Keep Fleeing Idolatry

1 Corinthians 10:14–22

Posted by Dan Jarms on October 29, 2023
Keep Fleeing Idolatry
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Main idea: Keep fleeing idolatry to the exclusive worship of Christ.

  1. Keep Fleeing Idolatry
  2. Judge For Yourself What Happens in Worship
  3. Worship Christ Exclusively

Re-declaring your allegiance

  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:12
    We're all tempted in multiple ways, by the seduction that's an idolatry while worshipping himself a school aged boy can lie to his parents or to his teacher and then brag about how he gets away with it. Another man can be proud about how easily he can seduce a woman into immorality. Do you know there are magazines that rate the most successfully greedy people on the planet? Yeah, Forbes 500. There's the richest person in the world. He's the most successful greedy person on the planet, or she. It's multiple. As we get to this portion of First Corinthians chapter 10. Paul's calling on these Corinthians to flee idolatry. One of the things that's very different is in Corinth, every government building, every event center every every place of public gathering was almost certainly led by an idle, there was an idle there, they were all temples, the government buildings were temples, you couldn't go anywhere in Corinth, without facing idolatry every day. And the Apostle Paul's wanting to warn them, you have to be ready to flee. It's nonstop. Idolatry, and the temptations of it is nonstop. So his big idea is straightforward. And this keep fleeing idolatry, keep fleeing idolatry to the exclusive worship of Christ, go from idolatry. And it's day by day temptation to or day by day attack and keep escaping to Christ. At the end of the chapter, he's going to put an exclamation point on all of this in First Corinthians 1031. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. In a secular age, without Gods carved in stone, or wood or metal, we have to get this beneath the surface. We have to get to affections, and hard attitudes like trust or hope, or love or refuge. And we all want love to love things trust things, hope things and our goal is usually some kind of peace, some kind of joy. But I want to I want you to hear that secular idols are sneaky. The secular idols are sneaky. They're sneaky, because almost always there they are good things elevated and over elevated to become evil things. I resonate so well with Angelica schuyler's lines in the musical Hamilton about Hamilton. He will never be satisfied. He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied. The human heart is hungry. It's hungry for all and modern idolatry temps to find that ah in something created Do you suffer with an overinflated hope? Or an overdramatic cynicism about the next Thanksgiving offering? Or next Thanksgiving meal? Are you angry and bitter with a spouse because she's not good with you spending dozens of hours a week leaving her alone so you can have bro time. She just wants to ruin my fun. Do down a bottle of wine or a fifth of vodka to escape the boredom of work? Let alone the stress of work. Do you obsess over the next accessory like for the American Girl doll. The fishing boat. The scrapbook? You know there's a kind of octopus. I've seen it in nature shows that pulse with color to hypnotize a fish until the fish is still in lifeless only to pounce. The sector of the secular idolatry pulses with alluring promises. As its tentacles climb up the arm, ready to bite. Paul wants us to flee because He loves us because He loves us The outline is not an acronym this week I wish it was. But Paul is going to call us to flee idolatry. He's going to call us to judge for ourselves what worship really is. And he's going to call us to exclusive worship in Christ. He's gonna call us to exclusive worship in Christ. You can write those down

    it's up to me whether we keep going or not. All those who want to stay. I can't see you all those who want to go

    I don't know what to do. Alright. All right. Well, you're very current, I believe in you. Yes. That's what I need right now. Okay, you can see me.

    All right. So let's let's first look at fleeing idolatry. I think it's, I think it's important enough for me to get in trouble for you to hear this. Idolatry is a deceptive predator to run from. Idolatry is a deceptive predator to run from. Paul says in verse 14, therefore, connecting it back to this whole attitude that many in Corinth had that said, we can go to the temple, we can eat the food with our friends, the gods are not gods, and the food is just food. It's no problem. And the Apostle Paul is saying, not so fast. You start getting close to that you're going to be sucked into it. So it says, Therefore, flee. It's connected to the verse 13. Last week, we ended with this No temptation has overtaken you that is not common demand, God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will provide the way of escape. He's talking about temptation as as a kind of animal that overtakes you in a chase. Flee. Flee. says, Therefore, my beloved, and this is the most most affectionate, and powerfully committed term. In the Bible, beloved. Christians are familiar with the term agape, which is a choice love of value love, but when you put it with beloved, you're adding affection with commitment, and Paul is concerned for the souls of the Corinthians. He says, flee from idolatry. Both flee and as former really important, the word flee is the idea of escaping something dangerous. A visual picture in my mind this week is r1 fleeing with sick Frodo on horseback, from the dark riders who are trying to destroy him. I thought it was not to sound condescending, but to sound condescending. I thought it was pretty cute that Skye Peterson really wanted to see a bear your she was doing her concert I want to see a bear. Not up close you though. A bear wants to rip your face off. Really does. Flee, pause, pause picturing the outcome of idolatry as something to destroy you. It promises wealth it promises health it promises power but it kills. Paul uses the same word in other places in First Corinthians 618 He says flee immorality, porneia, pornography, all kinds of sexual activity outside of God's good purposes in marriage between a man and woman flee it. He urges Timothy in First Timothy six, eight through 11 to flee the love of money, which is the root of all sorts of evil. First Timothy 222 are Second Timothy 222. He urges them to flee youthful passions.

    You don't get the luxury. You don't get the luxury of a neutral playing field. You don't get the luxury of walking out the door and there being no temptations. They're just going to be there. Flee. The form is significant. It's continuous continue to flee. Keep fleeing. We're gonna see demonic powers in a few minutes. Satan and his demons will not stop pursuing you through immorality or idolatry or pride or greed, your entire life. And friend, if you are here, and this is your first time hearing anything out of the Bible. Satan wants your destruction to and he wants to use your pleasure and your pride, and your greed and your lust to distract you and destroy you. And the place to flee is Christ fleeing to Christ. Now I know some of you are hearing this going, man, you're a massive Joy killing person. Dan, don't you want us to have any fun? Course. But Satan promises pleasures galore and delivers damaged relationships, STDs, vain hopes, and you need deliverance. It is why you're here this morning, isn't it? That you need deliverance and you need hope. Until you're in the physical presence of Christ. idolatrous temptations are just going to keep coming at you. And we need to flee. Number two, Judge for yourself what happens in worship, Judge for yourself what happens in worship? If you know what happens as we worship Christ together, you should know what happens if you join idolaters. And their worship, says argument. And he uses as the example of the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Supper, we take bread and we take juice, reminding us of the Body of Christ and the blood of Christ reminds us that God took on human flesh to live us live among us in the person of Jesus Christ. That because our great dilemma was death and judgment, that his body is broken so that we can actually have physical life after our resurrection. Because body broken for us, blood spilt for us, reminding us of Jesus life being poured out as the sacrifice so that our sins are atoned for. And we can be at one we can be in relationship with God, the Father forgiven forever. Very familiar to the Christians in Corinth very familiar to us. So He says in verse 16, the cup of blessing that we bless, take it from Jesus words when he pulls up the cup, and he gives thanks for it. That's the cup of blessing. He says, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? Don't we all together? Remember Christ, and Christ's presence is with us through His Spirit. We're really participating. Jesus is really hear our friends, sitting by us, we're all taking this meal, we're sharing fellowship. Are we really participating? The bread that we break? Is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Aren't we remembering? And aren't we giving thanks? Aren't we offering real worship to God? And isn't God receiving real worship? As we remember Christ's body broken for us? He amplifies it, the bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there's one bread we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. What's the one bread he's talking about? The one bread he's talking about is Christ and His death for us. Christ Himself says, I am the bread of life. Whoever takes for me, whoever eats me, my death on their behalf will live. And there's only one bread, there's only one food, it's Christ. And so all who are called to Christ, all the worship Christ, all the trust Christ, now belong to Christ. And that means they are now one body with Christ. He's the head where the body, we're all together. We all participate, we all partake of the one bread. What's really happening as we worship, Christ is present through His Spirit, we give glory to Him, in that Thanksgiving in that trust in that remembrance, and we do it together. There is a participation and a sharing. That's what you do when you participate in the idolatry of the culture. He's saying, you share the same way. That's what worship is. He adds the Jewish example consider the people of Israel are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar, the Jewish the Jewish sacrificial laws. The Jewish festivals have assorted kinds of sacrifices at the Passover meal, which is what the Lord's Supper was instituted after that replaces the Passover meal. And at the Passover meal, families would come with their sheep over their shoulders, bring it into the temple, and the priests would slit its throat, and the blood would spill out. They would take the lamb home, they would clean it, and they would butcher it and they would roast it and they would eat it that night. It's a participation and the whole nation gathered to remember God is the rescuer from our enslavement. God is the one who establishes as people we could go on about the various kinds of sacrifices but it was obvious to them Sure, everybody eats and everybody worships and God is present in the temple

    Paul thinks of a Paul thinks of a push back a question. Hey, Paul, I thought you said an idol is nothing and food sacrifice to idols was just food. I thought you agreed with us on that and he said I do agree with you on that. Some 115 verses three through six. Talking about the idols of the pagans they have eyes but do not see mouths that do not speak ears that do not hear they're not going to answer you. They have hands that do not touch they have feet that do not run I mean, they're useless. They're no good. Paul agrees with them. He said so I'm not saying that an idol is something or food or something. I'm saying something worse. I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not God. Remember, in the gospels demon owes demons oppressed by stirring up mental psychosis, demons insight, suicide and self harm. Demons insight, personal isolation, demons incite violence, demons made people sick and tongue tied. So for some when they gave themselves over to sin and demonic temptation, that sin left them defiled, they were called unclean spirits. Demons are worse than their so called Gods because the only things demons want is your destruction. In the ancient east, people did worship demons, it was part of black magic. And black magics job. Black Magic was to entice a demon to cast a curse on a competitor in business. Blackmagic was destructed. What's really behind the idolatry? There was in the Corinthian world, demons were. Okay, well, Paul, that's really easy to follow. I get it. Christians and Korath shouldn't go to the temples and eat the meals with their friends. Because these are demonically inspired festivals or meals. You're going to ask, Well, what about today where we don't have those kinds of things. I don't think anybody here is leaving here. Gonna go over to the Buddhist temple on the other side of the freeway, and light incense to your ancestor, probably not what you're going to do today. You hear this? In First Timothy four one. Paul says that there are doctrines of demons. And what they demand is the abstinence from marriage, sex and God given food see God is for pleasure and enjoyment in the world, in his proper and good and healthy bounds. Why would people do this? Why would they deny themselves marriage or sex or God given food for a sense of selfish superiority over others around them? He called asceticism demonic. So there are many things to enjoy. As long as we're giving thanks to God, as long as they prompt our thanks to God, as long as it moves you to worship God alone. It's good. James says this wants you to hear this and there's two phrases to put in your brain. He says but if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Don't show up here acting like everything's great. And you're really good. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. If you have bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, this is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it's earthly unspiritual demonic What does spiritual warfare from demons look like in your life? It prompts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, that's demonic. How do you know you're in spiritual warfare? How do you know you're being spiritually attacked? Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. So think of it. Video games can prompt you to the worship of God because it sets your imagination of fire. And you could take that imagination and push it toward what will we see when we're with God? God has given imagination in a good way. Board games, work sports, entertainment, cars, collectibles, hobbies, they can all be means of community they can all be necessary refreshment, that can be a means of seeing and savoring the wonders of God. promotions or bonuses can be a blessing, family life and children may be rewarding. But are you dealing with bitter jealousy? or selfish ambition? Are you angry because someone in your life is not letting you have full vent? To your video games, your hobbies? Your promotion? Are you self? Do you have selfish ambition? Paul says those are Jamesons those are demonic. So let's think about what real worship is. It's giving our affection, our trust, our hope, our delights, finding our rest in our peace in our joy in something earthly and temporary, and not ultimately in Christ. Judge for yourself, when you show up here, if you are filled with bitter jealousy, or selfish ambition, what you're really worshiping when you sing out in Christ alone, my hope is found. Because I do not want you to be participants with demons.

    All right, what do we do, Paul? What did we do? I have successfully made every single person here guilty. Well done. Hopefully weary. Well, we worship Christ exclusively. Number three, worship quiet Christ exclusively. We have to fight day by day for an exclusive worship of Christ. You can't worship Christ and something else. Christ says you can't have two masters. You'll hate the one. You'll love the other, you can only have one. Here's what Paul says you cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. He's going back to the idle feast and meal and the Lord's Supper celebration. You can't do both. You cannot partake at the table of the Lord in the table of demons. So it's one or the other. That's what you fight for one, your fight for worship of Christ. You can't worship the Lord on Sunday. And demons Monday through Saturday through your bitter jealousy or selfish ambition. And he warns us because this has been a passage about warning, starting a chapter 10 with Israel who had God present in the glory cloud, who has God's blessing in the food and the water and the protection they had God present with them and they still chose idols. And God was jealous there. Paul pulls us back to the 10 commandments. Exodus 20 Verse two, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. He shall make no graven images. For I'm a jealous God. What is God's jealousy? That's that's a little bit of your business and you're like God's jealous. I thought that was simple. Well, when you're jealous, that's simple. Well, not exactly. Let me give you an example. God's Jealousy has two parts. The first is a love that's so strong, so committed and desires ism of exclusive intimacy, that it gets righteously angry over a betrayal of that intimacy. God brought Israel into an exclusive relationship and he was jealous for that relationship, and even more, God gave Jesus to die for our sin and restore us back so that we would have an intimate, eternal relationship with him and it exclusive relationship and he is jealous for that. when a couple gets married, and they promised to be faithful, they promised exclusivity and body and life, they promise to be faithful. And he commits adultery or she commits adultery. Or he's on a years long binge of pornography, and she finally finds out. And she's saying, you're supposed to be mine exclusively. I'm yours. You're supposed to be mine. And you have been unfaithful, and she's mad. Of course she is. She's given herself to an exclusive relationship, you said you're going to give yourself to an exclusive relationship.

    That has good jealousy. That is right, jealousy, because it is a jealousy of devoted love.

    God is jealous for the people that his son died for, jealous for their worship. Second, it's a desire for the truth to be proclaimed and believed the truth to be claimed and believed. God has the heart and here's the truth. God is the only God who is alone worthy of worship, every other worship is worship of Allah. So for God to allow a lie, to go unchecked, to go believed forever, would be for God to and God Himself. So he's jealous for His own glory. He's jealous for the truth. So, Christians turn their back on exclusive worship of Christ for demonically inspired idolatry. There is judgment. Israel could not escape God's jealousy, those who went back to idolatry could not escape it either. Go back to chapter 10. Look at the five situations. Listen to Hebrews 1025 See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking for if they did not escape when they refused him? Who weren't them on Earth, Moses in the law of Moses talking about Israel, much less will we escape if we reject Him Who wants from heaven, Jesus Christ? God is jealous. Are we stronger than him? No, he's got, we're just a little less than less than grains of sand to an eternal God. So what do I do? What do I do? Well, in this very passage, we have the answer to the problem of idolatry. The place to flee to the place we can run to, is to the love of God through Christ and his sacrificial death. The place to flee to is to God and the sacrificial offering of Christ. I asked some friends this week, what do you do? When Jesus church attendance and spending time with the Lord feels man? What do you do? Because the project you're working on the entertainment that you've got, the next news cycle seems so engaging, and yet the Lord

    Christ is men. Have you ever felt that way? Probably, honestly. You probably have.

    One godly Saint makes it a practice to read something from a gospel every day. I think that's a great idea. Christ descended to earth. God took on human flesh. He worshipped his father perfectly and died on a cross for our idolatry. He rose from the dead. He is the true Passover lamb, he will lead us out of this wilderness, into the true promised land of his eternal presence. The real cure of idolatry is to start again at the cross and see the love of Christ and admit a straying heart. That's followed by all and worship. The god man who is now on throne of heaven is to be worshipped. Another Saint sees the need for community, gathering with people. You know what you need, when you're feeling met, about your walk with the Lord and life is to show up at growth group and to show up at church. You really need that you need to sit next to somebody who really is excited about Jesus who is committed to Jesus. We were listening to a song this morning from Mission House. And one of the refrains is happy are they who dwell in the house of God? Can I get an amen? Happy are they who dwell in the house of God? I want to say it again. It comes from Psalm 84 Four. It's the first passage Linda and I memorize together when we're dating, bless it are those who dwell in the house of God, they're always singing his praises community is powerful. She mentioned something that I know has always been a help to me, which is reading Christian biography. When my walk with the Lord gets mad men hearing a biography. The most compelling biography I listened to this summer was from about William Tyndale, from David teams, British readers, powerful thing. He devoted himself single man devoted himself to the translation of the Scripture into English. And what did he get for it? He was hung and burned at the stake. And did you know that 80% of the words you read in English are Tyndale. I mean, he was living for something eternal. It made me say, What am I doing with, like my art or my creativity? Like where does it fit? And there's a place for it. But God's called me to be a pastor and I love being a pastor. I mean, I can get obsessive over my next creative project, Evan wants me to make him a bass guitar. I've never made an instrument, nor do I play an instrument. I don't know if this is going well, but I'm going to do it. So I'm getting the wood ready. And I'm thinking about it. I'm sitting there with my open Bible thinking, do I have all their how I'm gonna make the neck? What am I gonna do? I don't even know what this is supposed to be like. And then I go talk to Jeff before service about where I get ideas for him. And he's our bass player. And I'm sitting there singing Christ alone. Look into Jeff's bass going. How do you make that? Oh, it's an acoustic bass. Oh. Have you ever been preoccupied? So I confess when I'm preoccupied, Lord, I can't even think about this passage I'm reading. I can't stay focused on prayer. Forgive me, help me, help me. Show me what's more soul satisfying about you and what I should be thinking about who I should be serving. We have to flee idolatry. It wants to devour your mind and your best affections. And you flee to Christ. You flee to Christ.

    We're about to worship God through the meal called the Lord's Supper. I think we have to do it. I mean, the passage is about it. And you can see just enough. It's where we see the Christ's glory of grace and mercy and God's great love. It's the place for our souls to be refilled and fueled. Do you know what helped my student with the octopus having a couple of tentacles going up his arm, we yelled out to the director, the director came over. And he did the one thing that makes an octopus let go. He pinched the tentacle as close to the body as possible. He pinched it hard and the octopus goes ah, and let's go and my student went.

    Sometimes you need to pinch it hard. That obsession you just have to pinch hard. It'll look different for different people. But you never get to stop. You're on a battlefield. And the battle is for your soul, to hear in the presence of Jesus. So run the race with self control, run the race with exclusive worship of Christ. Father, we thank you for what you have given in this word. And we pray that You would help us lodge it in our hearts. Put it into practice. In Christ's name, Amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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