Christian Liberty - Old Testament Examples
                                                          1 Corinthians 10:1-13

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul used himself as an example of a mature Christian who disciplines himself to better serve God.  In 1 Corinthians 10, he uses Israel as an example of spiritual immaturity, shown by their overconfidence and lack of self-discipline.

1 Corinthians 10:1-5
[1]For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,  [2]and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,  [3]and all ate the same spiritual food,  [4] and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.  [5]Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

In the Exodus, all the Jews identified with Moses and they had tremendous liberty.  However the 1st century church was a mixed church with both Jews and Gentiles together.  The church was made up mostly of Jews.  Today it is unusual to meet a Messianic Jew - that was not the case then.

In verse 1, Paul says he is going to explain something to them.  When Paul says, “Our fathers” he was speaking to the Jewish part of the congregation.  They and Paul were Israelites who shared the same history - they had all been under the cloud (Jesus) and crossed the Red Sea. 

Verses 2-5 show how far a person can go and still not be a believer.  The Israelites had wonderful liberty when they crossed the Red Sea.  They were not under Law since the Law had not been given yet.  God had written on their hearts, but the physical tablets of the Law had not been given yet.  They had great liberty, but they abused that liberty. 

1.You and I have great liberty also - have we abused the liberty that God has given us?
2.What are some of the ways that we can abuse our liberty today?

Being “under the cloud” shows that they had guidance.  They all passed safely through the sea and they “were all baptized into Moses.”  Baptism means many things.  It can mean that we follow Christ’s example.  We recognize that through baptism, one makes a public confession that you now belong to Jesus Christ and are going to live the rest of your life for Jesus. 

Baptism also identifies the believer with Jesus Christ.  The children of Israel were identified with Moses.  By faith they passed through the Red Sea, but whose faith was it?  It was not their faith, for they had none - they wanted to go back to Egypt.  They blamed Moses for bringing them out into that awful wilderness.

It was Moses who had the faith - it was he who went down to the water and smote the Red Sea as God had commanded.  It was Moses who led them across on dry ground.  When they got to the other side, they sang the song of Moses found in Exodus 15. 

All this is a picture of our salvation - Christ went through the waters of death.  We are bought through by His death and identified with Him.  Now we are identified with a living Savior - we have been baptized into Christ!  Water baptism is very important.  It is ritual baptism, but real baptism is the work of the Holy Spirit. 

The people of Israel were baptized into Moses and they were able to cross the Red Sea.  They “did all eat the spiritual” - the manna, and “they all drank the spiritual drink for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them - Jesus Christ.”  This was the miraculous provisions that God provided as they traveled through the wilderness.  Why was all of this recorded for us?

1 Corinthians 10:6-11
[6]Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil 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 rose up to play.”  [8] We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  [9] We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, [10] nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  [11] 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.

The Word of God says they lusted after evil things.  They lusted after food, but what is wrong with food?  The problem is that they lusted after things that were outside of the will of God for them.  This was beginning of their defection, their moving away from God and backsliding. 

Many times desire leads to sin.  This happened first in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve had the desire for something outside the will of God.  What is desire?  In these instances it was to want what was outside of the will of God.  It was not God’s will for them to have those things at that particular time. 

What about you and me?

1.Do you desire things outside of the will of God?

2.Has this thing you desire become an idol to you?

In verses 8-10, Paul lists some of the sins of the people.  They had continually murmured and complained against God.  This is an illustration of those who want things that are outside the will of God.  However God always has something good for his people.  That was true then and it is still true now. 

They constantly wanted something that was beyond God’s will for them. 

1.Is that the story of your life?

2.Are you content with what God has given you, or are you constantly trying to get something else?

We should learn some lessons from all this.  We need to remember the lessons the Israelites learned about God so we can avoid repeating their errors.  The key to remembering is to study the Bible regularly so that these lessons remind us of how God wants us to live. 

Romans 15:4
[4]For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.

We don’t need to repeat their mistakes.  We do have Christian liberty, but our desires are to be according to the will of God.  That is so important for us to see.

1 Corinthians 10:12
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Don’t be prideful and arrogant.  Just when you think you are safe from one temptation or another, you will fall.  You can be a mature Christian serving the Lord and still fall.  We need to be very careful that we stay in the will of God where we are not quenching the Spirit of God in our lives.

1 Corinthians 10:13
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.

Some people feel that nobody has ever been tempted as they are tempted, but the Scriptures say that all temptation is common to man, in other words what we experience others have also experienced.  Paul’s teaching is profound - wrong desires and temptations happen to everyone - you have not been singled out.  Others have resisted temptation and so can you.

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that any temptation can be resisted because God will help you resist it.  God helps you resist temptation by helping you recognize those people and situations that give you trouble, but we must run from anything we know is wrong, and make the choice to do only what is right.  We should pray for God’s help and seek friends who love God and can offer help when you are tempted.  Running from a tempting situation is your first step on the way to victory.

No matter what temptation you experience, there have been others who have had the same kind of temptation.  When we see someone going through the same temptation that we have been through, we should share with them our struggle and our victory.  We have victory in Jesus - God will make a way of escape.

God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can endure.  One of the things you may have to do is run as hard as you can to get away from that temptation.  There is a story told of a little boy who was in the pantry where the cookie jar was kept, with the lid off the cookie jar looking at the cookies.  His mother asked him what he was doing.  He replied “I’m fighting temptation!”  But in his case, the pantry was not the place to start fighting temptation - that is the place to start running.  Run away from temptation and straight into the arms of Jesus!

1.What is the temptation that you most often face in your life?

2.What do the Scripture say about dealing with that temptation?

Dealing with temptation:
·Acknowledge your tendency to sin.
·Run away from the temptation.
·Resist with the Word of truth.
·Offer praise to God for his provision of escape.
·Repent quickly when you fail to restore fellowship.

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