THE LAWS OF SUCCESS
The Law of Liberty: toward yourself
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs.
Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God hath received him.
Who are thou that judges another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.
Yes, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.
One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives thanks.
For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.
The law of liberty is brought out in these verses of Scripture. There are gray areas in the Christian life that the Bible does not identify as sin. Paul identified these as “doubtful things.” Verse one tells us we are not to argue about doubtful things. We are at liberty in our own lives to choose for ourselves.
The key to this particular Scripture is the phrase, “in his own mind,” found in Romans 14:5. You must be firmly convinced or persuaded in your own mind.
Some Christians do not go to movies. Others do go to movies, but get into confrontations about which ratings are or are not acceptable. What offends one person may or may not offend another person. Often people will say, “God told me,” when defending their position. But we find out the Bible doesn’t say anything specifically about watching movies. Some Christians do not own a television. Others may own a television but are very careful about what they watch. Just like movies, the Bible says nothing about television.
Some Christians, and many in the world, look down on those who smoke cigarettes. The Bible says nothing about smoking cigarettes. (Cigarettes will not send you to hell; they just make you smell like you’ve been there.)
Some people have very strong views on what types of foods we should or should not eat. They try to pull out Scripture to say, “These foods are good for you; these foods are bad for you.” We should be wise in our food choices, but eating certain types of food is not sin.
Next is the drinking of wine. This seems to be a geographical sin. I have been to different places around the world where it is acceptable for a Christian to drink wine, but not coffee.
Some church denominations are opposed to dancing, but when the Spirit of God blesses them, they believe dancing is fine. There are many ethnic groups who have had dance as a part of their culture for centuries. What about social dancing? Is it acceptable to participate in ballroom dancing? The Bible says nothing about social dancing.
The observance of certain holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, or Halloween is highly offensive to some people. Some people have problems with bringing a Christmas tree into their home, believing it is associated with something evil. Many Christians want to know about Easter eggs because they have to do with fertility rites. Should we allow our children to paint and hunt for Easter eggs? The point is, God made trees and God made eggs. The vast majority of people are not worshipping the tree or the egg, which is why the Bible calls all these things, doubtful things.
The Bible doesn’t talk about these specific things because God trusts you.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
Notice the last thing this says: whatever I do will prosper! If you meet the qualifications in verses one and two, God simply says, “I trust you.”
II. Being Fully Persuaded
We pray to God about television, movies, and all those other things Christians make such a big deal of, and we can’t understand why God doesn’t say anything. It is because He has no answer. Think about that. There are times God has no answer because there’s no real question. If God could get through to you, He’d say, “You know what? I haven’t really been thinking about that today. I’ve been thinking about the lost in your city. I’ve been thinking about the people who need to be ministered to, and I really haven’t given a television set much thought today. In fact, I’m going to tell you to make up your own mind. I’ll just stand behind whatever you decide.”
We often want God to verify everything we do, and Scripture does say in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. On the other hand, there are certain things God considers to be doubtful areas, or gray areas of Christianity. Those areas in which you are fully persuaded of He will stand behind you in.
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
This is referring to doubtful things, not to those things identified in the Bible as sin. If a person says, “I just think God says whatever I want to do about adultery is fine.” No, God has something to say about adultery. He has something to say about lying and stealing. There are certain sins specifically laid out in the Word of God.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
These are things the Bible specifically says are sin. Galatians 5:19-21 talks about the manifestation of the works of the flesh. In chapters five, six, and seven of Matthew, there are lists of sins mentioned. But sometimes situations arise in modern-day society about which people don’t know what type of scriptural standpoint to take.
Romans 14:20, 22:
For meat destroys not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he that condemns not himself in that thing which he allows.
We are not to argue about doubtful things, but to receive each other in love and realize there is something bigger than what we argue about most in the Christian life.
Satan tries to divert our attention away from the real mission God has given us by bringing up things the Bible doesn’t say anything about. It all comes back to the Great Commission. He has called us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, lay hands on the sick, see them recover, see them get filled with the Holy Spirit, cast out devils, and make disciples of believers. The Bible doesn’t say much about many of the things we bring up today — those things which preoccupy church denominations and our thoughts, causing us to put aside the very thing God has called us to do.
III. Conviction of the Holy Spirit
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
Of sin, because they believe not on me.
He will reprove the world of “sin,” not “sins.” It is singular. There is a sin the Holy Spirit reproves or convicts of and it is “they believe not on Me.”
There is only one sin the Holy Spirit convicts of: rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You may say, “What about all those things I feel convicted about in my own personal life?” It is your heart that condemns you. It is your heart that convicts you in those areas. The Holy Spirit can deal with you about areas of your life, but when it comes to actual conviction, the Holy Spirit deals with you about Jesus Christ.
IV. Conviction of Your Heart
1 John 3:21:
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
There are times when one person’s heart may condemn them for a particular thing and another person’s heart does not condemn them for that. Our heart convicts us in line with what we have been taught. Some people have come from backgrounds where they were taught it was sinfully wrong to see a movie and when they get near a movie theater, they go crazy. Their heart condemns them. Yet, another Christian walks by a theater and says, “Hmmm, I wonder what’s showing.”
One person feels condemned, another does not. The person who feels condemned often turns to the other and says, “It’s the Holy Spirit that convicts me.” However, the Bible clearly says the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of their need of Jesus Christ. In regards to our own personal convictions, we must feed and teach our heart the Word of God. We must teach the Word of God to our children so they can be convicted in line with the Word. Regarding all these doubtful things, God says, “Make up your own mind. I will stand behind you. I want everyone fully persuaded in his own mind.”
The Law of Love: toward other believers
The Law of Expediency: toward unbelievers
The Law of Sacrifice: toward God
WALK IN LOVE
WALK IN AUTHORITY
The Greek word for “authority” is the word “exousia”. It is different from the word “power”, which is the Greek word “dunamis”. The word “power” is what God creates and it comes from heaven. Exousia or authority, is the delegation of power through us. It comes through a representative. For example, behind every police officer is the power of the local government. Behind the power of the local government is the state government. Behind the power of the state government is the federal government. Power must be delegated through authority.
Not all police officers have the same stature, the same strength, or the same demeanor that might cause others to fear them. But when a person stands before an officer wearing a uniform and badge, size and weight are insignificant. What is important is not the power in you, but the power of those you represent. When the centurion sent the Jewish elders and then the others to meet Jesus in his stead, when they spoke, it was as if the centurion were present and speaking. They were backed by the authority of the centurion, who was backed by the Roman government, which was backed by Caesar himself.
The centurion had a clear understanding of authority and recognized that although Jesus walked in an authority of a different origin than his own, it was still authority. The centurion walked in human authority but Jesus walked in spiritual authority. Over and over again Jesus said, “I didn’t come to do My works. I came to do the works of Him that sent Me. I didn’t come to speak My own words, I came to speak the words of Him that sent Me. The miracles that I do, it’s not Me, it’s Him that sent Me. I have come in My Father’s name.”
The centurion said, “I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.” Authority never sits on top; there is always a higher authority, with the exception of God. In essence, the centurion was saying, “Jesus, I recognize that when You speak, there is an authority behind you. The Word of God, the angels, and all of the power of God are behind You. I sent out representatives to You and God has sent You as His representative. I have to be obedient to those who are in authority over me, and those in authority under me, must be obedient to me. I understand there is Someone above You Who has given You authority and when You speak, sickness must obey; it must become Your servant and go in the name of Jesus.”