1 Corinthians Chapter 10

January 5, 2012

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 1 Corinthians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

1 Corinthians 10:1-33 (NIV)
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 23 “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake– 29 the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God– 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 10 continues the discussion in Chapters 8 and 9. The church in Corinth has a dispute going on over doctrine. They want Paul to tell them who is right, but Paul begins to teach them there is something even more important than being right, and that is loving well.

We always need to remember that not only did Jesus bring truth, He also brought love. The impact of the church on the world depends on both elements. Without both elements at work there will not be transformed lives. When the church is operating the way it is supposed to, there will be truth, love and transformed lives.

The doctrinal issue is about food that has been sacrificed to idols and going to idol feasts. The Corinthians want to know who is right. That is all they care about. In response Paul tell them that approaching any issue from a standpoint of “superior knowledge” alone is not OK. Why? Because each side of the argument is likely to have at least some grasp on God’s truth. If our focus is on knowledge only, then we have a tendency to develop spiritual pride, that we are better than others “knowledge puffs up”. But none of us has it all figured out (“the man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:2), so when we develop the attitude that we know the truth and we are right, we usually become just like the Pharisees.

Paul tells the Corinthians that in approaching the issue they had gotten off to a wrong start by focusing on knowledge and forgetting LOVE. They forgot to balance in grace and mercy and that all of us are imperfect in our understanding.

As we look at Chapter 10, Paul picks up his idea that our knowledge of truth is often incomplete. While it is true that an idol was really nothing at all in the world (1 Corinthians 8:4), Paul talks about the dangers of idolatry. He makes a point of saying that idol feasts were associated with immorality. Is a Christian, as someone who is identified with Jesus, someone who should be linked to what the culture associates with idol feasts?

Also, while the idols themselves are nothing at all, the act of idolatry has been used by demonic powers which are real. Should a Christian, who drinks from the “cup of the Lord” (takes communion) also drink of the cup associated with demons?

Paul then takes on again the issue of eating meat that may have been purchases at the temple meat market. What Paul is saying in these verses is that food itself is morally neutral, we are to seek God’s glory in whatever we do including eating and drinking. We are to be sensitive to the impact it may have on people around us.

Let’s some up Chapters 8, 9 and 10 to get some ideas about how we are supposed to handle doctrinal disagreements and issues.

1. We must always start with a commitment to LOVE. Even if we are absolutely convinced that our brother or sister is wrong doctrinally, we are not released from an obligation to love them.

2. We must still seek the truth. We can continue to love people on both sides of an issue while the truth is revealed.

3. We must understand that our understanding of one doctrine cannot cause us to justify ignoring other teachings in God’s word. All truths in the Word must be held in balance with each other.

4. The most important thing is loving well not being right.

5. We must understand, that we have to deal with each other with the premise that all Christians are expected to grow. We don’t need to insist that everyone is doctrinally correct NOW. In the context of a loving church, spiritual and personal growth and transformation will take place. The Spirit of God is at work in each of us, leading us and guiding us into all truth. This premise helps us to love and relate with people who might differ with us doctrinally. All of us have a lot to learn. All of us have an incomplete grasp of truth. But, if we continue to love well, the transforming power of God will continue to work in our midst, helping s to have a more complete knowledge of God’s awesome truth.

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  1. Stan De Veaux says:

    Thanks.

    I am developing sermon on avoiding the spiritual cliff.

    Very helpful.

    SED

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