Summary: This sermon deals with what happens when our Christian Liberty leads another person into temptation.
Should I Help My Brother Or My Sister
GNLCC 5/20/2001 2 Sam. 11:1-5 1 Corin. 8:1-13
Suppose you had invited someone over to your home. Let’s suppose there was a skunk outside and something scared it so that it gave off it’s scent. The smell begins to enter the home. You immediately reach up for your favorite air freshner and start to spray the room. Your guests begins coughing and can barely breathe. You recognize the person is having an allergic reaction, what would you do?
A. Keep spraying the house until the skunk sent is all gone. B. Stop spraying the house with the freshner and help your friend whatever way can get to the hospital. C. Look at friend and wonder why he or she does not have enough faith to overcome the air freshner. Or D. Let your friend know you are sorry the air freshner offends them, but you have a right to spray your house to make it smell good.
Most of us would not have to struggle with the issue of whether or not we should help our brother or sister in this situation. We recognize the danger our lack of action would be putting them in as far as their physical health is concerned. Even though we intended no harm, the result of our actions could prove fatal if we continued to do what we were doing, or did nothing to help their situation.
In our New Testament reading, the word of God was dealing with the same kind of thing but on a spiritual level. In the city of Corinth, there were a lot of animals being sacrificed to various idols. Well they did not have refrigerators back then, so once they sacrificed these animals they had to sell the left over meat before it began to spoil. Sometimes you could get some great prices on this meat d depending on how much there was at the market.
There were some Christians who believed meat that was sacrificed to idols had been offered to the devil, and that to eat that meat, would be like joining in the sacrifice. They felt the meat was full of evil since it had been used in false religious worship. There were other Christians who believed, that idols were not real anyways. Simply sacrificing an animal to them did not make them any more real. They thought the reduced price on the meat was a sheer blessing from God to help them with their grocery bills.
Christians who had been saved out of backgrounds where they had worshipped idols and been involved with sacrifices, may have had the most difficult time trying to eat this meat. It reminded them too much of their former lifestyle. Some of them when they ate the meat started to feel condemned. They remembered how they use to eat at the idols tables and then go off into wild parties and sexual activity all as part of their worship. Eating the meat led them back to what they had previously done before following Christ. They left the faith altogether. That is why some believers insisted, that meat should be avoided at all cost.
The word of God provides us with a principle here because the eating of meat itself is not a sin. It is a matter of preference. It is not basic to one’s salvation. Paul says for those who feel it is wrong to eat the meat, they should not eat it. To do so would violate their consciences. They would be going against something they have vowed not to do.
On the other hand, for those who feel it is okay to eat the meat, it is fine for them to eat the meat. However, if they are with someone who has a problem eating the meat, they need to be super sensitive to the non-eater. If they go out to eat and the person says, this meat has been sacrificed to idols, then neither of them is to eat the meat. Even though the meat eater has a right to eat it, he or she should be willing to pay more to avoid the meat sacrificed to an idol out of love for the other person.
But if a person who does not eat meat sacrificed to idols, goes to an event where he or she knows others will be eating the meat, that person is not to go in judging the meat eaters or expecting them to put away the meat because he or she is present. The person should simply avoid the situation.
The word of God tell us, the most important thing is not whether or not my rights are being violated, but am I being a stumbling block for someone else through my behavior. When we cause someone else to stumble, it’s the same as sinning against Christ. Paul takes things a step further when he says, “therefore if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” The call of Christian is to help other Christians make it to the finish line with Jesus Christ. In our purpose statement, our first line is, “our purpose is to bring people into a right relationship with God.”