Christian Liberty - All the Glory to GOD
1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

1 Corinthians 10:23-26
[23] “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.  [24] Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.  [25] Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.  [26] For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.”

Paul says that he has the freedom to do these questionable things - things on which the Bible is silent as to their right or wrong.  Paul probably attended the Olympics, and many of his illustrations are taken from athletic events that were carried on in the great coliseums and stadiums of that day.

Paul says such things are lawful for him, but all things are not expedient because of the fact that the thing he could do might hurt a weak believer.  Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.  In other words, they don’t “build up the faith.”

In verse 24, Paul tells us that the Christian has tremendous liberty in Christ.  However, we are to seek the welfare of the other person - we are to seek what is best for them!

A Christian’s life should not be primarily directed and dictated by liberty, because our liberty is limited by love for fellow believers.  A Christian is not pinned down by legality - he is not surrounded by strict rules, but he is limited by love.  A Christian’s actions should not be based solely on his liberty - rather he should be concerned about his influence and effect on others.

Sometimes it is hard to know when to defer to the weaker believer, but Paul provides a simple rule of thumb to help in making the decision - we should be sensitive and gracious.  Some actions may not be wrong, but they may not be in the best interests of others who could witness those actions.

While we have freedom in Christ, we should not exercise our freedom at the cost of hurting a fellow believer.  We are not to consider only ourselves - we must be sensitive to others.  Our freedom should be less important to us than strengthening the faith of a brother or sister in Christ.  The Christian can enjoy all the things of God’s creation - the beauties of it, the produce of it - for the Lord has provided it all.

1.What things of God’s creation does Paul tell us are limited for our use by our conscience?

2.Whose good should we consider when making decisions?

1 Corinthians 10:27
[27] If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

Paul now gives a very practical suggestion - when you go to someone’s house for a meal, do not ask them where they got the food.  They may say they got it from the temple.  Paul says the best thing to do is to not ask. 

1 Corinthians 10:28
But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience. 

There is another principle involved - a new principle.  Paul has advised us to eat everything and ask no questions.  Suppose there is someone else at the table that sees you eat the meat and tells you the meat has been offered to idols.  In that case, you should not eat the meat - not because it is wrong, but because it is obvious it may harm the person who pointed it out to you.  It is not because of your conscience, but because of his conscience that you should not eat the meat. 

There is no rule that you should not eat the meat.  But out of your love, out of your desire to help that brother whose conscience is bothered, you should not eat the meat - put him first before your liberty! 

Many Christians are harsh in their dealing with others because their motive is legality rather than love.  If their motive were love, the approach would be altogether different.  Love for other believer should be the motive in the Christian’s conduct. 

1 Corinthians 10:29-30
[29] I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?  [30] If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

In other words, why should I be restricted because of some of these weak brethren? 
Paul asks, “Is it fair to judge me because of another man’s conscience?”

1.When a believer is willing to submit his behavior to another’s conscience, is he acting out of love? 

1 Corinthians 10:31
[31]So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Paul has stated certain great principles that relate to Christian liberty:
·All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.
·All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

Here is another great principle:  “Therefore, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This is the test every believer should apply to his life.  Not, “should I do this or that?”, but “can I do it for the glory of God?”

Unfortunately, there are Christians who do not even go to church for the glory of God.  They go for some other reason, maybe to criticize others, or to gossip about others.  With a motive like that it is better to stay at home!  They should repent before it’s too late.  Whatever a believer does should be done for the glory of God - that is very important!

2 Timothy 3:16-17
[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

What is more important to you?
1.What you think or the Word of God?
2.What you feel or the Word of God?
3.What you experience or the Word of God?
4.How you were raised or the Word of God?
5.What your traditions tell you to do or the Word of God?
6.What your culture teaches you or the Word of God?
7.What your culture demands of you or the Word of God?

In the Word of God, there are many things that we are told to do, things that we are forbidden from doing and other times where we are not told what we should do.  What should we do in cases where the Word of God is not specific about doing it or not doing it?  What Biblical principles should we use to make this decision?

·Do what is best for the other person - do not be a stumbling block to their spiritual growth.
·Do all to the glory of God. 

1 Corinthians 10:32-33
[32] Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  [33] just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Here Paul divides the world into three groups - Jews, Gentiles and the church of God.  Some of these people have different beliefs - for example the Jewish people would typically not eat pork.  If you had a Jewish friend over for dinner would you then serve them ham?  A believer should love other people enough so that his actions will not offend them. 

We should try to not offend those with whom we have contact.  Neither should we offend those who are of the church of God.  We are told that we are not to offend the Jews, the Gentiles, or the church of God - this includes the entire human family.  There are three division of the human family today, but one of these days the church of God is going to leave this earth - and then there will be only the Jews and the Gentiles (lost people) in the world.  God has a tremendous program that will take place at that time!

Whatever we do we are to do for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31
[31] So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

A Christian woman can wash dishes and sweep the floors to the glory of God.  A Christian man can dig a ditch for the glory of God.  Regardless of what you are doing, if you cannot do it for the glory of God, you should not be doing it.  As we live like this we are a testimony to the world - so that those who are lost might be saved.  If we will make the good of others one of our primary goals, we will develop a serving attitude that pleases God.

1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

This is something that very few of us can say.  Paul is saying that imitating him is desirable, but only if he is imitating Christ.  What a tremendous testimony Paul gives in that statement!

What would the actions be of someone that imitated me?  Would their actions imitate the actions of Christ?

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