Freedom and How to Handle it – 1 Corinthians chapter 10 – J Stewart Gillespie


Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, from 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 23:


1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 23 – Freedom and How to Handle it – J Stewart Gillespie – 18082015.mp3


Outlines notes available from this message:


In verses 16 to 23 we thought of survival tools in a Christless City


  1. Isolation – Hide
  2. Assimilation / compromise
  3. Legislation – rules (Gal 3:1ff; 4:9ff)


  1. Spirit led and fed sanctification

Survival skills which would have prevented the tragedy of the Galatians :

Gal 3:1 “O foolish Galatians who hath bewitched you?

Gal 5:7 “Ye did run well who did hinder you?”

Survival skills in a Christ less city:

  1. Fellowship

    Seeking fellowship with the Lord and with His people

    We dwelt on the dangers that lurked, overtly and perhaps more commonly covertly.

    The World may be absent of Christ but it is not neutral on Christ

    We saw Satan active in all sorts of unexpected / hidden places:

  • Against Peter; “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:(Luk 22:31) – inspiring the Damsel to point out Peter?
  • In Judas Iscariot; “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.”(Luk 22:3)
  • In the persecution of Rev 2:13
  • Behind the King of Tyre (Ezek 28:12)
  • Behind the King of Persia (Dan 10:11-14)
  • Behind the King of Babylon (Isa 14:4ff)
  • In every day trials and temptations (1Peter 5:8)
  • In personal opposition to the gospel (John 8:44)
  • Behind human political systems and Kingdoms (Matt 4:8ff)
  1. Feeding

We thought previously of the manna from heaven and the water from the rock

  1. Fear of God (10:22)

Aristadas de Sous Mendes – issued > 20,000 Portuguese visas to refugees in the Bordeaux in 1940; better to stand with God against men, than with men against God.

  1. Freedom

It would have been easy for Paul in a sense to back away from Freedom and to see that well:

  • There are some places Christians can’t go
  • There are some jobs Christians can’t do
  • There are some activities Christians can’t participate in

Paul doesn’t take the:

  • ‘can’t do’
  • ‘can’t go’
  • ‘can’t participate’
  • ‘thou shalt not’


Paul doesn’t deal with the issues of Christian liberty by denying it and issuing a rule book instead

Even where liberty is being abused the apostle does not deny liberty

The Corinthians remain in possession of the, ‘freedom to be foolish’

How do we decide what to do?

So many opportunities in the Christian life, so many possibilities and so easy to fritter away our lives:

‘busy doing nothing, working the whole day through, trying to find lots of things not to do!’

How do we decide how to use our liberty?


Do we really need to wait on a specific word from the Lord every time we cross the road?

The Lord has regenerated us as sons of God, He does not remote control us as robots!

  • Which way now?
  • Which way now?
  • Which way now?

1 Corinthians chapter 10 approaches this issue of freedom and guidance in the decisions we make by asking 4 key questions in the exercise of freedom:

  1. Does it build me up? (v23)
  2. Does it bless others? (v24)
  3. Does it bring Glory to God (v31)?
  4. Does it bring others to Gods Glory? (v33)


  1. Does it build me up? (v23)

all things are lawful” – Christian behaviour is not founded on the principle of law

Restricting Christian behaviour cannot be done on the basis of law

This is not to say that Christian behaviour is not constrained by other considerations; “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Co 5:14), but not by law!

That Christian behaviour is not constrained by law is not to say that Christian behaviour is not constrained!

expediency‘ : sumpheo: ‘sun’ – together and ‘pheo’ – to bring – to bring it together

edification‘ : oikodomeo: to build, construct

  • bring it together
  • build it up


You might think, well that is all very well, Christian behaviour not dictated by law, but surely in reality there are rules, surely it makes sense, surely its easier if there is a kind of agreed code of conduct:

  • places you don’t go
  • things you don’t do
  • jobs you can’t do

Lets just stick to some basic laws!

The greatest building projects in the Word of God have been accomplished, not by law but by Grace:

  • The law did not build the tabernacle – many details given in the law and yet many details absent! What does a cherubim look like? How were the colours arranged in the curtain; blue, purple, scarlet and fine twinned linen? What were the dimensions of the lampstand? Consider Exodus 25:31-40 – the lampstand – notice anything important missng? How big was it? I mean how can you build it if you don’t know how big it is? Illust: Not that long ago, needed a new back door, had some work men out, first thing they wanted to know – what size was it? No point in saying, well all I need is a back door! The cynic, skeptic and unbelieving mind would rejoice in this, there is plenty for us all to rejoice in, in the Word of God! Here is a tabernacle they could never build because the basic detail ain’t in the rule book! The tabernacle wasn’t built purely according to the rule book. Let me show you how the tabernacle was built. For this Bezaleel must be filled with the Spirit of God (Exodus 31:2)
  • The law did not build Davids Kingdom – The Spirit did (1 Sam 16:13; Ps 51:11)
  • The law didn’t build Zerubabels temple – The Spirit did (Zech 4:6)
  • The law did not build Christs church – The Spirit did (Acts 1:5, 7-8; 2:1-4, 38, 41, 47)



Have You Trials and Temptations – 1 Corinthians chp 10 verse 13 – J Stewart Gillespie


Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 10, by Dr J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 10 verse 13 – Have You Trials and Temptations – J Stewart Gillespie – 30062015


Outline notes available for this message:


One of my favourite hymns and one of the first I learned on the accordion:

“Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Over the years, Christians have sought solace, and rightly so of course in every trial and temptation in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no question that this right and proper; we have seen that throughout our studies in Hebrews; especially in the picture of Christ as our Great High Priest, such as Hebrews 4:14-16.
This verse here in 1 Co 10:13 has also been used for comfort and solace of a slightly different sort, not so much:

In a Person – where our solace and faith ought to lie
In a Provision – which it has been considered this verse offers

Typical of this view:

‘God is wise as well as faithful, and will make our burdens according to our strength. He knows what we can bear. He will make a way to escape: He will deliver either from the trial itself or at least the mischief of it.’ (Matthew Henry)

‘You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo but He will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.’ (Bible in Basic English)

Over the years this verse has been understood as a blanket guarantee that in every trial and test of life God will make a way of escape, a way out from that trial / tribulation.

There are at least 6 problems with this view:

i. Context – is not the general trials and problems of the Christian life

ii. Common temptation (v13) – these temptations are not even unique to Christians
– they are found in every life – believer and unbeliever alike.

iii. Conflict within the verse – the view that this verse speaks about a Divine provision to exit the trials and testings of the Christian life when they get too much, either must deny the reality that God ordains and orders our trials and testings (Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10; Jer 12:3; Zech 13:9; Heb 11:7) or must suppose that somehow God mistakingly over tests believers and so He has to fit a kind of safety release valve or fire exit to His trials because sometimes He misjudges and goes over the score.

iv. Contrary to every day experience and Biblical experience – there was no way of escape for Isaiah, sawn in half with a wooden sword, nor for Zecharias the son of Berechias, slain between the temple and the altar, nor for Stephen, nor for Christ.

v. Contradiction in the verse – “a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it”

vi. Conclusion (10:14) doesn’t fit with a way of escape from trials at all


What is the ‘temptation’ in verse 13?

i. Context – the temptations of 10:7-10 leading to the conclusion of verse 11; ‘now all these…’ and verse 12 ‘wherefore let him that thinketh…’

The context lies in the experiences and failures of Israel in temptation to sin in verses 7 to 10, these experiences were reflective not so much of Divine testing but of human failure in the face of temptation by the flesh (10:8); by Satan (10:7) and by the world (10:8).
James 1:14 “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed”

in 1 Co 10:7 – The Temptation was to idolatry
in 1 Co 10:8 – The Temptation was to sexual immorality
in 1 Co 10:9 – The Temptation was to discontentment / dissatisfaction
in 1 Co 10:10 – The Temptation was to murmuring / discontentment

The context is that of temptation rather than testing
These 4 episodes of temptation are within the broader setting of 40 years of testing in the wilderness (Deut 8:1ff)

During those 40 years we have 2 overarching experiences:

1. Trial / testing

ordained by God for our blessing
testing with the possibility of failure

2. Temptation

permitted by God
temptation with the purpose of failure

Within the setting of the trial:

Satan (1 Co10:7) – behind the worship of the golden calf
Flesh (1 Co 10:8,9) and its desires
World (1 Co10:8) – Moab

Provide the temptations as opportunities for a way out of the trial.
Take Job as an example; a book of trial and testing which is Divinely ordered and ordained
Trial clearly ordered and ordained of God , initiated by God (Job 1:8); “hast thou considered my servant Job?”
Yet in the midst of the trial; the flesh with Jobs wife provides an opportunity to opt out; “curse God and die” (Job 2:9)
This is a trial ultimately for Jobs blessing (Job 42:10ff)

Temptation is the natural / carnal way out of the trial
cf. Peter in John 18:17; “art not thou also one of this mans disciples?”
A potentially dangerous situation, but the flesh has a way out of the trial:
“He saith I am not” (John 18:15)

God provides the trial and we provide the temptation
cf. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo – all they had to do was bow down to the idol and all of their troubles would be over!
The pressure was open to just compromise, a little, fingers crossed, but they didn’t.
Consider David in his trial fleeing from Saul:
1 Sam 24:1ff; 24:10ff
1 Sam 26:1ff; 26:8ff


In verse 13 then we have Gods way of escape rather than mans way of escape in trial!

ii. Common nature of the trial (10:13); ‘there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man,’ – the trials here are not peculiar to the chastening experiences of the Christian life but to all people.

This is not the testings of;

“he whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”

If this testing is ‘common’ to man it is not the trial of the Christian life

We love to think that our trials, our tests, our temptations are so unique that they excuse all of our failures!

iii. Control over the trial; ‘God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,’ – ie God is seen as a third party in this temptation, controlling and limiting it rather than as the cause of it. It would seem that God is on our side against the temptation! This temptation happens by Divine permission; ‘permit you to be tempted’

iv. Contrary to every day experience?

Why was there no way of escape for:

Isaiah – sawn in half with a wooden sword
Zechariahs the son of Berechias – slain between the altar and the temple
Stephen – stoned to death?
For the Christian who faces cancer? A way of escape?
The child who loses a parent in bereavement?

So don’t tell me that in every trial and test of the Christian life that there is a way of escape, because frankly I just don’t believe it.
What this is a guarantee for is something completely different; that in the temptations which the Lord permits, but which are initiated by:

The World
The Flesh
The Devil

There is guaranteed in those temptations to sin, a way out, so that for the believer obedience and righteousness and holiness is always a possibility.
There is always in the Christian life:

a right answer
the opportunity to do what is right

It is never the case that a Christian can say I failed in that temptation because I had no option, I was forced to, compelled to, I had to sin.
There is always the option to do what is right and pleasing to God.

Joseph – “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” (Gen 39:11-12) – so don’t tell me you have to commit fornication – you don’t.

v. Contradiction (10:13) ‘way to escape that ye may be able to bear it’

How can our ‘escape’ permit us to ‘bear’ it?
Surely we either ‘bear’ it or ‘escape’ from it?
This makes sense if we:

escape the temptation
bear with the trial

vi. Conclusion (10:14) – ‘wherefore my dearly beloved flee from idolatry.’

The temptation is to idolatry

vii. Challenge (10:15-22)

What is the connection between verse 16 and the preceeding?
Is it simply that?

The Corinthians are indulging in idolatry (v14)
They are assured that there is a way out of that temptation to idolatry (v13)
They must leave idol worship (v14,21) because it is incompatible with their communion with Christ (v16)?

Yet why take the extensive detour through the communion / breaking of bread to make the simple point which the Lord Himself makes in so few words; “no man can serve two masters.”
Was it because the Corinthians laid great weight on their own participation in the Lords supper, whilst continuing to live the old life at Corinth?
That very communion service would condemn their behaviour.
Yet perhaps there is even more to it than that!


1. The true significance of Communion (v16)
2. The true significance of Fellowship (v17)
3. The true significance of idol Worship (v18-20)


1. The true significance of Communion (v16)

A verse often quoted out with its immediate context, yet it most certainly does have a context to gain the full meaning we must grasp the context.

That communion indicates and reminds us not only of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf but of our fellowship / connection with Him. There is a ‘communion’ of the ‘blood’ and a ‘communion’ of the ‘body’ of Christ. A reminder of our vital living fellowship with the Saviour because of this sacrifice.
As a consequence of this fellowship certain behaviours, practices, experiences are incompatible with the Christian life, because and let us get this, because they are incompatible with Christ!
Communion is also indicative of Gods cure for our problem! If temptation in the wilderness (1 Co 10:7-11) arose when they denied the provision of God, when they abandoned being led (10:7) in favour of being led by the golden calf – in effect the Devil, when the denied their consecration – their death in baptism (10:8) in favour of the lusts of the flesh, and when they became disparaging of the manna which the Lord had provided to feed them (1 Co 10:9) desiring the food of Egypt and the world, they crossed a line and moved away from fellowship with the Lord into the sphere of the world, the flesh and the Devil!
It is the truth of the Lords Supper, of communion, not only that Christ has offered a once and for all sacrifice for sin forever, but that He, by His work perpetually sustains me. Christs work is finished, His salvation continues. He saves forever.


Are you walking daily by the Saviours side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?


O Cross, that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.


In the Shadow of Sinai – 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 7 to 10

Just added to our 1 Corinthians section; a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 10:


1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 7 to 10 – In the Shadow of Sinai – JS Gillespie – 02062015


outline notes available from this message:


In the shadow of Sinai in Sight of the Promised Land

We noted that parallels were drawn between:

  1. Israel
  2. Corinthians
  3. Ultimately ourselves

Parallels with:

  1. Assumptions made – run the old life and the new life together
  2. Blessings enjoyed
  • Led – under the cloud
  • Fed – manna and spiritual meat and the water and spiritual drink

The source of that sustenance is Christ

Natural provision but by supernatural means

Sometimes it is easy to identify supernatural provision by supernatural means but this is natural provision by supernatural means

  • Dead – through the sea

This turned out to be the largest baptismal tank in history.

  1. Confusion between external and the internal
  2. Deception

Here was a 4 fold deception

People once led by God were deceived over the most fundamental / basic of moral and spiritual issues:

  • Idols
  • Sexual morality

We have seen it in our own day – churches divided, not over subtleties of doctrine but professing Christians utterly adrift, rudderless on an ocean of confusion over the most basic of human relationships which God has ordered and imprinted in the biology, physiology and anatomy of the human frame and with that confusion a pride, that our day and age is so much more enlightened than that of our forefathers, not because we have reached the goals set out by them but because we have confounded ourself into a state of disbelief; there is no destination to reach, nowhere to go, no standards to uphold, no absolutes, no judge and no goal, and so just enjoy the drift!

4 fold deception:

  1. 10:7 – Losing the Cloud – End of being Led
  2. 10:8 – Losing Purity – End of being Dead
  3. 10:9 – Losing the Manna – End of Being Fed
  4. 10:10 – Denying our Identity
  1. 10:7 – Losing the Cloud – End of being Led

1 Corinthians 10: refers back to Exodus 32:1ff

Within sight of Sinai!!

Saddest of settings

Moses up the mountain

Deceived by an idol

Production of the golden calf – Baal worship

First introduction of the nation to idolatry

When we speak about idolatry what do we mean?

In Exodus 32 it is not a vague / general phenomenon but really quite focused and specific

Arguably it is the first time idolatry features in the nations history.

Idolatry has a specific goal – not just the general presence of idols in the nation.

Idolatry is not simply the verbal ascription of praise to idols.

Idolatry is not just the presence of ceremonies around idols.

In Exodus 32 idolatry is not simply a general social or religious phenomenon

  • Idolatry is focused

  • Idolatry is specific

  • Idolatry is directed

Idolatry is not the A Bomb of Hiroshima / Nagasaki which indiscriminately destroys everything in the vicinity but rather it is more akin to the the dam buster bomb of Sir Barnes Wallis:

  • operation chastise

  • 16th to 17th May 1943

  • Rohr valley

  • Destroyed hydroelectric power stations, factories and mines

  • 1600 people drowned

Idolatry had a very specific target

A target which when hit would adversely affect the well being of the peopl of God with global consequences

This was a blow to the nation and a disaster for Israel.

  • Exodus 32:1 : ‘make us gods which shall go before us’

  • Exodus 32:1 : ‘Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt’

  • Exodus 32:4 : ‘These be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt’

  • Exodus 32:8 : ‘These be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt’

It was not Moses nor the golden calf which had brought them up out of Egypt:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21)

This is a specific attack on the cloud and on Divine guidance.

This is the end of being led

Knock out their guidance and everything else follows; they are left lost, wandering, dazed and aimless in the wilderness; doomed for an eternity of being lost in the wilderness.

Idolatry exists when we take our guidance from a source other than the Lord!

  1. 10:8 – Losing Purity – End of being Dead

A reference here to Numbers 25

An attack on their sanctification

Numbers 25 forms a backdrop to 1 Corinthians chps 5 to 10:

  • Numbers 25:1 – Moral Compromise

  • Numbers 25:2 – Meat offered to idols

  • Numbers 25:2,3 – Idols temple / worship

  • Numbers 25:9 – Death and judgement

Notice the geographical setting here in Numbers 25 – Shittim (25:1)

This is the place where Joshua in Joshua chp 3 will prepare to pass over the Jordan and into the promised land.

In Numbers 25 they are in sight of the promised land

Maybe they feel they are getting nowhere slowly, wandering and that a bit aimlessly, maybe losing heart and perhaps vulnerable in a state of despair??

Ironically they don’t know just how close they are to Gods blessings for them.

So close, they could have spat on it, and they did.

They messed up big time!

How close have we been at times to Gods blessings, only to deny ourselves through sin and failure and unfaithfulness, inches from the promised land??

If Exodus 32 is on shadow of Sinai then Numbers 25 is in sight of the promised land

So close to the goal and yet at the last moment distracted and failed.

Here on the banks of the Jordan is a denial of their Red Sea Baptism.

The failure is moral – a denial of their baptism – dead to sin (Romans 6:1-4)

Numbers 25:1 – what society calls progress God calls prostitution

  1. 10:9 – Losing the Manna – End of Being Fed

Numbers 21:4ff

An end of being fed?

Numbers 21:5our soul loatheth this light bread

It wasn’t as they initially claimed (that they had no bread, Num 21:5) but rather they didn’t much care for the bread they did have!

When they stopped feeding on Christ, Satan started to feed on them.

We can easily become distracted from feeding on Christ

  1. 10:10 – Denying our Identity