I Corinthians 8:1-11:1
Our society is obsessed with “rights,” aren’t we? The right to an abortion. The right to marry who I want to marry. The right not to look at a Confederate flag or a caricature of a smiling Indian on a baseball cap. We are so determined to exercise our “rights” we don’t care who we have to step on to get them.
Paul says if anyone has “rights” it’s a Christian. In 10:23 he tells us that for those of us redeemed by the blood of Jesus, “everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
The apostle tells us he willingly gives up his “rights” for the good of others. He gives example after example of this in the chapters we read today. He goes as far as to say, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (22b)
Not long ago I heard a preacher use that verse to promote contemporary worship. That is a twisting of this Scripture that makes me so angry. Paul is NOT talking about worship at all. What Paul is talking about is much harder than rocking to a few repetitive phrases in order to “experience worship,” or even to entice people into attending the service on Sunday.
Paul is talking about what you are going to do today to reach someone for Jesus’ sake. Paul is talking about investing yourself in the life of a non-believer, spending time talking about and doing the things that person enjoys. Paul is talking about giving up some of your rights in order to put that eternal soul ahead of your own comfort or desires
I don’t know where we got the idea that Jesus wants us to invite unsaved people to church. He never said that. In fact if you read the Bible you’ll see that the church needs to be restricted to believers for a very good reason.
What Jesus told us, and what Paul is demonstrating, is to get off the couch, let go of what you think you deserve, and BE the person that will make that non-believer want what you have in Jesus. Go, Jesus said. Make disciples. Think of others more important than yourself.
I know that takes effort and energy. It takes time and it’s not always convenient. But it’s not right for a Christian NOT to.