(A Series on I Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 8/30/98 a.m. I Corinthians 10:14-22
PROPOSITION: Life and eternity are spent dining at one of two tables; the Table of the Lord or the table of demons.
- THIS is not really very difficult, you know....this thing called the Christian life.
- THE choices are pretty straight forward.
* Eve had two choices in the garden of Eden.
• Listen to and obey God.
• Or, listen to and obey the serpent, or Satan.
* Abraham had two choices when he was a young man in Ur of the Chaldees.
• Listen to and obey the voice of God calling him to leave the familiar and comfortable surroundings for the promises of God.
• Or, stay right where he was and choose the way that seemed right to him and would please and satisfy him.
* The prophet Samuel had two choices when he was just a boy in the house of the Lord.
• Listen to and obey the voice of God calling him by name.
• Ignore the voice of God and go back to sleep.
* A little known disciple of Jesus, named Demas, an associate of the apostle Paul, had two choices in 2 Timothy 4:10.
• Follow God and serve Jesus Christ with all of his heart.
• Love this present world and abandon the call of God on his life.
- LIFE can be boiled down to these two essential choices....with consequences of eternal proportions.
- AND the choice is not only made once, but over and over in big and small ways every day.
- WHO are you going to serve?
- THE believers in that first church in Corinth faced this same choice.
- WHEN they first came to Jesus Christ and were born again, they left their old lives behind.
- REMEMBER back in I Corinthians 6:9 Paul writes about them?
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
- THE believers in Corinth had made their choice. They would serve the Lord.
- BUT somewhere along the way they had forgotten the clarity of the choice they had made.
- THE line had gotten blurred.
- SOME were slipping back into old habits, old ways.
- SOME had gone back to worshipping the idols of their old life.
- THEY began to REASON that since idols were no gods at all, maybe they could go back to the festivals and feasts of the pagan temples....and not be affected in their faith.
- THEY forgot that it was Jesus Himself who said,
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24)
ii. the table of christ
- SO, in I Corinthians 10:14 Paul writes (pg 1135),
“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
- THE Greek word translated “flee” means “keep running and put as much distance between you and the idol as possible.”
- HERE was the choice for the believers in Corinth, between the lifestyle of the world and the life of Christ.
- AND in between the lines of verse 15, Paul appeals to them concerning the simplicity of the subject at hand.
“I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.”
- NOW here comes part one of the choice they face.
- AND it is the SAME choice you and I make every day.....in verse 16,
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (17) Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” (I Corinthians 10:14-17)
- THE choice that we have in front of us this morning is to sit at the table of the Lord.
- IT is a gracious invitation to participate in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- THE word, “participate,” is used 6 times in one form or another in verses 14 to 22 of I Corinthians 10.
- IT comes from the Greek word koinonia, and means to share, to commune, to fellowship in.
- WHEN we sit at the Lord’s table and take the cup of communion, are we not sharing in Jesus’ blood?
* That blood that forgives our sin.
* That blood that cancels out the debt of our past.
* That blood that protects us from the wrath of God against all sin.
* That blood that covers us in righteousness.
* That blood that heals us from sickness and disease.
- WHEN we sit at the Lord’s table and eat the bread, are we not sharing in Jesus’ broken body?
* That body that tasted death, so that we will never die.
* That body that was broken so that our brokenness could be healed.
* That body that went into the grave so that death’s victory could be vanquished.
- AND since Jesus is that “one loaf” we who are many and come to His table are made into one community of faith in a divided world.
- SO when we come to His table, we sit with Abraham and Joseph, and Paul and Peter, and John Wesley and Charles Finney, and Grandpa Rowlands....and million of believers who have gone on before us, as well as the hundreds who come to His table with us this morning.
- WE made our choice!
- WE are “in Christ” and the table we come to for communion is a celebration of that participation in His life, death and resurrection.
* Romans 6:6 says that we are crucified with Christ so that the body of sin may be done away with.
* Romans 8:17 says that we suffer with Him so that we may share in His glory.
* Colossians 2:13 says that we are made alive with Christ, so that we can live victoriously over our sinful nature.
* 2 Timothy 2:12 says that if we endure we will reign with Him.
* Romans 6:8 says that if we die with Christ we will also live with Him.
- WE participate in Christ. We share in all that He is.
- AND the table of the Lord is a reminder and itself is a participation again in all that He is....just as the bread and juice become a part of our physical body.
- AND this makes us one with Him AND each other.
- THE table of the Lord.
- OUR first choice.
iii. the table of demons
- BUT the believers in Corinth had started to slip from their first choice.
- WHEN they first came to Christ He called them away from the pagan lifestyle of worshipping the gods of the land.
- HOWEVER, in their great wisdom, the believers in Corinth had started to blur the line between the holy and the profane.
- THEY had reasoned that since the Greek gods were no gods at all...that it was foolish, even narrow minded of them to have to stay away from the celebrations of those gods.
- AFTER all those parties had been so much fun.
- AND what made going back different this time was that now they knew that there was nothing behind it all since there was only one true God.
- THEY had a theological argument for going back to the ways of the world.
- SO, Paul writes them in verse 18,
“Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? (19) Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? (20) No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” (I Corinthians 10:18-20)
- LIKE I said at the beginning of this message, the choice is really pretty simple.
* The table of the Lord, sharing in His life, death and resurrection.
* Or, the table of demons, sharing in the life and idols of the world.
- “WELL pastor,” you say, “I am OK because I do not worship idols.”
- THE Corinthians didn’t think they were either.
- BUT when they feasted and partied at the table of the world they were unwittingly eating at the table of demons.
- WHAT demons?
- THE demons who are given a base of operation at the temples at which the world gathers to worship.
- HUMANS create the idolatry. Demons rush in to establish their operations.
- WE may not have the temple of Aphrodite in America, but I would like to suggest some temples that we have erected and in which demons have set up a base of operation.
* The temple of money.
• The Bible calls is the god of Mammon.
• Not evil in itself, unless we allow it to overstep its bounds.
• Then demons rush in and we are eating at the table of demons.
• When we worship at the temple of money....too much, not enough, even just enough...we are sharing with demons.
* The temple of power.
• The prince of this world.
• Not evil in itself, unless we allow it to overstep its bounds.
• Then demons rush in and we find ourselves eating at the table of demons.
• When we worship at the temple of power, we are sharing with demons.
* The temple of sports and recreation.
* The temple of sexual obsession.
* The temple of deception.
• The prince of lies.
* The temple of accusation.
• The accuser of the brethren.
* The temple of destruction.
* The temple of division.
- BECAUSE these principalities and powers work through human instrumentalities, we are the ones who give them base of operations through our choices.
- WHEN we feast at these temples, we are eating at the table of demons....we are SHARING in the table of demons.
- THE same Greek word used for participating in the body and blood of Jesus in verses 14-17, is also used in verses 18-20....only now it is participation WITH demons.
- THE table of the Lord.
- THE table of demons.
- LISTEN to Paul in verse 21,
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. (22) Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (I Corinthians 10:21-22)
- SINCE you can’t eat at both tables, it seems clear to me this morning that we are back to a choice.
- DON’T be easy on yourself this morning as you examine your heart to see which table you are worshipping at.
- THAT was the problem at Corinth.
- THEY were reasoning themselves off the hook.
- IF it is too hard to discern where your heart is at this morning....
* Look at where most of your time is spent.
* Look at where your treasure is invested.
* Look at what you spend most of your reading time on.
* Look at your attitude towards your wife, your husband, your children, work associates.
* Look at your conversations.
- HOW about another angle here. How much energy in your life is spent at the table of the Lord right now.
* Loving God?
- JESUS said that no man can serve two masters.
- PAUL said that no man can eat at two tables.
- WHO is mastering you this morning?
- WHOSE table are you eating at this morning?
- AS always, the choice is yours.