Sermons

Summary: "Rugged Individualism" is thinking that we need to rely on ourselves. But this can lead to trouble, as the Israelites (and the Corinthians, and people today) indicate. Instead, we should pursue "rugged surrender".

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March 10, 2004

Title: Rugged Individualism? Rugged Surrender!

Text: 1Co_10:1-13

Introduction

1. One of my favorite radio personalities preaches a doctrine of "rugged individualism"...

if we work hard...anything is possible

we are responsible for our own actions...

we take care of ourselves...

in other words, "ever man for himself"...

our confidence is in ourselves...

we don’t rely on the government to take care of us...

we don’t believe in government subsidies...

this land was founded by pilgrims who were willing to step out on their own...

this land was further populated by people travelling west to make their own way...

rugged individualism is the "American Way"

in fact, this radio personality didn’t originate the doctrine...

Herbert Hoover gave a speech in 1928 that talked about it...

2. And to be honest..."rugged individualism" is an attractive idea...

I think there is a lot to be said about having self-confidence...

being responsible for our own actions...

and so on...

3. But there is a very real problem if you make this your life’s philosophy...

if "rugged individualism" is the creed you live by...

you can find yourself in trouble...

the radio personality I referred to...

recently got into some significant trouble...

when he became addicted to pain medication...

and got into legal trouble as a result.

4. In fact, although it isn’t specifically mentioned...

we see rugged individualism referred to in our text.

Read Text: 1Co_10:1-13

1. The Deliverance of the Israelites 1Co_10:1-4

A. The Children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians...

And God raised up Moses to be the deliverer for the Chosen People

And through Moses, God lead the people to a new land...

B. In our text, Paul says, "our forefathers were all under the cloud" 1 Cor 10:1 (NIV)

This is a reference to how the Lord led and guided them through the wilderness...

Exodus 13:21 says, "During the day the LORD went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the LORD could lead them at all times, whether day or night." (Exo 13:21 CEV)

This cloud served as a guide...

showing them the way to go...

It also served as protection...

Psa 105:39 says God hid them under a cloud and guided them by fire during the night.

This protected them from their enemies...

This cloud represented the actual presence of God in their midst.

C. Our text goes on to says, "they all passed through the sea" 1 Cor 10:1 (NIV)

you are familiar with the story about the Crossing of the Red Sea....

the Egyptian army was bearing down upon the Children of Israel...

they were surrounded...

But God opened up a path to cross through the Red Sea...

and when the Egyptians tried to follow...

the Sea closed again...

and the Egyptians drowned.

D. Paul tells us in 1Co_10:2 that this is an example of Baptism.

This event served as a turning point in the lives of the Israelites...

they made a break with their previous life...

their life of bondage under the Egyptians...

and now embraced a new life of freedom...

under the leadership of Moses...

In the same way, baptism represents a turning point in our lives...

we make a break with our previous life of sin...

and we now embrace our new life in Jesus Christ.

E. And God didn’t just leave them to make their own way...

He didn’t expect them to be "rugged individualists"...

Not only did He provide guidance and protection from the cloud and the pillar of fire...

but our text tells us that God provided them spiritual food and drink as well...

we know that God provided manna in the wilderness...

and we know that God provided water from a rock...

we know that manna and water were provided for physical food...

we Paul is telling us that this was more than just physical food...

it was spiritual food as well...

The manna and the water represented what was to become the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament...

And as such, they represented Jesus Christ...

in fact, Paul says, in verse 4, that the Rock was Jesus Christ.

F. I’m sure that the Israelites had to have some "rugged indivdualism"...

in that they had to gather the manna themselves...

they had to make their way through the wilderness...

but, the deliverance was not provided by their own efforts...

nor was it because of the efforts of Moses...

Moses was just a tool in the Hand of God...

God provided the guidance...

God provided the sustenance...

God provided the nourishment...

so the Children of Israel were dependent upon God.

2. The Disaster of "Doing Our Own Thing" 1Co_10:5-10

A. But, in spite of God’s provision in their lives...

the Children of Israel disobeyed God...

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