Tag: law of love

Don’t become a ‘stumbling block’!

Scripture reading for September 3rd: 1st Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 8:7-11 “However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.”

Paul was talking to the Corinthian believers who had come out of idolatry and found new freedom in Christ. Some were freely eating meat sacrificed to idols knowing that their eating had nothing to do with their salvation. This liberty was causing some of the believers, whose consciences were still weak, to stumble in their new-found faith. We can be right in our actions, but still be wrong if we cause others to stumble. The law of love says that I temper my actions and liberty to help and encourage my weaker brothers and sisters to grow in grace. I will do nothing that knowingly causes my brothers to stumble. Love never fails! Because of Christ’s love of all people and His desire for their salvation, we who have knowledge can limit our liberty to demonstrate our sincere commitment to Christ and build up weaker believers.

Romans 14:14-15 “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for declaring all foods clean and the liberty given by grace to believers. I am thankful for knowledge through Your Word but mindful of Your great love for all. Give me grace to know when to limit my liberty to help those who are still weak in their faith and not cause them to stumble. Fill me with Your love and wisdom through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17-19 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Love builds up the church!

Scripture reading for July 15th:  1st Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Corinthians 8:9-13  “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols.  So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.”  

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1st Corinthians 8:1b)  Paul taught that believers had knowledge that idols were nothing and liberty through Christ to eat what they wanted with prayer and thanksgiving.   However, they must let the law of love rule their exercise of liberty.  Believers do not want to cause anyone weaker in faith to stumble.  If by our liberty, a weaker believer is lead into idolatry, we sin against them and Christ.  We have ability and responsibility to limit our liberties because of love for our brothers!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers help other believers by living a life of love and humble service! “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, honor and life.”  (Proverbs 22:4)

Tags : , , , , , ,

The most important commandment?

Scripture reading for March 5th: Mark 12:18-37, Psalms 48:1-14, Proverbs 10:26

Men are always trying to reduce the requirement to get into heaven to a simple formula.  They seem to want to find the line that God requires and then get as close to it as possible and still maintain their freedom to do as they please.  Instead we should be seeking complete obedience with joyful and thankful hearts!

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating.  Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28-31)

Jesus did not give this teacher one of the ten commandments that he may have been expecting.  Instead, Jesus gave this man the greatest commandment.  It is the law of love that God Himself set in place and which, if kept, can fulfill all the requirements of the ten commandments.  Loving God involves keeping the commandments. “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.” (John 14:21)  True love of God involves obedience to His commands. If we keep His commands, we will love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the first five of the ten commandments.  We will also love our neighbor as ourselves.  This is the second half of the ten commandments.

Jesus commended the teacher when he agreed with His instruction.  He told him that he was not far from the kingdom.  (Mark 12:34)  The last step needed would be to place faith in Jesus Christ.  Confessing our sins to God and asking Him for mercy would bring the needed cleansing.  The gift of the Holy Spirit gives us power to love God and our neighbor as God does.  Have you repented of breaking God’s laws?  Do you know you are in His kingdom (not just close)?  Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?

Tags : , , , ,

When liberty causes a stumbling block!

Scripture reading for August 13th: 1st Corinthians 8:1-13

“It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)  The Corinthians were enjoying freedom in Christ, but had more questions about how to exercise this freedom.  There were many idol temples in Corinth where people sacrificed animals.  This meat was often cut up and sold in the markets to make money.  The Corinthians had questions about whether or not they had liberty to eat this meat.

“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:  We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but One.” (1st Corinthians 8:4)  Paul told them the truth about the idols.  They were really nothing at all.  God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ were worthy of praise.  All things come from God alone.  The world has many ‘gods’ and seeks to worship them in their ignorance.

“But not everyone knows this.  Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.  But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1st Corinthians 8:7-9)  The stronger believers understood that the idols were nothing.  They knew that eating that meat sacrificed to the idol wouldn’t pollute their faith.  But the weaker believers still had fresh memories of sacrificing to idols.  They felt defiled when they ate.  The responsibility was placed on the stronger to limit their liberties for the sake of their weaker brothers!  They were not to flaunt their knowledge because it was not loving towards their brothers!

The law of love is again used as the rule of faith and practice.  Stronger Christians limit what they are free to do so that no younger or weaker believer’s faith is destroyed by their liberty!  Paul went on to emphasize this, “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1st Corinthians 8:13)  “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1st Corinthians 8:1b)  Check out your love level today!

Tags : , , , ,

Law of Love!

Scripture reading for February 23th: Deuteronomy 5-7

Moses preached a second message to the children of Israel in the year before he died.  This message began in Deuteronomy 5 and goes through chapter 26.  You might say that Moses was a long-winded preacher, but he had learned much about God through his experience of leading the people and falling face-down before the Lord.  He wanted to impress the basics on these who would go in to possess the promised land so that they would be prosperous and successful in their walk with God.

Moses began his message by calling for Israel to “hear”.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)  They first needed to “hear” that what happened in the past at Mt. Sinai was not just for their dead ancestors, but for them!  (Deuteronomy 5:1-4)  When we read or hear the word of God, our hearts need to be open to “hear” with the idea that God is speaking to us as well.  We are descendants of  Israel by faith in Jesus Christ! (Romans 11:17-18)

Moses then restated the ten commandments.  The only major change from 40 years earlier was his commentary on the fourth commandment, Sabbath keeping.  Here he emphasized keeping the Sabbath to remember their deliverance from Egypt.  (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)  In the Exodus account, Moses had emphasized creation’s pattern where God worked six days and then rested on the seventh. (Exodus 20:8-11)

After restating the Law, Moses gave them further insight.  “Hear O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

The law of God is all about love because God is love.  If we love God, we will obey Him from our heart!  (1st John 4:16)  Jesus Christ repeated this in summarizing the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

Tags : , , , ,