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1 Corinthians 10





As Paul opens this chapter, we are reminded that the very same people who enjoyed great privilege from God also fell into serious apostasy from God.  He is speaking of the Hebrew people on their journey through the wilderness.  Specifically, Paul mentions five great privileges.  One, the people of Israel were “under the cloud” which points to divine guidance and protection.  Two, they “passed through the sea” which refers to divine deliverance.  Three, they were all “baptized into Moses” (not a reference to water baptism but immersed in Moses’ authority) which speaks to divine leadership.  Four, they “ate the same spiritual food” which points to divine provision.  And, five, they “all drank the same spiritual drink” which refers to divine intervention.

Then beginning in verse 6, Paul shows us five backward steps that the people of Israel took.  Instead of moving forward on the basis of the incredible things God did for them, they went backwards.  First, they craved evil things.  Instead of being satisfied with what God had provided, they wanted what they had back in their Egyptian captivity.  Second, verse 7 points to the time they made the golden calf in the wilderness because they would not wait on God.  Third, in verses 7-8, their idolatry led to the immorality.  Fourth, in verse 9, they did not believe God would discipline them for their sins.  So they were living with supposed impunity.  And, fifth, they were grumbling which was an indication that they had rejected divine leadership.

So, why did Paul write on these things?  In verse 11, he said these things were supposed to be examples to us so that we might not behave like they did.  It is always good to learn from our own mistakes.  It is always better to learn from the mistakes of others. 

Verse 12 contains a statement of great value.  “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”.  In other words, as you consider these examples, you shouldn’t be thinking “I wouldn’t ever do that.  I am so much better and wiser than that.”  That kind of pride will almost always lead you down a dangerous path.  And if you have your nose up in the air as a result of your own pride, you are going to be very prone to tripping along that dangerous path and falling.

But there is good news in verse 13.  No temptation has overtaken you.  That would have to include the temptation of pride or any other temptation.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  In other words, you ain’t that special.  There have a lot of people who have faced the same thing.  (The wise would learn from those examples.)  There is no temptation that God allows into our lives that we don’t have the ability to have victory over.  Sometimes we might be able to withstand the temptation.  Other times, we need to run from the temptation and God, graciously, provides a way for us to run away from the temptation.  In other words, we should always be on the lookout for the exit when temptation comes rampaging into our lives.

From there Paul begins to talk about our responsibility to others (vv. 14ff).  We have an obligation to learn from the failures of others and live better lives as a result.  We have an obligation not to fall to temptation but to always take the exit and get away from that which tempts us.  But we also have an obligation not to be that temptation or stumbling block to those around us.  Our liberty or freedom in Christ to do something stops at the nose of those watching us.  We have an obligation not to behave in any way that would be a temptation for others.  In fact, as verse 31 says the overriding principle for our lives must be to do everything in such a way that God gets glory. 

Our focus on His fame will always carry the day.  Making sure we always make it about Him, will make it easier and better for those who follow after us.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 Corinthians 9





This chapter can be divided into perhaps three sections.  The first one has to do with Paul’s authority.  The second one has to do with the church’s responsibility.  The third one has to do with Paul’s view of ministry/mission.

From our view it undoubtedly seems more than a bit ludicrous to question Paul’s bonafides when it comes to whether or not he was an apostle.  On the other hand, with all the other problems they were having in the Corinthian church, it shouldn’t surprise us that there were some folks back then who didn’t have the same opinion of Paul as we do. 

Paul defends his apostleship as the chapter opens.  His first defense is that he had seen the risen Lord.  His second defense is the fact that the Corinthian church was in existence is evidence of his mission/church planting efforts as an apostle. 

From there Paul moves into another area of conflict and disagreement.  Before I go further with this, please understand that this next topic is somewhat uncomfortable for me.  But it is nevertheless addressed in Scripture and in this chapter.  Paul takes on the issue of the church’s responsibility for remuneration for his ministry efforts.  In other words, Paul takes on the issue of the church’s responsibility to pay him. 

Paul actually attacks this issue from three different directions.  One is a cultural proof in that soldiers get paid and those who plant vineyards get to eat the fruit as well as those who raise sheep get to drink the milk.  In other words, people who work get to enjoy some of the fruit of their labor.  The second one is a Scriptural proof.  He goes back to the Law of Moses and talks about the fact that oxen are allowed to eat grain as they turn the gristmill.  The third one is a practical proof.  Paul reminds the folks that the men called to work at the Temple were taken care of through the gifts that were brought to the Temple. 

One of the things we can glean from this is churches have a responsibility to provide support to the pastors who care for them.   

From there Paul goes on to talk about his efforts in ministry/mission.  Beginning in verse 19, he says he is willing to be whatever he needed to be to win people to Christ.  This does not make him a charlatan or a hypocrite.  It simply means that Paul would not let his preferences get in the way of witnessing to people.  Without slipping into sin, Paul was willing to take on the lifestyle of those around him to earn the right to share the gospel with them.  He simply was not willing to allow anything, short of sin, to prohibit him from talking to others about Jesus.

Paul ends the chapter with some rather famous words.  He is talking about the Isthmian Games which were similar to our Olympics.  He reminds us that athletes always change their lifestyles in order to compete in athletic contests.  Runners can’t eat a diet of double cheeseburgers and expect to win a race.  So, should we all be willing to make sacrifices in our own lifestyles to enhance our opportunities to reach others with the Gospel. 

People that run, run with a purpose.  That purpose is to win.  People who box, box with focus.  Swinging wildly and not connecting with the opponent is no way to win a box match. 

Paul ends with a statement about living right and competing well so he is not disqualified.  This does not mean he was concerned about losing his salvation.  He couldn’t.  We can’t.  In the context of the example, he will always be on the team.  But if he doesn’t compete well, he could be sidelined from the game.  He didn’t want that to happen.  Neither should we.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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