Summary: Showing how sin leads us away from God, and if we are condemned we will not return, but if we are loved, we will.
Today, we continue with our teaching in 1 Corinthians 10. We will begin with verse 8. But before we begin, I want to briefly set it up by giving you a quick overview of the entire chapter.
God had set the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt and they were now headed to the Promised Land. What would have normally taken them just a few weeks to travel ended up taking them forty years because of their quarreling and ungodly thoughts.
The length of time it took had nothing to do, however, with Moses’ ability to lead, but it had everything to do with where the hearts of the Israelites were in relation to God. And God would not allow them to enter the land He promised to them as long as their hearts were focused on what they wanted instead of on what God wanted for them.
We will find that even after they had been set free from bondage, their hearts were not fully given to God and therefore, sin led them astray. They failed to understand that it was not just about having the freedom to do as you please, but about having the freedom to live for the One who saves our souls. It is about a love that shows appreciation with every step we take.
And what happened to them is a perfect lesson for us today. We also have been set free. We have been freed from the bondage of sin, but if we aren’t ever-faithful and vigilant, we will also be led back into sin by our unfocused minds and inattentive hearts.
Their problem stemmed from lust. They lusted after other things than what God had already proved for them. They were never satisfied, always wanting more. And they did not take care to make sure the things they lusted after were Godly things. In fact, most of the things they wanted were things that would have satisfied their selfish flesh.
And, if we are honest with ourselves, those same things plague us today, too. The reason is that, while we are alive on this planet, we will be under the influence and sway of our enemy, Satan. Instructions on how to combat that influence is found in –
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Since their focus was not on God in any way, He kept them from entering the Promised Land and He even let many die as a consequence of their sin. And now, the Apostle Paul is addressing the church and teaching fellow believers about the danger of sin and the dire consequences sin causes to God’s people.
So let us start reading in 1 CORINTHIANS 10:8-10:
“8 - And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 9 - Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 - And don't grumble as some did, and were then killed for doing so.”
As we read through this passage, I cannot help but see similarities between them and us today. There many who worshiped the Goddess of fertility by practicing sexual immorality. There were others who tempted Christ by worshiping idols rather than worshiping Him. And while they did these ungodly things, they murmured and disputed, quarreled and argued, and were just plain spiteful in nature. All of which we find ourselves doing today, too!
And now, Paul is going to take them to task over their sin and set them straight. But how is he going to do that? How would we do that? Would our first instinct be to just flatly tell them that they were wrong and they had better stop or they would go to hell? Wouldn’t we be inclined to jump all over them? Sadly, I think so.
But if we did it that way, what would happen? We would irritate some and alienate others altogether. Some would even leave the church and never return. In any case, by acting in a harsh and unloving way, we would not do anything that glorified God in any way.
Paul acted out of love. He showed them the same love that God had shown Paul. Paul used the plight of their ancestors to warn them of their own sin. That way, he pointed a finger of blame at the ancestors, not at those who had gathered to listen to him. That made them that much more willing to hear what he had to say.
Paul practiced the same method used by Jesus in JOHN 3:17, when He said, “I did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.”