14: Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15: I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17: For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 18: Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19: What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20: But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21: Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22: Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 23: All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24: Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. 25: Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 27: If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28: But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: 29: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? 30: For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32: Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Now Paul appeals to the Corinthian believers to put aside their idolatry. Somebody might say hang on a minute, is Paul talking to Christians? Yes he is. Christians – though their sins are forgiven – still sin. Becoming a Christian does not mean that the Christian ceases from sin. In fact the Christian might become even more aware of sin - so it might appear that they sin more. Nobody became a Christian by ceasing to sin. And no Christian can say that he does not sin. The Christian has believed the Gospel and Christ has forgiven him of all his sin, past present and future. So the Christian lives in a constant state of fellowship with the Father. And when he sins and he will constantly sin - he is constantly restored to fellow by confession of his sin. The great besetting sin Paul deals with here is idolatry. Paul says the cup of communion is it not a visible expression of fellowship with Christ. And the bread we break is a visible expression of the body of Christ. The communion elements are not Christ actual blood and body, but they represent them. We are all one in the sense that we all partake of one loaf. Who are Israel in the flesh? But those partook of the sacrifices at the altar. The idol of a heathen temple in nothing, but those who offer sacrifices to idols, sacrifice to demons and not to God. We should not have fellowship with demons! How can you have fellowship with demons and Christ? You cannot partake of the Lords supper and also the demonic temples. Do not provoke the Lord to jealousy over his honour. Are you stronger than God? Everything is allowed for the Christian but not everything will be a benefit for him. Not everything will build him up. So let’s not only think about ourselves but also our brothers blessing. If you must eat food that has been offered to idols then eat it if you have a clear conscience. Don’t ask too many questions. All food in the earth belongs to the Lord. If you are invited to a feast then eat what is given you asking no questions for your consciences sake. However if a man says to you this is offered to an idol then don’t eat it so that you do not offend the conscience of the person telling you. Everything in the earth belongs to the Lord. Whatever you do whether you eat or drink or whatever else you do, do it to the glory of God. Try to not give offence to Jews or Gentiles or the Church of God. Be like me, I try to please all men in everything not looking to my own benefit but to the benefit of the many that they might all be saved.
- How does Paul describe the communion which we share as believers?
- What danger does Paul warn the believers of in relation to the Lords Supper?
- How should we try to live before God and our brethren?