A. Romans 14
1. United we Stand, divided we fall (Mt. 12)
B. We hear constantly today about the wonderful virtue of Tolerance.
How that America is the greatest nation on earth because of our tolerance.
C. This is the classic passage in Scripture about tolerance.
D. Today, I want to consider these questions: What does the Bible tell us
about tolerance and God s attitude toward it?
2. Bible Basics about tolerance:
A. Tolerance: Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from
or conflicting with one s own.
B. Now, in a very strict sense, no religion, (and we are talking about religion
here) is tolerant of any other religion.
1. Paul in Athens Acts 17:16-18
2. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the
Father except by me Jn.14:6
3. All religions claim to teach spiritual truth and to the extent that they
contradict other religious teachings they are intolerant.
4. This brings us to consider what we really mean by tolerance.
C. Tolerance is promoted by some honest people, but
1. It is also promoted by all who wish to have their sinful & aberrant
behavior excused or accepted.
D. We are urged to tolerance, which sounds so noble, yet it is defined as:
1. Non-judgmental acceptance of any and all other viewpoints as equally
valid to your own viewpoint.
2. This view equates tolerance with compromise and acceptance of sin.
One way isn t just as good as another.
a. Homosexuality is wrong and should be condemned.
b. Divorcing & remarrying without scriptural cause is not just as good
as the opposite.
c. Islam isn t another great religion that can stand hand in hand
d. Immorality in not just an alternative viewpoint.
e. All entertainment is not created equal.
3. Two ungodly extremes
1. Treating someone bad because we disagree is sinful intolerance.
a. Disagreeing with someone, is not sinful intolerance.
b. It is not sinful intolerance to tell them, or others, even openly,
that we disagree. (Acts 24:10)
c. It is not sinful intolerance try to persuade them to agree with you.
(1) Acts 26:28,29
(2) It is not intolerant to try to convert others to Christianity
d. It is not intolerant to believe you are embracing and practicing
the truth (Acts 24:10)
e. Learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.
2. Treating someone bad because we dislike them or something about
them is sinful intolerance.
a. Personality quirks are never an acceptable reason for ill treatment.
(1) Eph.4:2 longsuffering, bearing with one another in love
(2) I don t like you because you remind me of someone I knew
3. Trying to force someone to accept or embrace your point of view is
a. Paul tried to convince those in sin to repent and be saved (Acts 17)
b. Yet, he never took a bat to someone who was in sin
c. It is intolerance to demand that everyone bow to your opinion or
preferences or even your beliefs.
B. Indifference (Compromise): Josh. 24:15 choose you this day
1. Which Lord we serve is a choice that everyone must make.
a. It is compromise of the worst sort to say, or live like, this
choice doesn t matter.
b. Everyone is to make their own choice, and when they do
2. God teaches that our stance toward Christians must be:
a. It is not OK to openly embrace or practice sin, and if you do, you
will be rejected from the church.
(1) We cannot be indifferent to sin within the church!
(2) 1 Corinthians 5:11ff
(3) We have no responsibility for judging outsiders.
(4)We are to evangelize outsiders, but not judge them,
(5)We do have a responsibility to judge those who claim to be within
the church. We must remove the wicked from among us.
(6) We are to be held to a higher standard of conduct and morality.
(7) If someone claims to be a Christian, I should talk to them like I
talk to fellow Christians.
(8) I should not be afraid to discuss God s word with them, because,
1) They have embraced His word and
2) They claim to be basing their lives, & all their decisions, on it.
b. Tolerance become sin when it becomes indifference or compromise
(in areas of spiritual truth).
c. Acts 17:11 The people at Berea were noble because they searched
the Scriptures before they accepted anything even Paul said.
d. It is spiritually lethal for a congregation to tolerate false doctrine
and apostate teachers.
e. But the spirit of ignorant tolerance that plagues us today often
brands any attempt to scrutinize others teaching as:
(1) Narrow-minded, unloving, or divisive.
(2) The brother of tolerance of error is indifference to truth and
that is disastrous. (Titus 1:9)
(3) Email that was sent to me this week about Billy Graham.
f. We all have our problems, but we have, hold, and teach the
fundamental truths of God s word here.
(1) That is why this church is so important.
g. It is indifferent to refuse to examine your own beliefs in the light
of God s word.
h. The issue that makes intolerance a sin is our attitude and behavior.
(1) It is intolerant to treat others as though they are stupid or don t
love God because they don t share your convictions.
A. We must be tolerant of:
1. Personality differences: (bubbly, or boring)
a. Look at Peter and John
2. Different opinions: (republican or democrat)
a. Different is not necessarily wrong
3. Personal Preferences: (temperature, order of services, fast or
4. Matters of Conscience: Communion on Sunday night
a. Romans 14
B. We must be uncompromising in:
1. Morality within the church: -1 Cor.5
a. Expect to be confronted if others in the church learn that you are
doing something immoral, unchristian, or wrong.
(1) Language, entertainment, honesty, unlawful, etc.
2. God s word & fundamentals of Christianity -Acts 11:17
3. Our love for others -Matt.5:44
A. We are Christian (like Christ) so:
1. Was Jesus Tolerant?
a. Yes! John 8:3-11
b. He loved the sinner, yet required her to forsake the sin.
2. Was Jesus ever intolerant?
a. Yes! Matthew 23
3. At times Jesus was confrontational (Money changers in the temple)
4. Often He asked people to do what was difficult, unpleasant, &
uncomfortable for them to do. (Love me more than family Lk.14)
B. We are to be tolerant in the sense of treating others as we would want to
be treated (do unto others )
C. We are to be tolerant in the sense of accepting and working with others
who don t see eye to eye with us on everything.
D. We are not to be tolerant in the sense of non-judgmental acceptance of
any and all other viewpoints as equally valid to your own view point