A Study of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 - Part 4 - The Waiting Game.

Thanks for staying with me as we study 1 Corinthians chapter 10.  During this study, I want to encourage the follower of Jesus to pay more attention to their own behavior than they do the world’s.  The world is acting just as it is supposed to.  The better question is, “Are you, the Christian, acting as you are supposed to?”

Here is our key scripture passage for this series.

"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.  But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness.  These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did.  So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”  And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day.  And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes.  And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel.  These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come.  So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.  No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NET)

Here, Paul provides four “things that happened” as examples for Christians to learn from.  With each example Paul offers a quick summary and then the Biblical reference.  I am going to give this four examples in list form.

  1. Don’t be idolaters - Exodus 32:1-29
  2. Don’t be immoral - Numbers 25:1-9
  3. Don’t complain about God’s provision - Numbers 21:1-9
  4. Don’t question God’s judgement - Numbers 16:20-50

Today I’m going to focus on Paul’s second example, “And let us not be immoral, as some of them were…"

This phrase is in reference to Numbers 25:1-9.  

"When Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to commit sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab. 2 These women invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods; then the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 When Israel joined themselves to Baal-peor, the anger of the Lord flared up against Israel.

4 The Lord said to Moses, “Arrest all the leaders of the people, and hang them up before the Lord in broad daylight, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel.” 5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you must execute those of his men who were joined to Baal-peor.”

6 Just then one of the Israelites came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman in the plain view of Moses and of the whole community of the Israelites, while they were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he got up from among the assembly, took a javelin in his hand, 8 and went after the Israelite man into the tent and thrust through the Israelite man and into the woman’s abdomen. So the plague was stopped from the Israelites. 9 Those that died in the plague were 24,000.”  Numbers 25:1-9 (NET)

Paul simply says, “And let us not be immoral…” but let us take a deeper look at what was taking place and see what God has for us to learn.  To get you thinking I’ve provided a few questions about the above text.

1. Do you know how the Bible defines sexual immorality?
2. Do you think God’s view of sexual immorality has changed?
3. Are you currently being sexually immoral?
4. Do you think Jesus has a different attitude than the one discovered in Numbers 25?

First, this is an account of sexual immorality and God’s attitude toward it.  Let’s look into this scripture and other Biblical texts to learn more about what God expects from us concerning our bodies.  (Remember, this is written to the follower of Jesus.  If you’re not a follower of Jesus then you are not held to this standard.  But, if you are a follower of Jesus then this is for you.

Question 1:
Sexual immorality is any type of sex that happens outside of a Biblical marriage context.  In other terms, it is sin if you’re having sex with anyone who isn’t your spouse (husband and wife).  Even if your in love.  Even if you just really enjoy it.  If it is sex out side of God’s plan it is sin.  I know I just made some of you upset.  To explain my view let me answer the next question.

Question 2:
There is a fancy term called hermeneutic and it simply means to study or how you interpret something.  If you were to study the Bible with a redemptive hermeneutic (studying to discover if God changes, or redeems, a specific issue), what you will find is that God NEVER changes his mind on sexual immorality.  What was considered sexually immoral in Genesis is still sexually immoral in Revelation.  I laughed out loud when I heard my good friend and mentor Dan Southerland remark about this idea being “old fashioned.”  Dan replied, 

"Old fashioned?  You bet!  How old?  Old as God.  He has not changed his mind on this.” - Dan Southerland

Look, I know sex outside of marriage is no longer a big deal in our culture.  But is still a big deal to God.  And, it should be a big deal for you as a follower of Jesus.  If you’re not a follower of Jesus, do what you want.  I’m not holding you to this standard.  But, if you are a person who confesses Jesus as savior please remember he is also your Lord.  Now…I’m gonna poke at you who are upset with me because you have different, more culturally accepted views.  Are you ready?  Here I go…You can never let what you think, what you feel, or what you want to do over rule over what God says.  NEVER.  God is boss.  Your thoughts, your feelings, and your desires are placed at the life, cross, and resurrection of Jesus.  Remember this scripture, “For you were bought at a price.  Therefore glorify God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NET).   

Let me offer another perspective.  One day you will most likely get married.  You will probably value honesty and trust in your marriage.  Which means, before marriage, while you are only dating, you will more than likely have some conversations on your past.  When this conversation comes up, and believe me, it will, you will either lie or tell the truth.  What do you want to say to your future spouse?  An even better question is this, What do you hope to hear?  How do you want the love of your life to answer that question?  Here’s an idea…How about you start living today like you want them to answer.  

I want to provide two hopeful future responses. 

Response A) - I waited for you.  It wasn’t easy.  I’ve received some odd looks.  I’ve been made fun of along the way.  But, I endured all of that on purpose for you.

Response B) - I’ve got a past.  I’ve made mistakes.  But Jesus changed of my life.  When I gave my life to Jesus I also gave him authority over my life.  There was a time in my life when I did what I wanted to do.  But about (insert time frame) I changed.  Since that time, I’ve waited for you.  It hasn’t been easy.  It’s actually been extremely difficult.  I’ve received some odd looks.  I’ve been made fun of along the way.  But, I endured all of that on purpose for you.  

I hope some version of the above responses will be a part of your future conversation.  Just remember, what you do with your body WILL affect another.

Question 3:
If yes stop.  Consider having this conversation with God, “God, I understand that You have created sex to be a part of marriage.  I’m not married so I am choosing to stop having sex.  Will I want to have sex?  Yes.  But I’m choosing to place your lordship over my desires.  You are my boss.  I trust that your plan is what is best for me.  I’m choosing to obey you because I love you and I want to be loyal to you.”  Then, do what you told God you were going to do.

Question 4:
I’ll answer this question first with scripture.  “In the beginning was the Word.  The Word was with God and the Word was God.”  “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.”  “I and the Father are one."

Jesus has been with the Father since the beginning.  Jesus and God are the exact same.  Jesus isn’t like God, Jesus IS God.  So, no.  Jesus has the same attitude toward sin.  But here’s the good news.  Jesus is God’s grace.  Grace = an undeserved gift.  Grace has a name and it’s Jesus.

Think on the story of the woman caught in adultery.  After all the potential stone throwers leave, Jesus asks her, “Where are your accusers?”  The woman replies, “They have gone.”  Jesus then says, “I don’t condemn you either, go and sin no more.”  Notice the grace followed by the truth.  I’m not against you…But stop doing what is outside of God’s plan.  

In closing.  Especially for those of you who are dating.  If you choose to honor God with your body by abstaining from sex until marriage…If you do this.  You will be made fun of.  Don’t be alarmed when this happens.  If you’re a man, and you choose to obey God in this area…You may totally freak out a willing companion.

This feels weird to type but I’m going to anyway…Have sex on purpose.  Honor God with your body.  

By the way…I believe that if you can be obedient in this area of life…You can be obedient in any area.
Pastor Matt