Navigating Issues of Christian Liberty without Legalism or Licentiousness – with David Guzik

Pastor and author David Guzik joined me on the Theology for the People podcast last week to discuss the topic of Christian liberty. 

How do we make sense of “gray areas,” things like drinking alcohol, tattoos, smoking tobacco, music choices, etc. about which some Christians have strong convictions that a Christian person should never engage in those things, whereas others feel that they can enjoy them in moderation without any conflict in their fidelity to following Jesus?

How do we honor one another without being held hostage by every person’s personal whims? David helps shed some light on these and other questions related to this topic in this episode.

David is the author of a free online commentary of the entire Bible, which can be found at EnduringWord.com, along with the audio and video archives of David’s teachings through most of the books of the Bible. Make sure to check out his weekly Q&A sessions on his YouTube Channel, Thursdays at 12:00 PM Pacific Time.

David and I serve together on the steering committee of the Expositors Collective, a group dedicated to raising up the next generation of Christ-centered expository preachers and Bible teachers through weekly podcast episodes, 2-day intensive seminars, and other resources. The next Expositors Collective in-person training weekend will be in Orange County, California on February 18-19, 2022. More information and registration available here.

If you would like to submit a question or suggest a topic for future articles or podcast episodes, you can do that here, by clicking the Ask a Question or Suggest a Topic button.

You can listen to this podcast episode in the embedded player below (for desktop users), or by clicking this link: Navigating Issues of Christian Liberty without Legalism or Licentiousness – with David Guzik

Navigating Issues of Christian Liberty without Legalism or Licentiousness – with David Guzik Theology for the People

Pastor and author David Guzik joins the podcast this week to talk about the topic of Christian liberty.  How do we make sense of "gray areas," things like drinking alcohol, tattoos, smoking tobacco, music choices, etc. about which some Christians have strong convictions that Christians should never do those things, whereas others feel that they can enjoy these things in moderation without any conflict with their fidelity to following Jesus? How do we honor one another without being held hostage by every person's personal whim? David helps shed some light on these and other questions related to this topic. David is the author of a free online commentary of the entire Bible which can be found at EnduringWord.com, along with the audio and video archives of David's teachings through books of the Bible. Make sure to check out his weekly Q&A sessions on his YouTube Channel, Thursdays at 12:00 PM Pacific. Visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org, where you can submit questions or suggest topics for articles or future podcast episodes.

Some Who Heard Him Were Not Impressed

I spent this past weekend in Howell, New Jersey, where we held an Expositors Collective training weekend at Cornerstone Calvary Chapel. My wife came with me, which was fun. It was only our second time taking a trip without our kids, and we got to spend time serving together, visiting friends, and going to the beach at the glorious Jersey shore!

Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was bright out!

During our time in Howell, we heard a great message on Mark 6:1-6 from our friend David Guzik, who is part of the Expositors Collective team.

If you haven’t heard of David before, check out his website: enduringword.com. Part of David’s life-work has been the creation of a great resource, a free online commentary of the whole Bible, which is now being translated into many languages. His ministry Enduring Word also provides audio messages, podcasts, videos, and books to help equip people with an understanding of God’s Word.

“Many who heard him were impressed”

In Mark 6, we read about how Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, where his mother and (half)siblings still lived, and preached in the synagogue there. It says there in verse that “many who heard him were impressed”.

Think about that for a second… These people got to see Jesus himself open up the Scriptures and teach. His words were the very words of God! What an absolutely epic experience!

You would assume that EVERYONE who heard him teach would have been impressed, their lives irreversibly changed as a result. And yet, it says that ”MANY” were impressed; in other words, SOME people were not impressed! Some people heard Jesus teach, and were like, “Meh.” 🤷‍♂️

As a preacher, I find it strangely comforting to know that there were people who heard Jesus preach, who weren’t impressed. I shouldn’t be surprised; it is well within our human nature to be cynical and critical of even the most beautiful, true, and life-giving words.

May we who speak and teach God’s Word never do so out of an insecure, desperate need for human accolades and approval, but out of a love for God and love for people that leads us to lovingly present the truth of God’s words for them.

They thought they knew him, but they didn’t

Many were surprised because they thought they knew Jesus, and they were realizing that, in fact, they didn’t actually know him.

In verses 2-3, we are told that the people said: ‘What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”

The people of Nazareth thought they knew who Jesus was. They saw him growing up. They knew him as the carpenter. But they were coming to realize that although they thought they knew who Jesus was, they did not in fact know him.

The reality is that there are many people, even today, who are in this same situation; they assume that they know who Jesus is and what he is all about, while in fact they do not really know him. I came to a similar realization as a young man: through the help of a friend, I came to realize that I did not actually know Jesus, though I thought I had it all pegged.

It is a good day in a person’s life when they come to realize that Jesus is much more than they ever thought him to be previously. If that hasn’t happened for you yet, I pray it will; that you will see him for who he fully is, and respond appropriately.