1 Corinthians 10:1-13 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is expound.
Open your Bibles, please, to the 10th chapter of 1 Corinthians. 1 Corinthians chapter 10. If you were to read the Bible through at a moderate pace it would take you 70 hours and 40 minutes. Some say 72 hours. Some say more, some say less. Of course, it all depends on how well you read and how fast you read. But if you were to read out loud at a moderate pace it would take you between 70 and 72 hours.
Now that would be a little tedious to just read it out loud for 72 hours straight. You'd have a tough time doing it. But if you were to break it up, stretch it out throughout the year, that would only be a little over 11 minutes a day to read, in one year, the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I recommend that you do that.
I recommend that you have some kind of a plan that affords you to go through the scriptures verse by verse, reading it all the way through, making it a regular practice. Not saying, yeah, I've read most of it. Or, I've read Matthew and Psalms and a little bit of Genesis, stopped at Leviticus, but made it a little bit through Exodus. But that you plow all the way through and become familiar with it. And then, of course, I'm going to recommend Wednesday nights-- though it takes me longer than 70 hours to get through in teaching style.
The first time I went from Genesis to Revelation, and taught it verse by verse, it took me 11 years. But now that we've been at it for 40 years we've been through the Bible a few times. And we happened to be in the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians. And we're going to look at the 10th chapter tonight. But there's great value in going verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.
And I would say that perhaps this is one of the things that makes Calvary Church unique. Most evangelical Protestant churches-- most all of them-- teach from the Bible. That's standard fare-- to teach from the Bible. But the difference is we teach the Bible. And that's not any kind of a one-upmanship. But instead of just saying we teach from the Bible-- that's like our springboard for our activities-- we want to teach you every truth that's important to the heart of God from the beginning to the end.
What I think Paul referred to in Acts 20 as the whole counsel, the full counsel, of God. And I don't think you can teach the full counsel of God unless you teach the whole scripture of God, every book that God put in his curriculum. Now some of the books are exciting. Some of them may not be that exciting. Next week's study may not be that exciting when we talk about wearing veils in church, or certain length of hair. You think, how does that fit for today?
I'll show you how it does. But other parts of it are less exciting. Some are more exciting. But I remember when I was going to college, some of the courses I took were awfully exciting. And some of them were not awfully exciting. They were just awful. But I had to take those courses to pass and get the degree.
And so God knew what He was doing in peppering the Scripture of truth with the history, the poetry, the didactic material, the narrative material, the epistolary material, all of it together, so that we might become mature men and women of God. What we happen to be in that last category, one of the Epistles of Paul, 1 Corinthians chapter 10. Let's pray.
Father, we pray that You strengthen us and give us ears to hear. This is a Bible study but, Lord, we now realize it is going out and reaching multiplied thousands more than are in this room. But we do pray for every heart that has come to this room, to this place, as well as those who are listening online, or live on the radio in our area right now, in different parts of the world.
We pray that You would do a unique work in each life, but then You would, corporately, build all of us up, and strengthen all of us, as Your army to make a dent, to make a difference, for Your kingdom. For we ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
Back in chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians, Paul introduced the topic of which we are still dealing with. That is personal liberty as Christians. What can I do as a believer? Is it OK? Is it lawful for me to do? There are black and white parameters. Most of us understand the thou-shalt-not's of the Bible. But there are certain things that are gray areas. And Paul touches on them because it was one of the things the Corinthians asked him about.
So, in chapter 8, he-- I think it's chapter 8. No, chapter 7. Now concerning the things which you wrote to me. That's where he introduces the answering of questions. They wrote to him a series of questions they had. One of them is answered in chapter 7. Chapter 8 is another one and there's a transitional phrase that I've been telling you about the last few weeks. I just want you to get it in your memory. And it's this little phrase, now concerning.
When Paul says, now concerning, in this book he is introducing a topic that happened to be in the letter the Corinthians sent to Paul. Hey, Paul. What about staying single versus staying married? Now concerning those things that you wrote to me about. And he addresses that. Another issue they had was being invited to a house and eating meat that had been sacrificed to a pagan idol in a pagan temple.
Not as applicable today in our culture, but it was huge in the Corinthian culture. But what about that Paul? What do we do? And so, in chapter 8, now concerning things offered to idols. He then uses chapters 8, 9, and 10 to deal with the issue broadly about Christian liberty in light of the fact that some believers are weak in their faith, number one.
Number two, you are being observed not just by other believers but by unbelievers. So these are considerations that you must keep in your mind when you have to discern what you can and cannot do as a believer. What things you can and can't get involved in. Then, in chapter 12, he introduces another topic they wrote to him about. They said, hey, what about spiritual gifts?
And so, chapter 12, now concerning spiritual gifts. And in chapter 12, 13, 14 he deals with the use of spiritual gifts in the assembly. Then chapter 15 he deals with the whole doctrine of the Resurrection, so he's dealing with a number of topics they wrote to him. They asked about food that was sacrificed to an idol.
And in chapter 8-- if you remember-- he said, look, we all have knowledge. We all may know that statue is just a piece of wood, or a stone, or a piece of metal. But not everybody has that knowledge. And you might have that knowledge, but I'm saying you also need love to govern your decision-- not just knowledge. Just, look. I know better and I can eat anything I want to no matter who it's sacrificed to because I have knowledge.
Paul said, I'm glad you have knowledge. Now have love, as well. Knowledge puffs up. Love builds up. That was chapter 8. Then, in chapter 9, Paul is still on the same subject but he uses himself as an example. He goes, look. I'll use myself as an example. I'm an apostle. I have certain rights of financial remuneration. I have rights to take with me a believing wife like Peter did, and like the other apostles did.
But even though I have those rights and those privileges, and I also have the knowledge that it's OK for me to do certain things, and it's even scripturally based for me to do that, I have chosen to forgo those privileges because I want to boast in the fact that I've made the gospel free of charge wherever I go. Other churches have supported me, but I never asked anything from you guys in Corinth. Still the same overarching truth, Christian liberty.
Now, in chapter 10, he continues that. But now a different example. And the example here is the nation of Israel. They had been liberated. They had been set free. They had been given their liberty, but they abused their liberty. Talk about liberty. They were given liberty. God sprung them from the bondage of Egypt. They had been slaves in Egypt. God gave them literal freedom and took care of them out in the wilderness.
But what did they do with their liberty? They abused it. And so he's going to swing back and answer some of the issues that we dealt with in the previous chapters.
But we begin in chapter 10 verse 1. Took us long enough to get there, but here we are. Moreover brethren I do not want you to be unaware. The Old King James says, I don't want you to be ignorant. It's an interesting introduction because this is what I found. Whenever Paul says, hey, you guys. I don't want you to be ignorant about this.
It is usually an area where Christians display the most ignorance. He said the same thing concerning eschatology, the coming of the Lord. I don't want you to be ignorant of the coming of the Lord, or our gathering together with him, in 1 Thessalonians. That happens to be a huge area of ignorance when it comes to spiritual gifts. I don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, of spiritual gifts.
And yet, many believers are ignorant, or misguided, when it comes to the use or exercise of spiritual gifts within the church. In fact, you could count five times in the New Testament where Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant, don't want you to be ignorant, don't want you to be ignorant. All five of those happen to be areas Christians display a lot of ignorance in.
It's a controversial area. Paul wrote to clear it up. In fact, that would be a fun series to do sometime, is to look at those five areas and just sort of unravel each one. But anyway, I digress. Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware or ignorant that all our fathers-- now he's speaking about Jewish fathers, Jewish forefathers.
All of our fathers-- that is the nation of Israel in the wilderness-- were under the cloud and all passed through the sea. What is he speaking about? The cloud of God's glory, the Shekinah glory of God in the wilderness. Remember it was a covering of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. And the sea that he's speaking about is the Red Sea. I don't want you to be ignorant. All of our fathers were under the cloud. All passed through the sea. All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
Back in the desert years, when Israel wandered through the wilderness for 40 years-- oh, by the way. They didn't have to be in the desert 40 years. If you were to walk from Egypt up along the Gaza Strip toward Israel-- you were just to walk it-- it wouldn't take you more than seven days.
To get from the place where they were at down to the Nile Delta in Egypt, you go up the Gaza Strip, you go up the Via Maris, and you're right up in Israel. Take you seven days. It probably-- since there were two or three million of the Israelites-- it wouldn't have taken them more than a month. So there was a legitimate wilderness experience they had.
They were delivered, brought into the wilderness, it was the legitimate wilderness experience they had. Should have lasted them a month. It lasted 40 years. That's the illegitimate wilderness experience. It took them 40 years and God promised them, because they complained over and over again. We'll get into this in this chapter.
God told them that they were all going to die in the wilderness and they complained about their kids. They said, our kids. Our kids are going to die. You don't care about our children. And God said, really? Tell you what. I'm going to deliver your children and make sure they get into the promised land, but you're all going to die in the wilderness and they're going to go in there without you.
And 2 million to 3 million of them died during that 40-year journey. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, made it through. But God graciously provided a cloud. And the cloud, the Shekinah glory of God, was a covering. The Bible says in Psalm 105, that God spread out a covering over the children of Israel.
Which was a huge blessing because, to be in the Sinai wilderness, it would be like camping out in Phoenix during the summer, and having to move, as a few million people, through that kind of a heat. But what if God provided for Phoenix, every summer, a cloud cover so that the harmful rays, the sun, couldn't penetrate. That's essentially what the Lord did with that cloud. He spread it out. So serving the Lord was cool.
And then there was that pillar of fire by night so they had a nightlight, as well, that illuminated in that cloud. It just must have been awesome. Now it was an advanced GPS system. GPS-- not global positioning system-- but God's positioning system. God kept them in the wilderness, and then whenever that cloud began to move, or that pillar of fire began to move, they would pack up their belongings and they would move to stay cool, to stay unto the cloud.
And they would stop wherever God stopped, wherever the cloud stopped, they would camp there and then they would move on. Our fathers, the Jewish fathers, went under the cloud, passed through the sea. That's the Wilderness Experience where all were baptized into Moses and into the cloud-- in the cloud and in the sea. That is, it wasn't a mob.
It was a community of God's people being immersed, led by Moses, into the trough of where the Red Sea once flowed. Though they went through on dry ground and got to the other side. But they were all as a community in unity and solidarity with each other, and God delivered them and walked through that with them. Then, verse 3, all ate the same spiritual food, all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.
It says they all ate of that same spiritual food. We know what they ate during that wilderness wandering. What did they eat? Manna. God brought bread from heaven, but it was interesting stuff. It was interesting because God must have injected the manna with all the needed nutrients, all the necessary vitamins and proteins.
Because in Deuteronomy chapter 8, toward the end of the wilderness march, the Lord said, I brought you out of Egypt with a strong hand, brought you out into the wilderness. And he said, during that time your garments didn't wear out. That's miraculous. Wearing a garment for 40 years, look at what you have on. Imagine wearing that for 40 years, how ripe that would smell, and how frayed it would be.
But then imagine if every time you cleaned it, you washed it, it didn't fray, it didn't get old. It didn't-- it just kind of kept its shape, and you could wear it for 40 years. Now, I know you'd get tired of it, nonetheless. Because, gosh, the same fashion for 40 years. But that was God's gracious provision. But also he said, your garment didn't wear out and your feet did not swell those 40 years.
Medical experts, I have read, say that the idea of the swelling of feet happens when you have the same diet over and over again, and you don't add variety to it. You don't have all the right balance of nutrients. So that's why I say manna must have had all that was necessary, that spiritual food that God gave them, to sustain life so that our feet wouldn't swell. So they could maintain homeostasis. So they could be vital and live well during those 40 years.
Manna was also interesting because it says they could grind it in their grinders. They could beat it in their mortars. They could bake it in their oven. So it had interesting properties. So I don't know if Mrs. Moses wrote a book, 1,001 ways to prepare manna, with all sorts of recipes. But, no doubt, there was banana bread or-- manicotti would be one.
There would be manna souffle. All sorts of different varieties that you could do with it. And I've told you before that one of the scriptures say that it tasted like wafers baked with honey. So that's why I say, when I eat a Krispy Kreme donut, I think, oh yeah. This is manna, man. Hot now manna-- must have tasted like that. I do get caught up on the manna thing. I do love it.
OK. So God provided that. They ate the same spiritual food. They drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ. It's an interesting scripture. We know, in the Old Testament, that water was a problem. When you're in the desert sources of water for 2 million people would be an issue. And they complained, on one occasion, we don't have enough water-- on a few occasions.
And we know that Moses was told to go up to the rock and hit it with his staff. And out flowed water, enough water. Must have had a lot of subterranean pressure to bring water to the 2 million souls, plus livestock, and to nourish them. Later on, Moses was told to speak to that rock. He got mad, misrepresented the Lord and beat it, said, must we bring water out of this rock. You know the story.
But according to Paul, he says, now that rock was Christ. There's a lot of ways to look at that, and most people look at that in a spiritual kind of a way. They spiritualize the text a little bit saying that, spiritually speaking, Christ is the living water, the satisfier of the soul, and all that. That's true and perhaps that is in Paul's mind. But let me suggest another possibility.
There was a Jewish legend that persisted. And Paul would have been aware of the legend. And the legend, the Jewish legend, was that the rock in the wilderness that Moses struck, that brought forth water, actually appeared wherever the children of Israel would camp. So if they camp, pulled up camp, moved miles away, they'd be there. There was that same rock that would provide water for them. And so it just sort of followed them.
It was a Jewish legend that the rock followed them wherever they went. Now, that's just a legend and I don't necessarily believe that to be true. It could be true, but it's a Jewish legend. It could be that Paul was aware of the legend and he said, you know, you're right. Knowing about the legend, knowing what they believe-- there was a rock that followed you. But that rock wasn't a literal rock. That rock was the person of Christ who sustained you during the wilderness march.
And it could be here that-- the idea is that they, at that time under Moses, were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. We know that Moses predicted another would come that was like him. And the New Testament identifies that other prophet as being the Messiah. So that was introduced by Moses to wait for the coming of Messiah. So, under Moses, the children of Israel anticipated the coming of Messiah, the rock of their salvation.
And it's interesting that Jesus, at Caesarea Philippi, did say to his disciples standing before this huge rock in Caesarea Philippi. He said, upon this rock I will build My church. And the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And He used a Greek word, petra. And petra means a massive stone. And the word that is used here in the Greek language-- for the rock that followed them was Christ-- is the same word, Petra, that massive rock.
And of course, in Matthew 16, when Jesus brought this truth up He was speaking about the massive confession of belief that He was the Son of God. Because Peter had said, I know who You are. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Flesh and blood didn't reveal this to you, Peter, but My father who is in heaven.
And I say you are Peter, petros, a tiny little pebble. But upon this Petra, this massive stone, of your confession of who I am. I'll build My church on that. I'll build My church on that. I'll build My people on that. So they drank from the same-- they drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from that spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ.
But now they have this incredible liberty. They have a newfound freedom. They're not slaves in Egypt. What are they going to do with this liberty? But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. As I mentioned, only two of the 2 million or so survived-- Joshua and Caleb.
Why did they survive? Faith. They applied the promises of God to their lives and they mixed the promises with faith. And the test of that faith took place in Numbers 13. When Moses sent 12 emissaries to spy out the land, and they spied it out, they looked at it, they came back and they brought a report. And the 12 spies told the children of Israel what they found in the new land that God had given to them.
And this is what they said. Now, they brought back-- these two guys brought this huge pile of grapes that was so large it took two men to carry them between their shoulders. That was the fruit of the land as evidence of the blessing of God. And so they brought the fruit out. And the 10 spies said, well, as you can see the land is indeed good and abundant that the Lord has given us.
But the cities are huge and fortified and the people are pretty tall. The sons of Anak are there and they are enormous. And we are grasshoppers in their sight. Joshua and Caleb came forward and said, nah. Let us go in at once and take that land for we are well able to take it. And the 10 dissenters said, no, we can't take it. They're huge. They're giants. Joshua and Caleb said, they're bred for us. They're food for us, easy pickings, big targets, easy to hit, can't miss them. Let's go for it.
But the people of Israel listened not to the joyful, hopeful report, but the doom and gloom and fearful report. And so, because they chose to believe that, God said, really? OK. You're going to die in the wilderness. And they wandered around for 40 years and that entire generation perished except for those two, Joshua and Caleb. Not much has changed today.
You put your ear to the ground. You read the news, you listen to the news, you look at your Twitter feed. There's basically the voices that are hopeful, and things are getting better and great. And other people saying no, it's horrible, and doom and gloom, it's just going to get worse. And you just have to decide, who are you going to listen to. And, as a believer, you should listen to the promises of God. They are sure and filled with hope.
But, with most of them, God was not well pleased. Now something about these giants that they saw, and these cities with fortified walls and towers, and all 12 of them saw the same things. It's not like Joshua and Caleb were in a restaurant drinking a diet coke when the giants walked by and only the 10 saw them. They all saw the same thing. They had the same experience. It was a shared experience.
But their reports were so different. Why? Because of the way they measured. They measured the circumstance, the situation-- the 10 did-- by the giants that they saw. The two, Joshua and Caleb, measured the situation by the giant God they couldn't see. Joshua and Caleb saw a big God. When you see a big God you see little men.
But if you have a little God, you see big men and big problems. So I've said, on many occasions, difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. Oh, this is difficult. Yeah. Looks pretty difficult for you or for me, but bring God into this situation. It's-- everything changes, game changer. They're bred for us. No problem, let's take them.
But their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things-- verse 6. Boy I'm poking along. Sorry. Now these things became our examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
In the book of Numbers, that says they came to a place and they had intense cravings-- intense cravings for leeks and garlic and onions and meat. The flesh pots, they're called in the Old Testament or in the King James, called the meat-- the flesh pots of Egypt. The pots that were served up with just enormous portions of meat. They missed all that.
Now God was giving them, I believe, all the protein, all the vitamins, all the minerals, all the nutrients, in the manna. But it says-- they said, our soul loathes this bread from heaven. Now you and I would love to see manna, would we not? I'd love to go out and see manna but, I suppose, if you're seeing manna every day for 40 years it might get a little bit old. But if that's your only choice, you're pretty stoked to have a manna burger.
But they lusted, or they craved, and we shouldn't do that. Verse 7, 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. Now he's introducing something that he's already introduced, and that is idolatry.
OK. So when the Corinthians ask, is it OK for us to eat meat that has been sacrificed to an idol, it's because Corinth was filled with worship systems and temples of gods and goddesses everywhere. All of social life was involved in the religious affairs of the Greek gods. So if there was a political rally, if there was a business meeting, if there was any kind of social function, it always involved some sort of sacrifice of a pagan god or goddess.
It was part and parcel of the life of Corinth. And some of the believers are struggling with can I eat meat from those places, or what about people who see me eating that kind of stuff. So the idea of idolatry is being introduced from the children of Israel into this situation. But we shouldn't become idolaters. As some of them-- as it is written-- the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
So what did they do with their liberty? They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Now when they rose up to play, it's not-- they rose up to play a game of golf or chess or checkers. They rose up to play and party, sensually, and that was when Moses was up on that mountain receiving the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, from the Lord.
And he came down and he heard them partying, and God said, get down quickly. These people have already turned aside. So he gets-- Moses comes down with the Ten Commandments. You know how it goes. And there's Aaron, and when Moses was up there they said, you know Moses has been up there a long time. We don't know what's become of that guy. And they said to Aaron, we want some visible representation of God.
So Aaron took an offering, got all their jewelry, their gold, and threw it into a fire. And then he made a golden calf. But he told Moses-- here's the excuse he said to Moses. He goes, yeah, Mo, it was really weird. I took their gold and I chucked it into the fire, and out came this calf. Must have been a really powerful fire. It had an automatic idol maker inside of it, because out popped this false idol that they worshipped-- just a lame excuse.
It was Billy Sunday, the evangelist, who said, an excuse is just the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. And that's what happened with them in the wilderness and Aaron telling Moses. It was the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. The people sat down to eat and drink and they rose up to play. So they were eating food sacrificed to an idol. You get the connection, the idol of the golden calf and the wilderness.
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day 23,000 fell. Now we're-- he is picking out different portions of the wilderness wanderings and showing that the children of Israel, who had liberty, squandered their liberty. So in Numbers chapter 25--23, 24, 25-- you know that area. That's when Balak, the son of Zippor, called for Balaam to come and curse the children of Israel.
So Balaam comes from Mesopotamia, comes to a place called Baal-Peor, looks over the encampments of Israel, the tents of Israel, and sees God's people and begins to bless them and basically say, these are God's people. God's blessed them. They're awesome. Look at that. Check it out. And Balak just gets torqued. And he says, I called you here to curse the children of Israel and you're blessing them. He said, how can I curse what God has blessed?
And so this happened a few times. Balak said, well, go over on this ridge and curse him over there. And he goes over to that ridge, blesses them over there. Well, that didn't work. Go over to that ridge and curse him over there. He goes over there, blesses him again. So when Balak is at his limit, and so upset with Balaam-- and go home, get out of here, you're not worth anything.
Balaam said, well, I can't curse the ones God has blessed. But you could do something, Balak. You could have the Moabite women, your women, go into the camp of Israel where the Israelite men are. The soldiers, the front line of a possible battle, go into their-- the men, get those women who are idle worshippers, and introduce them to your worship system.
Now their worship system is, they would come on to a guy and offer sexual favors. That's how the gods of the Canaanites and goddesses were worshipped. They would often engage in a procreative act. They would bring out their little idol. They would say a prayer to it. And so what Balaam was saying was, look. If you tempt them sensually, sexually, and then bring in the idolatrous thing, you don't have to have me curse them. God himself will curse them.
You'll bring a curse. They'll bring a curse on themselves if you introduce that kind of idolatry. So that was the idea behind what Balaam did to the children of Israel. So that is exactly what happened. And when that happened, on that day, they started dropping like flies. It says 23,000 fell in one day. Now some of you who know your Bibles go, no, wait a minute, Skip. I've actually read Numbers 25 and it doesn't say that. It says 24,000 fell.
And so, what you have is, you have people who go, see-- there's a discrepancy in the Bible. There's so many discrepancies in the Bible. There's always contradiction. They love this stuff. But every time they do that, they're digging a hole for themselves when they try to do that. Because here's the argument.
First of all, Paul the apostle, a Jewish rabbi, knew the text of scripture. That's plain and simple. Do you think he was, like, an idiot? Oh, I forgot to add that. I hadn't read it recently so, you know, I'm just rounding up the number. He said, here, listen. 23,000 fell in one day. You don't have to be brilliant to figure this out.
24,000 died in the entire plague, on one day alone. 23,000 and a total of another 1,000-- 24,000 died. But Paul's point is 23,000 died. This judgment was swift and it happened in one day. Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents. Now that is yet a different story. That's Numbers chapter 21. The people were complaining. Bring us water, bring us food. Our soul hates this horrible, junky manna.
I'm tired of bamanna bread and manicotti. And I'm tired of it. I'm done. And so the Lord allowed serpents to crawl through the encampment of Israel, bite people, and they died from these serpents as a judgment upon their attitude. But you know the rest of the story.
Moses cried out to God. God said, you know, Mo. You can cure this plague if you take a serpent, a brass serpent, make one out of brass really quickly. Just shape one. You just get a piece of brass, shape it, a serpent. Tack it up on this pole, lift up the pole, and tell people, look at the brass serpent. Anybody who looks at that serpent will be healed. Just look at the serpent, you'll be healed.
So Moses did it, put it up. Hey, you guys. Look. All the people looked, and they were healed. But I'm sure there were people on the other side of the encampment of Israel. I mean, it's a mile and a half away. The whole gamut of that many people thought, I'm not going to walk-- or a half a mile away. I'm not going to walk a half mile across the camp to, somebody said, look at a brass serpent, and I'm going to be healed. That's the stupidest, non-scientific thing I've ever heard.
The science says only medicine will cure you. Moses said, look at a brass serpent. He's denying the science. It was unscientific, it was illogical, but it worked. So whoever looked by faith was healed. Now the corollary is what Jesus said to Nicodemus. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man will be lifted up that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. You tell people, believe in Jesus.
All you have to do is trust in Jesus and he will give you salvation from your sin. Your past is washed away. He will not hold it against you. He'll promise peace and meaning in the present and eternal glory in the future. All you got to do is look to Jesus. Look at Jesus. Christ crucified-- look to him, the look of faith. Trust in him. Oh, that's so unscientific and illogical. But it works.
Ask anybody who's done it, whose life has been transformed. Check it out. It really works. Nor let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted and were destroyed by serpents. Nor murmur, verse 10, as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happen to them as examples. And they were written for our admonition on whom the end of the ages have come.
Just a word about verse 10. Nor murmur. You know, murmuring complaining is an easy thing to get into the habit of doing. It's a bad habit. And some people are really good at it. Some people have perfected the art of complaining. I mean, they see a negative in everything. And they complain, and they're bitter, and they're bummed and they murmur, murmur, murmur.
Next time you feel tempted to complain about something, fellow American, just remember your garbage disposal eats better than 30% of the people that live on this planet. Nor let us murmur as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. That's why the Bible says-- and here's the solution if you're kind of given to that.
Do you know what the antidote to murmuring is? Thanksgiving. So making sure you're the kind of a person that thanks God for the tender mercies. It was C.H. Mackintosh, one of my favorite old dead guys, who said 10,000 mercies are forgotten in a single trifling moment. You know, here's the miracles of the wilderness, and the covering of the cloud, and the water from the rock, and the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna from heaven. All of it's forgotten in a single trifling moment.
And so it talks about, in Romans, that they complained, neither were they thankful. So start counting the blessings God has given you. Wow, I had breakfast today. Wow, I can drive a car today. I have friends around me. I have a roof over my head. Turn into a thankful person.
These things were written for our examples, for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stand take heed, lest he fall. Really important scripture, really great text, one of my favorite. Let him who thinks he stand take heed, lest he fall. Maybe that is a truth that simply could be stated this way. You are not as strong as you think you are.
Oh, I can handle that temptation. Oh, I can handle those people. You're not as strong as you think you are. When you are self confident as a person-- and the world would say that's a great trait. And it's good to have a confidence. But I think it's misplaced if it's all self confidence. If you are in Christ, and it's a God confidence, so it's-- you're confident in God working through yourself. Yes, good.
But self confidence, by itself, is a bad trait. Because self-confident people don't depend on God, or depend less and less on God. The more self confident you are, the less and less you depend upon God. That's why Paul, in 2 Corinthians, will say, God showed me that His strength was perfected in my weakness. The thorn in the flesh, 2 Corinthians 12. So I'm going to boast in my weakness because when I'm weak then I'm strong. I'm not self confident. I'm confident in him. But I know my own weaknesses and my limitations.
So really great text of scripture and Proverbs 16 that I think this is based on. You know it well. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. Think of examples in the Bible of those who were self confident. Peter. When Jesus said, Peter, you're going to deny me.
Oh, Lord. I'd never deny you. I'll go to death with you. The other flaky disciples of yours, they might deny you. But I'm Peter, the rock, remember? I'm good. Self confidence. The church at Laodicea. Self confident, in Revelation 2 and 3, the seven letters to the seven churches. They said, we are wealthy. We have need of nothing. That's self confidence. Jesus said, actually, you are wretched, miserable, naked, and blind.
So your evaluation of yourself is very different than my evaluation of you. So, therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. And we'll-- here. I'm ready to go through the whole chapter and then some, but, yeah. Probably just end here. No temptation has overtaken you. But such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it.
The caveat is this. God gives you a way to escape the temptation. You and I, we need to look for the way, and take it, and hightail it there as quickly as possible. The temptations are going to come. We were taught to pray, lead us not into temptation. The Lord will never personally, himself, lead us into a temptible place. But he does allow Satan, he allows us to be in the world, controlled by Satan. And so we do get tempted. But no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.
And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. So the children of Israel, this is their history. This is their background. And we'll take that example next week. And, using that example, springboard into the whole liberty thing and tie up some loose ends. If I only had two hours to go through the text it would be better, but I don't.
But let me say this. When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, and there was the miracle of the Red Sea, the miracle of the manna and the water and all those provisions, they were off to a great start. But a good start doesn't guarantee a great finish. They started well. They finished poorly.
And so, often, we talk about finishing well. And I had a dear brother in our fellowship who said, I'm praying for you, Skip, that you finish well. Thank you. Pray for that. I want to finish my course well. That's what Paul said. In Acts chapter 20 he was on his way to Jerusalem and he said, I know. The Holy Spirit has told me that things are going to happen to me in Jerusalem, and I'm going to get beat up and arrested.
None of these things move me. Nor do I count my life dear unto myself that I might finish my race with joy, and the ministry that I have been given of the Lord. Jesus said, My food is to do the will of him that sent Me in to finish his work. So let's all be about-- we've been delivered. God has given us glorious freedom, glorious liberty, in Christ.
Let's not squander the liberty. Let's not abuse the liberty like Israel did. And again, I said last week, we're going to tie it all together next week for how chapter 8, 9, and 10 should be taken as a whole under this theme of Christian liberty. But, let's pray. Let's pray together.
Father, thank You for the opportunity to gather tonight. Thank You for those who have joined us, Lord, who are special guests, who have traveled from afar. Some just getting off an airplane, or off of a snowboard, mountain, or from another part of the world. But Father, part of Your church, Your body, expressions of the kingdom of God around the world.
And Lord-- thank You, Father, for the peace that we experience as we gather. Thank You for the instruction we have received from Your word. And again we thank You, Lord, for the technology to be able to get it out so that people around the globe can be touched and grow in their faith. Thank You for using us and using this fellowship like the church at Thessalonica, whose testimony of faith echoed around the world.
So Paul said, we don't have to say anything. You've already done it and said it all. Father, we pray that You will strengthen us for what we are going to face when we leave tonight and go to our homes, our situations where we're going to face tomorrow, what news is going to break upon us, what we are going to hear. We pray that as our day is, so shall our strength be.
Father, also we pray for those who may not know You. All of these truths we are talking about in scripture are predicated upon the basic truth that there is a God in Heaven who wants a relationship with humanity. And had that relationship, revealed that relationship, for thousands of years in different ways to the Jewish forefathers in the Old Testament, to those in the New Testament, and throughout history. We are partakers. We are parts of that.
Lord, I think about those who may be here tonight, or be tuning in and watching on YouTube or Facebook, or tuning in to the radio, or watching on their phone or their computer. And they have yet to have that look of faith just like when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and people were told to look at it, and they were healed of that loathsome plight of serpents.
The serpent, the devil, wants to destroy and kill spiritual life. And, likewise, as Jesus said, the Son of Man was lifted up on a cross. That whoever looks to Him in faith would not perish, but have everlasting life. And there could be that some are here who have not done that, personally. I pray they would. Or maybe, at one time, had an experience from their past, but they're not walking in obedience to it today.
Bring them to You, Lord. Bring them home tonight. If you're listening by any other technological device, radio, YouTube, computer, television, there will be instructions for you to do something, if you want to make a decision to follow Christ. If you're here in the house tonight with us, and the Lord has prompted that upon your own heart. He's poking at your heart-- prodding and saying, now is the time for you to let go of your life and surrender to Me.
Now is the time for you to look to Jesus in faith and be healed. Trust that His work on the cross was enough to forgive you of your past, and to give you a future. If you are willing to surrender to Him, if you've never personally done that, or if you had some experience in the past but you've turned away from Him, walked away from Him, and you haven't been walking in obedience and you need to come home to Him.
If that describes you I want you to raise your hand up. Our heads are bowed but I want you to raise your hand up in this auditorium, right where you're seated. Raise it up high and just hold it up for a second so I can acknowledge your hand, and I'll pray for you. Raise it up high. You're saying, Skip, pray for me. God bless you, ma'am. Yes. Thank you for that honest decision.
Anybody else? Raise that hand up. Who else? Lord's been dealing with you, speaking to you. Do it now. Do it now. If you are online I want you to text the word saved, S-A-V-E-D, to this phone number, 505-509-5433. That's 505-509-5433. Or you can simply click, Know God, right there, if you're at our website, calvarynm.church/athome.
Lord, I pray for this one that has raised her hand, pray that you'd strengthen her to follow you, to walk with you as you walk with her and fill her life with peace. Let her know she's forgiven in Jesus' name, Amen. Let's all stand to our feet as we close in this song.
I'm not-- I don't want to single you out. Maybe others would have the courage to follow you, as well. But I want you to get up from where you're standing. You raised your hand. Get up and find the nearest aisle and just come right up here to the front. I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ.
[VOCALISTS SINGING WITH MUSICIANS]
If you're in the balcony-- as somebody just mentioned that you were in the balcony-- come down the steps. Come down the steps and stand right up here in the front. You'll never regret that you did this. We're going to wait for you. If you're in the balcony come down the steps and come on all the way up to the front.
[VOCALISTS CONTINUE SINGING]
Jesus called people publicly and he said, if you confess me before man I'll confess you before my father who is in heaven. If you deny me before men I'll deny you before my father and the Holy angels. What an opportunity, with a cheering crowd like this, to say yes to Jesus. If you raised your hand, get up and come. If you didn't raise your hand but you know you should be here, get up and come. Come now. Come join God's family. Say yes to Him.
[VOCALISTS CONTINUE SINGING]
I hope you enjoy the blessing and the favor of God's people and, more than that, the favor of God on your life. I'd like you now-- I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I just want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Say this out loud. Say it from your heart.
Say, Jesus, I give You my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe You died for me on a cross, that You shed Your blood for my sin, and rose again from the dead. I turn from my past. I repent of my sin. I turn to Jesus as savior and master. It's in His name I pray. Amen. Amen.
Kevin, come over here for a minute. Oh, good. You're-- God bless you guys. See, you've already been instructed. Go over that way. Thank you, guys. Thank you for that. I'll see you in a minute. OK. So, listen. So, listen. If you notice how when you come to church a lot here that we give people an opportunity to receive Christ. You know what that means? Invite people. Invite people.
Don't be content to go to heaven alone. Invite people to your church. Invite people to the Bible study. And just come to a Bible study with me tonight. I'll pick you up at this time. I'll buy you a Krispy Kreme donut. Manna. But so many people have told me the reason they got saved is because a friend invited them to a service, invited them to church. You have the opportunity, ball's in our court.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series, expound.