Faith vs. Presumption

1 Corinthians #17: An exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, April 3, 2011.

Have you noticed that there is something within each of us that wants to see just how much we can get away with?  And it starts so early!  Now I have the sweetest, most wonderful grandchild in the world – that is without questions but even sweet miss Em shows signs of depravity!  When she moves toward something she’s not supposed to have and you say, “No, Emma.”  She stops looks at you.  Smiles.  Then goes right for it!  I will admit when she does it I laugh – not exactly the same reaction as I had to my children when they did the same thing.  That’s my depravity showing.  My point is it is bred into us to see what we can get away with.  How close can we get to it without getting in trouble?  The speed limit is 55?  Oh, that means they give you 60.  “It’s just about quitting time.  I leave at 5:00 so I start shutting down at 3:30.  When I get “away with it” – it just gets worse.

The apostle Paul is talking about “freedom.”  Specifically our freedom in Christ.  But Christian liberty is not without limits.  It is not the freedom to do as you please.  According to 1 Corinthians 8 I limit my freedom out of love.  My love and concern for others and their spiritual health causes me to set aside my freedom if it causes them to stumble.  I will not enjoy my freedom at the expense of damaging their spiritual development.  The example used in chapter 8 is that of eating meat sacrificed to idols.  Now, the mature in Christ know that and idol is nothing.  It is a piece of word or stoned fashioned by a man and it has no power but I’m not going to use my knowledge if it harms those who are less mature.  If my eating meat causes them to suffer spiritual I’ll never eat meat again.  In chapter 9 the apostle gives a personal example of how he sets aside his rights in order to further the work of the Gospel.  Then in chapter 10 he attempts to show how our use of freedom might damage our own spiritual growth.  Our text this evening is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 10.

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

As we work our way through this text we will discover that:

Thesis: The mature believer guards against his faith in God degenerating into presumption upon God.

Israel serves a great example.
They are a reminder to us (10:6) – so that we do not repeat their mistakes.
What we have in this passage is a solemn warning.

I want to call your attention to three principles:

  1. Identification with God does not provide immunity from the consequences of sin and rebellion.  (10:1-5)
  2. Presumption upon God always leads to disaster.  (10:6-10)
  3. Faith in God assures you of strength and victory in the face of temptation & struggle.  (10:11-13)
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