Summary: We do many good things. When we let them get in the way of the best things the good becomes the enemy of the best.

February 24, 2002

1I don¡¦t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. God guided all of them by sending a cloud that moved along ahead of them, and he brought them all safely through the waters of the sea on dry ground. 2As followers of Moses, they were all baptized in the cloud and the sea.

3And all of them ate the same miraculous food, 4and all of them drank the same miraculous water. For they all drank from the miraculous rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5Yet after all this, God was not pleased with most of them, and he destroyed them in the wilderness.

6These events happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did 7or worship idols as some of them did. For the Scriptures say, ¡§The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged themselves in pagan revelry.¡¨

8And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 9Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10And don¡¦t grumble as some of them did, for that is why God sent his angel of death to destroy them.

11All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close.12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. 13But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can¡¦t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

14So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am about to say is true. 16When we bless the cup at the Lord¡¦s Table, aren¡¦t we sharing in the benefits of the blood of Christ? And when we break the loaf of bread, aren¡¦t we sharing in the benefits of the body of Christ? 17And we all eat from one loaf, showing that we are one body. 18And think about the nation of Israel; all who eat the sacrifices are united by that act.

19What am I trying to say? Am I saying that the idols to whom the pagans bring sacrifices are real gods and that these sacrifices are of some value? 20No, not at all. What I am saying is that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don¡¦t want any of you to be partners with demons. 21You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord¡¦s Table and at the table of demons, too. 22What? Do you dare to rouse the Lord¡¦s jealousy as Israel did? Do you think we are stronger than he is?

23You say, ¡§I am allowed to do anything¡¨¡Xbut not everything is helpful. You say, ¡§I am allowed to do anything¡¨¡Xbut not everything is beneficial.

24Don¡¦t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them. 25Here¡¦s what you should do. You may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace. Don¡¦t ask whether or not it was offered to idols, and then your conscience won¡¦t be bothered. 26For ¡§the earth is the Lord¡¦s, and everything in it.¡¨„T 27If someone who isn¡¦t a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don¡¦t ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this. 28But suppose someone warns you that this meat has been offered to an idol. Don¡¦t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. 29It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.

Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? 31Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. 32Don¡¦t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don¡¦t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved. First Corinthians 10.1-33 -- The New Living Translation

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