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1 Corinthians 10
Paul has been handling many issues which have arisen in the church at Corinth and he mentions some important lessons from history, to help the church take their lifestyle before God more seriously. In Chapter 11, he will teach about how to behave at the Lord's Table but here, he offers some preliminary thoughts. He also adds to an earlier theme about conscience with regard to food purchased at the market. Living as Christians in an ungodly world is never easy, whatever time of history we live in.
Lessons from History
God’s people had powerful experiences of Him, receiving remarkable guidance and protection when they left Egypt. They were led by the cloud, they walked through the Red Sea and they knew extraordinary provision, as manna and quail were supplied to them in the wilderness. However, despite everything that God had done for them through these special and amazing experiences, they were idolatrous, they indulged in sexual immorality, they tested the Lord and they grumbled. Their disobedience and hardness of heart led to God's judgement and they did not enter the Promised Land.
These lessons challenge us to keep close to the Lord. Having experienced the wonderful grace of God, we would be very foolish to persist in a life of sin and disobedience and expect no consequences! God is a holy God. We must revere and respect Him.
We are all tempted and temptation is not sin. Sin occurs when we give in to temptation and if we think we are standing firm, we need to be extra careful not to fall. However, God is faithful. He does not want us to sin, so, in the trial and heat of temptation, He will always provide a way out, so that we can resist and overcome that temptation.
Flee from Idolatry
As members of the body of Christ, we must have nothing to do with idolatry. Although idols are nothing, the sacrifices offered to them are actually offered to demons and we cannot be part of that. Of course, Christ has wonderfully freed us from the punishment that our sins deserve but abusing that freedom by continuing to participate in idolatry is very unwise. We belong to the Lord and idolatry should have no place in our lives.
Seeking the Good of Others
Paul uses as an example, the issue of meat sold in the market place, which may have been offered to idols. He has previously taught that eating such meat was a matter of conscience for a believer but that he would rather abstain than cause a brother or sister to fall. Here, however, he addresses the issue with regard to unbelievers. They, of course, would have no problem with eating meat offered to idols. Paul teaches that, if an unbeliever invites us to a meal and we would like to accept, then we can enjoy it without any question of conscience. Everything belongs to God and we give thanks to Him. Nevertheless, if someone else raises a matter of conscience about what is being provided, then we should refuse it for the sake and conscience of the person who has raised the matter.
Seeking the good of others, enables us to bring blessing and encouragement to them. Believers can be strengthened in their faith and unbelievers can be drawn towards the path that leads to salvation. Our lifestyles should always reflect our faith, our love for God and our love for others and whatever we do, it should all be for the glory of God, the good of the Church and the salvation of unbelievers!
Points to Consider:
- Are we willing to learn and apply the lessons of history to our lives?
- How do we handle areas of temptation? Are we finding God’s escape routes or wading deeper into the mire of sin?
- Do we have any idols in our lives? Are there areas of our life and behaviour that we should, in fact, be concerned about?
- How sensitive are we, to the issues of conscience that may arise for other believers?
- Do we have issues of conscience about the actions of other believers and, if so, how can this be resolved within the body of Christ?
- Do we truly live our lives seeking the good of others and acting with their best interests in mind?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 10
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