Don’t Let Your Freedom Cause Others to Stumble
1 Corinthians 10:14-33
Jerry A Collins
behind idols and idol worship?
Why are all things lawful but not all things are profitable?
should God receive glory?
was a special category of sin for the OT people of God. Israel
had been special recipients of the revelation of God. But when they could not
persuade God to do what they wanted they forsook God to do what they
wanted—they abandoned God for pagan gods. When they could not get their pagan
gods to do their bidding they even offered their children in sacrifice hoping
the intensity of their desire would persuade the gods to relent. Like Israel,
if you do not believe that what God wants for your life is better than what you
want for it, you probably will sacrifice your family, your reputation, your
integrity not in a fire but in a desperate attempt to have your own way. Behind
idolatry is not only the desperate attempt to establish our autonomy, but also
a spiritual force that encourages that autonomy. A major reason we should not
involve ourselves in any practices associated with idolatry, like eating meat
offered to idols, is because it involves us with demons, provokes God’s
jealousy and jeopardizes our lives.
1. EATING MEAT IN PAGAN TEMPLE FEASTS
INVOLVES PARTICIPATION AND UNION WITH DEMONS ‘Therefore’ indicates that in lite of warning about being disqualified from service here
is something further to consider. What that is is to
‘flee from idolatry’. There is absolutely no room in Xian life for idolatry or
practices associated with idolatry. This includes horoscopes, crystals, eastern
mystical practices like meditation and yoga or Mary, Buddha or Mother nature. (1) Xians
participate with Christ and are one with Him in the Lord’s supper 15-17
First, he tells them they are able to understand and
discern what he s about to say vs 15. The reason for
this statement is because he is preparing them to accept some premises they
cannot deny. They should be able to make their own decision based on their own
conscience as result. Second, with communion we are sharing in the blood of
Christ and sharing in the body of Christ. We are remembering his death for our
sins—a common celebration for every believer 16. All believers stand on same
ground at foot of cross—as forgiven sinners who possess eternal life 17. So as
we eat the bread and drink of the cup in communion we are participating
together and in union together in the practice and in its meaning. (2)
Israelites participate with God and are one with Him in the altar sacrifices 18
Looking at the nation of Israel
as another example. When an offering was sacrificed, some of it was burnt, some
of it was eaten by the priests, some of it was eaten
by those who offered it. PT Everyone was involved with the offering, with God
and with each other. So there is an alliance with Christ’s invisible but
universal body the church when we share communion. So, too, was an alliance as
partners in sacrifice in Israel.
Pagans participate with demons and are one with them in their idol sacrifices
19-20. First, those idols are
nothing in themselves. They have no personal or spiritual power or nature in
and of themselves. It is a rock, a piece of wood, a thought only 19. There is
no corresponding spiritual reality there. However, when you attach religious or
spiritual meaning to these things, then demons are the spiritual force behind
the idolatry. There is never a god behind an idol but always a spiritual force
and that force is always evil. We can create idols all by ourselves but demons
also like them and use them. So there is an alliance between the pagan worship
and the activity of demons. This is why we are warned about idolatry.
Participation with God and demons is impossible vs
21. The sacrifice and meal creates meaningful rela
between you and the god you are worshipping. This is only reserved for the
Lord. But f you choose to participate anyway, there are further consequences vs 22. God will not allow idolatry to go unpunished nor can
anyone escape. Some xians even paid for it with their
health and even lives 1 Cor 11:30. Union
and participation in idolatrous practice provokes Gods jealousy and we have
already seen how God decisively dealt with Israel
in her idol worship (1 Cor 10:1-13). So tear up the
horoscope, trash the crystals, stop the mantras, the
meditations and the yoga. All of these are practices associated with false gods
and false religions.
2. EATNG SACRIFICED MEAT IS OKAY UNLESS THE
ISSUE OF IDOL RELATIONAHIP IS RAISED Even tho
participating in pagan feasts is sin, eating the meat at home was not. Whatever
is beneficial, helpful, advantageous to someone coming
to Christ vs
-23 requires three rules of
Eat anything sold in meat market without asking questions 25-26. Unlike
Israelites who cold not eat certain meats, in our age we can eat any meat. You
do not have to ask if it has been sacrificed to idols.
If an unbeliever invites you to his house eat anything that is set before you
without asking any questions 27. We are to socialize with unbelievers, that is,
eat meat with them without asking if the meat has been sacrificed to idols.
But is they say ‘this is meat sacrificed to idols’ do not eat it 28. The reason? For the sake of the ne
who informed you and for conscience’ sake, I mean not your own conscience but
the other man’s 29. The other man obviously sees value in the fact that the
meat was sacrificed to idols, that is why he said it.
Therefore, to eat that meat would give a message contrary t the Gospel to his
unbeliever. So these three statements seem to clearly say that when you know
that something is connected to another religion (in this case food offered to
idols) it is a sin to participate in it. It is worshipping a demonic god which
is communicated to the unbeliever. It does not result in them getting saved.
Using horoscopes or crystals or TM or yoga or mantras never communicate the
gospel and only create solidarity with the false gods, false theology, false
beliefs behind which are demons deceiving people not resulting in their
what can we do with this meat?
(1) Do everything to the glory of God. You
can eat anything but give thanks for it and do it to the glory of God 30a-31. Every
situation needs to be considered in such a way that God’s glory will be the
(2) Don’t do anything that will cause anyone
to stumble 32. There are 3 groups of people we are not to offend, Jews,
gentiles, Church of God.
We have a responsibility to those outside of and inside of the church. (3) Do
what you can to benefit others spiritually 33. Our passion must be that
others might come to know in a personal and saving way the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the ultimate kind of profit we are looking for in the lives of others
as we express our liberty in Christ. That includes giving up our freedom, he rite to eat this meat, to be judged by another’s conscience,
even to be slandered in order not to give offense in order to not seek or own
good but that of our neighbor that he or she or they might get saved. (4)
Follow example of self sacrifice and selfless service 11:1. The
aspect of Christ’s life to emulate is example of His self-sacrifice. We are to selfish. He is the one we strive to follow in this matter
al of our lives.