Christianity is a group sport, but not everybody on the field is actually on the team.
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1 Corinthians 10 (ESV)
1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers
were all under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea,
2 and all were baptized into Moses
in the cloud
and in the sea,
3 and all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank from
the spiritual Rock that followed them,
and the Rock was Christ.
with most of them God was not pleased,
for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things took place
as examples for us,
that we might not desire evil 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 rose up to play.”
8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did,
and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
9 We must not put Christ to the test,
as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,
0 nor grumble,
as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
11 Now these things happened to them as an example,
but they were written down for our instruction,
on whom the end of the ages has come.
12 Therefore let anyone
who thinks that he stands
take heed lest he fall.
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful,
and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,
but with the temptation
he will also provide the way of escape,
that you may be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.
16 The cup of blessing that we bless,
is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?
The bread that we break,
is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
17 Because there is one bread,
we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread.
18 Consider the people of Israel:
are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?
19 What do I imply then?
That food offered to idols is anything,
or that an idol is anything?
20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice
they offer to demons and not to God.
I do not want you to be participants with demons.
cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.
You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?
Are we stronger than he?
23 “All things are lawful,”
but not all things are helpful.
“All things are lawful,”
but not all things build up.
no one seek his own good,
but the good of his neighbor.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
“the earth is the Lord’s,
and the fullness thereof.”
27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner
and you are disposed to go,
eat whatever is set before you
without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
28 But if someone says to you,
“This has been offered in sacrifice,”
then do not eat it,
for the sake of the one who informed you,
and for the sake of conscience—
29 I do not mean your conscience, but his.
For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?
30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do,
not seeking my own advantage,
but that of many, that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10 Summary
The people of Israel looked unified as they trekked across the wilderness towards the Promised Land. They all escaped through the parted Red Sea, ate the same manna & quail that God had provided, and drank the same water that miraculously sprang from rocks.
Paul makes a stunning claim about these people: that they drank from... the rock that was Christ (v4)!
This is such a stunning claim, because the next thing Paul writes is that with most of them God was not pleased (v5).
These Old Testament stories are not given to us for our entertainment, but were written down for our instruction (v11). So what is it we must learn from the exodus?
It's not enough to be part of the group. Just walking in the same direction the pillar of fire was going and doing the same things the other Israelites were doing didn't cut it. Paul writes in v6 that God looked at what each individual desired (NIV: what their hearts were set on).
Those who desired evil were destroyed, regardless of their affiliation with Israel in external practices.
How does this apply to us? It's good to come to church, participate in communion, give money in the offering and all the other things we do here, but be sure your heart is set on pleasing God and not just yourself.
This passage is a bit jarring to consider; that if our attitude isn't correct we may not be genuine Christians. It's good to do a thorough soul searching after reading a chapter like this, but don't forget the awesome flip side of this warning!
If you are demonstrating a deep desire to come closer to Christ, and your heart is set on godly things, it's a sure sign that you are included in Christ! Just the fact that you're concerned enough to wonder is evidence that the Holy Spirit is indeed active in you.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our loving Father, is also a jealous God (v22)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength and wisdom to do everything you do for God's glory (v30).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: