Summary: This is about the standards we use in making decisions
This passage today is really about the standards we use in making decisions. If you’ve ever had a difficult decision where the answer wasn’t
crystal clear you need to understand the principle that Pauls sets forward here. There are many decisions we make that aren’t moral decisions, but
rather personal and maybe professional. Many of those decisions may have long range consequences to them. Let me assure you that God can give you
wisdom in making those decisions. God does care about all the decisions we are asked to make. I want to take a few minutes to share with you the
background of this passage, so that you will understand why Paul made this statement. Then I want to give you some questioins to consider in making
good decisions. Finally, I want to give you an overall principle that will help guide you.
In the ancient world, pagan shrines were the main supplier of meat for human consumption. Most of the meat in the butcher shops had been dedicated to idols. The gods received their token portion and the rest was offered for public sale. Corinth was full of pagan temples. Jewish people typically had their own stores to buy meat in, so that they would know that the meat they were buying hadn’t been dedicated to an idol. So, they asked Paul “Should we eat a meat offered to idols?” Paul responded by reminding
them that pagan gods were not gods at all because there is only one true god.
He said that while all things may be lawful or permitted (EXESTI) not all things are profitable or edifyng (OIKODOMEO) edifying, promoting spiritual
growth by teaching or example by individuals. Paul was saying that the standards by which I make my decisions cannot be just that it is lawful or
legal. I must operate by a higher principle of love for others. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
Proverbs 10:12b “love covers all transgressions”
The main points of Paul’s argument are:
1. I should not create stumbling blocks for other christians (8:9,13) We should be asking ourselves “Am I creating a stumbling block for my
neighbor?” There are of course a number of ways we can create stumbling blocks from the clothing we wear, to the attitudes we have such as racism or
a judgment spirit, to places we go in some cases.
According to the Associated Press, on the evening of February 6, 1996, three friends drove the rural roads east of Tampa, Florida, with the intent of
playing a prank. Tragically, their game was anything but funny. They pulled some twenty street signs out of the ground, including the stop sign at one
The next day three eighteen year old buddies, who had just finished bowling, breezed through that intersection without stopping. Their car sailed
into the path of a eight-ton truck, and they were all killed.
One year later the three perpetrators of the deadly prank were convicted of manslaughter. In June of 1997 they stood in orange jail jumpsuits and handcuffs before a judge in a Tampa courtroom, weeping and wiping their eyes, and were sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
It is a dangerous thing with tragic consequences for anyone to take down a signpost on the highway. It is no less dangerous for anyone to
vandalize the signpost that God puts on the highway of life. When we honor God’s commandment, we point the way to the signposts of life. If we
dishonor God’s commandments, we can unwittingly lead others to destruction.
In front of our own church, our church sign has been tampered with. Today, on it is the phrase, “Jesus Loves You”. Kids recently jumbled up all the letters and made it read other things. I placed it back in correct order and found 6 letters missing. I think a christians life is to say to others “Jesus Loves You”. Unfortunately, by not living out our faith, our sign can be jumbled up and say things that don’t honor God and cause stumbling blocks for others.
2. I should operate out of love and consideration of others (Romans 13:10) love does not wrong to a neighbor, love is the fulfillment of the law. “Am I
operating out of love?” Consider how kind Jesus was to Judas Iscariot. Jesus didn’t have to make him a part of his inner circle, but he did. He placed
him in a place of honor at the last supper. Jesus loved people even when they didn’t return that love. What credit is it to you if you only love those who
love you? We must learn to love our enemy.
3. I should be sensitive to the conviction of others. I think about maw maw, my great grandmother. She was very rigid about not doing work on Sundays. If I showed up and had started to mow her lawn on Sunday it wou have been offensive to her. Even though she loved me, she would have been strong with me and probably of taken a broom to me. She wouldn’t have allow it and I wouldn’t have been sensitive to her convictions. I would have been sinning even though mowing her lawn is not a sin in itself.