Monday, 27 October 2008

Sins for churches to watch out for

Reading 1 Cor 10:1-11 the other day I was very struck by the key congregational sins Paul highlights.

"For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers 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, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

[SIN 1] Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."

[SIN 2] We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

[SIN 3] We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

[SIN 4] nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come."

These were the sins of the people of Israel and they may well become the sins of the church as well: idolatry, sexual immorality, putting Christ to the test and grumbling. Given the fact that these things "have been written for our instruction" it would seem wise as churches that we pay close attention to them. They did after all prove the ultimate unfaithfulness of the people and bring down the judgment of God on them. And we should especially remember that the warning here is for 'christians' not people obviously outside the church. it is chilling to think that these are people who have tasted something of Christ and yet who failed to please God.