Exhort 25 February 2007 Readings： 1 Cor.8-9 Bro Peter Evans
2007年2月25日 劝勉词 哥林多前书第8－9章 彼得伊万斯弟兄
Dear Brethren and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ
This morning as we come to remember the Lord Jesus Christ we are going to look at the great example of selflessness that is showed to us by the apostle Paul and especially the lord himself.
Our readings are taking us through 1 Corinthians at the moment and have brought us to the section which runs from chapter 8 – 11.
Paul is dealing with meat offered to idols which was a problem for some of the believers in his day.
Many of the believers were pagans before they became servants of our Lord. This meant they served idols. The serving of idols influenced every part of their life. The gods were prayed to for help in daily business, for health, for prosperity, for social success. Even the meals of pagans were offered to idols to get their blessing before they were eaten. In the market place you could purchase food which had been dedicated to the gods to take home and cook.
The worship of idols was so much part of their life that when they converted to believing in the truth of one God things associated with this worship created a great question for them.
Is it acceptable to eat food which had been dedicated to the idol?
Paul highlights the two attitudes the converts had.
One group said “ We know that there is only one God an idol is just a piece of wood or stone so eating meat that has been offered to it is just like eating any other meat, so we can eat the meat.”
The other group said “We know that an idol is nothing but if people see us eating things offered to idols they will assume that we are idol worshippers, so we should not eat.”
Paul’s answer to this question is very simple. He says that the first group is right, the idol is nothing. But Paul does not leave the answer at this statement. He makes the Corinthians think in a much better way.
He says that the knowledge of the facts about what is correct is not enough in the way we make decisions about what we do in life. 1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.
Just because we understand or have knowledge about an issue we must be careful because this can puff us up, or make us proud. We can feel proud that our understanding on an issue is clearer than others.
Consider the following example.
We know that an idol is nothing. So a bhudda is only a piece of wood that has been shaped like a man, just like any other statue. Because of our knowledge we may just consider the bhudda a piece of art.
However if we were previously a Bhuddist, the bhudda is a symbol of the way of false religion we have left to serve the one, living god.
The question for us may be, would we have an image of bhudda in our house?
How would we show we are puffed up with pride in this situation? Well we could say, I know that this is just a piece of wood. I know that me having this in my house will offend my brother BUT I want to show him how foolish he is to believe this piece of wood is a god.” And when we want others to look foolish it is because we want to make ourselves look better!
This may be a very simple example but I am sure you can think of the examples in your life. Are there any things that you do just to show others how mature in understanding you are, are there places you go to show that your faith is stronger that others, that you “can handle” situations they could not?
So we can see that the correct knowledge in a situation can lead to pride if we are not careful.
This does not mean knowledge is not important. We must try to get the correct understanding on every issue in life. Paul is clear in this because he explains in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one. (5) For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) (6) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
We must add something to our knowledge. This is love. Consider 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. (2) And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. (3) But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
Verse 2 is very clear. When we think we are very wise and have all the knowledge this shows that we do not have the knowledge which really matters. We are like the Greeks Paul has already spoken about in 1 Corinthians 1:25-27 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
If we think we are wise we have been confounded by the wisdom of the world!
Paul show that it is not what we know that is important but that God knows us v3.
We did not find God he found us and called us into his family. If we understand this, we will always be grateful for the knowledge we have and not become proud about it.
The apostle John has this to say on the subject 1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (8) He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. (9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. (11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
John says that it was not that we came to special knowledge about God and loved him that we are in the faith. The real reason is that God knew us and loved us, so there is no reason at all to feel proud.
Paul also says to Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
God knows who are his and we show that we are his by doing his will and departing from iniquity. It is what we do, not what we know that shows we are the servants of God!
The greatest example of God’s love to us is the sacrifice of his son. If we are proud and puffed up in wisdom we will feel it is alright to offend a brother “for whom Christ died”
So we ask ourselves the question of whether we should do something (like have a statue of Bhudda in our house) again with this understanding of God’s love to us.
The apostle is very clear how we can answer this question. It has nothing to do with our level of knowledge or feelings on the matter.
All that matters is what others think. Paul makes the question very clear in 1 Corinthians 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
In asking the question Paul makes us really think about our own motives. Would we ever want to do anything that would make our brother or sister be offended, when we remember that Christ died for that brother or sister.
How would we answer Christ at the judgement when he asked us why we were not prepared to sacrifice what we wanted to do to help our brother? What would we say when he showed us how selfish we had been by doing something we wanted when we knew it would offend our sister?
How does us doing something which is not wrong offend someone else who also believes the same as us?
Paul speaks more of this in Romans 14.
Romans 14:5-7 One doth judge one day above another, and another doth judge every day alike ; let each in his own mind be fully assured. (6) He who is regarding the day, to the Lord he doth regard it, and he who is not regarding the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He who is eating, to the Lord he doth eat, for he doth give thanks to God; and he who is not eating, to the Lord he doth not eat, and doth give thanks to God. (7) For none of us to himself doth live, and none to himself doth die;
Here Paul is talking about the same issue, meat offered to idols and also the keeping of a holy day like the Sabbath. The point he makes is that whatever decisions we make about what we do, we make it because it is what we think is the best way to serve God. If we have decided that we will not eat meat offered to idols because it is the best way for us to serve God. If we then do eat the meat we have broken the commitment we have made to God and this means we are offended.
What is important for us to know is that both eating and not eating do not make us any different before God. 1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
It is whether we have made the decision to act in a way that will please him. If we force our brothers to do things contrary to the way they have chosen to worship God, He will not be pleased.
This also leads us to making judgments of others. Paul is clear that we cannot judge each other on decisions we have made on how we live our lives. We are servants of the Lord and cannot judge another servant. It is for him to judge. Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Paul gives the warning here that if we are judging another, our judgment could well be the opposite of God who is the ultimate judge and whose desire is that all will stand and be saved in the final day.
Our responsibility is to judge ourselves on how we are living and how we are dealing with our brethren. Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in [his] brother's way.
The ultimate example of this is the Lord who we meet to remember this morning. He had all the knowledge possible of the will of the Father. He was the Son of God and will judge all the earth. Yet he served his brothers and sisters and made sure he did not offend any of the little ones of his Father. He has showed us the perfect way to live. We should carefully make decisions in our own life about how we should live our life to best serve God. Once we have made these decisions we must be very careful not to judge others. The question is not “What can I do, or why can’t I do this”, The question needs to be “If I do this will I offend my brother or sister?” The answer to this question will clearly tell us what we must do.
Paul’s decision is very clear! 1 Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Let us follow the example of Christ just like Paul did and live our lives for each other, doing all we can to support one another and never causing offence.
Notes out line
Explanation of issue of meats offered to idols吃祭过偶像的食物的问题
The 2 opinions of eating meat offered to idols对吃祭过偶像的食物的两种观点
Knowledge and Love 1 Cor 8.1知识和爱 哥林多前书8：1
Give modern day example – bhudda
What is the personal application in our life
We need to add love to knowledge我们需要在知识中加入爱
1 Cor 8.2-3哥林多前书8：2－3
The way worldly wisdom can confuse us 1 Cor 1.25-27
The importance of God knowing us 1 John 4
2 Timothy 2.19
神认识我们的重要性 约翰一书第4章 提摩太后书2：19
The great example of Christ基督是最佳榜样
How does a brother offend by eating meat? Rom 14吃肉会得罪其他弟兄吗？罗马书14章
There is not difference to God in the actual eating 1 Cor 8v8
We are not to judge others Rom 14.4
We are to judge ourselves.
1. Make careful decisions on how to live our life如何为我们的生活做最好的决定
2. Do not judge others不论断他人
Follow the example of Christ.