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Summary: Sometimes compromise is good - but when it comes to serving God, we cannot serve Him and the world at the same time.

Straddling the Fence – 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Sometimes compromise is good…. It is good in a marriage. It is good many times in business. It is good in national diplomacy. When it comes to our spiritual relationship with God, compromise is not good.

Too often we compromise our faith by giving into the world’s temptations. This morning we spoke on submitting ourselves to God. Tonight I want to dig a little deeper into it by covering some of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian church.


We cannot have it both ways. We cannot dine at the world’s table and the Lord’s as well.

In some respects we see some similarities here between James chapters 3 & 4. James deals with the contradiction of the believer that has both praising and cursing coming from the same mouth. He deals with resisting sin and Satan. He also deals with our total submission to God.

Let me set the context for you. At the church of Corinth there are some that are apparently participating in the sacrifice to idols. Not so much that they themselves are doing the sacrificing, but they are in attendance when the meat offered to idols is eaten. They eat it knowingly, under the umbrella of grace. Paul basically teaches them that it is not the eating of meat offered to idols that is wrong, it is in the condoning of the offering that is wrong. So, what is the application for us in this passage?

I. When we participate in sinful things, we are condoning the activity.

a. dirty talk, backbiting (slander), gossip, false religions, music, movies, entertainment, etc.

b. Even passive acceptance is sinful (humanist philosophy)

c. Behind all idolatry is a demonic force

II. When we compromise, we commit idolatry

a. Idolatry is nothing more than the elevation of something, or some activity equal to or above God.

b. “It’s only a little sin.” “God understands we need to have a little fun.” Those are statements of rationalization to our selfish desire to straddle the fence.

c. We cannot serve two masters. (Mt. 6:24)

III. God wants all of our devotion

a. The first commandment is – You shall have no other gods before me. The second is similar – You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.

b. God wants all or nothing.

c. Verse 22 – Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Women sometimes will flirt with another man in order to arouse their fella’s jealousy. Is that what we are trying to do when we flirt with sin? Must we have God prove to us His love all over again? Was not His only Son on the cross enough to demonstrate his unfathomable love for us?

d. God wants our faithfulness. As James called us this morning, we are an adulterous people. We cheat on God all the time when we try to straddle the fence.


We live in a culture where the truth is denied and the lie is embraced. Homosexuality is nothing more than an alternate lifestyle. That people who do bad things aren’t bad people, just victims of society. That it is more important to save the whales than to save millions of unborn babies. That God isn’t real and Satan is a quaint looking dude with a sly smile and pitchfork.

External activities really matter. You may be hanging out with folks that are doing some pretty nasty things. You may not materially participate in doing them, but your quiet approval condones the activity. Your participation makes you just as guilty.

Let’s do a spiritual check-up right now. What compromises are you making in your life? On the job – are there alliances you’ve made that are contrary to your testimony? Are there practices you look the other way on, that God would not be pleased with?

At school or with your teen-aged friends – what extra-curricular fun do your friends encourage you to go along with, that God would say is sin? What locker room stories do you pass on as “Did you here about…” when it really is nothing more than gossip? What music or movies are you laughing at with your bud’s, that really are too embarrassing to even say in public?

In our marriages – what sacred vows are we twisting in order to condone our closet behavior?

God wants our undivided loyalty and fidelity. There is no room for compromise. We cannot eat at two tables. We cannot straddle the fence.

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