Happened for Ensamples

By Ray Foster

 

Scripture: 1 Cor. 10:11

1 Cor. 10:11 has long been a favorite text of mine. The next verse tells us why these type of example stories recorded in Scripture are written.

V12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

Then the next verse is one of the great promises of the Word of God.

V13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]."

There is a tremendous passage from the Spirit of Prophecy that fits in right here. It is found in 1 SM 346:

"Through belief in Satan's misrepresentation of God, man's character and destiny were changed, but if men will believe in the Word of God, they will be transformed in mind and character, and fitted for eternal life. To believe that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), will change the heart, and reproduce in man the image of God." {1SM 346.1}

Could we not equally say that to believe " There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]." Will change the heart and give us victory over every sin!

The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. It order for us to have that quickness and power and sharpness in our lives, we need to believe the word. What we believe will transform our mind and character. Be careful, very careful what you believe. What you believe changes you.

The next verse: 1 Cor.10:14 gives the conclusion or the response that we should have from this great promise of never being tempted above that we are able by God's grace to withstand:

" Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry."

In order to appreciate these five precious texts of Scripture, we need to go back and look at the context of these five verses in 1 Corinthians 10. Let's go back to the previous chapter, 1 Corinthinas chapter 9 and start with verse 24.

1 Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Sports was a big thing in Paul's day. He is no doubt referring to the Olympic foot race of his day. God is using Paul to point out that all run in the face, but only one receives the prize. Then we are urged to run so that we can obtain the gold medal.

V25 " And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

Then in verse 26 Paul says that he is running with certainty and he fights the good fight of faith with well directed efforts within the context of reality.

Verse 27 God tells us through Paul the role of the body in the race of life:

" But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. "

Then Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians chapter 10

V1 That all our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea.

V2 All our fathers were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

V3 All ate the same spiritual meat.

V4 All drank the same spiritual drink - from the Rock, which is Christ.

Then the picture changes.

V5 But many were overthrown in the wilderness.

V6 These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

What does the word "also" in verse 6 tell us? It tells me that I lust after evil things! We have the example of what lusting after evil things did to them. It caused them to fall in the wilderness. In spite of the fact that they were under the cloud and passed through the sea; in spite of their baptism in the cloud and in the sea; in spite of the spiritual meat and spiritual drink they are and drank - they fell. They fell because they were not satisfied with the cloud, the miracles, the heavenly food and drink - but lusted after evil things. They fell and died on the way to the promised land. Beloved, we are also on the way to the promised land. We have the divine illumination at each step of our way in the Spirit of Prophecy and in Scripture. We have been baptized. We have been feed week by week with spiritual meat and drink in this church. Are we satisfied with the food and drink and the Divine life of Jesus - or are we lusting after evil things? I am not a prophet. I am not the son of a prophet. But I can tell you on the authority of the Word of God, that if you are lusting after evil things, you are going to fall in spite of everything else.

We are changed by what we look at and by what we believe and the two are related. Beloved, let us not look at the vile and evil, it will cause us to fall. Let us keep Jesus ever before us. Keeping Jesus ever before us will change us into His character likeness. Keeping Jesus ever before us will cause us to believe in Him. Believing in Jesus will change our hearts and lives into His character likeness.

The next four verses list four things that we are warned of that go along with lusting after evil things:

V7 idolatry associated with eating, drinking, and rising up to play

V8 fornication

V9 tempting Christ which results in being destroyed by serpents

V10 murmuring.

This is the context for the statement, that all these things happened to them for ensamples and are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. He that thinks he is standing, take heed lest he fall. Then the powerful promise, that no temptation comes to us, but what it is a common one, and that will not be above what we can withstand by God's grace.

That is the summary of the context to these most precious verses in 1 Corinthians 10. Now let us go back and look again at What God is telling us in His word. God uses the sports our world is and was crazy about to motivate us to have the same fanatic zeal and all consuming interest in the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 9:24 - 27 Paul uses the sports model to illustrate the Christian race for the greatest of all crowns - character-likeness to Jesus. There are four things that are told us in this connection:

V 24 We are admonished: "So run that ye may obtain."

I spent almost a year in the best known sports medicine orthopedic medical practice in Los Angeles. I heard people talking about the Rams. Who are the Rams I thought to myself. When I saw the Rams come into the office - I said to myself, "I don't know who these fellows are - but they are built like they should be football players". I took many histories from patients who came to that office. Young people told of practicing piano 10 hours a day 7 days a week for years. Slender young girls told of practicing dancing 8 to 10 hours a day 6 days a week for years. I thought to myself - what am I doing as a Christian in comparison to what these young people are doing to achieve their goals in life? We Christians seem to be drop-outs compared to these dedicated elite sports people. But this is not true of all Christians.

 Illustration:

Foremost amongst those heavenly heroes See WILLIAM CAREY, the one-time cobbler of Northampton; then the poor Baptist preacher, who once listened to his fellow-labourer, Andrew Fuller, with a happy heart but a hungry stomach, not having a penny wherewith to buy a meal; then, later, the famous father of the Modern Missionary Movement. Look well at "this mighty man of valour," who led the great invasion force to establish "A Second Front" for Jesus Christ in a well- nigh impregnable heathen world; and this in the face of William Pitt's words, that "The greatest disaster that could happen would be to disturb and introduce new elements in India." Prime Minister William Pitt looked at the strong heathen world and the political problems of such an invasion and said "It can't be done." The Established Church 1ooked..at the tremendous task, then at the little interest of the home people, and listlessly repeated: "It can't be done."

There were many Free Churchmen and Baptists who looked at the barricades of Satanic blackness, and, feeling it could not be done, echoed John Ryland's hasty retort to William Carey's courage and hope, by saying, "Sit down, young man. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine." But William Carey would not "sit down," and no human discouragement could put him down. He looked at the grim battle-front of the heathen world; he saw the baricades and battlements of Satanic darkness; :but:he also looked up and saw Almighty God; and, in spite of cutting criticism within the Church :amid bitter abuse without, he volunteered for the great venture, crying: "See what the Moravians are doing,.... cannot we Baptists at least attempt something in fealty to the same Lord?" Then he gave his battle cry -- "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God" -- and moved out, with one other noble soul beside him -- Naval-Surgeon Thomas -- and stormed the ramparts. No wonder General Seeley (Lord Mottistone), himself a hero of the First World War, declared: "Carey had the zeal of a Crusader with the valour of a Viking."

There are at least 2 areas that effort is required from us to be true soldiers of the cross. The first is in the daily quiet time with the Lord. It takes time to resist the flow of the urgent and take time for the most important - sitting at the feet of Jesus on a daily basis.

Second, God has given each of us a work to do for Him. We need to be about our Father's business. It takes effort and perseverance to do the work that God has for us. We are not a soldier of the cross unless we are doing our appointed work. And God has given each their work to do.

V 25 we are told that all who strive for the mastery are temperate in all things. What God means with temperance is explained in the next two verses.

V26 talks about running with certainty and fighting with intelligence and focused purpose which is not like boxing the air or boxing a punching ball for exercise only.

V27 explains that temperance means having your body under subjection or discipline. Your mind; your will - rather God's will is ruling your body. Most people's body run them - that is why there is so much dissatisfaction and boredom and frustration in our society. It is impossible to please self. If you live to please and serve God - you will be the most happy and contented and pleased person. This can only be done in connection to discipline of the body. We will talk more on that subject this afternoon. You will not want to miss that meeting.

Illustration.

I heard this story many years ago. I searched the web but could not find it there. I have ordered a few CDs of sermon illustrations and either will or will not find it there - but anyway as best I remember the story this is it.

A young man in the United States had an extremely important mission to fulfill in Europe. The mission was so important that he was the only one that could go and fulfill that particular mission. What made the mission hazardous was that is was during war time. Sea travel was the only way in those days to get from the US to Europe and there were lots of ships being torpedoed. This made ship travel very dangerous. The man decided that he had to go at all costs. However, it appeared prudent and necessary to him to prepare for the possible eventuality of the ship that he was on of being torpedoed. What to do to prepare for that possibility. Well, as he studied the subject, he learned that most people died in the water because of cold. So he decided that he had to condition his body to withstand cold water. This seemed to be the best way to prepare for this possibility. So he sat in his cold bath water in his hotel in New York as long as he could stand it. The next day, he could stand the frigid winter temperature cold water a few minutes longer. After many months of cold water conditioning, he had built up his tolerance to cold water to about 3 to 5 days of continuous cold water and decided that was long enough to be picked up by a passing ship. So he booked passage on a ship going to Europe. The ship was torpedoed and he did survive and was picked up by a passing ship and he accomplished his mission.

Am I willing to sit in a bathtub of freezing water for days on end to be prepared for the crossing from this earth to heaven? We are told what it takes to make that space travel journey from earth to heaven. It takes a character like Jesus. Jesus credits His character to us day one. The credit only lasts one day. We have to renew the credit each day. In addition to renewing the credit, we need to keep Him in sight all through the day. It is not enough to make the space travel to have the character credited if we have the opportunity to make it a part of ourselves. There is the provision of a thousand years for those who have been credited with the character, and have not had the opportunity to be changed by beholding Jesus. Within the thousand years, all will fully reveal the character of Jesus because a thousand years of continually beholding Him is long enough to be perfectly like Him in character. You and I don't have a thousand years, so God is going to turn up the heat so that our change will happen more rapidly. So that is the reason for the trials and troubles we experience day by day. That is hastening our character change if we let it.

In Ephesians 6:13 we are admonished: "and having done all, to stand".

In the previous verse we are told what we have to stand against:

V12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]."

 

Then we are admonished how to stand:

V13 "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"

We are transformed by what we believe. It is the truth that transforms us. Right doing is righteousness. Doing the right that Jesus would do were He is our place is how the righteousness of Christ becomes our own.

V15 "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;"

Shoes and footware illustrates possession and ownership. Faith that works by love has to be owned as a preparation of the gospel of peace.

V16 "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." It is active faith that works by love that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

 

V17 "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

The helmet of salvation is the love of the truth. The sword of the Spirit is the read or spoken word of God in Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy. In Revelation 12:11 we are told "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." Our love for God and for truth has to be greater than our love for our own physical, temporal life.

V18 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

 

Beloved, we are nearing home. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Hebrews 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."