International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 20,2014
Purpose: To discover that we can persevere against the temptation to idolatry by means of God’s strength
Bible Lesson: 1 Corinthians 10:9-22
Background: 1 Corinthians 10:1-22
1 Corinthians 10:9-22 (CEB)
(9) Let’s not test Christ, like some of them did, and were killed by the snakes. (10) Let’s not grumble, like some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. (11) These things happened to them as an example and were written as a warning for us to whom the end of time has come. (12) So those who think they are standing need to watch out or else they may fall. (13) No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.
(14) So then, my dear friends, run away from the worship of false gods! (15) I’m talking to you like you are sensible people. Think about what I’m saying. (16) Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? (17) Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread. (18) Look at the people of Israel. Don’t those who eat the sacrifices share from the altar? (19) What am I saying then? That food sacrificed to a false god is anything, or that a false god is anything? (20) No, but this kind of sacrifice is sacrificed to demons and not to God. I don’t want you to be sharing in demons. (21) You can’t drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you can’t participate in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (22) Or should we make the Lord jealous? We aren’t stronger than he is, are we?
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
In order to understand fully what Paul is telling those in the church at Corinth, you need to read chapters 8, 9 and 10 in one reading. It is never a good idea to just take verses out of context and make them a slogan to live by.
Paul continues to believe that being a Christian requires that you become familiar with God’s history with those who were originally chosen and elected to be His people. Paul was a scholar of Jewish history, as well as rabbinic tradition. Which is why Paul uses the “spiritual rock” in verse 4 of this chapter as a reference to Jesus. This is not a part of the holy writ as we know it, but it was a rabbinic tradition that was very familiar to Paul. In that tradition the children of Israel were both given food and water. Food in the form of manna and water from the rock which traveled with them throughout the desert journey according to rabbinic tradition.
Our text begins with the lesson of the serpents that killed many on that journey, until the brazen serpent was placed on a pole and in the middle of the camp and those that “looked and lived” were spared death. During this 40 year journey there were many opportunities to grumble and complain, and there was often a penalty to be paid for their unbelief. All of this history is a warning to us. As Christians we are not in a position to test Christ, by claiming that as long as we have been baptized and partake of the Lord’s Supper we are free from temptation and sin.
We are much better off if we do not participate in idol worship or worship of false gods. Paul is telling the church at Corinth that while idols or false gods do not exist, there is one demon that does exist and he will do everything in his power to separate you from God.
What Christian in his right mind would try and make God jealous by worshipping other deities? That would only happen it we thought we could control God by our actions. It is not possible for us to influence God, except by our faith and trust in Him as the absolute ruler of all things. Our lives are not unique, we will encounter all sorts of temptations and one of the best ways to avoid and overcome those temptations is to be involved with a body of believers.
It is by sharing in the communion of like believers and in the body and blood of Christ that allows us to overcome temptation. God’s strength is delivered to us by the strength of our local church, and its body of believers.