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Guidance In Gray Areas

November 15, 2020 Speaker: Ken Ramey Series: Stand Alone Sermons

Topic: Legalism

The Scriptures clearly command and condemn certain beliefs and practices making them unarguably right and wrong. But there are many things that the Bible doesn’t directly address or explicitly say are right or wrong. God gives each of us the freedom to decide whether these things are right or wrong for us based on how our conscience convinces or convicts us. The following TEN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES can help you determine whether or not you should do something that is not black and white in God’s Word.

1. EXPEDIENCE (1 Cor. 6:12a)     “Will it benefit me spiritually?”

2. ENSLAVEMENT (1 Cor. 6:12b)     “Will it enslave me?”

3. ENCUMBRANCE (Heb. 12:1)     “Will it slow me down?”

4. EQUIVOCATION (1 Pet. 2:16)     “Will it rationalize my sin?”

5. EDIFICATION (1 Cor. 10:23)     “Will it build me up spiritually?”

6. EVANGELISM (1 Cor. 9:19-23)     “Will it lead others to Christ?”

7. ENCROACHMENT (Rom. 14:22-23)     “Will it violate my conscience?”

8. EXAMPLE (1 Cor. 8:7-13)     “Will it cause others to stumble?”

9. EMULATION (1 Jn. 2:6)     “Will it be like Christ?”

10. EXALTATION (1 Cor. 10:31)     “Will it glorify God?”



James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” These questions are designed to help you apply today’s message to your life. We encourage you to thoughtfully answer these questions and discuss your answers with others. For more information about joining a Grow Group that uses these questions as the basis for weekly discussion, prayer, and accountability, please call the church office at (936) 582-1977.


  1. According to God’s Word, what are some issues that are clearly black and white? What are some issues that should be considered gray areas?
  2. Do you give people grace when it comes to gray areas? Can you remember a time where you were not given grace in a gray area? How did it make you feel? What are some gray areas in which you tend to judge that you can begin to be gracious and believe the best about others?
  3. Read Matthew 15:9, Luke 11:46, Colossians 2:20-23, and 1 Timothy 4:2-4. Based on these verses, how would you define legalism? How does legalism involve judgmentalism?
  4. What are some extra-biblical burdens that others have placed on you or that you have placed on yourself?
  5. Is there anything in your life that you are a slave to? What are some practical steps you can take to gain freedom from it?
  6. Are there any things in your life that are hindering you or slowing you down in your spiritual progress? How can you remove these hinderances/hurdles?
  7. Is there anything you are doing that is causing you to be a bad witness to unbelievers or causing fellow believers stumble?
  8. Ask God to help you learn to apply these principles to the daily decisions you make regarding what you should do or shouldn’t do in regards to those things that God hasn’t explicitly told us what we should or shouldn’t do.

“In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

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