Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 8”

I am sorry this message is a week late. I was having trouble with my blog, website, and internet last week, as well as a few other issues. It seems when the devil attacks, he hits you from every angle. But praise God, He is greater! God worked it all out. He is faithful!

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)

We continue our study of Paul’s letters with 1 Corinthians 8. Paul’s message in this chapter is similar to what he wrote in Romans 14, when he spoke to the Romans about accepting those who are weaker in faith and not putting a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of our brothers and sisters.

He begins the chapter:

Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.

v. 1-3 (NASB)

I love how Paul starts off by saying that knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. When the disciples asked why Jesus spoke to people in parables, He replied “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew 13:10-11, NIV).

Through faith in Jesus, we have been given access to the knowledge of God. As we grow in our walk with Him, we grow in knowledge. A mature believer may have more knowledge than a new believer, but having more knowledge does not make them superior. Jesus had more knowledge than anyone. Yet there was no pride or arrogance in Him, because He loved others. He humbled himself to lift others up.

Philippians 2:5-11 instructs us:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Having knowledge is not enough. The Bible says, If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NIV). We must be filled with God’s love to use the knowledge He’s given us for good, not evil.

I am dealing with a situation with someone right now where I have knowledge because I’ve been through it before.  The other person is experiencing it for the first time. God’s had to remind me to humble myself and think about the person as if I were in their shoes, walking through it with them for the first time.

We may have more knowledge in an area than someone else, but we must be careful not to let that knowledge puff us up. We must humbly follow Jesus’ example by using the knowledge God’s given us to build others up, rather than tear them down.

Paul finishes the chapter:

Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

v. 4-13 (NASB)

If our freedom and knowledge causes others to stumble and fall into sin, we are sinning. Though Paul was addressing the traditions of that time, regarding meat and eating food sacrificed to idols, we can still learn from it and apply it today.

As an example, a former alcoholic turns to Christ. He’s been delivered from the addiction. He vows not to touch alcohol again, because he knows how destructive it is and how easily he can fall back into that temptation. He’s invited over his Christian friend’s house one day, along with a couple of other Christian friends who bring beer. These guys have never had an addiction to alcohol. They don’t drink to get drunk. They never abuse it. They just enjoy a glass once in a while. The guy who has strong convictions against alcohol is tempted and weakened after fellowshipping with his friends.

Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.

v:13 (AMP)

In other words, if we are doing something that causes us or someone else to stumble, we should avoid it.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us knowledge through faith in Christ. As we grow in knowledge, keep us humble so we don’t become arrogant. Fill us with Your love and give us wisdom to use that knowledge for good, not evil. Show us anything that we are doing that is causing others or ourselves to stumble and fall into sin. Help us to lay it down and humbly follow You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 (KJV)

 

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 9. Have a blessed week growing in God’s knowledge and love!

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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Your Appointed Mission”

I recently found out those of you who signed up to receive email notifications haven’t been receiving them for several months. I’m so sorry. The problem has been fixed and you should now be receiving them every Monday.

For the last seven weeks I’ve been doing a series on preparing for your calling. If you missed any posts in this series, you can follow these links below:

Week 1: You Have A Calling

Week 2: Loving God More Than The World

Week 3: Emptying And Filling

Week 4: Single Minded

Week 5: God’s Blessings

Week 6: Believing Jesus’ Teachings

Week 7: Be Strong And Courageous

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

Last week, I talked about being strong and courageous and keeping your confidence as you step into God’s calling. Today we will focus on the mission of our calling.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Matthew 9:35-38

No matter what part of the field God sends us to, we are all given the same mission: to love, reach, feed and lead Jesus’ sheep until He returns. As Jesus stated above, I think the workers are few because too many Christians think they have to be a pastor or a preacher to reach and disciple people. God can use us to reach and minister to those in our neighborhoods. He can use us to reach and minister to our families. He can use us to reach and minister to those in our jobs, our communities, and even our churches.

I am a stay at home mom of four children. I didn’t have a platform or church pulpit to minister from when God called me. The first assignment God gave me was to borrow a women’s Bible study from my church and lead the study in my home. I sent invites to all my family and friends, and anyone I knew in my neighborhood and community. That one study grew and many more studies followed. For two and a half years, God used those studies to reach and disciple women of all ages and walks of life. Some didn’t know Christ. Some were just starting their walk with Christ. Others were mature in their walk with Christ. By simply opening my home each week, I was able to love, reach, feed and lead many of Jesus’ sheep.

Before God told Moses that Joshua was chosen to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

Numbers 27:15-17

To prepare you to love, reach, feed and lead those in the community God appoints you, God first has to give you a heart of compassion. You can’t love without having compassion. And you can’t reach and minister to others without love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Jesus has compassion and love for us because the Bible says that He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). In the same way, God uses our wilderness times to purify our hearts and soften them so that we would have compassion first for ourselves, and then for others.

We have to learn to be compassionate toward ourselves first because if we are hard on ourselves, we will be hard on others. I used to be extremely hard on myself. It affected all my relationships, especially my marriage. God opened my eyes to this when my husband expressed to me once: “I feel like you are always disappointed in me. I feel like I constantly let you down.” I couldn’t sympathize with his weaknesses because I hadn’t received God’s grace for my weaknesses.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

I want to encourage you today to receive God’s mercy for yourself so you can fulfill your calling to love, reach, feed and lead those in the community God appoints you.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

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Prayer For The Week:

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for having mercy on us and forgiving all our sins. Cleanse our hearts and fill it with love and compassion for others. Appoint us to the community You need us most. Help us to love, reach, feed and lead Your sheep to Jesus, our good and faithful Shepherd. 

In His name we pray, Amen!

Verses To Meditate On:

1 Timothy 1:5 (AMP version); Ephesians 4:1-16

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