Title: Living in Obedience: A focus on our behavior
Text: 1 Cor 8-10.23
Introduction: Were’ in chapters 8-10 in 1 Corinthians.
Let’s begin 1st: Ps 119.18; 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
How we got here: healthy church – her blessings, her relationships
Preface: I don’t know why, but when I say what I’m about to say, it makes some people mad – angry. Usually, those folks are the very ones suffering from what I’m talking about. So, let me be very careful in how I present my finding. You ready?
I connect depression with sin. What I mean by that is this: from my experience on a personal level and from a professional level – people I’ve encountered in life who suffer from depression can trace that depression back to a time of rebellion in their life. So, I want you to contemplate, without sitting here being angry at me, sin with depression. This might very well be that moment in life right now for some folks. Hence, the anger. When you tell someone the reason behind their depression is their sin, their rebellion, it makes them angry.
With that being said, we might need to talk some more, because I’ve just opened a can of worms that I can completely deal with in one sermon. But, with that being said, once we’ve had a chance to work through some of those issues, people begin to find their way out.
That was my experience. I’ll just tell you: I used to suffer from severe depression. So much so, that I planned on three different occasions to take my life. I’m so glad God intervened in a way that has me standing alive and well here before you today.
I want to share two books with you. (1) Twelve Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson. (2) Happiness is a Choice. It is by Dr. Frank Minirth and Dr. Paul Meier. In this book, these men teach about behaviors and the effect proper behavior has on one’s Psyche, as well as, the effect wrong behavior has on a person. They say, “Make better choices.” Here is the list narrowed down in this 2nd book.
- Be Kind. (read from pg 19) this reminds me of a message from Robert Garland some months ago that has stuck with me – mainly because of Lisa: Never pass up an opportunity to be kind! Being Kind is simply showing a Christlike love toward others.
- Focus on healthy behavior. this is getting harder to identify in our society. The current woke culture would like to eliminate what you and I understand to be healthy behavior because sin makes people feel bad about themselves. I discuss this in more detail at WEBS.
- Challenge inaccurate thinking with the Word of God. Put bluntly, this is false teaching. But the reality is that many folks just don’t understand what the Word of God says. There are a lot of bad ideas out there related to Christianity and the Word of God.
- Share hurts. Each of us has experienced our feelings of being hurt. It helps us when we talk about those feelings with others with whom we are in relationships. It is a part of growing up. It’s a part of maturing in our lives. Bottled-up feelings of betrayal, anger, disappointment, etc. lead to stronger relationships.
- Meet dependent needs through Christ and the local church. This is huge! Enter into healthy relationships! End relationships with folks that hurt you! Too many of us put our hope in relationships that can only be fulfilled in Christ. Too many women look for that fulfillment in a man. That man doesn’t exist on this earth! The same goes for men. Some people look for it in a bottle – pill bottle, alcohol bottle, smoking weed, and the list goes on.
- Consider the Medical. The truth of the matter is that some folks have a chemical imbalance and need the assistance of a physician. But, the percentage of these folks is probably a lot lower than you would think.
- Emphasize Christ.
Their premise, which is backed by years of study and validation, states that good behaviors cause connections to happen in the brain and result in good mental health; on the other hand, poor behaviors result in depression; These guys have latched on to an idea that Paul presented to the Corinthian Christians 1960 years ago.
This is what we’ll see in the next few chapters of 1 Corinthians: our behavior affects our emotional stability. Bad behavior leads to depression and good behavior leads to joy.
To begin look with me in 8.1; Rd 1a; so, the issue appears to be about eating meat that was sacrificed to idols; rd v 1b; I think, we can surmise right away that Paul is saying that doing and acting out of knowledge is one thing, but doing and acting out of love – that’s a whole different animal.
Transition: Though the issue is about the meat of animals sacrificed to idols – and the consumption thereof, Paul’s concern for them is first and foremost…
I. A Mandate for Obedience (8)
exp.: rd 1b again; So now we have a thesis dealing w/ knowledge and love; knowing is one thing, but doing is another; Jesus said, If you love me, keep my commandments (Jn 14.15);
ill.: Colossians 1.9-10.
exp.: Back in 1 Cor… There is a sense of pride concerning their knowledge; they’re missing what Paul’s been teaching, what Jesus has said; rd 2-3; So he’s saying, In your knowledge:
- Let love be your guide. Note: the 2 ‘we know’ v1; v4; Illustration: May I share your story about ‘Amy’?
- Remember there is One God (capital G) and many gods (little g); rd v 4-5; this is important! Their sacrifices are nothing; those ‘things’ are just wood or stone; the meat is just meat, fit to eat; it’ll taste just like the meat from any other animal; rd v 6-7;
- Don’t let your freedom become a stumbling block to others. Love them enough to abstain. Although they may know that there is only One God, they don’t grasp the full idea that those ‘little ‘g’ gods’ are nothing. They have too much history in this…
ill.: I see this principle applies to so many ‘things’ in the Christian life. 1st and foremost, beer and wine; you have a woman who struggled with alcohol, and she goes on a rampage about how evil it is. No one can have a beer or a glass of wine at dinner! Or, you have a man who struggled with secular music and how it was so harmful to him – causing him to think bad thoughts and act on them. Then, wah-la, no one can listen to Country Music because it is evil!
exp.: rd v 12-13.
app.: So, what, if you have knowledge! If you destroy your brother through your freedom, you’ve failed. That’s why it is so important to have love with your knowledge.
t.s.: Paul offers this mandate for Obedience to love, but then offers himself as a model…
II. A Model of Surrender (9)
exp.: Let’s look at Paul’s Work; rd v 1-3 and let’s look for the personal pronouns in the 1st person sg; And so he does this self-examination, and the 1st thing he does is establish…
- Paul’s rights; rd v 4-12a; but then…
- Paul’s Decision to surrender his rights; rd 12b; 15-18;
- Paul’s Obedience; rd 19; v 23;
- Paul’s Exhortation for them to do the same; rd v 24;
app.: So Paul offers this positive illustration – himself; My rights, set aside, and through my love for people – the gospel becomes real! Would you do the same? Listen, you have rights also. However, when you chose to do something right, for the wrong reason – relationships are destroyed; brothers and sisters in Christ are damaged;
t.s.: Now, Paul is thinking that his example isn’t enough -so he offers a negative illustration – Israel, and he does this through the bk of Exodus…
III. A Manual for Failure (10)
exp.: Exodus; Chapters 12-17; and what Paul says here is that these people were blessed, but they blew it! look in 10.1a;
- Their Blessings: Look at what they were:
- Protection – the cloud; rd v 1a
- Promise: Deliverance; rd v 1b-2
- Provision: rd v 3-4;
- Problem: God was not pleased! Rd v 5
But then Paul says, look at how they responded;
- Their Response: examples for us; Rd v 6-7
- Idolaters; rd v 8;
- Immoral; rd v 9
- Instigators; putting Christ to the Test; rd v 10
- Ingrates: whiners and complainers.
exp.: but Paul says they were that way to be an example for us on how NOT to behave! rd v 11;
app.: I don’t worry too much about you having statutes of Buddha in your living rooms, But I do worry about the other three; and in my own life – when have I been selfish, though right to do so and hurt the Body through my ‘putting Christ to the Test’ or whining and complaining!
There is a movement by many godless people in the world who want to make bad behavior to be considered good. Implement gay marriage or remove marriage altogether. Get rid of sin. Sin makes people feel bad! Change long-standing laws to no longer make it wrong to steal or destroy property, etc.
ill.: Did you see the article in the New York Times by Steve Descano this past week? He is the District Attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia. His article is entitled, “My Governor may pass bad abortion laws, but I don’t have to enforce them.” He has made a public vow to not prosecute laws he doesn’t agree with. We’re already seeing that in California, where people just walk into a store with large bags and empty the shelves and just walk out the door!
This evil theory and this is my take on it all, is to change the laws so that people are no longer wrong. If they’re no longer wrong, then they don’t have to feel bad about it! They want to ‘help’ people who suffer from mental illness to feel good about themselves. Make it ok for a man to dress like a woman by removing gender stereotypes. If you can remove the stigma, then folks who have problems won’t feel bad about feeling the way they do.
Here is the problem: (1) it doesn’t work. I watch Daily Wire videos. In one video I heard Ben Shapiro say that if changing laws and removing the idea of wrongness worked, then why are just as many transgendered people committing suicide today as there were a generation ago. (2) Sin is a very important part of the Gospel. Our rebellion is why we’re in the mess we’re in. Sin is what we’re saved from!
As believers, we have a mandate for obedience that stems from love. Eat what you want to eat. Drink what you want to drink. However, we have an example in Paul, but we also have the perfect example in Jesus, to show us how our freedom isn’t to be used selfishly. We act in love! And we have bad examples of the Hebrew Children who wandered in the desert because of their rebellion and selfishness.
If you’re interested, we’ll come back to this idea at WEBS of where our rebellion leads us (into depression) and how we can overcome the cloud of depression through surrendering to Christ.
Observations & Implications:
- Are you blessed? Would you say God has blessed you? If so, how do you respond to those blessings?
- How do you express your attitude of gratitude? Through obedience? Is it evident in your behavior?
- As an example to others – do you line up under Paul or the Israelites? Do a self-exam; Can you say, ‘be like me’? or Do what I say, not what I do…
- As you look at your rights, which ones would you hold on to, even to the destruction of another brother or sister? Is your behavior toward others a contributing factor?
Preparation for the Lord’s Supper: Chapter 11:23