FoodBro. David Chancellor
2/9/2003 6:00 PM
The Bible talks about food. There's more than can be covered in one service. It starts in Genesis with the tree, and ends in Revelation with "Come every one that thirsts."
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
God spoke to Noah about what he could eat. He told him that they weren't to eat blood. God was here making a covenant with Noah. Part of this was that Noah would not eat blood.
It shall be a perpetual statue for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.
Fat was not to be eaten either. As these things were presented to them, there was a deeper message being taught. Many things were used to teach holiness; a difference between pure and impure.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living things which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hat no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier egale, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have fourt feet, shall be an abomination unto you. And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.
This shows how long and interesting the list is. It talks about the various things they could and could not eat. Why would God give them a commandment such as this? When they came out of Egypt, God told them he would heal all of their diseases. These things were likely to help them not to get sick. The things he told them not to eat were things you have to be more careful with when you cook them. The thought here, if you would have God to heal you, don't do things you know will make you sick. This commandment was given for their protection. The message was, there are things that are clean and there are things that are unclean. God would have us to stay away from things that are unclean.
Genesis is primarily history, but there is a foundation laid there for the law that is found in the other four books that Moses wrote. Some would say that some things were mentioned in Genesis, therefore they are not part of the law. God doesn't make this distinction. For example, circumcision was given prior to the law of Moses, however, in the New Testament, it was considered part of the law. The foundation was laid so that humanity could be prepared for the gospel. It takes us from the garden and prepares us for Christ's coming as the son of God. If you learn the law without coming to Christ, you've missed out. The law demonstrates that something needs to be done in the heart.
Sometimes men get to the New Testament and struggle with the change that takes place. The old law used outward things to teach about holiness, and what God would do in the heart of man. Some would try to apply the law to people in the New Testament. The New Testament has a different purpose.
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
The primary issue here was, "Are Christians expected to keep all things found in the old law?" They wanted to know if the Gentiles were required to keep the old law. The various ones told what they had seen and knew. Peter told them about his vision. God had used food to get the message across to him. "What God has cleansed, don't call unclean." When God cleans something, it's clean. When God accepts a people, they're clean. The Gentiles were having trouble understanding the old law and all it's many intricacies.
They had had their discussion. James quotes from the Old Testament a prophesy about the Gentiles seeking the Lord. All the Gentiles really knew was the they were forgiven. These didn't want to burden them with having to figure out all the ins and outs of the old law. The things listed here weren't the big issue. They were merely asking them to refrain from these things for the sake of those who felt that they should. It was so that they wouldn't be offensive. We still should be concerned with not being offensive. We may not offend those around us because they're of the same background and culture that we are, but in other places and cultures, sensitivity is required not to be offensive. If you do things that offend, you will have trouble winning souls. The message of Jesus doesn't deal so much with the outward as with the heart and how things are there. Jesus taught that what is in the heart will come out, and it will affect others. The issue today isn't whether or not we should eat blood or pork. The issue is what is in the heart. This is what's important.
Matthew 15:10-11, 16-20
And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. ... And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Jesus lays out something totally foreign to the natural course of things. What is eaten won't defile your heart. If there is sin in your heart, even if you follow the law, you will still be unclean before God. The things of the law had a value or meaning to the health, but today we can know the essence of what it was trying to portray. God wanted purity in the heart of man. He wanted purity from the things a wicked heart produces. Spiritually the spiritual food we eat makes us what we are. The physical food doesn't affect the spiritual side of us. There are some things that we leave off because they don't feed us good spiritually. The wicked things will cause wicked things within. In the spiritual world, what goes in the ear and eye is more important than what goes in the mouth. Christ focused on getting the heart clean and having a concern for others and their spiritual well-being. How we affect others is an important consideration for one with a clean heart. What is the affect of the choices we make on others?
1 Timothy 4:3-5
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
There was a change from the old law. Can you see the change that is here? Some would tell people that they must live by parts of the old law. People eat all sorts of things now (rattlesnake, pork, etc.). There was a change from the outward things to the heart of man. The things in the old were for a type and shadow of the things to come, showing the clean and the unclean. "...commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" You need to know the truth, that you can do a thing because the law changed. We're under the day of grace. The things washed away by the blood of Christ are the things within the heart that were unclean. It's not about clean and unclean animals. We need to have a heart right before God and the things that come from it should be right and clean before God. This is only possible through the blood of God, and the power and grace of God. Only by this will we be able to live a pure and holy life.
1 Corinthians 10:18-32
Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.
These wanted to know what to do about what they were supposed to eat. These were saved, but still had to interact with those who had no idea about the old law. The things offered to idols, by and of themselves, were no different from anything else. But, just because a thing is lawful doesn't mean it is the best choice. Stop and consider the outcome. Will it destroy those around us? The problem arises when someone else's conscience is at stake. When someone else points it out, it means they will have a problem with it. Do it or refrain from doing it, for the sake of that one. Seek other souls' profit. Be concerned that others do well in their souls. Take note of the culture. Will you destroy God's cause without even realizing you're doing so? The outside does matter. Are you building a wall between yourself and others? What happens on the outside should be a reflection of what is in the inside. "Do all things to the glory of God." Live a life that has this as its purpose, motive and goal. Consider the affect your life and your actions have on others. Will it cause the glory of God to shine forth? We may sometimes have to do things so that others can find help for their souls. It's not about "my way," but "what will do the most good for the cause of God?" Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. If you would live a victorious Christian life, memorize this verse and live it.
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any things whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eatheth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
The question of food is raised here, too. Paul wanted them to get to the spiritual issue. There are some important lessons here. Paul was convinced by Jesus that nothing is unclean in and of itself. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." The kingdom of God isn't about what you do or don't eat, but that spiritual part of man and having the Spirit of God within. "For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men." When one finds God, others begin to look for great things between them and their fellowman. We wouldn't want to destroy the work of God for meat (or something else like this). The spiritual issues are what we spend time on today, because that is what matters. If something we do would cause someone to stumble, we don't want to do that. Do what is necessary to be a help. As things are taught and understood, some of these issues will go away. The truth will set us free from some of these things, but we need to be careful that our liberty doesn't destroy someone else. There are things that influence people that aren't the real issue. The real issue is how things are between you and God. What are the motivations, reasons and purposes behind what you do? Is it all right in your heart? Is it cleaned and washed by the blood of Jesus? Are righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost found in your soul? This is what we are concerned about, and what Jesus came to bring.