Sunday, April 26, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 21 – Believer's Freedom

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 21 – Believer's Freedom
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
Paul's letter to the church in Corinth, was addressing the things he had heard about them, including incest, adultery, over-spiritualized behaviors, wandering away from the Word of God, and an overall pride about them.

Paul has corrected the Corinthian Churches view about the division; Christ is head of the church, no one else. He also let them know that the power comes from God, and they should be humble, not conceited and over-spiritual.

He warned them not to go beyond what is written.

He addressed their pseudo-faith and spiritual activity of abstaining from intimate relations with their spouses, explaining this was the root of their immoral behavior.

He also warned them against lawsuits with other believers, saying the only reason they could not come to terms together inside the church was because of their pride and arrogance.

He instructed them to be content in their situations, so as to quench the immoral behavior that was coming from discontent, and selfish ambition. Paul warned about becoming a stumbling block to other believers if we have certain knowledge that they do not possess.

Week before last we spoke about how the church was to care for the Pastor and his family financially, also, bringing up the fact that he was free, and could marry if he chose.

Paul cleared the air, stating that even Peter, whom some denominations teach is the first Pope, the founder of their church, and yet, restrict ministers from marriage, was married himself. Many of the Apostles took their wives with them on their mission trips.

Paul will wrap up what he has said in the last few chapters about freedom in Christ, and how he chooses to use his freedom.

Today we will look at what Paul says about freedom for believer's.




SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 10:23 - 33
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[f]

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.



                   I.            I HAVE A RIGHT TO DO ANYTHING, YOU SAY
a.      Christian Liberty
                                                                         i.      Paul is trying to make the Corinthians understand that in the life as a Christian, we put others before ourselves.

                                                                      ii.      I have the right (as a follower of Christ) to do anything
1.      To which Paul replies, but not everything is beneficial, not everything is constructive.

                                                                   iii.      Those in the Corinthian church believed, because of their Christian Liberties, they could literally do anything they wanted, because all sin was forgiven by the Lord.


b.     No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
                                                                         i.      Meaning, we should consider others in all things that we do.

                                                                      ii.      Christian Liberty, or Freedoms, does not mean to seek my own good, but rather the good of others.


c.      The difference between the narrow and wide path
                                                                         i.      Selfish, self-gratifying, self-centered existence is the wide path.
1.      If it feels go, do it
2.      If you want it, take it
3.      As long as you are happy
4.      As long as you're not hurting anyone
5.      Look out for number one

6.      Acting impatient, cruel, envious, boasting, prideful, dishonoring others, self-seeking, angry, forever remembering all the wrong done to you in your life, delighting in evil, speaking lies, not protecting others, never trusting, never hoping, giving up when things look tough.

7.      This is the wide path, leading to destruction, where there are many travelers


                                                                      ii.      Selfless, unselfish, Christ-centered existence is the narrow path
1.      If it is righteous, do it
2.      If someone needs, give
3.      As long as you are serving God, be happy
4.      Avoid sin, it hurts others too
5.      Look out for others

6.      Remember, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres...Love never fails!

7.      This is the narrow path, which few travelers find.


d.     Paul defines the difference between a follower of Christ, and one who hollows himself.
                                                                         i.      Who are you loving?
1.      Is it God with your whole heart, mind, body and soul?
2.      Or is it yourself?

                                                                      ii.      You are not a follower of Christ if you are on the broad path.
                                                                   iii.      Christ is found on the narrow, and to truly be His follower, you too must be on the narrow.



               II.            THE ISSUE OF LAW AND CHRIST
a.      Paul addresses food laws once again
                                                                         i.      Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”


b.     If an unbeliever invites you to dinner, eat whatever he gives too
                                                                         i.      UNLESS, he says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,”

                                                                      ii.      Then do not eat it for the for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.

                                                                   iii.      WHY? Because, you may be causing everything we do must be looked at for how it will affect others!


c.      Eating sacrificed meat may give the unbeliever a false sense of what is right with God
                                                                         i.      As Paul has stated earlier in I Corinthians, he CAN eat anything without negative effect on his own body, because these false idols are nothing, everything is God's and His domain.

                                                                      ii.      However, the effects of doing this on others may be negative, and therefore, avoided.

                                                                   iii.      Paul says in verse 30, "If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?"
1.      Paul states here, we cannot please everyone, so if we do everything, thinking of others and being thankful to God, let the talkers talk.


            III.            ALL YOU DO MUST BE FOR GODS GLORY
a.      So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 
                                                                         i.      My leather shop glorifies God
1.      Every day I am at work, I speak with many people about God, blessings, scripture, doctrines, etc...
2.      I hand out church invitations weekly
3.      I invite them to read the sermons online
4.      I encourage them to find a good Bible church, regardless of if it is here, or elsewhere

                                                                      ii.      My books glorify God
1.      By showing that good science fiction can be written without all of the perversion in most modern books.
2.      By making the hero of the novels face countless moral decisions, and make the right choices to the best of his ability, rather than give in to his selfish motivations.

                                                                   iii.      I try to glorify God, even in my sinful past, by showing how God not only forgave me of my sin, but changed me from the man who served only himself, to a man who struggles to serve God in all he does in his life.
1.      Am I perfect, no.
2.      Do I fail sometimes, yes.
3.      However, the moment I discover I am failing, I call out the Lord, seek forgiveness, and most importantly, repent, for without repentance, there is no forgiveness!


b.     Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God
                                                                         i.      This speaks about the impression we give of God by our behavior

                                                                      ii.      The example Paul gives is food laws.
1.      Do not be a stumbling block to ANYONE

2.      Jews do not eat pork, shellfish, they have kosher laws
a.      So don't act in a way to offend them, driving them away from God.

3.      Greeks (gentiles) may have meat that has been sacrificed to idols, if they invite you over, eat whatever they serve, unless they say it's been sacrificed, then do not eat and give the wrong impression that sacrificing to idols is OK with the one true God.


4.      Church of God or fellow followers of Christ, may believe that one day is holier than another (Sabbath), or that certain foods must still be abstained from (kosher laws), or it is wrong to drink wine, Paul tells us do not fight about such things, if they are doing it for GOD, then let it be. Paul refers to them as "weak in faith", they do not yet understand the freedoms we have in Christ, but do not offend them and drive them away from God.


c.      Even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
                                                                         i.      Why do we try not to offend, or give the wrong impression?

                                                                      ii.      Not for our sake, which many times people will accuse you of thinking you are "perfect" or "sinless" or you think you are better than everyone.
1.      But these statements come from their ignorance of the Word of God.

2.      They are either "weak in faith", or just simply uneducated in God's word, or perhaps, not even received salvation as of yet.

                                                                   iii.      We do not do this to seek our own good, but the good of others.

                                                                     iv.      So that they may receive salvation.


CONCLUSION
Under the Law (Old Testament) there were 10 commands of God that no one could keep.

Showing that we are all sinners who needed salvation, saving, and that Christ, the Messiah was coming to do just that.

Followers of Christ are under the Law of Love now, (New Testament), and when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in the Law is in Matthew 22:36, He answered;

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Your heart is what you DO in your body.
Your soul is WHO you are.
and your mind is WHAT you think.

Surrendering it all to God, loving Him with all our being is the first and greatest commandment.

Jesus then says, "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

I Corinthians 13

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus means the requirements of the Old Testament (the 10 commands of God), are satisfied and fulfilled through Christ when we live in this manner.

Through Christ, when we are truly His follower, we can live in this manner.






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