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Summary: Self-Deception is rooted in our thinking, and visible in our activities. Or, if we look at it in reverse – what we do, or how we act is in reality a product of our belief system – ie: what we believe. So, if our believing is wrong then our acting will b

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AVOIDING SELF-DECEPTION

1 Corinthians 3:18-23

INTRODUCTION: Just recently, our area has been exposed to an unusual sight – a beluga whale. He has been meandering up and down the river, between Burlington and Trenton. Lots of people have gone to the river’s edge in hopes of catching a glimpse of the white whale. And several have questioned why would the whale be here. I would think that just about everyone is convinced that having a whale in the river is an unusual thing.

Well, this portion of Scripture is one of those unusual things. It does not naturally fit with either the context before it, or the context after it. IT is one of Paul’s digressions, one of those – “Oh, yeah, before I forget” passages. Too important to leave out, but an epiphany in the flow of the letter.

And to tell you the truth, I have had a hard time dealing with this passage, and not only me – several commentators and biblical scholars have also struggled with these 7 verses. Paul definitely considered them important enough to include, and important enough for us to consider!

TRANSITION: Self-Deception is rooted in our thinking, and visible in our activities. Or, if we look at it in reverse – what we do, or how we act is in reality a product of our belief system – ie: what we believe. So, if our believing is wrong then our acting will be wrong. If we have been deceived and are thinking wrong as a result of that deception , then we need to adjust, re-set, and refocus areas of our thinking that have been subjected to deception. Replacing them with truth, and ultimately seeing the conformation in our actions!

I Self-Deceptive Wisdom

A What We Have At Our Disposal – (A look at the Corinthian Church)

1 The Corinthian church had tremendous access to the Scriptures

a Availability of the Bible.

b Apostolic teaching and writing

2 The Corinthian church had freedom of worship

a Did not have to worship in secret

b Did not have to worship underground

c Had no fear of persecution

3 The Corinthian church had a pedigree of preachers

a Paul had founded the church

b Apollos had continued the ministry in the church

c Peter and his teaching had been referenced

4 The Corinthian church was highly gifted

1 Cor. 1:7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

B What We Choose To Use – (What the Corinthian church chose to do)

1 The Corinthian church developed their own “wisdom”

a Disregarded God’s Word

1 Cor. 3:1-2 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

1) Should have been ready for heavier stuff

2) Instead, were still involved in the basics

3) At issue here is the level of the Corinthian believer regarding his relationship to the Word of God

2 The Corinthian church put man’s wisdom ahead of God’s

a Looked at man’s wisdom and thought it wise

1 Cor. 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.

b Looked at one teachers instruction above another

c Ultimately, they would were exalting man’s wisdom over God’s ideas for them

When God’s ideals take a back seat to man’s wisdom, we get into trouble …………….

Let’s take the “GOD’S IDEAL FOR YOU TEST”

Now give yourself a point for each ideal you do

ü Do you read your Bible daily?

Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

ü Do you memorize God’s Word regularly?

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

ü Do you pray daily?

1 Thes. 5:17 pray continually;

ü Do you attend church regularly?

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

GIVE YOURSELF AN EXTRA POINT IF YOU DID THIS ONE WHILE YOU WERE ON VACATION!

ü Do you tithe?

Malachi 3:8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings. 9You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

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