Sunday School Material 7-20-14: Overcome Temptation

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is God is calling His people to learn from the mistakes of others and focus on living for Him. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to learn from the mistakes of others and focus on living for God.

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Read I Corinthians 10:6-13

I. Lessons From History. Paul shares with his readers that many of the things of the past were designed to also be a lesson for his readers.

In the Sunday School material he talks about reframing from idolatry, sexual immorality, and even grumbling. He talks about God providing a way of escape from temptations.

Applications -

- Learning from the mistakes of others. Notice in vss. 6-11 the idea of learning from the mistakes of others. First, this idea calls for an honest examination, instead of a romantic examination of others.

Too often we have distorted and romantic recollections of our past (e.g., the good old days) and others we may admire. All of us have some good (i.e., image of God) and bad in us.

Second, we must be willing to learn from their mistakes so well that we adjust our living to reflect what we have learned. It is one thing to see that someone’s idolatry led to their down fall. It is another thing for us to refrain from idolatry ourselves.

Let’s work on learning enough from the mistakes of others that we make adjustments in our lives.

- Three sins. Notice in vss. 7-8 that idolatry, drunkenness, and sexual immorality were large challenges then and still are today. Whenever we put anything on the same level or higher than God, we have made that thing an idol.

Today’s idols are best discerned by our behavior, not our words. In other words, most church goers would not admit that they have idols in their lives. Yet when it is time to tithe, too many spend their money on consumer items, instead of obeying God.

Let’s work on living in obedience to God’s will for our lives, instead of being entangled with idols, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. God’s ways are best for us. Anything other than God’s will for us is leading us in the wrong direction.

- Grumbling. Notice in vs. 10 of our Sunday School material that grumbling against God ordained leadership and, by extension, against God led to the people being punished. In like manner, grumbling is still sin and subject to divine punishment.

Instead of grumbling or complaining without trying to solve the problem, we should give our best effort to addressing the situation in a godly way (i.e., with love and humility).

If that doesn’t work, we need to learn how to pray and trust God to do what is best at the best time. Let’s avoid the sin of grumbling and complaining, before we get in more trouble with God.

- Dealing with temptation to sin. Notice in vss. 12-13 the idea of looking for ways of escaping temptation and sin. First, we need to work on developing our faith and ability to withstand the temptations to sin.

There will be times when we cannot find our way of escape. We have to simply endure.

Second, there are times when God is calling us not to endure the temptation but to avoid it. For example, if you know that you have a problem with drinking, you should not sit up in a bar and try to be strong. You should avoid the bar.

Let’s work on both faith development and escaping the temptations to sin. Verse 14 below is an additional support for this idea.

Read I Corinthians 10:14-22

II. Application of the Lessons. In this section of our Sunday School material Paul talks about avoiding idolatry. He is concerned that drinking from the cup of idols is too close to idolatry. He warns that one cannot drink of the cup of Jesus and demons. If the Lord gets jealously angry with Paul’s readers, they will be no match for the Lord.

Applications -

- The Lord’s Supper. Notice in vss. 16-17 that communion or the Lord’s Supper is serious business. We are partaking with God and God’s people. Thus, we should work on being reverent and focused on the symbolism of the ordinance.

This is not a time for fellowship and rushing through the ceremony. Let’s work on reverencing the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps the greatest reverence that we can give is to live as disciples of Christ, after we have eaten the body and drunk the blood of our awesome Christ.

- Stay on God’s side of the fence. Notice in vss. 21-22 of the Sunday School material that God is calling us to be on one side or the other. We need to be Christians who avoid partaking in the devil’s work. Or we need to be on the devil’s side and avoid being involved with the work of Christ.

To be on the fence triggers God’s jealousy and wrath. No one is stronger than God. Let’s work on living whole-heartedly for Jesus.

At the core of this kind of living are the issues of making sure that we have accepted Jesus as our savior by faith, loving and obeying God with all that we have, and loving and responding to the needs of others as we do ourselves.

Conclusion: Let’s work on learning from the mistakes of others and focusing on living for God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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