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1 Corinthians 8:1-13


1 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.


1 Corinthians 10:14-33

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?

19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?

20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.

22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

23 ‘Everything is permissible’— but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’— but not everything is constructive.

24 Nobody should seek his 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’.

27 If some 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 anyone says to you, This has been offered in sacrifice, then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake—

29 the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be 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 everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.


1 Corinthians 11:1

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.


You could also read Romans 14 and Acts 15:20


Quite a lot is known concerning ritual sacrifice at Greek temples. Animals were taken to the temple and offered there to the god. When this was part of a religious feast, only a small portion, (major bones, some fat, some skin etc.,) was burned. The rest would be cooked and eaten at the feast by all those present. At other times, animals that had been ritually slaughtered in offering were retained by the worshipper. Some were given to the temple priests and these would either be eaten by them or sold in the local market.


There was another problem: the Old Testament laws insisted that the blood was to be removed from any meat before it was eaten, also the eating of Pork was forbidden. Pagan sacrifice did not require this and in fact pigs were one of the favoured animals for offerings.


For those who had been brought up in the Greek culture, they would automatically know that the way to participate in the feasts to the gods was to eat some of the sacrifice. See 1 Corinthians 8:7.


Pagan Greeks considered that it was therefore a good thing to offer to your guests meat that had come from the Temple, and in fact you might want to specifically buy this meat if you were inviting people to a meal, pointing out that this was ‘temple-meat’ and thus pleasing to the gods.


So it was that Christians could be invited to a meal and then find that the meat had been offered in this way, also it could include meat forbidden to Jews in Old Testament law.


Greek converts, embracing their new freedom from Religious rules and practices, could see no problem with this. But Jewish Christian leaders in Jerusalem found it unthinkable to eat such meat (Acts 15:19-20).


So the Corinthians wrote to Paul asking what they as Christians should do.

What is Paul’s answer in verses 4-6?


(There is only one God so it is impossible to contaminate meat by using it in a worthless ritual)


Therefore: 1 Corinthians 10:

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’.

27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.

And 29b

For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?


But he also says in 1 Corinthians 10:20-22: the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.

22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?


What does v22 mean?

 

This meat had been sacrificed in a demonic ritual. To eat it was to have communion with the demons:

They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God’ Deuteronomy 32:16-17


And others who thought like this would not wish to eat this meat – for their conscience’s sake they would prefer not to have anything to do with it.


So we have 8:7-8 : 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.


Nothing we eat will damage our walk with God. But then Paul says:


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.


This then is the application for us today, and it can relate to those who choose to be Vegetarian or Vegan. Some people for conscience’s sake find animal foods abhorrent, and cannot bear eating anything that has been on the same plate, cooked in the same dish, or served with the same spoon as meat. This can also apply to those who choose not to drink alcohol.


It is too easy, with our superior freedom, to offend or even destroy others.


Now let’s look at Romans 14:13-21

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling-block or obstacle in your brother's way.

14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.


Look at the second part of v21. What other practices could there be which some of our Christian friends might find questionable, or offensive?


Our actions should at all times encourage and build up brothers in our Christian walk. Things we do might seem perfectly alright for us, but if our actions offend others. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves why this is?


Our best guide is verses 31 and 11:1:

  

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.





1 Corinthians 81 Corinthians 10







Study 9    1 Corinthians 8:1-13, 10:14-33, 11:1 Food and drink.

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