1 CORINTHIANS 10:1-14
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
3 They all ate the same spiritual food
4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."
8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.
9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes.
10 And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come.
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1 Cor. 10:1-14
1. To be tempted doesn’t mean you’re bad or that you’re sinning.
a. However, when you engage in temptation – that’s a different matter.
b. Being tempted is a part of being human.
2. Temptation - can make your life absolutely miserable BUT we may feel that it will bring a DELICIOUS flavour when we may think life is boring, colourless. Or we are anxious, afraid, in the blues.
3. Instead of thinking, “What will temptation give me,” I think it would be better if we considered, “What will temptation cost me?” There is always a price to be paid!
- Before we begin looking at v13, notice the importance of v12. It tells us that vv1-11 are important to understanding what v13 is all about. In the 1st 11 verses, Paul is saying, “Look at the Bible! See what happened to God’s special, chosen people because they are to be examples for you today.”
- Put pointedly: Even God’s special chosen people suffer the consequences of their actions AND God disciplines His children. Look at cost of temptation when it’s indulged:
- V7 – idolaters get caught up in revelry. Their heart grows cold to God, mind becomes blind, in the end they have no will-power but to remain cold + blind UNLESS God…
- V8 – sexual immorality leads to death NB a living death often (+ STDs, divorce etc)
- V9 – do not test the Lord. We exist for His benefit, not the other way around. Nothing sadder than person demanding from God AND not getting. Develop a testing/demanding spirit and see how miserable you become!
- V10 – do not grumble. Do you want a miserable life? Start grumbling. A person with a critical heart makes themselves miserable. The one who then grumbles to others is like yeast to a group – the whole group becomes miserable!
- These are all spiritual issues. If you’re not a Christian, you’ll only be able to listen to this message. Only Christians will truly hear & be able to apply what’s said.
PAUL’S CAUTION v12
1. If you think you’ll never succumb to temptation - you’re most likely candidate to get caught.
a. 1 Peter 5: 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
b. Romans 7: 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
c. I’ll never break the law. But cheating on your tax return seems harmless late at night.
d. I’ll never fool around before I get married! Watch out!
e. I’ll never be seduced away from my wife/husband. Principal said, “Plan what you will do WHEN a woman tries to seduce you. It’s too late to think about it when it does happen!”
f. By all means have the conviction you’ll never succumb to tempation. BUT DON’T BE COCKY! Don’t be naive by thinking that these couldn’t happen to you. That’s Paul’s advice!
2. Our society says many things are fine that we know are wrong. Have you discovered that yet? People will want you to do all kinds of things which you may think, now, you’d never do.
a. Paul’s advice is, “Look what happened to the people long ago.”
b. King David, a man after God’s own heart, murdered a woman’s husband so he could marry her himself. Do you like someone’s girlfriend / boyfriend? Don’t think you couldn’t do what King David did. Or do you think you’re more godly than him?!
3. The warning is strong because God cares about you & doesn’t want you to follow in the ways of others & suffer the consequences they’ve had to live with. Learn from their mistakes.
a. The first step in guarding yourself in Christ, so that hopefully you don’t get caught up in any of these things, or worse things, is to understand that you are CAPABLE of doing all these & worse.
b. Then you’ll listen carefully to God’s words in v13 & know that He has some ways of helping you deal with temptation...
v13a NO TEMPTATION HAS OVERTAKEN YOU BUT SUCH AS IS COMMON TO MAN...
1. Temptation makes you feel all alone. You feel like no one else could possibly understand what you’re going thru. But that’s not true.
a. The devil wants you to keep your temptations all to yourself. He doesn’t want you to compare notes with anyone else!
b. The devil wants you to think that temptation is already sin. If you think it, you’re already caught up in it – NOT SO!
c. When you do talk with others, you soon discover that others are going thru or have gone thru exactly the same things you have.
d. You’re not alone - v13a. 1 Peter 5: 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
2. There is something encouraging & empowering in knowing that your temptation is common
a. In my training, and since then too, I am still often surprised at the SAMENESS of people’s issues, struggles, trials & temptations. I’m not minimising despair in saying this, or seeing a simplistic solution for issues, just making the observation as to how often I hear the same kind of sin, temptation, issues.
b. The details & circumstances may change but at root they are the same struggles / temptations.
c. Which strikes me as ironic – these are common to us all YET we feel alone in them!
3. Why is this so? We are made in God’s image, to live by design, and so we have a commonality about us. The enemy, the one who hopes we don’t believe in him, the one hell-bent on destroying people – especially God’s children, is an active agent in temptation who uses the same types of techniques and exploits the same weaknesses. Paul names him the Tempter: 1 Thess. 3: 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. Watch out. He’s out to get you.
4. The Bible is correct when it says, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and it is an important thing to understand in helping us deal with Temptation when it comes.
a. If it helps, the next time you’re struggling in temptation or trial, think to yourself, “the pastor & deacons of this church, & others I have looked up to, have struggled with this same type of temptation. I’m not alone. Christ too knows what’s going in this. I’m not alone. And because they were able to stick it out, by God’s help, I can too.”
v13b AND GOD IS FAITHFUL, WHO WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT YOU ARE ABLE
1. Do you hear the truth here?
a. I don’t mean with your ears. I mean with your heart. Does it resonate in your spirit?!
b. v13b and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able
c. Here’s a verse you claim as a promise. One stands on a promise. God said it, it must be so. Don’t listen to the lies of your heart/Satan. Of course you will not be tempted beyond what you are able to stand!
2. This verse is important!!!
a. It means that no matter how bad it gets, you will be able to endure.
b. “Yeah, right!” Is that what you’re thinking? Hey, you’ve got no beef with me. It’s God you’ve got a problem with.
c. Incidentally, who do you think has a vested interest in seeing you “crash & burn”?!
i. Doubt will always come when God’s getting thru to you. Who do you think is putting the doubt there?
ii. People generally under-estimate their own ability to withstand temptation AND the degree of temptation they can withstand.
d. Key point here! Verse says, “and God is faithful...” God has said, and you’ve heard it now, that upon His own name & character He has stated that you will not be tempted beyond what you can bear.
e. The question is, who are you going to believe? “But I always fail! I always succumb! I’m useless at this!” Who do you think is accusing you?
f. Of course you can resist. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying God says, on the basis of His own character, that you will NOT be tempted beyond what you can bear.
3. When temptation comes, and it will come, say out loud, because it’s true, “The God of all creation has stated that He will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. So no matter how tempted I am at the moment, I won’t yield to it because I don’t have to. I can chose & I chose not to.”
a. James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
V13c …BUT WITH THE TEMPTATION WILL PROVIDE THE WAY OF ESCAPE ALSO, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO ENDURE IT.”
1. Hang in there and you’ll see God’s deliverance.
a. Don’t give up too soon. Hang in there. And when it gets to the point that the Lord knows you can’t hang on any longer, “He’ll provide the way of escape also”
2. “But, preacher, I don’t know if I can do that! The temptation all around me is just so strong.”
a. Okay. I understand that because that’s what temptation’s all about isn’t it? If we weren’t inclined to act upon our urges, then it wouldn’t be temptation, right?!
- But God will provide the way out
3. “But how?!” May well be your anxious/desperate cry when temptation feels like thumb-screws in your life. The answer is often as individual as the person. I can’t give you a stock standard answer but I do know this: God will provide a way of escape in any particular time of temptation in your life although I don’t know what shape or form that will take. The general, practical advice I can give you, is this:
a. Don’t loiter in the place of temptation. You know where you’re vulnerable – so keep away from there.
1.It’s foolish for a boy/girl friend to spend too much time in private
2.It’s foolish for a gambler to read about horseracing, go to casinos
3.It’s foolish for a glutton to be alone near food
4.It’s foolish for a gossip to seek out other gossips
b. Don’t act on the spur of the moment. Get off “the merry-go-round”. Stop the dance (ie ritual of temptation/wavering/succumbing). Refuse to allow yourself to be pressured into acting upon your inner urges. Take time out – moments, hours or days - to consider your situation prayerfully.
c. Read the Scriptures. Seek God’s voice thru the Word. Live according to the principles revealed in the Scriptures and DON’T act on the temptation because God will provide the way of escape.
d. Know this. The way of escape will often be right under your nose. I remember counselling a friend. Caught in temptation for a single friend of his - he was married. He was going to give up years of marriage & his family - for what?! Would have been grief for everone! God’s way of escape? A closer walk with the Lord AND his wife. My friend wanted a solution that would be ecstatic & a mountain-top experience - God simply gave him back what he already had with the promise of a changed heart if my friend was willing to follow his Master. The way out was tough, it didn’t remove the temptation or the circumstances BUT it allowed my friend to ENDURE!
e. God’s way out for you may not be quite what you WANT either. But it will allow you to endure it. After all, that’s the promise of this last part of v13 isn’t it, “...will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
1. Temptation – it’s so irresistible! But God says you don’t need to fall for it! He’s given each of us tools thru these verses by which we may be able to stand: v12, v13a, v13b, v13c.
2. So friend, be encouraged. God cares for you & loves you & does not leave you alone. Hang in there when temptation comes. You can stand. Trust & rest in God.
3. Temptation hits us at a spiritual level. It’s a spiritual problem. The answer is therefore a spiritual one, too. Don’t think you will bypass God. Draw close to God, with heart, soul, mind & strength, and then, and only then, will temptation be manageable EVEN while the devil sticks to his guns to seduce you. But you’ll be able to stand. God says so!
Final Hymn: 593 NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS I’LL PRAISE YOU MY LORD