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The Dangers of Falling into Sin
1 Cor. 10:1-11

Introduction

The importance of the Old Testament can never be underestimated. The entire Jewish nation
perished wandering in the wilderness because they committed serious sins. They abused their new
found divine freedom and liberty so God to judged and punished them. Our lesson today is very
clear, avoid and never commit the same mistakes.

I. Israel had spiritual advantages (1 Cor. 10: 1-4).
A. Paul compares its passing through the sea and under the cloud to the believer’s
experience of baptism. Just as Christian baptism identifies the believer with Christ,
so Israel’s “baptism” identified the people with Moses.
B. Israel was delivered from Egypt by the blood of the lamb just as Christians are
delivered from the world and sin by the cross.
C. God opened the sea to let the Israelites through, thus separating them from their
slavery in Egypt; in like manner, the resurrection of Christ has separated the
Christian from the world and the bondage of the flesh.
D. The Jews ate manna, and Christians feed on Christ, the Bread of Life, as they partake
of the Word.
E. Israel drank water supernaturally provided, and Christians drink the living water
(John 4:10-14) of salvation and the refreshing water of the Spirit (John 7:37-39).
F. Some are puzzled by “that spiritual rock that followed them” (v. 4), as though a
literal rock rolled along in the wilderness with the Jews. Two explanations are
possible:
1. Paul states that a spiritual rock followed them, and certainly Christ did travel
with His people and met their needs.
2. The word “them” is not in the original text, so that Paul may be saying, “They
drank of that spiritual rock that followed [after the manna was given].” First the
bread, then the water followed. Paul wants us to know that Christ was ever
present with His people in their wilderness trek. He was there to care for His
people, to meet their need for water.

II. Israel fell because of sin (1 Cor. 10: 5-10)
A. God was “not well pleased” with them (v. 5), which is the same Gk. word as
“castaway” in 9:27. They were disapproved; they lost their lives because of sin.
B. Paralleling the fivefold blessings enjoyed by Israel in their newfound freedom from
Egypt, Paul proceeded to recount a fivefold failure experienced by Israel during this
time.
1. He began with the Israelites’ craving for the pleasures of Egypt, summarized in
their plaintive cry, “Give us flesh that we may eat” (Num. 11:4-34) God gave
them what they wanted but while the meat was still between their teeth, He
struck them with a plague. The Israelites named the cemetery for those who
were killed “Kibroth Hattaavah” (“graves of craving”; Num. 11:34). How tragic is
this description of the Israelites in the wilderness? It was not that they lacked
food to eat, for God provided for their bodily needs. They grumbled because
they found God ‘s provisions unsavory. They wanted something tastier,
something spicier. And in so doing, they came to despise God ‘s provisions and
to longingly look back to the days of their slavery, as though they were the
―good old days, simply because they then had tastier food. The unbridled
craving, the fleshly desires of the Israelites which they sought to satisfy, led to
their death in the wilderness.
2. Idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7). The Jews quickly forgot Jehovah God and ordered Aaron to
make them a golden calf, which they worshipped in the wilderness (Ex. 32).
Idolatry is a very real danger in the Christian life, too (1 Jn. 5:21).
3. Fornication (1 Cor. 10:8). The Jews committed fornication with the women of
Moab and were judged by God (Num. 25:1-9). The book of Numbers says 24,000
died in the plague (Num. 25:9), whereas 1 Corinthians 10:8 says 23,000 fell. The
solution to this seeming contradiction is to consider the actual words of
Scripture. 1 Cor. 10:8 says that 23,000 died “in one day.” The figure of 24,000 in
Num. 25:9 is the number of those that died altogether in the judgment. In 1
Corinthians 10, Paul is emphasizing the fact that God so hates the sin of
fornication that in just one day He destroyed 23,000 Israelites.
4. Tempting Christ (1 Cor. 10:9). The Jews spoke against God, doubting him and
foolishly claiming that He had brought them into the wilderness to perish (Num.
21:4-5). In a time of testing they doubted His goodness and His promises and His
good will towards them. As a result, the Lord sent fiery serpents that bit the
people so that they died (Num. 21:6). God has given great promises to the
believer. He has promised to never leave him nor forsake him and to meet all his
needs and to guide him with His eye. To doubt this because of unpleasant
circumstances of life is to tempt Christ. “The word tempt … when used with
reference to God, means to try his patience, to provoke his anger, or to act in
such a way as to see how much he will bear, and how long he will endure the
wickedness and perverseness of men. The Israelites tempted him, or tried his
patience and forbearance, by rebellion, murmuring, impatience, and
dissatisfaction with his dealings” (Barnes).
5. Murmuring (1 Cor. 10:10). Murmuring and complaining was Israel’s besetting sin
throughout their wilderness wanderings (Ex. 15:24; 16:2-9; 17:2-3; Num. 14:2,
27-30; 16:41). As a result, they were plagued and judged (Num. 14:37; 16:46-
49). It is obvious that murmuring against one’s circumstances is a very serious
matter, because when we do so we are actually murmuring against the God who
has created our circumstances and who works all things together for our good
(Rom. 8:28). Tempting Christ and murmuring always go together.

Illustration 1: Other Gods
What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals,
those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual
prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity
constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose
worship is described as “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John
2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed, the list of other gods is endless,
for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative
are legion. In the matter of life’s basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for April 17

Illustration 2:
Evil the Misuse of God-Given Freedom
Evil is the product of the misuse of God-given freedom and that the possibility that free beings might
choose evil rather than good is a necessary part of human freedom .As it is logically impossible for
God to create a free being who automatically does what is right (in this case there would be no
freedom) he has therefore introduced into the creation a freedom which is neither conditioned nor
predetermined .he has chosen to create a world in which there are free creatures because it is the
best possible way towards the kind of people God ultimately desires .God is omnipotent, omniscient
and wholly good but that it was not within God’s power to create a world containing moral good
without creating one containing the possibility of moral evil. The risk of evil is therefore a necessary
part of free existence and is incompatible with neither the power nor the love of God.
The Satan Syndrome, Nigel Wright, Zondervan, 1990, pp. 81-2

III. Israel is a warning to us today (1 Cor. 10: 10-11)
A. The Old Testament is filled with many lessons for the Christians and is used by Paul
here to show us very important lessons. What happened to Israel may also happen
to us so he reminds us that:
1. The OT was written for our learning. Rom. 15:4. All the precepts, promises,
threatening, rewards and punishments, recorded in the scriptures, are for our
information, conviction, and direction.
2. It was written for our admonition. 1 Cor. 10:11. The word admonition here
means calling attention to, i.e. (by implication) mild rebuke or warning. It was
done so that we and all others might be admonished not to confide in our own
strength. The admonition did not pertain merely to the Corinthians, but had an
equal applicability to Christians in all ages of the world.
3. It was is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16.
B. The general rule here which I also want to emphasize is for us to learn from our
mistakes and from the mistakes of others. Learn from history and don’t let history
repeat itself without correcting what was done wrong.

IV. Conclusion:
God uses Israel’s failure as a warning to the Church, so we will not commit the same
mistake. Christian, don’t take these lessons for granted but be admonished. The
question is, will you listen and obey? or are you going to do as you please?

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