06 Liberty: Self-Limits – 1 Cor 8-91 Corinthians: Called to Be Saints
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We tend to think that knowledge is a good thing, and we are urged to “grow in grace and knowledge” (2 Pet 3:18). However, when knowledge becomes a source of pride and a weapon for trampling the consciences of others, love is absent! And without love, what’s the point? In Corinth, Christians who knew that they could eat meat sacrificed to idols ridiculed and offended others who were more cautious, causing them to stumble. This kind of attitude and this kind of behavior can never please God!
8:1-8 – We Temper Our Knowledge with Love.
Meat sacrificed to idols:
Could you eat it or not? Should you eat it or not? Would you eat it or not?
Why was this an issue? Was the answer not obvious? And how can this possibly relate to us?
“We all have knowledge.” Perhaps a slogan in Corinth, in quotes.
Paul corrects this in 8:7. “No, all do NOT have this knowledge!”
We easily assume that others see, think, and know what we do.
We need to put ourselves in their shoes!
Instead we may try to put them in our shoes!
Knowledge (arrogant, without love) puffs up.
Love (not that knowledge itself is evil) builds up.
The “know-it-all” knows nothing.
The real key is loving God.
We hear, “It’s who you know.” Actually, it’s who (God) knows you.
God knows those who love Him.
And because we love God, we love each other.
Pagan gods do not really exist.
There is no God but our God.
Everything is from him and for Him.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH
Brother A: “I can eat this meat!” Reason: ________________
Brother B: “I can’t eat this meat!” Reason: ________________
Who is right? Either, neither, or both? Similar discussion in Rom 14.
8:9-13 – We Exercise Our Liberty with Care.
The Conscience: a God-Given “Inner Compass.”
It can accuse or defend our actions. Rom 2:14-15
It can affirm that we are living godly lives. 2 Cor 1:12
It can be clear or clean. 1 Tim 3:9
It can be seared (branded with a hot iron). 1 Tim 4:2
It can become evil. Heb 10:22
It can be cleansed. Heb 9:14
It can be weak, tender, overly careful. 1 Cor 8:7
It can be affected by past experiences. 1 Cor 8:7
It can be defiled (stained or marred). 1 Cor 8:7
It can be retrained. Acts 10:28; Gal 2:11-14
Right … or Wrong?
Rom 14:14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
Rom 14:22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Right … AND Wrong
1 Cor 8:9-12
Insisting on my RIGHTS may be WRONG!
If it becomes a stumbling block, an obstacle. Rom 14:13
If it spurs another to do what is “wrong” to him.
If my “knowledge” destroys him (ruins him so that he perishes).
He is my brother. We belong to each other.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” YES! Gen 4:9
He is one for whom Christ died.
Paid with His life to save him.
Surrendered His rights to deliver him.
(What was I saying about “my rights?”)
His destiny is (to some extent) in my hands.
“Cause this weak person to be destroyed.”
What “right” do I have to do that?
Is it worth it? Dare I help a brother to be lost?
Just a Wound? No Real harm?
If I wound others’ weak consciences …
I sin against them.
I sin against Christ.
I endanger myself.
Matt 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
1 Cor 8:13 Therefore, if food (or ___________) makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat (or _____________), lest I make my brother stumble.
He is not just “some person.”
He is the brother – my brother – for whom Christ died.
That is why we belong to each other.
9:1-18 – We Yield Our Rights with Purpose.
LOVE – THE KEY TO:
An Apostle’s Aspiration
A Savior’s Surrender
A Congregation’s Catalyst
A Christian’s Commitment
“Am I Not Free?” 9:1-6
Rhetorical questions (9:1-6), expecting certain answers. Paul has the right to … food and drink – Christian marriage – church support.
He is an apostle.
He has seen the Lord Jesus.
He has served effectively.
The Corinthians are his proof,
his “seal of approval.”
Others exercise these rights.
They are legitimate!
“It’s Only Right!” 9:7-14
Seven Analogies Regarding Pay for Those Who Preach:
- Soldiers are paid for their sacrifice.
- Vine-growers eat the fruit of their work.
- Shepherds enjoy the milk of their flock.
- Oxen eat as they thresh. Deut 25:4
- A plowman tills the ground in hope.
- A thresher beats out grain from its husk in hope.
- Temple workers eat the food offered on the altar.
Those who sow (spiritually) should reap (materially).
“In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”
“But I Yield! I Give Up and Give In.” 9:15
1 Cor 9:12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 1 Cor 9:15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision …
1 Thess 2:6 Nor did we seek glory from … you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
Paul also has the right to give up his rights for the sake of others!
Like Paul, Christians surrender our rights …
not because we have to … but because we want to!
9:16-27 – We Aim to Win – at All Costs.
“We are compelled to share the good news.” 9:16-18
To “preach” is simply to present the gospel anytime, anywhere, to anyone, by any means.
Paul: “I cannot brag about my efforts to evangelize.”
“Necessity (pressure, duty, obligation) is laid upon me!”
“Woe” (pain, displeasure) to me. It hurts me if I don’t!”
“I ought to want to!”
“I do want to!”
“But even if I don’t want to, I still have to!”
“I can’t help myself!”
“We are compelled to serve to save.” 9:19-23
1 Cor 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
“I will do whatever it takes – by all means – to identify with lost people, in order to win them to Christ.”
“Before I ask others to come to me, I will come to them.”
“Before I invite others to become what I am, I will do what I can (as a Christian) to become what they are.”
“We are compelled to finish strong.” 9:24-27
Purpose: Run to win the prize.
Preparation: Exercise self control.
Perspective: for an imperishable wreath.
Direction: Take aim and do not drift.
Training: “Buffet” (whip into shape) your body.
Perseverance: Do not quit. Cross the finish line.
Practice: Don’t just preach to others. Pass the test yourself. You could be disqualified!