On last night, during our final class, we were divided into groups and our directions were that each group would be given a passage from the bible and as a group, we had to write a ten minute sermon. The class would then critique our interpretation of the passage. I was placed into a group with three gentleman and we were given, 1 Corinthians 8. Now, it normally takes me days to write a sermon but on last night, we had 40 minutes and I’d be the one “preaching.” Four people with different thoughts and interpretations are to compose a sermon and preach it. Needless to say, we used all 40 minutes. This is a snippet of what we realized. 1 Corinthians 8 is the church of Corinth who is having an issue with some who believe it is a sin to eat sacrificed meat and others who don’t. Because of this debate, there is discord in the church that Paul has to resolve. One of our group members, Pastor Walter, came up with the 3 points that we used as the foundation and here is how I “preached’ it.
1. The power of knowledge – 1 Corinthians 8:2-6: We have to know the trueness of God because verses 2-3 says, “Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”
2. The position of knowledge – 1 Corinthians 8:7-8: We have to serve in love. Asking ourselves the question, “Am I strong enough to love my brother/sister more than I love the freedom to do what I want?”
3. The predicament from knowledge – 1 Corinthians 8:9-12: What situation am I placing my brother or sister in by using my power and position of knowledge? For verse 9 says, “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.”
With verse 13 summarizing the chapter, for it says, “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.”
Let me break it down. I’ve grown in knowledge to know there’s only one God which means it isn’t a sin to eat meat that has been sacrificed to other gods. Sam, however, has been raised to believe it is a sin. He and I are meeting for lunch and I plan to order the fattest, greasiest hamburger they got. I know the cattle was just sacrificed but I don’t care, I can get whatever I want. Then, I see the way Sam is looking … Will I sit across from him with mayo dripping from my lip, tempting him to order a hamburger too, even though I know it’ll make him sin or will I love him enough to order a salad? This is the kind of question we have to ask when we are in fellowship with some who may not have the knowledge of God like we do. This particular passage talked about meat but what is your “meat” today? What are you eating and/or doing that could potentially make your brother/sister sin? And are you willing to give it up to assist them in growing in knowledge or will you do what you want because you can?