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1 Cor 10 Possibility Of Apostasy

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1.    Read the text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.

2.    Regarding the text:

(1)          Paul ended chapter nine indicating his realization that he could become apostate (9:27).  Paul understood the need for control.

(2)          In our text, Paul illustrates such apostasy using the history of Israel.

(3)          We understand this illustration as well as those of chapter nine to have their roots back in chapter eight (cf. 1 Cor. 8:8) and the eating of meats sacrificed.

A.     Those “stronger brethren” thought that their partaking was problem.

B.     The stronger were somewhat puffed up (8:2).

C.     They had been baptized and knew better!

D.     Paul brings to their attention the example of the ancient Jews.

3.    We all are familiar with the term “preventative maintenance.”

(1)          We do it for our homes, cars, and even our bodies (yearly check-up).

(2)          We would do well to practice a little “spiritual preventative maintenance.”

(3)          Danger signs are looked for.

A.     White smoke from the tail pipe, dripping water pump, etc…

B.     Physically – blood pressure 190 / 110; chest pain, etc.

C.     Spiritually there are often signs as well (attendance, attitude, etc.).

4.    Major malfunction is possible and we do well to head it off at the pass if possible.

(1)          Corinth was a church plagued with problems and needed the reminder.

(2)          The body of Christ today profits from a reminder as well.



1.       Notice the term all.

(1)          Appears sixteen times in thirty-three verses of this chapter.

(2)          Appears five times in the first four verses.

A.        All were under the cloud (v. 1)

B.        All passed through the sea (v. 1).

C.        All were baptized into Moses (v. 2).

D.        All ate the same spiritual food (v. 3).

E.        All drank the same spiritual drink (v. 4).

(3)          All the Israelites received of God’s grace.

2.       However, MOST of them were scattered (v. 5).

(1)          KJV = They were overthrown in the wilderness.

(2)          NASV = They were laid low.

(3)          NKJV = Their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

(4)          Overthrown = katestrootheesan = literally strewn upon the ground.

(5)          Powerful picture of the determination of disobedience and end result.

3.       Paul’s point is that the Corinthian Christians better take notice (v. 6; v. 12).

(1)          They were all baptized and pardoned of sin (Acts 18:8).

(2)          They were all baptized into Christ’s body/church (1 Cor. 12:13).

(3)          They each had access to spiritual food & drink through Christ.

(4)          Privilege does not prevent falling.

4.       God provides for us today!

(1)          We are privileged people. Past, Present, and promised Future.

(2)          Our privilege will not prevent us from falling.


1.       Lusts (v. 6).

(1)          Lusts = one who craves for, longs after, eager for.

(2)          Wanting what God withholds and discontent with what God provides.

(3)          Cf. James 1:13-15.

(4)          Many “things” are not inherently evil, but our desires can make them so.

(5)          Christians are to be temperate / sober / moderate in their desires.

2.       Idolatry (v. 7).

(1)          Pagan temples were in abundance in Corinth.

A.        Keep in mind the context of 1 Cor. 8 – eating meats…

B.        Here the reference is to worship of Aaron’s golden calf (Ex. 32).  The Israelites ate and drank at that feast of worship.  Paul’s concern is for Corinthians in danger of idolatry by a similar act.

(2)          Idolatry was a common sin even in New Testament times.

A.        “Little children keep yourselves from idols.” (1 Jn. 5:21).

B.        Covetousness = idolatry (Col. 3:5).

(3)          Idolatry is a problem in modern America.

A.        Things and junk and stuff.

B.        Many spend more on automobiles than they give to Lords’ work.

C.        We can be guilty of coveting our own goods.

D.        Anything that overshadows God in our hearts is idolatry.  When we turn from God we begin to operate on a lower level.

3.       Immorality (v. 8).

(1)          Cf. Daughters of Moab (Num. 25:1-9).

A.        As Israel neared the land of Canaan.

B.        An Israelite took a Moabite woman into his tent to commit adultery and it inflamed the wrath of Phinehas and he pierced them both through with a spear in the very act (Num. 25:6,7).  (cf. 1 Cor. 5).

C.        24,000 perished from the plague (Num. 25:9) – Paul sez 23,000 in one day.

(2)          Fornication / Sexual immorality = unlawful sexual activity.

(3)          Corinth was known for sexual immorality.

A.        Corinthianize came to be a term meaning live licentiously.

B.        1000 prostitutes were supported by the temple of Aphrodite.

C.        The pressures were great upon the Corinthians.

(4)          Christians today are under great pressure:

A.        Television, movies, magazines, and radio are saturated.

B.        We live in a “sexually charged society.”

a.         Condoms sold at check-out counters.

b.         Nudity and immodesty are common sights (public & media).

c.         Children are dressed like adults, talked to like adults, treated like adults up to a point and then when hormones kick in….

4.       Ingratitude (v. 9).

(1)          The Israelites “tempted” or tested God by complaining about his provisions for them (cf. Num. 21:1-6).

(2)          Instead of considering ALL that God had done they complained about what He had not done.

(3)          Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

5.       Infidelity (v. 10).

(1)          Infidelity = faithlessness, unfaithful, disloyal.

(2)          Instead of rejoicing, the people murmured against Moses and Aaron.

(3)          Paul says we shouldn’t MURMUR about the providence and dealings of God!

(4)          Murmurers are basically unbelievers and unbelievers will be unbearable in a lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

(5)          Heb. 3:12-19.


1.       We can Take Heed (v. 12).

(1)          Blepo = literally to see = to take earnest notice of.

(2)          Prepare for temptation through anticipation.

A.        Cf. Joseph’s fleeing from Potiphar’s wife.

B.        Cf. Peter’s denial of Jesus Christ.

C.        Cf. Jesus’ victory over the temptations of Satan.

2.       We can Escape (v. 13).

(1)          If you resist the devil he will flee (James 4:7).

(2)          We can walk away and live to fight another day.

(3)          We can pray and look for an escape (Illustrate: Two boys got sidetracked at the creek and were late for school.  Desperate they asked, “What can we do?”  One said, “We can pray!”  The other said, “If it’s all the same to you let’s pray while we are runnin.”

3.       We can Endure (v. 13).

(1)          Not all temptations can be escaped by fleeing.

(2)          Some temptations must simply be endured (James 1:12).

(3)          Some times endurance is our only option.

A.        For some it may be alcohol, drugs, sex, materialism.

B.        There are no quick and easy fixes for some temptations.

a.         We can flee but never far enough.

b.         We can resist the devil and he will flee, but still we have our own desires.

c.         We can endure all things (cf. Phil. 4:12-13).

d.         Cf. Israel’s 70 years of captivity.

4.       We can APOSTATIZE !

(1)          Murmur, be dissatisfied, carnal, look for easy fix to hard problems.

(2)          We can fall away.  Abandon God and good.


1.     The Israelites were chosen of God but they chose a different path towards apostasy.

2.     The Corinthians were headed down that same path and were warned by Paul.

3.     Christians today are warned of the possibility of apostasy.  May we ever be aware of the dangers around us.


[1] Sermon outline from Tom Holland’s book Christ Crucified.  Adaptations made by Toby Soechting.

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