I’m a Christian, Can I ___? (Cornerstone)
Jul 30, 2017 - Rev Matt Tuggle
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Every day we are faced with various moral and ethical decisions. While many of these choices are seemingly small, there are other times when they can pose a dilemma for us. And we can find ourselves asking, “As Christians, how do we make choices that honor God's vision for our lives and the world?”
The good news is, we are not the first people to wonder if we are making the right choices. In the first century, the early church struggled with how to interact with culture in light of their new found faith in Jesus. This past weekend, Rev. Matt Tuggle talked about one particular struggle the Christian church faced in Corinth when they found themselves asking: "If I am a Christian, can I eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols?"
"The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not?" – 1 Corinthians 8:1 (The Message)
Now many of us today don't worry about if eating BBQ is threatening our relationship with God or our witness to salvation. However, we do face other situations which leave us in a similar dilemma. We have all filled in the blank to the question, "If I am a Christian, can I _____?" with something. Maybe you've wondered if you could listen to a certain type of music; participate in an activity with your peers; or condone a business deal or practice. The author of Corinthians, Paul, gave early Christians an effective framework for answering these questions: 1) love God and 2) love others. (Read all of 1 Corinthians chapter 8 to read Paul's instruction to the early church)
This framework, love God and love others, still works for us today in making moral and ethical decisions. When we are faced with choices and are not sure which decision is right and which is wrong, we need to look through these two lenses together to help us make our choice.
We start by determining if a certain decision honors our relationship with God and helps us to grow in our love of God. If it does, we are on our way to potentially making a good choice. But then, we also have to ask, does this decision honor my relationship with those around me and lead me to be a faithful witness to Christ in my sphere of influence. If the answer is yes, then we have the green light to move forward. However, if the answer is no, then we need to take a step back and tap the brakes.