1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1
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Paul's teachings today about food sacrificed to idols in First Corinthians chapter 8 should be considered along with chapter 10 verses 14 through 22. In particular check out 10:19-21 - "Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 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." Food sacrificed to idols was a major issue for Christians in Corinth to consider, so they wrote Paul asking about this issue. Paul in chapter 8 hones in on the point that even though it may mean nothing to eat meat sacrificed to idols - which are nothing - it may mean a lot to some and cause some to stumble. Then in chapter 10 Paul hones in on the point that sacrifices to idols are really sacrifices to demons. This all makes me think about are world today. As Christians, in our freedom in Christ many things are permissible. But not all things are beneficial - to ourselves or to others that see us participating in some activities. So, are there any areas of your life where perhaps you are participating in worldly activities that really don't mean anything - they're okay in our freedom - but that perhaps could cause others to stumble in some way? Or, perhaps those activities could even cause you to stumble if you're not careful? Will you leave these activities by the wayside? Related to that activity, would you be willing to say as Paul did in First Corinthians chapter 8 verse 13: "So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble."
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "The Great Divorce - Separating Truth From Love" is at this link.
First Corinthians chapter 9 is an amazing look at Paul's passion for the Gospel! I think in this chapter Paul makes a very strong case for why we should support our local church. Verse 10 says - "Just as farm workers who plow fields and thresh the grain expect a share of the harvest, Christian workers should be paid by those they serve." Our pastors, priests, ministers deserve our support. Our local church deserves our support through our tithes. It is interesting in today's readings that Paul first lays out the case for "sharing our harvest" with Christian workers. But - Paul refuses this payment because he says in verse 12 - "Yet we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than put an obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ." That is powerful! Paul is not asking for nor expecting nor demanding payment or anything from those he serves, simply because he does not want to put up any obstacle in the way of the Gospel. Incredible. But again, remember this is the apostle Paul we are reading about here - your local church needs your tithe. How is your tithing to your church going these days? Are you consistently tithing to your church? Will you pray about what God would have you tithe to your church and other ministries and nonprofits?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "When a Right May Be Wrong" is at this link.
These are some of my favorite teachings of Paul's today in First Corinthians chapter 9 verses 24 through 27! "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." The amazing thing about these words is that they are timeless. Paul wrote these words nearly 2,000 years ago and they still ring so true today. We still run races today. We still have athletes. We still win prizes. We still have boxers. I think so often in our world today we hear people in business or other fields use sports analogies. Well, here is Paul using a sports analogy for faith! :) I love it. Please take a moment to re-read these verses above again. Meditate for a few moments on the words. What do they say to you? Do you believe you are in a race for an eternal prize? Do you want the eternal prize? Are you disciplining your very life with purpose in your every step? How are you running the race today? Are you running to win?
First Corinthians 10 starts of with a few amazing verses that I haven't really caught before. Verses 2-4 - "As followers of Moses, they were all baptized in the cloud and the sea. And all of them ate the same miraculous food, and all of them drank the same miraculous water. For they all drank from the miraculous rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ." I love it! The Israelites were baptized in the cloud and the Red Sea; ate the miraculous manna; and drank the water from the miraculous rock that Moses struck - and this rock that traveled with them was none other than Jesus! This is a beautiful testimony that Jesus Christ was, is, and forever shall be.
First Corinthians 10 today ends in verses 12 and 13 with some powerful words of warning and encouragement that each of us should always remember - particularly in our darkest hours - "If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it." Do you believe that you should always be careful to not fall into sin? Particularly if you feel you are "standing strong?" Do you realize that temptations will come into your life? But, most importantly, do you realize that God will show you a way out of the temptations, so you will not give into them? Will you pray fervently to God and Jesus to show you the way out when temptation comes your way?
Great great unselfish words from Paul today in First Corinthians 10 verses 31 through 33! "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved." How powerful is that? Paul states that he doesn't just do what is best for him - what is most comfortable for him - but he does what is best for others so that they may be saved! Beautiful. I am afraid that all too often we get "comfortably numb" in our lives and basically end up looking out for our own needs and desires and wants - even if we love Jesus. We become a bit lazy in our Christianity. We need to remember that there is a world out there that is dying. Literally. Dying. They need the love, healing, grace, peace, and salvation of Jesus in their lives! We must accept some level of discomfort in our own lives so that others may be saved. How about you today? Are you allowing there to be some discomfort in your life so that others may be saved? Are you being discomforted by sacrificially giving to your church and to ministries that serve the poor? Are you being discomforted by volunteering on a very regular basis? Are you being discomforted by supporting a missionary? Are you comfortable with being discomforted so that others may be saved? Will you bend over backwards for others so that they may be saved?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Table Talk" is at this link. Below is a great image for First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 16 -
Worship God: Today's readings in First Corinthians today reminded me of the Newsboys song song "Shine." Here's a great live high energy version of this song!
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Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." 1 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that the exercise of your freedom on Christ does not become a stumbling block to weaker brothers and sisters. Pray that your life and actions grow brothers and sisters to be more godly in character and lifestyle.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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