Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Way of Escape

The Sunday school, Life group lessons from the book of First Corinthians the last couple of weeks have been powerful and applicable to our everyday lives in so many ways.  Last week's lesson was entitled, "Watch What You Eat."  Some believers were eating foods that had been sacrificed to other gods.  They saw nothing wrong with it.  Weaker believers, possibly those who had worshipped pagan the gods to whom the food was offered had a problem with this.  Paul told the stronger, more mature Christians to make concessions for the weaker ones by not purchasing/eating the meat sacrificed to pagan gods (8:7-9). We must recognize that we all are not at the same level/place in our walk with Jesus. We need to act/speak in such ways as to build up, and not trip up our brothers and sisters in Christ who are new/weaker in the faith.  Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Romans 14:7-12.
Paul wrote two letters to the Corinthian Church specifically addressing the sin issue as the church had become corrupt to the core. Corinth was a port city known for its relaxed morals and numerous pagan temples and idolatry. The church was comprised of both Jewish and Gentile believers, many of whom who were formerly grounded in paganism.
In his first letter, Paul confronted rather harshly the sins of jealously, quarrelsomeness, divisions, arrogance, and sexually immorality, to name a few.  These sins were present in the leadership and in the laity (3:1-4). Paul’s method for addressing sin was to confront it in love forcefully and decisively.   He told the church to expel the immoral brother, “A man has his father’s wife.  And you are proud!  Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this (1 Corin. 5:1-2)?  He exclaimed, “Flee from sexually immorality.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body: (6:8). He warned the mature brothers not to cause the immature brothers to sin stating, “When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. (8:12).
This week's lesson deals with temptation. Temptation is defined as the enticement to do evil.  Everyone of us will face temptation. Even the Apostle Paul talked about his struggles with evil. He said  the good he would do he did not because evil was always present (Romans 7:19-21). The good news is God provides a way of escape from the temptations we face from the world, the flesh, and the devil.  1st Corinthians 10:13 says "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. God is faithful. He will not allow temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."  Do not copy non believers in their practices, sin intentionally, nor condone ungodly practices. This is not God's way.  When necessary, we must turn around.  We must repent and accept God's way of escape. He will keep us from falling.  Practical ways we can overcome temptation is through prayer, examining ourselves, repentance, accountability partners, avoidance of sin, and willingness to flee idolatry.  Jesus saves!


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