Summary: We all have knowledge (or, at least we think we do) but such does not build up the body of Christ. Too many professing Christianity actually tear down the body of Christ with their knowledge instead of building it up with the love God demands.
Knowledge Puffs Up But Love Edifies
Theme: Considering the conscience of your brother. 1 Corinthians 8
A. Within the body of Christ will arise issues that are deemed doctrinal by some and opinion by others.
1. Both sides believe they have the truth on the divisive subject.
2. Such was no different in the first century: “everybody has knowledge.” 1 Cor. 8:1
3. The end result among many brethren: division…in the name of standing for the truth.
B. To consider the conscience of your brethren:
1. There must be knowledge concerning God’s will on a given subject matter.
2. Of greatest importance, however, is that there must be love for your brother.
C. In this lesson we use the illustration (of eating meats offered to idols) that the apostle Paul gives as a
principle of how brethren SHOULD treat each other. 1 Cor. 8
1. The apostle Paul wanted brethren with a weak (defiled) conscience to have a sound knowledge of
the subject matter that was causing their conscience to be “weak.”
2. More importantly, however, he wanted brethren with a who knew better (those with a “strong”
conscience) to let their love for their brother’s (weak) conscience dictate their course of action.
I. KNOWLEDGE PUFFS UP - LOVE EDIFIES
A. We all have knowledge.
1. The purpose of knowledge is to bring us to the faith and build us up in the faith. 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2
2. Some – believing they have knowledge – view the matter as opinions while others – also believing
they have knowledge – view the matter as doctrine.
3. Usually, when both want to do what is right in pleasing God, judgment and division begin to
manifest in the name of “standing for the truth.”
4. What initially is intended to bring resolution and unity through study results in factions and
divisions fragmenting the body.
B. We all NEED love for each other: cp. 1 Cor. 13:3-7
1. Love looks to the interest of another’s well being.
2. Love will seeks to edify in all things…NOT:
a. Be “self absorbing” and forsake considering the well-being of your brother.
b. Cause your brother to stumble in their relationship with our Lord.
II. THE CONSCIENCE - WEAK AND STRONG
A. Brethren with weak – defiled – consciences.
1. They have knowledge (aka. The truth) about a given matter, and to partake in what others believed
to be a liberty would cause their conscience to be defiled. Cp. Rom. 14:23
2. They truly believe to be “spiritually minded” regarding their discernment . V. 7
3. Regarding meats and idols: those with a defiled conscience were not able to eat of the meat
because they believed such would be the same as giving honor to the idol (as if the idol was an
B. Brethren with strong – clear – consciences.
1. They have knowledge according with (true) liberty regarding a given matter.
2. They truly believe to be “spiritually minded” and are at liberty to partake with a clear conscience.
3. Those with a strong conscience were able to eat meat “in an idol’s temple.” 1 Cor. 10:24 (cp. v.28)
a. They know that the idol is nothing. 1 Cor. 8:4 (cp. Ps. 115:4-8)
b. They know they are not eating the meat in a manner of worshipping the idol. cp. 1 Cor. 10:14,
C. The problem between these “conflicting” consciences…without love for the other. Rom. 14:3
1. The strong conscience: despises the one who does not eat.
2. The weak: judges (condemns) the one who eats.
3. The answer: love that considers the conscience of another.
III. APPLYING FIRST CENTURY PRACTICES IN THE 21
A. There are always going to be brethren who divide over:
1. Whether a subject matter is doctrine or opinion.
2. In fact, all subject matters revealed by God are “doctrine”, yet there are times within the doctrine
of Christ that opposing “opinions” exist.
B. Whatever happens:
1. Give no offense. 1 Cor. 10:23-33
2. Do not be a stumbling block to brethren with defiled consciences. 1 Cor. 8:9-12
3. Do not judge the servant of God: he stands not before you but before God. Rom. 14:4; Jas. 4:1-12
4. The end result: whatever you do, do “unto the Lord.” Rom. 14:5-6
A. Clearly, we all have knowledge: but we all don’t have the same conscience.
B. Edify one another’s conscience with love as we strive to serve the Lord together.