Archive for January, 2015

Paul’s Stand

But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

I Corinthians 8:12-13

Paul gives his stance on an important issue here.  He says that “…if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”  He took a stand and said that it did not matter what he wanted.  It mattered only what the Lord wanted.  What the Lord wants is for us to obey Him and be respectful of others.

There is nothing wrong with eating meat.  In fact, Paul probably enjoyed eating meat.  I enjoy eating meat.  But, even though it was something that Paul enjoyed and knew that there was nothing wrong with, he said that if it would cause a brother in Christ to stumble, he would eat no meat until the end of the world.

That should be our attitude.  Too often, we put our own wishes, wants, and desires ahead of not only God’s wishes, wants, and desires, but ahead of the needs of others as well.  Following this advice from Paul will cause us to live our whole lives on a completely higher level because, if we do this, we are no longer just looking at whether or not something is right or wrong.  We are now also looking at how our actions are going to affect others.

Are we that dedicated to the Lord today?  Would we be willing to stand up and say “I will not do ____ until the end the world – even though I know that there is nothing wrong with it because doing ____ might cause my brother to stumble.”?  That is living on a higher level!

 

 

Sinning Against Others

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

I Corinthians 8:10-12

This passage brings up an interesting point that many Christians never consider in the daily lives.  We all know that we should not sin against God.  And, as the Psalmist David said in Psalm 51, all sin is ultimately against God.  We usually think of sin as breaking one of the ten commandments or doing something that goes directly against something taught in the Scripture.  And we would be correct – those are forms of sin.  But here, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, raises the bar.  He tells us that “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

In this passage, the discussion is about eating meat that had been offered to idols.  There is obviously nothing wrong with eating meat.  But, to some new Christians, there was still a link in their minds between the meat and the idols.  Eating that meat offended their conscience.  Paul here tells us that, in offending their conscience and sinning against them, we are also sinning against Christ.  That is a weighty statement.

There are some things in our Christian lives that we can do.  There are things that the Bible does not specifically address.  There are things that are not technically “sins against God.”  But if they cause a brother or sister to stumble, we ought not to do them.  Because in doing so, and sinning against our brother, we are ultimately sinning against God!

Christian Liberty

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.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  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.  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  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.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

I Corinthians 8:4-9

This is a longer passage than I usually put on this blog, but I thought it was necessary for the point of this post.  The point of this post is verse 9: “…take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

There are things that a Christian can do, but maybe shouldn’t do.  As Christians, we should be focused on helping others, not on our own personal wishes and desires.  In this case, the issue is meat that had been offered to idols.  There was clearly nothing wrong with eating the meat, as it is just meat.  But there were some new Christians with weak consciences who worried about eating it.  Paul says that it would be better to not eat the meat than to offend the weaker brother.

We do not want our Christian liberty to become a stumblingblock to a brother.  We need to watch what we are doing, not only so that we will make sure that we are doing right, but also to make sure that we are not offending the consciences of other Christian brothers and sisters!

 

 

Send the Light (Hymn)

Send the Light
Charles Gabriel (1890)

There’s a call comes ringing over the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

We have heard the Macedonian call today,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a golden offering at the cross we lay,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Let us pray that grace may everywhere abound,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a Christlike spirit everywhere be found,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!

Refrain

As Christians, it is our job to “send the light.”  We have the Light.  There is an urgent need to use it to illuminate the world for the Lord Jesus.  How are we doing?  Who can see our light today?

Psalm Saturday 8b

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Psalm 8:1-5

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”  God often uses the small and weak things of the world to accomplish His purposes.  In this passage, He is defeating His enemies with strength “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings.”  Even a tiny baby has more wisdom and power than the mightiest man in the world if God so chooses to make it thus.

It is important for us to remember that.  We do not have to be strong or important or wise for Him to be able to use us.  In fact, it is often the opposite.  He uses things and people who are not strong, not important, and not wise so that His strength, glory and wisdom can show through.

Are we submitting to Him and what He wants us to do?

Bought With a Price

What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Corinthians 6:19-20

This is a famous passage for a reason.  It contains a great truth.  Often, we start thinking that we are in control of our own lives.  We start thinking that we “run the show.”  But, if we are Christians, we do not even own ourselves.

This passage tells us that our very bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost.  We have our bodies because of God.  We have everything from God through Jesus Christ.  He created us.  He gave us life.  He gave us everything.  And not only did He give us everything, He purchased us by saving us from our sins.  We have been “bought with a price” – and what a terrible price it was!

God gave us our lives and our bodies.  And His Holy Spirit indwells those lives and bodies.  We should honor the Lord with our bodies and our lives.  As the passage tells us, we should “glorify God in our body, and in our spirit, which are God’s.”  Everything about us should glorify God.

A Christian glorifying God and honoring Him with his life and with his body should not be an anomaly.  It is simply what we should be doing every single day.  We are not our own.  Our bodies are not our own to do with as we please.  They are God’s and we should treat them as such!  That is an important thing for us to remember.

 

 

Why We Can’t Judge

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

I Corinthians 4:3-5

There is much in the Bible about judging.  We are supposed to judge whether things are right or wrong according to the Bible.  But we are not supposed to judge other people.  The simple reason for that is this: we do not know what is going on in peoples’ hearts and lives.

When we see or hear of someone doing something, what we see or hear is merely the tip of the iceberg.  We do not know what has gone on or is going on in that person’s heart.  We do not know how that person thinks.  We know very, very little about any situation, even situations we think we have a good handle on.  There are many things that we do not know and can not know.

The Bible tells us to “…judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes…”  We are to reserve our judgment of others until the Lord comes and reveals everything.  He does know the hearts of people.  He does see everything that goes on.  And, because of that, His judgment is righteous judgment.  As the Bible says, His judgments are perfect.

This is another passage that tells us to mind our business and live for the Lord.  We don’t need to go around judging everyone else.  We need to leave that to the Lord.

 

Faithful

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I Corinthians 4:1-2

In this passage, we are called “stewards of the mysteries of God.”  A steward is simply one who takes care of something.  It is a person who has been put in charge of something.  In this case, we as Christians have been put in charge of certain things.  And, as the passage tells us, “…it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

We are told (here and in other places) to be faithful with what we have been given to do.  Each of us may have been given slightly different things to do, but all of us should be faithful.  There is something to be said, especially in today’s world, about faithfulness.  There is something to be said about someone who simply does what they are supposed to do… all the time.

Just about every employer I talk to bemoans the fact that they can not seem to find good help.  The people they hire are not faithful.  They come in late, they miss days of work, they call in sick (or don’t call in at all).  I recently heard one manager say “I just wish I could find someone who would show up every day on time!”  That is a sad testimony to people in general, but it would be an even sadder testimony against a Christian.

We need to be faithful.  Whatever it is that we have been given to do, we need to do it.  We need to do it consistently and to the best of our abilities.  How are we doing today at simply being faithful?

Deceiving Ourselves

Let no man deceive himself.  If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, he taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

I Corinthians 3:18-20

Over and over again in the Bible, we see that we are not supposed to be impressed with the wisdom of this world.  We are not supposed to try to get this world’s wisdom.  We are supposed to get God’s wisdom.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”  The “wisdom of the world” is on full display on television programs.  There are endless “experts” who are ready and willing to weigh in on any and every situation.  In any situation, whether it is an economic situation, a political situation, or a social situation, there are people who are seemingly full of “wisdom” on the matter.  But most of them do not even know God.  God counts their “wisdom” as foolishness.

Verse 20 tells us that “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”  God knows what everyone is thinking, including the so-called “wise” people.  And He also knows that their thoughts are vain.

It is easy to wrapped up the wisdom of the world.  Many people give great speeches and use big, flowery words.  They sound impressive.  They know things that we do not know.  But if they do not know the Lord, their wisdom is mere earthly wisdom.  And that wisdom is foolishness to God.  We need to pay attention to the wisdom of God.  We need to study His Word to see what He has to say about situations, instead of always listening to what the “experts” have to tell us.

Defiling the Temple

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; or the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

I Corinthians 3:17

Our bodies are the referred to here as the temple of God.  The church building can also be viewed as a temple of God.  We know that the church building is not the actual church.  We know that our bodies are not the “real us.”  But the church building is what we use to worship the Lord in.  And our bodies are what we use to serve the Lord.

We need to respect our church buildings.  We teach that to our children.  We do not run around in church and break things.  We try to take care of the building that God has given us because it is dedicated to God.  We should be the same way with our bodies.

There is a distinct difference between taking care of our bodies and worshipping them. We understand that our bodies are only temporary.  But God has given them, and, if we are Christians, God dwells in them.

There are some things that will defile our bodies.  Some of those things involve things that we put in to our bodies, and some of them involve the things that we do with our bodies.  In either case, God is not pleased when we defile our bodies.  God said in this verse that “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”

God has given us a body.  As Christians, He indwells that body.  It is His by right of creation and it is His by right of purchase.  We need to honor Him and do His will in our bodies each and every day.