The Body – PART 5:
Getting More Than We Bargained For!
9 March 14
(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)
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.
I am sure that we can all tell a story of how we got more than we bargained for. It might be positive, as in “it was awesome, what a deal, I felt so great”. Or it could be downright lousy… if you had seen what was coming, you surely would have ducked.
This week, our text challenges us to think about getting more than we bargained for, not in the positive sense but in the negative sense. The issue circulates around the issue of idolatry. Corinth was filled to the brim with idolatry, and most (if not all) of the Gentiles coming to Christ had come out of idolatry - at least that was the game plan!!!! Some were still dabbling in it, thinking that they could get away with it (remember v.12), but Paul wants to be clear that what they are doing is playing with fire… and they will get burned.
Big Idea: Our hearts’ affections have a spiritual connection.
Question: How does this text demonstrate that they got more than what they bargained for?
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22
There are two answers to this question that we want to look at, that come from this text. But first note v.14. The command is to flee idolatry. The problem is revealed by the verb “flee” - not all were putting on their running shoes and darting in the opposite direction.
John Calvin remarked that the human heart is an “idol factory”. Anything can be an idol and everything has been an idol. Timothy Keller says that idolatry refers to anything that bumps God from being number one in our lives. Another author says that idolatry is when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing. The bottom line is that the act of idolatry challenges Jesus’ Lordship in our lives.
Now to answer the question.
1. Our hearts’ affections can have a demonic connection (v.15-21)
Paul makes this point by contrasting two tables:
a. The Lord’s Table v16-18
V.16 - cup of thanksgiving - a technical term for the cup of wine drunk at the end of a Jewish meal and over which the thanksgiving or grace is said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, who gives us the fruit of the vine.” In the Passover meal this was the third cup of the four to be drunk. This was probably the cup Jesus identified as the cup of the new covenant in his blood at the Last Supper. The point is that this new covenant was enacted by Christ’s death.
V.17- What are your observations about the bread? Note the symbolism.
Paul says that we partake (or participate) in this table. This word is getting at the idea that when we drink and eat at this table there is a communion with Christ, or one might say an appropriation of the benefits of His death—forgiveness, cleansing, and the like. We have been blessed by what Jesus has done for us. It is the celebration of the New Covenant.
Paul talks about the table in v.21. Table fellowship in that culture connoted intimate relations. As we partake at the table, we are celebrating our relationship with Christ. This is a picture of fidelity, faithfulness and devotion.
Notice v.18, Paul is referencing the Old Testament covenant and that the Israelites also benefited from what God had done through the OT agreement/covenant.
Notice that there is another table, and this is the problem or tension in the text.
b. The Table of Demons v19-21
V.19- What is Paul saying? See 8:4
V.20,21 Where is the real danger with idolatry?
So picture this, you have Christians eating from the Lord’s table - devotion, affection, love, blessing and fidelity. But you have those very same Christians going off to another table, not to observe from a distance but to participate in – hearts’ affections. Note “You cannot”- v.21, said twice - Paul is saying you cannot do this and get away with it, you cannot do this and not pay a price. The challenge to flee in v.14 suggests that some were not fleeing but instead were cleaving.
What is it about idolatry that demonstrates they were getting more than what they bargained for?
Our hearts’ affections have a spiritual connection.
How can you tell when the Body has drifted into idolatry? Remember Paul’s words are directed to the Church, the Body in Corinth. Check out Revelation 2:1-7. Note all the good things going on in this church, BUT there is something deeply wrong - idolatry.
This doesn't mean that there is a ghost behind every bush, or that every problem only has a spiritual solution or that if I commit idolatry that I have demons stuck to me like 3M Post It Notes. But it does mean that we need to be mindful of the spiritual reality of idolatry and the danger of it. The heart of idolatry is robbing God of His rightful worship and gives the enemy a platform in our lives.
Does your worldview make room for the spiritual backdrop within which our lives unfold? Does your worldview acknowledge that the enemy is also part of that spiritual backdrop?
Read through the following texts to see how the Gospels demonstrate this reality. Satan does play a key role in the Gospels, where he is mentioned more than 30 times and is described performing various activities. These passages help us to better understand Christ's mission, the challenges we face, and the reality in which we live:
• He thrusts Jesus into the wilderness, for 40 days, where he is tempted by Satan (vv. 12–13). The Spirit-empowered life is hardly portrayed as one of tranquil bliss.
• In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains to his disciples that Satan snatches the kingdom message from the hearts of many hearers (Mark 4:15).
• When Peter wants to prevent Jesus' suffering, Jesus calls Peter "Satan" (8:33) and rebukes him for acting with human rather than divine motives. The kingdom without the Cross misunderstands the King's mission.
• When we pray for God to protect us from temptation, we also pray for protection from the tempter, "the evil one" (Matt 6:13).
• Luke 13:16 suggests that Satan also causes some illnesses, even in people who have done nothing wrong to invite his activity. As Peter said, Jesus healed those oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
• Satan wants to destroy the faith of Jesus' disciples (Luke 22:31).
• in John, Jesus himself also prays for our protection from the evil one (John 17:15)
• And elsewhere, John says that the entire world is in the devil's grip (1 John 5:19).
As the Corinthians dabbled in idolatry, Paul wanted them to see that they were getting way more than what they had bargained for. Notice, though, we have one more answer to the question we started with.
2. Our hearts’ affections have a divine connection (v.22)
Notice the Lord’s reaction to Christians who are eating at both tables.
Notice below what some say about the Lord’s jealousy. Do you agree?
“Richard Dawkins claims that God breaks into a monumental rage whenever his chosen people flirted with rival gods. Oprah Winfrey said that she got turned off of Christianity when she heard that God can be jealous. Bill Maher said that being jealous of someone having other gods is not moral.” Paul Copan, Is God A Moral Monster?
We need to understand that the Bible describes jealousy in two different ways, both as a vice and as a virtue. As a virtue, jealousy is described as fighting for someone’s good or best interest. Jealousy denotes God’s holy zeal for the honour of his name and the good of his people who are bound to him in the marriage of the covenant (Dt. 32:16, 21; 2 Ki. 19:31; Ezek. 36:5f.; Zc. 1:14f.; Jn. 2:17)
The term “jealousy” is a powerful love word. God becomes jealous when we are rummaging around in the garbage piles of life and avoiding the ultimate source of satisfaction. Like the comic strip of a dog who had been drinking out of a toilet bowl. With water dripping from his snout, Fido looks up to tell us, “It doesn't get any better than this!”
Idolatry is seditious and evil, thus Scripture typically associated God’s jealousy with idolatry. – Ex 20:5, 34:14, Deut 4:23-24, 5:9,6:14-15,Josh 24:19-20, I kings 14:22, Psalm 78:58
Note, it is not the idol itself that arouses God’s jealousy but what lays behind it - the enemy whose intentions are evil. In the Gospels, we see an elaboration on what the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition say about Satan: he is an accuser, deceiver, and tempter.
So here is my question: how moral would God be if He saw His creation drinking out of the toilet bowl and did nothing? love and moral integrity should cause a person to rise up – this is godly jealousy - to protect, like a loving spouse, a compassionate father, a God who engages with his people. Jealousy is a love word.
Our hearts affections have a spiritual connection - demonic and divine jealousy.
As God looks at your heart is He jealous?
What idols are most tempting?
As he looks at Bethel, is there any reason for Jesus to say to us, “You have abandoned your first love!”
Jesus invites us to eat at His table, a place of devotion, faithfulness and fidelity. Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a feast. See Luke 14:15-24. Let Him breathe His life into you and let nothing take that breath away!
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