Summary: This sermon is to remind us that love is even more important than being right.
Knowledge vs. Love
1 Corinthians 8
March 16, 2003
A. Now in chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians, Paul turns to the second of the questions that the Corinthians had posed to him.
1. You’ll recall that I have told you that 1 & 2 Corinthians are two letters that Paul wrote the Christians in Corinth, Greece.
2. This letter was written in the year 55, (not 1955, just 55).
3. You may also recall that I have told you that these Corinthian believers had written a prior letter to Paul in which they had asked him several tough questions.
4. Last week we looked at the first area that they had asked about in chapter 7, which had to do with marriage.
5. This week we will look at the second area that they had questioned Paul about in chapter 8 that being about food sacrificed to idols.
6. This was a cultural issue of their day, but in relating his answer, Paul gave some principles for them to apply to this issue that are pertinent to us, for all times.
B. The issue that Paul responds to in chapter 8 has to do with food sacrificed to idols.
1. [Called to Be Saints, Robert Gromacki, Baker Book House, 1983, pp 101-102]
Robert Gromacki explains this cultural issue in this way, “When an idol worshiper offered an animal sacrifice to his god, part of the carcass was consumed by fire upon the altar, but the rest was used in different ways.
The priests often took some meat for their own personal needs.
Sometimes a worshiper would host a dinner in the temple area, feeding his guests with the sacrificial meat.
Or he would take some of the meat home for his family needs and for dinners to which he would invite his friends.
If the animal had been offered as a general public sacrifice, much of the meat would later be sold in the market (10:25).
In addition, many social functions, including community dinners, were held in the temple precincts apart from animal sacrifices.
The situation was problematic.
Could a Christian buy and eat sacrificial meat sold in the market?
Could he accept an invitation to a private dinner where such meat would be served?
Could he attend any function held within the pagan temple precincts?
The answers among the Corinthians, however, were mixed.
Some of the Corinthian believers said that they could do so without violating their Christian testimony, whereas others believed it was sin to do so.
Thus the church wrote to Paul about this problem.
The church wanted an unqualified Yes or No answer, but Paul replied with principles that must be applied to each specific situation.
In the area of morals (lying, stealing, adultery) there is a simple distinction between right and wrong.
This “meat” question, however, belongs to the area of Christian liberty.
The rightness or wrongness in eating such meat is not found in the meat itself or in the eating of it.
Both of these are morally neutral.
The question of sin is introduced by the motivation behind the eating and by the consequences produced by the eating.
Thus it was that Paul had to present the principles of grace that stood in marked contrast both to a firm legalism (“Do” or “Don’t) and to a selfish individualism (“Nobody can tell me what to do”).