Gospel Focus in an Idolatrous World

1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1

Posted by Dan Jarms on November 5, 2023
Gospel Focus in an Idolatrous World
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The Christian Life as A Race, an Exodus, and a Pilgrimage

A loving life making disciples of Jesus Christ requires restraint and focus in an idolatrous world

  1. Seek the good of your neighbor
  2. Keep practical worship a central issue
    • Colossians 2:20-23
  3. Make the Glory of God the guiding principle
  4. Imitate Christ’s Sacrificial Life
  • Automated Transcription
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    First, our especially I was just so caught in the song that I forgot I'm preaching that what happens next? Such a such a powerful set of truths. And that's a really great example of truth, beauty and emotion all directed to the glory of God. Sometimes we're afraid in the Christian world for it to be beautiful, or to be emotional, but man that is a really good example of how all of those go together. We are, we are in a series in First Corinthians. And if you would turn with me to First Corinthians chapter 10. We are closing out a series on areas of freedom that's that's how it looks. So if you would turn with me to your Bibles to First Corinthians chapter 10. And stand with me for the reading of God's Word. I'm gonna pose a question I'll phrase it like this to Halloween or Harry Potter to Christmas and chronicles are Chronicles of Narnia. That's a question Do I Halloween? Do my Harry Potter do i Christmas? Do i Harry Potter? Do I yoga? Do I Easter? These are the kinds of things that might be near contemporary to what's going on here. So let's see what we can come up with. As we hear God's word and as we unpack it, today. All things are lawful. But not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, this has been awkward, Alford and sacrifice, then do not eat it for the sake of the One Who informed you and for the sake of conscience. I do not mean your conscience but his for Why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness? Why am I denounced because of what of that for which I give thanks. So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God, just as I tried to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. This is the word of the Lord. Our God we do thank you for salvation that is in Christ. And as we hear Psalms written to Israel, now set to music, we know the fulfillment that it's in Christ, who is that Lord of hosts, Lord Jesus, You are the Lord of hosts, reigning and ruling over all things, our protection, our Sustainer, our leader, our guide, our High Priest, we thank you for who you are and what you have given. We live in an idolatrous world. And we have flesh that is still weak and attempt double. And these passages have been so profoundly helpful for us to navigate this world, and we need to continue to navigate it. And I pray that You would help us trust you, as we do it. We have other burdens at the very moment to be concerned about we have a number of people who are sick and recovering, I think of Steve mackynzie, who's recovering from cancer treatments. There are others who are ill, I think of the sellers and a Father who is in hospice and we want him to trust you and know you and be comforted by you and the sellers family as well. I pray for the situation at Willard Elementary where two of those young boys who went there died in a fire on Monday and, and one of our members Matt is a teacher there and wants to bring the hope of the gospel and comfort and help us him help him and awaken people's needs for a savior, even kids, that he would have opportunity to share Christ. We pray for our government. It's an election cycle. And we would ask that, as always, you do rain and we ask that you would reign our heart is according to the Apostle Paul and First Timothy two is that you would bring about such governance that allows us to live peaceably with all dignity so that we can carry for Over the gospel of Christ, and we pray that that would happen. Now we asked for you to give us eager ears to hear and apply what you have to say, in Christ's name, Amen. You may be seated. All right to, to Halloween, or Harry Potter to, to Christmas or to Chronicles of Narnia to yoga or to Easter. To Lord of the Rings, you know, these these are kinds of questions that people deal with in our era. They're probably some of the closest kinds of situations that we face that is in front of this test. But But before we answer that, we really need to take an approach. And we need to have a view in mind and I and I think of a great place to think of somebody like Eric Liddell. He was 22 years old, and he was ready to run in the Olympics, the 1924 Olympics for Great Britain. He was a top contender for the medal and the 100 meters. Some of you who are old enough to remember chariots of fire, and it highlighted him in one of those stories. A better place to go is Duncan Hamilton's book, he's a sports writer, called for the glory and outlines his life's really fun read if you'd like sports reads, And missionary biographies all rolled into one. So little was top contender, he finds out a number of weeks before the 100 meter heats, that the heats are on Sunday. And at 22, he was already a committed Evangelical, he had grown up in the Presbyterian tradition, his father was a missionary in China, and he was a young boy in China. And he was committed to keeping the Lord's day the Lord's day. Now, here's the question for you, what would you do? Let's say you could run the 100 meters, and run it fast, and be in the Olympics, all of which aren't real situations for any of you. What somebody's offended by that, but what would you do? Would you? What would you do? The what once the British media heard that he wasn't going to run, it caused a huge stir. across the UK, there were people who cheered his religious convictions. And across the UK, there were many who are outraged, powerful politician sought to interfere and convince him to run. But he chose not to run. Instead, he shifted to the 400 meters, which would be run on Wednesday was fine with running that. And he won the gold, the 400. And he was propelled to celebrity status. And for the coming months after the Olympics, he was a constant guest at evangelical and and evangelistic campaigns. I mean, here you have a famous Olympian who is speaking up for the gospel, but he was also committed to returning to China as a missionary. And one of the questions he got stop after stop is, why won't you continue running? I mean, he's 22, he could easily hit two more Olympics, while his body is fully able.

    And here's the question, do you what would you do? Assuming you could run a 400 meters? Really the more important question and all of its Why would you do it? What are you thinking through to decide these kinds of things? Little had another race to run is the same one we all run. It's the one that begins this section. There's two halves to the section chapter eight. One through the end of chapter nine is a section about freedoms and rights and privileges. And then the Apostle Paul starts this next section verses 24 and 24. Do you not know that to erase all run all the runners run but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self controlling all things and they do it to receive a perishable wreath but we an imperishable? So I do not run aimlessly. I do not boxes, one breathing the air, but I discipline my body keeping under control lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified. The apostle Paul describes our life, the Christian life as a race. What's the race to follow Christ and to proclaim Christ until we die? Or until Jesus comes back? We have a race. Enjoy Christ proclaim Christ, follow Christ proclaim Christ. Little had a calling from God. Were China that far outweighed Olympic glory for him. Knew you might actually make a different choice and both of those and your conscience be fine. But this is the kind of compulsion we need to have. This is the kind of compulsion we need to have. We're going to do what we do. We're going to run our race live our Christian life for the glory of God, above all things. The big idea for the whole section which could have started to 924 continues here. Goes I framed like our mission statement, our mission statement is to be a loving community, making disciples of Jesus Christ. For us as individuals it is, this is the big idea, a loving life making disciples of Jesus Christ. What does that do? It requires restraint and gospel focus in an idolatrous world. If you just want to boil it down gospel focus, we need gospel focus as we navigate the decisions and choices the freedoms that we have in our life. Chapter 10, Paul uses another journey metaphor, and it's the exodus in the pilgrimage and he uses these examples of how although they were rescued, Israel fell prey to sin and evil desire and idolatry over and over so much they didn't promise crossed to the promised land. And the Apostle Paul is concerned with some turning away from the faith all together, he gives them some hope, that No temptation has overtaken you and he's picturing sin and temptation like a lion, about to attack it's not overtaken you that you that is not common demand, but God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. In the section we looked at last week, we found out a pretty shocking set of truths, the idolatry that Israel was in, or the idolatry now that the Greeks and Romans were in the apostles day, there were no actual Gods named Zeus, or you can name your favorite God, but there were demons behind the worship. There's there are demonic powers. He says in verse 20, i What the pagan sacrifice they offered to demons, not to God and I do not want you to be participants with demons. We saw it last week, that the evil desires that are tempted evil from us that weak human flesh are like lions seeking someone to devour verse Peter five eight says, There are actual spiritual forces trying to destroy your faith and your witness. There's an overt idolatry that's not as common in our era. But there is an internal idolatry that's exactly the same. These evil desires that we exalt other things above Christ, and we have to watch. I would ask this question, how would demons tempt Americans? Man, demons don't actually have to be that clever in the United States to tempt us. What would be the easiest way to tempt in American rights and freedoms? Proud to be an American, where at least nine no I'm breeding rights and freedoms. Nothing wrong with rights and freedoms. But just put it into the mind of an American that has Nerf gun upgrade her vacation to the Bahamas his desire for promotion is a right and a freedom above all other things and you will find someone slide down the rabbit hole into at least a heart idolatry. Remember, you do that you put rights and freedoms stamped on anything an American wants to do and he will bite like a hungry steelhead on a crisp fall morning.

    On the other hand, we can become equally self righteous. I don't buy Nerf guns. I buy real guns. We only go camping in the backyard. We don't do any Bahama vacations for sissies. Promotions are for worldly people. I like my life on the assembly line. asceticism, which the Apostle Paul talks about in First Timothy four one through five is as equally demonic. It's as equally demonic. So what are we to do? What are we to do?

    The apostle is actually going to give us some really helpful Thanks. So let's up into the waters. Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia yoga. What do we do with festivals and stories that have associations with idolatry? Waiters, second, did you say Christmas does, we'll get there. What we need though, is the focus like Eric Liddell, to drive us to navigate life in an idolatrous world, the glory of God, living faithfully for him for the possibility of an open door of the gospel and seeing someone saved. So there's four principles he gives us here, for faithful, gospel focused living, they're going to help us be spiritually safe, and they're going to help us stay on mission. These are the four principles that flesh out what gospel focus is going to look like. Alright, let's take a look at the first one. First one's really straightforward out of the text, seek the good of your neighbor, seek the good of your neighbor, it's easy to get distracted by personal freedoms. And it's easily easy to turn personal freedoms into selfishness. And so one of the things that keeps you with a gospel focus is the ultimate good of others. Verse 23, All things are lawful. But not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up this the second time, the apostle Paul uses these kinds of phrases. He used it back in chapter six, when there were Christians in Corinth, who were saying, it's all right to experiment and express ourselves in sexual immorality, because the body is just the body and spiritual stuff is really spiritual. He says, no, no, no, he reclaims the whole concept of life in the body. You are a spiritual person who lives life in a body. spirit and body are connected and so you cannot join the body to a prostitute or into immorality, without corrupting spiritually. He uses the same here, right on the heels of meat sacrificed to idols, and the idol worship and the idol feasts that were all around them, says All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. Well, you may have the right to eat certain things to drink certain things, but they're not all helpful. All things are lawful, you may have the right to eat certain things and drink certain things. But not all things build up. The aim of the believer is to build up. This is what he said, and started the first part of the section and eight one. Love builds up what is building up mean? What love does is seek to help others faithfully know Christ, follow Christ, and proclaim Christ. That's what you're about. You're not just about getting your personal freedoms. Not all the freedoms that you exercise are helpful for other people, or build other people up. So he says, just to make it really clear, let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. So first principle is seek the good of your neighbor. How do I navigate the decisions that I'm making? About how I live life in an idolatrous world? Why seek the good of my neighbor? He's not talking about meeting one's basic needs. He's talking about enjoying rights and freedoms at the expense of others, or women's Bible study in Philippians. This week just covered this powerful principle. You've heard it many times from perhaps from Philippians, two, three, do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Yeah, I have the right to buy this, I have the freedom to do this. I have the freedom to experience that I have the freedom to set these goals and have these ambitions. But who are they really helping? Who are they really helping? Who are they serving? So the first thing he sets in front of us is this mindset that we're to do spiritual, good and practical, good for our neighbor. We need to think of him. The second principle he puts in front of us is is about Practical Worship. And what we need to do is keep the Practical Worship a central issue. So we really do live in bodies, and our bodies really worship. So we need to think of Practical Worship as Central. I don't know exactly how to explain it. But the Practical Worship is the best I have for this. There are all kinds of things that you do as you navigate through life and a year that involves somebody else's worship and your own worship. false worship and true worship, and you're trying to navigate that. Here's three scenarios that he gives. First one is buying food in the marketplace. Verse 25 says, Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, if you're just visiting today, and you're wondering, what are you guys talking about? Why is he talking about this? Here's what was going on all over Corinth like all over the Roman world, there are a variety of temples, and there would be a variety of activities that would be happening in any given week a celebration or a festival to something, there would be a sacrifice and a meal associated with that deity. And they would the participants would worship the Deity and they would eat the meal, but there was leftover meat. So they take the leftover meat, they bring it to the meat market, and there it is on sale. Some butchers labeled it, some butchers did not. So what is Paul, tell us to do? You know, if you go to the meat market, eat whatever sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. You don't need to go investigate the origins of that meat. Because the real origins of the meat is the creator of heaven and earth. He's the real creator, He's the real originator. So you can take it as from him, you don't need to go to the meat market and say, Excuse me, sir, you're selling this meat, I noticed that meat over there was sacrificed to whoever. And this one doesn't say anything. What is that? So you don't need to do that. Because you know that those gods aren't real. That your Creator made it all you can just buy it and you can go home and cook it and you can eat it doesn't need to bother your conscience. In that section I told you about set asceticism in First Timothy 4435. Paul says it this way, for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer worship is central to this whole question. Are you acknowledging that this is from God, and you're giving him thanks for it, you're acknowledging his role in creating and providing all of this for you, then you're giving worship. But but here's the thing, if the food is clearly labeled as to having been sacrificed to the idol, although the food is just food, the butcher has been part of the worship, either and taking it or endorsing it. And if you buy the idol food, you are now telling the butcher that it's okay for me to be a follower of Jesus and of this deity. So Paul's first concern is the worship of the butcher. I, yeah, I have this really good sale and this beef right over here. I'm sorry, but that was sacrifice and I'm a Christian, can I can I tell you about the real creator of all things? Can I can I tell you about the true God over all things and the butcher may or may not want to have that conversation. But Paul is going to turn everything into a gospel conversation. You don't want an unbelieving butcher to think it's okay to worship idols and Christ. Because the issue isn't the food issues, the worship. And you want an opportunity to proclaim the news about the one true God. The second scenario we have is the eating in an unbelievers home. If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner, and you are disposed to go, you don't have to go but a non Christian you've got an unChristian friend or an acquaintance and he wants to invite you over and you go you have to make the decision. Is it going to be too hard to go too difficult to go? Is this Is there gonna be a lot of pressure to conform to his spiritual values, and you can decide whether or not you want to go but you're just supposed to go. He says eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. Remember, food inherently is not clean, or defiled. It's just food. In Mark 715, when Jesus is talking about what really defiles a person, he said, what the files a person's what comes out of their heart. And then there's this little parenthesis, where he says, Does declaring all foods clean? Even if the food was sacrificed to an idol? If it gets to the butcher store, butcher shop and it gets to the non Christian homeowner, and they don't know and they don't care. It's no problem, because it still comes from the sovereign Hand of God. Remember, food isn't the problem. The worship is

    if the host isn't making you worship His God by eating the food It's fine. Then we have the problem of what if it is? What if it's known, but if someone says to you, this has been offered in sacrifice, then do not eat it for the One Who informed you. I can imagine three kinds of scenarios. First is the unbeliever himself. Lots of Christians were also Jews who all had food regulations, their non Christian friend invites them over and he says, Hey, I realize you guys have food restrictions. I just want to let you know this was sacrificed to an idol. Oh, thanks for telling us. So kind of you to think of me. Yeah, I'll pass on that. Why would he suddenly pass on that? Because he doesn't want to endorse a false religious practice. So he's careful. The second scenario is another fellow Christian has come to the meal. And that fellow Christian, has recently come out of idolatry. And he's going, where did the meat come from? Where did the meat come from? I just don't want to be associated with that. And he's like the sixth grader who tells his teacher, didn't we have a test today? When are you going to give us our quiz? Thank you. You know how long it's been since I've had roast beef, you had to go on ask. But his conscience is really sensitive. That's just the whole world he came from. So he went ahead and asked, so you have to say, friend, my brother here tells me that this was meat sacrifice to idols. And food is just food. That part's not a problem, but we really can't. And he especially can't associate with that he has made a soul commitment to Jesus Christ. And he would feel like he would compromise that. So we're just going to have to pass on that. And by the way, can I tell you about the one true God, whose overhaul of heaven and earth who's made all of these things, and about his son, because Paul's gonna take every chance, every opportunity to do this. The third scenario I can imagine quite easily as you have a, an owner, a wealthy person who invites you over for dinner, and he has a servant who's a Christian already. And the Christian also is concerned, the metes being laid out for the felt other Christians and he says, I just want to let you know, I know where all this stuff came from it came from, it came from this idol sacrifice. And so for the sake of the worship of his brother, same situation. Because he doesn't want, Paul wouldn't want, he wouldn't want any of us to lead someone into an idolatrous situation by endorsing that worship.

    So it could be intended both for a believer or an unbeliever. And notice this, he says, The end of verse 28, and for the sake of conscience, now he wants to be clear that it's not your conscience. That's that's concerned for you, you get it food as food, what I'm really concerned about is the gospel witness to the butcher, to the host to my friends. He says, I didn't not for the sake, I do not mean your conscience, but his. So that brother or that sister who now follows Christ, it just might be too close. It might be too soon. And many of us have felt that as we've gotten saved out of more worldly backgrounds, and there were certain things we participated in that just ran headlong into sin with him for a very long time. He's like, we just don't go there. Just don't go there. We stay away.

    But here's the follow up. Verse 29. I mean, his conscience. Then he says, For Why should my liberty be determined, be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness? Why am I denounced because of that, for which I give thanks. You're sitting there at the meal. And you just finished this nice big slice of roast beef. And then the servant comes and says that was sacrificed to an idol. Like, no problem to me, because it's just meat. I guess I won't have seconds. He's saying because somebody else's conscience bothers them about it doesn't mean my conscience does that. I have to go and find out the origins of all of this because I know the truth

    says Why Why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscious? The same would go if that same person says, Why didn't you investigate? I mean, I can't believe you weren't more careful. Don't you really love the Lord, you weren't more careful, you should have investigated what all that was about. Actually, Sister The food's fine. It's the worship that we're concerned about. I haven't participated in any adultery here. So Paul needed to be careful not to submit to asceticism. He wasn't going to submit to libertarianism, I have all these freedoms to do as I please he wasn't going to submit to asceticism. Colossians two, verse 23, talking about demonic these demonic forces that are leading people into this false teaching about asceticism, he says these indeed, the the restraining of certain foods and certain drinks does these indeed have an appearance of wisdom and promoting self religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value and stopping the indulgence of the flesh. See the unifying principle and all of these situation is practical and visible worship. You can't let the butcher think it's okay for Christians to worship false gods. You want to avoid descending into conversations about food rules with a non Christian who invites you to dinner because you want to keep talking about Christ. But if the food rules show up, and you're going to have to talk about Christ and its superiority you don't want your Christian brother to think it's okay to go back to idolatry. You want them to worship Christ. And there's the general principle don't go hunting for things. I mean, there's there's always that guy, there's always that girl who has to post about Halloween, Christmas, Easter and yoga. They're all out there. Do you know Halloween is the night that Satan worshippers make sacrifices? Oh, yeah. That means it's evil for kids to dress up and get candy. But it was played out this way. I grew up in an atheist household with my dad, my mom was Roman Catholic. Do you know what Halloween meant for us? fun dressing up in dressing up in a costume and getting people to give you candy. You know, the false worship that was going on the candy I would have no associations with the demonic with that, but you know what? I know. I know some people have talked to them. They've come out of an occult background where they were worshipping with Tarik cards and other various things. Some come out of a Wiccan background, some come out of satanic worship, and they really did participate in those kinds of things on Halloween night. That's very different thing for a person. But this principle about conscience is I don't have to let that person's conscience dictate everything that I do. I just want to be careful not to lead them that way. I mean, so I made let's make a practice with a six year old girl comes to my doorstep dressed like Princess Ana from Frozen. And she says, Hi, would you worship Satan with me? Can I have candy? I would say no. I want to tell you about Jesus who is the victor over Satan. And he could save your soul. If she comes to the door and she's dressed like Ana, and she says trick or treat I'm kind of probably have a grandfather's reaction. Oh, you're a dress is so adorable. Here you go honey. What if you just got saved from being Wiccan? I'm not gonna make it hard for you by flaunting my grandfatherly adoration of a cute princess costume. I'm not going to flaunt that although I'm doing it right now. I'm actually trying to help you reason. Probably not going to invite you to our house because that's one of the few times we actually could have conversations with non Christian neighbors none of them think that Satan worship someone will say Christmas has its origins in the celebration of the Sun called Sun God called Saturn in the Celtic practices of calling back the sun you know Christmas trees lights on the trees calling back the sun. You know if if a dude shows up to my house with a big hairy chest, hairy chest dressed in a kilt and say do you want to come to my party where we call back the sun? I'll probably say, No thanks. How about you come to my church for Christmas celebration?

    I can't join us worship. I'll pass on that. But otherwise I like to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, who made trees and who made lights, who's the light of the world? Who was the originator of the promise of new life. Christ was. Someone says the origins of Easter is a pagan celebration of fertility. I am sitting in a living room with a good friend who were taught we just came through the Easter season. Resurrection season. I'm sorry. You said it was Easter. Easter is a pagan holiday for fertility gods and we don't celebrate Easter we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Sorry, use the word Easter. Try to be careful about that. Now. You know, I had never thought of it that way. Neither did my family. And I grew up among non Christian pagans who never worshipped anything. So I mean, if somebody invites me to an immoral party in April as a fertility ritual, I'll definitely pass. Otherwise, I'm going to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, who was the original, it bringing things to life, who is the original Redeemer and restore and maker of new life? A God in heaven who sent His Son Jesus Christ. And we're pagan rituals are always knockoffs. They're always knockoffs. I'm not going to endorse or participate in any false worship. But when it is just an activity to all who around, or it is actually shaped and defined by Christian truth now, I'm going to participate. If you don't want to, that's fine. I won't invite you. And I don't want to flaunt my freedoms. But our conscious can't be dictated by somebody else. Harry Potter Chronicles of Narnia, I remember when Harry Potter came out, and the Christian subculture all that satanic it's all about witchcraft and Wiccan and, and those of us who saw that also had been reading our kids, all of the Chronicles of Narnia, which was full of witchcraft and Wiccan. But it was written by a Christian so that's okay. Right? Because it was an analogy by direct use is an allegory.

    Yoga you know, if you're going to participate with the dude on TV, or the gal on TV, which I can never unbend out of yoga. And if they're like going through their religious ritual, and you're falling, well, that's, that's a problem. You can't join there, really. But if you're stretching, and crying, dear Lord saved me, dear Lord saved me, dear Lord saved me, you're probably fine. Who invented the human body with muscles and ligaments? The Lord did. So stretching and breathing are not sins. Participating in the worship with somebody might be if your yoga master is literally leading you through idolatrous worship in that fine if you're if your person is just stretching, and making you scream in pain, you're probably fine.

    You need to keep Practical Worship the central principle. Not not the particulars. Alright, the third key issue so we've had, seeking the good of others, number one, we have had, considering Practical Worship, what's really being said by what's really being done. And the third is making the glory of God the guiding principle, this could be the sole principle of the whole passage, making the glory of God, the soul matter. It's not just Practical Worship matters. It's the worship and all of life. It's really what comes from the heart. Because we know that you can do all kinds of things like even take the Lord's Supper without a heart of worship, and it's still nothing or damaging to you. Here's what he says. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God and the eating and drinking is clearly in the meat and drink, drink sacrifice to idols category, like this. This is what we're talking about. We usually lift this out of its context and talking about the everyday kinds of things and that's great. But then we get to this three letter phrase that is that changes your entire world view Your entire worldview is wrapped up in the whatever you do do all to the glory of God. So we can leave meat sacrifice idols and drink sacrifice idols off there. And let's talk about the whatever you do, like if you want a tattoo, okay, there, we're talking about a gray area again, tattoo should you get one or not? If you're gonna get one, whatever you do, could be a good one. Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

    Whatever you do, needs to consider how it builds up others, not just self, principle one. So whether it's a job, or my woodworking or someone's video games, does my freedom and right build up the people around me. In Christ, if it takes away by the amount of time at the bottom mount of conversation, the amount of affection if I have nothing left over to do what God's called me to do, then it's selfish. That's not for the glory of God, it's for self. Likewise, if someone close to me hasn't been idolatrous with it, then and entices them back into that idolatry, that I'm not loving them. Glorifying God has as much to do with loving the people around you as it does with the praise, worship and obedience you give to God personally. But we should ask ourselves the question, what does it mean to glorify God to do all that we do to glorify God? First, we have to answer what does glory mean? What is God's glory mean? God's glory is the manifestation of all of who he is in a visible way. We see the glory of God through all that he's created. We find that he is masterful and wise and beautiful. We find his glory and all that he has manifested in His Word, which is the full declaration of his will. And the salvation that's in Christ refined the glory of God in a baptism, where somebody shares their testimony of trust in Christ. All that God is is manifested, that's his glory, so to glorify Him, to glorify Him is from the heart whenever possible, to draw attention, and adoration, to the glory of Christ, to all of who God is, by life example, by words, by attitudes, by purpose, to give him attention. One of the questions we asked our elders retreat this week was what do we not want to be known for in five years. And we would have all kinds of practical things we'd like to Plant more churches, we'd like to send more missionaries. But here's what to the person we want. And five years, we want people to see people at Faith Bible Church, and say, they veil of Jesus. And I think it was Kelly who said, I thought it was really well, Kelly Dean who said, We want to be like the woman at the well. Who after Jesus exposed all her immorality, and offered her living water, said to her friends, you've got to see this man, you have to hear this man, by our life. We want people so we have, we want to hear what you have.

    So we want to be known for, for the glory of Christ. This principle is so important that the whatever you do, is the anchor of one of the of the most important teaching documents in the Reformation. the Westminster Confession. The Westminster catechism opens with this question. It's a question and answer what is the chief and chief purpose of man? And the answer is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. This is going to be this is going to be the first in the list of verses that prove that concept. Whatever you do is to the glory of God. Sinclair Ferguson said this interesting thing. We tend to think that giving God glory requires us diminishing, as always, when we glorify God, we get less for ourselves like if we glorify God, that's going to cost us but that's not the right way to think of it. To glorify God is to actually get more of God. I mean, let me let me illustrate it. You think because glorify God might be to be less selfish and being less selfish might be working hard, but God wants us to glorify Him because that's most satisfying. To us. Every one of you has a favorite scene, you can talk about it at lunch, a place that when you go there, and you see it, your heart fills with Mark Frankian talks about the years as a child going up to Yosemite National Park. And there's this tunnel that you drive through, and you get through the tunnel, and it opens into the Yosemite Valley. And there's this little place to park and you see the entirety of the valley. And it is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. And when you see it, your heart just fills with all and you want to soak it in, you want to take a selfie with it. You don't want to get you and your wife or your kids family picture running Yosemite because you want to be associated with that glory. You want to be hold it and it doesn't steal from you. It fills you

    when are you really the person's like, you know, Mom and Dad, I don't want to go to Yosemite, we're gonna see that great picture. And I really want everybody take pictures of my new dress, I got a new dress, I hate Yosemite. Because when we go there, my clothes look terrible. Who does that? Nobody does that. Nobody. You know, I don't want to go to Yosemite because I've been working out what I want people to see are my muscles, not your cemetery. We don't do that

    what Paul is calling us to do in whatever we do is to see the magnificence and glory of God through the saving work of his son. As the most glorious, greatest thing and sometimes greater glory, makes you hungry to sacrifice. There's something better

    God is glorious. We glorify Him by acknowledging great his greatness giving him thanks, praising him obeying Him. This this verse, This phrase is so important to life transforming. It's the umbrella to all of life. Because what I'm pursuing doing right and good to others, does it glorify God by acknowledging his proper place over it? Am I doing it according to his Word? am I loving those around me, especially by pointing them to Christ these, these all help us with these answers to this question of navigating? And sometimes the answer to that question is saying no to things that are rights and freedoms. I'm not seeking my own good, the good of others in the glory of God. Number four, we need to imitate Christ's sacrificial life. Seek the good of others, consider Practical Worship. Make the glory of God your primary concern and finally imitate Christ's sacrificial life. If I give up my rights and freedoms, it's to keep the doors open for the gospel. Verse 30, to give no offense to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God. Remember, every culture known to man has a written or unwritten set of taboos of Kosher kinds of practices. And so as a believer, you don't slam the door on gospel conversations by openly stomping on those values. If you visit a friend who is Jewish, you don't ask for pork. If you have a friend over who's Jewish, you don't cook pork. I want the doors open for the gospel. I don't want to have a nonstarter because I get to have my freedoms. So we give those up give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God. I wouldn't eat pork with a Jewish friend or a Muslim friend. I would respect the rules. It's no problem to cook lamb. No problem with love lamb. The gospel is going to be offensive enough. The gospel will be offensive enough you're a sinner. You need a savior. You're not the center of his existence. You've been worshipping an idol. There's a rescue in Christ I mean the Gospels already offensive enough. Don't shut the door by flaunt to your freedoms. I mean, it's gonna get persecuted and rejected. Verse 33 says, Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do not seeking my own advantage. He's not a people pleaser. He's not enslaved to the, he's not enslaved to the opinions of everybody. He's saying, I don't seek My own advantage. So that's what I'm willing to give up my own advantage, my own freedoms, but that of many that they may be saved. When there is a such such a thing as good people pleasing, and it's, it's about giving up self interest to make it a platform to proclaim Christ, and He closes all of it off with the one who lived through all of these principles. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Christ gave up his rights to be treated as God, as king, as an innocent prophet. He gave up his rights as a person with basic human dignity. And he was arrested and he was beaten and he was mocked, and he was crucified. And he did this to pay the penalty of our sin and restore us to God, we give rights and freedoms for others so that we can tell them about Christ.

    In Mark 10, a rich man comes to Jesus says, What must I do to inherit eternal life and Jesus says, sell everything you have and give to the poor, poor, and the man walked away, totally dejected, he worshipped his possessions. Peter pipes up and says, Lord, we've given up everything to follow you. What's there for us? Remember the principle, Jesus humbled Himself and was exalted. We follow Jesus, we humble ourselves, and wait for exultation. Here's Jesus answer to Peter, truly I say to you, there is no one who has left houses, or brothers or sisters, or mother or father or children or lands for my sake, and for the gospel, who will not receive 100 fold. Now in this time, how, and in this time houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands, with persecution, and in the age to come eternal life. I mean, you have trusted in me so exclusively, you are willing to leave all of the other things you trusted in behind. And you get eternal life. What is eternal life? John 17, three, we went over it this weekend. This is eternal life. That they may know You, Father, there's Jesus praying, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. What is Jesus saying? Eternal life is being restored into the communion, drawn into the communion of Father, Son, and Spirit. The most magnificent and beautiful of all existence, the most glorious of all times to be drawn into the fellowship for all eternity, with the members of the Trinity, and with the rest of the saints call to him. It is a call into an eternal relational joy, seeing the expansive glory of God

    the life to come. It's eternal life. I think of people who give up rights and freedoms. I think just personal examples to me. Women like Elaine Kammok, who it's just harder to get around, still has this vibrant ministry calling and encouraging and reading, she's probably going to email me and said, Why did you use my name? But Elaine, I'm not asking for permission. I'm just saying faith Bible Church. You have people like Eric Liddell who have to push around a walker use a cane. But they're not taken. There. I've been there done that. It's my time right? Watch prices, right? Watch it every day. They're not doing that. It's fine if you want to right watch prices, right? But he laid his burden, Helen Campbell, who's still burdened to invest in young moms.

    See this, this whole idea for Elaine and Helen and people who are living among us like this, like Eric Liddell who's past worships Christ far above their freedoms and pleasures far above their freedoms and pleasures. You can sacrifice your rights and your freedoms so you could speak about and model Christ There's a gripping scene in Hamilton's account of little, he's 23 he's won an Olympic gold. And He's pressed by the media one day. Why don't you continue to race here you can do all of these speaking engagements. And little broke out in song. I wish I could sing. And everybody who grew up in church joined in Jesus brain. Wherever the sun does, successive journeys run, his kingdom stretched from shore to shore till moon shall wax and wane no more. Let every creature rise and bring the highest honors to our King. angels descend with songs again and the earth repeat the loud, amen. He was going to China because untold millions had no witness, and they needed to see the glory of Christ and worship Him. Long before long before John Piper said missions exist because worship didn't doesn't. Eric little was living it. We want to be a loving community with gospel focus for people to see Jesus Christ and we do it and navigating the tricky issues of daily life and worship. Father, I pray that you would seal these words on our hearts. There's much to say many questions and how to appropriate all these truths and pray that our group conversations would be really helpful. And different convictions on carrying this out would be carried with unity and generosity and charity toward each other. Above all, May Christ be all in all from the lips and the actions of faith Bible Church? In Your name, amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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