July 18/1Corinthians 8

Paul is answering the question whether or not Christians should eat meat offered to idols. Those who had been Christians for awhile came to the understanding that there was nothing wrong to eat the meat because an idol wasn’t a god it was just a lifeless object that couldn’t harm them.

Verses 1-3 > Paul appeals to the love that the Holy Spirit had placed in their hearts when they received Jesus. Knowledge without love just gives a person a big head and an insensitive heart. Knowledge with love will give a person a sensible head and a big heart. Churches split because of big heads and insensitive hearts. I heard someone say one time, “Some Christians grow and some just swell.” When love wins the day it shows that a person has a relationship with Christ. It shows that the person is concerned for the body of Christ and is willing to take the time to help another Christian grow into maturity so that the body isn’t just swollen or crippled. Weak Christians will be more apt to accept correct teaching when it is tempered with love; instead of just hearing “Grow up and eat the meat there is nothing wrong with it.” The stronger Christian must take the weaker Christian by the hand and gently feed them the truth.

Colossians 3:14 (NLT) — 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Verses 4-10 > Paul appeals to their conscience. He says, “Look you all know what a guilty conscience is like and it is no fun. Your weaker brothers will be violating their conscience if they eat the meat. Do you really want to be the person who is responsible for them violating their conscience? If you love them of course you don’t. They need some time to come to the same understanding that you have. So please be patient.”

I like what pastor Warren Wiersbe says here.“Some Christians have weak consciences because they have been saved only a short time and have not had opportunity to grow. Like little babes in the home, they must be guarded carefully. Other saints have weak consciences because they will not grow. They ignore their Bibles and Christian fellowship and remain in a state of infancy (1 Cor. 3:1–4; Heb. 5:11–14). But some believers remain weak because they are afraid of freedom. They are like a child old enough to go to school, who is afraid to leave home and must be taken to school each day.”

Verses 11-13 > Paul appeals to the sacrifice of Christ. Some people are never going to grow up. But remember that Jesus went to the cross for them to. Do you really want to sin against Jesus by causing another brother or sister in Christ to stumble? Wouldn’t you rather just not eat the meat? I mean after all Christ gave up his life for us so certainly we can give up a meal!
So Hilltop when we are around people that do not have the same Christian liberties as we have; before we open our mouths to instruct them let’s remember: 1. temper our knowledge with love. 2. remember what it is like to violate our conscience with guilt. 3. remember the sacrifice of Christ.
What ever the issue might be it is not worth bringing hard feelings and division to the body of Christ.
Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

 

Comments

  1. Mary Anne Frank says:

    What I hear Paul saying is something I used to say to my girls when they were arguing and hurting each other . “It’s not all about YOU!” Sometimes we do have “superior knowledge” (vs 11) but guess what? It’s not all about me! It’s about love and laying down our lives for one another. Boy, do I need grace!! And thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to give us strength and Jesus to forgive us when we fail.

  2. Mark Gundersen says:

    Eating meat was a problem because some meat was sacrificed first in a temple. Therefore some weak believers were always worried that they were breaking one of the commands laid down by the Apostle’s in Jerusalem. This is legalism that was still present in the church. Paul’s advice is to avoid meat if it will cause distress in another believer. It is similar to avoiding meat when eating with a strict vegetarian. If you care about others you will defer to them.