Summary: This sermon says that today's believers should learn from past experiences of God's people when resisting with temptation.
VIGILANCE NOT OVERCONFIDENCE
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NIV)
This passage says that today's believers should learn from past experiences of God's people and be warned. One of the past experiences of God's people that we need to learn from is in the area of resisting temptation.
Paul reminded the experienced believers who were strong in the faith that they had better not grow overconfident in their ability to overcome temptation. Paul used the nation of Israel as his example to warn the mature believers that their experience must be balanced by caution.
A. EXPERIENCE MUST BE BALANCED BY CAUTION (vv. 1-5)
Why is that? Past God's protection and provision don't guarantee automatic present victory. (vv. 1-6) Paul started by recalling past God's protection and provision for Israel:
a. Were all under the cloud (vv. 1-2) - God's presence through the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
b. They all passed through the sea (vv. 1-2) - God let them passed through the Red Sea when apprehended by the Egyptians.
c. They all ate the same spiritual food (v. 3) - God provided manna in the wilderness.
d. They all drank the same spiritual drink (v. 4) - God gave them water to drink through the rock.
e. The rock was with them (v. 4) Christ. Paul used the rock as an analogy of the presence of Christ in the believer's life.
But despite of these past demonstrations of God¡¦s protection and provision, most of them fell from the graciousness of God.
Numbers 14:29 (NIV) 29In this wilderness your bodies will fall every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.
God was not pleased with most of them; they yielded to the temptation of the devil. They rebelled against God and suffered the consequences, their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Let us not be overconfident that we would always overcome temptation. Instead be vigilant because the devil is like a roaring lion waiting for some to devour.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) 8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
B. KEEP YOUR HEART FROM THE EVIL WAYS (vv. 6-12)
The reason they failed was because they set their hearts on evil things.
a. They became idolaters (v. 7) Moses was on the mountain talking with God. The Israelites asked Aaron make a god golden calf. Then he built and altar in front of the calf and sacrificed burn offerings and had a party. (Exodus 32:1-6)
b. They became immoral (v. 8) When the Israelites was staying in Moab, their men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who later invited them to the sacrifices to their gods and yoke themselves to the Baal of Peor. God was angry at them. (Numbers 25:1-9)
c. They tested the Lord (v. 9-10) They grumbled before God about bread and water and the Lord sent venomous snake among them bit the people and died. (Numbers 21:4-9)
Paul said that these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us who are waiting for the end of the age.
1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV) 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!
Don't crave for evil things that surround us. As sinful humans, we have a natural tendency to desire for the sinful ways of this world. When we think we are strong, we discover that we are weak. Heart is the totality of man's inner or immaterial nature. It is the seat of man's emotion, thought, and will. It is by our heart that we love, obey, worship, serve, follow, give, trust, and work.
Psalm 51:10 (NIV) 10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
David knew that the reason he failed was because of his impure heart.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) 23Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We need to watch out our heart. Oftentimes, our actions reflect the conditions of our heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
The condition of a person's heart says everything about the person, it reveals our humility, love, compassion, integrity, steadfastness, fairness, and faithfulness. What can we do to have a heart of obedience?