Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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1 Corinthians 10

September 2nd, 2012 by Vic

1 Corinthians 10

“Be Careful.  Don’t Fall”

September 2, 2012


In the last 2 chapters Paul has been writing about Christians eating meat sacrificed to idols.  It was an issue that was threatening to divide the church in Corinth.  Our churches today have issues that have separated us from each other: music, tobacco, wine, baptism, communion, tongues.  Some unbelievers have made Christmas trees an issue not knowing that the use of holiday trees started in paganism.  For the pagan trees were used in rituals to celebrate fertility.  For the Christian they are used to celebrate everlasting life and the Light of the world.


Paul has been pointing out that some issues are neither good nor bad.  It depends on the attitude of your heart.  Real liberty and freedom is available only to the one who has a pure heart.  We cannot live free unless we live by the instruction manual of our Creator.  Our nation will not be free unless it lives by godly principles.  Now Paul summarizes his argument in chapter 10.  He starts this chapter saying, “Don’t be stupid.  Stop and think.”  He ends this chapter saying, “Do all to the glory of God.”


This chapter is very important for all of us.  Paul is going to use OT stories to illustrate NT truths.  The stories in the OT support the theology in the NT.  Pay attention to what Paul says and how he says it.  If you want to be a peace maker, a good counselor or a Christian friend be ready to tell some OT stories.

10:1-5 Think about the children of Israel.  They are just like us.  They obeyed Moses and walked through the Red Sea with the cloud of God’s presence overhead.  As they were baptized under the leadership of Moses by walking through the waters we are baptized in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in water.


The children of Israel all ate the same spiritual food which God miraculously gave to them.  They also drank the water that God had miraculously supplied from a rock.  They were united in the gifts that God supplied.  They were a fellowship of believers.  For Christians, Jesus is the free meal that God supplied to be our living bread.  Jesus is our rock that gives us living water.  When we celebrate communion we demonstrate our unity and thankfulness for God’s Gift.  Like the children of Israel God is our protector and provider.  We are really blessed as we follow His leadership and eat at His table.


Be careful.  Don’t make the mistake the Jews made.  God had provided them everything they needed in the wilderness for life and godliness and they took it for granted.  It is possible to be rejected by God like Israel was.  Verse 5 is a massive understatement.  All of the adults except Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness.  They had become overconfident in their reputation as the children of God.  Some in Corinth were also becoming overconfident.  They thought that being baptized and participating in the Lord’s Supper would secure their salvation as long as they consider idols to be nothing in this world.


10:6-10 The word ‘example’ is the word ‘type’.  Satan tempts us in ‘typical’ ways.  Learn from the OT stories and don’t fall (v. 12).  Paul gives 4 examples of what we should not do.


1. Don’t set your heart on evil things as they did (6).  The KJV uses the word ‘lusted’.  It means to long for or eagerly desire.  Numbers 11:4 says they began to crave meat.  They remembered the good ol’ days when they had a variety of food (5).  They forgot the slavery and misery.  God sent the quail, but they failed to give thanks.  God struck them with a plague (33) because they had ‘craved’ (lusted) other food.


2. Don’t be idolaters (7).  Remember the gold calf?  Exodus 32:6 says the people rose up early to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings as God had commanded.  Then they sat down and had a great feast together.  After the feast they got up to play and indulge in revelry.  They celebrated the cow like most other cultures were doing.  The “holy cow” was part of much pagan worship.


3. Don’t keep practicing sexual immorality as some of them did (8).  Numbers 25:1-13 follows the story of Balaam.  God was blessing the Israelites and the neighboring king hired a prophet to curse the Israelites.  God prevented Balaam from cursing them. The neighboring king got angry.  He came up with an alternate plan and hired some women to seduce the Israelite men into immorality and idolatry.  God was starting to destroy all the men.  Then Phinehas followed one arrogant young man who was parading his girl friend through the camp.  Phinehas killed them both.  Because of his righteous act, the plague stopped and God blessed Phinehas’ family.  24,000 Israelites had already died.


4. Don’t test the Lord as some of them did (9).  Numbers 21:4-9 gives the background for the snake on the pole that the medical profession uses.  It all started when the Israelites failed to honor God and give thanks.  They grumbled against God and against Moses.  They grumbled about God’s plan and provisions.  God sent poisonous snakes.  The people repented.  God told Moses to make a bronze snake, put it on a pole and all who will humble themselves and recognize God’s provision will be healed.


5. Don’t grumble or murmur as some of them did.  To murmur is to complain under your breath.  The people grumbled against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16:41.  The reason for this started when a few families started a rebellion against Moses and Aaron (16:2).  Moses suggested they meet together at their tents and let the Lord make it clear who He wants to lead the nation of Israel.  The meeting was about to start and the Lord told Moses to have everyone move away from the tents in that area (26).  The earth opened up and swallowed these rebels, their families, and their possessions (32).  The next day all the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron.  They were slow learners.  God told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves, but Moses fell on his face and prayed for the people (45).  The plague had already started against the people.  14,700 died because they grumbled.


Maybe the Corinthians were murmuring because they were told not to participate in idolatrous feasts.


10:11-13 These stories were written down for us who have seen the fulfillment of all these types.  We are so blessed to know how Christ demonstrated the love of God.  But having Christ in your heart does not make you immune to temptation and trouble.  Don’t get overconfident and flirt with sin.  “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall (12).”  While we are in this life we can stand or fall.


Everyone is tempted, but for the Christian God will limit the temptation to what you can bear.  He will provide an exit door.  You will always be able to flee.  There is a way in.  There is a way out.  The way of escape is always provided with the temptation.  It may be a lot harder to flee temptation if you have gone by the exit door.  Paul says in Romans 13:14, “Don’t think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  Run like Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife.  Run so you can stand.


10:14-22 Paul says, “You guys are smart enough to understand what I’m trying to say.”  Our communion ritual is a reminder of our unity in Christ.  It is not just a unity of friendship; it is a unity of family.  We have the same Spirit.  It’s like having the same DNA.  We drink the same cup and eat the same loaf.  The Jews have always believed that eating a portion of the sacrifices confirmed a unity with God and the priests as God’s representative.


What does Paul mean?  He’s telling Christians it is OK to eat the meat sacrificed to idols, but don’t participate in their worship.  Don’t eat the meat in a place that celebrates evil spirits and demons.  Don’t open yourself to demon attack.  It is morally impossible to tip your glass to demons one day and participate in communion the next.  Messing around with wickedness is like slapping God in the face.  It is not smart.


10:23-30 We have a tremendous liberty in Christ.  Because of God’s great grace we do not have to analyze and evaluate every action.  We do not have to question the butcher shop to protect our personal salvation.  Being too conscientious can rob us of our freedom in Christ.  We need to love God and love our neighbor.  Don’t just live for yourself (24).


The earth is the Lord’s.  God declared creation good.  There are many different foods in many different places around the world.  Jesus said it is not what goes into the body that defiles.  Eating can be sinful when you eat in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong amounts, or with the wrong motives.


If an unbeliever asks you over for dinner, eat everything set before you unless you sense it will offend your host’s conscience.  If he tells you that the meat you are eating has been offered to idols or the apple juice you are drinking is fermented then do what is best for your host.  The mature Christian must make concessions for the weaker brother.  Use your common sense to show your love for God and your host.  Eat with a thankful heart.  You can glorify God while you are eating and drinking.


Why should I be judged by someone else’s conscience (29)?  Should I be walking around on egg shells so I don’t offend some immature Christian?  No, the Christian has put on the armor of God and strides through life as a trained soldier that willingly stoops to tie the shoe of a child.  The Christian is like the soldier we see pictures of who is holding a child in his arms, a gentle giant.


10:31-32 The summary of the last 3 chapters is this: “Do all to the glory of God.”  In Psalm 29 David ascribes glory to the Lord.  What are some words you use to give glory to God?  He is powerful and awesome, majestic in splendor.  Praise is finding adjectives to describe God.  Can you think of some words and phrases you use to describe God?  I think the Muslims have 99 names for God.  We do not give glory to the Lord because He needs our praise.  We give glory to God because it is good for us.  We are blessed when we honor God.


Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.  Whether you exercise your freedom or limit your freedom, do all to the glory of God.  Whether you have a logical life style or a scatteratical life style, do all to the glory of God.


One writer listed 4 reasons why we should give glory to God.

1. I enjoy peace when I honor God rather than try to take credit for myself.  If I try to take credit for what I have or what I have done I also have to take responsibility for maintaining it.  When I give thanks for every good and perfect gift I can rest in God’s wisdom and grace knowing that He gives and He takes away.  He knows me and wants the best for me.


Nebuchadnezzar said (Dan 4:30), “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”  He failed to give glory to God.  He lived with the animals for 7 years.  After the 7 years he said, “Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever…  Now I praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just.  And those who walk in pride He is able to humble (Dan 4:34-37).”


2. Giving glory improves my perspective of reality.  I will avoid questionable activities.  I will remember God hears and sees.  I will see God’s power and activities clearly revealed in my life and the rest of Creation.  (Rom 1:20-21)


3. Giving glory removes my pride and selfish ambition.  My focus turns toward God and others.  (Phil 2:3-5)


4. Giving glory erases pretense.  A pretense is making a claim that has no facts to support it.  When I give glory to God I can more accurately evaluate myself.  Self conceit breeds self deceit.  In contrast praise builds gentle giants.


5. Giving glory to God in the common routines of life seems to limit the types of people that like to be around you.


Do all to the glory of God.  Be a worshipper.  Practice praising.  Practice looking for God in every aspect of your life.  It will change your life.

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