Avoiding Idolatry, Glorifying God

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And even if it be true that I have erred, my error remains with myself. Job 19:4 ESV

I Corinthians 10:14-33

We live in a country that prides itself on our
However, freedom is neither good nor bad.
Some in our country make freedom their god.

The way we handle our freedom determines
whether it is good or bad.

We can use our freedom to break the law, hurt
others, hurt ourselves or we can use our freedom
to start a business, to build others up and fight for
the unborn.
Freedom is what we make of it.
But there are consequences for how we handle this

In the first 13 verses of I Corinthians 10 Paul warned his
audience about the dangers of idolatry and gave
examples from Israel’s past. The examples were to serve
as reminders to them so that the Corinthian believers
would not return to their idol worshiping past.

He continues the thought throughout the rest of the
chapter. Let’s take a look at vv.14-22.

I Corinthians 10:14-22

Paul urges the believers at Corinth to Flee Idolatry.

The word flee means to run away from (as in danger), to
avoid deliberately, to seek safety in flight.

Remember the context. In verse 13 Paul told them that
God would not let them be tempted beyond what they
could bear and that God always provides a way out.
Sometimes we have to be ready to run away from sin or
the temptation to sin.
So, here Paul is telling them to run from idolatry.
Get away from it, because it is dangerous.
An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our
The first commandment God gave the Israelites was to
have no gods before Him.

Alan Redpath writes this about Idolatry: “Our god
is the person we think is the most precious, for
whom we would make the greatest sacrifice, who
moves our hearts with the warmest love. He or it is
the person who, if we lost him, would leave us

The truth is that nothing compares to God.
He alone is worthy of our worship.

We should be fleeing from anything that takes our time
and attention away from Him.

Paul writes that he is speaking to sensible people, he is
appealing to their intelligence that they value so highly.

Then he gives them an illustration to consider.
He compares the participation in the Lord’s Supper to
eating food in the pagan temple sacrificed to idols.

Eat at the Correct Table

When believers observe the Lord’s Supper they are
participating in an act of worship. As we drink the cup,
and eat the bread we are in fellowship with Christ and
other believers.
We are agreeing that Christ’s blood was shed and His
body pierced and beaten for our forgiveness and
In the pagan temple, Paul admits that the idols mean
nothing, but eating in the temple is to sit at the table
with demons. The idols may not be real, but demons
surely are.
And Paul encourages the believers to flee from them.
He tells them they can’t sit at both tables.
It’s similar to what Jesus said, you can’t serve both God
and money. You will love one and hate the other. You
can’t have two masters.

Paul then asks a rhetorical question, should we provoke
the Lord to jealousy? Of course not. Are the strong
believers stronger than the Lord? No one is stronger
than the Lord. Pau’s advice is to avoid temple worship
and stick to worshiping the Lord and observing the Lord’s

Now, let’s take a look at the final verses of chapter 10.

I Corinthians 10:23-33

Paul provides two Constraints on Liberty.

Discernment – Believers are wise if they use
discernment before exercising their freedoms in Christ.
Even though something may be legal for them to do, it
isn’t always beneficial, or edifying as Paul writes.

Humility – as believers we aren’t supposed to be seeking
our own good, that is what we did before we received
Christ. Jesus modeled a life of humility and putting the
needs of others before ours. It’s a good thing to consider
how our actions will impact others.

Applications of Liberty

Then Paul shifts his focus to private meals.
He mentions the meat market first.

Meat Markets

Rabbis taught that Jews should make sure to inquire from
the meat market owners whether or not the meat had
been sacrificed to idols. Paul gives the Corinthian
believers the freedom to just go buy meat from the
market without concern for whether or not it was
sacrificed to idols or not. He quotes Psalm 24:1 that
everything in the earth belongs to God.

Next: Private Dinners

Paul gives Corinthian believers permission to eat
whatever is set before them if they decide to accept a
dinner invitation with unbelievers.
But there is one disclaimer. If there is another believer at
the meal and he points out that he is aware that the
meat being served was sacrificed to idols, Paul advises
against partaking in the meat.
It goes back to the two constraints on liberty.
Is this going to affect the weaker brother if I eat the
meat that was sacrificed to idols? If so, then don’t eat it.
Am I being humble by exercising my freedom to eat meat
sacrificed to idols? Humility is putting the needs of others
before your own.

Paul sums up the topic with the focal verse of the entire
chapter, verse 31. “So, whether you eat or drink, or
whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

This is basically the application for them and for us.


Glorify God
Eating or drinking is not the important thing.
What matters is loving God with all of our heart, soul
and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves
and pointing others to the truth of the gospel.

Jesus taught that the Greatest commandment was to
Love God and the second was like it, love your neighbor
as yourself.

He also commissioned all believers to share the good
news with unbelievers.
● We glorify God when we put Him first in our life.
● We glorify God when we put others’ needs above our
own even if it means missing out on liberties that we
● We glorify God when we are faithful to evangelism.