Warnings From Israel’s History
1Brothers and sisters, I want you to know something about our people who lived long ago. They were all led by the cloud through the desert, and they all walked through the Red Sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food, 4and they all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from the spiritual rock that went along with them, and that rock was Christ. 5But God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the desert.
6Now those things happened as examples for us, to keep us from wanting evil things the way they did. 7So don’t worship idols, as some of them did. It is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance wildly in front of their god.” 8We shouldn’t commit sexual sins, as some of them did—and in one day, 23,000 of them died. 9We shouldn’t test the Lord, as some of them did—and they were killed by snakes. 10And don’t speak against God, as some of the people of Israel did—and they were killed by the destroying angel.
11Those things happened to them as examples, and they were written down as a warning to us. We’re living at the time when God’s work is being completed. 12So if you think you’re standing firm, be careful—you might fall. 13You’re tempted in the same way that all other human beings are. And God is faithful; he won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can endure. When you are tempted, God will provide a way out, and then you’ll be able to resist.
Sharing in the Lord’s Supper
14My dear friends, stay far away from the worship of idols. 15I know I’m talking to reasonable people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16We give thanks for the cup at the Lord’s Supper. When we do, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf.
18Think about the people of Israel. Don’t those who eat the offerings share in the worship that takes place at the altar? 19Do I mean that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No! But the sacrifices of those who worship idols are really offered to demons, not to God, and I don’t want you to have anything to do with demons. 21You can’t drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too. You can’t have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to make the Lord jealous? Are we stronger than he is?
The Believer’s Freedom
23You say, “I have the right to do anything,” but not everything is helpful. “I have the right to do anything,” you say, but not everything builds us up. 24No one should look out only for their own interests. Instead, they should look out for the interests of others.
25With a clear conscience you can eat anything that’s sold in the meat market. 26Scripture says, “The earth belongs to the Lord, and so does everything in it.”
27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, with a clear conscience you can eat anything that’s put in front of you. 28But if someone says to you, “This food has been sacrificed to an idol,” then don’t eat it, for the sake of the person who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29I’m talking about the other person’s conscience, not yours. Why should my freedom be judged by what someone else thinks? 30If I’ve given thanks for my food, then I shouldn’t be blamed for eating something that I’ve thanked God for.
31So whether you eat or drink or do anything else, do it all for the glory of God. 32Don’t do anything that causes other people to trip and fall, whether Jews or Greeks or God’s church. 33Follow my example. I try to please everyone in every way. I’m not looking out for what’s good for me. I’m looking out for the interests of others, so that they might be saved.