Participating in idolatrous things not only makes you an idolator, it involves you with demons

Something I haven’t heard pointed out before from the pulpit about the food offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 10:19–20.

Paul is not implying that food offered to idols is anything special, or that idols are anything special (10:19). The thing in itself is not anything, but it may well have spiritual significance. What you have to beware of is the spiritual significance of those things because of the powers behind them.

Paul is implying that demons are behind the idols and thus that by partaking in the offerings of the altar, they are partaking in demons (10:20). When you do the same things that the pagans do, you open yourselves up to the influence of those demonic powers which are behind those practices.

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Being Jealous for God’s People because we Serve a Jealous God

Because we live in a commercial, capitalistic society, we tend to view relationships through the lens of the competitive marketplace in which we live. But when the Scriptures talk about God’s being a “jealous God,” they do not imply that God is envious that you are giving your time to someone else. This in and of itself is not necessarily wrong. Doesn’t a man or woman have the right to expect that their wife’s or husband’s attention will be directed toward them and not someone else? In Scripture, the Lord is pictured as the husband and we, his people, as the bride, so He has every reason to expect and even demand out attention and allegiance.

But when the Scriptures talk about the Lord being a “jealous God,” it is speaking to God’s protective nature toward his people. This is how husbands and wives are supposed to be toward each other (remember that God’s people are pictured as the Lord’s wife in the OT and as Christ’s bride in the NT), and it is how we are with our children.

Given that the most oft-used word picture in the Bible to describe the relationship between pastor and his people is that of a father and his children, this says something about the pastor’s protective nature toward his people. When he warns you of false teachers, it is not because he is envious of the attention you give to him; it is because he is protective of you because you have been given into his spiritual care.

But John doesn’t place all the burden on others; he places the burden and responsibility on each of us. He says, “Guard yourselves.” This does not remove responsibility from the pastor providing the proper guard for his sheep against false teaching, but it does place a responsibility upon you to listen to warnings and the wisdom your pastor gives you from God’s Word.

This word is different form the word translated “keep” in v. 18. There it means to preserve yourself in the sense of keeping yourself pure from sin. This word in v. 21 speaks more to guarding yourself, in the sense of keeping watch to protect yourself. The word in v. 18 has to do with becoming distracted and wandering away from God into sin; this word has to do with being on guard against being attacked by false teachers and false teaching and being carried away by it. This requires effort on your part and you bear some responsibility should you be overtaken because God has given you His Spirit, His Word, and pastors and preaches and teachers to guide you so that you are not taken captive by false teachers.

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“Blessed is the man…” (Psalm 1)

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so,

But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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Waiting for God’s Providence (Samuel Rutherford)

“I will charge my soul to believe and to wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it.”

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Waiting on the Lord (Eileen L. Gruder)

“To be impatient with God, chronically, habitually impatient with Him because things are not to our liking, makes the Christian life a dreadful burden.”

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Waiting on the Lord (A. W. Tozer)

We hear a great deal about “Go ye,” but not much about “Tarry ye.” We preach about urgency but not about patience.

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Waiting on the Lord (Vance Havner)

“He who waits on God loses no time.”

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Patience is the way to Overcome (Samuel Rutherford)

“The way to overcome is by patience, forgiving and praying for your enemies, in doing which you heap coals upon their heads, and your Lord shall open a door to you in your troubles. Wait upon Him, as the night watch waits for the morning. He will not tarry. Go up to your watchtower, and do not come down; but by prayer, and faith, and hope, wait on. When the sea is full, it will ebb again; and as soon as the wicked have come to the top of their pride, and are waxed high and mighty, then is their change approaching. Those who believe do not make haste.”

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Waiting on the Promises of God (Clement of Rome)

“How blessed and wonderful are the gifts of God, beloved! Life in immortality, splendor in righteousness, truth with boldness, faith with confidence, self control in holiness; and all these things fall within our comprehension. Therefore what, then, are the things being prepared for those who wait? The Creator and Father of the ages, the all-holy one himself, knows their magnitude and beauty. Therefore let us strive to be found among the number of those who wait, so that we may have a share in the gifts which were promised.”

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God is the Motive for Loving God (Bernard of Clairvaux)

“The motive for loving God, is God. No title can be stronger than this: God gave Himself to us in spite of our unworthiness, and, being God, what could He give us of greater worth than Himself? If, then, by asking why we are bound to love God, we mean, what is His claim, the answer is: Especially this, that He first loved us.”

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