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How To Care For Others (part 2) - 10:28-11:1

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1 Corinthians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:56
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Introduction

We mentioned this last week but I want to stress it today.
The foundation of caring for others is a desire to help them.
There are several times in the gospel accounts where Jesus is moved with compassion for people.
One of those accounts is actually my favorite miracle of Jesus.
Turn to Mark 1:40-42.
Mark 1:40-42 (p. 1152)
Mark 1:40–42 NKJV
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
Why did Jesus heal this man?
He was moved with compassion.
Why did Jesus touch him?
He didn’t have to.
Jesus could have healed with with a word.
Jesus could have healed him from a distance.
Why touch the leper?
It had probably been years since he had been touched.
The compassion of Jesus went past the physical need to the emotional and spiritual.
The touch was a physical manifestation of Christ’s love.
Jesus wanted to help him.
Jesus cared.
He had a heart and attitude of compassion.
As we noted last week;
In our passage Paul teaches about 3 main attitudes we need to have in order to care for others.
Principle:
Caring for others is a gospel priority.
Guidance:
To properly care for others our attitude must be right.
Outcome:
When we care for others the gospel is advanced and Christ is glorified.
Three main attitudes we need to have in order to care for others.
We are going to look at the final 1 1/2 of them today.
Attitude #1…

1. Seek Their Good vv. 23-24

a. This demands discernment v. 23

b. This demands determination v. 24

Three main attitudes we need to have in order to care for others.
Attitude #1: Seek their good.
Attitude #2…

2. Guard Their Conscience vv. 25-30

One of the ways we protect and care for one another is to guard our consciences.
There are two ways to do that in this passage.
#1…

a. Ask necessary questions vv. 25-27

Don’t create drama where there is none.
#1: Ask necessary questions.
#2…

b. Avoid doubtful decisions vv. 28-30

1 Corinthians 10:28 NKJV
28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
What this verse teaches us is that there is always someone who is out to ruin a good meal.
Laugh
In all seriousness.
Keep the scenario Paul has given in mind.
You are eating at someone’s house and they are an unbeliever.
Chances are, if they are mentioning where they got the meat, it is because they want to see what you will do.
Why do I say that?
Because I have never eaten at someone’s house and had them tell me where the food came from.
This is a test.
Paul says that there is only one way to pass.
Thomas Constable puts it this way in his commentary.
Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible 4. The issue of marketplace food 10:23–11:1

We might think that in such a situation Paul would have advocated exercising Christian liberty to eat the meat, but he did not. He advocated abstaining, not because such meat was out of bounds for believers. It was not out of bounds; Christians could eat such meat. He advocated abstaining for the sake of the pagan’s moral consciousness. Specifically, if the Christian ate the meat, the pagan might conclude that his guest was doing something Christians should not do. He would be wrong, of course. Yet Paul advocated not violating the pagan’s understanding of what Christians should or should not do rather than instructing him about Christian freedom at the table.

Wow. That is huge.
Let’s put it this way.
The perception of an unbeliever is more important than my freedom in Christ.
Again he mentions that the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.
We can eat whatever we want, however, our freedom is not the issue.
1 Corinthians 10:29 NKJV
29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?
This isn’t about your freedom!
This is about the conscience of someone who does not know Christ!
Even though we have the freedom to eat whatever we want, we limit that freedom for gospel opportunities.
Paul has given direction, we eat whatever we are given asking no questions.
However, if information is volunteered, we assume that there is a belief that we shouldn’t be eating what we have been given.
Based on that assumption, we do not eat so that we might have a gospel opportunity.
There is a very important point to be made here.
Paul is not talking about a weaker brother or sister.
He is talking about an unbeliever.
The implication is that we would handle the situation differently if it were a fellow believer we were dealing with.
We’ll get to that in a moment.
Paul asks a question here that we need to address.
“Why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?”
He follows that up with another question in v. 30.
Let’s look at that and deal with both of them together.
1 Corinthians 10:30 NKJV
30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
It must be remembered that Paul’s whole point in this section is that it is sometimes necessary to voluntarily limit our freedom for the good of others.
In chapter 8 Paul argued that we may sometimes need to limit our freedom to protect the conscience of a weaker brother or sister in Christ.
He will be returning to that argument.
However, his point here is that there are occasions where our liberty could hinder the gospel.
In those situations, we limit our freedom in Christ.
Paul did, that’s what chapter 9 was about.
When Paul ministered in Corinth he didn’t let the church pay him because he felt that it would hinder the gospel.
In the same way, Paul is saying that in a particular situation, it may be advantageous to the gospel to limit our exercise of freedom.
We can put it into perspective like this.
Is it more important to eat a good steak or to have the chance to share Christ with your host?
Thomas Constable again puts the case clearly in his commentary.
Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible 4. The issue of marketplace food 10:23–11:1

We do not need to alter our convictions for the sake of others even though they speak evil of us, as the Corinthians did of Paul (cf. 9:19–23). Nevertheless we should be willing to change our behavior for the sake of unbelievers.

Paul made it clear in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 that we are free to eat anything as long as we give thanks for it.
1 Timothy 4:3-5
1 Timothy 4:3–5 NKJV
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
We are not dealing with a sin issue here!
We are dealing with a conscience issue coupled with the responsibility to share the gospel.
Sometimes our only consideration is the conscience of others.
Paul's point in v. 30 is that sometimes we are misunderstood, and our exercise of liberty is spoken of as evil.
This can put up barriers to the gospel.
It is far better to deny ourselves something than it is to hinder the gospel.
We are to care for others.
To care for them, we guard their conscience by avoiding doubtful decisions.
If something could hinder the gospel or offend a weaker brother or sister in Christ, we avoid it.
It is not worth it.
Don’t hinder the gospel for personal enjoyment.
Repeat - read aloud
Our purpose here is far more important than our pleasure.
That’s exactly where Paul is going next with his argument.
Three main attitudes we need to have in order to care for others.
Attitude #1: Seek their good.
Attitude #2: Guard their conscience.
Attitude #3…

3. Desire Their Salvation vv. 31-11:1

Paul has already said it.
Everything he does is about the gospel.
In 1:17 he said Christ sent him to preach the gospel.
In chapter 9 Paul declared that he endured all things for the sake of the gospel. Woe is him if he did not preach the gospel!
He became all things to all people so that he might see some of them saved!
This was the driving force in Paul’s life.
It wasn’t about his freedom!
Paul lived for the freedom of others.
What does it look like practically to live for the salvation of others?
4 ideas.
Idea #1…

a. Live for the glory of God v. 31

1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Therefore.
Considering everything Paul has just presented.
What has he presented?
What happened to Israel when they got caught up in corrupt desires, corrupt worship, corrupt sexuality, and corrupt faith?
The result of their corruption was separation from God!
If we prioritize our freedom over the salvation and growth of others, we too are guilty of corruption.
What is Paul’s solution?
Do all to the glory of God.
Look at the list Paul gives us.
Are you eating food?
Eat to the glory of God.
Are you drinking some beverage?
Drink to the glory of God.
Doing something else?
Do it for the glory of God.
Leon Morris writes
1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary F. The Practical Outcome (10:23–11:1)

The principle is clear. The Christian is not concerned with his rights, but with the glory of God (cf. Col. 3:17). Eating, drinking, everything must be subordinated to this.

Everything done by the child of God must be done for the glory of God!
repeat - read aloud
Any activity that cannot be done for the glory of God must not be done at all!
Repeat
Paul’s point here is that I may be free to eat meat in some contexts, and not in others.
What determines my actions is the glory of God!
In this circumstance, in this situation, can I engage in this activity for the glory of God?
That is the question we ask.
The purpose of the Christian life is the glory of God.
Repeat - read aloud
This means that everything in our lives must pass the glory test.
If it does not bring glory to God, it does not belong in our lives.
Repeat - twice
This is a strict test, and a difficult one.
Are we willing to embrace it?
In the final three verses we will look at today, Paul makes it clear exactly what does and does not bring God glory.
4 ideas to live for the salvation of others.
Idea #1: Live for the glory of God.
Idea #2…

b. Live without offense v. 32

1 Corinthians 10:32 NKJV
32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,
Paul lists the three classifications of humanity.
Jews
Gentiles
The Church of God
According to Galatians 3:28 we are all one in Christ.
Galatians 3:28
Galatians 3:28 NKJV
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
It is not that people cease being a Jew or a Gentile, it is that we have a new identity.
We belong to Christ!
Paul exhorts us to live without offense to all people.
The fact that he lists Jews and Gentiles suggests that we need to be aware of the culture we are in and the unique ways our behavior may hinder the gospel.
Here is the interesting thing.
We live without offense to all people, even those who are already believers, so that others will come to Christ.
It may or may not surprise you to learn that how we treat one another in the body of Christ can lead others to reject Christ.
Give no offense.
In the body of Christ we need to be careful how we treat one another.
Love needs to be our motivation, never selfishness.
That is what Paul is getting at here.
Let me give you an example.
You may have noticed that we have quite a few kids around the church now.
All these smiling faces and running feet are a blessing.
Children bring with them some unique challenges.
They have more energy, they run, they talk, they play.
As a parent it is my job to teach my children how to watch out for others.
It is my job to teach them manners, right?
Don’t run in front of people, make sure you don’t bump into people.
That is how I can teach them not to offend others in the church.
However, everyone in the church also has a responsibility.
Your responsibility is to watch out for them.
Be aware of where the kids are.
Don’t get annoyed with them for being kids.
Be understanding.
We meet in the middle.
When all of us strive not to offend one another the body of Christ is strengthened and encouraged.
Give no offense.
Offense – ἀπρόσκοπος (aproskopos) blameless; clear. not causing stumbling adj. — not promoting a person sinning by one’s actions or lifestyle. Predicate adjective, nominative, plural, masculine.
Offense – ἀπρόσκοπος (aproskopos)
Is this how we are striving to live?
Yes, we have freedom in Christ.
Are we abusing that freedom?
We desire people who do not know Christ to come to him.
It matters how we treat one another!
It matters how we treat those who are outside the faith!
Do not put up barriers to the gospel.
Repeat - read aloud
Live without offense.
If we are going to see people saved, we cannot and must not offend them!
However, we must also avoid offending one another.
How we treat one another in the body of Christ is a gospel issue.
4 ideas to live for the salvation of others.
Idea #1: Live for the glory of God.
Idea #2: Live without offense.
Idea #3…

c. Live for the gospel v. 33

1 Corinthians 10:33 NKJV
33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
The opposite of giving offense is pleasing others.
Please could also be translated “win the favor of.”
Paul’s goal is to win the favor of others.
Paul does this with a specific purpose in mind.
He does this because he is seeking their profit.
Just like in v. 23, profit could be translated benefit or advantage.
We do not live for our own benefit.
We are not here to gain all the advantage for ourselves.
This isn’t about my profit or yours!
This is about salvation.
The greatest benefit that anyone can have is salvation from the penalty, power, and presence of sin.
Salvation has a past, present, and future effect.
We are saved from the penalty of sin. That is past.
We are being saved from the power of sin. This is sanctification in the presence.
We will one day be saved from the very presence of sin when we are in the presence of Jesus. This is future.
This is the gospel we live for.
Our desire is to see everyone enjoying this benefit.
That is Paul’s focus.
This is what motivates him to deny himself certain freedoms.
Paul has a goal. His goal is to reach as many people with the gospel as possible.
To that end he is working to please all men in all things.
This is a huge statement.
All men in all things.
Paul doesn’t do this because he likes it!
Paul doesn’t do this because it feels good!
Paul does this so people will be saved!
He is pleasing them, he is winning their favor to open doors for the gospel.
This is part of our purpose in living for the glory of God.
This is part of our purpose in giving no offense to people.
We want to break down every possible barrier to the gospel!
That doesn’t mean we compromise, it means that the salvation of others is more important than getting to do what we want.
Focus on others.
Don’t seek your own benefit.
Seek to benefit others.
Keep your eyes on the ultimate goal – The salvation of the lost.
The best way we can care for others is to desire their salvation.
We do this by living for the gospel.
Desire the salvation of the lost.
Repeat - read aloud
This is the whole point of living for the gospel.
We want to see people come to Christ.
We want people to be saved!
Our goal must be to get ourselves out of the way as much as possible.
4 ideas to live for the salvation of others.
Idea #1: Live for the glory of God.
Idea #2: Live without offense.
Idea #3: Live for the gospel.
Idea #4…

d. Live as a copy of Christ v. 11:1

1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
There are two elements to this verse. Two levels of imitation.
First, a definition.
This is an interesting verse because there are two Greek words that are combined and translated by the English word “imitate.”
Imitate – μιμητής (mimētēs) imitator. imitator n. — a person who copies the words or behavior of another. Noun, predicate nominative, plural, masculine.
γίνομαι (ginomai) be; become; take place. to become (condition) v. — to enter or assume a certain state or condition. Finite verb, present, either middle or passive, imperative, second person, plural.
Imitate – μιμητής (mimētēs) & γίνομαι (ginomai)
These two words form an imperative command.
Become an imitator of me as I am an imitator of Christ.
The Corinthians have not been following good examples.
Paul commands them to do something different.
Become an imitator of me.
Who we follow, matters.
repeat
Are the teachers we listen to ones who are pursuing Christ?
Are they growing and maturing in their walk with Him?
Do we follow people who are willing to set aside their personal freedoms for the sake of the gospel.
This is the first level, the men we follow.
The second level is clear.
Imitate Christ.
What example did Christ leave us?
2 Corinthians 8:9
2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Christ became poor for us.
Philippians 2:5-8
Philippians 2:5–8 NKJV
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Christ became a servant! Christ humbled himself!
Christ limited His freedom for the sake of others.
Can we do less than our Savior?
Be imitators of Christ!
He is the standard and we are not done until we have reached it!
Anyone here attained Christlike perfection?
No?
This is what we pursue, the character of Christ.
We pursue it until He calls us home.

Conclusion

This is how we care for others.
We seek their good before our own.
We guard their conscience even when that means the limitation of personal freedom.
We do all of this because we desire people to come to salvation in Jesus Christ!
Our desire for the salvation of others leads us to live a certain way.
How do we live?
We live for the glory of God.
Every single activity we engage in must pass the glory test.
We seek to live without offense.
We want people to be saved, we cannot do that if we are offending them.
We cannot see people saved if we are too busy fighting one another!
We live for the benefit of others that they might be saved.
Keep the gospel doors open.
We imitate Christ.
Christ gave up everything to come and die for us.
We should be willing to lay aside our personal freedom to see people saved.
Personal:
My life is to bring glory to God intentionally. Even the most mundane activities, eating and drinking, should be done with the glory of God in view! If we cannot do or say or think something and bring glory to God in it, we should stay away from it. - Each day be determined to bring God glory.
Relationships:
Give no offense. Seek the benefit of others. Those are God’s guidelines for our relationships. In our friendships we seek to do one of two things. With believers, we seek to build them up. With unbelievers, we seek gospel opportunities. - Actively seek the well-being of those we interact with.
Parenting:
I want to be able to say to my children what Paul says here. Imitate me as I imitate Christ. The question I then have to ask myself every single day is this “would I want my children to imitate my behavior today?” How can we be worthy of imitation? We do what Paul has described. We live for the benefit of others. We live with a clear conscience. We live for the glory of God! We give no offense. We seek for others to know Christ. We live in constant imitation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. - Be an example worthy to follow.
Marriage:
Where should the behavior Paul has described begin? With those closest to us. Is my behavior toward my spouse bringing glory to God? What about my attitude? Am I bringing offense to my spouse? Am I seeking their profit? Am I seeking to imitate Christ in my marriage? Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. We need to live to make that picture crystal clear. - Love your spouse for the glory of God.
COMMITMENT:
___________________________________________________
___________________________________________________
To care for others we must first care about them.
A heart of compassion is produced by the Holy Spirit.
We must live in submission to Him.