Sermons

Summary: Let us learn from the past and depend on God for the future.

EXAMPLES AND WARNINGS

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

INTRODUCTION

ILLUSTRATION Different Asian countries celebrate New Year in different dates and ways.

In Vietnam, the New Year is called Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet for short. It begins between January 21 and February 19, the exact date changing from year to year. The Vietnamese believe there is a god in every home who travels to heaven (traditionally on a carp) to report how good or bad each family member has been in the past year. Live carp are often purchased and set free in a river.

In Shinto families in Japan, a rope of straw is often placed across the front of houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness during the coming year.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated sometime between January 17 and February 19, at the time of the new moon, and is call Yuan Tan. It is a time of parades and street processions involving large costumes and thousands of lanterns which light the way for the New Year. Firecrackers are used to frighten the spirits away.

However, each custom is focus on removing the evil spirits out and welcoming happiness in. As we celebrate New Year’s Day, what can we do to have a chance of experiencing good things this coming year 2008? Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 and check what we can learn from this passage that applies to welcoming 2008 with prosperity.

This passage says that Paul taught the Corinthians by reviewing Israel’s pasts. What can we learn from this passage that would give us a chance of experiencing prosperity and happiness in the coming year?

EXPOSITION

1. Learn from the past experiences. (vv. 1-11)

Paul enumerated some of the facts of life experienced by the Israelites. The purpose is for the Corinthians to learn from those experiences. First, he talked about:

a. God’s provision (vv. 1-6)

• Spiritual protection (vv. 1-2) - The cloud is a representation of God’s guidance; the sea, of God’s redemption and leadership.

• Spiritual food (v. 3)

• Spiritual drink (v. 4)

• God’s reaction (v. 5) - God was not pleased with most of them because of unbelief. God established his covenant with the Israelites that if they will trust him He will provide for their needs.

APPLICATION: How many times have we doubted the faithfulness of God in providing for our needs? God is not pleased when His people express their unbelief. God who called us to salvation and ministry has plans and would not abandon us in the middle of the road unattended.

God knows our needs and He will deliver the goods at the right time. We don’t need those symbols and rituals to acquire God’s favor. He loves his people and would take care of our needs – jobs, housing, clothing, food, education, and utilities.

Our faith in God would cause us to obey His instructions for life. Our faith will keep us from worrying and lead us to trusting Him. I am sure that you have a personal story to tell. Believe that God provides. Secondly, Paul talked about:

b. Man’s rebellion (vv. 7-11)

• Idolatry (v. 7) – worshiped golden calf and offer sacrifices to it while dancing.

• Immorality (v. 8) – engaged with sexual immorality with the temple prostitutes.

• Testing the Lord (v. 9) – they challenged and see what He will do.

• Grumbling (v. 10) – always complaining and wishing that they did not leave Egypt.

• Man’s Lessons (vv. 6, 11) - Some of them died by the thousands. Paul said that those happened as an examples and warnings for the current people of God. (vv. 6, 11)

APPLICATION: In what ways we have rebelled against God this past year? Some suffered the consequences of their rebellion and may it be a lesson for us to learn. May our or others past experiences serve as examples and warnings in life.

There is nothing we can do with our past – you cannot change the events but you can retrieve the lessons and utilize them as warnings. That’s the rational for studying history in school, it provides some examples to follow and avoid.

As a church, what can we learn from the past 14 years of experiences? We can avoid committing the same mistakes if we learn the lessons. We learn the lessons if we spend time in reflection and evaluation of the past events.

As a family, what can we learn from our parents and early years of our family life? We can stop the cycle of failures and frustrations if we stop and sip the lessons from the past. Don’t let the past keep you from enjoying the present and the future.

Therefore let me encourage your both individually and corporately to begin reviewing 2007 and extract the examples and warnings that will serve as lessons of life. Decide to do something about it this coming year 2008.

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