Christians Must Avoid the Israelites' Mistakes - 3 (1 Corinthians 10:8)
1. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Christians are given some very important instructions that are based on God's dealings with the Israelites. 2. Some general matters are presented in vs.1-6. a. According to vs.1-4, God blessed the Israelites by delivering them from Egypt, by providing food and water for them, and by providing direction and protection for them. b. However, we learn from vs.5 that God was not pleased with many of the Israelites, and they were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. c. In vs.6, Christians are admonished to avoid the mistakes of the Israelites. 3. More specifically, we are shown: a. in vs.7 that Christians must not be "idolaters" b. in vs.8 that Christians must not "commit fornication." 4. "Fornication:" a. is a general term that includes all types of unlawful sexual activity [sex outside of marriage, adultery, homosexuality, incest, prostitution, etc.] b. sometimes figuratively refers to idolatry (2 Chronicles 21:11-14; Exodus 34:12-17). 5. Since these instructions are based on events recorded in the Old Testament, let us first examine . . .
I. THE ISRAELITES AND FORNICATION
A. In the beginning God revealed His will for sexual intimacy (Genesis 2:24). B. In the law He gave to the Israelites, God clearly taught them to avoid fornication. 1. God condemned all forms of fornication, including adultery (Exodus 20:14), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), incest (Leviticus 18:6-18), and homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22). 2. According to Leviticus 20:10-21, death was the penalty for these sins. C. One occasion when the Israelites committed fornication is recorded in Numbers 25:1-9. 1. Balak, the king of Moab, tried to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites, but Balaam refused to do so (Numbers 22-24). 2. However, Balaam counseled the Moabites to give their women to the Israelites, and this resulted in fornication and idolatry (Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14). 3. Consequently, many Israelites died. D. On the basis of this information, let us turn our attention to . . .
II. CHRISTIANS AND FORNICATION
A. God's original plan for sexual intimacy is included in the New Testament (Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:31). B. In the New Testament, God clearly teaches Christians to avoid fornication. 1. The New Testament repeatedly condemns fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5). 2. The consequences of fornication are serious -- it will prevent a person from inheriting God's kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). C. One occasion when a Christian committed fornication is recorded in 1 Corinthians 5. 1. (vs.1) A man in the Corinthian church was guilty of fornication. 2. (vs.2) The church had done nothing about this situation. 3. (vs.3-5) This man was to be disciplined. D. Remedies: 1. A fornicator can be washed, sanctified, and justified (1 Corinthians 6:11; Acts 18:8). 2. A Christian who commits fornication can be forgiven (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9). 3. The key to avoiding fornication is having a pure heart (Mark 7:20-23). 4. Parents must instruct their children about moral purity (Ephesians 6:4; Titus 2:3-5).