I Corinthians 10:1-13
An old lady walked into a pet store, found a parrot,
and asked the owner if she could buy it. The owner
said, “Heck no! That parrot has a bad mouth! Trust
me – you do not want that parrot!”
She said, “I can teach it good manners.”
But, when she got home the parrot said a bad
word, so she put it in the freezer for 10 seconds.
She took it out and said, “Did you learn your
lesson?” It said another bad word so she put it
back in for 30 seconds. She took it out and asked if
it learned its lesson yet.
The parrot said “Brr… Yes, I learned my lesson,
but, what did the chicken do?”
Last week we saw what Paul was willing to do for the
sake of the gospel. He wasn’t willing to compromise the
truth, but he was willing to compromise on some of his
rights as an apostle.
He proved that he cared more about the people than
money or his rights.
Today we are going to move into chapter 10 of First Corinthians.
I Corinthians 10:1-5
The first warning Paul provides is a
Warning to Learn from the Mistakes of Others
Paul describes how God brought Israel out of the
bondage of slavery from Egypt.
Paul doesn’t want them to be unaware of what happened
to Israel because the same thing could happen to the
brothers at Corinth.
Paul repeats the word all 5 times to describe the events
of the Exodus.
They were all under the cloud. God was there guiding
them wherever He wanted them to go. The cloud
signified God’s presence and protection.
They all passed through the sea. It seems like there
was no way out, but God parted the sea in His perfect
timing and allowed them to walk across on dry ground.
Then He closed back the water and drowned their enemy.
They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and the
sea. This is not speaking of a physical baptism, but the
identification of Israel to their Moses as their leader. They
believed that God was leading him and thus vowed to
They all ate the spiritual food. God provided Israel with
sweet manna from heaven. He gave them their daily
They all drank the spiritual drink. Through their
wanderings God always provided them water. He even
gave it to them from a rock.
Paul’s point is that they ALL saw God taking care of them
in these incredible ways and verse 5 tells us that
nevertheless God was not pleased with most of them.
By most, He means 2 men. It was only Joshua and Caleb,
of all of the adults, who made it out of the wilderness.
Even Moses himself did not enter the promised land
because He disobeyed God by striking the rock when God
had told him to speak to the rock.
So, how does this apply to the brothers at Corinth?
Israel was baptized into Moses,
The Corinthians have been baptized into Christ.
Israel received the spiritual food and drink,
The Corinthians participate in the Lord’s Supper by eating
the bread that symbolizes Christ’s body being pierced for
our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and drinking
the cup which symbolizes the blood of Christ that was
shed on the cross at Calvary. The blood that cleanses us
from our sin.
Paul’s ultimate point is that the Christian faith takes self
denial and discipline.
We have to continue strong and finish strong.
Jesus told His disciples to take up their cross and follow
Him daily. Jesus also modeled the spiritual disciplines.
He woke up early each morning to spend time in prayer.
He would go to the synagogue and read the Scripture.
He knew the Scripture, when Satan tempted Him and
tried to misquote Scripture to Him, Jesus quoted it back
to him correctly. (memorization, meditation)
Paul wrote that Israel drank from the rock and the rock
Some rabbis taught that a physical rock followed Israel
through the wilderness, which isn’t true.
Paul is writing about the eternal nature of Christ.
He was in the beginning with God and He was there with
Israel in spirit, just as He is here for Corinth and even for
us today. Christ is the same yesterday, today and
I Corinthians 10:6-11
Next, we see a Warning to Avoid Evil.
Paul bookends this section with the idea that these things
happened as examples for them to learn from.
Paul lists 5 examples of evils to avoid.
Desiring Evil – John wrote about the basis for all sin
coming from the desires of the flesh, the desire of the
eyes, and pride in possessions.
Idolatry – when Moses took longer to come down from
the mountain than Israel though he should, the people
went to Aaron and told him to make a god for them.
He told them to bring all of their gold and he threw it in
the fire and out came a golden calf. They worshiped the
idol and it made God and Moses very angry.
Remember our context, the believers at Corinth were
exercising their freedom in ways that could potentially
cause them and others to stumble.
Today we must also be careful to not let anything take
the place of God, lest we fall into idolatry.
Sexual Immorality – Paul reminds them of what
happened in Numbers 24-25 when Israel played the
harlot with the daughters of Moab. God sent a plague
which killed 23 thousand in one day.
Testing Christ – After God brought Israel out of Egypt,
they tested Him by asking why He brought them out just
to let them die of thirst and starvation. God sent serpents
to bite them and some died.
Grumble Against God – Israel spent a great deal of
time grumbling against God despite all of the amazing
things God did for them. Paul is most likely talking about
Numbers 14 where the people are grumbling against God
once again and God says to Moses “How long shall this
wicked congregation grumble against me? I have
heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which
they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live,
declares the Lord, what you have said in my
hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall
in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in
the census from twenty years old and upward, who
have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the
land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except
Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.”
Each of these 5 serve as examples to the Corinthians and
to us to learn from.
We can learn from the mistakes of others and we can
learn of the dangers of evil. You would think we would
have learned our lesson by now about evil, but we
continue to live in flesh and cave to the desires of the
flesh and our eyes and the pride of possessions.
I Corinthians 10:12-13
Finally, we see a Warning Against Overconfidence.
Paul’s point to the believers at Corinth is for them not to
get too comfortable in their freedoms because they could
lead to temptation and sin.
Temptation is real
We are all going to be tempted at times in our lives.
Temptation is not a sin, how we respond may be though.
Although temptation is real, God is Faithful
He promises that even though we face temptations, He
won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle
and He will always provide a way out if we are willing to
look for it.
James has this to say about temptation
“Let no one say when he is tempted,
‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God
cannot be tempted with evil and he himself
tempts no one. But each person is tempted
when he is lured and enticed by his own
desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives
birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings
forth death.” James 1:13-15
This is one of those texts that even though it was written
to a church many years ago, the message still rings true
for the church today.
We must Continue Strong and Finish Strong
We are not that different from the Israelites God rescued
from the Egyptians.
We are prone to sin and our own selfish desires.
We have to keep our hand to the plow and keep on
serving Him each day.
We have to look for th