How Does God Want Us to Live?
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
17 February 2013
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
1 John 2:15-17
This has been a very interesting week: we had Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and now the first Sunday in Lent.
What do they have in common?
They all speak of love: God’s love for us and the whole world, our love for each other, and the returning of our perfected and unconditional love to God.
However, just before these holidays, there was Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday; it’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, and to us Mardi Gras is totally opposite to anything Godly.
Mardi Gras and festivals like it are a time when people can “blow off steam” and act worldly, before they have to present themselves as being holy during the Lenten season.
Note what Paul tells us about this kind of behavior in Romans 6:12-15…
12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts,
Isn’t this exactly what people do at these pre-Lenten festivals?
13. and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.
15. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
So many people in this world seem to live by the falsehood that they can continue to sin, simply because they say they believe in Jesus Christ; however, as Paul writes, nothing is further from the truth, and it should never be happening.
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul reminds us of where we came from and how God intervened in our lives, beginning with the exodus from Egypt, the symbolic land of sin.
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.
All the people who came out of Egypt were led through the Red Sea into the wilderness, and were given manna, the bread from heaven, and water to drink from a rock, all of which showed them that God was indeed in their midst.
What is also very interesting is that the food that God fed the people was vegan; it contained no animal products and caused none of the pain or suffering that was commonplace in Egypt.
God seemed to be trying to return the people back to His original creation intent of eating only plant foods, or in this case, the eating of only manna and no animal flesh; they were being pointed back to the way that God wanted them to live.
5. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
Think about the way we were before Jesus entered our lives, and how as we looked back we could remember the times that God showed us His presence, even though we didn’t recognize His intervention at the time.
6. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
The celebration of Mardi Gras and similar festivals are public examples of these things, as are many other celebrations and events, even some held in or sponsored by churches.
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.”
Isn’t this exactly what happens at these pre-Lenten festivals?
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.
12. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
We are not to fall into temptation.
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.
This is also similar to what the Lord said to Cain before he killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4:6-8
6. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7. “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8. And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Cain didn’t master sin, even though the Lord gave him the power to do so. He gave into it instead of serving the Lord.
If we are truly believers, and filled with the Holy Spirit, then that is who we should be every day of the year, even when things don’t work out the way we want them to.
If we are truly loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, then we should live like it every day of the year and not just the 40 days leading up to Resurrection Day.
It’s just as John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17…
15. Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
Isn’t this exactly what Jesus taught us to pray for in Matthew 6:9-13?
9. “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
10. ‘Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11. ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]’
First we pray that God would help us live here on earth according to His heavenly will.
We also pray that God would not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
And this temptation is placed right in front us, publically, before Lent, and less openly almost every other day of our lives, but we can overcome it.
So, if we are of God, we have been given the power to avoid sin and focus upon the heavenly ways and will of our Father; then we will be able to live before God as His beloved children.
Let’s take for example a church sponsored barbeque, which many of them have in the summer time.
What do we think about attending one of these events, since we know that about 95% of all animal products come from factory farms where animals suffer all their lives, and are sent to slaughter to be horribly killed?
Is what happens to farmed animals really Godly?
We doubt it, because we have never seen any truly humane farm that raises animals, and slaughter is anything but humane.
Animals have most of the same feelings that we have; they love one another, they love and tend to their children, they mourn, they want to live happy and contented lives, and not be tortured to death.
To participate in such events is definitely ungodly.
We are to live according to God’s heavenly will at all times, and not live in the worldly ways that are so prevalent around us.
We are to be the truly born again peacemaking children of God, who free creation from its present corruption, and not contribute to any more corruption.