Saturday, October 21, 2017, 3:34 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 10 (quoting select vv. ESV).
Examples for Us (vv. 6-10)
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 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.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
These things which took place were that the Israelites of the Old Testament had been in slavery to Egypt for hundreds of years. So, God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery to Egypt, which he did. But, when set free, many of them grumbled and complained, and they wanted to go back. Even though God miraculously delivered them, provided for them, and led them every step of the way, still many of them worshiped idols and they disobeyed God, and they did all manner of evil against Him, so all but a few died in the wilderness and did not get to enter into the promised land.
Their miraculous delivery from slavery in Egypt was a prefiguring of our salvation and of our deliverance from slavery to sin. Just as they had to apply the blood to their doorposts for God to pass over them and to not kill their firstborn, we must apply to our lives the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on a cross for our sins. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was our sacrificial Lamb, given for the sins of the world. And, just as we were miraculously delivered from our addiction to sin, we who have trusted in Jesus Christ also have God now dwelling within us, leading, guiding, and providing for our all our needs.
As well, just as many of the Israelites rebelled against their Lord, turned their backs on God, desired slavery more than freedom, and disobeyed their Lord by worshiping idols, and engaging in many sins, so, many people who profess Jesus as Savior of their lives have done likewise. So, this is a warning to not follow their example. God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to be our ONLY GOD and LORD. We should not desire what is evil, including we should not be entertained by it, nor should we engage ourselves in evil. And, we should not give ourselves over to the gods of this world to (agape) love and worship (revere) them, adopting their ways and their attitudes, actions, values and morals, and thereby put Christ Jesus to the test.
Take Heed (vv. 11-13)
Now these things happened 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, 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.
So, what example is being set before us who believe in Jesus Christ? What instruction are we being given here? If what many are preaching today was actually true, and if all we have to do to have eternal life is just to acknowledge who Jesus is and what he did for us, and to accept his forgiveness for our sins, then why the warning? Why the example? If all we have to do is “believe” with some non-descript belief in Jesus, which requires no repentance, no obedience, and no death to sin or living to righteousness, then why are we being given this example of the disobedience, the idolatry and the deaths of the disobedient due to unbelief?
It is because our salvation is not merely an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. It is also not a onetime deal and then we are in, no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward. We are saved (past). We are being saved (present). And, we will be saved when Jesus Christ returns for his bride and our salvation is complete. Eternal life is not guaranteed us on the basis of past belief or belief that is not accompanied by repentance and obedience. We must continue in our faith until the end, as well, and we must walk according to the Spirit and NOT according to the flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, and we persist in sinful addictions, we will not see heaven but only hell’s fury.
So, the warning here is to take heed if you think you stand secure in Christ, lest you fall away from God due to unbelief and disobedience, like the Israelites did. There isn’t any temptation that comes our way that is uncommon to humans and for which God has not provided a way out for us. Jesus put sin to death on that cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and he has given us everything we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation and sin, and to walk in holiness and righteousness.
Yet, many continue in sinful practices and addictions because they have become convinced that the temptations are too strong for them, or that God requires no repentance or obedience, and that all sin is covered by God’s grace, and thus none of their sins will ever be counted against them. But, the scriptures teach that if we walk in lifestyle according to the flesh, and if we make sin our practice, we don’t have eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins, and we will spend eternity without God in hell/the lake of fire. So, don’t be fooled! Not everyone who says “Lord” will enter into heaven.
The Body of Christ (vv. 14-22)
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
So, we must flee idolatry, i.e. we must run away from all that is opposed to God and to his Word, and from everything which entraps us and makes us its slaves. We can’t play with temptation and expect not to get burned. We can’t have one foot in the world and one in heaven. If we daily take garbage into our minds, garbage is what we will produce.
We should test everything we do, everything we take into our minds, and every thought and action against Philippians 4:8. If it doesn’t match up, then we should discard it. We should throw off all sins which so easily entangle us and any hindrances to our walks of faith so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us to run. Too many people who call themselves Christians are addicted to pornography, TV, movies, Facebook, novels, sports, money, fame, etc. and they regularly consume what is not fitting for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ. This should not be.
When we who profess faith in Jesus Christ live like we have not been delivered out of slavery to sin, and we prefer slavery to freedom in Christ, because of addiction to particular sins, we are playing with fire, and we will literally get burned for eternity if we don’t repent of our sins and turn back to Christ to follow him in obedience. We can’t partake of the Lord’s table and the table of demons, too. Our communion with God, as well, is not a mere participation in a ritual, but it is a lifestyle committed to Christ and surrendered to his will. If our lifestyles are, instead, dedicated to doing what is evil in God’s sight, then we are on dangerous ground. If we provoke the Lord to jealousy, then we are asking for his wrath to be poured out on us.
To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture
Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.
Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.
Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!
When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.