I Corinthians 10
1 Corinthians • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 39:34
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All to The Glory of God
All to The Glory of God
Good morning church! I hope you were blessed last week as I was, receiving the Word from Pastor Jim from the book of Philippians, that section should just fill you with thankfulness and prayer, as was appropriate for our Thanksgiving celebrations with our families and friends. If you guys can remember way back, two weeks ago, we covered chapters 8 & 9 in a message that was titled Love over Liberty. Where the Apostle Paul addressed things like Christian liberties. No longer being under Old Testament Torah, or the law, the Corinthian church presented some questions to the Apostle concerning freedoms we now have, no longer under law, but under grace.
Some of you got your feathers ruffled a little bit and I would be happy to let bygones be bygones and move on, but Paul begins chapter 10 with the word moreover…this might be a new one for some of you. First, pop quiz..when you see a therefore in the scripture, what are we looking for? What’s it therefore? In light of everything before it, therefore, do this. When Paul uses the word, moreover, it means he’s going to go over what he has already been talking about, even moreso. So we will begin our third chapter concerning our Christian conduct, our liberties, and how we should determine what we do, and what we don’t do, for the sake of bringing Glory to God. I know what you’re thinking, how in the world does this apply to us today? Can’t we just move on to the practical stuff like women wearing head coverings…that’s next week. Let’s pray.
By way of reminder, Paul established a few things in chapter 8. Paul tells us first that there is nothing to the pagan idols that were present in Corinth at the time of this church. Nothing to the Greek gods. Zeus and Apollos were just made up in the mind of man. Chapter 8 vs. 4 says....
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.
Having this knowledge, Paul tells the church, if there is nothing to the idol, there is nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to a false idol as far as it concerns yourself, if the animal belonged to the Lord while it was on the hoof, it still does after being placed on the hibachi. So go ahead and eat it, unless…and that was a second principle that Paul established... if it is going to cause someone to stumble into sin, not stumble in their legalism, but stumble them into sin, then don’t go there. Because among Christians who have liberty in the Lord, there is a higher principle, and that is love. Considering others more important than ourselves, more important than our knowledge, or our need to be right, Our love for others comes ahead of all that, and should cause us at times to lay aside our liberties for the love of others. So even though I know I could go to the pagan taco truck on two for Tuesday, I won’t do it if it will cause my brother with a weaker conscious to stumble.
In chapter 9, Paul shows how important it is at times to lay aside our rights out of consideration of others. He gives the example of him having an absolute Biblical right to receive support from the Church in Corinth for preaching the Gospel, but he laid that aside to the benefit of others.
What was happening in this church as they grew in knowledge? The Bible says they started to get puffed up. Prideful! I know there is nothing to the dumb fake carved image that you used to worship. I’m a big fan of cheap meat, so I’m going to buy my meat at the temple and I really don’t care what you or anybody else thinks! And if it causes someone else to stumble, that’s their problem, they need to smarten up like me. Paul says wait a minute, there are times when it is important for Christians to give up their rights concerning their liberties, because love is more important than your knowledge…that’s not legalism, that’s wisdom....now if we expand this out past eating meat sacrificed to idols…maybe to liberties that Christians exercise today…there are probably things that you do, that other Christians look at you and that thing that you do and think, shame, shame, shame, …Christians shouldn’t do that…it’s true, feather’s were ruffled because people thought you might start doing things you don’t even do yet because Pastor Brian taught you have some liberty in Christ!....or maybe YOU are the one looking at other Christians saying shame, shame, shame, lawful or not, no real Christian should ever do this or that, or eat or drink this or that.
Again, we are talking about what Paul calls doubtful things, grey areas that are not spelled out in the Bible, things the Lord leaves up to our conscious. None of us have the liberty to knowingly sin. You can’t tell me Brian, the Lord has given me the liberty to get drunk. God has not done that... as that is a sin issue that the Bible clearly speaks against. Lets get to it
1 Corinthians 10:1–5 (NKJV)
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now this beginning might be a little confusing. He starts with moreover, like he’s going to spend some more time going over the issue of Christian liberties, and then he jumps back a couple of thousand years to the books of Exodus and Numbers and starts giving us a history lesson. But this is actually kinda cool, because Paul is showing them that what happened a couple of thousand years before this letter still had direct relevance to their lives in that day and age. Just like this letter written a couple of thousand years ago applies to us, just as much as it did to them.
So lets break this down a little...
All Israel came through the Red Sea and saw God’s holding up the walls of the sea so they could cross over on dry ground. Then they saw God let go and all the water crashes back down to drown the entire Egyptian army that was chasing them…I think Paul’s making a point with this. Have you ever wished that you were one of the disciples? Or that like Thomas, you could have seen the resurrected Lord? Man if I had a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, if God parted the Red sea for me I would never doubt Him again, I’d never sin again not even on my taxes. I wouldn’t even speed.
Miraculous provision manna and the water from the Rock. With all of these blessing, they still did not please God…and talk about an understatement. Out of millions that came out of Egypt, how many made it into the promised land? Joshua and Caleb two, so yeah most of them died, it really is such a sad story. With all of God’s blessing, with all of God’s provision, nearly none of them entered into the fullness of what God had for them, the promised land.
This was the Corinthian church and sadly it is the church today. The Corinthians were taking all kinds of liberties, going down to the pagan temple and hitting the taco truck out back, sometimes stumbling their weaker brothers and sisters without regard, saying hey it’s no sweat, I have this liberty. I’m good with God, you take care of your, or join me, I have knowledge, I’m right and I have rights. Paul is trying to warn them to look at all of the blessing and privilege that the children of Israel had and many perished and Paul is saying so might some of you.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Paul says these things are our examples, but their bad examples. I hope you guys have learned to learn from bad examples. The Corinthian church was making their knowledge an idol, they were making their rights an idol. I have the right to eat meat sacrificed on a Pagan alter, or we might say today, I have a right to my liberty, because for me, it’s not sin, so I have a right don’t I....not if it stumbles your brother!... and if your rights become more important than your brothers and sisters then your rights have become your god, and you need to take Heed because the God in Heaven says you’re not to have any God’s before Him. AND He is the God of Love...
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Before we can resist temptation, we have to realize we are all vulnerable to it. The second we think we are safe, is when we let our guard down and get slammed. When my son Caleb was playing hockey, I think I always used the unsuspected blindside hit as and example of this, but think of it like rocks in the ocean. I’m going to show you a few pictures here and I probably have them in the opposite order that I should for this to make sense. This is a picture I took one day with my son Jacob on the Penobscot river…it was high tide. The next was from this past summer, and is a picture of the same place...when the tide is low, its easy to see the danger, the rocks that can ruin your motor or puncture your boat are obvious and easy to avoids. But Satan’s strategy in temptation is to raise the tide, and to cover over the dangers of temptation. Then he likes to crash you upon the covered rocks.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
The issue with Israel and the issue with the church in Corinth was the issue of pleasing themselves. They were lukewarm, one foot in the world and one in the church. Now if Paul stopped here I think it would be easier for some of you. Last time threw you. Wait a minute pastor, where do you get off telling people they have liberty where I don’t personally have liberty, no Christians should do this or that. I have knowledge, I’ve figured this out for all of us, and all Christians should only do the things that I do....even though Christians look at you and your life and shake their heads saying shame, shame, shame, no Christian should do that, but it’s OK because you have THAT liberty, and you don’t see the problem with your own stuff, for you their liberties.... but now pastor my wife, or my husband, or my friend, or the new guy that sits in the back thinks he has the freedom to eat tacos at the truck behind the temple…we are not anti taco by the way, it’s just a really good example. You’ve given them freedom and now their going to go off the rails, their going to do it in front of people and I’m going to be really lonely in Heaven because everyone is going to lose their salvation, because of you pastor....lets keep going and see what else Paul has for us...
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
Remember chapter 8 verse one Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies, or builds up. This is the perfect answer to can I still be a Christian and do this..or do that? That is what was going on in this church…if I do this or that, what is the harm to me? Paul says, Christian, it’s not about you! Your life is no longer your own, so don’t seek your own, but each one the other’s well being.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Paul is simply saying that the food is not the problem…the biggest blessing of no longer being under the law and living under grace is walking in the Spirit. Not being controlled by a list of 613 do’s and don’ts but letting the Spirit of God direct us in the things that are pleasing to God and bring Him glory, that our lives would make Him look good. Does your life make God look good? Gordon Fee in his book, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God writes, “when we receive the Spirit at conversion divine perfection does not set in, but divine “infection”does! We have been invaded by the living God himself, in the person of His Spirit, whose goal is to infect us thoroughly with God’s own likeness.” Just as a virus or bacteria grows or spreads throughout a system, the Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctifying us, changing us from the inside out, taking over one area after another of our lives as we fully surrender Lordship of our lives. to Him. That we would become more and more like Him. That we would walk fully in the blessing that He has for us, our promised land.
I want you to see four things here that Paul gives us to help guide our conduct as Christians. Look again at vs. 30
30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
That thing that you are about to eat, drink, or do…is it something that you can give thanks to God for? Lord, I want to thank you for what I am about to watch or look at on the internet. Lord, I’m so thankful that You have given me this liberty. Number 2, Verse 31...
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Does whatever I’m about to do, or say, or post on social media bring glory to God, does it make God look good? Will people that witness it, say, wow, praise God, that brings glory to God. Brian’s conduct, his words, his actions are bringing glory to God. See being a Christian has nothing to do with what I can still get away with, our lives should be all about glorifying God. Verse 32. Number 3...
32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,
Paul says give no offense, and he doesn’t limit this to just the people that you like, or care about, or that are in your Growth Group. Give no offense! Is what I’m about to do or say offensive, will it cause someone to stumble? If it will, don’t do it. Again, though Paul is not talking about stumbling someone in their legalism, he had harsh words for them. I won’t take the time to read it now, but there is a passage in Galatians, 5:11-12 that lays out his feelings on that very clearly.
One more guideline, it’s actually verse one of the next chapter. The 4th one...
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
In exercising this liberty that you think you have, are you following the example of Jesus? Could you say imitate me and do this thing that I’m doing because I’m following the example of Jesus here. And that leaves us with a sobering question…If everyone at OTCF mimicked your example, your walk and your talk. If everyone had your prayer life, your devotional life, what would this community look like? Would it be pure? Would it be loving, gracious, undefiled? People are watching you guys…and how we live matters more than you know.
lastly as a benediction for you church....
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’
As you know, seasons of life cause some people to join us, and some to leave for awhile. Charlie and Shandy Hodsdon will be moving to NY for employment and school, so I want to bring them up with the Elders and their wives, and ask that you guys join us in sending them off with a prayer of blessing. A benediction for your family.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.