Summary: God has given us the church (among other helps) to help you WIN in this life.
Series Title: Questions About the Church
Sermon Title: How Can the Church Help Me Win in Life?
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13
As Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, he knows that they have a lot of evil influences. We’ve already talked about how big of a city and how important of a city Corinth was. It was important for the transportation of goods because of its location on the isthmus between northern and southern Greece. People from all over the known world would have come through there. Alongside the worshipping of false gods that the Greeks did, there would have been other religions of the people who had settled there. Some of these religions were fertility religions, which means that they worshipped their false gods through sexual activity. Being a metropolitan kind of city, it would probably have been similar to cities like New York, or Los Angeles. We hear about the crime and the slums. There would have been a lot of temptation to live a lifestyle that was not pleasing to God.
The Christians in Corinth would have needed help to WIN in life the way God wanted them to WIN. And just like God does for us, God gave them the church, His people, to help them WIN in life.
If you are saved, God has given you the church to help you WIN in this life. It’s true that, if you are saved, you already have received eternal life. So, you have actually already won the war. But because of our human nature and the battle that takes place, we are constantly fighting between the physical and the spiritual. Sometimes it’s within ourselves, and sometimes it’s in our relationships with other people.
Now, God gives us help to win this daily battle. He gives us the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us, but that’s a message for another day.
I. God gives us the church to help us WIN at life through the Witness of the church, (1 Cor. 10: 1-6)
Now, one of the most ready examples of what I’m talking about is Paul himself. He had preached among them. He had taught among them. They had heard his testimony of how he stood firm in his faith, and faced persecution during the year and a half that he spent there. He was an example to the fact that you could live a righteous life in the face of temptation and persecution.
Then, Paul goes back into Jewish history. Some of the Christians in Corinth could have come out of the Jewish faith, because Paul first went into the synagogue to preach about Jesus, and when some Jews became abusive toward him, he went into someone’s house. But even if they did not come out of a Jewish background, Paul is giving testimony about the people of God.
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
God led them with the cloud by day, and God provided a way of safety through the sea. These were God’s people and He was leading and protecting them.
2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
This phrase “baptized into Moses” doesn’t mean baptism like we think of baptism. Instead, it carries the idea of being dedicated to the leadership of Moses, who was, of course, being led by God.
3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
Here is a word of testimony that God’s people were being provided for by the hand of God. And Paul brings Christ into this Old Testament account. We don’t have record that Jesus manifested Himself to them in a physical sense. But Paul is declaring that it is through Jesus that God the Father provided for the people of Israel.
So these experiences of the people of God are a witness that God will provide to help His people WIN in life.
Now, they not only had a positive witness, but they, also, had a negative witness.
5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Because of their disobedience at a certain point, God did not allow the adults that had come out of Egypt into the Promised land, except for Joshua and Caleb. He made them wander through the desert, or wilderness as we call it, for forty years, until that generation had died out.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
If you are going through troubles, if you are facing temptations, if you have fallen on hard times, if you are finding it difficult to live for Jesus, God has given you His people, the church, who will bear witness to the fact that you can live for Jesus regardless of outside pressures and circumstances.