The Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study met at the Black Horse Restaurant on April 22. Sharleen Stone served as hostess and Diana King was the program leader.
Diana began the lesson by asking the group how many like to eat steak. Most everyone said they did, but the price kept them from eating steak very often. She had begun by asking about steak because the lesson from First Corinthians, Chapter 8, is asking about buying meat by the Christian Church members of Corinth. They wanted to know if eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols was still OK to eat.
Some of the members of the church thought there was nothing wrong with eating the meat and others having come from homes where idols had been worshiped thought it was a sin. Each thought they were right in the way they believed. This was causing a problem for the church.
Meat that was being used in the ritual worship of the pagan gods was being divided three ways. One part was burned at the alter during the service. Another part was given to the pagan priest and the third part was given to the one who had brought the meat to the worship services. Leftovers not used by the priest were marked down and sold at a discount. The person who had brought the meat might serve some of it to his Christian friends.
In this chapter of Corinthians, Paul says that he didn’t have a problem eating the meat used in the pagan worship service because he knew there was only one God. The worshiping of the meat by pagan priest would not change it at all.
As Christians, we are free to have social practices and customs not specifically forbidden in the Bible. But, sometimes we need to think about things that might hurt others. In the Journal of Drug Issues in 2006, younger siblings whose older brothers or sisters drank are twice as likely to also drink. The risk increases fourfold when it comes to smoking by an older family member. It is not right to encourage others to do something bad for them that their conscience is telling them they shouldn’t do. Ignoring one’s conscience can lead to doing other things that are wrong, too.
Paul says we should limit our freedoms for the sake of love. People are free to choose to drink and smoke, but it may lead to others to drink or smoke, too. We should lookout for others because we love them and have their best spiritual interest at heart.
We are not neither worse if we eat the meat from the pagan service, nor better if we do not eat it says Paul. For there is only one God and that is all that matters. Because of their upbringing, the weak Christian felt it was a sin to eat the meat. They may not have been able to shake their past.
We should be sensitive to young Christians for really what difference does it make, whether they eat the meat or not. But, things like smoking or drinking can lead to problems for others that look up to you. We need to not look at our freedoms to do something, but look at other’s needs. We should care about the welfare of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must educate younger believers in Christ, so they can learn what true Christian liberty is and they will be able to make good choices.
After a short business discussion, the meeting was closed with prayers for family and friends in need.