Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:1-22


We often look to our heroes for examples of how to live and what to do. But even our heroes let us down eventually. You might think there are plenty of good examples to follow in the Bible, but there are very few without major character flaws and major failures. We need to recognize that in giving us the Bible, God has given us the gift of seeing broken, sinful people just like us. People who are given all kinds of blessings and benefits from God, but still manage to choose to sin and go down paths of danger and sometimes destruction.

Our passage this morning gives us several bad examples from the Old Testament. People in situations where they could have trusted God and looked to Him for help but instead chose anyone and anything other than God. Those are idols. Things taking the place of God. He created us to know Him, to be known by Him, and to worship Him – to find joy and satisfaction in Him. So God warns us over and over to avoid idols.

Bad Examples

(verses 1-11)

An idol is anything or anyone that begins to capture our hearts and minds and affections more than God.

– Pastor Brad Bigney

Most Christians would quickly say I only worship God. But who or what you worship is really ‘What’s on your mind. What you long for or wish for. What you have your heart most set on. Where you spend your time and money. When we see external sin in our lives like anger, jealousy, worry, substance abuse, sexual pleasure outside of marriage, lying – there is usually a sin beneath the sin. Something we want that God says we shouldn’t have or should wait for. Something we want to control. Something we think God is not giving us and we deserve it, we crave it, we will do anything to have it. It could even be something like wanting peace and quiet while you read the Bible or listen to a sermon podcast, but then blowing up in frustration or ignoring time and care for your family. Those things are idols. They are replacing God and His glory. He wants us to show His character to everyone around us.
  • Sexual immorality and idol worship
  • Fiery serpents
  • Rebellion of Korah

These were warnings for God’s people, and examples for us of what NOT to do.

Way of Escape

(verses 12-22)

Four Promises (v. 13)

  1. You are not alone
  2. God is faithful
  3. It’s not more than you can handle
  4. There is a way out of this

Look to Jesus

Numbers 21 people looked at the bronze serpent held up on a pole for healing – to be saved.
John 3:14-17 Jesus was lifted up on a cross and all who believe in Him will be saved eternally.

Flee from Idols

Flee from idolatry
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee youthful passions
1 John 2:15-17 World offers desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of life – all temporary. God offers eternal joy and satisfaction.
He desires all of our worship because He is worthy AND because that is what is best for us. He loves us and does not want to see us mess up our lives and everyone around us by chasing after worthless idols.

Take Aways

Are you struggling to fix the external problems instead of discovering the real issue below the surface? The sin beneath the sin? Watch the Gospel Treason series. Links on our website under today’s sermon. Pick up an Identifying Idols brochure on the counseling cabinet.

Do you want to keep trying the world’s solutions for your emptiness, your pain, your loss, your hunger? They are temporary and often dangerous. And they don’t impact our hearts. God cares about your heart and wants to satisfy you there. Remember while man looks on the outside, God looks into the heart.

Are you doubting God’s promises? Review the four truths about temptation and work on memorizing the verse and the four promises.

Are you chasing after things to satisfy you or are you looking to Jesus to satisfy you completely?

Maybe you are in a trial right now, and you are tempted to choose the world’s quick and easy solution. God may be allowing this hard time, this painful situation so you can look to Jesus, cling to God’s promises, choose to obey Him and experience His lasting joy and satisfaction.

Book Recommendation: Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney

More Gospel Treason Resources