“Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents” (1 Corinthians 10:8-9, NKJV).
In the days when Eli was ministering to the Lord, scripture says, “The word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision” (1 Samuel 3:1, ESV). Often, when this happens in our lives, we surround that flickering flame with lots of smoke and mirrors to make it look better than it is. Our agendas become focused on all of these outside things because the fire at the center is so small and can hardly bring light or warmth anymore.
If you took a coyote and said, “I’m going to transfer you from your native kingdom into a chicken coop”, that would probably not go well for the chickens unless the coyote’s heart was changed first.
The early church found itself in very similar circumstances that we find ourselves in today. They were living under the authoritarian rule of Rome with its most ungodly, pagan culture. Violence was publicly glorified. They were faced with sexual immorality that surpassed even the vile degradations that we see in our own culture today.
When a nation falls into utter rebellion against God, people give themselves over to worshiping themselves, their sexuality, their immorality. They no longer simply practice these things themselves; they actively draw others into their sinful lifestyles.
One time, a pastor friend of mine traveled up to Wyoming to go snowmobiling with two of his friends. They went back-country and were having a grand old time until they started to realize that all their landmarks were out of sight. They had no GPS signal and no compass.
Now this wasn’t the kind of lost where you just keep wandering until you find a road one or two hours later. This was the kind of lost where you spend the night huddled by a snowmobile with no gas left. This was a they’re-sending-in-helicopters-to-save-you kind of lost.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No one can number all of Christ’s tender mercies and the manifold blessings of his shed blood. But let’s focus on one victory in particular: the forgiveness of all past sins.
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).
Some of you have been battling a habitual pattern of sin for a long time. You’ve prayed; you’ve cried; you’ve hoped for freedom; you’ve fasted; you’ve been through counseling; you’ve confessed it to friends; you have an accountability group.
But that thing is still like a thorn in your heart. It’s coming against you powerfully, and you’re wondering, “When will I be free from this?”
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”