Nehemiah 12:1-26; 1 Corinthians 10:25-33; Psalms 35:1-9; Proverbs 12:10
OT: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in everything, not seeking my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 CSB)
The city of Corinth was still a pagan city, with people actively offering animal sacrifices to pagan gods every day. Paul gave the Corinthian church some instructions for how to navigate buying food and eating food in that environment – where the meat that you bought in a market or the food offered to you as a guest could have been offered as a sacrifice to an idol. This passage referenced above got to the point of what Paul was communicating: how we treat food, how we treat drink, how we consider others… everything we do should be done in a way that brings glory to God. In bringing glory to God, we do everything possible to not offend anyone. Our primary goal as the people of God is not to defend and demand our rights and privileges, but to glorify God’s name and character, and preach and demonstrate the gospel of the Kingdom to as many as we can. If we go through life seeking our own benefit, we communicate a message that is contrary to the gospel and we present God in a defamatory way.
I can’t speak about the church in the rest of the world, but I can speak about the church in the United States. We have allowed “Christianity” in the U.S. to become synonymous with a political movement where we rally for conservative causes more than we proclaim the gospel of the kingdom – where we demand our rights more than we consider the needs and challenges of others – where we glorify our constitution more than we glorify the God of the word. We have forsaken Paul’s charge to give no offense, but instead post divisive and sometimes offensive statements because we have the right in America to say whatever we want to say. My pastor recently tweeted something that speaks to the current state of the church in America: “If the Church will repent and rise up now, the game changes. If the Church remains the same, the game is over. Nothing short of repentance, revival and reformation will do” (Pastor Dale Evrist). In rising up, we don’t rise up as a political force. We rise to meet the upward call that God has given to the Church through His Son Jesus Christ: to be the expression of the gospel of the Kingdom and the glory of God here on earth, to see souls saved and disciples made by giving our lives sacrificially in worship, just as Christ gave His life for us. Let us be the Church that God is building and do everything for the Glory of God and the good of others.
Prayer: Lord, Your upward call for me is to be an expression of the gospel of the Kingdom and a carrier of Your glory on earth. You have called me to do everything by Your grace for the glory of God and the good of others. Just as You lovingly and sacrificially gave Your life for my good and the glory of the Father, so I lovingly present my body as a living sacrifice of worship to You – dedicated for Your kingdom purposes and plans. My life is not my own. It belongs to You. Help me, by Your grace, to live according to Your call. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.