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You ever watch those shows about these submarines that go down 2 and a half miles to the wreck of the Titanic? Thatís one thing that I think I could never do. To be crammed into a machine not much bigger than a telephone booth with 2 other guys, 2 miles below the surface of the water, with the incredible pressure of that water just trying to squish the vessel. Well, letís say that you were down there, and you just couldnít take it anymore. You were going nuts, and you said, ďI have to get out of here!Ē Opening the hatch would be about the stupidest thing you could do. Yeah, you might get out of the sub, but youíd be crushed by the water before you got the chance to drown. The apparent captivity of the submarine actually gives you freedom. That confinement preserves your life. And itís the exact same thing when we talk about Christian living. Living the way that God wants you to might seem restricting, but itís sure a lot better than the alternative.
Youíre going to learn a new word this morning. Who here knows German? Youíll already know this word: Mitteldingen. Vat ist ein Mittelding? Mittelding, you can even hear it in English: Middle Thing. Ein Mittelding is the German word for adiaphora, something neither commanded nor forbidden by God. The picture is that there are things on this side that God commands that we do, and on this other side these are the things that God commands that we donít do, and in the middle are the Mitteldingen, the things that God hasnít given us a command about one way or the other. And when we talk about Christian Freedom, this is what weíre talking about. Christian Freedom presupposes that we already know about the Freedom from our sins that Jesus won for us on the cross. Christian Freedom is about how we live our lives now, knowing that we are free from sins and on our way to heaven.
The church in Corinth had a number of problems with these Mitteldingen. And as you look at our text, you get a sense of what one of the major problems was. Corinth was a pagan town. There were a lot of temples to false gods there. A lot of sacrifices were made to those gods. And very much like the Jews, many of the sacrifices were not total offerings given to the gods. By that I mean, letís say that you were bringing a cow to sacrifice to Apollo. Maybe one third would be burned up on the altar, one third would be given to Apolloís priests, and the other
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