A Message From Pastor Margaret
A Message of Love from the Apostle Paul (From my sermon on January 31, 2021)
The month of February is a time to be
reminded of the love we have for others,
and to demonstrate that love in the
showing of care, and through the giving of
gifts, small or big, if one is able. It is therefore
a time to be focused more on the other,
than on ourselves, right? We have ample
opportunities during this month, not Just
February 14th, to show the care we feel
inside for those whom we love, especially
during this pandemic where all of us need
a little extra love and care. That could be
through a phone call, a flower or bouquet
of flowers, shoveling snow for someone
who needs help with that, and other little
things we know we can do for a loved one or a neighbor.
The Apostle Paul spends much time in the Book of First Corinthians focusing on love as a core aspect of Christian life. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4 – 8 he laid it out for us beautifully...
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies,
they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
In 1 Corinthians 8 v 1-13, our passage, he however, presents to us the contradiction of the love we ought to have as Christians, as described in Chapter 13, with the knowledge we possess, knowledge that can “puff” us up, instead of building one another up through love. In our passage he talks about a kind of knowledge that can impact our lives and the lives of others in different ways. Let us examine what that is, and what it means for us.
Let not My freedom Be a Stumbling Block for the Weak
Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians Chapters 8 – 10, is about the life we live as Christians, through the liberating act of God through Christ, and the reconciling relationship between God and humanity. We have
been freed from the burden of our sins through the cross and have received the salvation, which is a gift of life, free to live without judgment from God, but in relationship with God. In Christ, we have been freed from a legalistic way of life where many transgressions would be punishable, even through death under OT laws. We have received the gift of forgiveness for our sins, which is a sign of God’s love, grace and generosity.
We must remember though, that all this freedom we have as Christians must be placed “under the discipline of Christian love for the building up of the Church of Christ," says Herman Ridderbos in his book, "Paul, An Outline of His Theology." In Chapter 8 verse 1, Paul talks to the church in Corinth about the knowledge -- gnosis in Greek -- which puffs up, but love that builds up. It is possible to use the knowledge they have as Christians for their own individualistic interests, which then manifests itself in the choices they make such as eating the food that had been sacrificed to idols. In doing so, they may view themselves as strong and are able to do the things that seemingly may not harm their relationship with God, however the things they do that are ok for them, may be the same things that would be difficult to handle.... (continue reading)