Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:
Outline notes from this message:
3 features of those ancient Israelites are presented in the opening verses of chapter 10:
- Led (10:1)
- Fed (10:3-4)
- Dead (10:2)
How does this fit into 1 Corinthians?
On the surface it is a chapter about the Israelites, that ancient people of the books of Moses, in particular of their experience in the books of Exodus and Numbers.
What does this have to do with Corinth?
We don’t need to Wonder for too long the purpose of recounting this events – we are told in 1Co 10:6; “these things were our examples..” : ‘tupos‘ : type, something caused by strokes or blows
The purpose of that type is given; “we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”
It is a type of spiritual failure.
But not only that, not only the WHAT of spiritual failure; “we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted” and the 4 X failure in verses 7 to 10
The WHY of spiritual failure; why their failure was so great and so significant.
What is an evil thing?
Anything contrary to Christ.
What are the connections between the experiences of the Corinthians and the Israelites?
For a parallel / parable to be drawn there must be points of similarity / connections that can be made.
In both circumstances there was:
- The enjoyment of collective / communal blessing
- The experience of individual rejection and failure
The apostle will draw a contrast between the:
- “all” – verses 1,2,3 & 4
- “many” – verse 5
Both Israel and the Corinthians took refuge in the experience and blessing of communal experiences and activities.
Collectively they were:
- Led (verse 1)
- Fed (verses 3 to 4)
- Dead – Baptised
They took great comfort and solace in being part of a church where something was happening.
They drew great reassurance from their blessings of:
- Word from the Lord
Like Israel however in Exodus and Numbers they thought that they could live / lead a double life.
They though that they could have the best of both worlds.
They thought that they could:
- Run with the hares and hunt with the hounds
- Best of both worlds
- Take refuge in the blessings of the Spirit (10:1-5) but all the time pursue the lusts of the flesh (10:6)
They seemed to have placed great weight on the fact that they were:
- Baptised (10:2)
- Broke bread / took communion (10:3-5; 10:16ff)
Yet they continued in the old life and pursued the old lusts
Did that not get them the best of both worlds?
No it short changed them for both
They hadn’t gained both
They lost both!
Points of parallel:
- Assumptions that they made – that you could have the best of both worlds.
- Blessings they enjoyed: Led, Fed and Dead.
- Confusion of external blessing and internal reality
The distinction between what is given to me and what I am.
They reasoned that because they were:
- Breaking bread
- Enjoying God speak
That all was well, that they had the Christian thing in the bag, done and dusted.
- Deceptions that robbed them
A 4 fold deception
It may just have seemed a bit of fun to them, a victimless crime but each deception would rob them of each of their blessings in Christ:
- v7 – of being Led by Christ
- v8 – of being Dead to Sin
- v9 – of being Fed from heaven
- v10 – of being identified with Moses
The blessings they enjoyed:
“under the cloud” (v1)
Under the cloud – that surely is a bad place to be?
- It was for the old world that perished under the flood – clouds of Destruction / judgement
- It was the Egyptian army pursuing the people of Israel (Ex 14:20-25) – clouds of Death
- It was at Sinai (Exodus 24:15,16; Deut 4:11) – clouds of Dread.
Yet for the believer the cloud is:
- The Place of Gods Promises (Gen 9:13,14,16) – the first mention of the cloud in the scriptures, and in it is a rainbow of Divine promises
- The Place of Gods Provision in Guidance (Exodus 13:21; 14:19-24; Ex 40:36-37; Ps 78:14; Ps 99:7) – God goes before them in the cloud by day
- The Place of Gods Presence (Exodus 16:10; 19:9; 24:16; 33:9; 34:5; 40:34,35; Lev 16:2; Num 11:25; Deut 31:15; 1 Kings 8:11; Neh 9:12) – In the cloud the, “Glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud”
The people of Israel are in a sense “under the cloud”
It is so often “under the cloud” that we find the PRESENCE of the Lord!
- Jonathan Aitken 1999 – 18 months for perjury, yet in those experiences he wrote:
Pride and Perjury an Autobiography
Psalms for People under Pressure
Prayers for People under Pressure
- Elijahs experience in the cave
- Mary and Marthas experience at the grave
- Disciples experience in the boat?
- Pauls experience in prison (2 Tim 4:16-17)
Well they were under the cloud!
But this was a good place to be; God was there.
“all baptised through the sea”
At first sight it appeared to the nation of Israel that the Red Sea would be the very means of the death of the people of God
They could only sea a watery “grave” looming ahead; “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?” (Exo 14:11)
The Red Sea of course was a picture of death:
- Potentially the death of the nation of Israel
- Actually the death of the Egyptians
- Spiritually a division / separation from the old life
What they feared as the means of their DEATH
Actually became the means of their DELIVERANCE
What they feared would DESTROY them actually DELIVERED them!
The waters of the Red Sea provided the very medium of their baptism
As they looked in dread at the Red Sea and saw themselves trapped, what they actually were looking at was the largest baptismal tank in history.
This is not simply teaching that God would see them through their problems / Red Sea but this is to say that God would use those problems and trials and adversities as part of His purpose for their good.
This was not the first and would not be the last time that God would so operate:
- Jacobs flight from Esau (Genesis 27:41ff) – would be Gods means for bringing Jacob into contact with Rachael and Leah and thus founding the nation of Israel, not just that God would be with Jacob (Gen 28:15ff).
- Josephs slavery in Egypt – not just that the Lord was with him in his trial, not even that God would deliver him from prison, but way bigger than that; the Lord would use that trial to save the nation of Israel from starvation and death!
- Daniel in the lions den, not just that God would preserve Daniel in the Den but God would prosper Daniel by the Den; removing all opposition and ultimately promoting His Glory through all nations; Daniel 6:25ff.
- That God would not simply preserve His people in persecution (Acts 8:1ff) but that by their scattering He would propser His people in that persecution (Acts 8:4ff).
We cannot reliably predict outcome from circumstances.
We are a rubbish judge of circumstances.