ExpediencyBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, January 2, 2022.
I. Expedient: Conducive to advantage in general, or to a definite purpose; fit, proper, or suitable to the circumstances of the case.
II. The N.T. is a law of liberty. JAM 1:25; 2:12; 2CO 3:17. A. It liberates believers from the fear of death. HEB 2:15. B. It liberates believers from the service of sin. ROM 6:16-18. C. It liberates believers from a marred conscience. HEB 9:14. D. It liberates believers from abolished strictures of Mosaic Law. COL 2:13-16. E. It liberates believers TO the law of Christ. 1CO 9:21. F. But it does not liberate believers to exploit their liberty. GAL 5:13; 1PE 2:16. 1. malicious: Of persons, their dispositions, etc.: Given to malice; addicted to sentiments or acts of ill-will. 2. Some of the early Jewish converts exploited their liberty to advance lust-driven commercialism which trampled on others. JAM 4:1-3, 13. a. “We’re not bound strictly to temple service only? Let’s go everywhere and make a dollar and not worry about assembling.” b. “So an idol or idol-feast is nothing? Let’s party! Maybe we could sell idol tokens to Gentiles!” G. There is even a weightier accountability under the N.T. than the O.T. as touching our fidelity to our Law-Giver. HEB 2:1-3; 12:25-29. H. NOTE: It is a weakness of human nature concerning liberty that if an indiscreet man is given enough rope, he is likely to entangle himself with it or hang himself. I. Christian success is not only knowing law and liberty but exercising discretion. One may know that adultery is sin and know that liberty lets him go where he pleases but discretion is what saves one from disaster. PRO 4:14-15; 5:7-8; 7:7-8.
III. Christ has called us to a higher standard than mechanical knowledge and observance of Law. A. One may be a master in Israel, yet befuddled by the obvious. JOH 3:10. B. One may know the Law arrogantly, and indifferent to self-application. ROM 2:23-24. C. One may major on the minors of Law but overlook inconvenient details. MAT 23:23. D. One may have knowledge of the truth but not charity. 1CO 8:1-2. E. Our Christianity is NOT limited to only those things which we are by the letter of the Law commanded to do, nor avoiding those things which expressly imperil our inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, such as are listed in texts like 1CO 6:9-10. F. Law should be used to secure what God deems best for His own honor and for the well- being of others, not solely for the satisfaction of our own interests!
IV. Expediency demands that we consider the benefits, detriments and consequences of our choices in life. This principle extends beyond the letter of Law. A. “The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character.” (A.W. Tozer) B. The supreme example of expediency was set by Christ. JOH 16:5-7 c/w ROM 15:3. C. Above all other men, the Apostle Paul understood the balance between Law, liberty and expediency. 1. Paul considered the power that a liberty might have over him and walked accordingly. 1CO 9:27; 6:12. 2. Paul considered the power that his liberty might have negatively towards the weak and walked accordingly. 1CO 8:8-13. 3. Paul knew that lawfulness did not necessarily edify self or others. 1CO 10:23-24. 4. Paul had plenty of pre-conversion accolades and post-conversion knowledge and sufferings to wave around but not if such detracted from Christ. 2CO 12:1. 5. Paul had the power of law on his side concerning marriage and financial support but he refrained from the former and carefully regulated the latter so as not to send the wrong message. 1CO 9:5-15; 2TH 3:8-9. 6. What concerned Paul more was not law nor personal liberty but rather the salvation of others. 1CO 10:31-33. D. Expediency means that we govern our choices and conduct to not give the enemy an occasion to speak reproachfully. 1TI 5:14 ct/w ROM 2:23-24. E. Expediency means that we are accountable not only to the cardinal points of God’s Law (e.g. The Ten Commandments) but also to such things as continence, temperance, patience and such like. 2PE 1:6; 2TI 3:3 c/w GAL 5:22-23. 1. Temperance: The practice or habit of restraining oneself in provocation, passion, desire, etc.; rational self-restraint. (One of the four cardinal virtues.) a. Self- restraint and moderation in action of any kind, in the expression of opinion, etc.; suppression of any tendency to passionate action; in early use, esp. self-control, restraint, or forbearance, when provoked to anger or impatience. 2. Incontinent: Not continent; wanting in self-restraint: chiefly with reference to sexual appetite.
V. Concerning elopement. A. We have a young couple in our midst who recently eloped. I have made it clear to them and to you that what they did was not sinful. B. I have actually counselled couples in the past to elope where onerous family expectations were conflicting with godly marriage and natural passion. 1CO 7:9. 1. Ridiculous restraints are likely to result in ridiculous disasters. 2. Necessity is the keyword. How necessary is it that a couple get married RIGHT NOW? 3. What about the values of patience, temperance, continence or circumspection? EPH 5:15. 4. What about the value of prudence (Ability to discern the most suitable, politic, or profitable course of action, esp. as regards conduct; practical wisdom, discretion)? PRO 22:3. 5. What about the message that your decision may send to others? 6. What about the offense that your decision may cause to those who care for your well-being? 7. What about the questions of propriety that your decision may generate? C. Major decisions should be made with good counsel, not in spite of it or avoiding it. PRO 1:5; 11:14; 15:22; PSA 119:24.
VI. Law is needful, Liberty is wonderful, but expediency, charity and discretion dare not be shelved.