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3-20-22 “ON THIS YOU CAN DEPEND: GOD IS FAITHFUL”

“On This You Can Depend: God Is Faithful” (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)

David Peterson / General

Perseverance; Trial; Temptation; Suffering / 1 Corinthians 10:1–13

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: We are tempted to forget that we share in a common human experience, which is creaturely dependency upon God, which leads to idolatry and injustice and human self-destruction. The answer is repentance–a continual returning to God who is faithful to forgive and enable us to live in right ways.

Introduction

1. ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ writer and philosopher George Santayana

I. We Share a COMMON Humanity (1 Cor. 10.6, 11)

Exodus 32

In an episode from Season 3, Michael Scott is invited to interview for a position at Dunder-Mifflin corporate headquarters in New York City. During the interview with David Wallace, Dunder Mifflin’s Chief Financial Officer, the following conversation ensues:

David Wallace: So, let me ask you a question right off the bat. What do you think are your greatest strengths as a manager?

Michael Scott: Why don’t I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.

David: Okay. And your strengths?

Michael: Well, my weaknesses are actually … strengths.

David: Oh. Yes. Very good.

Michael: Thank you.

Source: The Office, “Beach Games,” Season 3, Episode 23. Directed by Harold Ramis and written by Jennifer Celotta & Greg Daniels

II. We Share COMMON temptations (1 Cor. 10.7-10)

Steve Jobs, Apple’s late cofounder and CEO, displayed incredible drive and creativity. But like all of us, Jobs struggled with idolatry. Surprisingly his idol wasn’t technology; it was food. Steve Jobs was obsessed with food in ways that dominated his life and relationships. As a teenager he experimented with strange diets. At one point he went for two weeks eating only apples. The various diets, often based on raw food, gave Jobs an exhilarating sense of control.

Like all idols, his obsession worked at first. It was part of Jobs’s larger project of attaining to superhuman control over his surroundings and other people—intimately linked with his perfectionism. Indeed, Jobs’s idolatrous relationship to food may have cost him his life. In October 2003 a scan turned up islet cell cancer, a rare version of pancreatic cancer that is slow-growing and consequently almost always curable with prompt surgery. But Jobs’s idol—food as a method of control—failed him. As his biographer Isaacson writes:

Jobs decided not to have surgery to remove the tumor, which was the only accepted medical approach. “I really didn’t want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,” he told me years later with a hint of regret. Specifically, he kept to a strict vegan diet, with large quantities of fresh carrot and fruit juices … For nine months, as his friends and family pleaded with him to have the surgery, Jobs refused.

Not until July of the next year did he consent to remove part of his pancreas. During the surgery, doctors found that the cancer had spread. Jobs would never again be free of cancer, and just over eight years later he was dead at age fifty-six. He was in the terminal stage, not of cancer, but of idolatry, when the idol ceases to deliver but exacts its full demands for unwavering worship. When the public became aware that Jobs was increasingly gaunt, commentators suspected that Jobs’s disease had come back with a vengeance. What few knew was that his wasted body was not just the result of cancer but also his own dependence on control through food.

Source: Adapted from Playing God by Andy Crouch (Intervarsity Press, 2013), pp.

We’re living in an extraordinarily distracted age. It’s impacting society, and chances are it’s impacting you. Did you know …?

64% of car accidents are caused by distracted driving. The average student can focus on a given task for only 2 minutes. The typical Internet user’s online screen focus lasts for an average of 40 seconds. The average 25 to 34-year-old checks his or her phone 50 times per day. The average 25 to 34-year-old spends 2.5 hours per day on social media, while the average 8 to 18-year-old child spends 9 hours on social media per day. Excessive device usage is leading to decreases in marital and relational satisfaction. Loneliness is an epidemic, with 54% of people saying they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well. On average, we spend 650 hours per year reading and responding to emails. We touch, swipe and tap our screens an average of 2617 times per day.

Source: Gabe Lyons, “Faithfulness in an Age of Distraction,” Qideas.org (December, 2019)

III. We Share a COMMON Answer (1 Cor. 10.13)

Robert Robinson was an English clergyman who lived in the 18th century. Not only was he a gifted pastor and preacher he was also a highly gifted poet and hymn writer. However, after many years in the pastorate his faith began to drift. He left the ministry and finished up in France, indulging himself in sin.

One night he was riding in a carriage with a Parisian socialite who had recently been converted to Christ. She was interested in his opinion on some poetry she was reading: Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise.

When she looked up from her reading the socialite noticed Robinson was crying.

“What do I think of it?” he asked in a broken voice. “I wrote it. But now I’ve drifted away from him and can’t find my way back.”

“But don’t you see” the woman said gently, “The way back is written right here in the third line of your poem: Streams of mercy never ceasing. Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight.”

That night Robinson recommitted his life to Christ.

Source: reported in R Kilpatrick, “Assurance and Sin” in RC Sproul (editor), Doubt and Assurance (Baker, 1993)

Conclusion

1. God is faithful. He can be trusted and will never cast out those who come to him.

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