Sunday, April 19, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 20 – Covenant

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 20 – Covenant
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
Paul's letter to the church in Corinth addressed many issues they were dealing with. First and foremost was their adulterous behavior, secondly, their over-spiritualized behavior, and thirdly their taking each other to court.

They were acting, as Paul says, beyond the Word of God, and making up their own system of belief. We see this many times in the world today, where someone will take a form of religion, or bits and pieces from the bible, and create for themselves a world built upon those misconceptions.

Sometimes this is accidental, coming from immaturity in the Word or faith, which could easily be remedied be reading the bible, or attending studies. However, most times it is purposeful, regardless if they admit it to themselves or not.

They twist God's word, or try to manipulate it so they can create a bubble around them.

This is exactly what the church in Corinth was doing. They created an over-spiritualized way of thinking, which was beyond what was written in God's word, which lead to sexual immorality among their believers.

They also believed they were above the Word, thinking that because of their hyper-spiritual state, they had somehow achieved closeness with God.

 They were sadly mistaken, and were now living in this sin.

Paul's letter to them addressed this sin, he even points out in I Corinthians 5:12, 13, it is not our duty to judge those outside the church, but those within it.

Paul also explains how to correct their path, which can be done simply by confessing their sin, and repenting of it so they can receive forgiveness, for it is true that anyone can have forgiveness from Christ, however, as Jesus showed us in John 8, when the teachers of the law brought a woman convicted of adultery to Jesus, Jesus said, "Let any one of you who is without sin cast the first stone." and the teachers all left.

Most stop reading there..."See, Jesus forgave her.", however, we need to keep reading.

Jesus says, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared........

{keep reading!}   "Go now, and leave your life of sin." (NIV)

There is forgiveness, but to receive forgiveness, there MUST be repentance.  The woman could NOT return to her life of adultery, not if she wanted forgiveness.

This is the truth from Jesus that Paul was trying to convey to the church in Corinth.

Last week we read how Paul explained that what happened to Israel in the Exodus was a warning to the followers of Christ.

Paul explained that they were judged by God because many had died in their sins and not repented. Remember he explained how Egypt was their bondage, the passover spared them, the rock followed them, God was ever present in the pillar of fire and smoke, they drank the water which came from the rock.

Egypt is sin, sin is our bondage, and passover is Christ, His death on the cross saves us from sin, God is ever present, our rock is Christ, and the water from the rock is the Holy Spirit we receive from Christ. Passing through the red sea was their baptism.

Paul explained that our communion is acceptance of covenant with God, just as in days of old. They had salvation from Egypt, but many chose to live in sin, and died in those sins, never to see the Promised Land.

We closed last week with I Corinthians 10:13 "...God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

Paul is trying to make the church in Corinth see and understand, you have salvation in Christ, but it is not a license to sin and do whatever you will.

If you find yourself in sin, you must confess and repent to receive forgiveness, if you do not, and you die in your sin, then you will not see the Promised Land.

Paul will continue speaking about the Lord's Supper in I Corinthians 10:14-22



SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 10:14 - 22
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?



                   I.            THEREFORE, FLEE FROM IDOLATRY
a.      Therefore
                                                                         i.      Speaking about versus 12 & 13

                                                                      ii.      God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear

                                                                   iii.      But WHEN you are tempted, He WILL provide a way out so that you can endure it


b.     Flee from idolatry
                                                                         i.      This term is generically applied by Paul covering all of the things the Israelites did

                                                                      ii.      Remember Paul reminds them of the scripture, "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry."

                                                                   iii.      The people were taking communion, a sign of accepting contract and being in covenant with God, and then went right out and returned to their life of drunkenness and adultery, as if they never had a contract with God.
c.      The ones who play church
                                                                         i.      Every church has them, but before you start pointing fingers, you better make sure you are not one of them.

                                                                      ii.      The church in Corinth had many of them.

                                                                   iii.      They participated in communion, read the Word of God, preached the gospel message, but that does not make one a Christian.

                                                                     iv.      In Matthew 7, we see that there will be many on that day standing before the Lord who played church.
1.      Lord, Lord, they cry, didn't I do this for you, and that, and in your name?

2.      To which the Lord replies, "I do not know you..."



               II.            COMMUNION
a.      What it is
                                                                         i.      In the Old Testament when a marriage contract was written, it would be presented to the bride, if she accepted the contract, she would drink a glass of wine to seal the deal.

                                                                      ii.      We are the bride, and the marriage is between us and Christ

                                                                   iii.      The contract, the new covenant, payment for our sin purchased in Christ's blood, is presented to us the bride (the gospel message)

                                                                     iv.      When we take communion, we are accepting this covenant with God


b.     Covenant
                                                                         i.      A covenant or contract with God is not to be taken lightly

                                                                      ii.      It is between you and God, and He will always uphold His side of the contract


c.      Covenant Breakers
                                                                         i.      Paul said, look at the Israelites as example
                                                                      ii.      They played church

                                                                   iii.      Took communion

                                                                     iv.      Which means they were in covenant with God

                                                                        v.      Then went right back into the world to live in sin


d.     Committing Sin and Living in Sin
                                                                         i.      The difference?
1.      We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God

2.      However, when we find ourselves in sin, we immediately confess, AND repent so that we may be forgiven.

                                                                      ii.      If you do not?
1.      You are LIVING in sin.

2.      And as Paul points out, the Israelites who lived and then died in their sins did not make it to the Promised Land.

                                                                   iii.      The SAME applies to us today.

So, when a sinner, who does not want to repent, tries to point out your past sins, remind them that, yes, we are all sinners, however, making the choice not to live in that sin, confessing it to God and repenting of it has obtained for you forgiveness...something those living in sin do not have.

You are in good standing with God because of repentance, where those who chose to live in their sin are in danger of eternal damnation.

This was currently the state of the church in Corinth.



            III.            CONSIDER THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL
a.      Again Paul reminds the church in Corinth, look at the example!
                                                                         i.      The Israelites took communion and were in covenant with God, then turned right around and lives their sin filled lives as if they never drank of the cup.
                                                                      ii.      You CANNOT be one with the world and one with God!

                                                                   iii.      If the world loves you, I would worry...

                                                                     iv.      John 15:18,19 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."


b.     You cannot serve two masters
                                                i.    Matthew 6:22-24 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
1.      This is one of the scripture I use for warnings about pornography

                                                                      ii.      You cannot serve two masters...you either belong to God in covenant, or the world.


c.      You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 
                                                                         i.      The cup represents a covenant
1.      You cannot have two covenants...

                                                                      ii.      The table represents kingdoms
1.      You cannot live in two kingdoms at the same time!










CONCLUSION

Paul asks of those who are playing church, those who have called themselves followers of Christ, those who have taken communion;

To whom do you belong? Who is it you are serving?

Are you in covenant with God, or demons?

In which kingdom are you choosing to live?

We must look at the warnings to Israel, the warnings to the church in Corinth, and ask ourselves this very question!

Are you playing church?









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