B I B L E S T U D Y
O U T L I N E S
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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for the contents
of these Bible study outlines. However, every Bible study posted on this website has been
taught by Rev. Purkey. To see more Bible study outlines go to the Archives Page:
FREEDOM TO EDIFY
November 26, 2023
SCRIPTURE READING: 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:1
SCRIPTURE LESSON: 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1
KEY VERSE: All things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. (1 Corinthians 10:23b)
INTRODUCTION: This chapter closes the section dealing with meat offered to idols. Paul has cited the example of Christ (chapter 8), his own example (chapter 9), and now points to Israel’s past history. He probably had in mind the overconfident members of the church at Corinth, believers who thought they had such wisdom and knowledge that they did not have to beware of temptation or sin. He warns them in verse 12 and uses a bit of “holy sarcasm” as he calls them “wise men” in verse 15. While the believer has liberty to eat and drink, he must beware of at least three dangers.
INSIGHT: Paul uses Israel to illustrate the temptations and sins of God’s people. While Israel in the OT is different from the church in the NT (See verse 32), there are several parallels between the two.
A. Paul compares Israel’s passing through the sea and under the cloud to the believer’s experience of baptism. (See verses 1-4)
Just as Christian baptism identifies the believer with Christ, so Israel’s “baptism” identified the people with Moses. Israel was delivered from Egypt by the blood of the lamb just as Christians are delivered from the world and sin by the cross. God opened the sea to let the Israelites through, thus separating them from their slavery in Egypt; in like manner, the resurrection of Christ has separated the Christian from the world and the bondage of the flesh.
The Jews ate manna, and Christians feed on Christ, the Bread of Life, as they partake of the Word. Israel drank water supernaturally provided, and Christians drink the living water (John 4:10-14) of salvation and the refreshing water of the Spirit (John 7:37-39). Some are puzzled by “that spiritual rock that followed them” (verse 4), as though a literal rock rolled along in the wilderness with the Jews. Two explanations are possible: (1) Paul states that a spiritual rock followed them, and certainly Christ did travel with His people and met their needs; (2) the word “them” is not in the original text, so that Paul may be saying, “They drank of that spiritual rock that followed [after the manna was given].” First the bread, then the water followed.
B. Israel fell because of sin (See verses 5-10).
God was “not well pleased” with them (verse 5), which is the same Gk. word as “castaway” in 1 Corinthians 9:27. They were disapproved; they lost their lives because of sin. They lusted (Num. 11:34); they worshiped idols (Exod. 32:1-14); they committed fornication (Num. 25:1-9); they tempted God by deliberately trying His patience (Num. 21:4-9); they complained (Num. 16:41-50). What a list of sins! Yet, God had to judge their sins even though they had been wonderfully delivered from Egypt. Spiritual privileges never give us license to sin. Rather, they lay upon us the greater responsibility to obey God and glorify Him. (See in verse 8: Paul gives 23,000 slain, while Num. 25:9 says 24,000. However, Paul is recounting how many died in one day, while Moses records the total number of deaths, for obviously some died later.)
C. Israel is a warning to us today (See verses 11-13).
The people of God, whether in the OT or the NT, must never presume to sin. In verse 12, Paul warns the overconfident, and then encourages the fearful in verse 13.
A. Paul uses the Lord’s Supper to illustrate his point that while idols are not real, but Satan can use idols to lead people astray (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).
This is not superstition, for Deut. 32:17 and 21 clearly teach that demons can be worshiped through idols. Just as the believer has fellowship (communion) with Christ in partaking of the cup and loaf, and just as OT priests had fellowship with God as they feasted on the sacrifices from the altar, so an idolater has fellowship with demons in his idolatrous feast. Paul is actually describing “Satan’s communion service” here! Just as Satan has a counterfeit church and gospel, so he has a counterfeit communion service. Anthropologists may study and admire heathen worship and idols, but God says the whole system is of the devil and is actually demon worship. Wherever there are idols, there will be demons.
INSIGHT: Of course, Paul is not saying that the eating of the bread and drinking of the cup actually and literally make a person a partaker of Christ. He is not talking about union but communion, fellowship with Christ. It is inconsistent for a Christian to share the Lord’s Table one day and sit at a table of demons the next day. Christians must take care not to get involved in the devil’s religion.
B. Not everything that passes for Christianity is scriptural.
We may think we are sharing half-heartedly in a religious ceremony, when actually we are opening ourselves up to Satanic attack. The recent rise of Satanism ought to be a warning to the church.
THE DANGER OF FAILING A FELLOW CHRISTIAN. (1 Corinthians 10:23-33)
A. As Paul closes his discussion, he now repeats the principle laid down in 1 Corinthians chapter 8.
We are to do nothing that would weaken our brother’s or sister’s conscience or cause them to stumble. Yes, Christians are free and all things are lawful; but not everything builds up (edifies). We dare not use privileges to tear down the work of the Lord. Pail closes with several very practical guidelines:
B. Live to please others (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).
INSIGHT: This is a summary of Paul’s teaching in chapter 9.
B. Don’t be overly “fussy” (1 Corinthians 10:25-27).
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. (1 Corinthians 10:25-27)
The Christian who goes around asking questions about foods will be a poor testimony to the lost and of no help to the saved. Buy your meat in the meat market (“shambles”) without asking questions. All food comes from God and is good for us, and Satan cannot hurt us with meat (1 Corinthians 8:8). When invited to a feast in an unsaved friend’s house, ask no questions. However, if another Christian there tells you the meat came from a heathen altar, and if that Christian is bothered by it, do not eat the meat. It is better to go hungry than to cause that weaker brother to stumble.
C. Live for God’s glory, even if it means sacrifice (1 Corinthians 10:28-31).
But if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:28-31).
Paul anticipates an argument in verses 29-30. “Why should my strong conscience be judged by a brother’s weak conscience? And what damage can there be in meat for which I have given thanks?” The answer is: regardless of what we do, be it eating or drinking, we must do it for God’s glory and not just to please ourselves. Humanly speaking, it may seem wrong for a strong Christian to bow to a weaker brother, but this is what glorifies God. Making that weaker brother stumble into sin would disgrace the church and the name of Christ.
D. Live to win souls to Christ (1 Corinthians 10:32-11:1).
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:32-11:1).
There are only three groups of people in the world: the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church. God expects the church to seek to win Jews and Gentiles to the Lord. If a Christian lives to win souls, these questions about conduct will take care of themselves. It is the idle Christian, the carnal Christian, who frets over how far he can get involved with the world. When believers live to build the church and win the lost, they put first things first and glorify the name of Christ.
LIVING TO PLEASE GOD
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” (Colossians 3:12)
First, once you have accepted Christ as your Savior, set your mind (affection) on things above!” (Colossians 3:1). In other words, let your earthly practice be worthy of your heavenly position. Once you were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3), but now you are dead to sin. Christ is in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), and someday soon that glory will be revealed (Colossians 3:4). In brief, Paul says, “Live up to what Christ has done for you!” This simple principle of Christian living is more powerful than all the rules and regulations men can devise. “You are made full in Him” (Colossians 2:10); now live out that fullness in daily life.
Second, many other religions said little or nothing about personal holiness. A person could bring sacrifices, say prayers, and go away from the altar to commit terrible sins, and nobody would think he or she was inconsistent. Not so with Christianity! The new life within demands a new life without. Since we have died with Christ, we should put to death (“mortify,” Colossians 3:5) impure behavior (see Romans 6). “Don’t live the way you used to live,” Paul cautions, “the way the wicked crowd lives. Christ is your life, and you died with Him. Now, let His life show through you day by day.”
Third, in Colossians 3:8-11, Paul compares the new life to a change of clothes: “Put off the old sins as you would take off a filthy garment, and put on the new life of holiness.” But notice that we are able to do this because in Christ we have already put off the old man (Colossians 3:9); that is, in Christ the body of flesh (the sinful nature) has been put off, and we may now walk in newness of life.
Fourth, in Christ there are no barriers (Colossians 3:11). We are one in Him, and He is All. If Christ is preeminent in our lives, then we will be able to get along with others for His glory. If there are differences, the peace of God will rule in our hearts as we feed on the Word and worship Christ. Christian fellowship in the local church cannot be legislated by a constitution, although constitutions are useful; true fellowship must come from within, from the hearts of the believers. If a believer is out of fellowship with another believer, it is because one or both of them have gotten out of fellowship with God. “Do all in the name of Christ!
Fifth, what blessings would come to our homes if each member of the family said, “I will live each day to please Christ and make Him preeminent in all things.” There would be less selfishness and more love; less impatience and more tenderness; less wasting of money on foolish things and more living for the things that matter most. – From the Ink Free News (www.inkfreenews.com), February 20, 2022.
CONCLUSION: If you insist on using your rights, you may cause a weaker believer to stumble; and you may also bring trouble on yourself. When you face difficult decisions, take these elements into consideration.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Whatever you do, always seek to glorify the Lord!”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.
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