HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “Be Different” based on 1 Corinthians
Today’s Topic: “Week 6: Idolatry” (Chapters 8 & 10)
For further study:
“Beware of 4 Modern Day Idols” (FlexTalk - pursuegod.org) -
“True Freedom Begins with Your Mind” (John Piper - Desiring God) -
“Love of the Church” (Frances Chan - Naga Seminarian) -
Our study of 1 Corinthians has brought us to chapters eight and ten where Paul answers the Corinthian believers’ questions about ‘idol meat,’ what freedom in Christ looks like with regard to its consumption and attempts to persuade them to elevate the need to demonstrate love over knowledge. Chapter nine also addresses the issue of ‘freedom in Christ,’ but as we have already examined it alongside chapter four in Paul’s teaching concerning the rights of a worker and his rights as an Apostle, we will not be doing so again this morning.
“Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. 2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God. 5 There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. 6 But for us, “There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.”
7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.
9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. 13 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.”
Paul begins this section by making it clear that ‘knowing’ something without the exercise of love, actually reduces the value of the knowledge that is claimed. Some in the church have rightly understood that the idols of Corinth were nothing more than statues and had begun to freely eat the meat that had been used in the various temples for worship. Others in the church simply couldn’t bring themselves to do it, equating the eating of the sacrificed meat with worship of the idols.
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!