Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nor should we put Christ to the test. . .

1Cor. 10:1-9 NLT 
   1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3 All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 
   6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” 8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. 
   9  Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

There is value for Christians in the counsel of the Whole Word of God-- the inspired Old Testament and the inspired New Testament.  The New if the fulfillment of the old. But lessons for today's believers can be found in the pages of it all. Paul wanted the early Corinthian believers to read from the Jewish Bible about what happened to people whom God had chosen but who chose to rebel and deliberately embrace the things God called sin. That is a lesson that today's church members need to remember. Sexual sin, false worship, grumbling and griping, gossiping and character assassination seem to happen among members of every church congregation I know. People who claim they are Christian but whose behavior would shout loudly otherwise have a serious thing to face when they have to explain to our God why they persisted in disobedience after receiving His grace and love. Paul was warning them but he is also warning in the 21st century as well.

One of my students asked me to day if, given the worldwide violence and chaos, the rapid increase of sin and corruption in the highest levels of civilization, and the terrible natural events taking place, we are at the end of the age. I replied "most certainly yes." But it is not because of all these events I say this. It is because of scripture. Paul advised in verse 9 that these warnings were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age."  You see, Paul thought he was living at the end of the age and he was. We still are. The end of the age came after Jesus ascended and the church was initiated. The only thing yet to take place on God's time table is his return and judgment on the non-believing world. There is a new age to come-- two actually, a physical thousand years reign by Christ on earth, when Redeemed people rule with Christ and then a new Heaven and New Earth. But this last two thousand years has been 'the end of the age.' Humanity is simply spinning itself down and down, further and further away from God, in spite of the witness and teaching the church has given it. And members in The Church spin downward along with humanity, returning to their fallen state because they refuse tho embrace complete Lordship by Christ. Living for Christ means we shall never put Him to the test by claiming allegiance yet living otherwise, especially since He continually holds out to us the power to succeed
Your servant in Christ

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