Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do you discipline your body?

I wanted to revisit 1Corinthians 9 before we head in to chapter 10.  In in the first half of chapter 9 Paul is making the point the he doesn't want to become a stumbling block for anyone.  There are those that say they belong to Christ, yet things they say and do are (knowingly or unknowingly) a stumbling block for those who are either weak in their faith or have not yet believed.  Case in point: There is a man name Harold Camping that is a self proclaimed prophet of God.  He has made the prophecy that Jesus is coming back May 11, 2011.  The problem is, first, that the Word says NOBODY knows the date or time of Jesus' return.  Just as we discussed in chapter 8, if any "voice", "vision" or "prophecy" contradicts the Word of God it is not of God.  The second problem with Harold Camping's claim is that he also made the same claim in the early 90's.  Harold Camping is either knowingly or unknowingly being used by Satan, but make no mistake, he is doing the work of the devil and creating stumbling blocks for those that are weak in the faith or are not yet believers.  He is an abomination, he is attempting to trivializing the Word of God and he is leading people astray.
Is this what Paul, who calls us to imitate him, would do?
1Corinthians 9:22-23 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

THIS IS WHERE MANY MISS THE BOAT!  I know this to be true, because I was one of them.  Too many times when people first believe they put themselves on auto-pilot.  As if to say, "well, if it's going to get done, God's gotta do it, until then I just keep rollin' with what I'm doing."  Does God make the transformation?  Yes  But, are we His co-workers? YES!  Living a life of surrender to Jesus is work, don't be lazy!
1Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

DID YOU CATCH THAT?  He disciplines his body and brings it into subjection....that means he practices discipline so he can maintain self-control.  Why?  There are rewards in Heaven and he does NOT want to be disqualified!

Paul follows this up in chapter 10 by pointing out that God was NOT pleased with previous generations....why?

1Corinthians 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

Have you ever noticed that The Word of God is loaded with points of "self-evaluation".  This is one of those.  It should also bring us back to chapter 6.  Remember in chapter 6 how Paul said, "don't be deceived".  What was the deception that would overwhelm the world?  That those that continue to live this certain way will not inherit the Kingdom of God....go back to chapter 6 if you want the whole list (v 9-10).  Paul doesn't give the list again here, but he does say, WE SHOULD NOT LUST AFTER EVIL THINGS.

LUST, n.
1. Longing desire; eagerness to possess or enjoy; as the lust of gain.


Lust is not engaging in sin....it is having your heart fixed on it....an overwhelming desire for it.  And, of course, many times it leads to the actual act.
Then Paul gives us another little list of what they did and that we should not:

DO NOT...

1) Become idolaters
2)Commit sexual immorality
3) Tempt Christ
4) Complain

What are we suppose to do with all of these things that happened in previous generations as recorded in The Word:


Admonition
ADMONI'TION, n. Gentle reproof; counseling against a fault; instruction in duties; caution; direction.

WE ARE TO BE CAUTIONED! 

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

I'll finish with this.  There is no temptation that you face that is new.  There is no temptation that you face that He does not provide a way out.  There is no temptation that you face that is too much for you to bear:

1Corinthians 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.

Now look at what Paul says in the next verse:


Why did he use that word?  Of all the sin listed in 1 Corinthians so far, why did Paul zero in on idolatry?  Idolatry is putting anyone or anything and your affection for them or it ahead of God.  If you give in to the temptation to sin against Your Creator, you are making it clear that you prefer that sin over Him.  Remember what David said in Pslam 51?

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
1Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1Corinthians 10:11 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.

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