1 Corinthians – Marketing Christianity

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“If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks?  If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?”                 1 Corinthians 10:27-30 Whether we realize it or not we are marketing Christianity every day. We are marketing in our business life, in our personal life and in every action that we perform we are marketing Christianity. We are marketing Christianity in the way that we treat people. How do we treat strangers that we meet? How do we treat the people that are waiting on us? We are the light of the world and we should let it shine. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16) E Stanley Jones asked Gandhi how Christians could make Christianity naturalized in India, not a foreign thing…but a part of the national life of India and contributing its power to India’s uplift? What can you tell me to make this happen? Gandhi replied, “First, I would suggest […]

1 Corinthians – Common Sense

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“So, you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience.  For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 1 Corinthians 10:25-26 This question about eating meat that was part of the worship of idols was an important question in the early church. Peter answered that question when God showed him a vision when he was hungry. “Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.” But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” (Acts 10:13-15) This was God telling us that we need to use common sense as well as what it says in the Bible. Yes, we need to protect weak Christians against falling away. So, we need to have the leading of the Holy Spirit in our actions. Everything that God made in the earth is good, but the problem is Satan and our sin has made somethings evil. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.” (Psalm 24:1) “Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.” (1 Timothy 4:4) I know in my life there are things that I don’t see any problem with them, but I will not do them, because it may cause a weak Christian to fall. The Corinthian Christian had a duty to the Greeks; that is to say they had to show a good example to those who were quite indifferent to Christianity. It is in fact by that example that many are won.

1 Corinthians – Witness

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“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24  Paul once again states the great principle for New Testament Christian living: “Everything is permissible.” Because of the Corinthians’ confusion with regard to this principle, Paul adds two qualifications to it. First, “Not everything is beneficial.” That is to say, not every activity is spiritually profitable; some activities, although not expressly sinful, may be detrimental. Second, “Not everything is constructive.” Not every activity is conducive to our own spiritual growth or the spiritual well-being of our Christian brothers and sisters.  Paul presents another great principle that must govern New Testament Christian living: “No one should demand his own rights, but should seek the good of others.” The Christian life is not to be dominated by a self-seeking, self-pleasing attitude; rather, we must take into consideration the welfare of our Christian brothers and make their welfare a chief concern. The second principle, be concerned for the wellbeing of others. This must become a guideline for how we apply the first principle and it prevents us from selfishly abusing or misusing that first principle. We need to always remember that we are Jesus’ witnesses in this world and unbelievers are watching us. Your actions may be the only sermon some people may ever hear.

1 Corinthians – Be Careful What You Worship

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“What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods?  No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons.  You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22 Paul wants the Corinthians to understand that the idols are not real gods. “Am I saying that an idol is anything? No!” The apostle is reasserting the fact that no pagan idol is any god at all; there is only one true God, the God of the Bible, He alone is the true object of reverence and worship. Paul’s concern was not the worship of idols but that this worship was demonic. Pagan worship and religion practices have a very real spiritual presence. Behind the idol worship is the presence of demons. We must be careful what we worship, because worship other than the worship of the one true God is the worship of demons. Demons are real and they want us to worship them and not God.  The Corinthian Christians were engaging in the pagan religious ceremonies of their neighbors, the apostle Paul asks, “Are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”  We must abstain from every form of idolatry, because the Lord is a jealous God. The first of the Ten Commandments declares, “I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of […]

1 Corinthians – Worship God

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“So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.  When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ?  And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?” 1 Corinthians 10:14-18 To understand this scripture, we need to know the context of this verse and thinking of the Corinthians. When sacrifice was offered, part of the meat was given back to the worshipper to hold a feast. At such a feast it was always held that the god himself was a guest. More, it was often held that, after the meat had been sacrificed, the god himself was in it and that at the banquet he entered into the very bodies and spirits of those who ate. Just as an unbreakable bond was forged between two men if they ate each other’s bread and salt, so a sacrificial meal formed a real communion between the god and his worshipper. The person who sacrificed was in a real sense a sharer with the altar; he had a mystic communion with the god.  At this time the whole world believed in demons. They were spirits who were intermediate between the gods and men. For the Greek every spring, every grove, every mountain, every tree, every stream, every pool, every rock, every place had its demon. Paul believed in these demons; he called them “principalities and powers.” His point of view was this–an idol was nothing and stood for nothing; but […]

1 Corinthians – Be Alert

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“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 Paul is telling us that we need to be alert. The meaning of alert is the state of being watchful for possible danger. We must be alert to the temptations that Satan puts in our way. Satan is out to make us fail in our walk with God. Satan tempted Jesus so that He would fail and not go to the Cross. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.” (Matthew 1:1) Jesus was tempted just like we are tempted every day. How did Jesus resist the temptation? He used the Word of God in every temptation that Satan tried throw at Him. This is the way that we fight Satan, by God’s Word, the Bible. God speaks to us in many ways. God has provided so many life lessons from my cat. Today my cat is asleep across the room from me. He is at peace. He has nothing to worry about, life for him is grand. As I watch him sleep and the look of peace, there is a light noise outside. Instantly he is awake and alert. Yes, he was at peace, but he was also alert to any danger in his area. We need to be at peace with God and this does mean that we can rest in God. “For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did […]

1 Corinthians – Do not Test God

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“Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.  These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.” 1 Corinthians 10:9-11 “Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.” (Matthew 4:7) Satan had just told Jesus that He could just jump off the building and God would protect Him. This is when Jesus told Satan not to test God. Yes, God will protect us and care for us, but we need to use some common sense. At times I have come close to a tragic happening and for some reason it all works out. I do believe that in some of these times it was an angel protecting me. There is the temptation to try God too far. Consciously or unconsciously many a person depends on the mercy of God. At the back of his mind there is the idea, “It will be all right; God will forgive.” It is at these times that he forgets that there is a holiness as well as a love of God. There is the temptation to grumble. There are still many who greet life with a whine and not with a cheer. If we love God and totally trust in God, we will have no reason to grumble. The reason for history is so that we can learn from others mistakes. The reason that we have the Old Testament is so that we can learn how God related to Israel. We should be able to learn from Israel’s mistakes so that we will not make the […]

1 Corinthians – God’s Warning

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“These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-8 All these privileges the children of Israel possessed, and yet in spite of them they failed most to see God’s warning. Israel continued to sin and indulged in pagan worship. When the people were too terrified to go forward into the Promised Land and all the scouts except Joshua and Caleb brought back a pessimistic report, God’s judgment was that the whole generation would die in the desert. God always sends a warning before judgment. The people would not listen. Jeremiah tells us. “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days, we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” (Jeremiah 44:16-18) The Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses worshipped throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Near East during ancient times. They were worshipping Satan and God will not let […]

1 Corinthians – Israel’s Idolatry

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“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 Paul is reminding the experienced believers in Corinth that they need to be careful that they don’t get over-confident in their ability to overcome temptation. Israel had been delivered from Egypt by the power of God, just as the Corinthians has been redeemed from sin. God had provided for the people in their wilderness journey. He had given them all they needed and yet they sinned. They had their idols that they worshipped instead of God. This is a strong message for us today. God blesses us and we still don’t give God the place in our lives that we should. Because of Israel’s sin they could not enter the promise land. Israel felt that they were the chosen people so they could do anything they wanted, but no matter God punishes sin. There are dangers to maturity as well as to immaturity and one of them is overconfidence. When we think we are strong, we discover that we are weak. Every time I feel that I am strong and can do anything, God shows me just how weak I am and how much I need God in my […]

1 Corinthians – Run the Race

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“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul was fond of using athletic images in his letters. The Corinthians would have been familiar with the Greek Olympic games. They would know what it takes to win the games. They knew that they had to be disciplined to win the prize. Discipline means giving up the good and the better for the best. The Christian does not run the race in order to go to heaven. The Christian is in the race because they have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ. In order to give up his rights and have the joy of winning lost souls, Paul had to discipline himself. Paul had one great goal in his life; to glorify God and win the lost and build up the saints. To reach his goal he was willing to pay the price. He was willing to give up his personal rights. He sacrificed immediate gains for eternal rewards, immediate pleasure for eternal joys. Paul’s great fear was he might be disqualified. Are you willing to pay the price to serve God and win souls for the kingdom?