God’s Will in Doubtful Situations — Part Two

 In the first chapters of 1 Corinthians, we see that Paul was facing serious problems with the church at Corinth. In light of those problems, Paul could have said, “Shame on you for writing to me about something as silly as meat, considering what is going on in the church. You ought to be worried about the immorality.” Paul does not do that. He operates on the basis of the need, addressing the problems that people face. He deals forthrightly with the principles first, the most important things.

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God’s Will in Doubtful Situations — Part Three

 Yesterday we studied Paul’s clarification concerning the nature of true Christian knowledge. Once Paul has made this important admonition, he plunges into the question itself. It is at this point that he begins to lay down some principles. The first is that an idol is nothing. The book of Isaiah uses the same words. In Isaiah God is challenging the idols of the heathen. Isaiah quotes God and says, “Look, here is a man who cuts down a tree. He uses half of it to build a fire and cook his food. The other half he dries out, carves an idol, then falls down and worships it” (Isa. 44:14-17, abridged). Have you ever heard anything as ridiculous as that?

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God’s Will in Doubtful Situations

 We wish that the Bible were clearer than it is. But the Bible is not written to specific individuals. Neither is it a book of rules. There are indeed some rules in it, but when we are talking about this matter of doubtful situations, the Bible does what the Bible should do. God treats us like the adult human beings he’s made us. The Bible does not give easy rules so that you can get off the hook simply by looking up your particular problem or question in the index. Rather, it lays down principles by which, if we are serious about the Christian life, we should live.

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God’s Will in Doubtful Situations — Part Four

 In yesterday’s lesson we saw that Paul urged the Corinthians to consider their brothers and sisters in Christ in how they used their freedom. Does this mean that nobody can ever eat meat that has been offered to an idol? No, Paul has just said he does not mean that. I am also certain he does not mean that these weaker brethren can use their weakness as a club over those who regard this as a matter of freedom in the Lord. If that were the case it would be a way of using a rear door back to legalism. You may say, “Well, I’m free.” Yes, you are. But, what if a brother thinks I ought not to be free?

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God’s Will in Doubtful Situations — Part Five

 In this week’s lesson we have seen that our freedom in Christ must take into consideration our weaker brother. This requires balance. All the way down through history the church has come up with tests to measure a person’s level of spirituality, and whenever that mindset becomes dominant, you get a false kind of spirituality. We do not want that. But at the same time, you often have people in the Church of Jesus Christ who swing to the other pole.

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Monday: An Offensive Text

It is a characteristic of the Christian religion that most of its doctrines are totally unacceptable to most men. Or, to put it another way, most of what the Bible teaches is offensive.

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Tuesday: Not All to be Saved

In yesterday’s devotional, we concluded by saying that the Bible teaches that not everyone will be saved. Moreover, among those who will not be saved are some who are so opposed to God’s truth that the Christian should have no dealings with them.

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Wednesday: Truth, Communion, and Church Membership

We said yesterday that the only prayer God will ever hear from an unbeliever is the prayer that asks for salvation. Moreover, isn’t this precisely what we have in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ? There are persons who think of Jesus as going about the countryside preaching the Gospel to everyone who would listen and telling them all about His kingdom. However, this is inaccurate. It is probably closer to the truth to say that Jesus was the most discriminating of all preachers in terms of what He taught and to whom He taught it.

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Thursday: Preaching the Gospel

Besides wrongly admitting people into church membership without a clear statement of faith, I am afraid, too, that there are many persons in our day for whom the Lord’s table has become a curse rather than a God-given blessing. For it has led many a person to think that he is right with God merely because he has followed some rite of the Christian religion.

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Friday: God’s Pearls

Now I have really dealt with the problem of spiritual discrimination, unpleasant as it may have been. But before we end this study we can note a few entirely different but very pleasant things suggested by the word “pearls.”

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