Self-Centered Believers

The Problem Of Self-Centered Followers

1 Corinthians 13:1-14:40

The be self-centered is to be centered on yourself!

To be self-centered is to be all about yourself, your own self interest, or the love your own private interest and is also known as selfishness.

This self-centeredness is destroying the America that we know and love.

Small groups of people in America are claiming that they deserve to be better treated than all others and that the world should be given to them while the others pay for it.

No matter what you think, that is being self-centered and it is selfish of them!

Selfishness is always contrary to the Word of God!

Jas 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Selfishness is forbidden in the Word of God!

Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Increasing selfishness is another sign we are in the end times!

2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Ti 3:2 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves”, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 “Without natural affection”, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Let’s begin:

1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

We must understand that the most important trait of the Christian is a giving love!

The tongues of men are human languages, every angel that is mentioned in the Bible also spoke in human languages or their message would not have been understood.

Any other sound coming from the mouths of man are as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal that can only lend themselves to music with the proper tone and sequence.

No gift of human expression is more important than the gift of charity!

Charity is then the supreme love of God and a benevolent love and universal good will to all men!

The love of God is “agape” love!

Remember to be benevolent is to promote happiness and prosperity to all those you come in contact with!

The charity of the Christian must be unstained without any semblance of evil!

Many men possess the power of speaking but without charity their words are meaningless!

Many will come to Jesus at the judgment saying, “have I not prophesied in thy name” and Jesus will tell them, “depart from me I never knew you”.

Many possess the knowledge of the mysteries of the Old Testament that are revealed in the New Testament.

Some may even possess the faith to move mountains but without “agape” love, that faith cannot accomplish the desired goals of God!

Judas Iscariot had faith that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah but he was rejected because he did not have the love of God nor the love of man.

To be nothing is to be non-existing in the eyes of God, who looks into the heart of all men!

Though you give away all you own to feed the poor but do not know the “Grace” of God that gave you those things and show “His Grace in your life as you give those things, then it is not real love.

Though you become a Martyr but do not know the love of God, you have sacrificed your life for nothing in return!

Without repenting and giving of your soul to God, He will reject anything else you have to offer!

Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

It is the laws of King Jesus that we are to obey above all else!

Jas 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

What is the truth of Godly love?

*****1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity is defined by “what it does” rather than “what it is”!

If we want to earn rewards in Heaven then it is essential to have a real love for God and also for our fellow man, without these things then every thing else is valueless!

Agape love shows patience not jealousy.

Agape love is not proud and boastful but is courteous, unselfish, good natured.

Agape love is not suspicious. It does not rejoice in wickedness but rather rejoices when truth and purity prevails.

Agape love looks on the bright side, is hopeful and patient even in persecution and does not complain!

Agape love endures all things because agape love is the love that God has shown to each of us as an example of the love we are to have as Christians!

*****1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Charity never fails because the love of God can never fail!

Fail is the same as vanish away and become useless and come to and end.

When the Lord Jesus returns to take us home and then sit on His earthly throne, prophecies will fail, tongues shall cease, and spiritual knowledge will be done away with, because it will be Truth that will fulfilled!

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

God’s love is the most permanent trait that He has shown to us!

When we see “Perfection” we will truly understand just how sinful we really are!

*****1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

It is true that God has given us this love letter that we call the Bible and it is all we need to know to get us into Heaven but the Apostles clearly understood that this world we now live on could not contain all the knowledge of God!

Joh 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

We can only know a small part of the knowledge of God!

The prophecies of men can then only be partial because we have the complete Word of God!

But when we see the Perfect Lord, face to face, the partial knowledge we have known will be of no great concern because Jesus said, all things will be new!

All the things we know of the present state of things will be lost in Perfectness when we have at last attained the fulness of Jesus Christ!

Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Paul was telling these Corinthians it was past the time of being “Babes in Christ” and it was time for them to begin maturing in the Word of God.

It was time to end the divisions in the Church and unite in one mind and in one accord!

It was time to properly use the “Spiritual gifts” given to them for the betterment of the Church and glorify God by the building up of the Church!

It was time to grow in the Lord and put away childish things!

It was time to stop relying on the gifts of God and rely on the pure Word of God which is the most reliable thing we possess in this world!

We absolutely cannot see clearly if we focus on the the things of this world!

*****1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

The completed Word of God which we now have, are like a mirror which shows us as we are!

It is the Word of God that can encourage us to make the needed changes in our walk in this life!

We cannot know the fulness of Christ until God’s plan is complete as revealed in the Scriptures!

Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

The three traits of the Christ should be faith, hope, and charity!

*****1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

These three things are fundamental to the Christian walk and these three things are the only permanent things in this world!

It takes faith to please God!

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hope is what anchors our soul!

Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

But greater than all these is Charity!

We believe in things that we love!

We hope in things that we love!

Faith and hope are mainly for ourselves but love is for God and our neighbors.

Faith and hope are human but God Is Love!

We must follow our Love of God!

*****1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

The chief aim of each of us is first to possess that giving benevolent love that God shows to each of us!

The chief aim of the Church is first to possess that giving benevolent love that God shows to His Church!

No spiritual gift is of any importance until we have and show “the agape love of God”!

Then Paul says if we desire a spiritual gift, then desire to prophesy.

To prophesy in this verse means to speak and exhort under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!

This does not mean for all of us to desire to be a preacher because this is a special calling from God. It does means for us all to study the Scriptures and be able to witness to the lost world, and be able to help disciple those that are “babes in Christ”!

It appears that this church in Corinth all had such a great desire to speak in different languages that many of them spoke in unknown languages.

*****1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

There was such a strong tendency at Corinth to magnify the use of tongues(languages), these members spoke in utterances that no one could understand, let alone interpret.

This was rebuked harshly by the Apostle Paul.

Studying the Scriptures and being able to lead some lost soul to the Lord is of far greater importance in the Church!

To edify is to build up in the truth of God!

To exhort is to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

To comfort is to help those who are distressed and weary in this lost world.

These are the things that show the love of God much more than speaking some other language especially some unknown utterance that no one can understand except maybe God who looks into the heart and then they can only edify themselves.

We are to pick up our own cross and die daily to ourselves!

If it is possible that you know some foreign language that is a benefit to those in the church then you must also be able to interpret what you have said so that all others can be edified or just be quiet and learn the truth!

The truth is that what comes out of our mouths can carry no real meaning unless it can be understood by those around us!

If we are to edify, exhort, and comfort those we are around then we must speak clearly the Words Of God!

We can be sure of one thing, the Holy Spirit will never inspire any message that cannot be understood by those He has already brought under conviction.

Salvation is a two part event. The Holy Spirit brings conviction and the Gospel will lead them to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.

On the day of Pentecost everyone heard the message in their own language!

Act 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, “because that every man heard them speak in his own language”.

And Paul continues:

*****1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

The truth is unless we speak what has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and/or by thoughtful study of the Scriptures, what we say as a teacher or preacher or just to witness is useless if it cannot be understood!

Even instruments of music must be sounded with distinction and melody and in tune for the music to pleasant to the ears. Much more the human voice!

If God’s people do not proclaim the Word of God in it’s truth and in it’s fulness, without compromising with the standards of worldly conduct then the Church will be unfit for the service of God, and this is what we are beginning to see in most churches today!

If an army is prepared for battle and they receive an uncertain order they will not move when they are supposed to or they will move to soon and either way the battle could be lost!

When our words are not distinguishable then we are only polluting God’s air!

What is the real “climate change” in our world? The falseness and deceit that comes out of peoples mouths!

In 2009 there were 6909 known languages in our world and that number should be declining as times passes.

Each of these languages are understood by those who live within each family and each one has it’s own significance.

Therefore:

If we do not clearly understand each other we will each be seen as barbarians to each other!

Barbarian in this verse means a foreigner.

If we remember the Tower of Babel when God caused there to be many different languages, it brought confusion and those that spoke the same language separated themselves from all the others.

Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Gen 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

This same thing has happened to the Church because of the many denominations that speak the Word of God by their own interpretation when God commands us not to!

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

We are all to accept what God says as the complete truth, rightly divided!

If we truly want to be useful servants in the Church then we should desire better gifts of the Holy Spirit than some ability to speak in some language that no one else can understand!

*****1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Co 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
1Co 14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

It must be clear to us all that the Church is here to make disciples.

In order to do that, we all must have a clear knowledge of the Word of God and then living our own life according to God’s Word.

We will never be able to teach others what we refuse to do ourselves!

To edify is to build up Christian knowledge, instructing that knowledge, so to improve the mind of that one being instructed.

Repenting is not only changing the direction of a lost soul, it is the complete changing of his or her mind!

Only faith in the Word of God can accomplish these things!

It is true that when we pray the Holy Spirit may speak in utterances that only God can understand.

Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

It is also just as true that if we pray in some unknown language, we may be aware that we are praying but we will not even know what we are saying to God, who will certainly not answer such prayers.

Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Prayer is a most wonderful form of worship, why would we pray in words that we ourselves do not even understand.

Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

When we sing why would sing with words that no one understands.

Psa 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

There are many today who make a practice of these things and they are just as wrong as these Corinthians were wrong!

To say Amen is to confirm the words you have heard and pray for the fulfillment of those words!

How can we say “Amen” to words that we do not understand!

We can understand the truth of the Word of God and say “Amen” to those words!

2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

To be able to say “Amen” is just as important as the prayer itself!

There can be no profit to the Church when someone speaks in an unintelligible manner!

*****1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

The Apostle Paul was a highly educated man and it is said that he could speak in as many as six different languages.

Paul also had the powers given to him by Jesus.

The truth is if one does not address a congregation in words that they can understand then that speaker is wasting his time and also the time of those who are gathered.

In fact to do so is childish!

*****1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

Jesus said we are to be childlike in our faith:

Mat 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

There is a great difference in being childlike and being childish!

Childish behavior refers to the selfish and ignorant and silliness of children that come from a lack of understanding!

Paul said it was right to be like “infants” in malice, which means causing harm to others!

But in understanding the Word of God, we must all be mature!

Infants cannot cause much harm but grownups acting like children cause much harm wherever they are!

What does the Word of God say?

*****1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

Paul quotes directly from the Word of God:

Isa 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

God also said that languages that could not be understood were a sign of trouble!

Jer 5:15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.

Deu 28:49 The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
Deu 28:50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
Deu 28:51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.

Therefore speaking in words that could not be understood is not a good sign but a bad sign!

*****1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

The speaking in an unknown language was then a sign of the coming wrath and punishment inflicted on a rebellious and unbelieving people!

Speaking in an unknown language in this manner is not a sign of the “Grace Gifts” of God!

The speaking of tongues on the day of Pentecost was a major miracle to establish the Church and is not repeated in this day because we have the complete Word of God.

The gift of prophecy in the day of Paul was a much more desired gift to allow church growth and understanding and it to has now been replaced with preaching and teaching because we have the full and completed Word of God!

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

*****1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1Co 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

It is the object of the Church to gain souls to the Lord not cause the loss of a single soul!

For those who insist on doing these things then closet prayer is where it should take place!

The English word “maniac” is derived from the Greek word “mainomai” which is used in this verse for “mad”.

The natural reaction of anyone who came across someone speaking the gibberish of unknown language would be greatly multiplied if that person entered into a building where they all were doing so!

This thing would drive the precious soul of an unbeliever away.

The gift of prophecy is intended for the believer but the properly spoken Word of God can often bring an unbeliever to conviction to a point where they will also accept Christ Jesus!

What is the truth of every human being, even for those that reject the Word of God?

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

There can be no true atheist but there are many who just reject this truth!

It is the “Gospel” that can awaken these deep truths and the secrets of the heart be made known to them and then they will humble themselves before God and then begin to worship the Lord!

These things were not happening at Corinth because they all gathered with their own ideas of worship!

*****1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

How divided was this church?

Everyone had their own special song and wanted all the others to acknowledge it.

Everyone had their own interpretation of the Scriptures and all others were wrong. Each had some hidden mystery that only he or she could reveal.

Everyone had their own unknown tongue and no one could understand what was said.

Everyone had their own interpretation of what was said and no one agreed.

Everyone wanted to take control of the worship service and have it their way!

The Apostle Paul said none of these things were edifying.

To edify is to build up the church and not to tear it apart!

To edify is to instruct, to improve the mind in the ways of the Lord!

God is not the author of confusion and this church at Corinth was a confused church.

*****1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1Co 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

We can see how Paul rid this church of the use of tongues.

First he did not allow more than three to speak and they, one at a time.

The one was to interpret what the other one said.

Since speaking in unknown tongues is gibberish obviously there was no interpreter of what was said.

Since there was no interpreter then they were to keep silent and speak to themselves and to God!

Then Paul said let no more than two or three preach the Word of God and let the congregation judge what was said.

Prophesyings are not to be despised but we are to hold only to those things that are good.

1Th 5:20 Despise not Prophesyings.
1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

We are also to try the spirits!

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
These few things would eliminate most false prophets.

The congregation could then judge which message that was preached was of greater importance to the church.

Paul then said all that think they are called of God should get the opportunity to preach but no more than three in one service.

The truth is, a preacher truly called of God would not be acting like some raving maniac and speaking words that no one could understand.

The true man of God will be ready to preach the truth at all times!

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

2Ti 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

God is not the author of confusion, which is also disorder and commotion.

God is the author of peace in the church!

Peace is the freedom from commotion!

*****1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1Co 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

There is a reason these things were preached by the Apostle Paul and remember many questions had been asked that he is answering by the Word of God.

From the beginning God has said this:

Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

God had assigned authority to the man at creation and it is the man who is to first be totally obedient to God before he serve his family.

Remember the head of Christ is God, the head of the man is Christ and the head of the woman is man.

This is the order of things as set by the Word of God!

The woman was given to man as an “help-meet” an aid to man’s completeness.

These things do not change within the church!

For women to speak in public “in the culture of that day” would be an act of independence.

Remember in the Book of Acts, the Grecian women had needs that the Jewish women did not have and the first Deacons were brought into the church.

Paul said rather than just speak out in the church let the family discuss these things at home and together they could search for the answers.

Not to ask other men but to ask their own husband keeping the unity of the family which was establish before the church and it must remain that way!

This again was to stop some of the confusion in this church at Corinth!

The family must remain the most important structure in God’s creation and then the Church!

In other words it is God, then the family, and then the Church!

It seems that this church in Corinth had adopted things that they felt should be in every church and we see this same thing go on today!

There are those who think the Word of God is out of date with today’s culture and seek to change the Church.

The truth is God’s Word is alive and is just as true today as it was when it was first inspired and given to the writers.

Not one word is to be changed until the Lord returns and all is fulfilled!

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

God will never go against His own words!

Neither should we!

*****1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1Co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
1Co 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
1Co 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

These words of the Apostle Paul must be seen as the commandments of the Lord!

That being true, then these things are required of us by the Word of God to keep order in the church.

All those that reject the Word of God will still reject the truth no matter what is said.

In fact:

Rev 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

The power to preach is desired by many but only those called of God are equipped to do this but we are all called to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ!

If we forbid the preaching in a foreign language then missionaries could not travel to foreign countries and do what God has called them to do.

God will equip them if He has sent them!

Worship in the Church must be in good order and harmony.

It does not mean we cannot shout and clap our hands.

It does not mean we cannot raise holy hands.

It does not mean we we cannot enjoy the Holy Ghost!

It does mean that the saved of the Lord should say so!

Questions?

Comments.

Let’s Pray!

Abusing Christian Liberty

The Problem Of Abused Liberty

1 Corinthians 8

By definition “Liberty” is the opposite of “servitude” or “bondage”. Liberty is then slaves or captives who are set free from oppression.

Throughout the Bible we can see that the main theme is that God will set His people free from spiritual bondage.

God has never ordained slavery!

It is God who has liberated all who believe by “Faith” from the bondage of sin, by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus preach?

Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, “to preach deliverance to the captives”, and recovering of sight to the blind, “to set at liberty them that are bruised”,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

What else did Jesus preach?

Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Today our lesson is not so much about “liberty” as it is the abuse of our liberty that has been given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Bible says:

Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; “only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh”, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

These things are important because as Christians we live in a world of idolatrous practices and where humans make them own selves gods!

So let’s begin:

*****1Co 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

Again we can see that the Apostle Paul is addressing a question that was sent to him in a letter from the house of Chloe.

What we will see is that in all cases of our freedom in Christian Liberty, the main theme of the Apostle Paul rest on the commands of Jesus Christ!

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”.

For those who think other wise the entire Word of God is based upon the Love of God for His created people!

The message of the Apostle is that every Christian ought to walk so as not to wound another brother or sister in Christ!

This is the way that Jesus walked!

If we remember from the Book of Acts, a question the Jews had was if Gentiles could really be saved if they did not first become a Jew and obey all the laws of Moses.

It was James, the half-brother of Jesus who stated the results of that decision.

Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
Act 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Act 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
Act 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

It is a fact that there is only one God and His name is Jehovah!

We already know that the church at Corinth was full of “Babes in Christ” who had very liberal views.

We already know that times were hard with famine and increasing Christian persecution.

There were many false temples to idols and false gods in Corinth where animals were offered in sacrifice which usually meant that the remnants of those animals that were slain as sacrifices ended up in the local markets at a discount price or at great banquets in those temples.

Those of Jewish faith who had converted to Christianity would never consider buying such meat nor partake of what they considered unclean meat.

Those Gentiles who were now Christian saw no problems with consuming these things and they were right except for one thing.

This kind of knowledge can cause us to sin!

If knowledge of certain things causes us to place a stumbling block before any brother or sister in Christ then we have forgotten the law of Jesus Christ when He said “we are to love our neighbors as ourselves”!

When we put on an air of superiority over any other child of God we are committing sin not only to that brother or sister in Christ but to Christ Himself!

To edify, is to build upon the “Body of Christ” it is not to tear down!

*****1Co 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

We must realize as Christians that every teaching of God is to be tempered with not only the “Love of God”, but also the “Love For Each Other”!

When we use our “faith” as being superior to anyone, we are not on the right track in search of the knowledge of God.

We all stand on level ground at the Cross of Jesus Christ!

It is easy to see why this church at Corinth was having so many problems:

1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, “even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness”;
1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

But to be obedient to the “laws of love” the two greatest of all commandments, is to be known of God!

*****1Co 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

There are those who have a “think so” religion.

Christianity is not a “think so” but “know so” by “faith in Christ Jesus”!

The Bible says:

1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; “that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”.

The truth is that God knows all those who are His!

2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are his”. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Those that know God are known of God!

Gal 4:9 But now, “after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God”, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

And the truth is that we can only know love because God first loved us!

No one can be acquainted with God who does not love Him and show it in their actions toward all others!

This shoots down any theory of the Ecumenical movement that say all religions worship the same God!

To love God is to keep His commandments!

Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

God gave us His commandments in what is now called the Bible, or the Word of God and these are the commandments that are to be kept.

Those that reject the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God will hear these words in the end:

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you”: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Those that cannot love the Lord Jesus Christ cannot know God and therefore cannot be loved of God!

All those that do not know or love the Lord Jesus knows nothing as he ought to know, because all else is nothing in this world because there is no other God but Jesus!

*****1Co 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and “that there is none other God but one”.

Therefore since an idol is only a figment of man’s imagination, as is all false gods, then things that are sacrificed to those things cannot in any way harm the Christian!

Some look upon idols and false gods as demons.

Some look upon idols and false gods as evil spirits.

The truth is they all are only figment of man’s imagination except for the One God Jehovah!

Isa 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

An idol or false god is a name without a thing, a mere figment of the human heart!

Isa 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed

This is one of the trivial things that Christians have a tendency to disagree on, but the pure truth is, it is only how these things affect the conduct of others that is of real importance!

As Christians we are not to consider the lawfulness nor the unlawfulness of these things for we are to always consider all questions of this kind on the grounds of the welfare of the “Body of Christ”!

We are to rate all things as they concern the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

*****1Co 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

We should also consider that these Corinthians to whom Paul was writing, had, before their conversion to Christianity, worshiped many false gods in the heavens and also many lords on this earth!

All these things are only manifestations in the mind that are energized by Satan and his demonic spirits!

It is sometimes hard for the “Babe in Christ” to free their minds from the power of false religion!

It is even harder today for the new Christian to free their minds from the teaching of evolution, they been forced to grow up with!

It is a fact that our youth are being brain-washed by evolution and it’s false theories that cannot even be proven.

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of “science falsely so called”:
1Ti 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

BUT, It is not other humans themselves that are our enemies but it is the rulers of darkness that are our true enemy!

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

It is only “the truth” that make us free from all these things!

*****1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

The testimony of the Scriptures reveal that their is only one true God!

All true science points to only one Creator who is One God!

We are all God’s creation, created by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

In contrast, evolution is the teaching of pantheism and ancient pagans, evolutionary atheism put together by modern, so-called, intellectuals.

All idols are nothing!

All false gods are nothing!

All teachings other than the Word of God will lead to nothing but sin and eternal damnation!

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is only Christ Jesus who can make a New Creation!

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be “born again”, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, “I make all things new”. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

All those that seek something new must come to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Baby Christians still struggle with some of these things and we must not ever place a stone of stumbling in their path to the truth!

*****1Co 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

Some of these Corinthians just could not fathom eating meat that had been sacrificed to some idol or false god with a clear conscience.

Many of those were probably converted Jews but not all.

That had found freedom from all these things and they certainly did not want to fall back into their old false beliefs.

Those things simply did not have the taste of freedom and seemed in their conscience to be unclean.

To be quite honest once you have been removed from the filth of this world through Jesus Christ, you will simply not want to ever know that feeling of uncleanness again!

To be washed in the blood of Jesus is to feel a clean that only the Christian can know!

The truth is that no matter what God makes clean can never be soiled again but only in our own conscience!

But God says, all those with a weak conscience, weakness as a result of a past habit, are entitled to the respect and the exercise of patience from the strong Christian!

God says in fact, it is the strong Christian who is unrighteous to ignore the truth of these things!

Why?

These are all trivial matters that have no real importance to our Christian walk but we can allow them to ruin our testimony and harm the work of the Church!

*****1Co 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

The truth is that the food we eat to sustain our flesh does not affect our standing before God!

Food like anything else can only harm us if we allow it to control our actions toward others.

Our liberty is forfeited when we allow anything of this world to be our master!

We have only one Master and He is the Lord!

Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

*****1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

When we allow the trivial things of this world, that have no affect on our standing before the Lord but that thing may tempt another brother or sister to act against their own conscience, then that thing has become a sin to us!

What did Jesus say to the Church at Pergamos?

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

The Christian is to have patience, and not privilege!

The Christian is to show love, not knowledge!

When sin came into God’s world, God did not first respond with wrath “but with love”!

For our redemption, God’s wisdom made a plan!

God’s power put His plan into action!

But it was God’s love that made all these things possible!

All that Jesus Christ did and suffered was because He loved us!

1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

*****1Co 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Co 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

Corinth had many temples to false gods and each one had great banquet halls where the meat that was sacrificed to idols could then be consumed.

For a “Babe In Christ” to witness a fellow brother or sister at the banquet table, how could they not think that this person was not bowing to that false god!

We would have that same problem today if a member in good standing, decided to witness in a place of ill report and some “Babe in Christ” or some other member, drove by and saw his car in that parking lot, they would only think the worse!

If the Church is the hospital for lost souls, and it is, then we are to build up our brothers and sisters and not tear them down!

The Church’s job is to make disciples who will then make more disciples and on and on, until the Lord returns!

When we mingle with this lost world, we must be aware that all eyes are upon us, not only the lost but those of the church who may not yet possess the same knowledge we have and even though we are anxious to do right, we may in fact do more wrong by our actions, than good!

It is only God who can bring the lost to the point of salvation but if our actions cause a weaker brother or sister to loose their faith and not recover it, for whose sake Christ died, then we have sinned before the eyes of Christ!

If Jesus Christ died for our sins then we should also be willing to die for the sins of our own brothers and sisters and never allow our actions to harm the family of God!

Jesus Christ died even for all those that remain lost by their own choice but in the end even they will recognize the love of God when they all will bow before Him!

Any time we jeopardize the salvation of any soul we have pronounced the death sentence upon them if they never repent!

*****1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

As Christians how much we are willing to give of ourselves for another, shows the value of that other person!

Paul told husbands these things:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Jesus Christ gave Himself for the Church. He gave it all, including His life!

When we are so caught up in our own faith in Christ that we ignore that one who is weaker in faith, then we are not willing to give all for the “Body of Christ”!

The only thing we must not do is to allow the preferences of that weaker brother or sister to cause us to go against the will of God for us!

The important thing for each Christian is to set the proper example for others in this life just as Jesus Christ did!

*****1Co 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Christian liberty is a wonderful thing but we must not insist on our own rights at the expense of injury to others!

We must not allow trivial things that have no basis on salvation to ever make another Christian stumble!

We must:

1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

We must in no way allow ourselves to give anyone the appearance that we will do evil!

Our testimony is the greatest resource we have in this world that is dying before our eyes!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!