Ever see an athlete excel and then become “cocky” and fall? Have you ever gotten overconfident and fell? This is the issue Paul addresses in chapter 10. Three times he uses the word “example” – twice in a negative, the final one as positive. Here are the 3:
1) “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” – vs 6. This is referring to the previous five verses. Paul explains that even though their forefathers were given incredible privileges and blessings from God, they still became overconfident and fell into temptation & sin. The result? “God was not pleased with most of them…”
2) “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…” – vs 11. Again, this refers to the previous verses: 7-10. They participated in idolatry, in sexual immorality, in grumbling and even in testing the Lord….and they died, were killed and were killed! What is Paul’s point? Verse 12: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” In other words, the temptation to become overconfident is great BUT GOD is greater! He will “not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” If we’ll Go to the Lord during trials & temptations He will “provide a way out.” Now I used to think that this meant I could go to God and He would get me out of stuff. But in reality, the verse goes on to say “so that you can stand up under it.” This means that the way “out” is by going “thru.” I don’t like that as much, but I do know it’s true and God has helped me thru things more than He’s bailed me out!
Paul goes on to talk address allegiances – to idols or to God. He speaks about freedom again, and not causing others to stumble. His finishes with this mindset: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
3) “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” – 11.1. Ok, ok….. I know this third uses of example is actually in chapter 11, but it’s a great transitional verse that goes here. Paul writes, instead of following the examples of those who got overconfident and fell into sin, follow my example – with this disclaimer: “…as I follow the example of Jesus!”
*Is there anything you feel overconfident of? “I would never__________ … is a dangerous place to be. (see vs 12) Let’s ask God to make/keep us humble!
*To whom or what do you give your greatest allegiance? Jesus? Work? $$$? Want to find out? Ask your kids/students?
*You & I reap benefits from the faithful in Christ who have gone before us. What benefits will those following us reap from you & me?
*How’s your example? Could you say to others “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”? If not, what needs to change and are you willing to make it happen?