Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert

Paul warned them at Corinth that we’re in a race to win the prize. Temptations are common and we must be temperate as we strive to win so we have strength to win. Temperance is self-control, self-restraint, self-discipline and self-denial.

I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape…to bear it.

I Corinthians 9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…

To be temperate, we have to be saved and go on to be sanctified with the Holy Spirit to help us control ourselves and deny ourselves things that would be contrary to God. Paul warned that if we don’t keep our body under, we’ll be a castaway. He said he brings his body into subjection unto all things.

I Corinthians 9:26-27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Paul gave several warnings from the children of Israel as they came out of Egypt on their way to Canaan. It’s important for us to heed the warnings God gives in the Bible. The same thing will happen to us if we don’t. There’s a story about the importance of heeding warnings. At a little village on the coast of Japan there’s an ancient stone marker engraved with a somber warning to remember the calamity of the great tusami. It said “Do  not build any homes beyond this point” which was down to the ocean. A great tusami struck the coast of Japan in 2011. Every home in area surviced that was built above the warning marker. Homes built below the warning marker were destroyed. Over 29,000 people were killed in the tusami because they didn’t take the warning that had been there for over a hundred years. Maybe they thought it was outdated. It’s important for us to take the warnings God gives us in the word.

I Corinthians 10:1-4…I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea…were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

There were 600,000 footmen that came out of Egypt and they all saw the 10 plagues God put on only the Egyptians. They all saw God was leading them by a cloud in the day and a fire by night, and saw how the God led them through the Red Sea by parting the water. They saw when the Egyptians tried to follow and God closed the Red Sea so they drowned. They all ate the same spiritual meat of manna that had the vitamins and minerals they needed and drank the same spiritual drink. There weren’t any sickly ones among them and they were all blessed by God. The important warning of the examples is to not lust after evil things so we have victory over all the enemy brings against us.

II Corinthians 10:5-6 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

God doesn’t want us to fear or let our minds be troubled. It’s important how we set our affections and control our mind. We’ve got to control our mind or the enemy will take advantage. We’ll start lusting after things of the flesh because it’s easier than what God asks. We can stop making our mind a sidewalk for the devil to walk on all the time, but it we have to do something about it. Our mind is a servant either to the Spirit of God in us or it’s a servant to our flesh. We’ve got to make it a servant to the Spirit of God. The devil has access to our mind but God wants us to control our mind.

Colossians 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:2 (Amplified Classic) And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

We don’t have an excuse to worry, fret, or have anxiety about anything. God has victory so we don’t have to let our mind be troubled about things but we know he’s going to take care of us. God wants us to cast down all contrary thoughts, to not fret, or have anxiety or fear but have the peace of God. “Fearing nothing from God and content with every lot of whatsoever sort” we must learn to be content in the state we are or our mind will be troubled. Paul learned to be content in a dungeon.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified Classic) Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance…by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation…and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort…that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds…

The Bible it tells us to meditate on the word of God. Thoughts are powerful and we can’t have a positive life if we have negative thoughts in our mind all the time. God wants us to control our fears, doubt, and troublesome thoughts.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do…all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and…have good success.

We can choose our thoughts on purpose by casting down everything contrary to God, by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones and the word of God. He wants us to bring every thought into the control of Christ. We have a mindset of how we look at things. Some people have a victim mindset where everyone is against them. Others have the fixed mindset that says, I’ve been this way for 20 years and I’m not going to change. God wants us to have a growth mindset. That means we’re willing to change if God shows us we need to improve in any way. We actively work to change the attitude or behaviour in that situation. There’s the agile or flexible mindset. We’re not living 50 years ago when there were no automated teller machines (ATMs) so you couldn’t go to the bank to get money with your ATM card. There were no DNA testing, laser treatments, MRIs, ultrasounds, laparoscopic surgery, heart bypass, cell phones, smart watches, GPS (Global Positioning System), electric cars, online shopping, social media, email, internet, or voice translation. Technology is used for online worship services and other ways to reach souls for God. God wants us to be flexible to handle situations.

II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Moses admonished the elders to wait for him to return. He was up the mountain 40 days and nights. When he delayed, the people told Aaron to make gods. The time they were willing to wait was very short. Be willing to wait on God’s time.

I Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters…as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Exodus 24:12-14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again…behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.

The Israelites wouldn’t wait, wanted something else to worship, and lusted. We’ll start lusting if we don’t wait on God.

Exodus 32:5-6 And when Aaron…built an altar…Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early…and offered burnt offerings…and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

I Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some…committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Balak was mad when Balaam wouldn’t curse the Israelites (Numbers 25:1-5). Balaam gave him some advice according to the historian Josephus. “If you have a mind to gain a victory over them…you will obtain it by following my directions: Do you therefore set out the handsomest of such of your daughters as are most eminent for beauty…and conquer the modesty of those that behold them, and these decked and trimmed to the highest degree…Then do you send them to be near camp…that the young men of the Hebrews desire…and when they see they are enamored of them…and if they entreat them to stay, let give their consent till they have persuaded them to leave off their obedience to their…worship of that God who established them to worship the gods of the Midianites and the Moabites for by this means God will be angry…” The Israelites did what Balaam said they would and God was angry. Many died because they lusted.

Numbers 25:1-3 And Israel abode in Shittim, and…began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab…called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods…people did eat, and bowed down to their gods…anger of the Lord was kindled…

God was very angry when they murmured against Moses. They weren’t content with what God gave. Many were destroyed by serpents. We need to be satisfied with what God  gives to not tempt Christ.

I Corinthians 10:9-10 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Numbers 11:1-2 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.

The Israelites were not thankful, complained, and always found fault so the anger of God was on them. Paul gave us these warnings so we don’t do like them. Paul said to take heed when we think we’re standing, lest we fall. If we don’t keep our mind and hearts centered on the things of God, we’ll let the flesh rule our actions like they did. God won’t suffer us to be tempted above what we can bear but he’ll make a way for us to escape. Joshua and Caleb endured and held true regardless of what the rest of the Israelites did because they wholly followed the Lord. They didn’t complain or find fault. They did what God wanted them to and trusted him with all their heart. We have to do that so we don’t fall into temptation.

I Corinthians 10:11-13 Now all these things happened unto them for examples…written for our admonition…Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but…make a way to escape…to bear it.

Another warning was to flee from idolatry. Idolatry is putting anything above God. The biggest thing people put above God today is their flesh. We have to make sure that we die out to our will and our way so God’s way is above everything.

I Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.