Summary: We never get to the point where we do not have to resist temptation – at least while at home on earth in our mortal bodies.
The Miseries of Surrendering to Temptation
1. In the Spring, Marylu and I spent a day at one of our State Parks, McCormick's Creek (my personal favorite). But we could not go into the cave there because of a deadly disease that is annihilating bats.
2. This week, an AP story broke:
"A mysterious illness is threatening the bat population in North America, and scientists believe a fungus is to blame. White Nose Syndrome (WNS) was first detected in New York in 2006. In just four years, the disease has spread across New England and the Mid-Atlantic states and into Canada, The U.S. Forest Service said. Recent sightings have been reported in bat populations in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. At the time of this writing, more than 1 million bats have died, Reuters reported.
Researchers say WNS is caused by a cold-loving fungus called Geomyces destructans. The fungus is spread primarily through bat-to-bat interaction, but it can also be transmitted on the footwear, clothing and gear of cave visitors. When the fungus comes in contact with a bat, it produces a white material on the animal's face and wings, and forces the creature out of hibernation in the middle of winter. Infected bats then attempt to find food. Since there are no insects available, the bats literally starve to death.
3. We tend to forget how we affect one another. Humans affect bats, bats eat bugs, bugs can bite and infect humans….all tangled up.
4. The same is true between the First and Second Testament….
5. Today's passage is one of the clearest examples of midrash in Scripture.
Main Idea: We never get to the point where we do not have to resist temptation – at least while at home on earth in our mortal bodies.
I. Spiritual Advantages Do Not GUARANTEE Spiritual Victory (1-4)
"Our forefathers." A lot of times when Paul uses the term "our," he is referring to himself and his fellows Jews. Most of these "forefathers" were neither the genetic forefathers of the Corinthians, nor spiritual forefathers, since most of these Hebrews in the desert were unsaved. Still, they seve as examples or ANTI-examples for us.
There is great power in an anti-example. Think of someone you do not want to be like…
1. A lot of people think dry cleaning is dry…it's not
2. But this is dry baptism…
3. Christians can relate to this… baptism represents the first step of discipleship…some of you have yet to take this step…August 22
4. As important as baptism is, it cannot hold a candle to faith
1. The idea here is of a common meal and drink
2. Eating and drinking signify fellowship
3. Honoring the Lord through remembering his broken body and shed blood is an important ritual, but it cannot compare to faith
4. But Moses ruined the imagery by striking the rock.
5. Did the rock literally follow them, or spiritually?
6. Clue: Deuteronomy 32:30-31, " How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up? For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede." 32:13, " He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag,"
• When it comes to pleasing God, religion and rituals do not cut it. The issue is always the heart and our walk.
• Despite all these advantage, the children of Israel lost their opportunity to enter the promised land.
• Many within the church think they are heaven bound because they have been baptized or share in communion, have had visions or religious experiences
• But the midrash here is not about genuine conversion vs. false conversion; Paul takes the lesson in a different direction.
• Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Christian fellowship do not make one
• immune from falling into sin. We cannot let down our guard until we are in heaven.
We never get to the point where we do not have to resist temptation – at least while at home on earth in our mortal bodies.
II. The Consequences of Giving In to TEMPTATION Are Real (5-10)
Verse 5 is potent: despite all the religious ritual and identification they experienced, God was not pleased with them. God is into substance, not image.
A. DESIRING evil things (6)
1. We all desire evil things; those evil things might not be evil in themselves, but they are evil for us because they are not in God's plan for us…
2. The secret is in refusing to nurture our desire for evil and distracting that desiring by refocusing our energy on the good…