1Cor.8:1-13 Christian Liberty

 

Intro: Seen that 1Cor. Is a letter written to address some problems going on in the church there !

A) Problems which could easily be summed up as they had taken their eyes off of Jesus / forgot about Jesus & forgotPurpose as a Church)

 

B) That is Paulís focus in Ch. 1-6

 

C)Beginning in Ch. 7 Paul starts to address some specific Quests. The church at Cor. Had written him about .

1) 1st He deals w/marriage & singleness / Divorce & remarriage

that is the focus of chapter 7

 

D) Then in Ch. 8 Paul turned his attention to one of the most controversial subjects in the letter he received from the Corinthian church:

ďCan Christians eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols?Ē

 

 

Now this particular controversy doesnít really apply or interest believers today since we do not face that problem.

A) But the wider issue of ďChristian libertyĒ does apply to us, because we face questions that Paul never faced.

 

B) Is it right for Christians to attend the movies /Should a believer have a television set in his home?

1) Is it RIGHT for a Christian to smoke or drink / is it RIGHT to listen to rock music - Christian or other wise .

 

C) Questions like these & a host of others that deal w/ issues that are not black & white in scripture.

1) ďGray areas ďWhere judgment is needed

SOChapters 8-10 gives us some interesting insights into dealing w/ this issue of Christian liberty - dealing w/ ď gray areas ď

 

To begin w/ it is important that we understand the conflict going on in Corinth over this issue of is it right to eat meat sacrificed to idols

A) Scene : Corinth was a pagan culture / Idol worship was prevalent

††††††††† Multiplied sacrifices were offered daily !

 

B) Each offering divided into 3 parts / 1prt. For sacrifice / 1 to offerer/1 Priest as Payment( best cut)

1) But There were so many sacrifices being offered each day that thepriest couldnít eat all that meat so it was - sold in theshambles

 

C) SHAMBLES WERE OUTDOOR MARKETS / so in the shambles you

†††† could get the best cut of meat - filet minion†† at great discounted prices

 

C) Now some of the believers having come out of this lifestyle of paganism were very aware of these practices

1) Knew they could get a great piece of meat for a lot less money!

 

D) their feeling was who cares if it was offered to an idol / idols are

†† nothing more than a dumb piece of wood or stone! ( not really a god)

 

E) But there were others who were offended by this / they felt to eat

††††† meat offered to idols was like taking practice in the idolatry !

1)They believed idols contaminated the food /So Problem wasnít a

†††††††††††† dietary issue but a moral one

 

F) Think for a minute which group / For that reason they wrote Paulv.1-13

 

 

 

Now there are 2 Principles that we need to keep in mind as it relates to our freedom in these ď gray areas - where scripture is not black & white

A) 1st OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD - back in chapter 6:12 - turn

 

12All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

 

A) The First thing I need to consider in any situation is how is this going to affect my relationship w/ the Lord ?Helpful or hurtful

 

B) Paul says All things are lawful- but all things are not helpful -†† in other words there are things that might not build me up/ but will pull me down

 

C)And because of my love for the Lord & my understanding of his love for

††† me - I donít want to take part in anything that might hinder my walk

1) Or hurt my relationship w/ Him !!!!!

 

 

So 1st principle is my love for the LORD -

2ND IS MY LOVE FOR MY BROTHERS -that is thefocus of chapter 8

A) Here Paul declares that Knowledge puffs up - but love builds up -

 

B) See I can have all the knowledge & understanding about a certain thing or situation - but if that knowledge makes me insensitive to others

1) Then it is pride - and that is what God hates

 

b) And so Those who were mature in the Lord - those who had knowledge & understanding that idol was just a piece of wood

††††††††† 1) Were coming down on those who struggled w/ this whole issue

 

C) See the issue isnít my KNOWLEDGE but it is what I do w/ my knowledge that is the real issue - BECAUSE††

†† Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.†† ( BUILDS UP )

Now Paul says it is NO BIG DEAL TO EAT MEAT SACRIFICED TO IDOLS for in V. 4 We all have knowledge & WE know that an idol is nothing - but a piece of wood or stone /††††† WE KNOW ONLY 1 GOD

 

A) And in V.6 We know there is only One Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

 

B) However there is a PROBLEM - V.7there is not in everyone that knowledge;

1) In other words Not everyone was mature in their knowledge & understanding or these spiritual truths

 

for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

 

C) Understand that there are those around you who are sensitive & when they see you eating it is going to cause them problems

1) Seeing that you eating meat sacrificed to idol - they might think - it is ok for me to do as well

 

D) But their conscious bothers them - so they sin against their conscious their conscious is defiled

1) They go away in condemnation thinking Why did I do that

 

E) Or They might not eat w/ you but they just look at you / and they are stumbled or offended by you . ( Canít believe he/ she did that )

1) So Paul is admonishing for sensitivity toward the weaker immature brother .

 

 

 

 

Now this is what is so interesting to me Who Paul identifies as the weaker immature brother :

A) the person who is sensitive about eating the meat offered to idol it is not a sign of spiritual sensitivityBUT OF SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY !!!!!

 

B) Now this is amazing because our tendency is†† to think that the person who is sensitive about eating meat offered to idol

††††††††† 1) THEY MUST BE A SPIRITUAL GIANT

 

C) Look how careful they are / look how sensitive they are to some of these gray issues

 

D) No Paul says the person who is bound up in rules and

†††† regulations is not the mature believerbut the immature

1) Not the strong brother but the weaker brother or sister

 

d) The one whoís conscious is defiled because of your liberty is weak - v.7

†††† and the one who is offended by your liberty is weaker v.12

 

 

The more mature a person is in spiritual things the more free they will be

 

A) Now the person who realizes his freedom in Christ doesnít use it as a license to just do what ever - because he lives by that 1st principle

†† 1) all things are lawful - but all things are not expedient -donít build up!

 

B) Look at things from that perspective - does it edify does it build up!

1) Interesting that Jesus declared in Matt 15:10,11, 17-20

"Hear and understand: "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.""Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?††† 18"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

 

Now this is interesting - Jesus says not what goes into the stomach that defiles a man - (not what eats w/ mouth- not what goes in (food )

A.) But it is what comes out of His mouth / because that reveals his heart!/that is what defiles the man !!!!

 

B.) So the question concerning liberty isnít what my diet consists of -it is not an issue ofwhat I eat!

1.) But it is what I take in that is going to affect my heart!

 

C) What comes through the Eye gate / ear Gate etc.

1) Garbage in - garbage out!

 

 

So the issue isnít food offered to idols - but those who were weak and immature made it an issue

 

Now why are people immature? 4 reasons

A.) 1st - New baby Christians - haven't had time to grow in the grace!

††††† Havenít fully understood that the work has been done.

 

a)   That Christians donít fight for VICTORY BUT FROM VICTORY

 

b) Havenít fully realized that their Victory is secure / that the RACE WON/ WORK IS DONE - their FREE!!!!

 

BB) And because that perspective is so different from the world

RESULT Caught in works - work way into blessing - into Godís presence

1) BECAUSE IT IS SO contrary how raised - P. based E.- still living

†††† in that mindset

 

C)AndTheir tendency is to think the Christian life canít be that good /†††

†††† canít be that much fun .

1) New babes - conscience is sensitive about certain things

2nd group: Spoiled brats - not new babes - spoiled brats

A.) Heb 5:12†††† For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

 

B) Still wrestling over the basics / havenít moved past the milk / Need to

††††† study about baptisms & repentance

 

B.) Some refuse to grow - they wonít come to bible study - they wonít take time to get into Word

1.) worship corporately - donít grow! Locked into perpetual bratiness!

 

C.) Hosea: My people ÖÖ..†† knowledge !

 

D) Immature because they have never really grown up !!!

 

 

3rd reason: Not newborns /orspoiled brats / BUT scared children

A.) Some kids Donít go outside! Kidnapped - sun burned

 

B.) there are Those like that spiritually - never step out in faith - never seek to stand - because afraid get wiped out!

1) Never exercise their spiritual muscles by getting involved in

††† anything !!!

 

C.) Afraid- get challenged - afraid might stumble -

1.) Result never grow never stretched never apply - remain immature because complacent - comfortable!

 

D.) Not doers of Word - but only hearers!

 

 

 

4th Group - Pride: Think they know it all!

A) Theseare the ones who have a fair amount of spiritual knowledge who

spiritually have tasted some success! Been used - received insight

 

B) Think , hey, Iíve got it together! Come to studies not to be fed but to

†††† analyze & critique

 

C) They donít study - they theorize/†† Porky Pine -

1.) RESULT IS THEY†† donít grow!

 

SO SOME BELIEVERS ARE JUST IMMATURE

 

This is what is interesting: The function of the more mature brother is not to bring the immature into liberty!

A) Not to convince that immature brother of their error but to function in

††††††††† love toward that individual !

 

B) WATCHthat attitude that says ď grow up will you ď

††††††††† 1) Never try to persuade someone of their convictions

 

C) On the contrary the mature brother is to make sure that he doesnít

††††††††† stumble his weaker brother

1) the issue isnít that those who are IMMATURE need to grow up but those who are MATURE are to function in love & sensitivity !

†††††††††

D) See the person who might see you doing something questionable to

††††††††† them†† / taking your liberty & they follow your example

1) Conscience plaques them & they stumble

 

E) Paul says beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

And v. 12 when you cause your weaker brother/ or sister to stumble you are actually sinning against Christ -THEYARE A PART OF BODY OF JC

Guys that is such a heavy statement - IfI cause some other believer to stumble because of my liberty I am actually sinning against the Lord

A) Our tendency is to say - that is there problem - but Paul says no you are actually offending Christ - they are a part of Christ!!!

 

b) Amy at park w/ Denise - Great job on the outside - You should see the

†††† inside it is a mess.†††† Old man - you have a little head.

 

c)   Now if you say what a bratty little girl - we are going to have problems / I donít want you talking about her that way - teasing her

1) To do so magnifies your own immaturity

 

d) Denise & I didnít get upset by her comments - laughed because we know it is all just a part of her immaturity.

1) Like wise - Jesus sees our immaturity - He is working in us to help

††††† us grow in Him!

 

 

Now Paul didnít want to cause anyone to stumble so he says ď if food causes my brother to stumble I will never eat meat again !Ē

 

A) That is an Attitude that says I will sacrifice my liberty if it means

††††† helping my brother or sister in the Lord!