1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Knowing worldly enemies does not always refer to other nations or their leaders, they can be a lot closer.
They can even be in our churches or in our own families.
If we are living in the heavenly will of God, our worldly enemies are the people in this world who follow the ways of the devil.
Think about it this way: the devil is the only one who relishes in violence and the shedding of blood; therefore, anyone who causes or supports the violence and bloodshed that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year in this world has made themselves enemies of the Lord, and thus our enemy.
There are many other things the people do that are not in the heavenly will of the Lord, so when we see these things, it becomes a way of knowing worldly enemies.
As we read Deuteronomy 18:14-22, letís see some of the other ways we come to knowing worldly enemies.
14. "For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.
This verse may sound a little confusing but listening to those who practice witchcraft and divination does not mean to do as they do; it means that we are to listen to their ungodliness, which is a vital part of knowing worldly enemies.
And Moses is telling us that the Lord has not allowed us to follow what our worldly enemies do, for He has set us apart from them so that we are really witnesses against them.
15. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
We are never to follow our worldly enemies, for the Lord will always raise up someone who is worthy of following, that is if we think that we need a righteous world leader, but we believe that we really donít need anyone but God to follow.
16. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, lest I die.'
We believe the people felt like this because they recognized the sin in their own lives and realized how far they were separated from God.
On the other hand, Moses also had sin in his life, but he also must have had a truly repentant heart that God accepted, but if the people wanted to, they could have done the same thing.
17. "And the LORD said to me, 'They have spoken well.
The Lord probably said this because He saw the unworthiness of the people, and perhaps they were like the worldly enemies that we are to recognize and avoid.
18. 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
Was God referring to Joshua?
Probably, but from what we are told next, He was most likely also referring to all the prophets who followed, up until the time of Jesus, because he never sinned.
19. 'And it shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
This is why we said, up until the time of Jesus, and Jesus was the last prophet in the Bible.
There have been others since Jesus, and they have all failed, and we donít believe that any of them was raised up by God.
20. 'But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'
And we believe that this has happened many times.
21. "And you may say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'
This is one of the things we can rarely tell immediately, so we are toldÖ
22. "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
There are many people who are true peacemaking children of God, who donít claim to be prophets, but who speak of things that they truly believe are in the heavenly will of God, such as living in such a way that we never intentionally cause any pain, suffering, or death here on earth, because these things donít exist in heaven.
But we should be afraid of those who advocate any form of violence or things that go against the teachings of Jesus.
Are we knowing worldly enemies?
Letís think about this as we look at Mark 1:21-28Ö
21. And they [Jesus and His followers] went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach.
Jesus was not one of the synagogueís usual teachers, and from what we are told, it sure doesnít seem like He was invited to teach.
So how was He received?
22. And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
This shows us that they recognized the truth.
23. And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24. saying, "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are ó the Holy One of God!"
Even though he knows the truth, and speaks the truth, his intent is to challenge the truth. So, what does Jesus do?
25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!"
This is an example of knowing worldly enemies.
26. And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him.
How did the people in the synagogue respond to this?
27. And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."
The very fact that they were debating about what was happening in their midst is proof that they lacked a true spiritual connection with God.
28. And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.
And we suspect that most of the news was limited to what Jesus did, and not about who He was.
Letís now think about knowing worldly enemies as we look at 1 Corinthians 8:1-13Ö
1. Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
We disagree with part of what Paul wrote, because not all knowledge makes arrogance.
Jesus was filled with knowledge, but it sure didnít make Him arrogant; it only emboldened Him in love, as we believe that any of us can do.
2. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;
We do not agree with the way that this was written or expressed or translated, for there is always more to learn and know, such as knowing that Jesus is Lord, and that animals feel pain and suffer.
And these truisms should be shared with others in love.
3. but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
Isnít this also knowledge?
4. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
This is also true, but we should also realize that most of these ďthingsĒ were once living animals who feel pain and suffer like we do, and want to live as much as we do.
And having this kind of knowledge and not wanting to end it is in our opinion, arrogant, for it is not in either love or the heavenly will of God for it is causing pain, suffering, and death.
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 are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
This is true, but He does not cause evil, even though at times He allows evil to exist in this world, which is the reason that we all need to be knowing worldly enemies, and we should not follow what they do.
So, if these people are doing anything against the heavenly will of God, they are enemies of God, which includes anyone who causes, inflicts, or supports anyone or anything that causes or inflicts pain, suffering, or death upon any other living being, and we are to recognize them and not have anything to do with them.
While this is all true, we believe it is all the more reason that we should strive to peacefully end all animal sacrifices, as well as what is happening to billions of so-called food animals today.
7. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
Again, any foods that come from animals, by the very nature of how that come to our tables, are against the heavenly will of God.
8. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.
If there are foods that come from animals, we disagree, and strongly believe that we are the worse for it, both morally and physically.
9. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
Paul seemed to imply that those who live in the heavenly will of God, are the weak people, which we believe is incorrect; they are the strong.
10. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?
We totally disagree with this, for true peacemaking children of God would never enter a place like this, even in Paulís day.
11. For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
No matter anything to the contrary, we should never be eating any animal products, and thus, we avoid ďruiningĒ anyone.
12. And thus, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
And by never eating foods that come from animals, we also are not sinning against Christ.
13. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.
This is a good reason not to eat meat, but not eating meat for ethical reasons is even better.
We believe that eating meat or other animal products makes it easy for the peacemaking children of God to see those who are not living in the heavenly will of God.
Itís a way of knowing worldly enemies.
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