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Saturday, May 27 2017

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

INTRODUCTION

The highlight of last week’s study, in conclusion of chapter 9, is the need for discipline or being temperate in all things. Self-indulgence lay at the root of every other Corinthian problem mentioned up to this point. The solution to self-indulgence is self-control. Paul uses the analogy of athletes; if athletes who compete for trophies that fade put in so much effort in preparation; how much more should we prepare for our trophies that are incorruptible? We should not be shabby or shoddy when it comes to the work of God! (Colossians 3:23-25).

Today, we are looking at the first thirteen verses of chapter ten. In this chapter, Paul draws several lessons for the readers of his Epistle from the failure of the Israelites in the wilderness.

1) A lesson from the past: 1 Corin.10:1-2

"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."

Paul begins a lesson about the people whom Moses led. Those people had been slaves in Egypt, but God made them free. They experienced the presence of God in forms of the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exo.13:21). They saw the miracle of the opening of the red sea (Exo.14:21). They were fed with manna from heaven (Exo.16). They drank from the spiritual rock that was Jesus Christ; the living water (Exo.17&20).
However, as free people, they did not serve God. They served their own wrong desires and wrong emotions. In other words, they did whatever they wanted to do. The result was that God was not pleased with them. Almost all of them died in the desert. They never entered the country that God had promised to their nation. 600,000 men (not counting women and children) left Egypt but only two among those older than 20 years entered the Promised Land! (Num.2:32)

Paul could see that many Christians were starting to have the same wrong attitudes. God had made them free (Col.1:13), but they cared only to please themselves. They did not really want to serve God or to show his love to other people. They believed that they had the right to please themselves. They even claimed the right to eat food that someone had offered to a false god (1 Cor.8:10).

Paul had to warn them that God would not be pleased with their selfish behaviour. It was a hard lesson for those Christians. They thought that their lives did please God. He had saved them when they began their relationship with him. He was present in their lives by his Holy Spirit. They had gone through the ceremony called baptism to show that they had a new life with Christ.
It is a sad fact that, in every age, most people have not obeyed God. The history of our churches shows that most church members care more about themselves than about God. Jesus compared a right relationship with God to a narrow path that few people find (Matthew 7:13-14).

2) Lessons from the Israelites in the wilderness: 1 Corin.10:6-10

"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."

1 Corinthians 10:6-10 contains a list of four separate events during the life of Moses. The purpose of this list is to warn Christians not to use the freedom that God has given them wrongly. The people whom Moses led had done that. And some Christians in Corinth were starting to behave in a similar manner.
a) They gave honour to a false god; Ex.32 Moses remained on the mountain called Sinai for 40 days while he received God’s law. During this time, the people became impatient. They told Aaron to make them an image out of gold. They wanted to give honour to that image as their god. So Aaron made an image of a young cow. Some members of the church at Corinth were eating meat that other people had offered to false gods. Those Christians should be especially careful. They must not give honour to false gods, and they must not cause other people to do that (Ch.8)
b) Sexual immorality; Num.25 Women from Moab and Midian tried to tempt the men from Israel. Many of the men accepted the women’s offer. Again, they were following their emotions when they ought to obey God. God wanted them to be free people; they chose to let their emotions rule their lives. Paul told the church leaders in Corinth to deal strictly with a man who was guilty of sexual immorality and will not repent of this evil behaviour (5:1-2). God’s people should never behave in such an evil manner (1 Corinthians: 6:9-10)
c) They tested God; Num.21:4-9 In other words, they tried to force God to do what they wanted. They accused God of wrong behaviour. They said that God had taken them out of Egypt in order to kill them in the desert. They suffered a terrible punishment by being bitten by snakes. God still cared about his people. He saved them from that punishment. The method that he used to save them teaches us about Christ (John 3:14-15)
Paul’s lesson for Christians here is that they must not test God (Deuteronomy 6:16). 1 Corinthians 8:10. He should not enter a place where the desire to do wrong things is so strong. If God has not sent him, he should not go into any such place.
d) They Complained against God. Exo.14 There were several instances that they murmured, grumbled or complained against Moses and Aaron but God said it was against Him. Ex.14:27. When people allow their feelings to control their lives, they do such things constantly. They were destroyed by the destroyer. The Bible sometimes uses words like that when people die quickly from a sudden, serious illness (1 Chronicles 21:14-15). That happened in Numbers 11:33-34 and Num. 16:41-49. When we allow our feelings to control our lives, it will give opportunity to the devil (1 Peter 5:8).

3) The church must learn from the past; 1 Cor.10:11-12

"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. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

The Bible is not just history. Its purpose is not to provide a record of ancient events or of people whom the world has forgotten. It tells us about those events and those people because God wants to use them to teach us, today. God’s relationship with ancient Israel was real, and it still continues today (Romans 11:1-2). But God did not establish that relationship so that people from just one nation would know him. From its beginning, God wanted people from every nation to know his kindness (Genesis 12:3).
Only a fool has confidence in something that is weak (Flesh). It will certainly disappoint him. When he needs something to support him, it will fail. When he needs to stand, he will fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Conclusion: Dealing with temptations, 1 Cor.10:13

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.

Temptations are the thoughts, ideas and circumstances that test our trust in God. They do not always seem like troubles; in fact, many temptations seem attractive. But they are always dangerous; falling to temptations can ruin a person’s relationship with God.
We should pray that God will help us to deal with temptation (Matthew 6:13). We will certainly have temptations, but we must not let them persuade us to do wrong things. Evil thoughts will enter our minds, but we must not allow them to remain constantly in our thoughts. People will urge us not to obey God, but we must not accept that wicked advice. Whenever a Christian refuses to give in to temptation, that Christian becomes stronger in his relationship with God (1 Peter 1:6-7). God never tempts men to sin Jam.1:13-15.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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