Life was designed to be lived in community.

08/01/10 Going Outside the Boundaries!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, August 2, 2010 Under: Sermon

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:15-22 (HCSB)

"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" Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
Intro: In our Country today the discussion of borders and crossing the border illegally is a big topic and an expensive one at that. In the Christian world this topic of borders is just as serious for it deals with worshipping in the borders of spirituality or leaving that border and following the devils route and entering the borders of the ungodly or worldly. It is important to know if the believer continues to go outside the boundaries of fellowship and communion with God there are consequences.

“Should there be any Limitations?” How far can a Christian go in participating in the activities of the world, especially in social functions? This question is a constant problem that nags both believers and nonbelievers. Christian liberty vs. license - what a believer is free to do and what he is not free to do - is the subject of this important passage.

Scripture is warning us to
flee idolatry: The charge is given for a very real reason, most people are worshipping some god other than the Lord God Himself. The word idolatry means both the worship of false gods and the failure to have a right relationship with God. Any person who does not worship God is worshipping some idol, and almost everything upon earth can become an idol and consume the heart and passion of man:

. self
. family
. possessions
. sex
. knowledge
. business
. sports
. religion
. power

In practical terms, an idol is anything that consumes a person's mind, heart, soul, and body. An idol is that to which a person gives himself.

From this, it is readily seen that most men are idolaters, for most men are consumed by something other than God Himself. They reject the only living and true God, Jehovah, who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures.

The Corinthian church was confronted with the problem of idolatry in its very midst. Some of its members were actually attending social functions held in the banquet halls of idolatrous temples and in the homes where images of idols were prominently placed to oversee the family. Such functions included marriages, business affairs, and even day-to-day fellowship and meals in the homes of neighbors.

Were the church members right in attending these functions, or were they being loose with their Christian liberty? (Going outside the boundaries) What was to be the attitude and position of the church? Paul had already dealt with the issue at length; however, it was of such importance that it needed to be reinforced so that the issue was unmistakably answered.

The charge is forceful: flee idolatry. Turn away and run from it. Do not leisurely turn and do not just walk away, but be quick to turn and quick to run away from it.

If we are to run from idols, to whom do we run? To God, of course. This fact stresses a crucial point. The only way to escape idolatry is to stay near God. Our hearts are either consumed by God or by someone or something else. Someone or something has our attention and loyalty: either God or some other person or thing.

Does our participation in social functions identify who we worship?

1. Participation in the Lord's Supper identifies us as a worshipper of the Lord. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?”

When we partake of the cup and the bread, we declare that we worship the Lord...

. that we are in communion and fellowship with Him.
. that we are bound together with Christ by His body and blood.
. that we have given our lives to Him.
. that we are committed to His death and purpose.

2. Participation with other people identifies us with their function or activity. “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread.”

Believers who come together to partake of the Lord's Supper are identified as worshippers of the Lord. Their very purpose for coming together is to partake of the bread as a fellowship of believers. Therefore, they are naturally looked upon and identified as worshippers of the Lord. The point is this: believers who come together with unbelievers in their functions are identified with the unbelievers' function.

3. Participation in idolatry is meaningless worship. ‘What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?”

The idol, whatever it is, is nothing. It has no existence, no soul, no spirit, no power, no objective being. An idol is nothing more than the imagination and idea within a man's mind. It is nothing more than a figment of man's imagination.

4. Participation in idolatry is fellowshipping with devils. “No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.”

The devil and his angels or demons are behind all idolatry, whether the idolatry of a heathen society or of an educated society. Scripture definitely declares: "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." Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

Satan is out to cut the heart of God and to destroy God's purpose in saving man. Satan does this by turning men away from the Lord Jesus Christ, by enticing men to give their lives to the things and gods of this world. When a person becomes consumed with anything upon this earth, then he has fulfilled the will of Satan: he has turned to something other than God. The man prefers something else over God.

When people make sacrifices to something other than God, they are sacrificing to devils. One thing is certain: the offering of their allegiance and commitment is not to God. And it is not to some man-made thing or idol, for idols and things are nothing. They are meaningless as objects of worship. To whom then does a person offer his allegiance? Scripture says to devils. "Ye shall have [no] fellowship with devils." In other words, "Flee idolatry."

5. Participation in idolatry condemns a person. It is utterly impossible to participate in the true worship of God and in the worship of devils. “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”

A person cannot be a guest of the Lord at His table and a guest at the table of idolatrous devils. God will not allow it. Such hypocrisy provokes the Lord. And we are not stronger than He. We cannot escape His judgment if we practice idolatry. That is crossing the border and going outside the boundaries!

“But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods.” Deuteronomy 11:16 (NLT)

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