PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

06/22 1 Corinthians 10:31 All to the Glory of God; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20140622_1cor10_31.mp3

1 Corinthians 10 [SBLGNT]

31 Εἴτε οὖν ἐσθίετε εἴτε πίνετε εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε, πάντα εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ ποιεῖτε.

1 Corinthians 10 [ESV2011]

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

We are studying our way through the New Testament letter of 1 Corinthians. We are at 1 Corinthians 10:31.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. The glory of God is central to the bible and the Christian life. The centrality of the glory of God in all of life was one of the foundational principles of the Protestant Reformation. The 5 Sola’s of the Reformation are Sola Scriptura,” “Sola Gratia,” “Sola Fide,” “Solus Christus,” and “Soli Deo Gloria.” Our standard for truth is Scripture alone; we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone and for the glory of God alone. In 1996, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals reaffirmed the five Sola’s in their Cambridge Declaration this way:

Thesis One: Sola Scriptura
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.


Thesis Two: Solus Christus
We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Thesis Three: Sola Gratia
We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

Thesis Four: Sola Fide
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria
We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

–The Cambridge Declaration; the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; April 20, 1996

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Today I would like to seek to better understand what the glory of God is, how we can do everything we do to the glory of God, and to look carefully at this verse in its context in 1 Corinthians 10 to be sure we are understanding it correctly.

What Is The Glory of God?

So first, what is the glory of God? Dictionary.reference.com defies glory as:

glo·ry [glawr-ee, glohr-ee] (dictionary.reference.com)

Noun, plural glo·ries.

1. Very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown: to win glory on the field of battle.

2. Something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride: a sonnet that is one of the glories of English poetry.

3. Adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving: Give glory to God.

4. Resplendent beauty or magnificence: the glory of autumn.

5. A state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity.

God’s glory is his honor, distinction, dignity, splendor, magnificence, excellence, renown, majesty, fame. He is worthy of admiration, adoration, worship, praise, thanksgiving.

God says in Isaiah:

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

So God’s glory is identified with his praise, with the character and reputation of his name. God claims that his glory is absolutely unique. No other being is like God, all powerful, all knowing, all wise, eternal, unchanging, everywhere present, perfectly good and holy, just and true, overflowing with mercy, grace and love. God’s glory is the sum of all his excellencies. The Old Testament word for glory means something like heavy or weighty, he has gravity, he is awesome. The glory that belongs to him is exclusively his. No one else is like him. No one else will ever share his glory. Idolatry is an offense because men take the praise, the admiration, the honor that belongs exclusively to God and bestow it on an unworthy imitation.

The claims of Jesus are all the more staggering in light of the fact that in the Old Testament God said he would not give his glory to another. Jesus said

John 8:54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’

John 17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus, claiming to possess the exclusive glory of the Father is claiming to be one with his Father. The glory that is the sum of the excellencies of God belongs to the triune God; Father, Son and Spirit. Hebrews 1:3 says of the Son

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, …

How Can We Glorify God?

God is inherently and eternally glorious. So how can we humans, part of God’s creation, do anything to the glory to God? If God, in the absolute perfection of every attribute or characteristic he possesses, is inherently glorious, we cannot add to or increase his glory. How can we possibly ‘do all to the glory of God’? Let’s go back to our definition of glory to help us understand. Dictionary.com defined glory as “1. Very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown.” We cannot add to the dignity, value and worth of the very being of God. We can only recognize him as such. And we can invite others to acknowledge him for who he is in all his glory. When we humans by common consent begin to recognize God in all his glory, when we begin to savor his goodness, his manifold perfection, when we enjoy him for who he is in his being, his personality, his characteristics, then we are bringing him glory. When we receive with gratitude blessings from his hand, we live to the glory of God.

Two practical ways we can live to the glory of God: first, we need to get to know him, to grow in our understanding of who he is and what he has done. Deepen in our appreciation for him. Enjoy him. Receive from him. Second, we can invite others to know him. Tell others about him. Recruit others to worship our all-worthy God. We live to the glory of God when we know him and make him known.

Negative Examples

Sometimes negative examples help to clarify more than positive examples. What does it look like to not live to the glory of God?

Consider an Old Testament illustration. In Daniel 5, Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, threw a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and he took the golden vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem and they drank wine from them. God wrote on the wall ‘you have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.’ Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, and he reminded the king of how his father had been humbled.

Daniel 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21…until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

You have not humbled yourself before the Most High God, you have not acknowledged his rule, you have lifted up your heart in pride, you have not honored the one true God. Instead, you have praised silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, stone, worthless imitations.

Or consider Romans 1.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

People suppress the truth about God, his invisible attributes, his eternal power, his divine nature, they do not honor God as God or give thanks to him. They exchange his glory for cheap imitations. This is what Paul means when in Romans 3:23 he says ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ They fail to live to the glory of God. They fail to know him and make him known.

1 Corinthians 10:31 in Context

Now that we have explored what it means to live to the glory of God and what that looks like, let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 10 and look at this verse in context, to get the full flavor of its meaning. Paul, in chapters 8-10, is dealing with the issue of idolatry and the participation of believers in pagan temple feasts. In chapter 6 he dealt with the issue of sexual immorality in the church, and where the Corinthians claimed ‘all things are lawful’ (6:12), Paul concluded ‘flee from sexual immorality’ (6:18). ‘The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord’ (6:13). ‘You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.’ (6:19-20).

In chapters 8-10, where the Corinthians were claiming that ‘an idol has no real existence’ (8:4) and ‘all things are lawful’ (10:23), Paul warns that ‘if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died’ (8:10-11). He encourages us by his own example to be willing to surrender our rights for the good of others and the sake of the gospel (9:15-23). He uses the example of Israel to warn of the danger of those who ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink, who then sat down to eat and drink before the bull idol (10:1-11). He points out the demonic powers behind the idolatry, and he warns of the absolute incompatibility of eating and drinking at the table of the Lord, participating in the body and blood of Christ, and eating and drinking at the table of demons (10:14-22). He concludes ‘Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry’ (10:14). Then, in 10:23-11:1, Paul addresses practical issues of buying meat from the market and eating at an unbelieving friend’s house. This food may have been offered in sacrifice to a false god, but because ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’ (10:26), even if the food had once been offered to idols, it still belongs to God. His instruction is ‘eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience’ (10:25), and ‘eat whatever is set before you (at an unbeliever’s house) without raising any question on the ground of conscience’ (10:27). He welcomes us to ‘partake with thankfulness’ (10:30). But he cautions that this freedom to eat whatever must be tempered by ‘let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor’ (10:24). He concludes ‘so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (10:31). Seeking the good of your neighbor, seeking the advantage of the many so that they may be saved (10:33) is the way to glorify God in eating or not eating, drinking or not drinking, doing whatever you do.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

If you buy meat in the market, if you are invited to an unbeliever’s home for a meal, if you eat, if you drink, eat and drink with thanksgiving to God for his abundant blessing. If by your eating you would cause a weaker brother to violate his conscience and sin, and so sin against Christ, God cannot be glorified in that. You are saying that the piece of meat is more important, more valuable than your brother, more valuable than the sacrifice of Christ. Eating and drinking at a pagan temple would glorify the false god being honored there, and you cannot give glory to the one true God and a false god.

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Value that which is most valuable. Meat, wine, all good gifts from the hand of God, to be received with thanksgiving. But the greatest blessing is not the gift but the Giver. Show by your life, that in everything God is most valuable.

Isaiah 55 says:

Isaiah 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 ​Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

He who is thirsty, come! He who is hungry, come! Come to to the one who alone can satisfy. Eat what is good. Delight yourselves in rich food. God says ‘come to me, listen to me, I will satisfy your soul.’ Drink deeply of God, delight yourself in the Lord, feast at the bounty of his table freely provided to all who will come, enjoy the rich benefits purchased for you by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and as you delight yourself in the Lord, as you enjoy all that he is, you demonstrate his goodness, his ability to satisfy, you make much of him, you bring glory to him.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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June 23, 2014 - Posted by | 1 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , ,

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