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HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS,

and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1 Corinthians 10 (Part 9) TEMPTATION (Sexual Immorality)

1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Our Journey

(part 9)
 

TEMPTATION
(Sexual Immorality)


 

Getting back to our Study after my brief side-track off looking into the Eternal Priesthood.

Last time we looked at the “golden calf” incident in the wilderness, and how we even today have erected our own golden calves in the church. Here we continue with Paul’s warnings to us, using the behaviors of God’s people back then as our example of what not to do. We deal with Temptations, both that we face, and as well now we tempt God by taking His mercy and grace for granted.

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.” - 1Cor 10:8-10 NKJV

As followers of Jesus Christ, we do well to realize that these warnings are written to us, not the “unbelievers” in the world. Of a truth, ALL the warnings, as well as all the promises, in the NT are to those who claim the Name of Christ. None of the epistles were written to those outside the churches. So often we are quick to point fingers & condemn those in the world doing these behaviors and tell them they need Jesus, but fail to see that these same sins the Scripture warns about are rampant in the churches, and even in our own lives. Yes, this Word is for us.

We find Paul’s intended recipients of his letter extend far beyond those of one specific assembly -
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” – 1Cor 1:2 NKJV


Immorality

“We must not indulge in [nor tolerate] sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell [dead] in a single day!”
– 1Cor 10:8 AMP

Earlier in his letter, the Apostle directly states,
“Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.” – 1Cor 6:9-10 HCSB

Modern preachers often provide ‘explanations’ to show how this passage doesn’t apply to “Christians”, and often stress that those who are involved with these behaviors and lifestyles are still OK in God’s sight if they have ‘accepted Christ.’ Truthfully, this stance is a tempting of God; and we know that “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal 6:7-8)

Sadly, I believe we tempt God greatly today by tolerating and welcoming into our assemblies those involved with sexual immorality, such as homosexuality and fornication, without stressing to them that God is calling them out of that lifestyle. Sadly, and I’ve seen this, even adultery is quickly forgiven or covered up in the churches.

Paul clearly warns us, again in 1Corinthians -
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” – 1Cor 6:18 NKJV

If the pastor or priest fails to teach Repentance (an actual turning away from sin) along with the speaking as the oracle of God concerning the Kingdom and Righteousness, then he is doing his congregation a grave injustice. A message of Salvation and Forgiveness and ‘come as you are' can get one started and set their feet on the Path, but from there it needs to be a discipleship of training in holiness and a walk worthy so that we do not ‘stay as we are’ and be found wanting in that Day.

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” – Eph 5:3-7 NKJV

A false idea of a state of ‘eternal forgiveness’ in modern preaching has caused much of the church to stop short in “striving against sin”, whereas we should be “resisting (sin) to the point of shedding our blood.” (Heb 12:4). Too often we are told that ‘God doesn’t see our sin’ or ‘He knows we are sinners that cannot help but sin, and that is why He sent Jesus’, so we can just relax because if we’ve ‘accepted Christ’ we will not be judged, but only rewarded, in that Day.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They make you worthless;
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They continually say to those who despise Me,
‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace” ’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘No evil shall come upon you.’ ”

18 For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it?

21 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.””

- Jer 23:16-18, 21-22 NKJV

Recently did a video teaching based in part on this passage from Jeremiah - https://youtu.be/f_hmPGFgsNM 


Friends, let us not be “deceived.” For truly our behavior has profound impact on our walk and will affect the destiny that lies before us.
 


Let’s look at the incident to which the Apostle is referring in 1Cor 10:8; and we find it in the book of Numbers -
“Now Israel remained in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the Lord, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor.”

(This “joined” צָמַד tsâmad; is a primitive root; meaning to link, i.e. gird; figuratively, to serve, (mentally) contrive. (Strong’s H6775)
To combine, fit together, hitch up. In the KJV - fasten, frame, join (self).)


And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.
10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’” - Num 25:1-13 NKJV

This incident followed Balak’s (the king of Moab) attempt to curse Israel through Balaam the soothsayer. Balaam, who could invoke the Living God and commune with Him, was only able to bless the people of God when he opened his mouth (Num 23:11-12,25-26). Unable to curse them outright, he instead gave counsel to entice the Israelite’s to commit sexual immorality with harlots (Rev 2:14, Num 31:16). In doing so, the Israelite’s disobedience to God’s commands brought curses upon them. Balaam couldn’t curse Israel, so by deception he got God Himself to curse them.

It is truly interesting that Balaam, who was not an Israelite, could commune directly with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and was able only to speak His Word when he opened his mouth concerning Israel.

“Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!”
12 So he answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?”
– Num 23:11-12

“Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?”
– Num 23:26

A lesson in this for us “Christians” is that knowledge of God and even personal interaction with Him is not enough to keep one from falling. Balaam, one who had such a relationship with the One True God was still more concerned with his own comfort and worldly wealth; and he was slain along with the enemies of God’s people when the LORD commanded Moses to “take vengeance on the Midianites.” (Num 31:1-8)

We are warned in Scripture not to fall into the “error of Balaam”, “who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (Jude 1:11, 2Pet 2:15)

This prophet knew God’s desire for His people Israel: that He wanted to bless them, not curse them. Yet Balaam tried to work the moves to do both God’s will and his own. So even as he blessed them with his mouth, he was plotting his own personal gain at their expense at the same time. Paul writes of some in the First Century who acted likewise -"Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition...” – Phil 1:15-16 NKJV

What is our motive? To see God’s will fulfilled and people truly set free from their sin, or use religion for our own gain and popularity by delivering an “ear tickling” message that in reality only gives those sitting in the pews a false sense of security?

 

The Prophet Micah wrote concerning Israel and Jerusalem, but I believe it applies to the building of the churches today, saying they “build them with wrong.”

“Its rulers give judgment for a bribe,
    its priests teach for a price,
    its prophets give oracles for money;
yet they lean upon the Lord and say,
    “Surely the Lord is with us!
    No harm shall come upon us.”

- Micah 3:11 NRSV

Rather than warning their congregants of the requirements of God, they tell them what most folk want to hear… that even if they are not really diligent (not wanting to appear a fanatic); even though they haven’t really repented (not really wanting to be free from ALL their faults and sinful lifestyles); even if they haven’t really obeyed God’s commands given through Christ (because that would be “works), they will still hear “well done” in that Day because they have ‘accepted Christ and what He did for them’, they have ‘confessed His Name.’

But what did Jesus, Himself, say about such, especially those of influence in the assemblies –

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” – Matt 7:21-23 NKJV

Balaam practiced lawlessness, and he caused others to do so as well. Jesus taught that those who cause others to sin “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Luke 17:2)

As we see, it was by one who practiced righteousness that the plague was stopped.

 They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor,
And ate sacrifices made to the dead.
29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
And the plague was stopped.
31 And that was accounted to him for righteousness
To all generations forevermore.”

- Psalm 106:28-31 NKJV

Just as Abraham offered up his son proving he believed God by his works (James 2:21-24), Phinehas received that same righteousness by his actions. And as followers of Christ we have been called to do likewise.

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
– 1John 3:7 NKJV

“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
– Rom 2:13 NIV

Are we teaching this to converts? If we tell only of the promises of God, yet fail to tell of the requirements, are we really doing the Gospel justice? So many today shun speaking against especially sexual sins, esteeming public opinion and political correctness above the righteousness of God. Truly this will have eternal consequences -

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.”

- Dan 12:2-3 NKJV

Again, writing to us who have been “saved” and “forgiven”, Paul stresses -

“We must not be guilty of sexual immorality, as some of them were—
and in one day twenty-three thousand of them fell dead.”
– 1Cor 10:8 GNT


There are many lessons we can learn even from this one episode in Israel’s journey. From the folly of Balaam to the righteous action of Phinehas. From the disobedience of Israel to God’s wrath and then His mercy.

God had warned His people to make no compromise with the immorality practiced by the nations around them.

“You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” - Deut 7:2b-6 NKJV

We too have been called as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” (1Pet 2:9). And just as God charged Israel to abstain from sexual immorality, Paul warns us not to fall into it’s snare as well.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit..” – 1Thess 4:3-8 NKJV

And while some religious denominations, perhaps believing they are doing good by getting folks to ‘accept Christ’, have compromised God’s Word in dealing with those who engage in fornication, homosexuality, and even adultery, the Truth is that such “will not inherit the Kingdom.” And this is speaking directly to those who have been “saved.”

“Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” – Eph 5:3

Many will debate on this, but God is unchanging and His Word stands; being “saved” is an opportunity not an end. To receive the inheritance requires repentance, obedience and a walk worthy of God. This is the Apostles main teaching in his epistles to the churches. Yes, Paul taught well the grace and mercy of God through Christ Jesus, but he also never made provision for sin in the “believer.” And we know that our “faith” is only proven by our behavior, our works.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Gal 5:19-21 NIV

We may call ourselves “Christian”, but if such behaviors are active in our lives, then obviously the “old” has not “gone”, and the “new” cannot take it’s place; not until we “put to death the deeds of the flesh” and truly “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.”

The following passage tells us what should be evident in our lives if we are truly have faith and are following the Lord -
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Gal 5:22-26 NKJV

Amen. May we learn from this example in 1Cor 10:8 of our forefathers in the wilderness, and tell ourselves when we face compromising situations, even as Jesus declared to the devil in His time of testing,

“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” – Matt 4:7 (Deut 6:16)

God has given us marriage, between one man & one woman, in which we are to enjoy intimate relations. This is His Way. Man has perverted it, but blessing can only come when done as God desires.





“Marriage must be held in honor by all, and the marriage bed be undefiled, because God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers.” – Heb 13:4 LEB

Let us not tempt God, or take Him mercy for granted, by allowing ourselves to indulge in that which will prevent us from inheriting the Kingdom.


And, not to damper our spirits – for truly this is a wonderful Truth of the Gospel, that sin and sinners will be removed from the Kingdom - but Paul continues with his warnings to us in his letter, as we look at next at further examples of conduct that our heavenly Father wants us to be set free from. Will we allow Him to perfect us?


NextTemptation continued (Putting Christ to the Test)

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