SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 8:11-12 (TLB)
TEXT: 11 So because you “know it is all right to do it,” you will be responsible for causing great spiritual damage to a brother with a tender conscience for whom Christ died. 12 And it is a sin against Christ to sin against your brother by encouraging him to do something he thinks is wrong.
OBSERVATION: Paul was actually addressing the subject of some followers finding guilt in eating certain foods prescribed in the Old Testament as ‘forbidden’, while some had heard Jesus say that nothing He made should be considered unclean. Therefore the latter group would often come across as smearing their new-found freedom in the faces of those who were still convicted of such eating to be a sin. While this may still be an issue today, I believe there are many other things that may work the same way, and we should therefore meditate on this for a moment….
APPLICATION: We still have scenarios today where some believe that they could eat anything, based on the New Testament promise that anything God made and blessed is clean and good to eat. However there are some who are convinced that based on Old Testament teachings, and because Jesus said that He came to re-emphasize the former teachings and not tear down, then they should follow teachings such as the various foods mentioned that are forbid-able. Friends, we are talking about items here that have nothing to do with the path to heaven, but one group may easily feel like God will hold the other group responsible for disobeying his commands. I believe that if we are convinced in our hearts, the same heart where the Holy Spirit (God) resides to give us wisdom and direction in our earthly Christian walk and ministry, then we need to move on to the next subject, for there are many out there who have no idea who Jesus is, nor how sinful man can be reconciled with Him. That, my friend, is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is THE most important fact that we must follow, and in turn, share with those who are about to die and go straight to Hell. Yes, we should be passionate in discussing various philosophies and teachings that we hold close to our heart, but please friends, let’s return to placing the ‘main thing’ back into the mainstream of our witness and our preaching and teaching, for unless those who we come into contact with, know Jesus as Lord, they will die and go to Hell, whether they obey Old Testament teachings on certain food, or not. But let’s not misunderstand what Paul was teaching here in these few verses, for the Spirit of God led Him to share with us that if we hang around with friends, that believe in not eating such food that they think are declared ‘unclean’, then we who are Christ followers, should not provoke them by eating in their presence exactly what they feel convinced by the Holy Spirit is indeed unclean. Unfortunately, this concept can cover so many areas of our lives, for there are some that feel like going to the movies is a sin, or cooking on the Sabbath is a sin, or doing any kind of manual labor on that special day set aside to worship God is also a sin. Friends, let’s think back to what Paul said when he was so burdened about the unsaved in his time, he said that he would be all things to all people, if it meant that their eyes and hearts would be opened to the gospel of Jesus Christ. How far would you be prepared to go? If the only time that your friends could attend church is a Sunday evening, but you don’t normally attend any church at that time, will you make the sacrifice to make sure that they get under the preaching of the Word? Are you prepared to sit and chat with a friend who has a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, but crying over his life’s condition? People need the Lord dear friends, and this should be our priority, way more than any other personal preferences we might have. There is no teaching greater than that of salvation – please pray and be willing to do whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to do, in order to help someone come to know Christ!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it is challenging to know that You accepted us just as we were, yet we tend to set so many expectations on those who need to know You as Lord. In Your Word you declare that we should come ‘just as we are’ for there is no ‘cleaning up’ that we can do under our own power. For You sacrificed Your very own life, so that we might be saved. Please help us realize that only You can save us from the sin and the wretchedness of this world. There is no prescription for good living, or healthy living, or even good behavior that could save us from our sin. Nothing but the blood of Jesus, as one favorite hymn declares! Lord, thank You for saving my soul, please help me to never stand in the way of another who needs You. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!