A daily devotion for October 21st
Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
The Believer’s Freedom
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[a]
27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 11 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.1 Corinthians 10:14
There were, of course, idol temples in Corinth. On the hill behind the city was the temple of Aphrodite where male and female prostitutes plied their trade in the name of the worship of Venus, the goddess of love. Within the city itself were scattered many temples; their ruins are still visible today. These Christians had once been idol worshipers, bowing down before these images, their lives being controlled by the fear and the philosophy of the Greek and the Roman pantheons of gods.
I do not think that the apostle is concerned that they are going to go back to bowing down to an idol. What he has in mind is not bowing and scraping before an image, but succumbing to the temptation to enjoy again the atmosphere found at the idol temple. There were many fun things going on regarding idolatry that some of the Corinthians were hoping to be able to hang onto. If you had lived in Corinth in that 1st century you would have recognized that everyone regarded the temple as the most exciting place in town. There you could get the best food, served up in the open-air restaurant. There they had the wildest music and all the seductive pleasures of wine, women and song. If you wanted to enjoy yourself in Corinth, you went to the temple.
Paul is concerned lest these Corinthians, in seeking to enjoy what would be normal pleasures of life, would be tempted to go back into it to such a degree that, ultimately, they would find themselves lured back into belief in these idols and their power. Idolatry is not something you do outwardly with your body. Idolatry occurs whenever anyone or anything becomes more important to you than the living God. This is the greatest temptation we all face. When we fall back into the place where something becomes of greater importance to us and more controlling in our life than God himself, we have succumbed again to idolatry.
How easily this kind of idolatry happens to us today! You can get so wrapped up in sports, for instance, that you live for them; they take over in your life. When dancing becomes more than recreation but is something you cannot put aside, then it becomes idolatry. Skiing can do the same thing. Fishing can keep you away from your ministry. Television robs you of Bible study. Gourmet eating that demands your attention and your money is a form of idolatry. These things are not wrong in themselves, but it is easy to fall prey to them. They lure you on into more and more involvement until, before you know it, they are more important than God. That is idolatry. You have a new god before you know it, a new love and a new master.
Lord, I live in a dangerous world. I often forget it, thinking that I can go along with many of these things and I find myself beginning to be drawn away, to lose my fervor for the things of God. Help me at that moment, Lord, to flee idolatry.
Life Application: Are we giving first priority to the indwelling Life and Love of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we allowing other interests to deceive and detract from loving Him with all our heart, mind and soul?
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