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Summary: what we eat is irrelevant-- but how our actions affect others in the body is not irrelevant.

In our scriptures this morning, Paul moves now to a heated Corinthian dispute over an issue of doctrine. Should Christians eat meat from animals that have been offered first to pagan deities, and can they take part in a dinner party the host dedicates to a god or goddess?

Doesn’t it seem peculiar, that in a faith that claims to possess truth, Paul insisted on protecting the right of brothers and sisters to be wronged?

In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul concluded that the Corinthians, rather than taking pride in their knowledge of the truth, really should have been ashamed of their lack of concern for others.

Paul says that what we eat is irrelevant—but how our actions affect others in the body is not irrelevant.

Now,we don’t face this same problem today of eating sacrificial meat, but the basic situation is still with us: does a Christian, because he is set free from the Law, have the right to live any way he pleases? There are many practices that we know from Scripture are definitely wrong, but there are also many borderline problems about which even dedicated Christians disagree.

This is an issue of freedom, our freedom we have through our Savior Jesus Christ.

It was the Corinthians thinking like many of ours,that since it is not directly forbidden in Scripture, then it is allowable.

But this attitude has caused a tension here that has existed since the beginning of the church.

I ask you this mrning, how far does freedom go in regard to behavior that is not specifically forbidden in Scripture?

Thank the Lord we don’t have to tend to deal with issues like food offered to idols,but we do find Christians divided on issues of freedom like…

Drinking alcoholic beverages;

Smoking or chewing tobacco;

Card playing;

Wearing makeup;

Dancing;

Playing and/or watching sports on Sunday;

Styles of music (I grew up hearing how evil rock music was);

Going to the theater;

Going to the movies

The practice of meditation;

Styles of dress;

Gambling;

Playing the lottery

Having Christmas trees; telling your children the story of Santa verses the birth of Christ

Celebrating Halloween;

Making Easter eggs; telling the story of a bunny verses Christ death, burial, and resurrection

worshiping on Sunday verses Saturday

All of these are in the gray areas in Christian living.

So what is right and wrong? This morning I want to present to you four questions that I hope will assist you in making that determination for yourself.

I. Consider Your Own Attitude (8:1–3) read

How many of us have been like the young man that had finished his first semester in college, and was spending the weekend at home.

Somewhat bored with the old place, he was regaling his father with the wonders of his campus and the enlightened people there.

After getting up a head of steam and warming up to his subject he said, “Why, Dad, in our chemistry lab at college we have made an acid that will dissolve any known substance.”

The father turned and looked at him and slowly said, “That’s mighty fine. What do they keep it in, son?”

Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Everyone posses knowledge, but what does knowledge do without love?

I guess my first question this morning is does our knowledge companied with our actions in the gray areas of your life...

1.Does it promote edification?

Paul says,

"So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up." – Romans 14:19

You see the word for edification in the Greek means “to build up; the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness and holiness” (The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon – Strong’s number 3619).

Remember, in the context of our passage here, Paul is addressing the issue of “gray areas”.

Remember that Paul told us in Romans,

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too." – Romans 14:17-18

In essence, don’t get wrapped up on the “gray area”. Instead, ask is this building or burning the Kingdom of God? Is what I’m doing contributing to unity among the saints, or is there a possibility it could divide it?

II. Consider Your Brother’s Knowledge (8:4–8)read

We have to acknowledge if we are the weaker or stronger Christian.

Now Paul turns to their question in these scriptures. It is important for us to look at verses 1-3 because, they are an introduction as to how he was going to answer their question. The answer to their question about eating food sacrificed to idols has more to do with love, than it has to do with what’s right and what’s wrong. The answer to their question has more to do with love than knowledge.

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