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The Scriptures say, "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth
not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). When some
people look at a questionable item, they take the attitude–"I'm going to do it
until somebody can convince me it's wrong!" This, of course, is just the
opposite side that God expects of us. The Lord wants us to settle that doubt
Scripturally and honestly before we partake of it. One who proceeds to do
something about which he has doubts is likely to continue indulging in it even
after he is convinced it is wrong.
Why is that so? The reason is that he is not sincerely seeking the way of truth
to walk therein. If he lived carefully he would make certain that it was right
before participating in it. When a person's conscience is violated by indulging
in a thing he runs the risk of "searing" his conscience into senselessness.
At the outset we ask, "Why does he not find it to be wrong? First, he may not be
interested in finding out whether or not it is wrong. If he were, he would study
to know about it and settle his mind on the matter before doing it. Secondly, he
may do it because of the influence of those around him. Since they are doing it,
he will too. There is a good chance the others are not carefully investigating
and proving things to be Scriptural in which they indulge either. Thirdly, the
enjoyment he gets out of it causes him to love it and hang on to it, rather than
question whether it is right or wrong to do.
WHAT DOES THE WORD SAY?
Are you now doing anything about which there is some question? The thing might
even be something that you once questioned yourself If you are doing that, how
did you settle the question or did you just begin to ignore it? If you actually
settled it in your own mind, was it accomplished by a thorough investigation of
the subject in the word of God or did you simply dismiss it because of the
pleasure you received from it? If the position you took on the issue was not
settled by the Divine Standard of righteousness, you need to go back and face
your doubts again.
There are some things that one brother might do and another might not do but
these are not issues to question. Someone once illustrated on this point that
someone might observe a day of fasting and prayer on each anniversary of his
conversion to Chirst. This would be his private matter. Another person might not
do that but it is not either brother's prerogative to condemn the other. (See
Romans 14:5,6). After examining the word of God to make sure that it is in no
violation to the New Testament and that by it there is no rock of stumbling
created, then the brother may allow himself to do it. And, Paul says, "Let every
man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Romans 14:5).
A lot of what you believe is probably what someone else has told you and you
have not studiedout for yourself. It is amazing how many people feel absolutely
at ease living a life based on what others have told them. In Acts 17:11 we see
the people of Berea eagerly hearing the preaching of the great Apostle Paul (a
man inspired of God), yet the Bible commends them for searching the Scriptures
daily to see if what they were being taught was true!!!
The New Testament repeatedly says, that it is your responsibility to "Prove all
things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).... "Take heed unto
thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt
both save thyself, and them that hear thee".... "Study to show thyself approved
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth"(1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:15).
You see, that which is approved of God is found in the Scriptures. God's
inspired word supplies the teaching necessary for you to settle any question and
know, in principle, "all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Others may help guide
you to find the Truth on a subject, but it is up to you to know the Truth from
God's Word and "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Jesus speaking to God
the Father said, "...thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Instead of continuing to
wonder if a thing is right or wrong to do go to the Word of God and settle it.
PERMISSIBLE BUT WRONG
There are some things that you must not do. These are sins. But you should also
refrain from doing anything that would cause another to stumble or that would
harm your influence. Paul tells you, "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to
drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is
made weak" (Romans 14:21).
There must have been a lot of heated discussion in Paul's day on the subject of
whether or not Christians should eat certain kinds of meats. The Gentile world
carried on idolatrous worship in which they made sacrifice of animals to their
idols. Some of this meat was then sold to the public. In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul
addresses this subject which evidently had cause some serious problems in the
church. They must have asked the Apostle to explain how a Christian should
approach this. Should a Christian eat or not eat such meat?
At the outset, Paul establishes God's truth about idols. The Lord's inspired
Apostle says, "They are nothing!" There is only one God! So the meat offered to
the idol received no blessing by its being offered, nor did it receive a curse
from it. The meat was all right andthere was no harm in eating it. "But," he
says, "Take heed lest this liberty of yours (that is, liberty to eat this meat
with perfect knowledge that it was all right), become a stumbling-block to them
that are weak.”
Today some would insist that it is a liberty. They say, "No one is going to take
my liberty away from me.... since you can't prove it is a sin and I'm going to
do it no matter who it hurts. It's none or their business. Besides, I can find
all kinds of preachers who have told me it was all right to do." Someone might
say, "We've done it this way for years and now you come along and want us to do
First, let us ask, "Are you walking charitably?" Paul also tells you, "But if
your brother be grieved ...[because of your liberty], [you're] not walking in
[love]. Destroy not him with your...[liberty], for whom Christ died" (Romans
14:15). Furthermore, that attitude belies the proposition which we have preached
and contended for all these years. We say, "If you can prove us wrong we will
change." Evidently, not when it comes to some matters!!!
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian brethren that even though they could eat
this meat with perfect liberty so far as it being right or wrong was concerned
yet he warned them about eating of it if it caused their brothers to stumble.
But how could this act cause a weak brother stumble if it was all right for a
Christian to eat it? Simply this, not everyone had the understanding that an
idol was nothing. Many looked upon an idols as gods. When they would see an
enlightened Christian eating this meat, their consciences were wounded,
believing that the Christian was endorsing idol gods. Through this wounding, the
weak brother would perish.
Paul wrote, "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; And through thy knowledge shall the
weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the
brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if
meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth,
lest I make my brother to offend" (1 Corinthians 8:10-13).
CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES
This man of God appeals to the Corinthian brethren to refrain from the use of
this meat, not that it was wrong in itself, but since it would cause another
brother to stumble and perish, it should be left alone. He further taught and
warned them that it was a sin for them to continue to eat of this meat under the
Continuing on the meat question, in the 10th chapter, Paul writes, "All things
are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for
me, but all things edify not" (1 Corinthians 10:23). He here declares his
liberty to do many things, including eating this meat, but gives two reasons
notto do them. The first thing is that it is not expedient, proper, or best
under some circumstances. And the other reason to simply refrain from doing a
thing is that it doesn't build up. The Beck translation reads "but not
everything is good for others—Let no man, then, set his own advantage as his
objective but everybody for the good of the other person" (v. 24). The general
principle is this: "Let us, therefore, keep before us whatever will contribute
to peace ... And the things which belong to the upbuilding of one another"
(Romans 14:19, Twenty-six Translations).
So to the Corinthians he concludes: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the
Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in
all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may
be saved" (1 Corinthians 10:31-33).
A CHECK LIST
Some Christians would like for some preacher to publish a check list of sins
which they cannot do and list other questionable things which are okay. One
denominational evangelist used to have a syndicated column in many newspapers
called, "My Answer." Evidently questions were submitted to him and he would give
"His Answer." What about God's answer? People who weren't interested in studying
for themselves, no doubt, depended on Dr. G's knowledge and wisdom to guide
them. They simply wanted someone else to give them a "Yes" or "No" on the
issues. Some among us are no better. They will not sit down and study for
themselves to decide the Truth on a matter. They are constantly asking answers
of others to help them make their decisions.
They say, "But what about the Corinthians who wrote and asked Paul questions?"
They certainly did and you would be justified in doing the same if you didn't
have the Word of God at your fingertips and you could find a genuine inspiredman.
But we all have access to God's Word which furnishes the man of God with all
needed teaching as we have already seen. So the questions we might have are to
be determined by whether or not it is best to do in the present circumstances
and if it builds others up or not. When determining these things we need to be
honest, sincere and consistent.
= = = = = = =
It's All About Me?
After Jesus was baptized by John it didn't take long for people to see his
amazing powers. He did many miracles.
• He turned the water into wine (John 2:1-12).
When sickness or affliction affected someone, Jesus could take care of it with
just a touch or a word (Matt. 9:35-38).
• Jesus walked on water and calmed storms (Matt14:22-23 & Mark 4:35-41).
• Jesus fed thousands with the equivalent of a child's sack lunch (John 6:1-15).
• Jesus helped lepers and cast demons out of many people (Matt. 8:1-4 & Mark
• Jesus raised people from the dead (Matt. 9:18--26 & Luke 7:11-17).
Clearly Jesus possessed extraordinary powers. In knowing this it is interesting
to note that He never uses any of the power available to Him to make His own
life easier. Remember when Jesus went into the wilderness and hadn't eaten for
40 days? Satan appeared to Himand tempted Jesus to use His power to turn stones
into bread. Jesus refused. On the night He was betrayed, in the Garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus stated that He had 12 legions of agnels (an army of 72,000)
available to Him if He wished to use them. But, He didn't. In being crucified,
He did not try to escape the suffering of the cross. It seems what Jesus chose
not to do is often just as great a mystery as many of the miracles He did.
In our world, it seems the "all about me" attitude is always all around us
trying to creep into our lives. Let us always be careful and try to have more
influence on the world as Christians than the world does on us.
–Geary Trent [via Pathfinder]