Friday, February 21, 2014

Touching Base, Part 231

TB 231
The Body – PART 4:
Cheese Balls!
16 Feb 14

(This article can also be found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Last week I was walking in the grocery store and, right there in the middle of one of the aisles, sat these enormous containers of cheese balls. The price was cheap, the location was strategic and for anyone with a craving for salty foods, the offer was too good to resist. Cheese balls are a great picture of temptation - we are convinced that it won’t cost us much, but temptation always knows where to locate itself in our lives and it has a way of appealing to our cravings and desires.

Take a moment and list what cheese balls can look like in our lives.

Big Idea: Every life has cheese balls in the center of the aisle.
Question: What does Paul teach us about temptation/cheese balls?
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13- The key verses are v.11-13. Verses 1-10 serve to illustrate what Paul is talking about.

1. The word of God can provide a warning from God (v.11)

Notice v.11 and v.6 and how Paul reminds them of one of the functions of the Word of God. To warn someone is to call someone’s attention to a matter that they might not notice on their own.
Who is Paul using as an example for these Corinthian Christians? See v.1-10.

As a group, take a few moments and share what passages of Scripture have served as great warning texts for you in your spiritual journey. Have you ever been saved much pain or regret because of the warnings of Scripture? Was there ever a time when you knew God’s Word was cautioning you, but you went ahead anyways and purchased the cheese balls?

The following questions are helpful in identifying the ways that Scripture can warn us.

The “application” acrostic:
Is there an Attitude to adjust?
Is there a Promise to claim?
Is there a Priority to change?
Is there a Lesson to learn?
Is there an Issue to resolve?
Is there a Command to obey?
Is there an Activity to avoid or stop?
Is there a Truth to believe?
Is there an Idol to tear down? (That’s a big one.)
Is there an Offense to forgive?
Is there a New direction to take?
Is there a Sin to confess?
(Rick Warren)

2. Places of strength can be places of great vulnerability (v.12)

Notice the example Paul uses of a people who were standing firm.

The cloud is symbolic of God’s presence.
Moses is an example of God’s provision for Godly leadership.
The Sea - an event where God’s presence in the life of Moses enabled him to provide great leadership. This nation was standing firm. They had been baptized, inaugurated into all these blessings!

V3,4 Paul calls the manna “spiritual” food, by which he probably means food miraculously provided by the Spirit of God, not food with a heavenly taste or texture. Nor indeed was the water spiritual in character. It was, rather, spiritually provided, just as the rock was spiritually enabled to give water.

Paul believes that Christ was preexistent in OT times helping God’s OT people along. Note what John said in 1:1

But notice how such strength and such blessing resulted in such judgment (v.5-10). The problem with some of the Corinthians is that they had a false sense of security. Possibly the Corinthians had a magical view of the Christian sacraments and thought that since they had partaken of the Christian initiation rite (baptism) and the Christian communion rite (the Lord’s Supper), they were immune to spiritual danger at pagan feasts. They seem to have held to some form of an “eternal security by means of sacraments” view.

Have you ever seen someone looking so strong but actually falling?
We can be experiencing an internal breakdown long before things go public. Discuss the following quote,

“We fall because of many mini decisions that lead to what is visible for all to see.”

Truth be told, the fall happens way before we hear the crash!

Places of strength are places of vulnerability because the human heart is deceptive, and wicked and dark and easily becomes proud, overconfident, and self-reliant. It is always amazing how dark the heart can be even while someone is standing in the brilliant light of God’s blessing. The human heart is no different today than it was thousands of years ago. Check out Jeremiah 17:9,10, Matthew 15:18, Hebrews 4:12.

With all our advancement, sophistication and progress, are we any different than past generations?

3. There is nothing new under the sun, just different attire (v.13a)

“Seize” can mean to attack, catch, apprehend, lay hold of
“Common to man” - What belongs to man, human temptation. It appeals to the flesh. In other words this temptation has been around since the dawn of civilization. What is seizing you is an old man, wrinkled, well versed in such things, and who has preyed on many a victim.

The comfort of that is that we can learn from others, thus Scripture can warn us from the lives of others. The discomfort is that temptation is like a deceptive, wise old veteran who is really good at his evil craft.

For example we ask the same old questions that can lead us down “cheese ball alley”. These are some questions the Israelites may have been asking:

• Is God good? (v.7) Idolatry essentially says that God can be improved on can be updated and modernized.
• Are God’s sexual boundaries reasonable? (v.8) God had given very clear boundaries regarding sexual conduct.
• Is God able? (v.9) Numbers 21:4 gives the context of questioning the ability of God.
• Is God really wise? (v10) Numbers 14:1-4 gives the context for questioning the wisdom of God.

These are not new questions but rather age-old questions that Old Man Temptation uses time and time again to get us to go after the cheese balls.

Are we so much better, so much more sophisticated that we don’t ask these very same questions today? The asking of the question isn’t wrong – it’s the posture of the heart.

4. God is Faithful in the face of temptation (v.13b)

How is the faithfulness of God demonstrated in this verse? Notice we see the power of God demonstrated in judgment (v.6-10) and now the power of God demonstrated in Him being faithful.

Notice the phrases “provide a way out” and “stand up under it”. The reality of some temptation is that we cannot flee it but must endure it, stand up under it. The way out is not necessarily to remove ourselves from it but to be strong in the face of it. Eventually we might be able to flee it but until then, we can stand up under it. Note verse 14 - the admonition is to flee but no doubt they had to endure before they were able to remove themselves.

Part of the Corinthian problem, of course, was that, in the face of temptation, some were not looking for a way out by endurance, but a way in for indulgence.

How well will someone do, in this scenario, if they have not been training? Remember last week’s message, “Get Fit, Stay Fit”? The way you prepare for temptation is to train. It is what you are doing before temptation comes knocking that will deeply impact how you respond.

Discuss the following:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay,
and cost you more than you want to pay.” – unknown

As a group, compare Jesus’ temptation in Matthew 4 with this text. What are the parallels? Let me give you the first parallel: Jesus was in the desert and so were the Israelites. They failed where Jesus succeeded.

Watch out for the cheese balls!

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