritual mine field.

Exercising our Christian liberties can be difficult at times.

"I'm free, I have liberty to... "

"I'm free, I have liberty not to... "

Here are six questions to ask yourself if "liberty" is an issue and you want to handle it maturely.

Is the activity in question:

1. Beneficial or enslaving?

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." (1 Corinthians 6:12)

2. Hindering the spiritual growth of another?

"Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:13)

3. Hindering my own spiritual growth?

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust." (Romans 13:14)

4. Does it edify?

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." (1 Corinthians 10:23)

5. Is it legal?

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." (Romans 13:1-2)

6. Has Scripture addressed the issue in specific point or principle? Have you checked?

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

7. Is my motivation selfless of selfish?

"I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles." (Romans 14:14-21)

Paul concludes his remarks to the Galatians on this subject by stating:

"For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statemtent, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another." (Galatians 5:14-15)

The Scriptures, inspired by God, are as relevant today as they were more than two thousand years ago. Liberty that is not motivated by sacrificial love is license.

Karl Payne's personal note: I grew up in a home that would have been considered moral and ethical, but not religious. Both of my parents were teachers. Dad was a Mathematics / Science specialist for the Sacramento City School District and my mom taught grade school. My Dad would occasionally pray for our food, but we did not read the Bible or discuss religious topics. I decided my first Sunday of seventh grade that I had no real interest in church or Sunday school and informed my parents that I would no longer attend either. I assumed I was a Christian because I had been baptized as a child at my mom's request, but my primary interests were baseball, football and music.

On June 17th, 1970 I became a Christian while attending a youth retreat sponsored by Young Life, a Christian ministry focused upon reaching high school students. The two biggest hurdles I faced in that decision both related to honest assumptions. My first assumption related to what I had understood it meant to be a Christian. I assumed that I was a Christian because I had been baptized. Christians get baptized, I had been baptized, therefore, I was a Christian. I also thought that heaven, if it was real, was attained by being a nice person. I reasoned that since on a moral and ethical scale which had the Pope on one end and Hitler on the other, that my live style was closer to the Pope's than Hitler's, thus making me a shoe in for heaven if God was fair.

The second assumption I had made related to education. In eighth grade my science teacher told our class that "religious people were mental cripples who needed a crutch to get through life." I was very impressed by this teacher and took to heart what he said. In the eleventh grade, my physiology teacher told our class that "educated people believed in evolution." As I grew older my education had become more important to me. As a result of several teacher's comments I assumed that it was not possible to think deeply and still be a Christian. Religion in my mind was therefore something for nice people who were not too concerned about an academic education. My first assumption was to confuse churchianity with Christianity. Churchianity represents men and women making their best efforts to reach up to God and receive His approval, based upon their individual efforts to be found worthy in His eyes. Biblical Christianity is a message explaining how God has chosen to reach down to mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, providing salvation by His grace as a free gift to all who believe, in spite of our unworthiness. Religion is essentially a message of man reaching up to God. Christianity is a message detailing how God has reached down to man. Religion exalts man. Christianity exalts God. I had received just enough religious training to confuse religion with Christianity and had rejected an honest consideration of Christianity in the process. My second assumption was to confuse naturalism, dialectical materialism and the suppositional baggage assumed to be true by both philosophical world views, with actual empirical data and good science, which provides conclusions based upon testing, observation and repetition rather than wishful thinking and naturalist / atheistic suppositional indoctrination.

On the 17th of June, 1970 at 8:00 P.M., I listened to a gentleman clearly explain that God's plan is that I have eternal life (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 5:1), but that my problem with sin (to miss the mark in word, thought or deed) had separated me from Him (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). This sounded more like bad news to me than good news. He went on to say that God had provided a remedy for my sin by sending His only son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a payment for my penalty (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:4-10, 1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 5:8, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9), but that it was absolutely necessary for me to respond to His remedy for the remedy to be effective (John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10, Revelation 3:20). I bowed my head in that room and quietly asked Jesus Christ to become my Savior and Lord. Jesus came into my life and has made me a new person, from the inside out (2 Corinthians 5:17). That was nearly thirty-one years ago. Knowing Jesus is more than religious activism or academic curiosity. It is a real relationship. Spiritual maturity is a process (1 John 2:12-14) that should continue to develop and grow as long as we are alive.

God used a Campus Crusade for Christ high school ministry to teach me that aggressive, reproductive Christianity (2 Timothy 2:2) should be considered normal Christianity. Sincerity is necessary for Christian living, but it is not sufficient for impacting our world for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15). He has used several godly men, seminary and nearly twenty-five years of serving in church ministry to teach me that making disciples means far more than leading people to Christ and asking them to pray and read their Bibles. It is impossible to give what you do not have or share what you do not know. When people tell me that their Christian faith is boring, what they are really telling me is that they do not pray, they do not study and they do not give away what they have been given. The Christian life is an adventure that is exciting to live and share. To judge Christianity by people who sit on their hands, criticize others and turn a living faith into dead religion is to misrepresent Biblical Christianity. Christianity was never meant to be lived as a passive spectator sport.

Dr. Karl Payne, at heart, is an apologist who loves to train and equip Christians for spiritual service and warfare (Eph.4:11-16). He enjoys preaching, writing and retreat / conference / seminar speaking. He derives his greatest pleasure tackling the challenge of teaching Christian workers, interns and budding preachers / teachers at both the Bible College and Seminary levels. In addition, he has co-authored two books: A just Defense and Cross Training through Multnomah Press.



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