What does eating or abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, paying the pastor, and becoming weak for the weak and strong for the strong, and running a race for an imperishable prize have to do with each other? We'll see on Sunday when we open 1 Corinthians 8 and 9 in our series, "Messy Church: A Journey Through 1 Corinthians." But in the meantime, here are some things to think about.
First, do we eat food sacrificed to idols today? Is this like the little fat-guy statue with pennies on it at my favorite Chinese joint? Maybe. Could this be food I eat that's in line with the diet-gods I worship? Maybe. As we think about what was happening with the church in Corinth, it's helpful to ask what that means today. And what might it mean to be a stumbling block?
Next, should pastors get paid for their spiritual care of the flock? Some people say now. Some say yes. Some suggest something in between. God's Word has something to say about the topic because God views the call of the pastor important in your spiritual journey (See Ephesians 4).
What does it mean that Paul would become weak to the weak, strong to the stong, a Jew to the Jews, and a Gentile to the Gentiles? What does it mean to become all things to all people so some may get saved?
Finally, when so many of us are content to sit on the spiritual sofa, on our spiritual rear-ends, doing very little spiritually, Paul suggests we should be running a spiritual race for an imperishable prize. How do we reconcile this with our view of grace and sanctification? Why are so many unmotivated by the idea of an imperishable prize? What might the world look like if more Christians started living like Paul, running such a race?
This sermon will probably have a title that has something to do with running a race or something. Maybe. I'm not sure yet. There will likely be another post or two. We'll see as I work through this text. In any case, maybe these thoughts will encourage you to read the passage ahead of time and come ready to respond to the Lord. I hope you'll consider joining us on Sunday as we open God's Word to hear from Him. We meet at 11am. See you Sunday!
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman