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Tried and Triumphant

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 29, 2021 8:00 am

Tried and Triumphant

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 29, 2021 8:00 am

A church struggles to come to terms with what it means to serve the Lord. But it's not easy. All around are greedy and debauched people. Inevitably some of sinfulness has begun to infiltrate the church. Sound familiar? This scenario is not just our own; the early church of Corinth faced many of the same problems! Dr. Boice's study in 1 Corinthians reveals a striking similarity between own battles and the struggles the early church, here on The Bible Study Hour.

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically.

I don't know that the bulk of the New Testament is more practical in first Corinthians in a book that deals with sexual immorality and marriage and divorce lawsuits and pride in what you eat what you don't. Each has got to be a very practical book laws practical matters that are handled in this letter. I suppose most practical and far-reaching of all this is matter of temptation which Paul discusses in chapter 10.

That's because it affects everybody food might be a problem for some people but not for everyone. Some people are involved in sexual immorality, but not everyone ran their marriage problems and all of those things, but temptation which is all-inclusive category concerns absolutely every person in the human race. You're not tempted your dead. And if you don't struggle against temptation. You're spiritually dead. Oscar Wilde was physically alive but spiritually dead.

He made light of temptation, he said in the portrait of Dorian Gray. The only way to escape temptation is to yield to it and then Lady Windermere's fan. He had a character say I can resist anything except temptation. That's the sort of thing and unbeliever can say glibly, but anyone who is a Christian, which is to say anybody who is indwelt by the holy life of the Lord Jesus Christ knows what it is to struggle against the temptations that come to every member of the human race you're not struggling against the temptations to sin that you find all about you and your culture. You are not born again you can just lie down in sin, as it were. You are not possessed of the life of Christ and yet if you are, you know that that in itself does not free you from the temptations, but you have to struggle against them and how you achieve the victory is a very important matter. Now, this 10th chapter of first Corinthians in a certain sense has within all of the bad news about temptation and at the same time, all the good news. I give you my outline simply in advance.

Goes like this. Here's the bad news.

Anybody can fall means you are you are anybody can fall. That's the bad news and then the second part of the outline. The good news is this. Nobody has to that's what Paul is saying in this chapter I when he begins to talk about anybody being able to fall. He brings forward the Israelites as an example.

Paul writes with a great knowledge of the Old Testament stories of the Old Testament, always in his mindedness he thinks back as he must have compose this chapter over the Old Testament history. It occurred to him that there is no greater example anywhere in any of the sacred literature then the things that happened to the people of Israel during the years of their desert wandering and the reason that such a good example is that there is a sense in which they were all at least visibly members of the people of God talks about that very interesting language. This is one of the most difficult passages of the letter and anybody who has read this and tried to wrestle through the imagery he's using, knows how difficult it is to sort it out. He says, and I want to read this. I don't want you to be ignorant of this fact that our forefathers were all under the cloud, they all passed through the say the emphasis usually is upon all of them.

They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and the ceiling all the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them and their bodies were scattered over the desert.

Now, in general terms, understand what he say you saying all these people out of Egypt. All of the Israelites at the Exodus they all accompany Moses. During those years of the laundering and so far it. You could tell looking at that externally all of those people were in the company of God. They all had a certain kind of spiritual baptism by all eight a certain kind of spiritual food and yet many of them perished in the way he's going to describe in the next paragraph point you see lease this much we understand as if I was truth and that it is quite possible for somebody today to be within the visible Church of Jesus Christ to participate in the sacraments to do all the right things and nevertheless fall as they did is worth talking about some of the imagery he uses because it really is interesting. Very helpful this matter. Baptism in verse two has confused a lot of people. They were baptized into Moses in the cloud and see management handled very strange waves by commentators.

Those who are Baptists, say well you see they were all baptized in the sea that's talking about emotion. They overlook the fact that it was the Egyptians who were immersed in the Israelites. I suppose that's foolish, but at this particular point, there have been those who do not believe in baptism by that particular mean some Presbyterian commentators among them. That said, no, no, you haven't read it closely enough says they were all baptized in the cloud and in the singer how the world are you baptized with the cloud.

Obviously, when it's sprinkles on you, so it's not talking about immersion. Well, I think even if we don't understand what this means it should be evident that that's not what it means hiding the understanding of it is in the nature of this word baptism. It's true that in the Greek language the word baptism means to immerse and from that came the word baptism so which is where we get our word baptize, but as is often the case in the Greek language when you have a simple word and then you have a word that's related to it, but slightly more complex.

Usually the more complex word involves well at a slight change of emphasis, or it involves an overtone.

That's not present in the simpler word baptism immerse team so well that something else what I have suggested a greater length in other places as the T cell has to do with what happens when you immerse something but not strictly through immersion.

What happens when you immerse piece of white cloth and die, you change the nature of it change the color, it becomes identified with the color of the die by the immersion and so back teams always used in that particular way. What I things involved with this word baptism so from which we get our backward, baptize the English language involves the question of identity and the change that comes about because of that identity may be an Baptists would certainly argue this a proper and very symbolic way of doing a baptism is by immersion and I think that does take certain important things in others would argue well know, there are other ways of doing it and I defend sprinkling on the basis of the Old Testament forms.

But since those are secondary matters because what happens in our baptism is not that were sprinkled or immersed, but rather that we are identified with Jesus Christ by our testimony or in the case of infants by the testimony of our parents who commit them into the hands of the Lord. Now this is what Paul is talking about here. He saying look when they pass through the sea and were defended and overshadowed by the cloud. They were identified with Moses and the Exodus from that time on. You see, they were separated on the him was no going back.

They were part of the new people and in the same way when he talks about spiritual food and spiritual drink the loading of certain overtones to the sacraments within the Christian church but he saying you see the point is in the wilderness. They all had the same experience is not included in a symbolic way dissipation in the communion by the spiritual food. God provided yet you say, although every one of them had that experience some nevertheless fell and fell irretrievably. This would just be a case of Paul saying as it says elsewhere in the New Testament and as he says here in his own language a little bit later on.

Let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

You are not one of the Lord simply because you been baptized you are not one of God's people simply because you participate in the communion service. You are the Lord's. If you are born again whether you are born again shows up in a way you handled the temptations that come into your life.

So this is what is talking about now in the He begins to get illustrations of that and as he does this he certainly has examples from those early books of the Old Testament in mind because, for example, she says, verse seven do not be idolaters, and some of them were says in verse eight we should not commit sexual immorality as some of them did verse nine and we should not test the Lord as some of them did.

And in verse 10 do not grumble as some of them did in each case, she's thinking of a particular feeling of the people during those years of their wandering idolatry is probably a reference to the 32nd chapter of Exodus. That's a story that tells how, when Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law and the law we remember again with the Decalogue, which said, thou shall have no other gods before me. I was on not make under the any image of anything in heaven above, or the earth beneath the waters under the earth ride the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children under the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy upon thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments law began that way the very time Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law. The people were down in the valley breaking that very commandment they were making the golden calf falling down and worshiping it. The apostle Paul says, remember that even though they were identified with Moses and the Exodus, even though they were numbered visibly among the people of God. They committed adultery and were judged for it as the story tells us happened there in the book of Exodus talks about sexual immorality.

This is something he's talked about earlier in the letter is something no doubt that also grows out of that story of the worship of the golden calf because worshiping false gods always leads to a false or debased morality. This is what happened is that people worshiped the golden calf. There worshiping eventually turned into what we would call an orgy and all kinds of sexual immorality was practiced. He says they did that they were judged for it. He talks about testing the Lord.

Now we have a reference to what this is because of the example he gives of the judgment. He says we should not test the Lord. Some of them did and were killed by snakes is only one place in the Old Testament where snakes come into the picture that's in the book of numbers you turn back to that, you find that what they were doing was complaining they were saying to Moses but directly to God to Moses who was a spokesman in the situation. Why did you bring this out into this desert to dine here. We are out here with is no water right here. There's no food. And besides us food that we been given they were referring to the man is a detestable thing. We just can't stand the way they put it says that God wants to judgment on them because of that interesting. They had been let out of Egypt into one of the most inhospitable environments on earth and got it done absolutely everything to protect them and guide them. He had given them that great cloud would spread out over the camp to give them Shane from the heat of the sun in the daytime and it turned into a pillar of fire at night which will guided them and illuminated the camp provided warmth. They provided water from the rock, which is described here in this passage, he sent down manna from the sky for them to eat and are complaining because God wasn't doing it quite the way they wanted. We say all how bad they were and what we think we do the same thing God provides for us many wonderful ways and we say, oh God, why have you done that, why have you brought me into this mess where I'm not happy and that according to the interpretation of the apostle Paul is to attempt to become very close to what is also described next.

Verse 10 do not grumble. Some of them did some of the translation say murmur murmur is one of those words. It's based upon the sound you murmur it sounds like murmuring in the literature that's called onomatopoeia. It's a word that sounds like the thing and when people murmur. That's what it's like they don't like it so they don't remember much murmuring and it's what children do when you say it's time to go to bed. A Sam and the Paul says look some of them were judged for that as well. See wasn't enough for them to be in the company of the people of God wasn't enough for them to of had what was their equivalent of baptism identification with Moses for the Exodus. It wasn't enough for them to participate in what Paul alludes to hear his spiritual food and spiritual drink was necessary is that they stand against temptation and yet they didn't all do it. Many of them fell and so this first part of the story bad news. Part concludes, without warning, any one any one anyone and that includes you and me can fall. I was talking to a pastor at Western Pennsylvania this week and we were discussing a number of churches for quite another reason we were told one of the ministers left one of the churches. I was sorry to hear that. I wondered where he had wet story came. I hadn't heard before that there had been sexual immorality and the pastor left the church for that reason, and then the pastor who I was talking while I was saying that quoted verse 12 he said yes but remember, let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. I said amen to that. Anybody who thinks well I'm strong in the Lord. I've lived a long time. I'm a Christian who's been around, and I've seen a lot of things and therefore this temptation never touch me any one of things that ways of full.

Furthermore, standing contrary to Scripture. Wisdom in this matter begins with the fact of recognizing that in ourselves you and I can do absolutely anything at all. Furthermore, the temptations come to succumb to some other individual that we say and say well they made a great mess of their lives is quite possible that you and I would've fallen far sooner than they did so as I say part of wisdom comes recognizing that great truth enters the second truth as well and it's Swanson.

This magnificent verse 13. I suppose after a new Christian has memorized John 316, or perhaps Romans 323 Romans 623 new Christian should memorize this verse is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. God is faithful will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also provide a way of escape. You may be able to bear at the verse you should memorize and get in your mind early in the Christian life because you see what that verse says it says temptation is common because you're a Christian, you're not going to escape temptation. Temptation comes everybody blocks that verse goes on to say, God provides a way of escape for Christians when the temptation comes in.

I can translate into the language of you and I can all understand. It's this. If you fall into sin.

It is not God's fault, as I just couldn't help it. That's why the devil you could because God gave you a way of escape. Here temptation is, temptation is going to come but in the life of a Christian when temptation comes, God gives you a way to escape the reason why so many of us fall so often, as it were not looking for that waiver. Looking at the temptation is the devil say it is like to do that over here is the open door to escape and we say God is a door having a great little interest in the temptation. That's why we fall so if we do, we have to recognize God is made the way of escape and is not God's fault. When we sin talks about a way of escape point is really worth thinking about ways because as you study the Scripture and study what it has to say about temptation.

One thing the Scripture says, is the temptation comes to us from different sources. Some temptation is fleshly mentation fleshly since we think of sexual sin as part of that right result for other sexual or fleshly sins as well.

Overeating is a fleshly set. People who are inclined that other things for that category.

Laziness staying in bed instead of getting up in the morning. That's a fleshly sent as a category of sin be very serious there since come to us from the world. The world tries to force us into its mold. This is to think like the world to have the world's priorities to make choices way the world does try to get to the top of your profession at the expense of other people to put on airs of the party to cut other people down because you think it makes you look better. That's worldliness and then there are temptation succumb to us directly from the devil and those are dangerous as well. It's interesting as you study what the Bible has to say about those different sources of temptation that we are given different instructions and resisting them. In other words there is to be a different strategy in each category like this matter of fleshly sins. First of all, what does the Bible say that were to do in that case well. Paul is writing to Timothy in the his first book to that young man and he was talking about sexual immorality, and he gave him advice that any young man or any young woman should heed similar situations and is very simple. He said flee sexual immorality means runaway you find yourself in a situation where you're tempted to a fleshly sin don't stand around and debate. It get out of that situation. Why, because in other situations always have your reason on your side of your tempted to cheat on your income tax you can say well yes I might be able to get away without paying a certain amount of tax, but you know I read the other day that they audit 110 returns or something like that happen, I suppose, is the one on the 10 chance of going to audit me in the computers pretty accurately might find me out and I might be able to get away with a little bit, but it really does make sense to risk my reputation and that kind of aggravation over little bit of money so I won't do it your reason is an outline comes offset the thing but not your tempted to sexual send it give just one example of a fleshly sin, you know that your reason doesn't have a lot to do with it. I doubt very much if you will ever God and do sexual involvement outside of marriage. After sitting down reasoning allows just doesn't work that way.

And so what Paul says is when you're in that situation, runaway from its your mind that that's what you're going to do because that's the way that particular sin is to be resisted. Same thing goes with overeating only way to resist overeating stop meeting and up from the table go away if you're indulging too much television going to do is get up and turn off the television was all fleshly sins and that's very practical advice.

What you do is sins and come from the world is quite a different thing. That's what Paul talks about the 12th chapter of Romans where he says don't let the world force you into its mold. But what be transformed from within by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. What he saying there is you have to live close to God in the Scriptures and allow God as you all in the Christian life to enable you increasingly to think as God things rather than as the world thinks that takes time. You say that's a matter of Christian maturity. That's why in a certain sense because none of us are completely mature. We are all worldly and involved in worldly sin.

What we need to do because we can't run away from that would mean running away from ourselves when we need to do is draw near to God and allow the Holy Spirit to do that kind of transformation which makes us different people is a new life in Christ comes to fruition within us, and then finally there's those sins that come to us from the devil.

James talks about that James, in the fourth chapter verse seven has instructions says to what were to do is to submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you see here's a case lots of fleeing the sin because of the comes to you from the devil. The devil is going to flee by himself.

He stronger than you are. What James says is first of all, submit yourself to God and then resist the devil and then the devil will flee from you. One example of that you find in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ we have the story of the Lord's temptation told in Matthew Ford also in the fourth chapter of Luke told of the devil came to the Lord. On that occasion, the Lord certainly submitted himself to God the father how my prayer, my meditation over the 40 year 40 days which he was in the wilderness fasting them in the devil came, having submitted himself to God the father and that way resisted him in the way resisted it was by the Scriptures to the Scriptures of the Christian's offensive weapon. That's the sort of the spirit. This is what our Lord used three times that temptation when Satan came to him. He replied to the devil by quoting from the Old Testament man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God was from Deuteronomy. He said in response to the second temptation.

You shall not tempt the Lord your God, and in response to the third again, quoting from Deuteronomy, he said, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only job I'll serve, and it was at the end of that kind of submission resistance that the double flip you and I are going to resist the devil, it's going to be by our submission to God by our knowledge of Scripture by her faithful use of it now. In the latter portion of this section of the chapter that were looking at verse 14 through verse 22, Paul gives one specific example of what needs to be done, and this ties these chapters together because he's back here again a certain sense talking about this matter of food that's been offered to idols. He already talked about in the eighth chapter where he said an idol is nothing in whether you eat or donate is not anything intrinsic to do with your spirituality.

Therefore it's a matter of indifference with the heater not long for the sake of somebody who's weaker in the faith, perhaps, should abstain in order that they might grow strong. He intensified that delete end of chapter 9 saying yes and what that really involves the self-discipline and everyone should be self-discipline comes back to it. At the end here, but he takes it a step further because what he saying is this, he saying I said that in the case of food that's been sacrificed idols of that is been sacrificed and sold in the marketplace and you go to the market by buying it in the store. Like every thing else.

It really doesn't matter whether you eat it or not, or if you have a pagan friend who buys it, and then serves it didn't Hallman your there to eat. You don't have to be overly scrupulous to say where'd you get it or was it sold was never offered when I don't just eat it. It's all right. He says here's a case somebody would say well if it's a matter of indifference that doesn't really make any difference at all. What I do. Where idols are concerned and perhaps if the neighbor says to me, yes, but were having a great big party to Minerva tonight up in the temple, and I'd like you to come along and work good have a feast and foods going to be offered there to the God and then were going.

Also, data needed, says Paul, now you see that something quite different because when you eat. It's it's a matter of fellowship and participation and you have to remember that while Minerva is nothing. And while Zeus is nothing. All of the other pagan gods. There are, nevertheless, demons in the world and the demon stand behind these pagan religions and participate in that way really means participating with the demons in this kind of debased demon worship. So Paul says you mustn't do that. I think that relates to this matter. Temptation because what he is really getting at with this final illustration is this. Are you going to go God's way and determined to do everything you can to be as righteous as you can and follow Jesus Christ. Or are you going to quibble over little details and say how close can I get to sin without actually transgressing the law are story years ago about a little girl who kept falling out of bed and somebody said to her, why do you keep falling out of bed.

She said I suppose it's because I always stay too close to the place where I got in on the Christians do exactly that. Don't stay as close as you can to the edge long as you're on the edge might not be sin but that's not where you should be you should be going on with Jesus Christ as fast as you can and as strongly as you can. That's the evidence. Of course, of the life of Jesus Christ within. Let us pray our father, bless these principles to our hearts and minds were so matter of knowing what we should do impressed upon our minds or it's a matter of wanting to do what's right, impressed upon our hearts granted by your grace, we might be different. Men and women, then we would be otherwise.

Because you been with us because we have the life of Jesus Christ within pray in his you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON, and 1C2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this ministry

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