Summary: Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10 regarding refraining from idolatry.
Text: 1 Cor 10:14-22, Title: Demon Worship, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/17/11, AM
A. Opening illustration: the witch in Maine who was working against us, team from SC that found her
B. Background to passage: Paul is closing off his argument that he has been making since 8:1 regarding the practice of eating with friends at the temple of idols. This was the next question that the Corinthians had asked him to answer. And so after a long, sometimes convoluted, argument, he finally just forbids it.
C. Main thought: Paul has two and a half reasons for his command to refrain from idolatry.
A. Reason #1: Sharing Christ (v. 14-17)
1. He tells them to think as “wise” men, which was probably not sarcastic. He had given them other reasons that the figured made his point and that they probably needed him to make. But on this one, he knows that they should simply be able to think through it and come to the same conclusion. His example is communion (the Lord’s Supper) and its benefits. He isn’t just looking for an example; this is at the core of the issue. Key word: communion, explain. Paul says that when they take the Lord’s Supper, they are sharing in or participating in Christ. He is there, He is hosting, He is remembered, and His Spirit is there in all believers. It is fellowship with Christ, and intimate connection that believers have with Him and each other. The “cup of blessing” was the terminology that the host of Jewish meals would have used to signify the final blessing of the meal. And for the Corinthians (and modern Christians) would have included the benefits of that sacrificial meal, which for them would be the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and its benefits toward them/us.
2. 1 Cor 5:3-5, 16:22,
3. Illustration: Andrew Murray, in Abide in Christ, writes: “The whole Christian life depends on the clear consciousness of our position in Christ. Most essential to the abiding in Christ is the daily renewal of our faith’s assurance, “I am in Christ Jesus.”" Read the list below of our benefits in Christ,
4. Christ is present when we take the Lord’s Supper in a unique way. He is always here, always living within us through the Spirit, always present in the praises of His people, but in a special way in our presence when we eat in His. We are sharing His life in a unique way during that meal. Your oneness with Christ, union with Christ, your “in Christness” is put on display, and put in prominence during the meal. Christ has provided the meal for us with His life, and we are to experience it again by way of reminder. When we receive this in a few minutes, know that He is here with us powerfully. And for this reason, we must avoid idolatry.
B. Reason #2: Sharing Demons (v. 18-21)
1. So Paul grabs for another illustration, and takes them back to Old Covenant Israel. He speaks of the sharing of sacrifices by those who made the offerings. They were commanded to eat in the presence of Yahweh. And then he anticipates the question that would arise in the minds of the Cor: didn’t you say that idols are nothing back in 8:4? And he says, “yes, but…” What they failed to realize is that even though the idols were not “gods” that didn’t mean that they have not spiritual significance or power. He tells us that they were used as a vehicle by demons to control people. And thus to eat in the presence of the demons, meat offered to demons, the Cor would be sharing in demons. And Paul says “you cannot,” but by saying that he doesn’t mean “should not,” but it is “impossible” to share of both. The relationship with Yahweh is mutually exclusive.
2. Deut 14:22-27, Matt 6:24, Josh 24:15,
4. The religious gods of this world are still used of demons to control your life. Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, JW, Mormonism, and on and on, are all wonderful deceptions of Satan to allow demons to control men. This is not the expressed spiritual attack that controls people by demonic possession or oppression (although that is just as real), but rather a subtle back door approach that we dive into, then suddenly get out beyond our ability to get back. The idols that ensnare us most however, are those that are not necessarily religious—money, work, shopping, TV, sex, possessions, even good things like family, ministry, service, and spiritual disciplines for the wrong reasons (got the Pharisees in deep). These things can steal away our hearts from Christ, and cause us fellowship with demons.
C. Why is this important? We serve a jealous God! Don’t arouse His jealousy! (v. 22)