Summary: We have a lot of knowledge in the Christian church today. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough love.
"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of a young man named Goodman Brown who meets up with the devil one night and takes a walk to a secret meeting only to find that every upstanding person in the community knows the devil by name. Even his saintly wife knows the devil intimately. The next morning the man looks down upon all the townsfolk for their hypocrisy.
We have to be careful of our deeds lest we lead others astray.
Corinthian church situation - Questions for the Corinthian Christians
Go through our text – keep bible handy
In an argument – all sides claim that the others don’t know as much
Rarely is it a knowledge issue – love issue – “knowledge puffs up but love builds up” – v. 1
I found this illustration online:
A story is told about a woman in an airport. She had a “red-eye” flight and it was around midnight. She was tired, but also hungry so she bought a box of cookies. She sat down and opened her hand bag, searching for a book to read. A man sat down next to her and the next thing she knew, he opened the box of cookies and was eating one of them! This upset the woman but she did not want to create a scene. Besides, she thought, “Well, he is only eating one.” But then he took another one. Rather than have a row, the woman simply took one herself. Then he took one and she took another one. This continued until there was only one cookie left. The man picked up the final cookie and said to the woman, “Would you like to split it with me?” She was so furious that she grabbed it out of his hand, took her bag and stormed away. When she got on the plane, she was still fuming. Before she sat down, she reached into her bag to find her book. What she pulled out was the box of cookies which she had bought!
She thought she knew but she didn’t know at all
“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” – v. 2
Turn people off with our pompous attitude – by showing our “knowledge” – show our ignorance
One of my seminary professors gave a great lecture one day when I was in my first year at the seminary. I was in awe of his knowledge. I went up to him after class and told him just how much I enjoyed the lecture and his vast Biblical knowledge. He said that he found that the more he studied, the less he realized he knew.
That is the type of humility that Paul is getting at – a humble spirit that won’t trample upon the feelings of others – the answer to the problem is love not knowledge
“But the man who loves God is known by God.” – v. 3
Paul writes later, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live, and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” – v. 6
Paul writes in verse 7, “But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.”
Not a knowledge problem – a conscience problem
Many converts – we are faced with the same issue – converts – especially in our work in Waukee
Sensitive – set good examples – how we treat our spouse and children, especially in public, showing respect for other church members – we are always witnessing but what do our actions say
Verse 9 – “Be careful that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” Verse 13 - Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.”
We had some friends over for lunch after church. It is our custom to serve wine when guests come over for a meal. To us it shows how special they are. They explained that they don’t drink on Sundays out of respect for Christ. We put the bottle of wine away so as not to injure their consciences.
Are there areas of my life where I need to be sensitive to those with a weak conscience? How can we apply the lessons in our everyday life?