Audio of Sermon:
Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (KJV) Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Knowledge without a proper foundation soon becomes
ugly, self centered, and mean.
I like to read. I think we as Americans would be better suited to turn off the television and read. Read not just newspapers, but other fine works of literature. We need to read more … and certainly need to read our Bibles more.
I was reading an article this morning called “Why Our Civil Discourse Is Broken”. Written by Annie Holmquist, she started the article by saying:
“In an age where PARTISANSHIP reigns supreme, there seems to be one issue on which members of both the Left and Right agree, namely,
the DECLINING PRESENCE OF CIVIL DISCOURSE.”
In the article she examined why we no longer discuss things in America, but shout at one another across the aisle. Republicans shout at Democrats, Democrats shout at Republicans, and the so called “Free Press” throws gasoline on the fire. Why is this? The conclusion the article draws might surprise you. One of those she quoted was an Atheist and Liberal Feminist Camille Paglia who said that it was the “decline of religion and the wisdom of the ancients that is in large part responsible for this state of things”. Paglia said:
“We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death.”
When you make truth fluid, and unhook it from the Divine Word of God, then the
only thing that makes truth truth is who can shout the loudest.
That doesn’t work. Jesus prayed for His Church long ago:
John 17:16-17 (CSB) They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth.
Truth cannot be uncoupled from the Rock that is God, or else it becomes chaos.
1 Corinthians 8:1 (KJV) … Knowledge puffeth up,
but charity (love) edifieth (builds up)
Knowledge PUFFS UP but Love BUILDS UP.
The Church at Corinth was in a shouting match, with the left and right sides of the aisle screaming at one another. They had forgotten that the reason Jesus left the Church on the earth was to share His Gospel.
It is because of Love that God saved us by His Gospel.
John 3:16 (KJV) For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus commanded those He saved to first and foremost LOVE.
John 13:34 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also love one another.
If we belong to Jesus we are to CONTINUE In Christ’s Love.
John 15:9 (KJV) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
1 John 4:10-11 (KJV) Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  BELOVED, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.
The truth is that the whole of God’s Law is fulfilled by Love.
Romans 13:8-10 (KJV) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW.
Galatians 5:14 (KJV) For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, even in this; Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.
James 2:8 (KJV) If ye FULFIL THE ROYAL LAW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
I had a so called superstar pastor – a legend in his own mind who sadly was honored by too many—tell me,
“There’s more in the Bible than loving God and loving one another”.
I disagree, and so, it seems, does the Scripture. Love is the main thing. We are to love God first, then we are to love others as God has loved us. God has given His Church a great blessing in Christ. He has given us salvation. He has also given us LIBERTY. We are freed from sin and the law so that we can serve a higher Law, the Law of the Spirit. The Law of the Spirit is Love, and the work of the Spirit is to produce a singular fruit …
Galatians 5:22-25 (KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH,  MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Anytime Idolatry Enters, Sanity Leaves
Corinth as well as Rome were Pagan Capitals. People worshiped idols, both Roman and Greek, and you couldn’t walk through either city without seeing stone or wooden idols on display. Animal sacrifices were often made to these various idols by their worshippers, and so many sacrifices were made each day that a problem came up.
What do we do with the meat?
The pagans were capitalists. Many capitalists are pagans, worshippers of mammon or money. As the animals sacrificed to the false gods were without spot or blemish, some beef, some goat, and some sheep, the pagans got an idea.
“Let’s set up a meat market outside of the pagan temple,
and sell this good meat at a reduced price”
I’ve been to Dollar Stores before. I found a dollar steak – frozen of course – in a dollar store. The dollar bill would have been tastier. The steak tasted like it was cut from the hoof of the critter, it was that tough. And it didn’t taste like any beef I’ve ever tasted. Dollar store steak is nasty.
But what if you could go to the store and find New York Strip steaks for a dollar a pound? What if you could find Filet Mignon for $1.50 per serving, or a T-Bone about an inch thick for $3.00? What would you do? I’d want to snap it up. I’d buy a few at first to test the quality, and if it was good, then I’d fill my freezer. I love good beef, good pork, and I even like lamb (which is usually $9.00 per pound around here). I wouldn’t even ask where it came from as long as it was good.
But what if it were previously offered up as a sacrifice to an idol? That’s what was happening in Corinth, and also happened in Rome. The pagan temples started meat markets, and many of the Christians in the Church at Corinth and Rome began purchasing this meat. The Apostle said:
1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (KJV) As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
We who are mature in Christ know that an idol is nothing.
An idol is a made up, man-made god or goddess.
There is a child’s riddle that asks:
“What has eyes, but cannot see?”
The proper answers are “a potato, a needle, a picture, a hurricane, and a tornado”. There is one other thing that “has eyes, but cannot see”, and that is the IDOL. The Psalmist said:
Psalm 135:15-17 (CSB) The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have MOUTHS BUT CANNOT SPEAK, EYES, BUT CANNOT SEE. 17 THEY HAVE EARS BUT CANNOT HEAR; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths.
Idols are not real, but they are figments of the imagination. Buddha is an idol. The Hindu gods are idols. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young started a religion based on idols. Money can be an idol, as well as power. But these idols have no cognizance, no intelligence, no abilities to do or undo anything.
1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV) But to US there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by him.
We who are Christians, born again by faith in Him, we who are mature in our faith know that there is but One Father, of Whom are all things. We know that there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, by Whom are all things. It is He Who saved us, and not we ourselves. We who are mature in Christ know that idols are make believe. For us to eat meat that had been previously offered to idols in sacrifice – discounted meat – means nothing. But then Paul says this:
1 Corinthians 8:7 (KJV) Howbeit there is NOT IN EVERY MAN THAT KNOWLEDGE: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
My Focus Should Be To Build Up The Church
By Lifting Up The Gospel
Not every Christian understands that idols are nothing.
Not every believer is at the same level of spiritual maturity.
Paul told the Roman Christians (who suffered under the same problem):
Romans 14:14-18 (KJV) I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Though there is nothing wrong with buying discounted meat that had been offered to idols, the weaker Christian was offended by that. Though I have liberty in Christ to eat meat offered to idols, the Law of Love demands that I consider my fellow Christian, and do nothing to wreck his or her faith. The Apostle told the Romans:
Romans 14:20-21 (KJV) For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
We are under Christian liberty, but we are foremost to be under Christian LOVE.
1 Corinthians 8:8 (KJV) But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
In the Old Testament God decreed what was clean to eat, and what was unclean to eat. In Leviticus 11 God gave an extensive list of what foods were clean, and which were unclean. Unclean animals were:
Any fish without scales (no catfish!)
Owls (Briscoe Darling of Andy Griffith would be astonished)
You could, however, eat beef, lamb, fish with scales, locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.
To eat something unclean would cause you to be unclean, and separate you from God.
In the New Testament the Blood of Christ changed everything. In Acts 10 Peter while praying had a vision from God.
Acts 10:9-15 (CSB) …. Peter went up to pray on the roof about noon. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 12 In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. 13 A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything impure and ritually unclean.” 15 Again, a second time, the voice said to him, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” 16 This happened three times, and suddenly the object was taken up into heaven.
God made all things clean through Christ. You can eat a bug now if you want to. I don’t want to, but I love my pig! You can eat pig – which I prefer over crickets or locusts. Under Christ meat commendeth us not to God. You can eat any meat, any food. God does not care! But what God does care about is that WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER. The Apostle said:
1 Corinthians 8:9-11 (KJV) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
The Bible tells us God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life. Christ gave Himself for us so that none would perish. As a Child of God I need to take care that I do not cause my weaker brother in Christ to perish. My liberty must never be a stumblingblock to another believer.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
I want to be quick to point out that this passage is NOT justifying sin.
You cannot say “my meat is sexual sin or alcohol or drugs … so I’ll do this and be saved”.
I’m sorry, but God has forbidden certain things as sinful.
Galatians 5:19-21 (CSB) Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
What God has said is sin is still sin, and we are suppose to say the same thing about sin that our Father has. However there are areas that have nothing to do with sin that I should not do for one reason.
Because it would cause a weaker Christian to fall away.
1 Corinthians 8:12-13 (KJV) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
We are to reject sin, but also not to elevate something not forbidden as sin to the level of a sin. We are to love God, love one another, and love the stranger among us.
It is through love and the SPOKEN GOSPEL that the soul is saved. May someone be led to Christ and His Church by this Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen!