Jesus lived a life of self-giving love. As God’s “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5.13-16), we are to live like Jesus.
The major theme of 1 Corinthians is a call for the church to live in sacrificial love.
— 1 Corinthians 10.23-24 – “All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.
The frequently repeated logic of leading members of the church, “all things are lawful,” is true. Just because something is permitted, doesn’t mean that it should be a pattern of behavior.
Attitudes and actions that benefit and build up people are what Jesus wants for his followers.
How does self-giving love that benefits others find expression in the family?
— When husbands and wives attempt to out-give one another in love, both benefit.
— When parents strive to build up the abilities and self-esteem of their children, the whole family is better.
The same principles can be applied to the church or workplace. Self-sacrificing behavior benefits everyone.
Application to Food
Paul applied the principle of self-giving love to the issue of eating food that had been sacrificed to idols.
For the poor, the only opportunity to eat meat was at a festival in honor of a pagan god. Wealthy patrons would provide meat for everyone to increase their status in the community.
This social occasion was rare and valued by everyone in the city. What was a Christian to do about it?
Paul provided guidelines, but the overarching view was to allow self-giving love to be the guide.
— Meat Market Food – Verses 25-26 – Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience,
For “the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.”
— Food with an Unbelieving Friend (Option 1) – Verse 27 – If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
— Food with an Unbelieving Friend (Option 2) – Verses 28-29a – But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience —
I mean the other’s conscience, not your own.
The logic of Paul’s rules is clear. Apparently, some of the church leaders objected to Paul’s instructions.
They said, “For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience?
“If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?” (1 Corinthians 10.29b-30).
Paul cut through the rationalizations of the church leaders and called them to model their behavior after the way Jesus lived.
Jesus reflected the character and nature of the Father. So should his followers.
— 1 Corinthians 10.31-33, 11.1 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
The church is to model Paul’s behavior, which is fashioned after Christ’s.
(1) Do everything to give glory to God.
The way Christians live will reveal the character of God. Our attitudes and actions provide a picture of God’s nature.
(2) Live in self-giving love. We don’t seek our own advantage, because we desire to benefit others.
(3) Jesus is our example. As we consciously follow Jesus, God will use us to benefit others.
Please take a few minutes to listen to Rudy Ross and me on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy has insights into food laws that you will want to know.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.