Tag: love builds up

Acting in love!

Scripture reading for July 16th:  1st Corinthians 8

“Now about food sacrificed to idols:  We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he out to know.  But the man who loves God is known  by God.”  (1st Corinthians 8:1-3)  Paul addressed the problem of eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. Much of the meat in the Corinthian culture came from sacrifices to idols.  Many Christians knew about this and some were ‘weak’ and others were ‘strong’.

Paul was in the ‘strong’ group that understood that an idol was really nothing.  There was only one God and Father who gave us all things to enjoy.  He alone was the source of life and blessing.  That meant that food could be received with thanksgiving to God and eaten, regardless of the source, without defiling the person.  (1st Corinthians 8:8)

However, another group of believers had come out of the idolatry and their consciences were ‘weak’.  They believed it was a sin to eat the meat sacrificed to idols.  The ‘strong’ believers were causing them to stumble  by eating that same meat.  Paul addressed this problem by calling on the ‘strong’ believers to limit their freedom in order not to offend or cause their ‘weaker’ brothers to stumble.

“When you sin against you brother in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.”  (1st Corinthians 8:12-13)  Truly ‘strong’ believers are sensitive to the needs of the younger or ‘weaker’ believers and limit their freedom.  Love does what is best for the other!  Would that we would be sensitive to the Spirit and the needs of our brothers!

 

 

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Don’t let liberty cause stumbling!

Scripture reading for August 13th: 1st Corinthians 8:1-13

“It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)  The Corinthians were enjoying freedom in Christ, but had more questions about how to exercise this freedom.  There were many idol temples in Corinth where people sacrificed animals.  This meat was often cut up and sold in the markets to make money.  The Corinthians had questions about whether or not they had liberty to eat this meat.

“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:  We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but One.” (1st Corinthians 8:4)  Paul told them the truth about the idols.  They were really nothing at all.  God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ were worthy of praise.  All things come from God alone.  The people of the world have many ‘gods’ and seek to worship them in ignorance.

“But not everyone knows this.  Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.  But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1st Corinthians 8:7-9)  The stronger believers understood that the idols were nothing.  They knew that eating that meat sacrificed to idols wouldn’t pollute their faith.  But the weaker believers still had fresh memories of sacrificing to idols.  They felt defiled when they ate.  The responsibility was placed on the stronger to limit their liberties for the sake of their weaker brothers!  They were not to flaunt their knowledge because it was not loving towards their brothers!

The law of love is again used as the rule of faith and practice.  Stronger Christians limit what they are free to do so that no younger or weaker believer’s faith is destroyed by their liberty!  Paul went on to emphasize this, “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1st Corinthians 8:13)  “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1st Corinthians 8:1b)  Check out your love level today!

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One perfect in knowledge is with you!

Scripture reading for June 1st: Job 35-37

“I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker.  Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you. Job 36:3-4

Have you ever been around a person who thinks he knows everything?  For every question, he has an answer and he even has information you did not ask for.  Elihu seems to be such a person.  He boasts of his great wisdom and does seem to have some good information.  However, as I read this section, I get the feeling that Elihu is not much different from the other three friends.  He seems to talk down to Job and subtly accuse Job of not knowing God.  He claims to know God perfectly.  (Job 36:4)

Elihu stated that God commands sinners to repent and that if they listen, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity.  (Job 36:11)  This argument has already been hashed around by Job and Job reminded them that this was not always the case.  Sometimes the wicked prosper and nothing seems to touch them here on earth.  (Job 21:7-14)  We cannot always presume that our life on earth has to be a certain way based on our behavior. God may allow other things to work out His purposes in our life, but they will all be for our good if we love him.  (Romans 8:28)

Elihu also stated that our sin has no effect on God.  (Job 35:6)  Sin does have an effect on God.  It provokes his anger and all sin is against God first.  Without His Law we would not know sin, good or evil.  God’s revelation of His Law and the consequences of sin show God’s concern.  Of course, Job is before the Law was written but God never changes and His character is the same then as now!

Elihu also warned Job not to turn to evil and accused him of preferring evil to affliction.  (Job 36:21)  This also is presumptuous on Elihu’s part.  When we think that we are perfect in knowledge, we can easily become judgmental and critical of others.  Knowledge puffs us up, but love builds us up!  (1st Corinthians 8:1b)  Elihu’s analogy’s of God’s greatness and majesty must have caused Job to think and further examine his own heart.  Elihu’s last words told of God coming in majesty and splendor, but beyond our reach!  How ironic that God Himself next speaks to Job!

As I ponder these dissertations by Job’s friends, I am reminded of my own need to be more quiet and listen longer before I speak. (James 1:19-20)  No one is perfect in knowledge and understanding but the Lord!  He is our helper and guide!  In all our ways we must acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths!  (Proverbs 3:5-7)

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