Me first or You first?

Me first or You first?

Words of Faith 6-12-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 8

   Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. [2] The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. [3] But the man who loves God is known by God.

   [4] 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. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

   [7] 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. [8] But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

   [9] Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. [10] For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? [11] So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. [12] When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. [13] 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.

 

     Another issue that had caused controversy in the church at Corinth was the matter of food sacrificed to idols. This is not a familiar issue for us in modern life but it has very important implications and applications. Paul deals with this and related worship issues for the next few chapters but this one is somewhat of a cornerstone in that it illustrates much of what had gone wrong in Corinth.

     In the Roman world, meat was offered to idols in temples and then was used in worship there. Some of this meat was also sold in the market places. For those who had come out of paganism into New Life in Christ, the use of such food that had at one time been connected to pagan worship could very well cause them to slip back into bondage they had been freed from.

       For some people these matters were of no consequence because they had never been under the bondage of pagan ritual. The question of these practices had been tossed to Paul for some kind of ruling.

       Paul's gave an extensive response to these issues. The use of food sacrificed to idols was just one manifestation of the self-centeredness, which produced other similar problems in the church. Paul begins an address that will emphasize two words which seemed to epitomize the Corinthians' point of view-- "freedom" and "rights".

       The Corinthian believers were all about their freedoms and rights as Christians without giving much concern to the way that their behaviors and attitudes affected others.

       Paul used these same words but qualified them by stressing the importance of a love for others which sought their "good" by "strengthening" or "building" them up. Paul builds the picture of two themes-- "me first" or "you first" and how these different expressions ultimately affect other believers in the area of pagan worship and Christian worship. Paul showed that the former attitude ultimately brought God's disapproval and His discipline.

       For us, the issues are different but the themes are the same. Will we be "me first" believers or "you first" believers? Will we be more concerned about our freedom and rights or about building and strengthening?

 

       Father God, help me to see the bigger picture. Help me to see that my attitudes and behavior are not just a matter of my own freedom but also how others are strengthened or weakened. Give me grace to walk in obedience to You and in ways that honor You. Help me also to keep a witness before others that will not cause anyone to stumble. In Jesus' Name.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2007, 2017

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)      

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.