PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH
1 CORINTHIANS 03 SEPTEMBER 2023
Every now and then it is a good exercise for us as Christians to ask ourselves some questions concerning our life in Christ – as we walk through this life. What are the guidelines that help us to stay on the straight and narrow path?
So, today, I want us to look at some important questions to ask ourselves in order to really see where we are – how closely we are walking with Christ.
Let’s ask ourselves some revealing questions this morning.
“This thing I am doing – whatever it is – Can I, or am I, doing it for the glory of God?”
Hear what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:21: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
If we can answer “yes” to the question: Can I, or am I, doing it for the glory of God, then what we are doing is right.
Paul says further in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
“Can I do this thing I am doing in the name of Jesus Christ and thank Him for it?
This thing I am doing – Is it of this earthly world, or is it of God’s heavenly world?
In 1 John 2:15-17: we learn this: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but it is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
Does that mean that we are not to love anything in this world? Of course not. God has provided things worthy of our love and appreciation. What about the beauty of the trees and skies; the flowers, the mountains, all of God’s creation? Is it right that we love them? Of course, it is. These things are all a part of creation. He created them for our enjoyment. We should love them. But the problem comes when some people begin to worship these creations. They fail to worship the Creator but feel compelled to worship the creation.
James talks about our involvement with the world when he says in James 4:4: “,,,,,do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself to be an enemy of God.
Is what I am doing in my life causing me to become a friend of the world rather than a friend of God?
“This thing I am doing – Does it have the appearance of evil?”
The word, “appearance” refers to something that strikes the eye;
something that is exposed to view.
Paul has some advice on this one in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
Here is where we must be very careful. It takes a bit of discernment on our part. A lot of things or situations may appear harmless and acceptable. But when we investigate, this act may be revealed to be harmful, especially in our relationships with our Lord.
“Would Jesus have done what I am doing, or contemplating doing?”
In his book, “In His Steps” author Charles Sheldon says this:
“Perfection will come with the daily trying as we reach for perfection.”
Peter, in his first letter to Christians – 2:21 – says this: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow In His Steps.”
Now, we have to ask, after reading that verse: What is “this purpose” that Peter mentions? Well, he answers that question in verses 19 and 20 when he speaks of our reaction when we are mistreated, or we are suffering unjustly.
Our reaction is to endure it with patience. If we do what is right and suffer for it – this finds favor with God. And that is our purpose for doing what Jesus would have done in that situation.
“Is what I am doing, or contemplating doing, a hindrance to my witness as a Christian?”
This is probably one of the most used excuses for many people to resist becoming a Christian. Why? Simply because the lives of the “Christians” they observe is not that much different from their own which is being lived without Christ. So, they ask why I should bother to try to live differently from the world when those who call themselves Christians live pretty much exactly like I do.
There is a verse in 1 Peter 3:1 that actually speaks to how a Christian wife should live as an example to her husband. But I believe it applies here as well. The behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful manner may be, and often is, what causes the husband to be won to Christ – not by words, but by her respectful behavior.
People in the world – those who have not committed their lives to Christ – are always watching Christians. We are called to live in such a way that they see a difference in the way we live compared to the way they live.
Question # 7:
Does the Holy Spirit dwell in me?
This is a vital question and one so many seem to try to avoid fearing that others will think we are in a condition far beyond the reach of “normal” people.
Hear how the Apostle Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Simply put Paul is saying that your body belongs to God. And your body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
A lot of folks spend a lot of time and effort trying to keep their body in shape. They want to look good in the eyes of other people. The approval, or the envy of others in regard to their appearance is of utmost importance to them.
And, of course, there is nothing wrong with working to bring your body into a healthy condition.
However, when working daily to make our outer bodies look attractive to others is our obsession, we are developing a problem. Because we spend so much time with that activity and that purpose we may be neglecting something else.
We may be neglecting exercising our healthy spiritual growth. We need to pay more attention to our spiritual growth and improvement than we do to our physical fitness.
After all, when we leave this earth – whether it be physical death, or it be in the resurrection, our body is going to change. In physical death, our bodies will decay. In spiritual death, our soul will decay. At the resurrection, though, those who die in Christ, or who are still living at the Resurrection will gain a new body.
Let’s go on to Question #8:
Is what I am doing, or contemplating doing a stumbling block for someone else?
In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is teaching about our freedom or liberty as the NASB calls it. He says, as Christians, we have some liberty. But we must be careful how we exercise that liberty. He speaks specifically about the eating of food that has been sacrificed to idols.
He says that the food sacrificed to idols is nothing because there is no such thing as idols – that is, idols are nothing.
But, he says, because all men don’t have that knowledge and their conscience is defiled. So, he says in verses 8-9 “…food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.
But his warning comes next when he says in the 9th verse: “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” In other words – don’t be selfish-minded.
To bring this teaching to today’s world. Say you go to a restaurant for a good meal. The restaurant also happens to have a bar and serves alcoholic drinks. Your non-Christan neighbor or co-worker comes in and sees you there in a place that serves alcoholic beverages – he assumes you are there to imbibe. Well, thinks the neighbor, he thinks he is so much better than me because he is a Christian. I don’t see any difference.
Now, I am not saying we should never enter a place which serves drinks we might not approve of or order ourselves. The point is that what non-Christians sometimes see isn’t always – and should not be – what really is.
So, we must be careful that we do not become a stumbling block to someone who is not a Christian or to a new Christian – a babe in Christ – who in their early walk with Christ presents many challenges and temptations.
Paul admonishes us again in Romans 14:13 to not put a stumbling block in the path of a brother’s way, and in verse 21 to not do anything by which your brother may stumble.
Is there any doubt in your mind that it may be right or wrong?
Leave it to the Apostle Paul to have an answer to that one too.
Romans 14:23: “But he who doubt is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.”
If we are in doubt about a situation or an action, that action or situation should not be done.
Whatever we do must be done as an act of faith.
We must have a constant awareness of our relationship with God. Doing anything with doubt, and without faith that it is right, makes that act wrong.
Our answer to this one should cause us to view our behavior in a very serious manner. It cuts to the core of who we are and how we behave.
Here is the question: “Do you want to be doing this thing – whatever it is – do you want to be doing it when Jesus comes again to gather His people home?
This tells us that we must be careful to be a constant witness for Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back for a moment in closing to the Old Testament for a truthful statement in Judges 17:6 where it says: “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” And that very same verse is the last verse in the book of Judges.
The people of that day took idols with them to worship.
They were taking heathen wives.
They were doing what they decided was right in their own eyes.
They took their eyes off of God and allowed false idols to guide them and their behavior.
Any time we take our eyes off of God and His Son Jesus Christ we are asking for trouble.
There are probably many other questions we might ask about right and wrong. But, as we live daily in Christ and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the answers become clearer to us. And besides, the answers are all in the Book.