Summary: Let's talk about the privileges, the punishments and the payoffs from 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (Material adapted from E. Hurndall of Bible Hub at: http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/hurndall/old_testament_pictures.htm)
What do you think of when you hear the following names: Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Ted Haggard? Most people think: How in the world could these people let themselves do this? Why did they give up so much for so little? What would make them compromise their dreams?
Paul is dealing with several issues in 1 Corinthians. Chapter 8 he talked about how it is fine to eat meat sacrificed to idols with this warning: “For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?” 1 Corinthians 8:10, NIV. In chapter 9 Paul talks about giving up his right to receive payment from preaching the gospel. This goes back to chapter 8 where we might have to give up eating meat, a right, to keep our brother from stumbling. Toward the end of chapter 9 Paul says this: “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:27, NIV. Even though lead others to Christ, Paul does not want to be disqualified himself from the prize.
This brings us to chapter 10 where Paul lets the Corinthians know that even though it is okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols, it is not okay to worship at a pagan temple. “The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20, 21, NIV. To illustrate the importance of this Paul goes back into the OT and talks about the exodus from Egypt.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the privileges, the punishments and the payoffs
The privileges- 5 privileges the Israelites enjoyed
1. Vs 1- under the cloud: “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21, NIV.
God’s protection and guidance is a great privilege. The Israelites were helpless and defenseless; but they were stronger than the strongest because God was with them.
2. Vs. 1- All passed through the sea: “and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Exodus 14:22, NIV.
3. Vs. 2- Baptized into Moses: They were immersed into his leadership. They were identified with him. It was Moses’ people, it was Moses crowd. They were one with their leader, that’s what that is saying. They were united as a community with one leader.
4. Vs. 3- Ate the same spiritual food: “The Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.” Exodus 16:35, NIV. A table was spread for them in the wilderness- and a good table too and included meat. “That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.” Exodus 16:13, NIV.
5. Vs. 4- Drank the same spiritual drink: “I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.” Exodus 17:6, NIV.
Transition to us: Christian baptism is a break with the past, as the Israelites were breaking with their past when they went through the sea. Christian baptism turns the face toward a new future, as the Israelites were turned to a new future in the exodus. Christian baptism is a commitment to follow a new leader- Jesus- just as the decision to go through the sea was a commitment to Moses’ leadership. Christian baptism united people not only with Jesus, but with one another, and those who went through the sea were united with one another for the years ahead and with whatever experiences they might encounter. Christian baptism is a freedom from the slavery to sin, and the exodus was a freedom from over 400 years of slavery. Christian baptism reminds us that someone died to give us that freedom, and the exodus was a continual reminder of the death of the firstborn in Egypt.
The point of all of this is that the privileged can fall into sin, regardless of how privileged they are. Even though these people had participated in God’s blessings, vs. 5