Summary: Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians that it is not our knowledge that is important, it is our love for each other as we guard our testimony so as not to cause others to stumble.
Guard Your Testimony
1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (NLT)
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Intro: In one “Peanuts” comic strip one of the females Small Fry came to Charlie Brown and said, “Yes sir, Charlie Brown, Abraham Lincoln was a great man. Charlie Brown, would you like to have been Abraham Lincoln?”
“Well, now, I don’t think so,” he replied slowly; “I am having a hard enough time being just plain old Charlie Brown.”
. It seems that many times we get caught up in what others are doing when we should be concerned about what we are doing.
. Christian Liberty is a truth that you find throughout scripture.
. In John 8:31,32 Jesus said this:
"... “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
32And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
.Paul writes to the Corinthian church in 2 Cor.3:17
. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
. To the church in Galatia, he writes this in Gal. 5:1
. 1So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
. Folks we are free in Christ Jesus. There are no rules and regulations for us.
. That what Paul is referring to there in Galatians. Christians are free and should be careful that they don't get caught up in the legalism that came with the law.
. He is referring to what is called the Law of Moses. Many think that it is the Ten Commandments that Paul is talking about but it's not. It's all the dietary and Sabbath and weighty restrictions that were placed on the people in order to try and stay in a right relationship with God.
.That's what Jesus was referring to in Matthew were he said this:
. 30For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
. We all know that the Ten Commandments will be followed if we just follow Jesus' commands of loving God and loving each other.
. We are free from any other restrictions unless strictly for bidden in scripture.
. Christian freedom has long been a theological debate.
. What is too much, what is too constricting.
. In our scripture this morning, Paul addresses this with the Corinthian church. We are back in 1 Corinthians this morning.
. It has been a while since we have been in 1 Corinthians with all the holidays and everything so let's review for just a second.
. Paul had previously written to the Christians in the church at Corinth (we have no record of that letter) and they have responded with in kind and have asked him to clarify some issues within the congregation.
. Paul Addresses factions within the church and questions they had about Christian marriage. We have looked at those.
. Paul now moves on to Questions about Christian freedom. While it involves the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, Paul really addresses the issue of "legalism" verses "liberalism".
. The legalists believed that everything that a person does is either black or white. There was no grey area for them. Legalists live by rules which was dangerously close to what Jesus said He came to abolish.( paraphrase of John MacArthur)
. The liberal believed much like the legalist in that they didn't have much grey area. The problem was they didn't have much black area. Everything was and is acceptable unless it was strictly forbidden by scripture. Their salvation through Jesus gave them total freedom. (paraphrase of John MacArthur)
. Let's look at our scripture. 1 Cor. 8:1-13
1Now 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.
2Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.
3But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
4So, 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.
5There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords.
6But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.
7However, 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.