This sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.
Warning Against Idolatry
1For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7Do 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.” 8We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11Now 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. 12Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13No 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.
GOOD START; BAD FINISH
- Paul draws the attention of the Corinthian church to the Israelites in the wilderness.
- After God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt, things started very well – they were led by God under the cloud, they were saved by God through the Red Sea, they were baptised into Moses and they were spiritually nourished by Christ as they drank the water from the rock.
- This parallels our experience – being led by God, saved in Christ and the sacraments of baptism and communion.
- Despite starting so well it ended badly for them and they perished in the wilderness.
- This is an example and a warning for the Corinthians and for us.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
- Paul highlights four issues with the Israelites.
- (1) Idolatry – they gave the worship that belongs only to God to someone or something else.
- (2) Sexual Immorality – this was often associated with the idol worship.
- (3) Putting Christ to the test.
- (4) Grumbling.
AVOIDING THEIR MISTAKE
- Don’t get complacent.
- Remember that you are not alone in your struggles.
- Look to God for the way out – there always is one.