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Do Everything for the Glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:29b-11:1
For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (NIVUK)

The Apostle Paul faced all kinds of criticism from people who did not understand his motives. The issue of how to deal with the problem of meat which had been offered to idols, had polarised the church. That is why Paul spent so much time in this letter helping the church to understand what was important and how to be caring of others whose consciences were troubled (1 Corinthians 8:1-13, 10:14-33).
However, Paul's purpose was not to lay down a set of laws about religious behaviour. He wanted the church to understand how to encourage each other, and not drag each other down, because the glory of God and the gospel was at stake. Different approaches may be necessary to help people from different backgrounds to understand the gospel, but such variations should not cause division (1 Corinthians 12:25). Paul tried hard not to blunt the impact of the gospel by unnecessarily offending people's culture of conscience; and he encouraged the Corinthian church to follow his lead.
Paul's objective was for as many people as possible from every cultural background to accept the gospel, believe in Jesus and be saved. Paul was willing to do whatever was necessary for that to happen, even if those who did not appreciate his motives criticised him. He was not pursuing his own glory but God's (Philippians 2:11). Paul did not want to receive any benefit for himself; he wanted many other people to come to know Jesus Christ and be saved.
And yet the Christian Church through the ages has been plagued by people who do not have a gospel agenda. They are interested in their power in the church, or the comfort that comes in the absence of a challenge to change. They cheerfully criticise their church leaders; and yet have little care for the millions who are still outside of Christ, dead in their sins and heading for a Christless eternity. So, stop criticising others and get on with the gospel work God has given you to do, where you live and work. Make every effort to ensure that your relationships with others encourage them to desire Jesus and take every opportunity to bring them to Christ, and give glory to God.

Gracious God. Thank You for the people who helped me to know how much You have loved me. Forgive me for criticising those who work hard to share the gospel and give me a new heart which is willing to reach out to people who are different than me, in ways which they will understand. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams