The Danger of Losing God's Blessings

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  10
Subject: Failure in Christian Living; Unfaithfulness; Disobedience; Revival; Renewal

The Danger of Losing God’s Blessing

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

1 Corinthians 10

Every Christian enjoys being blessed. If I asked today how many of you would like to be blessed by God during this coming week, every hand here would be raised. Yet, are you aware that you are in danger of losing God's blessings in your lives. That is what I want us to consider today.

We come to 1 Corinthians with the awareness that the people in the church located in that city were given to many types of sin and failure; but then, so are we. In fact, a look at 1 Corinthians is a good exercise for the modern church because the church has faced the same challenges in every generation.

Think for a moment of how a parent deals with teenagers. We warn and plead, threaten and discipline, because we know from experience the dangers of that period of time in life. What do we want for our teenage children? We want them to be blessed. That is why God warms us in His Word - He wants us to be blessed - in essence He doesn't want us to lose His blessings. We ought to read 1 Corinthians as if God, the Father Himself, were giving us some valuable counsel regarding the dangers of failing Him in our homes, communities and churches.

Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth using examples of failure in livesof those Christians who preceded them. He uncovered their failures but revealed that it is possible through God’s grace and mercy for the sinning Christian to gain victory through repentance and faith.

Is it possible that the current Christian churches in America are not growing and many are hanging on by their fingernails because we are not open to see our sins and, if we do see them, we are reluctant to confess and turn from them? I submit that certainly this is part of the dilemma we face in the churches in America.

So, let’s look at how Paul confronted the church at Corinth on this issue. It just might be that this will bring us to a new level of cleansing and commitment before our Lord today. Paul looks at failure and success in the Christian life using three important elements ...

I. Typological Teaching (10:1-11)

Paul begins by using typology - he act of using exampes or types to speak truth. Look at how he did this ...

A. He Spoke of Deliverance (10:1-4)

1 Corinthians 10:1-4:

"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ."

Paul mentions the deliverance of the Hebrew people through the Red Sea. They all made it through, even as all who trust Christ are free from sin through the Savior. They all passed through, they all ate of the food God miraculously provided, and they all drank from the Water that came from a rock. However, God was not PLEASED WITH ALL of them. Now get this point, or you will miss the entire reason it is in this Bible passage – you can be as saved as one of God’s greatest servants, but that doesn’t mean that God is pleased with you.

You see, the people who were delivered in the Old Testament complained, griped, spoke ill of Moses, and even once made a golden calf as an idol. They refused to go into the Promised Land when they arrived at the Jordan, and they ended up with their bodies scattered in the Wilderness where they had wandered for forty years.

Dear people, listen to me – it is a shame for us to be saved, blessed and then to disappoint God. It was shameful to the work we might have accomplished scattered across the wilderness of this world at the time of our death, all because we simply refused to walk with God faithfully.

One day a man in a church I pastored asked me this question, "Preacher, do you think Bob (a made-up name to protect the guilty) is actually saved? He is as hateful as the devil’s brother." I replied, "Well, I don’t determine who is saved or who isn't saved, but if he is saved he’s going into heaven with the smoke of the devil on his coattail!"

Shameful! Christian! Reprehensile believers! We are to act like Christians, love like Christians, and live like Christians all the time. And, when we fail, we are to turn from our sinful ways and renew our first love with Jesus. Every Christian fails God at times, but we are not to continue in the path of defeat and sin. We are to renew our commitment and act like children of God.

Paul used this incident from the Old Testament to teach the people in the Church at Corinth how God can deliver His people, even if they are doubting and hesitating as they go forward.

B. Dining (10:5)

1 Corinthians 10:5:

"5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness."

It is true that all those who came out of Egypt dined on the same food in the Wilderness, for all were blessed of God and saved. Yet, many moaned and groaned about the Manna, which was a prefiguring of Jesus Christ – the Bread of Heaven come down to us.

Indeed, they all drank water from the rock, which was a prefiguring of Jesus – the Water of Life. Yet, they still did not have enough appreciation to serve God faithfully.

Let me ask you a question. How many times do we hear someone complain about everything in life, while almost never praising God for all He has done and is doing in his or her life? Better yet, how many times is it you and I who do this?

C. Disqualification (10:5-11)

1 Corinthians 10:6-11:

"6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our [c]admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."

It is estimated that as many as one million or more Hebrews left Egypt, but only two of the original adult people entered the Promised Land (Joshua and Caleb). All the others were condemned to die in the Wilderness because they lacked the faith to go forward. This doesn’t mean they were not saved, it means they never truly got the chance to enjoy their salvation. They had no reward. They knew little joy. They were not effective for God. How sad is that?

Think of like this: They were saved, because they were delivered through the blood of the sacrificial lamb and the blood upon the door. That lamb and its blood was a prefiguring of the Lamb and His blood at Calvary. So, they escaped Egypt. However, they missed so much. Think of three things.

They lost three things:

  1. The Power of God was Taken from Them
  2. The Place of God was Taken from Them
  3. The Prospects of God were Taken from Them

All they could have done, all they could have seen, all they could have been – GONE – all because they failed to give God their best.

Now, what caused this problem? What led them to fail so greatly and accomplish so little? They all had the same great promises when they were delivered, but so few did anything with them.

Paul tell us of  …

II. Temptation Trouble (10:12-20)

1 Corinthians 10:12-20:

"12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons."

As we read in this text, the problem was and is temptation - the urge to move away from God, then away from God’s ways, is always a problem for God's people. We must walk in God’s ways, using God’s Word and yielding to God’s power. On our own ways and power are doomed to failure.

Now think about temptation with me for a moment.

A. Inclusive

“common to man”

Temptation is “common to all mankind” Paul tell us – every boy and girl, and every man and woman, are tempted to forsake God’s Word and ways, and to choose to go our own way. The theme song of those who live for the world is: “I Did It My Way.”

We read in our text that every person passed through the Red Sea on dry ground but not all were able to deal with the temptation in their hearts to turn back to Egypt. The saved Christian is tempted to slip back into the ways of the world. That is why Paul gave us these words in Romans 12:1-2:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Christians must their hearts and minds on a regular basis in order to keep the world from forcing them into its mold. Believe me, every Christian is pressed by the world to become like the world. We must be renewed from time to time.

B. Inexcusable

How can we say that it is inexcusable for a Christian to fall into sin? Paul answers that when he says, “…but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

You see, we like to think that the temptation we face is just to strong for us. Maybe God didn’t give me the faith and strength of the another Christian and because of that I am not able to flee the sin. Oh no, my dear brother or sister, God gave you the strength - you and I just didn’t rely upon His provision for escape.

Sin is forgivable but it is not excusable. Someone may say, “Oh, but preacher, you don’t know what I was going through.” You were going through what every Christian goes through. That is what Paul just said. Temptation is common to all of us. What we really need is the honesty to ask God to forgive us and renew us, for only then can we take back the land the devil has stolen from our lives and our churches.

C. Instructions

Paul gives us instructions regarding sin. Don’t think that you will not be tempted. Don’t look at a fallen Christian and get all high and mighty, bragging about how you have not and will not ever do. Do say in your heart, "I'll never do a thing like that.” Watch out that you don’t become filled with pride, for then you have a target on your back and the devil will use you for target practice.

Paul’s instruction is for us to “flee” temptation. Run for your life when you are tempted. Don’t give the devil a foothold.

A train runs on two tracks. That is the way a Christian is to move away from sin and forward in his or her walk with God. Those two tracks for the believer are faith and works. Faith involves what God has instructed, taught and promised. Works act on that truth and moves the Christian at God's command.

Faith caused Peter to have a desire to get out of the boat, but he had to act on that faith in order to take the first step. Faith believed, but works got him out of the boat. Of course, when he stepped upon the water he discovered that his faith was not as strong as he first thought, and he began to sink. Faith is more important than works, but faith without works is dead.

But listen – Peter didn’t drown, did he? He was lifted out of the waves and water by Jesus. God calls us to follow Him, even when we can’t understand how it can be done. Some say, “But, what if I fail?” You will fail in some way. We all fail. But, Jesus will not let you drown. He will pick you up out of the bubbling water of your own weakness.

Here is the point. Don’t let the devil lead you from temptation into sin, for God has a way to grant you victory. However, when that moment comes that you fail, turn to Him quickly by faith and ask Him to take your hand and lift you up. Don’t go on in sin and arrogance, for God has a path of forgiveness and a path of escape.

Some years ago, Time magazine contained a story about a woman named Grace Wylie. She loved snakes and kept them in close quarters in her life. A photographer when out to interview her and she held up a Cobra to show how the snake knew her and would not harm her. Just them, while the photographer was taking a picture, the snake bit Grace. She was rushed to the Long Beach Municipal Hospital, but it was too late - she died playing with danger. We must never play with sin ...

“Listen friend,

If you play with Sin,

It may kill you in the end!”

Now, let me conclude with this …

III. Timeless Test

In our text, Paul provides a timeless test so that we might know whether something we are tempted to do is of God or is from Satan. Is what we are thinking of doing, or the manner in which we are considering to act, something good or something bad? Look at how you can know for sure...

A. Will it Edify?

“edify not”  (23)

Edify means to instruct or improve morally or in some other way. Will what you are being tempted to do actually edify, instruct or improve your life or that of others. Will it lead to obedience to God's Word and honoring of Jesus Christ?

When you sense something leading you in way that is questionable, ask this question, “Will it grow my life or the lives of others in Jesus or will it lead away from Him?”

The word “edify” means to help, to grow or increase. I must always seek to be a disciple of Jesus. He didn’t just save me to get me to heaven, He saved me to make me more like Him until He takes me to heaven. He saved me to grant me the joy of being used in His kingdom work. I must ask at all times if something I am about to do or say will provide grow in Jesus.

Also, I can ask ...

B. Will it Glorify?

“Will it glorify” (31)

A second part of the test is necessary. A Christian may think of some act as being unimportant - that it will not stunt your growth in the Lord or hurt anyone else, but there is a deeper question. Will the act or words I have in mind glorify Jesus. If He were with me at the moment I'm ready to act or speak, would He be blessed by what I am going to do or say? If it doesn’t glorify Jesus, I don’t need to do it.

This is a test – a major test in the Christian life. Is your life – your habits, thoughts, words, deeds, and companionships, glorifying the Savior? Have you done things this week that threw shade on the glory of Jesus? If my words or actions diminish in any way the glory of what Christ has done for me, then you can be sure that it is a sin.

Now lastly…

C. Will it Multiply?

“that they may be saved”  (33)

Will this or that act or word in our lives help multiply the kingdom of God? Do my words or actions have the potential of damaging the growth of the kingdom? I tell you what the average Christian thinks about when talking or carrying out activities – Will I enjoy this? Does this make me look good to my friends? If I put this on Facebook will I get a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘followers.’

Dear people, God is not concerned with how many followers you have on Facebook, but He is concerned with how many people are following Jesus because of your influence. If people follow me, will they end up at the cross of Christ?

Conclusion

Go back to how Paul began this chapter. He talked about the people who were in bondage in Egypt. That is a picture of people caught and trapped by Satanic powers. Then he showed how they escaped. They were never to forget that they were saved through the blood of a lamb - just as we have been saved through the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. We are to make this truth known to the world. We are to radiate the wonder of the victory we experienced through God’s grace.

Years ago in Rotterdam, Holland, two armies were fighting. Dutch soldiers came into the city and they put everyone they could find to the sword. They killed without thought to age or sex. Children and women were slaughtered along with the men. One group of people gathered in a large home and waited their fate. They knew they were going to die. But, someone came up with an idea. So, they took a goat and killed it, capturing its blood. Then, they went to the entrance doors to the house and poured the blood under the doors, so that it ran out into the street. When the soldiers came by, they saw the blood and figured that someone had already killed the people in that house. Thus, the soldiers simply passed by. That house can be seen today if you go to Holland to visit – it is called “The House of a Thousand Horrors.”

Let me tell you that Jesus took the horrible death we deserved. He shed His blood so that the sword the death angel will pass over you and not harm you. In essence, the blood of Jesus is under the door of my life and the death angel passes over me - all because of what Jesus did for me. I owe it to Him to be true and faithful.

Now, let us come today and renew our commitment. Some of us sink into bab habits, thoughts, words and deeds that may not seem evil, but you must ask if they have the ability to edify the body of Christ (the Church), to glory the Son of God, and to multiply the Kingdom of God. Like Peter when he stepped out the boat on the Sea of Galilee, we have great ambition, but we falter. Today, let us call out to Jesus. He can pull us up – renew us – grant us a renewing of the mind.

Others here have never trusted Christ. The death angel is coming. Only the blood of Jesus can spare you from the judgment to come. God loves you. Come to Jesus just now and trust Him as your Lord and Savior.