Aren’t you glad that God’s will is so clear in many aspects of life? – We may not always like it, but we can’t say it’s grey or fuzzy. – Just in 1 Cor, we’ve seen God’s definite & specific will revealed for us. – E.G.:
- Chp. 5, It is God’s will that we exercise church discipline on the unrepentant in the church.
- Chp. 6, It is God’s will that a Christian never sue or take another Christian to court.– And, it is God’s will that you flee all forms of sexual immorality.
- Chp. 7, It is God’s will that you not marry a non-Christian.
- Chps. 8 & 10, It is God’s will that a Christian never dine at an idol’s temple or be found in a place that has unmistakably worldly or demonic associations.
It sure helps when the Lord spells it out for us in black & white like that. – But then there’s all the other decisions in life, the vast majority of them, which are not cut & dry, obedience issues. – Their not black & white. – They’re some lovely, cloudy, muggy, smoggy shade of GREY (those debatable, questionable areas of Christian living). – They don’t just require straightforward obedience. – They require wisdom in applying biblical principles to each situation. – Let me remind you of but a few confusing examples:
- In the church: what should we wear? what style of music do we use? how do we sing – hands raised or not? eyes closed or open? clapping or not? – Which of the OT laws do we keep today? – On a Sunday, what can we do & not do?
- Outside of the church: what kind of movies can we watch? what kind of music can we listen to? Are video games kosher? If so, which ones? What about other technologies?
- Can Christians use any alcohol? Tobacco? Caffeine? If so, how much?
- What foods should a Christian eat? What can we drink? How should we spend our money? When is something too expensive, too extravagant, too big, too little, too costly, too cheap? – How about makeup? – How much? – And jewelry? – How big?
- Should you emigrate or not? What do we allow our kids to do? What kind of education should our children receive? – Should Christians dance? What kind of dance? – Should Christians play cards? – Any cards? – And clothes – what is modest, what is immodest?
- One that came up in our small group last week: What if a gay couple at work asks you to babysit their kid? – Or a Hindu friend invites you over for dinner during Dewali? – Or a Muslim friend invites you on an educational tour of their mosque?
O, if only we had a list of rules or a policy or code of conduct for everything! – Wouldn’t it make life much easier? – Wouldn’t it save us a lot of trouble, and a lot of conflict in the church? Not really. – It would satisfy the legalist inside us all, and lead to a room full of either dead
robots or proud Pharisees. – But it would also cancel any need for Christ, His cross, His Holy Spirit, His Word, His Church, His wisdom, and His refining, maturing, sanctifying work in our lives. – We’d never need to grow, mature, learn discernment, learn to love, or rely
upon His grace. All the things that our next passage here in is all about!
Warning Against Idolatry
10:1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
Do All to the Glory of God
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (ESV)