All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
That's the test of charity. Love. What he mentioned in the previous chapter. Yep, you have knowledge. You can do all things, but I've been telling you, you should balance that out with how you love people who are watching what you do. Let love be your guide. Is it helpful? Will it control me? Will it bless other people or will it hinder other people? Our actions can draw people to Jesus or lead them astray.
Knowing that can be a lot of pressure. But today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how love can guide you to encourage and influence others for Christ. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will encourage you to trust the good plans that God has for you. Life is hard and then we die. That is a harsh but accurate philosophy. Listen to this gentle encouragement. But God.
That's right. In the most difficult circumstances, God can intervene as he did for Joseph, Job, and through the resurrection of Jesus. Here's Skip Heitzig. In fact, there may not be two more hopeful words than these two words, but God, because they point us to the great interrupter, the one who can powerfully and graciously interrupt our lives with his plans and change our lives forever. We want to help you understand some of the Bible's most profound but God moments so you can have more hope for change in your own life. Pastor Skip's 10 message teaching series, But God, is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help connect more people to the only one who can radically change a life.
Get your But God CD collection today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now, we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. When we take the Lord's Supper together, there's two dimensions. There's a vertical dimension, us with God.
We're communing with him and there's a horizontal dimension. We're communing with each other. In fact, in the truest sense, we are becoming one with each other because the very bread that we break and distribute goes inside of you, gets assimilated into your body.
It actually becomes a part of your body eventually, cellular structure. Likewise, the bread that I take becomes a part of me. So because we're taking from the same source, we are literally becoming one with each other.
We're communing with each other. And it talks about bread in that verse. It says the bread which we break is not the communion. The word here for bread is loaf singular and that's because the early church generally when they had communion took one loaf of bread, distributed each part to the different people who had come to the assembly, they were communing with each other over the meal becoming one with each other. Something else, I just can't pass this up.
I want you to just get this. Notice it says the cup of blessing. The cup of blessing happens to be a technical term. Paul was Jewish.
He was a rabbi. The cup of blessing in the Passover meal, the Passover meal had not one cup, but you know how many? Four cups.
Four cups throughout the evening for the Passover meal. The cup of blessing was the third cup. The first cup was a cup of sanctification. The second cup was the cup of celebrating the judgments and the inheritance of God's people from the Egyptians. The third cup was the cup of redemption. The fourth cup was the cup of praise or consummation. Jesus took the cup of blessing, the third cup, the cup of redemption, and he said this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant shed for you.
But then something interesting happened. If you look at the accounts of the last supper, the Passover Seder that Jesus had with his disciples, there's a record that he took the cup, so he had taken cup one, two, and three, the third cup of blessing, and then he made a remark. He said, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine anymore until I drink it with you in my Father's kingdom. And there is not a record that Jesus took the fourth cup, the cup of praise.
It just is recorded that after the third cup, they sang him and they went out toward the Mount of Olives, and then we have Jesus entering into the Garden of Gethsemane. But what's interesting is in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, and he said, Father, if it's possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done.
Your will be done. I think the cup he was referring to was the cup of consummation, that he did not drink that night at the Passover, but he said, I'm going to drink it alone. We can drink together these other cups because we're celebrating what happened in the past, but this is something I must bear alone. Father, not my will, but thine be done.
And he resigned. He consummated the sacrifice in taking the fourth cup, the cup of suffering, to himself. Anyway, that's just a little FYI, a little no extra charge on the Bible study when he says the cup of blessing is the third cup that we take from that, the cup of communion.
So these are rhetorical questions that he's asking in verse 16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? Answer, yep, it is. Isn't the bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Yep, it is. So these are rhetorical questions meant to have an affirmative answer. For we, being many, are one bread, one body, for we all partake of that one bread, amplifying the truth. Now that's one example. Here's another example. The children of Israel going to the temple. First example, Christians getting together for communion, the Lord's Supper. Second example, Jewish people going to the temple to offer sacrifices.
Let's look at it. Observe Israel, verse 18, after the flesh, that is physical Israel, the descendants of the tribes of Israel. Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? So if you are Jewish or you were Jewish and you went to the temple back then with your animal sacrifice, you would give it to the priest, the priest would kill it, the priest would offer it, a portion of the sacrifice would be given to the priest to consume, a portion would be given for you to take home and eat and enjoy, and a portion would be offered to God. So he is giving two examples to make a greater point in verses 19 and 20, which are, what am I saying then? That an idol is anything or that what is offered to idols is anything, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.
So, go back to those two examples. When you and I take communion together, we take the bread, we take the cup, we are showing solidarity with each other and with Christ when we take communion. Example number two, the children of Israel with their sacrifices going to the temple, they are showing solidarity to their God and to each other by that sacrifice. So, his point being is this, if you go to a temple sacrifice, a temple ceremony, and you indulge in the meal there at the temple, that pagan temple, you are showing solidarity with that pagan deity and with those pagans who are there. You say, now wait a minute, Paul, I have a problem with that, because in chapter eight, you said, we know that an idol is nothing. That's right, I did say that, Paul would say.
I did say, you have knowledge, but I also said, though you have knowledge, you have to balance your knowledge with the responsibility of something else. An idol is nothing. An idol is a piece of wood, piece of stone, piece of metal, that's all it is.
But it represents something. And what it represents is not just a made-up God, but actually, according to Paul, demons. You say, oh, that was Paul, he was by this time a little narrow and legalistic. No, actually, you'd be wrong if you said that, because way back in Deuteronomy chapter 32, Moses said to the children of Israel, he said to the children of Israel, Moses said to the children of Israel concerning them, their forefathers, they provoked God to jealousy with foreign gods. With abominations, they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to gods, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. So behind that worship system, behind that little idol in Corinth was actually a demon entity.
So Paul said, I don't want you to have fellowship with demons. You show solidarity to Christ and to each other when you take the Lord's Supper. You show solidarity if you're a Jewish person at the temple in Jerusalem.
Even so, you could be showing solidarity to paganism if you are going to these public festivals and eating what is there with you, for you. So what does that teach us? What is the overarching principle?
Simply this, and don't miss it. There is only one true God in the world. There are not many gods. You say, well there's thousands of religions. Yes, all of them are demonically inspired. All of them are demonically inspired. Every world religion, every system created by man throughout history, except for the revelation given to us by God in Holy Scripture, is nothing less than a false worship, and behind that false worship are demon entities. Why would they be there?
Simple. Distraction, man. They want to distract people from what is true, what is real, so they offer a counterfeit. They offer a counterfeit experience, a counterfeit expression, counterfeit scriptures. The God of this age, Satan, has blinded those eyes, those minds of those who believe not, Paul said. So Paul is saying, I know I did say in chapter 8 an idol is nothing, but now I'm telling you be careful because it represents something demonic, so have that knowledge as well.
Verse 19, what am I saying then that an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I don't want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons, or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?
Are we stronger than He? All things are lawful for me. This is now the summary of it all. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.
All things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify. Now let me recap something I mentioned in chapter 60. I want to tie these ends together because we're reading like a chapter a week, maybe.
We've done two chapters, but that's like by God's good grace and your patience, but I have a chapter last week. So anyway, in chapter 6 verse 12, he introduces this same principle. He says all things are lawful for me. Not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. That's chapter 6 verse 12.
Now he reiterates part of that and adds a third. All things are lawful. Not all things are helpful. Then all things are lawful, but not all things edify. So we now have our answer. If we're faced with uncertain areas, gray areas, not black areas, not black, not white, can I do this?
Can I do that? It's not clearly delineated in the scripture. I apply three principles. Number one, the test of utility. Does it help me? Is it beneficial to me? If I do this thing, if I get involved in this, if I eat this, or drink this, or perform this activity, is this something that is expedient for me? Does it help me? Does it benefit me, especially in my Christian walk?
If not, do I really need to do it or have it? That's the test of utility. Second is the test of authority. Am I going to control it or is it going to control me? Do I have the authority to say yes and no to it or is it going to eventually form a habit, an addiction? So it's controlling me.
I'm not controlling it. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any, chapter 6, verse 12. That's the second test.
The third test mentioned here in verse 23, all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify, that's the test of charity, love, what he mentioned in the previous chapter. Yep, you have knowledge, you can do all things, but I've been telling you, you should balance that out with how you love people who are watching what you do. Let love be your guide. Is it helpful?
Will it control me? Will it bless other people or will it hinder other people? So here's an example. I've had people say, come up to me with this example. A couple, not married to each other, living together, but they say not having any sexual relations at all with each other in separate rooms, but they're doing it simply for economic reasons. Combine their incomes, defray costs. All things are lawful, but somebody looking at that union, are they going to understand it or would a brother or sister who doesn't understand it be stumbled by it? And could you be placing yourself into a temptable position where God has given you a way of escape, but because you're around each other all the time, it becomes easier and easier not to take the way of escape, and you would eventually compromise. There's other issues at play. The Bible doesn't say, thou shall not live together to defray expenses.
It didn't say that. But you apply these three principles, and the answer will come easier than you think. Principle of utility, principle of authority, principle of charity. Apply that to any area of your life, and you'll come out the other end smelling pretty sweet. Verse 24, capping or attaching to the end part of verse 23, let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.
That's part of the law of love. Now, don't be confused by all that because Paul almost seems to go back and forth a little bit. He goes, eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience's sake, for the earth is the Lord's and its fullness. So you go into the marketplace called the shambles. You're not going to a festival at a pagan temple, and at this point you're not at a friend's house. You're just buying meat in the meat market.
When you're going through the shambles and you go to a meat market and you see a good deal on beef, or lamb, or pork, or chicken, or whatever, and you see and you go, wow, it looks good. You could say, hey, was this offered to an idol? Paul says, don't ask.
If it's a good deal, take it. Don't even ask questions. He says, for conscience's sake, why does he say that? Now he's giving you his... By the way, this is a very un-Jewish principle. You know about Judaism, right? They eat kosher meat. It has to be signified by a rabbi that it's kosher. There's kosher and non-kosher. But Jesus said in Mark chapter 7, it's not what goes into a man that defiles him.
It's what comes out from his heart. So for the Christian, there is no kosher, unkosher, lawful, unlawful. You can eat anything you want. Just give God thanks and eat it. Now, it's not necessarily good for your heart, but that's a medical issue. That's something different. But as far as a biblical freedom issue, eat anything you want. Don't ask questions.
Why? Because the earth is the Lord. Psalm 24, he's quoting scripture. Psalm 24, verse 1. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell in it. That's the text. So Paul is saying, God has given us these things. Enjoy them.
But look at verse 27. If any of those who do not believe invite you to dinner and you desire to go, so now you're going to dinner at an unbeliever's house. You're going into their home. They're giving you a meal.
Eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience sake. So what if you go into an unbeliever's house, you get invited to dinner, and they say, thank you for coming, man. We're really glad that you're a part of our family, and we have a beautiful meal prepared.
And you say, well, I'm glad to be here because I'd like to tell you about somebody that I met that changed my life, and I hope we get to talk about him over dinner. You're going to witness to him. But what would it be like if you brought your own food in and said, listen, we brought our own meat to cook that hasn't been sacrificed to your idol. You are going to end the conversation.
You're not going to have any end roads at all. They're going to ask you to leave because in that culture, that was an insult. Paul just says, go to dinner, don't ask questions for conscience sake. But if anyone says to you this was offered to idols, then he says, don't eat it for the sake of the one who told you and for conscience sake, for the earth is the Lord's and all of his fullness. So if they volunteer the information, they say, hey, before you eat that, I just want you to know this was offered to an idol.
Now, who would do that? An unbeliever might do it. An unbeliever might say, hey, this was sacrificed to an idol. And the unbeliever might say that to a believer to test the believer. Keep in mind at that time, Christians to most pagans were a subset of Judaism.
They knew that Jews had strict dietary laws. So they would say, oh, this is a sacrifice to an idol. And then he'd watch to see if you're going to eat it or not.
How dedicated and sincere you really are about it. Or it could be a believer who says, this is sacrifice to an idol. And that person may or may not have a sensitive conscience. So Paul just says, don't eat it. If they tell you it's sacrifice to an idol, just don't do it.
Make it easier. For the earth is the Lord's and the fullness. Now, why would he quote the same verse? Simply, the same God who provided meat that anybody can eat at any time, go ahead and eat it, don't ask questions, is the same God who provided other stuff you can eat besides the meat that you shouldn't eat because it bothers somebody.
Right? There's a lot of other things out there God has made. Eat that. Conscience I say, verse 29, not your own, but that of the other. Why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience?
But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? Of course, the answer is simply because I don't want to offend the conscience of somebody else. I'm going to withhold my liberty for the sake of somebody else. For the sake of the gospel, if they're an unbeliever.
For the sake of the scruples of a weak brother or sister, if they volunteer the information. Therefore, verse 31, we're almost done. Therefore, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to the Jews or the Greeks or to the church of God. So whether you're Jewish, whether you're a Gentile, whether you're a believer with any of those two backgrounds, do all to the glory of God. So, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own prophet, that's chapter nine, he's referring to, he was the grand example in that chapter, but the prophet of many that they may be saved. And in verse one of chapter 11, which belongs in with the rest, imitate me just as I also imitate Christ.
We did it. Even with a diversion in chapter 36 through 38 of Ezekiel. Interesting times we live in. Interesting, interesting times. 40 years ago when I started studying prophecy, 50 years ago, wow. I did not think I would see the day that I'm seeing today with Russia, Turkey, and Iran so unified against Israel. By the way, it presupposes Israel has been out of the land and is now suddenly back in the land.
They had been out of the land until May 14th of 1948. So that's a recent development. It also presupposes that Israel, unlike its past, will have the kind of wealth in that country that other nations including huge nations to the north will want. And they do.
All of that is true. The economy of Israel is one of the strongest on the earth. And it has become the eye and the envy of people like Iran and like the Soviet Union and Turkey all together have an interest in it. So we're living in that day that the prophet spoke about. How utterly exciting it is. So we look up because our redemption draws near. That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series Expound First Corinthians. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way as you help connect others to the gospel.
The Lord truly is slow to anger and he desires that all people come to repentance and trust in Jesus. Our goal is to send God's word out into a world that needs to hear the life-changing news of the gospel. And I want to invite you to take an active role in that exciting mission. Please consider giving a gift today to keep these teachings coming your way and going out to encourage a world in need. Here's how you can give right now. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you. Come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares how an important issue in the early church is relevant for your life today. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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