Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 1 month ago

When Pride Misuses Knowledge

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1 Corinthians 8

Let's turn our attention to FirstCorinthians: Chapter Eight for Chritians Chapter, eight I'll alsobe spending a little bit of time this morning and ax chapter eighteen, but we'll turn there a little bit later. So First Corinthians Chapter Eight and we've considered this morningalready a little bit what it means to worship- God as the only God, our one, True God.Indeed, we have worshipped him and we have been called to do that. Now. We come to a question that dealswith idolatry and other things related to conscience related to ourplace and society all kinds of things. Let's got our attention to God's word.First Corinthians chapter eight now concerning food offered to idols. We know that all of us possessknowledge. This knowledge puffs up but love's love, builds up. If any oneimagines that he knows something he does not yet know as he ought to know,but if any one loves God he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of foodoffered idols, we know that an idol has no real existence and that there is noGod but one for, although there may be so called Gods in heaven or on Earth,as indeed many are, as indeed there are many gods and many lords. Yet for us,there is one God, the father from whom all things from whom are all things andfor whom all whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are allthings and through whom we exist. This is such an important verse. I'm goingto read it again, a verse six, I'm confusing it with another verse. In mymind and mixing up the words. Let me try one more time so verse six. Yet for us there is one God, the fatherfrom whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ,through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge, but some through former associationwith idols eat food as really offered to an idol and their conscience beingweak is defiled. Food will not comend US and will notcommend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better off ifwe do but take care that this ride of yoursdoes not somehow become a stumbling block to the week, for if any one seesyou and if any one sees you who have...

...knowledge eating in an idol's temple,will he not be encouraged if his conscience is weak to eat food offeredto idols, and so by your knowledge, this weak person is destroyed. Thebrother for whom Christ died, thus sinning against your brothers andwounding their conscience when it is weak. You Sin Against Christ. Therefore,if food makes your my brother stumble, I will never eat me lest I make mybrother Stumble Man, so Paul is addressing the Corinthians in avery particular circumstance and he's addressing them according to what areprobably requests. We've come through this section about marriage and andsingleness and sex and various other things, and now we come to chaptereight and he says now concerning food offered to idols right. This is atransition to a new subject, and he wants us to learn how to think aboutthis particular thing in their context and it's a very fascinating context,with all kinds of layers of and wisdom about how we ought to think wiselyabout our place in this world. As we saw in chapter six and in Chapter Seven,we have multiple things going on. On the one hand, we have very specific instructions onhow to deal and interact in a specific situation, but we also have something else. Wehave an example given to us about how to think, through things about moralreasoning, an example which gives us priorities and principles and ways tothink through complex and difficult situations. So let's pay attention thismorning and think about what how what we can learn here about God's will forus and how we ought to live our lives. I think it helps to begin with theparticular situation that the Corinthians find themselves in. What isit? Well, you can begin- and this is wherewe'll start back in a chapter- Eighteen, I'm with a previous time in Corinth. Soif you would turn with me there for a moment, ax chapter eighteen here Paul records his first beginnings,this the start up of his time and Corinth, and we read what happened andit relates to what is happening here. So next chapter eighteen verse, one. Weread that Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. He stays in the house of aJewish couple that had been expelled along with other Jews from Rome. TheRomans had been kicked out by Claudius and had gone different places, and thiscouple had found themselves themselves in Corinth, a very Roman city, a placebeing colonized a place that was laid out according to the Roman streetpatterns, a place that was filled with...

...idols and temples, a place that was adestination place in the province of a Kia, a center of of commerce andgovernment and activity, a kind of Washington DC or New York City of thispart of the world, and here Paul finds himself, and hefinds this couple and he stays with them. And then he goes into the semigodand he begins to speak to the Jews. there. We read in verse five that hewas testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus, so there he is he'sin the cynic bog in this far away place, he's not in Judea he's not in Palestine,he's not in Rome's in Corinth this Roman colony speaking to these Jews,who are not in their home place, who are not in their home territory andhe's telling them that the Christ has come and that Christ is Jesus, he'spersuading them he's testifying to what he's seen what happens? What happensnext is verse six, they oppose him and they revile him. Paul does not get awarm welcome from the body as a whole. There are individuals, we read even theleader of the synagogue who come to faith in Christ, but as a whole. TheJewish people there in Corinth are not happy with Paul. You can hear it inPaul's words and in his actions we read in verse six that he shook out hisgarments and he said to them your blood be upon your own heads I am innocentfor now on. I will go to the gentiles and then we read him for seven that heleft there and went to the house of a man named tedious justice, a verygentile, a name there, a worshipper of God, and so this is what he does and- and weread that he was in Corinth for about a year and a half preaching teaching drawing people to the Lord persuadingthem, but as time went on, the Jews were notsatisfied with Paul, just leaving the synagog and going to the gentiles. ItPaul's, not in the synagogue, any more he's, not speaking directly to thatbody. Thesoul talking with guys like this- and they are not happy with this,and so they. This is what they do in verse. Twelve, we read that God, MinGallio was made pro consul of a car when he was proconsul vocat, the Jewsmade a united attack on Paul and they brought him for the tribunal. Now thistribunal, this pro pro consul this Gallio, he is the boss, the governor, the head Hanchoof this whole region, a big region, a giant province in Rome and a veryimportant providence right as the Greeks im admired in some ways andwe're borrowing and doing other things in relation to the previous Greekculture. This is Greece right. This is Athensand Corinth and all of this land, and...

...so they take Paul to Gallio and theymake this accusation in verse. Thirteen they take him before this Romangovernor, whose rulings could only be overturned by the emperor himself right.What this man says goes- and they say to him this man talking about Paul- ispersuading people to worship- God, contrary to the law. So what are they saying here? Whatexactly are they accusing Paul of there's two possibilities? The firstpossibility, which I don't think it is. Is there accusing him of what we seeJesus being accused of in, like the Jo Gospel of John, for example, where theJews are saying by saying that you are God or by other people, saying thatJesus is God, you are blaspheming you're sincare becoming more than amonotheist, in other words, and so they were upset and they werepersecuting him because of that now. Jesus of course, was God, and so itwasn't blasphemy. But that was the accusation. I don't think that's thecase here, however, when they say contrary to the law- they're nottalking about the law of Moses, because what would gallio care about that right?He is a Roman governor, not a Jewish governor on his job is not to prosecuteor uphold or judge into religious conflicts, especially within the Jewswho, by the way I just got, as I mentioned before, I just got kicked outof room. These are not people who were well loved in the Roman Empire, so they're not going to Gallio to havehim decide on questions about their law. They're going to him to have questionsdecided about his law and what do they mean? Well, the Jewshad received a special exemptions not to participateor allowing them not to participate in emperor worship. The imperial cult was growing fasterand faster, especially in places like Corinth that were all about Rome, Rome,Rome, room and we're getting more and more excited about Rome. All the timewe're becoming more and more attached to Rome all the time and this imperialcult in which the emperor and his family and those both deceased andpresent, they were calling people to worship them, and indeed they hadtemples and sacrifices, and priests and priestesses a whole system of religionbuilt around of the worshipping of the Emperor. The Jews protested this right becauseyou only worship, God alone and they protested it so much and so stronglythat the Roman Empire said enough will give you an exemption amazing,wonderful, it's good, really good that they did that. Well, so they pressedagainst the Roman, the government, the...

Roman government, gave them anexception, so here's what's happening with Gallio.They go before his this pro console and they say Paul is teaching that thisChrist, that Jesus is the Christ and in doing so, he's undermining the imperialCallt, he's undermining emperor worship he's going against your law, yes, theone that we have an exemption from, but he's not one of us and you need toprosecute him. That makes sense they're taking him andthey're saying prosecute him for persuading- and this word thereprobably means something- a little more like in the context here, somethinglike misleading or seducing people to leave. This is kind of like a treason,is sort of seditious thing to leave the Roman ethic, the Roman called the Romaneverything and start going after this Jesus. So here is what happens so what is wasGallio Goin to say right so Paul's about to open his mouth he'sabout, and you can imagine what Paul might say right when you talk about therelationship with the Jean Jesus and the and the Jewish people. Is the sonof Abraham and the fulfillment of the Messianic prospecte and all this sortof stuff will never find out, because when Paul was about to open his mouth,Gallio speaks, and he says to the Jews if it were a matter of wrong, doing orvicious Crio Jews. I'd have reason to accept your complaint, but since it's amatter of questions about words and names and your own law see to ityourselves, I refuse to be a judge of these kinds of things. Now, there's a couple things to noticehere, basically I'll end with the end, what Gallio is saying is that I seethem these Christians basically is one of you. This is your. This is a Jewish deal and so move on. I have now that thishas nothing no place here. So the effect of this is that Gallio extends in the Jewish. Mind, extends toChristians the same exemption that Jews have so now. Christians are not under thesame kind of pressure, at least within the province of a KAA, a to worship, atleast according to law. They can't be prosecuted by this because Gallio hassaid it and the only one that can overturn thatruling is the emperor himself and the likelihood of the Jews getting ahearing before the emperor you'd have to be a Roman citizen and all kinds ofother things. It's just not going to happen, and it didn't happen. So Galiois makes this huge decision tonot even hear the case and by not hearing the case, the Christiansreceive a this exemption. There seems,...

...in my mind, anyway, to be amistranslation here in verse, Fifteen when it says questions about words. He says, sinceit's a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, we we can guess what he means by namesright, Jesus and Christ and your own law and their relationship and thatsort of thing. But what does he mean by words? It'snot really clear. Is it unless, of course he means this. The word word there number one. It'ssingular and not plural names is plural, but words is not in the Greek it's Lago,which is singular, I'm so he says here instead of words. He says it is amatter of questions about a word now word, of course, can mean all kinds ofthings, but there is this one very specific and sometime an infrequentdefinition, but it fits the context here perfectly sometimes the word logoscan mean a declaration of immunity and freedom from something, and that seems to exactly fit thecontext the governor is saying, but since it is a matter about thisdeclaration of immunity, this thing that we have in Christ and these thingsconcerning your law. This is a Jewish thing. This is a Jewish matter, I'm notgoing to touch it, so, let's move on and he drives them out of the councilall right. So why all that thank you for bearing with me in that. What that helps us to understand isthat when we get to this passage in Corinth after Paul has left, you know ayear and a half. Two years later, these Christians are not under legalpressure to eat food offered or to Nati food offer bitles. They havefreedom in that, according to the law, according to Gallio's pronouncement. So why, then this is the question, andwhy then are Christians trying to eat food sacrifice sidles, what's going onhere? What's the what one? What would even cause this this conflict- and the answer is that in Rome at this time, in the midstof this imperial call on all these sort of things? This is where business happened. Thisis where work happened. There were ten. There were big games that were going onkind of like the Olympics. There were feasts that were going on. There wereparties that were going on the emperor, worship and Rome and being wrong wasall tied up, and food and dining, and these sort of things you'd go sacrificeyour ox, for example, or the post of the feast would sacrifice the ox to theemperor and everyone would lift up...

...their drinks, such to the emperor, thedivine emperor and worship, and then everyone would sit down at the tableand eat, and there you smell the food and taste, and here is where dealswould happen and money would be exchanged and all these kinds of thingsof society of culture and life would happen to avoid those kinds of things wouldmean getting left out to not go to the parties to not do thenetworking to not make the connections meant that you were going to be leftbehind. So how do you navigate that? As aChristian Paul tells you and tells us? The Bibletells us really clearly he'll say in chapter ten. Flee from idolatry havenothing to do with it, and so, as a Christian, you could kindof think in your mind. Well: Okay, I'm going to go to this party, I'm notgoing to go before the altar, and I don't even have to right- I'm not evenrequired to do all that sacrificing stuff. I'm a Christian Gallio said it'sfine, I'm good there and it's also true. This is the reasoning Paul Talks about in First Corinthians aid. It's also true that anidol really isn't anything at all. Is it these people? They think temper is agod. I know he's not a God. I know that Apollo is not at these, so called guy.I know they're not gods. If I'm eating this food to me, it's just food. It's just a piece of meat. Well givento me by God him the Real God, the God himself this guy over here. He may havesacrificed it and whatever and that's his deal. But for me I'm just enjoyinga nice cut of meat and making the connections I need to make andprospering my business and trying to get a fair hearing at the next trialand whatever and you're there for, and so you can imagine in the Christianmind how you could with good and truth. Theological knowledge navigate your way into a situationwhere you are sitting at one of these feasts at one of these parties and ingood conscience being wise, being cautious, not participating ineverything, but eating food offers sacrificed to idols, and so what does Paul say about this? He says in verse for as the eating offood offered idols. We know that an idol has no real existence and thatthere is no God but one God. Food is food you're not well. Let me keep breading first five,for although there may be many so called, or there may be so called Godsin heaven or on Earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords yet for usthere is one God. So this is what he says he goes on tosay in verse. Eight food will not commendus to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better off. If we do he's essential saying, if you want toeat the food eat the food, it doesn't...

...hurt you to take it, it doesn't hurtyou or it doesn't, bless you or help you insome way not to take it. It doesn't matter. Okay, however, and then Paul adds how a big. However, he says in verse: Seven Not all possessthis knowledge, but some through former associationwith idols eat food as really offered to an idol. So here is this person, this Christianand immature young Christian, who has lived a life of idolatry who's, lived,a life of going to the temples and going to these parties and going tothese feasts they've eaten the meat and they've not just eaten it as foodthey've eaten it. It's worship to the emperor, is worshipped or as worship toApollus in others, and then they look over there and theysee you eating the meat they're. Like I thought we wereChristians. I thought we were to worship the one true living God. Whatare you doing and that sort of stress and anxiety andfear that a young, a young, Christian and immature Christian it hasn't sortedthrough all these things? Yet and just these idolatry? That's all they see andthey see a brother or sister participating in that that could causethem to stumble. Well, maybe I guess this is okay. Maybe we don't have toworship. Jesus is the one true God. Maybe we can give ourselves over to thethings of this world and the emperor and what not to gain the things of thisworld, and so Paul says in first nine takecare that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumblingblock to the week, for if any one sees you you who have knowledge eating in anidol's temple, will he not be encouraged if his conscience is eat, tooffer or to eat food offered to idols and to take what he said before, asthough they were truly something big as they were truly gods, or something likethat, and so the conclusion he draws in verse,Eleven and so by your knowledge, this wert weak person is destroyed. Thebrother for whom Christ died Paul says in another place that when we, when we know something or let me put it this way when webelieve that something is wrong and we do it anyway, even if it's notactually wrong, we sin like, if you believe, they'll use asilly example. If you believe in the bottom of your heart that riding abicycle is a sin and then you go and ride a bicycle. You Sin, even though writing a bicycleof course is not a sin. The SIN is not in the bicycle, writing itself. It's inthe doing something that you believed...

...was wrong. If your conscience says,don't do it and you go I'm going to do it anyway. The Bible says: That's a sin.So obviously we want to do two things, one. We don't want to send against ourconscience and to we want to calibrate our consciences so that they're,neither over sensitive nor under sensitive that they don't say thingsare sins which aren't sins and aren't hard against sins, which are sense. Wewant to calibrate them so that they align perfectly and are perfectlysensitive to God's will and then to act accordingly, but in our relationships, but we're noton the same page, we're not I the same place and what Paul is saying here. Isit's not just about you? It's not just about your right, thoughyou do have a right. It's not just about your freedom, though you do havefreedom. We have a responsibility to care for one another, and so, though, food won't commend youto God, you're, no worse off. If you eat it or if you don't, we are worseoff if we cause our brothers and our sisters to sin, and so Paul says just to put the pointreally clearly in verse. Thirteen, therefore, if food makes my brotherstumble, I will never eat me. Lest I make my brother stumble now how we apply. This is complicated,even as this own situation is complicated. If you ask now concerningfood sacrifice the idols yes or no, like we saw in the previous chapters,Paul doesn't say yes or no. If you give a blanket yes, yes, food sacrifice toidols. What do you risk? Will you risk I'm causing a brother or sister tostumble? You risk defiling them defiling their conscience? You wasbeing in somewhat responsible for that, but if you give a blanket, no, no foodsacrifice the idols. You risk binding consciences in freedom where itis allowed. So what do you do if it's neither atotal, yes or a total? No, what do you do? Well, the answer: Is You get yourpriorities right in your head and then you act according to wisdom inthe context and what are the priorities in this particular situation? One is, there is only one, true God andtoo we ought to love our brothers and sisters, that's it it, and so in that context heapplies it to the specific on situation with idols and thinking through thatand and it and as it relates to these brothers and sisters, and so, as you think, through morallychallenging situations in your life. What should I do and what shouldn't Ido. These have to be a priorities for...

...you as well. All of us. I suspect have been foundourselves in situations where we've had to decide. What am I going to do? How is this going to look what how'sthis going to affect my reputation, and sometimes you might call it one way,and sometimes you might call it another, and you might be wrong in both a rightand both are wrong and one and right in the other. We need to pray for wisdom, don't wethese things are hard. They require a lot of thought and sensitivity and alot of seeking God in his word. I think this passage also teaches uswhat one other thing which all all conclude with here and that has to dowith just the use of knowledge in general. This is how Paul Begins Right. He says all of us possessknowledge and when he speaks there, I think he's thinking about worldly kindof of knowledge, but even if it's more than that, there is a danger of itpuffing us up and making us prideful to know the truth is a good thing, but isn't there aren't there ways inwhich our knowledge of the truth? We then use it to hurt other people to putthem in difficult situations, to not love, but instead be conceded and forourselves and though the knowledge may be good,our use of it is not good. So how are we to know? How are we to not abuse and guardourselves against that abuse, and it comes from realizing how muchGod has revealed to us in Christ? It really does if you would turn with meto one other place. This is in your hymnals, we'll sing this hymn in amoment, and I want you to look at it with me, because I think this expressesthis well a hymn four hundred and seventy we. The conclusion here is that we arebetter able to act and live within this world to know how we ought to love when wefirst remember and know how God first loved us, it humbles us in a way toknow what God has done for us to know, not just that he's the one true God,but that one, true God or one true God came into this world became a man. Jesus who died on the Cross and forgetto forgive us our sins, that death of the son of God and thenhis subsequent resurrection from the dead puts us in a place where we don'thave to fear Rome or any other...

...government. The Lord's victory in theCross puts us in a place where we can try to do good in the courts and in ourbusinesses and in our families and in culture and life, and be successful there, but at the sametime hold it with a loose grasp. Knowing that we belong to Jesus Christallows us to go to those places and go. You know what, if I can't go to thisplace, if my business falls apart, if this ultimately costs my life not toparticipate in the things of this culture, because they're toocompromising or whatever I'm going to be okay, if it means that I have to love, I'mgoing to love my brother, my sister in Christ, even though they're not quiteall right in their heads and in their hearts. Yet I'm going to be okay, I'mokay, to bind myself in freedom, I'm okay to Lu or I'm okay, to bind my ownfreedom, I'm okay, to lose the things of this world, I'm okay! To give up myrights, because I have everything I need inChrist. This hymn expresses that each and each averse ends with a not till,then how much I owe, except with a slight variation in the last one, andeach one helps us to have us a sense for what Christ has done for us and howwe relate to this world. Take the first verse, for example, when this world is passing done whenhas sunk, Yon Glaring Sun. When we stand with Christ on high looking o'erlife's history, then Lord, shall I fully know not tillthen how much I owe we will. We have this knowledge in asense now, but when we come into heaven when wecome and we see the world passing away, that's when we'll go okay. Now I really get it and if we're goingto really get it and understand it, then we can begin to get it andunderstand it. Here and now we can begin to see the world fadingaway. We can gen to see its setting sun. We can begin to see the glories ofChrist and live accordingly. First too, when I hear the wicked callon the rocks and the hills to fall, when I see them start and shrink on thefiery Deluse Brink, then Lord shall I fully know not till then how much I owe it isbecause of what we, Oh God in Christ, because of this great gift that he hasgiven to us in love that we don't have to fear the wicked unrighteous unjustpeople of this world. We can know that God will set it rightin the Great Day of Judgment. When I stand verse three, when I standbefore the throne dressed in beauty, not my own, when I see thee as Thou artlove thee with unsinning heart, then Lord, shall I fully know not till then how much I owe when thepraise of Heaven I hear loud as...

Thunders to the ear loud as many waters,noise sweet as Harp's melodious voice. Then Lord, Shall I fully know not till then how much I owe chosen not for good and me wakened upfrom wrath to flee hidden in the saviour's side by the spirit.Sanctified. Teach me Lord on Earth to show by my love. How much I owe so brothers and sisters. We can fix I'll put it that way oridolatrous problems by looking to Christ. By looking to him is the onetrue God when we follow him and of him alone were no longer captured by theidols of this world, and it's also to looking to Christ andthe love that we have received in him, the forgiveness of our sins, thepromises of heaven and all the rest. It's when we know that love that thatwe can begin to let go of ourselves even die to ourselves, as thescriptures say, and show to others that love that he showed us. May The Lord Grant these things in usas we come to a better knowledge and understanding of him. Let's pray, our heavenly father.

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