1. Party Spirit in the Church, chs 1-4
2. Moral Disorders in the Church, chs 5-7
3. Social Relations in the Church, chs 8-11
a. The Use of Christian Liberty, ch 8
b. The Apostle’s Example, ch 9
c. A Warning Example, the Israelites in the Wilderness, ch 10
i. Analogy of OT to NT Church, vv 1-4
ii. The Lessons to Be Learned, vv 5-11
iii. Facing Temptation, vv 12-13
iv. Idolatry and the Lord’s Supper, vv 14-22
v. The Practical Application, vv 23-33
d. Decorum in Public Worship, ch 11
4. Spiritual Gifts in the Church, chs 12-14
5. Fundamental Doctrine of the Church, ch 15
6. Conclusion of the Letter, ch 16
B. The Analogy of the OT to the NT Church, vv 1-4: 1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
1. Exodus 13:21 – As the OT people of God were led by the cloud, so are the NT people led by the Spirit. The NT expression “to be baptized into someone” is to mark them as followers of someone, sharing his experience. As Moses followed the cloud, so they followed Moses.
2. Exodus 14:22 – The picture of baptism becomes clearer in respect to the sea. In this they went down into the sea (though on dry land) and came up to new life on the other shore, while their enemy died in the process.
3. Exodus 16:4 – At Israel’s complaint of dying from hunger, God sent bread from heaven, for them to gather daily. When it came, they called it manna, or, ‘What is it?’ (and, on the first evening, quails to eat as well).
4. Exodus 17:6 – The LORD said He stood on the Rock at Horeb; the NT says that Christ was the Rock. It doesn’t say whether He was visible or not. Note that ‘Rock’ is a term for God (see Deuteronomy 32:31-32).
5. Messiah Being Jehovah – The Angel (Messenger) of the LORD is sometimes, at least, a reference the second Person of the Trinity; as Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
C. The Lessons to Be Learned, vv 5-11: 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. 7 And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
It should come as no surprise that the sins to which the Corinthians fell prey were the same as those the Israelites did: people of God of all ages face the same enemy, Satan.
1. Crave – Num 11:4, 34 – What they craved was meat, not in itself an evil thing but evil in this instance because desired instead of what God had provided.
2. Idolaters – Exodus 32:4, 6 – what happened at Baal-Peor was due to Balaam’s instructing Balak (Revelation 2:14) for pay (2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11) how to deal with the Israelites when he was unable to curse them. Israel carried idols with them from Egypt, Amos 5:26-27 (cf. Acts 7:42-43). Idolatry is putting anything ahead of God (even blessings from God such as the Scriptures or heaven!).
3. Immorality – Numbers 25:1ff – The pagan worship combined provocative dancing, sensual & sexual immorality as is evidenced by archeological sculptures & pictures unearthed. The worship of Venus in Corinth was similar to the worship of the fertility god, Baal (or lord), at Peor.
4. Trying the Lord – Numbers 21:5ff – This involved unnecessarily testing God’s ability to provide or to keep His word – in this case to provide meat, when He had already done so (see Exodus 16:4ff). This was one of Satan’s temptations of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:5-7).
5. Grumble – Numbers 16:41– “The Grumbling Song” is quite old, and the Israelites knew it well – this is only one of many examples of their grumbling (or murmuring) against God or Moses.
6. Examples – verses 6, 11 – We should not limit our reading of the Scriptures to the NT and not the OT as well. They were written for us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
D. Facing Temptation, vv 12-13: 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
1. The Danger – Self-satisfaction, complacency: bold Peter is an example of Satan’s attacking us in the places we consider ourselves invulnerable.
2. The Antidote – When temptation hits, head for God’s medicine cabinet. It contains prayer (Luke 22:46). God knows our weakness (Psalm 103:14), has overcome the devil in Christ, and through faith in Him can be delivered whether it comes from within or without..