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Navigating the Tension in Christian Freedoms

There are many areas in life that the Bible doesn’t specifically speak to. It addresses the general principle but often doesn’t give us a specific blueprint to navigate every ethical dilemma. These are gray areas known as areas of Christian freedom. In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul gives us an example of how he advised on one of these issues and a template for us to follow today.


  • Chapter 8: Eating food sacrificed to idol
  • Chapter 9: Principle guiding his teaching on eating food sacrificed to idols and idolatry
  • Chapter 10: Idolatry

Big Idea from last week: Willingly forfeit your rights for the sake of the gospel.


1 Corinthians 8:1–13

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?

30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Knowledge without love makes you a jerk (1 Cor. 8:1-3)

What they Know: Other gods don’t exist so food sacrificed to them means nothing. (1 Cor. 8:4-6, 8)

How to act around others who don’t know what you know: Give up your right for their conscience. (1 Cor. 8:7, 9-13)

Big Idea: Willingly forfeit your rights so as not to cause your brothers and sisters in Christ to sin. 


  1. Is it wrong?
  2. Is it the wise thing to do?
  3. Is my decision causing others to sin?

Examples of Issues:

  1. Holloween
  2. Alcohol
  3. Tattoos
  4. Smoking
  5. Political Parties