Jump Start # 2594
1 Corinthians 8:7 “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.”
Our passage today uses the word “accustomed.” That’s not an everyday expression for us. We use the words, “familiar” or, “use to,” or even, “habit.” The Corinthian Gentiles were once idol worshippers. That’s what they knew. That was very familiar to them. Eating meats that had been sacrificed to an idol, took them back to the way they once worshipped. They couldn’t make the distinction that meats offered to an idol meant nothing. It did to them and it hurt their faith.
They were accustomed to the idol. They were use to idol worship. It was all very familiar to them. Many years ago, I was visiting with a guy whose house was right beside a train track. As we were talking, a train went by. The house shook. I was shouting because it was so loud. When the train passed, I asked him if that bothered him. His reply, “I don’t even notice it anymore.” My insides were shaking. He had gotten familiar with it. He was use to it. He didn’t even notice. Boy, I did.
There are three things that we should never get use to. We don’t want to become so familiar that they do not bother us.
First, is sin. This is a hard one to deal with. Years in sin can make us callous and insensitive to what is wrong. We can become so accustomed to wrong that we don’t notice it and it doesn’t even bother us. This is especially true of certain words. Curse words. Taking God’s name in vain. It’s everywhere. It’s in music. It’s in the movies. Friends and family talk that way. Fewer and fewer “bad” words are being censored out these days. And, being so accustomed to them, they can pass right by us and we don’t even notice. You see this especially when someone is recommending a movie to you. They might say, “There’s a couple of bad words, here and there, but it’s really a clean movie.” So, you go. You are shocked at all the language. How could they have missed that? How could they have said there was only a couple of bad words here and there? They have become accustomed to bad language and they don’t notice it.
Wrong ought to bother us. It ought to make us notice when someone takes the name of our holy God in vain. When someone brags, “it was a little fib,” they are admitting to lying. Do we smile and laugh with them as if it is no big deal? Often, this is not a matter of loving wrong, it simply being so accustomed to wrong that we no longer even notice it. The train is roaring by and we have become used to it.
Now, we are not to be traffic cops from Heaven that go around pointing out everything that is wrong. That is not very effective. But, being sensitive to sin, will help us to keep ourselves pure. The focus needs to be inward. Have we become so accustomed to idols that we no longer recognize them? Are we so used to sin that sin no longer bothers us?
Second, we must never get used to worshipping at home every Sunday. We are having to do this. And, as congregations begin to open the doors of the church house back up and allow brethren to gather, some may want to continue worshipping the way things are. Rather than having to get cleaned up, drive, and meet at a specific time, I can stay in my jammies, catch worship on Youtube at an hour that is suited to me. We can get really comfortable doing this. And, when the call to come together to worship, some may want to stay at home. They have become accustomed to worshipping at home. This is a danger. God wants His people to gather together. When it is safe, we need to do that. Watching worship on a video is not the same as being there in person. Even with social distancing and wearing masks, there is a physical fellowship that is necessary. We can get very comfortable staying away, but that comes with a cost to our souls. God realizes that it is good for us to be together. We need each other. We need encouragement, teaching, examples, reminders and presence. We need unity. We need a combined work effort. We need hearts knit together. The longer we are apart, the more we get used to that and the more we wonder why do we even need to come together. Hire preachers to put out videos and we’ll just watch lessons from home. Not a good idea. This will not be good in the long run. There are other times when we may have to worship from home. Recovery from an illness or injury may keep us at home for a while. But within our hearts ought to be that desire to get back with our church family. We ought to long to see each other. When we are accustomed to spiritual isolation, we are opening the door to trouble. Satan is much stronger when we are alone. It’s easy to cut corners, be lazy and even selfish when we are alone. Don’t ever get accustomed to worshipping at home rather than gathering with the church.
Third, we must never get accustomed to this world. We don’t fit in. We are headed a different direction. When we get used to things here, and become very comfortable with things here, then we can lose our desire for Heaven. We can lose our taste for what God has awaiting us. It gets harder to sing This world is not my home, when we feel like it is. We want to stay here as long as we can. We want things to continue just as they are. Accustomed. Used to it. Liking it. Having no desire to be anywhere else. The problem here is that we have not set on minds on things above. Our eyes, hearts and minds are earth bound. We’ve lost that longing for the heavenly. Moses was in an Egyptian palace and raised by Egyptians, but he was not Egyptians. The Hebrews taken to Babylon were given Babylonian names, taught Babylonian ways and introduced to Babylonian worship. They remained Hebrews. They were in Babylon but they were not Babylonians. Now, what about us? We are in this world but have we become a part of this world? Have we used the world’s definition of success and happiness to define us and guide us? Are we following the world or following the Lord? We are in this world, but are we of this world?
The Thessalonians turned to the one true and living God from idols. They left idols behind. They longed for something real and something better.
There are some things in life that we must never get use to.