Liberty & Responsibility with Regard to Spiritual Associations
Corinthians 10

Understand that Abusing Liberty Will Result in Judgment (10:1-14)

 For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of a spiritual rock which followed them: (now the rock was the Christ;) 5 yet God was not pleased with the most of them, for they were strewed in the desert. 6 But these things happened as types of us, that we should not be lusters after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt the Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as types, and have been written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. 

The ends of the agesWhen you get the expression "consummation of the ages" or "ends of the ages" it isn't saying that we are living during the days of end-times prophecy. Rather, we have all the accumulated light of the ages in view. Now that the Spirit of God has brought the outcome of the ages in view, we can see the purpose of the Old Testament typical teaching. The Church does not belong to the earth-ages, but we are privy to the knowledge of the end results! See encyclopedia entry.

12 So that let him that thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has taken you but such as is according to man’s nature; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make the issue also, so that ye should be able to bear it14 Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 

Understand the Responsibility of being at the Lord's Table (10:15-30)

The Principle of Identification (10:15-20)

15 I speak as to intelligent persons: do *ye* judge what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of the Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of the Christ? 17 Because we, being many, are one loaf, one body; for we all partake of that one loaf. 18 See Israel according to flesh: are not they who eat the sacrifices in communion with the altar? v.18 a man gets into fellowship with an altar by eating what is on the altar.

19 What then do I say? that what is sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 But that what the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God. Now I do not wish you to be in communion with demons. 

The Principle of Identification Applied to Spiritual Fellowship (10:21-22)

21 Ye cannot drink the Lord’s cup, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the Lord’s table, and of the table of demons. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 

Difficult Situations With Respect to Identification (10:23-30)

 23 All things are lawful, but all are not profitable; all things are lawful, but all do not edify. 24 Let no one seek his own advantage, but that of the other. 25 Everything sold in the shambles eat, making no inquiry for conscience sake. 26 For the earth is the Lord’s and its fulness. 27 But if any one of the unbelievers invite you, and ye are minded to go, all that is set before you eat, making no inquiry for conscience sake. 28 But if any one say to you, This is offered to holy purposes, do not eat, for his sake that pointed it out, and conscience sake; 29 but conscience, I mean, not thine own, but that of the other: for why is my liberty judged by another conscience? 30 If *I* partake with thanksgiving, why am I spoken evil of for what *I* give thanks for? 

Concluding Principles: Glorify God, Don’t Offend Man (10:31 - 11:1)

If We Exercise Liberty, it Should Be To the Glory of God (10:31)

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all things to God’s glory. 

If We Exercise Liberty, it Should Give None Offense (10:32)

32 Give no occasion to stumbling, whether to Jews, or Greeks, or the assembly of God. 

Paul Set Forth as an Example to Follow (10:33 - 11:1)

33 Even as *I* also please all in all things; not seeking my own profit, but that of the many, that they may be saved. 
 Be my imitators, even as *I* also am of Christ.