Summary: Paul gives a strong warning from Israel’s history about avoiding idols. Will we heed the warning?
A. I want to begin with a very helpful warning – Here are the top 10 things not to say to a police officer if he or she pulls you over.
#10 – Was I speeding? Sorry, I can’t see anything without my glasses.
#9 – Was I speeding? Sorry, I didn’t realize my radar detector wasn’t plugged in.
#8 – Hey, don’t I pay your salary?
#7 – Officer, I was just trying to keep up with traffic and if you didn’t see any cars around me,
that tells you just how fast they were going.
#6 – Hey, aren’t you the guy from the Village People?
#5 – Hey, nice driving, you must have been doing 100 mph to keep up with me.
#4 – You aren’t going to check the trunk, are you?
#3 – Sorry I missed that stop sign, I was text messaging my friend.
#2 – Hey, is your gun a 9 millimeter? I’ve got a bigger one than that – want to see it?
#1 – Thing not to say to a police officer if he or she pulls you over – You’re only going to give me a
warning? Gee, Officer, that’s terrific – the last officer only gave me a warning, too!
B. Warnings – We all need them, but not all of us heed them.
1. As we continue our study of 1 Corinthians and arrive at chapter 10, we see that Paul is offering a stern warning that must be heeded by the Corinthians and by us.
C. It is important for us at this point to recall the situation that Paul is addressing.
1. The letter that Paul had received from the Corinthians appealed for Paul’s support of an enlightened understanding that idols are meaningless.
2. Some of the Corinthian Christians were attending meals and festivities at the temples of pagan gods, just as they had done before becoming Christians.
3. In their view, this was just a normal aspect of social life in their culture.
4. Such activities entailed no spiritual danger, they argued, because they had knowledge.
5. Perhaps they were also arguing that having participated in the mysteries of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, they had passed into a zone of spiritual blessedness that made them immune to any harm from associating with pagan worship.
D. As we have seen, Paul’s first response to this situation in chapter 8 was to raise a concern for weaker members of the community who might be led astray by the example of the strong and fall back into idol-worship.
1. Then in chapter 9, Paul summoned the strong to follow his example of surrendering rights for the sake of others.
2. But here in chapter 10, Paul’s argument takes a new turn.
3. Paul will now contend that there is another equally compelling reason to avoid dining in the presence of idols.
4. The Corinthian Christians who attend these temple meals are not only endangering the weak, but are also putting themselves in spiritual peril.
5. So let’s take a look at Paul’s argument in this chapter and then attempt to apply the principles in our own lives today.
6. The chapter has two primary sections: The first 22 verses constitute a warning from Israel’s history, and then verse 23 through chapter 11, verse 1 serve to summarize Paul’s teachings from chapters 8 through 10.
I. Warnings From Israel’s History (10:1-22)