Jul 19, 2013


Commentator NT Wright talks about how some birds like sparrows seem to spend all their time on small scale activities: they make nests, grub for food, and squawk. Others seem to spend all day soaring in a grand, wide-ranging and majestic manner. He goes on to say that some Bible teachers may be more like one or the other: some are all nuts and bolts, practical and detail oriented and others are more overarching, big general truths sometimes even vague platitudes. Paul is both and eagle and a sparrow, though. He zooms in on the street level and then zooms back at out the end so you can get the Google Earth view as well. And that’s what I actually want to draw out today. 

As we hear these verses read to us, please keep in the forefront of your mind 1 Corinthians 10:31 – this verse’s theology is really the focus of all the New Testament writings, indeed, the focus of the whole of Scripture. This verse encapsulates the whole of good Reformation theology as well as its theological heirs. This is even the focus of heaven itself: to do all things for the glory of God. Here’s what 1 Corinthians 10:31 says,So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

We’re going to read through our passage and see how Paul applies this key principle. But as we unpack these details, please keep in mind that everything we discuss in these verses today arises directly from the biblical mandate that (in the words of Colossians 3:17) “whatever we do, whether in word or deed, we are do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  This means all of life is to be lived for His name sake, His glory, His purpose, His honor, for God and God alone. With these things in mind, let us go to the Lord in prayer to prepare our hearts for the reading and preaching of his Word from 1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1.

                                    1 Corinthians 10:23-24 and 10:32
                                                           Application of Principle 1: 1 Corinthians 10:28-29a


The Corinthian Meat Market seems to have been located along the Lechaeum Road, traveling just north just off the city center. We have found the ruins of the fish market (
Fish scales have also been recovered), N of the Roman basilica. Corinth’s meat market was mentioned on a fragment of a Latin inscription on a stone found near the Lechaeum Road. The dedicatory inscription reads: [names of the benefactors] built this macellum...and piscarium (fish house).  In Pompeii, immediately adjacent to the macellum is a storage pen for animals. Had these animals been sacrificed, the priest's portion (the shoulders) would have been missing. 

possible gods w/shrines, sanctuaries or temples being adored in Corinth:
-Demeter (of the field) - Dining rooms in lower half, cult areas (sacrificial pit, etc) upper
-her daughter Kore (ancient Greek fertility cult), on an incline on N slope of Acrocorinth
-maybe Dionysus/Bacchus (to the Romans)
-probably Apollo
- Shrine found to the Egyptian goddess Isis
-Egyptian deity Sarapis. In stories he offered help to followers, mixture of Egyptian and Greek
-the cults of the dead
-the cults of the heroes (eg, Hercules)
-the Roman domestic religion, including the imperial Cult
-offerings (clay models of body parts) to ASCLEPIUS, god of medicine/healing. Spas/temples
-Famous temple to the erotic Aphrodite, w/ temple prostitutes
-Temple to Poseidon, god of the sea

“Place religion at the heart of social life as surely as it must be placed at the heart of cultural activities of every sort. For most people, to have a good time with their friends involved some contact with that God who served as guest of honor, as master of ceremonies, or as host in the porticoes or flowering, shaded grounds of his own dwelling. For most people, meat was a thing never eaten and wine to surfeit never drunk save as some religious setting permitted. There existed – it is no exaggeration to say it of all what the fairly rich – no formal social life… that was entirely secular. Small wonder, then, that Jews and Christians brackets [held] themselves aloof from anything the gods touched… Source: Ramsey MacMullen, Paganism, p40 from B. Witherington III

-Paul does ban taking part in sacrificial feasts in the temple
-He does not ban eating in the restaurant connected to the temple but prefers they not
-He does not ban eating the meat sold in the market
-He does not ban eating at someone’s house however … 1 Cor 8:1-13 and then 10:23-11:1, a non-cultic context but even then, abstain if need be b/c Idols are not real but perceptions of them are and so are the demonic forces which lie behind false religious systems

the wine would almost certainly be offered in the name of Dionysus and the gods were often sung to or honored in other ways – thanks to the god for the food, for example. Maybe a Christian could pronounce a different name over the cup – Jesus?

Ancient invitations
- Not from Rome, from Egypt
-“Antonius son of Ptolemaus invites you to dine with him at the banquet of the lord Sarapis in the house of Claudius Sarapion on the 16th from the ninth hour.”                                             -“Appolonius invites you to dine at the table of the lord Serapis on the occasion of the approaching coming of age of his brothers at the temple of Thoeris”
-“The god calls you to a banquet being held in the temple of Thoeris tomorrow from the 9th hour.”         
-“The [city officials] invite you to dine at the temple of Demeter today, which is the 9th, at the 7th hour.”

-Dining invites: birth, adolescence, political advancement, marriage, death and entertainment. withdrawl in a certain situation could present a positive opportunity to talk about the gospel, especially in light of the Greco-roman after dinner table talk. Or it could lead to social isolation.
failure to do so could result in these things:
-compromise their monotheistic confession
-confirm rather than challenge their friend’s idolatrous assumptions
-endorse idolatry and hence, demons

3 principles about the gray areas:

-what is safe for one Christian may not be for another
-discernment takes knowledge AND love
-we shouldn’t demand our right if it hurts others

why? REASON - 10:24 – “do not seek the good of yourself but the good of the other” or
paraphrased as “not my good but your good be done” ... Matthew 22:39


What Jesus has done is why we are free in the first place.
what has he done? How are we free? So what? How can one become free?
Galatians 6:2 and G
alatians 5:13
Principle 2: “ALL THINGS are for God’s Glory”                    - 1 Corinthians 10:25-26 and 10:31
    • Application of Principle 2
      • 1 Corinthians 10:27 (implies we can and may eat with non-believers, sharing social settings with them)
10:26 flows from his doctrine of creation (1 tim 4.4) and God’s sovereignty (1 cor 8.6)
Here cites Psalm 24.1, like Acts 10.15… see Psalm 89:11

1 Timothy 4:3–5
and Colossians 2:16

“Paul is thoroughly Jewish and biblical in his understanding that creation is good and that the food we receive has been provided for us by God and should be received with thanksgiving and with the understanding that food, like everything else in creation, exists to fulfill the purpose God has in mind for it, namely, his glory. As far as the Christian is concerned, whatever food is found in the market is part of God’s gracious provision should be thankfully received as such.”
SOURCE: Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, Pillar Commentary, pg. 489.

Luke 10:8
and1 Corinthians 9:22


As a result, "do not judge on the basis of your συνείδησις" means: do not look at all the stuff you can get at the market from your own personal moral code but from God's perspective, because the earth is the

We do not need to hold to Kosher food laws as in Judaism. We also do not need to be concerned about the food laws of Islam, 7th Day Adventism or Roman Catholicism. We also do not want these folks think we are identifying with their beliefs if we do hold to these laws however that does not mean we would throw our Christian freedom in their face.

Now most of this discussion is about not allowing any pagans to think you identify with their false beliefs or causing weaker Christians to have a moral crisis. In the previous section there was much talk about not having a lax attitude towards idolatry because arrogance can lead to spiritual compromise. But I think when we add in the discussions from 1 Corinthians 8 and especially  9, we can perhaps make some application about our behavior towards outsiders in these matters.

For example, I have had some Muslims in my house. My wife and I have served them food. We have went out of our way to serve them things they would find culturally and even religiously acceptable so as to avoid needless offense. I have also eaten at a popular local spot with some of my Middle Eastern friends at a place called Zam Zams. Muslim own and frequent the spot and its name is based on a Koranic legend about a magical well called the ZamZam Well. The Muslims I speak to do not think I believe the legend because I eat at the restaurant, rather they are glad to know that I have been to some of the places they like. Similarly, the Muslims who have come over do not think Islam is right – I make sure they know otherwise – but I have tried to remove needless roadblocks so that I may witness to them better. I also make sure they know I do not do this because I believe it helps me find favor in God’ s sight – it does not. Yet, these acts can show Christian love and give us a chance to speak about Christ’s grace and mercy and how dietary restrictions do not earn merit with the one true and living God.

Also See Romans 14:7; 1
4:14; 14:15; 14:19; 14:20; 14:23; 15:2; 15:3 

II.                     ALL THINGS are for God’s Glory”               
            1 Corinthians 10:33-11:1                   (see 1 Corinthians 29b-30)

(10:29-30 – “I have freedom in Christ – and I defend that right to my freedom -
b/c ALL THINGS are God’s for His glory  but I limit it b/c ALL THINGS should build up others”)
or, to put it another way “Christian liberty must be moderated by Christian charity”

PAUL 1 Thessalonians 1:6
; 2 Thessalonians 3:7–9
The Corinthian slogan 10:23 (and 6:12) vs. Paul’s slogan 10:31

Panta exestin ‘all things are lawful’
 - Ou panta sympherei - not all things are helpful
Panta exestin ‘all things are lawful’
- Ou panta oikodomei - not all things build up
Panta exestin ‘all things are lawful’
Panta eis doxan theou  - ‘all to the glory of god’                                                                        

 “Nothing can make a person like Christ more than caring for one’s neighbors”
– John Chrysostom homilies on Corinthians 25.3

JESUS - Philippians 2:4
- Like the suffering servant in Isaiah 53.11-12

Challenging applications for today:    

-Christianity must affect your social life

It should not look identical to the world’s. you may have to sacrifice. Certain club settings, certain bars, certain concerts, certain casinos … And if you are a Christian living in the East, say in India or Hong Kong, this is still a very live issue with almost a one to one correlation. Many weddings would be given in the name and honor of gods … this may affect how some of us here should think about such things as Day of the Dead ceremonies. To some folks, it’s just a time where families get together and eat. In others, maybe they remember their family members who have dies – ok. But in more traditional cultures, especially in Latin america, these times can take on another level of significance in people’s minds that borders directly on the occult – you better think about this! -2 dangers – syncretism and separatism but …

CONSIDER: we shouldn’t ask how far can I go but rather what are my motives?
Challenging Questions for us to ask ourselves today?

-Have we thought long and hard about the places we go and the events we are part of – have we sincerely asked if they can be done as to the glory of God?
Remember, sin can not be to the glory of god since God commands against it – this is why in the Corinthian correspondence things like idolatry, sexual immorality, drunkenness and the like are all condemned.

-Do we even consider our brothers and sisters in Christ when we decide what we are going to do
where we are going to go, how we are going to do it, and what we invite them to?
This consideration must include the strong and the weak as well as those of differing backgrounds (Paul mentions Jews and Gentiles both). We must consider the affect it has on them.

-Do we consider how what we do appears to the non-believer?
What are their thoughts on the matter? What is the common cultural consensus about it and if we act cavalier in this regard, could it potentially look as if we are endorsing pagan notions about reality in any way? Could our actions in these matters end up being an impediment to the non-believer in that it could even hinder them from becoming a Christian? We must imitate the apostle in this matter!

-Is everything we do to the glory of God in a serious way?
Not just lip service but for real … are there things we are involved in which we know are not honoring to him – perhaps they do not build up others or present a poor witness – things which maybe lawful but not profitable?

-Have we thought about how our eating and drinking are to be done in a way that does bring glory to God?
What about other key areas … how can our vocation bring glory to God – we must execute these actions in a way that does bring him glory!

-Do we even care about bringing God glory in a sincere manner or are we more concerned about our liberty to do what we want to –
do we even care about building up others and not needlessly offending them? or are we more interested in demanding our rights and our freedom? If so, we need to change, we need to repent!Are we willing to say this from 1 Corinthians 8:13?

CLOSING -1 Peter 4:11

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