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July 4, 2022 2:00 am
Remind spamming in honor of God's word is read it together tonight if you would please turn with me to first convince chapter 10. Looking at verses one through 13 prescriptions, 10 verses one through 13. These verses contain a warning and a promise that we need to hear. If we are to live lives that are pleasing to God.
Now the word of the Lord, for I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food and all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them in the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them, God was not pleased they were overthrown in the wilderness of these things took place as examples for us that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters, and some of them were as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did and 23,000 fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test as some of them did and were destroyed by servant assortments nor grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happen to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come, therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it may be seated.
Let's go to the Lord in prayer Lord, we are prone to wander, we are prone to leave the God we love, but you have said that if we truly love you. We will obey you, Lord. Every time we disobey you were declaring really how anemic our love for you really is and it it makes us uncomfortable. It reminds us of our guilt.
It drives us to a thousand different excuses as we try to squirm our way out from under the burden of sin as we try to conceal ourselves from your holy days or I pray that tonight we would find nowhere to hide but Christ and running to him, may we find not only forgiveness but also victory over sin over temptation that we find the piece that you have promised. May we discover that indeed your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Pray this in Jesus name, amen Paul has been addressing matters of conscience in his letter to the Corinthian Christians in his just concluded chapter 9 by saying I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. Chapter 10 then describes what a disciplined life looks like.
Discipline is a strong word.
It it means to bring something into subjection with force. Paul is aware of his own tendency to indulge his sinful desires, but he also knows that indulging in sin will bring destruction to his soul and to his testimony into his ministry, so he wants to subdue those sinful tendencies by fighting against them and putting them to death. Mortifying them all. Of course, is not the only one with a bent toward sin.
The Corinthians are in the same moral predicament. In fact, this is the reason Paul is even discussing the need to mortify sin Corinth had been toying with sin through unwise engagement with various idolatries within their own culture they were using their freedom in Christ to cover up the fact that their hearts were really just prone to wander prone to leave the God they loved, but Corinth wasn't the first group of Christians prone to leave the God they loved Old Testament Israel on multiple occasions exposed the reality that they too were prone to wander so many times throughout their illustrious history, Israel demonstrated that they love their idols more than they love God. So Israel was prone to the tendency of underestimating the power of sin Corinth was prone to the same tendency. Even Paul had to discipline himself so as not to fall into the trap of giving sin a pass if Israel in the New Testament church and the apostle Paul himself were not immune to sinful indulgences, then neither are we Grace church.
We need to learn to fight sin and to run from temptation and to resist the devil, lets exactly what these verses are about their about the importance of simple obedience to God and calling us to simple obedience.
These verses remind us of our vulnerability to sin and temptation of our of our bent towards disobedience. If we are prone to wander, and we are, then we need frequent reminders of the dangers of wandering. That's what we find here in first Corinthians 10 Paul warns us of three dangers. In fact, to which we must take heed. If we are to take sin seriously and fight temptation successfully so slow to these three dangers tonight. First of all, he tells us to take heed of the danger of presuming upon spiritual proof of privilege, take heed of the danger of presuming upon spiritual privilege in verses one through four. Paul describes four privileges that the people of Israel enjoyed as God's covenant. Children verse one, for I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud.
This is a reference of course to Exodus 13 you'll remember God had just delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage. They were heading to the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army in pursuit and Scripture says that God led them with the pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. This is cloudy pillar over them was a visual representation of God to the Israelites, when Israel came to the edge of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh pressing at their back. Scripture says that this cloudy pillar stood between Israel and Pharaoh's forces throughout their wanderings through the wilderness. The cloudy pillar never left them. It showed that when it was time to take up their tents and move it.
Show them where to go. So this cloud represented God's presence with Israel.
His protection over them.
Even his guidance to them, God was with them and all they had to do to know that God was with them was to look at the cloudy pillar.
It was a spiritual privilege that belong to Israel alone. Paul continues, he says, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and this is a reference to Exodus 14 in the quintessential miracle that God did for his people Israel, the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, God held the sea back for Israel's safe passage on dry ground of any use the same's seed to destroy the greatest superpower the day the Egyptian army. Israel was a privileged people indeed for God to do such miraculous feats for them. Paul alludes to these miracles, as a sort of baptism into Moses out. Baptism is a is a visible sign that that signifies a setting apart and in drafting into a group and so this this ragtag band of slaves was being formed into a legitimate spiritual community under the leadership of Moses, who is an Old Testament picture of Christ and so there is a correspondence between Israel's baptism into Moses in our court baptism into Christ both set us apart from the world and identify us as belonging to the Lord and both Old Testament Israel's baptism and our New Testament baptism are indicative of great spiritual privilege.
Paul goes on in verse three and all ate the same spiritual food. We read that three days into the wilderness. Israel had no water to drink.
15 days in and they had no food. So in Exodus 16 God provided sustenance for them.
He gives them a mysterious edible substance.
Substance every morning to feed them. Israel didn't even know what to call it.
So they named it literally what is it means manna. And in Hebrew, God would faithfully send this spiritual food to feed Israel right up until the very day they entered the promised land. Jesus refers to manna his bread from heaven. In John six, when he called himself the bread of life. Christ is the spiritual food that satisfies our hunger once and for all. Not only did God feed Israel will spiritual food. Paul says in verse four and all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them in the rock with Christ's on more than one occasion God provided water for Israel.
Exodus 17 Numbers 20 described Moses striking a rock and water came gushing out of the rock to to keep thirsting dying Israel alive in the wilderness. Paul says that this rock that quenched Israel's thirst was Christ. It was a forward-looking picture in illustration, a type of Jesus Christ. Another's home any rich theological implications in that statement that it that could be a sermon in and of itself.
At the very least, Paul wants us to see a correspondence between Israel's experience in the wilderness, and our experience in the Christian life. Israel was a privileged people.
We are a privileged people Israel had God the father, protecting and guiding them they had God the Holy Spirit providing spiritual and physical sustenance for them in their suffering and they were able to feast on God the son, and finding him a reassurance of God's love and care and provision, and as New Testament believers we enjoy the very same privileges only. We enjoy an even fuller understanding of those riches we are as spiritually privileged people just like Israel wants, but then noticed a surprising conclusion in verse five, Paul says nevertheless with most of them and that's an understatement. There were only two with whom God was pleased with most of them, God was not pleased. For they were overthrown in the wilderness.
We know the the sad ending of the story, don't we. After delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt and after miraculously parting the Red Sea and after giving them his law and covenant and after bringing them right up to the border of the promised land.
Israel doubted God's ability and desire to fulfill his promises to them by refusing to entertain me.
How could they doubt God. Now they had seen this power they had seen the ease with which God brought the greatest nation in the world to its knees.
And yet, they wavered and unbelief is a result God who would who would still be faithful to his promises refused to let that generation be the one that enjoyed his promises. Instead, every one of them who were 20 years old and older, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua who would trusted the Lord every one of them would die in the wilderness without a home without a fixed place of worship without the enjoyment of God's promises and without the full favor of God on their lives. Church enjoying spectacular spiritual privileges and experiences does not relieve us from the responsibility of trusting and obeying the Lord spiritual advantages are no guarantee of grace. They can be squandered.
They can be wasted. They can be lost.
On the other hand, spiritual privilege can be used wisely and faithfully, Paul says in verse six.
Now these things took place as examples for us. We are intended tonight to see a correspondence between Israel's experience in our own and we are to learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them of our dimension.
Several points of correspondence between the old to covenant privileges, Paul mentions, and the new covenant privileges that we enjoy just like you did for Israel. God has given us signs and wonders to strengthen our faith and to assure us of his covenantal love and faithfulness.
We have the life and miracles of Jesus before we have the historical reality of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, we have the sign of baptism, reminding us that God has washed our sins away.
He has set a mark of distinction on us.
We have the spiritual food and drink of communion, a frequent reminder of the body and blood of Christ given for sinners, we have the church we have the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
We have a completed canon of Scripture. We have his grace working and are still willing to do of his good pleasure. All of these benefits and more. The Lord has given to us for our spiritual good and yet we like Israel of old run the risk of presuming upon these advantages and squandering them to the displeasure of God.
How do we avoid that plight. How we use the spiritual privileges to their fullest. While we do what Caleb and Joshua in the Old Testament did you remember what God has promised we believe what God has promised, and we act upon what God has promised saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes I think the familiarity does even bother with contempt. It just breeds apathy, indifference, boredom you find in yourself a tendency to approach with indifference. The gracious means and privileges God has sprinkled throughout your life, you're in danger. Christian when I read God's word. Do I read it like mice very soul depends upon it.
I give thought to how that word comes to bear on the various circumstances, and choices that I face the course of my day. Or do I just read my chapter and check the box as if merely going through those motions of reading Scripture is sufficient. Do I take communion faultlessly, flippantly, carelessly, do I fail to adequately prepare my heart to to give attention to the significance of what I'm receiving when I receive the body and blood of Christ is the quality of my prayer life. Demonstrate an awareness that I am in the presence of God when I pray for my grumbling unbelieving mess like Israel was on the borderlands of Canaan. Moses sisters God has put you in a Bible believing church.
He surrounded you with fellow sinners who are running to Christ alongside of you. He's filled you with the Holy Spirit to be a comfort and a guide into all truth. He's given you everything necessary to thoroughly equip you for every good work. Are you using these means well. Are you carelessly squandering them through this use and neglect, take heed you not presume upon the spiritual privileges God has given. Or we could just stop there. I think we can all go home and feel moderately good about ourselves because after all, is the Sunday night crowd. Of course you're using the means that God has given you your here but Paul of course won't let us off the hook that easily, because next he turns his his attention to a danger of another sort, a danger that is much closer to the root of the problem, then perhaps we care to admit is it's one thing to admit that I don't love God's word or his sacraments well enough. It's another thing entirely to admit that the reason I don't love God's means of grace enough is that I love mice. My problem is not simply a lack of love for the right things. It's also a love for an attraction to a desire for wicked things and so Paul second warning for us is this take heed of the danger of desiring evil.
Take heed of the danger of desiring a look at verse six, Paul says now these things. The things we just considered from the history of Israel. These things took place as examples for us that we might not desire evil as they did in Paul gets very specific.
He lists four ways in which Israel demonstrated a desire for evil. Verse seven do not be idolaters as some of them were as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play as a reference to Exodus 32 of the incident of the golden calf. You remember that well.
I'm sure Moses was away up on Mount Sinai receiving the law of God while he was gone. Israel grew restless and impatient and so they demanded that Aaron make them a God make him an idol who would lead them and Eric did it.
He crafted an idol from Golden said this is the God of Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and Israel worship the idle and made sacrifices to it and then indulged in all sorts of vile and pagan revelry around it. It was idolatrous and it came from the heart desire evil visible outward idolatry is not some sand that just happens externally know it comes from the inside. It comes from a heart that enjoys idolatry that accommodates idolatry that once idolatry and so Paul says, take heed that you not desire evil as they did next. He says in verse eight we must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did and 23,000 fell in a single day. This is a reference to numbers 25, in which the men of Israel began to take Moabite women Gentile women add to indulge their sexual appetites and in the process they began participating in the pagan religious practices of Moab when the sin came to light God's anger was kindled in the Old Testament says 24,000 Israelites were killed in the plank 23,000 of them died in a single day. Will says Oaks.
This was God's special people. The people who had seen God's strength and power and love for them and in his delivering them from Egypt and yet they indulged in excessive sexual sin, even to the point of compromising the religious practices.
Why because they desired. They wanted to. The third incident, Paul mentioned seems on the face of it to be a lesser transgression. It was certainly a more respectable sand from a human perspective, but at the heart of it. It was a wicked rejection of of Christ and to love herself verse nine we must not put Christ to the test as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents and numbers 21 we read about Israel becoming impatient with God and with Moses, primarily concerning the food that was being provided for them. They were quite frankly tired of manna so they began to complain and murmur not only about the food but about their very deliverance from Egypt and shamefully it says they say, why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness.
We loathe this worthless food.
Perhaps it sounds like a mild complaint to us. But Paul describes it as it testing or attempting of Christ through their discontentment and unbelief. They were daring, the son of God to rain down judgment on and he did sent venomous snakes into their midst and many Israelites died.
But of course along with that judgment got also provide a way of escape instructed Moses to fashion a serpent on a pole, and everyone who was bitten by these poisonous snakes had but to look at the bronze serpent and they would live the last incident Paul mentions is in verse 10 that only are we not to be idolaters and not indulge in sexual immorality and not test Christ. He says also in verse 10, nor grumble grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. One commentator I read said that it's hard to tell which incident is refers to because Israel grumbled so frequently. Most likely this is a reference to number 14, which is set. I think sort of the crowning grumble of all grumbles in in history in the is history of Israel.
Number 14. This is when Israel refused to enter the promised land for fear of the inhabitants of Canaan after the spies returned with a bad report. Numbers 14 to gives the prophetic account of Israel's response to the spies reported says in all the people grumbled against Moses and Aaron and they said what admit we have.would have died in the land of Egypt, or would that we had died in this wilderness. Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword are wives in our little ones will become a prey.
Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt.
Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt. Why do we grumble why we murmur and complain about our circumstances about health about our relationships about our opportunities about what we have about what we don't have. We complain because were discontent with what God has given were discontent with what God has given because we want things that are contrary to what he did, and ultimately we want things that are contrary to what God gives because church we desire evil grumbling and testing Christ and indulging in sexual immorality and idolatry. In fact, every sin we commit comes from a heart that in some measure desires what is evil, and hates what is good. James 114 and 15 says each person is tempted when he is Lord and enticed by his own desire. The devil didn't make you do it your unsaved boss didn't make you do it your annoying siblings or spouse or parents didn't make you do it your disloyal friend it make you do it we yield to temptation because we want to. And Paul says, take heed of the danger of desiring realize brothers and sisters in our fight against sin begins at the seat of our desires. That's where the fight starts.
We don't overcome secret addictions or outbursts of anger or generational patterns of behavior by merely trying to control the outward manifestation of those things know we overcome sin by digging up the roots and the roots will always be a heart desire for some evil some forbidden thing Paul is calling us to attack sin at the point of our desire for it not at the point of its bearing fruit and taking over the whole garden of our soul, and so the insidious newness in the subtlety and the strength of our sin is such that we need to take heed of the danger of even the slightest desire for evil within. This brings us to the best part of our text tonight. I've been waiting to get the verses 12 and 13.
These verses declare that even though our sin is incredibly strong.
There is something that's even stronger is discover what that is all's third and final warning is that we need to take heed of the danger of misplaced confidence misplaced confidence in this final warning has a negative side and a positive side, the negative side is beware placing too much confidence in self verse 12 therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. If you think that in and of yourself.
You can heed all the warnings and resist all the temptations and stand strong in the faithful of sinful desire well, you can't. Romans seven was true of Paul. It's true of me. It's true of you. Romans seven says that if we find in ourselves a law waging war against our minds so that we do what we don't want to do and we don't do what we want to do one day Christ will deliver us from this body of death is sin cycle. But until then I better not put any confidence in my flesh because I cannot fight sin in my own strength and win the church.
Verse 13 is in the Bible. Don't forget verse 13 is a sweet and powerful gospel truth that calls us to put our full confidence and hope in the power of God over our sin. Listen to this incredible promise from God and be strengthened by verse 13 says no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
The word you're not the first Christian to struggle with sin, the way you do and you will not be the last listener. This God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. If you cannot come to terms with the sinfulness of your sin just yet and you probably don't feel the relief in the hope that verse 13 extends to us, but if you do see your sin for what it is. If you do feel the that the guilt and the weight of your own sin. If you feel your own helplessness. To put that sent to death once and for all of them. His words out of the ball for your exhausted soul. We point out some implications of this verse. First of all to say that God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability means that God's sovereign control extends even to the temptations you face in Scripture makes it clear that God does not tempt us to do evil Christian, you better believe that he is fully aware of every temptation you face and he has set a limit to that temptation. He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability because he is in control of how much temptation you face. It also implies that different Christians have different tendencies and abilities when it comes to fighting sin in their lives. One Christian may be prone to alcoholic addiction another to sexual indulgence. Another Christian may struggle with with lust but have no problem with anger.
Another Christian may struggle with alcohol and lust and anger but have no problem with gossip. We all have differing sin struggles in differing strengths and weaknesses. The point is we don't need to compare ourselves to each other. Don't pat yourself on the back because you don't struggle like that Christian over there by the same token, don't have a pity party because you struggle more in a particular area than someone else fight your fight knowing that God is regulating, and governing the quantity and quality of the struggle. And God knows your limitations. Finally, this verse implies well it does more than imply it promises that with every temptation you face God will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure.
This means we ought to be expecting the way of escape, we ought to be looking for God's way of escape, and I will tell you this from personal experience the way of escape is often much earlier in the fight than we think someone says what I was at the bar. Try not to take a drink that you never provided a way of escape, God most likely provided away long before the drive to the bar. We need to get proficient at noticing God's escape hatch and we need to prepare ourselves to take that escape hatch immediately when it presents itself when it wants to remember though is that God sets a limitation to the temptations we will face and he will always always give us a way of escape. We do need to admit our bent toward sin.
But Christians, God doesn't intend us to walk around expecting a personal moral meltdown at any moment.
On the contrary, we need to expect that God's grace is going to be stronger and more delightful than our sin, where sin abounds grace, super abounds, so we need to take spiritual danger seriously, but we need to take the grace of God with equal seriousness, I was a young boy maybe five or six years old. My family was on the mission field in Latin America and we had an opportunity to spend the day at a tropical beach. I don't know if you've ever seen the beaches in that part of the world, but they are absolutely beautiful that the water is incredibly clear that you can stand in chesty water and see your feet on the seafloor. You can also look down into the water and see all sorts of sea creatures things you don't see appear in the Carolinas. There are tropical fish of all sorts of these vibrant colors are mesmerizing and these fish.
As I recall are not shy they'll swim right up to your feet and nibble on your toes between ocean waves and these nibbling fish. I was terrified to go out to the water even though I really wanted to go into the water. A member standing on the sand trying to work up my nerve to join my sisters who seem to be having so much fun but my fear of drowning or getting eaten by a school of bright happy yellow and blue fish was just too much about that time my dad who had been a trained lifeguard is an excellent swimmer came over to me and picked me up and started carry me out to the water and I was holding on to him like my very life depended on it like I could feel the waves pushing him around. I just knew he was in the fall. I was gonna drown it was going to be all over with. But he never fell once we got out past the breakers a little bit. I looked down and saw swarms of fishing below us so I lifted up my legs until my knees were firmly planted in his armpits, my Dick dad just laughed at the fish and told me that their nipples didn't hurt at all. In fact, they actually tickled.
Eventually, I felt safe enough to relax and enjoy the beauty all around me.
My dad's knowledge and his swimming ability and his courage and his presence transformed a fearful place into a safe place, a beautiful place church so it is with life in this fallen world, so it is in the face of our need for sanctification and our vulnerability to temptation. It's a frightening prospect by yourself that you have your heavenly father with you, holding you promising to sustain you through it. He is faithful and we can trust him. We need to take sin seriously, which means we need to to take heed to these pitfalls to which we are prone. We also need to take the grace of God and the faithfulness of God seriously, he will not leave you to fend for yourself that he has tied his very character to the promise he is faithful. You can trust him with prey father if we are to be pleasing to you. We must obey you if we are to obey you. We must take heed of the dangers that lead to disobedience. Sometimes those danger seemed overwhelming. We are so prone to wander so prone to leave the God we love the Lord tonight. You have reassured us that you will never leave us.
You will never let go of us.
You will never forsake us.
You will hold us fast to keep us from falling Lord, we know that in this life we will slip some of us will slip a lot, but even in those moments you were faithful you will never allow us to slip beyond her grip. Thank you that the security of our salvation doesn't reside in our ability, but in yours and made that realization spur us on to fight sin with the renewed zeal and and a renewed confidence and gratitude for the grace you've given us to pray this in the name of the one who has been tempted as we are yet without sin, and who now ascribes his victory to us the name of Jesus, our Savior, our Lord, our friend, a man