SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

A Way Of Escape?

Introduction:

In the letters of the New Testament, it is hard to find signs of a church without problems; the closest being possibly the church at Philippi (the church being perfect in its design, but made up of imperfect men). The Apostolic instructions to these churches; that become our source for church authority, were given to the Christians of the first century to help them back to the established pattern.

In the church at Corinth we find the opposite end of the spectrum from that of the church at Philippi . If there was a problem to be found in a church, you could find it here! This is probably something one would expect from a church carved out of such a pagan rock as Corinth .

When the household of Chloe came to Paul at Ephesus (1:11), and after he received the letter written to him making him aware of the problems (7:1); he wrote the first letter to the church at Corinth. This letter was written in the style of a stern father and in a disciplined tone. The letter is full of rebuke for their fleshly state of mind towards those who were ministering the Gospel to them as well as towards each other. They were guilty of preacher-itis, sectarianism, immorality, law suits against each other, and a plethora of other issues.

With this little bit of history and understanding concerning their state, we can now move to our text, which includes a special admonition which can be summarized this way: “It is not enough to get a good start, you must be faithful to the end ”.

 

Text: I Corinthians 10:1-13

Lesson:

•  All Had The Same Start.

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, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

 

It is very important in this section of comparison that Paul is making, to see the similarities being drawn-out. So, for the remainder of this lesson we are going to focus on the illustration that draws on the similarities between the children of Israel being liberated from the bondage of slavery and captivity in Egypt , and the Corinthians; who have been liberated from the bondage and slavery of sin.

In these first four verses, the focus is on the word, “ all ”; as in they all had the same start!

All the children of Israel were blessed to have a redeemer sent to them by God and approved by miraculous signs. Moses who was an Apostle of God and served in God's house (Hebrews 3:1-5), acted on behalf of the children of Israel as a deliverer, law-giver, and prophet. All the children of Israel were baptized into freedom by the crossing of the Red Sea, all of them ate manna and were blest with miraculous water in the desert, and all of them knew that a greater One than Moses would come (Exodus 13-17 ; Deuteronomy 18:15-18).

All the Christians in Corinth were blessed to have the Gospel of God's Great Redeemer preached to them. Christ Jesus was over His Own house (Hebrews 3:6 ; I Corinthians 3:11); He commissioned His Apostles to go into the world and preach the Gospel of the Great Deliverer, Law-Giver, and Prophet of Peace. All the believing Corinthians were baptized into His body and the freedom from sin He offers (I Corinthians 12:12 -13), all the Corinthians were being fed by the nourishing food and water of the word that is the Law of Christ.

This is simply to say that in this direct comparison of the children of Israel and the Corinthians, ALL had the same start respectively!

 

•  Most Not Pleasing.

1 Corinthians 10:5-6 “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”

 

Although all the children of Israel had the same start and all had been blessed to receive the promise of a rest in the land that flowed with milk and honey; most had an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12). It was this sin of unbelief that caused their corpses to fall in the wilderness and failed to enter their rest (Hebrews 3:17 -18).

Although it may seem as such, the comparison is not over yet! Even though these Corinthians had not suffered failure completely; they were however, suffering from the same unbelief as the children of Israel . Even though they have all been given the same start, if their present course is not reversed by this chastisement through the Spirit; they too shall come short of their rest.

 

•  Do Not.

1 Corinthians 10:7-10 “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." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality , as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 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.”

 

It is at this junction that the similarities begin to divide. The division does not come from the fact that they still have much in common, but from the fact that they still have the chance to do something about it.

The children of Israel committed idolatry in the face of the God that delivered them from bondage (Vs. 7 – Paul uses the story of the golden calf, Exodus 32). They committed sexual immorality after they had been given a law against such (Paul uses the story of the woman of Moab being used to induce the men of Israel into fornication, Numbers 25).

The children of Israel had tested God and Moses as they journeyed from Mount Hor and God sent fiery serpents to plague them (Numbers 21:4-9).

Finally, the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron when the spies returned with news of the giants in the land of promise and did not have faith in the God that had delivered them from the most powerful nation in the world (Numbers 14:1-10).

The Christians in Corinth had come from many different backgrounds; some of which were of the vilest sort, before becoming children of God in Christ (see: Chapter 6:9-11). At the point of writing this letter and within much of the letter, we find these Christians flirting with their past (idolatry , immorality , etc…). In addition, they were attempting to test and complain against the established authority of the Gospel of Christ.

 

•  Take Heed.

1 Corinthians 10:11-12 “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

 

It is in this admonition that these Corinthian Christians can separate themselves from this condemning comparison. Although they have much in common with the ruined and disobedient children of Israel that died in the wilderness; they can learn from them and choose a different path. They needed to understand that there is no one in more danger of falling than the one most sure of himself!

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

 

•  A Way Of Escape.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “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.”

 

This passage of scripture has been used thousands of times to teach divine or special providence in the physical lives of Christians. That just because you are a Christian you can expect special physical blessings in dire circumstances (financial assistance, cures from deathly illnesses, salvation in the face of bodily injury or attack, etc…). The problem with such teaching is that it is contrary to the scriptures and out of context from this passages message.

The New Testament is full of passages that state that the Christian can expect a life of persecution and suffering if they are doing it right (see: James 1:2-8; I Peter 4:12 -19 – for a couple). Paul also notes that the temptations they face are common to all!

In addition, if God randomly assists Christians from physical suffering or persecution, that makes Him a respecter of persons; which is also contrary to scripture (note: Acts 10:31; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25).

Finally, since the context is presented to show the Corinthian Christians how they can remove themselves from the comparison to the fallen children of Israel , the context teaches us that the way of escape offered to all the tempted is simply repentance! God has provided a way of escape from the temptations that cause us to sin, repentance through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Note the statement, “God is faithful” , as this statement is used in another passage of scripture that explains this way of escape, note:

1 John 1:5-10 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

 

In addition, we must keep in mind the purpose behind these harsh admonitions of Paul to these Christians, note:

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance . For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

A Way Of Escape!

This method of escape that God has blessed us with in the face of temptation will lead us to the greatest escape of all, our hope!

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

In this simple blend of metaphors, Paul teaches the Christians of Corinth the true value in life, “a habitation which is from above” .

 

All Christians have been given the same start. It is not enough to start well, we must finish faithful.

All Christians must avoid the lusts of the flesh that war against us and tempt us. Take heed lest we fall!

If we stumble, we must all use the way of escape that God has been faithful to supply! Repent!

We can all overcome this world and all that it has to plague us with, if we keep our sights heaven bound (Colossians 3:2). For we the children of God in Christ, and we alone have

A Way of Escape!