Paul continues to teach and correct the Corinthians. He begins this section with a solemn reminder that we, as believers, are not above anything – God’s own people, the jews in exile from Egypt, faced God’s wrath when they were disobedient, with thousand dying.
With this seriousness in mind, Paul then field some pressing questions:
1. eat food offered in sacrifice to idols? Nothing magical happens to the food that you can’t eat it, but don’t eat it because of a potential stumbling block to weak or marginal believers.
2. freedom: you are free to do whatever, but, that whatever should be done for the glory of God
3. Enter worship with reverence. God wants us to come to His house with a humble heart, not showing off with pride nor weeping and wailing in self deprecation.
4. Partake of the Lord’s supper with respect and preparation. This is to be done “in memory of Christ” not as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The point isn’t the food or drink, it is Christ.
5. a. V7 idolatry: Ex 32:6 and Num 25:1-3;
V8 sexual immorality: (Ex 32:28=3000 + women? or Num 25:9=24000);
V9 test the Lord: Num 21;4-9;
V10 grumble: Num 14:27
b. Ads parade desire, greed and sexual impurity. We are surrounded by temptation to have more to build ourselves up, often paraded to us by scantily clad models
c. The temptations I face are “run of the mill”. God is faithful, will not allow beyond what I can bear and will always provide a way out so I can stand up under it.
6. We are not barred from any food or drink, but non-believers may not grasp it is only food and drink and if anything we do is done out of righteousness and not out of focus to God, then we should not do it.
7. (Challenge) a. Headship Eph 5:23, husband head of wife as Christ is head of church
b. Custom has changed – head covering is not a sign of rebellion or submission
c. A voluntarily submissive heart is still what God wants
8. A time of self examination and preparation is required before communion. When taking it – remember Jesus.
A great and jam-packed lesson.
It strikes me as so interesting. We are so seldom given the specific “whys” that God does things. The fact of the matter is that He loves us, He knows everything, and He does what is right. While we love to question that, it doesn’t change any of those facts.
But, on the other side of the coin – what God really wants from us is the “why.” Did you abstain from that meal because of faith in God and the desire to do right, or because you wanted to make a scene. Did you eat the food offered to idols because you felt uncomfortable doing otherwise or because it would somehow bring glory to God? Do you wear certain clothes to church to show off or to show respect.
I think we can become too casual in our churches. Let’s face it, if I can’t find the time to change out of sweat pants and a t-shirt – have I really found the time to thoroughly examine and repent of my sins and seek God’s direction for the wants and needs I should seek from Him? I’m saying that for me to judge me not as a benchmark to judge others.