Yesterday, Adam preached the sermon at my church. He is a great guy, normally with shaggy brown hair, but recently he had a haircut and it took a moment before I recognized him. It was a great message, thematically tied to the previous two (also posted on this site). And somehow, even more truths in this Biblical message related to this site’s current God’s will hunting series.
Another truth I haven’t included below: I can do quite a decent Adam voice impersonation. Yet I’m not sure whether continuing this is God’s will, because the Spirit hasn’t “nudged” me one way or the other (like He does every time we have a decision to make, right?).
So, discussion question: can I imitate Adam’s voice to the glory of God? It’s not forbidden in the Bible, and I believe my intention is not mockery. So in this instance, that might be permissible.
01.24.2010 — 1 Corinthians 10:23 – 11:1 (Adam)
- What is idolatry? It is whatever we serve and worship that is not God — false worship.
- This can be seen as corporate worship and individual worship. Corporate worship, with believers in a church, should not in effect worship itself or its own method, but be done for the good of glorifying God. However, we will spent our time this morning talking about individual worship — which is much more difficult. Again, human beings are hard-wired to worship, all the time.
- If the world belongs to God, everything we do in it says something about what we think about Him.
- God has set us free to worship Him, not “freedom” to have chaos. The human need to have organization in life is even reflected in the TV show “Lost,” which shows the survivors when they land on the Island getting together to form a structure of self-government.
- But not all our free choices lead to more freedom! What if we climbed on top of a roof and began dumping all our cash off it, then jumped off? That would not result in more freedom.
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 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. 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—I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 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.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:23 – 11:1
- Background: at this point, the Corinthian church is a mess. Members have been defending blatant sin in their members, class warfare, believers suing each other.
- When we’re asking what things are okay for us to do as Christians, we should ask two primary questions: first, is it directly condemned in the Bible? Drunkenness is wrong, for example, or gossip. But what about the harder choices? Questions for those: are even the not-wrong actions beneficial, and do they build up? Examples: deep-friend Spalding’s donuts, or hanging out with friends every single weekend. So we can see that these seeming gray-area choices are actually wrong.
- We must also consider how others will be affected before our own good. Can you buy an expensive car while friends are out of a job? Maybe, but what would they say about Jesus and Christianity to them? What about going to Haiti on a vacation cruise while people are dying? What would others, especially nonbelievers, think if you told them you did?
- The Bible doesn’t say specifically that these are wrong. But do we think foremost about the preeminence of Christ and how He would look to those we know?
- Verse 25: things in and of themselves are not evil. Instead, our own sin and what we choose to do with things make them our idols — it is our fault. We offer worship to fake gods, such as our good work or jobs, as if those things gave blessings to us. Money, food, comfort and safety can be turned into evil. A poppy plant can used to make heroin for the abuse of one’s body. Even our own bodies can become objects of lustful worship.
- So, what if we are invited somewhere, as in verse 27? Even if our conscience is clear, our goal should be not to harm the conscience of another, and represent Jesus to others.
- How does this play out in some typical life scenarios? Example: should you work for a political candidate, when many people already assume that Christian = Republican? Would doing that result in harming the Gospel and people’s perceptions of you?
- What about joining a college fraternity? What if you are a preacher and want to cut a Sunday morning sermon short so you can get home to watch the college basketball game?
- I’m not saying we should pull away from the world entirely because this is all too hard. Neither am I saying that the answer to such questions is always no, don’t do it. We don’t need to get together and buy property to Montana, move there and set up a walled commune. But even these seemingly unimportant life decisions do matter.
- Verse 31: true worship includes everything. Nothing is outside this definition. And glorifying God should be something we enjoy to do!
- When we much such decisions with God’s glory and worship in mind, sometimes we must disagree with people, even family members, and in so doing love them more than we would if we just went along with them, for the sake of Jesus. But simply not showing up when invited somewhere doesn’t help them — they won’t know the reasons for our objection if we just fail to attend something. Instead, we must lovingly give our Christ-honoring reasons.
- Again, we were made to glorify God! He is better than everything else!