Grace Community Church
We Remove Stumbling Blocks (Acts 15:12-21)
Big Idea: We help others grow when we turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Locations & Times
  • Grace Community Church
    9755 N La Cholla Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85742, USA
    Sunday 9:00 AM, Sunday 10:45 AM
1. God is bigger than the stumbling blocks people can put up in our lives.

Acts 15:12 (NLT)

Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
1. God is bigger than the stumbling blocks people can put up in our lives.

2. We find stumbling blocks as we listen to God and remember what He has told us in the past.

Acts 15:13-18 (NLT)

13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me.14 Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:

16 ‘Afterward I will return
and restore the fallen house of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
and restore it,
17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord,
including the Gentiles—
all those I have called to be mine.
The Lord has spoken—
18 he who made these things known so long ago.’

Ephesians 2:19-20 (NLT)

19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
1. God is bigger than the stumbling blocks people can put up in our lives.

2. We find stumbling blocks as we listen to God and remember what He has told us in the past.

3. When we remove stumbling blocks, we can turn them into stepping stones.

Acts 15:19-21 (NLT)

19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21 For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

Romans 14:13-23 (NLT)

13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. 14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. 20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (NLT)

Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. 4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. 5 There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. 6 But for us,

There is one God, the Father,
by whom all things were created,
and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things were created,
and through whom we live.

7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.
9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. 13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

My Next Step

Are there any situations where you have been (or might be) a stumbling block to others? How could you reverse that? Even, perhaps turn it into a stepping stone, with God's help? Click here to take one step closer to Christ today.
For my personal time with God this week:

[#1] Read Acts 15, paying special attention to this idea of “stumbling blocks” these early Christians created for each other. What were some of the extra-biblical rules (“do’s and don’ts”), or cultural morals, imposed on you when you were a kid that you thought were silly? Can you think of any situations where you would go back to those, to not be a stumbling block to someone else?
[#2] Read Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 carefully. In these chapters, Paul talks about personal beliefs and our responsibility to our fellow believers in Christ. These days, those stumbling blocks can be over anything from body piercings, tattoos, and clothing styles to movies, video games, or alcohol/tobacco. What in my life could conceivably be a stumbling block sometime for someone else? What would I, or should I do, if that situation arises?
[#3] Read Zechariah 4:6, the verse declared by the founding pastor of Grace as the church’s theme verse. Spend some time praying for your church, and your church family. Ask God to show you how this verse might apply to our church today. Do you see any stumbling blocks in Grace’s present or future? If so, would you be willing to play a part in turning that stumbling block into a stepping stone?

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