Known by God

1 Corinthians 8:1-4 

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

Feels like Christmas

         When it snows, do you feel like it is Christmas? Normally during Christmas time, we see online pictures of families wear matching sweater, right?

         And have you observed husband and wife with matching color of clothes when they attend church? Does that prove a unified mindset of married couples?

         Unified mindset of husband and wife practically proves they’re one in spirit. As intimacy between husband and wife grows deeper, love for each other grows stronger as well. The intimacy of relationship between husband and wife is the nearest practical comparison to intimacy of our relationship with the Lord. As intimacy of relationship with God gets stronger, knowledge of him increases also.

         Have you pondered upon how much you know God? Knowledge of God Almighty exhibits the amount of faith in him. Faith in God is shown on frequency of obedience to him. Frequency of obedience to God reveals knowledge of him. As we know more about God, we trust him more; we obey and love him more.

         Together, let’s meditatively reflect on what it narrated in John 21:15-17,

            15Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

         It was exemplified to Peter that love for Christ is manifested in obedience to a mission purpose he gives us. Have you discovered your mission purpose?

Jesus asked Peter the third time, “Do you love me?” Peter was hurt. Why?

At that moment, his love for Jesus originated from human instinctive kind of love. In the third time, Peter acknowledged eventually that Jesus intellectually knows all things; he confessed also that Jesus knows intimately, that Peter loved him.

We need to be filled with his Holy Spirit to have intimate love for Christ.

After Apostle Peter was filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he advised in

2 Peter 1:5-9 5Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

         Remember always: Godly commands can only be obeyed with godly effort.

       Always pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit and learn to obey Christ faithfully.

         Anyone may assume that they know God intellectually. Well, is it the same as know God intimately? No! Intimate knowledge of God inspires obedience to him. As we frequently obey God, relationship with him becomes intimate. And as we rely more upon his Holy Spirit, godly love for the family of God will increase also, so that, we edify, teach, encourage and strengthen each other. Amen!

1.  Strengthen

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 

         The term “Builds Up presents an idea of constructing high rise building that requires strong foundation. Christ is the strong foundation of the church, and his Holy Spirit produces love in us to build us up and strengthen us, his church.

Some intellectuals may assert that it is not helpful testimony for Christians to eat food sacrificed to idols. Will you gladly attend, if non-Christian officemates, classmates, relatives or friends invite you to traditional or cultural festivals?

Will you eat without hesitation the food they may serve at cultural festivals?

In the church of Corinth, there was confusion about food sacrificed to idols.

And Apostle Paul said, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” What did he imply with that? Some leaders in the Corinthian church may have been invited to cultural festivals, and they ate food sacrificed to idols. When they were confronted, they may have arrogantly justified what they did. Their rationale or logic may have disregarded the belief of other believers with Jewish background.

Reflect on what Apostle Paul warned Christians with Gentile background in

Romans 11:17-21, 17You, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Crabapples Apples

         Do you like Crabapples? Crabapples trees persist in extreme cold weather. In Canada market, you may find Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala or McIntosh apple trees, but they are grafted into Crabapple rootstocks to withstand Canada cold weather.

         Grafted branches get nourishment from the rootstock they are grafted into and produce fruit of their kind. But if Fuji Apple branch is not properly attached or grafted into a Crabapple rootstock, the grafted Fuji Apple branch will die; but the Crabapple rootstock grows Crabapple branches that produce Crabapple fruits.

         Christians with Gentile background or Christians with Jewish background, we’re all dependent on Christ for spiritual nourishment. For us to grow spiritually, we have to be strongly attached and be intimately in fellowship with Christ. The Lord nourishes us spiritually to produce spiritual fruits, and we make disciples. How? We follow his instructions and not motivated by human instinctive argument.

In the church of Corinth, Greek intellectuals might arrogantly argued what they supposed as proper practice of faith while Jewish believers argued on their belief of food sacrificed to idols. Both Greek intellectuals and Jewish believers might argue what they considered as right practice, and new believers who heard their argument were confused. The church in Corinth had problem of division.

If they’re still young in their faith in Christ, it’s common for new believers to be confused of which one is proper practice of faith in Christ. When we’re caught in a situation where our practice of faith could be challenged, we seek inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We should not let human instinctive arguments provoke us.

We should not justify careless action that may cause confusion to others. May the love of God edify and strengthen fellow believers through us. Together, let’s seriously reflect on what it says on 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

         During discussion about our faith in Christ, spiritual growth should be basic consideration. How is that! We share lesson we personally learned from practice of faith in Christ; we testify of transformational work of Christ in our life. We build each other up spiritually. And so, we should not think or suppose otherwise!

2.  Suppose

Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.

         The term “think” is properly interpreted as “opinion, estimate, judgment or personal supposition what seem to be.” We can readily agree together that human supposition or opinion about spiritual matters has limitation. Assumption, opinion or estimate can never attain or access to spiritual objectives of the Lord.

         Someone argued, “I’m just human to commit mistakes.” True! We all have mistakes. As the Holy Spirit guides us, we reconcile God to potential believers. We pray that the Holy Spirit of God may gather potential believers to his church.

Let us reflect what Apostle Paul had implored us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20:

17If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling  the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

         On the premise that we become new creations in Christ, we could agree now that we represent Christ in reconciling God to potential believers. How could we behave as representatives or ambassador of Christ before others? We have to depend on Christ always and not on our suppositions or human arguments. In our spiritual battles; we go to war with Christ, not with anyone we cannot trust.


         When King Saul tried to kill David, he escaped to the city of Gath and lived among the Philistines. Achish the king of Gath trusted David. But during the battle between Israel and the Philistines, the Philistine commanders asked King Achish in 1 Samuel 29:3-4, 3“What about these Hebrews?” Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.” But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men?” 

         The Philistines commanders doubted David, why? They supposed that David may take advantage of the situation to regain favor from King Saul. Well, the Lord may have caused the Philistines commanders to doubt David because later on when David and his men returned home, they found out that their town was burned down; their wives and children were taken captives by raiders.

         David and his men may have wished to prove their loyalty to King Achish, but the Lord had better plan. They’re able to rescue their family from Amalekite raiders because God had prevented them from unnecessary sacrifice for nothing.

3.  Sacrifice

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.” 

First of all, what is an idol or false god? The God of the Bible is the only true God. Other gods are false gods; idols are fake gods. The God of the Bible created everything in heaven and on earth. He created humans, animals, plants, wood, metal or clay but, mankind makes false gods out of wood, metal or clay.

Mankind fabricates and repurposes into idol fake gods the things that the true God created. Idols are simply decorations without power, voice or hearing; fake gods cannot see; they cannot walk; they cannot move on their own effort.

So, how could we explain to children or ordinary listeners when it declares that, “An idol is nothing at all in the world?” An idol cannot do anything because it has no life at all; it cannot respond; it has no initiative; it cannot move. So, it is useless to sacrifice to an idol because you get nothing in return for your sacrifice.

In comparison, the true God created everything before he created human.

Together, let us reflect on what it narrated in Genesis 1:24-26, 24God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

When God Almighty said it, everything was created just as he designed it.

The Lord God Almighty prepared everything before he created mankind. Of course, it is by faith to believe that it happened just as it narrated in the Bible. The love of God is awesome; even before we were yet to be born in this world, God had prepared everything we needed. How strong can you believe that?


         Can you believe that God prepares everything you need before he tells you to do something? Think about Noah when God told him to build an ark. It took 100 years for Noah to build the ark. Then God told him to bring pairs of creatures into the ark. If you were Noah, how do you gather wild animals?

         Together, let us personally reflect on what it narrated in Genesis 7:13-16:

13Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 1They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.

         Noah did not try to catch every wild creature in the forest. The creatures were going in, and Noah was just watching the process. Do you believe in true God who told Noah to build the ark? Do you accept that God caused creatures to enter the ark that Noah built? Do you believe that there was really great flood?

         Seriously reflect on what the Lord Jesus Christ warned in Luke 17:26-27,

26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

         As we celebrate the Lord Supper, we are reminded to proclaim the gospel until Christ returns. As we look forward to his return, pray for increase of faith and godly wisdom and knowledge of Christ. Do your best effort to know deeper about God, and you’ll grow strong in your confidence that you live in heaven forever.

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