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Posts Tagged ‘witness’

Verses 8-9: “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

When she was a teenager, my wife had a principle that might seem strange to some. She would not go to the movies, even if there was one she wanted to see. She would wait for that movie to come out on video so she could see only that movie at her house. As a Christian, she was cognizant of the fact that someone seeing her go to a multi-screen theater might wonder if she was seeing a G-rated film or something rated worse. Even though she was confident in her salvation, she didn’t want to give the appearance that she watched movies that she shouldn’t, lest it hurt her witness to others. That’s a principle she’s kept to this day.

Paul here is cautioning the Corinthian church about eating food served at pagan temples (these temples also doubled as centers of civic activity). He explained that technically it didn’t matter, since idols were non-entities and there was only one true God. However, he cautioned the flock not to become “stumbling blocks” to weaker or new Christians, who might not fully reconcile what they saw with what they were told. Paul even concludes the chapter stating that he would never eat meat again if it caused his brother to stumble in their walk. As always, we Christians need to remember…we might be the only Jesus some people see today, so therefore let Jesus shine through your walk.

Something to think about.

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Verse 7: “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another,. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

In our society, we’re taught and trained to win. Compete as hard as you can, show no weakness, go for the win. But the following story at this Reader’s Digest link is a heart-warming story about a football team that chose to give up a victory because it was the right thing to do. Read this story for yourself at https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/football-team-loses-on-purpose/ .

Why would Paul encourage the brethren at Corinth to just accept the wrong and not take their brother to court? Because it was the right thing to do. Defeating a fellow Christian and church member in a lawsuit wouldn’t further the church’s witness in the community. It would only hurt it. It was better, in Paul’s advice, to just accept the wrong, to let themselves be cheated, than to bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, the world is watching. Sometimes, you have to “take one for the team” to ultimately win.

Something to think about.

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Verses 1-2: “”Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

As Christians, we all claim sentiments to the meaning of this old hymn. Paul, probably more so than anybody, lived this hymn almost verbatim. Here he is now, laying out his defense, by telling the mob where he came from, how he persecuted Christians, how he was saved, and how he lived and preached for Christ now. Just the story, the witness, of Paul is incredible. Maybe the mob might have been calmed had he left it at that…but Paul must tell them all the story, of how God has called him to spread the Gospel to not just the Jews, but the Gentiles, too. In the next few verses, this is where circumstances take an interesting turn.

More to come.

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Verse 13: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

I had trouble remembering a classic set of lines from the movie Jurassic Park, so I consulted http://www.imdb.com, and found the quote in question. This takes place between John Hammond and Ian Malcolm before the party takes that fateful tour into the park (the reference link is http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/quotes ). They are discussing the problems that Dr. Grant, Dr. Sadler, and Malcolm see with Hammond’s dinosaur park:

Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now [bangs on the table]
Dr. Ian Malcolm: you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…
John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Ever heard the old expression, “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it?” As Christians, we are saved from sin’s punishment by Jesus. However, just because our eternal salvation is assured, doesn’t mean we can party like sinners the rest of our time on Earth. Paul is encouraging the Galatians in just this; to use their freedom to serve Christ, not serve the flesh. We might be the only Christian witness someone sees…you don’t want to damage your credibility.

Something to think about.

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