Summary: Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10 regarding hope and strength for trials and temptations.
Text: 1 Cor 10:13, Title: Need Hope? Date/Place: NRBC, 7/10/11, AM
A. Opening illustration: Bill Hybels tells about an interesting experience after a baptism service in their church. He writes: “I bumped into a woman in the stairwell who was crying. I thought this was a little odd, since the service was so joyful. I asked her if she was all right. She said, ‘No, I’m struggling.’ She said, ‘My mom was baptized today. I prayed for her every day for almost 20 years. The reason I’m crying is because I came this close to giving up on her. At the 5-year mark I said, “Who needs this? God isn’t listening.” At the 10-year mark I said, “Why am I wasting my breath?” At the 15-year mark I said, “This is absurd.” At the 19-year mark I said, “I’m just a fool.” But I just kept trying, kept praying. Even with weak faith I kept praying. Then she gave here life to Christ, and she was baptized today. I will never doubt the power of prayer again.”
B. Background to passage: Context of the knowledgeable believers eating in the temples of idols and causing the brethren and the non-believer alike to stumble. So Paul has told them not to do those things even though theologically they are correct. He says to limit your own liberty. And he has just issued a stern warning about rebellion in their hearts and the bodies that would be strewn in the wilderness. He is concerned that they think they’re OK, but they are on the verge of a fall. So, in the verse today, Paul offers some hope to those struggling with the desire to go and eat, and the desire to exercise liberty without restraint. He also offers hope to others suffering trials because of the behavior of some. Common verse quoted by many with regularity because of it’s ability to comfort the afflicted.
C. Main thought: in the text we will find hope and strength for our trials and temptations. You may be waiting, suffering, longing, for that end that never seems to come, let this verse give you strength.
A. Trials Are
1. The word here for “temptation” is also translated “trials” in many of it’s occurrences in the NT. Usually the best translation is determined by the context. But in this text, either could fit, and either could work to serve the purposes of Paul’s thought process. I believe that Paul actually intended both meanings, since he spoke to the weak and the strong believers simultaneously. So let’s point out a few shared truths about temptations and trials. 1) they are common; happen to all men. All men have trials, and all are tempted; differing degrees and lengths, but all share these things. 2) Both are used by God to test, prove, and improve our faith. 3) We can find joy in both as long as God is in the center of our lives and is our satisfaction. 4) They are both temporary. In the presence of Christ they will all come to an end.
2. James 1:2, Rom 5:3, 8:18, 8:28, Gen 50:20, 2 Cor 4:17,
3. Illustration: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller, John Stott writes, "Christian people are not guaranteed immunity to temptation, tribulation or tragedy, but we are promised victory over them. God's pledge is not that suffering will never affect us, but that it will never separate us from his love."
4. 1) You situation is not unique. Millions of people worldwide have endured exactly what you are going through, in fact, probably are doing it simultaneously with you. The lie of Satan is that “you are the only one.” We are given the ability to minister to others in those situations because of our pain and sin. 2) We know that the bible teaches that trials test us to see what manner of men we are. Trials prove the veracity of our faith to us (reminder: God doesn’t need to know how true your faith is, He already knows. Trials and overcoming temptation will catapult you spiritually into depths of Christ that you haven’t previously plumbed, and give you wisdom and understanding, and uncover ministries and abilities that you never knew. 3) When we are tempted, we find out if our love of Christ and our joy in Him is strong enough to overcome particular sins. And victory over them furthers our joy in Him. When we are tested through trials, we realize where our true joy lies. When our satisfaction is Christ, we are equipped to endure trials and overcome temptation. 4) One day trials will be o’er. There will be no temptation in heaven. Our sin nature will be permanently overcome in His presence.