I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. [NRSA:1Cor 10:1-13]
The Driest Baptism
Paul makes an interesting edit to the story of the Israelites and interprets God’s people going through the parted waters of the Red Sea as their baptism. It would settle the debate about sprinkling vs immersion in that one need only pass by the waters of baptism to be included. But this is not to the main point of today’s passage.
Baptized but Fallen
Paul’s main point is that even though we are baptized, we also can still forfeit the power and gift of our baptism. Sin continues to be our struggle.
Fallen and Can’t Get Up
- It now immortal words of confession: “I have fallen, and I can’t get up” are not just for health monitors.
- We fall for false news and false fact checkers
- We fall for what is popular and easy
- We fall in all manors of moral matters.
- We know the same struggle of Corinth church
- Bottom line, we fall like everyone else.
- And the fall wall a Jericho,
- the fall of David’s Goliath,
- the fall of the house built upon the sand,
- the fall of humanity in the garden.
What can we do?
What can we do when we cannot return purity
- When we leave a trail of consequences
- When the trust is broken,
- The walls are crumbled,
- When the giants fall,
- When the foundation washes away
- When sin, selfishness, and evil do not save us….
Before we jump and in taking a stand, remember
Standing is a dangerous place
First, taking a stand is not easy.
Most times unpopular,
And always intentional.
Why don’t we admint we fell and lay low and wait for someone else to do the standing?
Or, Where We Once Stood
We think if we can just get back to a safe place in the past…
We hunger for the pandemic to be completely over and desire to get back to the life we had before, but we have given up freedoms, we have placed our trust in corrupt authority, and we have given one another permission to be more distant and divided.
We have lost ground and the new ground on which we stand calls for us to actively become more dependent on God than we were before the pandemic.
The Truth is we are starting anew and can only take our stand in the Savior who can be our eternal foundation!
We find ourselves even more dependent on Christ because we have even more reasons to be the disciple-makers, peacemakers, and witnesses in our lifetimes.
- Rather than looking for our hope to come in what is popular, easy, we are more like the early church than we dare.
- Rather than trusting what opinion polls indicate for a given minute.
- Rather than taking our stand for own self alone, or some cause, we are called to reach out to neighbors and even enemies for Jesus Christ.
Ease of Not Standing
Therefore, we are tempted to not make a stand. We stay in the categories of either falling, sitting, or laying as still. Taking a stand it too dangerous, risky, and makes us far too vulnerable to change our habits and routines.
Contained in this passage is one of the most misused verses. It is usually interpreted as God will not give us more than we can stand when tested when we read that we will “not be tested beyond our strength.”
It is used to blame God for the troubles we endure and with which we wrestle. Instead, it mean that if we are not trusting in Christ, we will fail, we will fall, it is indented to be a word of assurance… so why wait until we are falling or failing to hand the reins over to God?
God promises to come to our aid. We may not find the answers we prayed for, but we can find God working through every situation – often reshaping and making us whole.
Which begs the question for each of us: How strong is our faith?
To which we typically would answer, if pressed or pushed to answer, I don’t want to exactly know the answer. Because I don’t want to be tested.
We think about the servant who feared failure with his talent and chose to not risk it and it was taken away from him.
Would we rather point to sometime in the past where we survived some issue that tempted our tested our faith and we did NOT fall.
When in fact, we need to learn from where we have fallen and see that even in our failures, and see that God continues to love us, call us, and save us.
Finding and Extending Grace
We sing that standard old hymn, “Standing on the Promises”
The hope is that we now will take a stand for the kingdom that cannot fail, and that we will remain firm in trusting God in all things, always.
The first hurdle is to know with more than our head
We know this with our heads, but we are slow to rise, slow to take a stand – to save ourselves from falling.
“If I stay right here, even stagnate, at least I am not falling.
But the truth is like the lepers who know about Jesus and one said to the group, “why do we sit here until we die, let us go and see this Jesus.”
Taking the Stand
So, what does this mean to stand up for Jesus?
It means that if our church is to grow, each of us must take on the task of bringing people into our fellowship and growing our congregation.
The common testimony is our common stand:
There are many causes and issues we might become an advocated, but there is on task that fall to us as a church together, collectively:
- It means reaching out to people we might not know or be ready to extend
- It means we lead with grace and forgiveness.
- It means we reach out to make disciples and share our faith as if we are the only one willing to share.
- We can’t wait for people to fall into church,
- We cant’ wait for someone else to do our part, give our gift, teach our lesson, or plant the seeds entrusted to us.
A Challenge for 2022:
- We have lost members through the pandemic and now it is time to rekindle relationships, make new ones, repair trusts, and mend our fences.
- We need each member/family/household to bring a new individual or family into the fellowship and life of the church this year.
- If we do not, we will not be strong enough to weather where God leads us.
We need to be taking part in classes and small groups, it means we need to be adding to Christ’s number daily.
Being a disciple is finding someone to replicate our place so that when we are falling someone can help us stand up again.
- Taking a stand for Christ is giving witness to the trust we have in our heavenly citizenship, even above all others.
- Taking a stand is being the voice for those oppressed and unjustly attacked
- Taking a stand is giving our time, talents, and treasure to the cause of Christ
- Taking a stand is trying to not fall into the quest for power and meaning offered by society and opinions of the majority, and not lying still avoiding the risk.