… 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. 1 Cor. 10:33
Chapter 10: Idolatry Reexamined
Israel’s Errors Repeated? 10:1-22 Israel enjoyed many spiritual privileges, but most did not please God. They turned to idolatry and the immorality associated with it (1-8). The idolatry is associated with immorality. Israel’s experience provides a warning for Christians. It is unwise to test God by associating with that which stands for evil, and which is likely to stimulate and to tempt us as well (9-13).
We should flee from idolatry. The idol may be nothing. But there are demonic powers behind paganism. The Lord’s Supper and tests for idols simply do not mix (14-22)
Warnings from Israel’s History
7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
Temptation, Be Careful
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Idol Feasts and 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.
The Believer’s Freedom to be Used Constructively; 10:23-11:1 Paul now returns to his basic theme. Freedom is to be used for the benefit of others (24). Meat is irrelevant and can be eaten with a clear conscience. But if for instance an unbeliever announces the meat was offered to an idol, it should not be eaten for that person’s sake (28, 29).
In his summary, Paul suggests that “rights” are really irrelevant. God has called each of us to live for his glory. God gains no glory by our being right. He is glorified when we do not seek our own good but the good of others (31-33). In choosing the way of love we will be following the path in which Paul walked — and he tried only to follow close behind Jesus our Lord (11:1).
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.”
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 th
e 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.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Cor. 11:1
[Mind control message: Don’t try to please others. Love yourself. — opposite of what the Bible teaches. We should live to please God and others, not to please ourselves.]