Summary: Exposition of 1 Corinthians 10 regarding five blessings of God around you that may not indicate His favor upon you.
Text: 1 Cor 10:1-5, Title: Spiritual, But Not Pleasing, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/29/11, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: Paul just finished up an inspirational and admonitional passage about running to win the race. This was to encourage them to work hard and be willing to sacrifice much to build up their brothers and sisters in Christ, and to win the unbelievers, and to gain the prize of everlasting life. But remember he is primarily speaking to a group of moderately spiritually mature, biblically literate, committed group of Christians who were eating in the temples of idols because theologically, there is no such thing as idols, and they felt liberty to do so. And so in response they were probably going through their list of spiritual things that they do: gather with the church, do the Lord’s supper, read their bibles, witness to their friends, maintain their morals…And in evangelical culture, we also keep tabs on ourselves, put spiritual notches in our belt, gauge our spirituality on such external things. It makes us feel justified, committed, and “OK.” But Paul says that you can experience God or be a part of the group of the people that experience God regularly and yet not necessarily be pleasing to God.
C. Main thought: Paul gives us five blessings of God around you that may not indicate His favor upon you
A. The Presence of God (v. 1)
1. Paul reminded the believers there of the reality that the children of Israel had the manifest presence of God in the form of a pillar of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Ex 13:21). All they had to do was walk outside the tent and they could see God’s presence abiding with the people of Israel. He would lead them through the wilderness with great care and concern. They could go to sleep at night by His light knowing they are safe. They could follow God’s leading clearly. But he says in v. 5 that most of them did not were not pleasing to God. They brought Him no pleasure, and He killed them in the wilderness. Strong adversative placed at the beginning of verse five for emphasis.
2. Heb 6:4-6, 11:6
3. Illustration: Some of you in the congregation today are not truly following Him, kinda like Rick Warren being in Barak Obama’s presence at the inauguration in 2008,
4. You can be among the presence of God and not be His child, or pleasing to Him? You may be with the people of God who are led by the Spirit of God, and not be pleasing to Him. You can be in a room where God shows up (you may even get glory bumps), but that doesn’t mean that He is pleased with you. This is one of the reasons that if you come here and feel His presence, don’t leave here feeling fine about yourself. Great, you went to church, unlike 25,000 people in Tift Co., you are better than them, but still not pleasing to God.
B. The Deliverance of God (v. 1)
1. Next Paul reminds them of the next event in the Exodus story – the Red Sea deliverance. These three million people were backed up to the sea with mountainous terrain on two sides and Pharaoh on the other. And God told Moses to step into the water with the rod of God and BOOM a 47 lane hwy through the ocean with walls of water hundreds of feet high either side. And then days later they were cursing God, Moses and his deliverance. And God killed them all. They saw the most awesome deliverance in the history of Israel, but they did not see it in faith.
2. Acts 27:33-34,
3. Illustration: think about all the “God stories” that come out of a natural disaster,
4. You can see God do awesome, supernatural things, and not be pleasing to God. You can be in the middle of miracles, and not be in the middle of God’s will. You can experience God’s deliverance and protection from death or disaster and not be pleasing in His sight. Unbelievers and wayward Christians see the miraculous, such as a divine healing, all the time. Don’t think that just because God answered a prayer of yours, that He is showering you with His relational favor.
C. The Man of God and Mission of God (v. 2)
1. Then Paul reminds them of all those millions (who were not self-controlled enough to refrain from idolatry and obtain the prize, but were destroyed of God in the wilderness) who followed Moses, did what he said, and were in some sense on the “mission of God.” Now there were several times they openly rebelled (more on that next week), but they followed Moses out of Egypt and through the wilderness for 40 years.