Spiritual Complacency

What happened to Israel? How could people with spiritual experiences that 3,000 years later they are still making movies about end up as Middle Eastern road-kill?

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

Really?  What evil?  Paul lists what they did in verses we will get to.  They worshipped non-gods, idols, instead of the God who had done all this for them.  They ignored his command about sexual purity and were immoral.  They grumbled against God and complained about the manna and the water and just about everything else too.

Why are these recorded for us?  So that we can see that starting well is no guarantee of finishing well, particularly when our faith isn’t making an ethical difference in the way we live.  This is the point for the Corinthians and for us.  You are so self-assured of your standing with God because of what has happened in your past, look at the Israelites and see that your pride in your past is placing you in a precarious spiritual position.

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor. 10:12)

Is the confusing passage becoming clear?  It doesn’t matter how well we start or even amazing works of God in our story, it’s how we finish that matters.  Too often we rest on something in the past and we get complacent spiritually which makes us so susceptible to temptations and idols of the heart.  Christians fall into this all the time.  They have things they used to do or ministries they used to serve in but now there is next to nothing.  They are resting.  Coasting.  Their past makes them think they stand but will so easily fall.  Like Israel.

We are such a special people to God!  Did you know that I walked through the Red Sea on dry ground.  Me.  That’s right.  I am a Red Sea walker.  Those were the days.  Did you know that I personally witnessed the glory of God on the top of Mt. Sinai.  Yep.  Me.  What God must think of me to give me that experience.  I remember the first morning, waking up, going outside and there was this food on the ground.  Food from God laying everywhere.  Every day.  I must be so special in his eyes.  Abraham never ate manna.  I have.  Food in a desert.  Water from rocks.  Moses said hi to me once.  Did you know Moses talks to God face to face?  I’m good with God and he’s good with me.

Can you hear the Corinthian Christians?  Did you know that the Apostle Paul started our church.  We have his picture hanging in the church foyer so everyone can be impressed with the legacy of our church.  The Corinthians are famous the world over for our wisdom.  We must be the smartest Christians on the planet.  Do you realize how free we are?  We are not stuffy like other churches.  Most of us even eat idol meat!  There are some that don’t like that but we don’t care too much about them.  Trust me friend, you won’t regret joining 1 Corinthian church.  We have it all together.

The cats in the cradle.  The sons become their fathers and the fatal flaw repeats itself in Corinth and is ever present among Christians today.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

© 2009 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

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