You are what you eat. If that’s at all true physically, it’s even more true spiritually, relationally, covenantally. In Scripture, we find that communion takes place around meal tables; covenants are culminated with fellowship meals; and those who eat together not share their meats but shape our souls.
These are some of the lessons underlying 1 Corinthians 10:14–22, as Paul warns us to flee idols and abide with Christ. As he continues to instruct the Corinthians about freedom, worship, and service, he challenges us to make it a habit — to get a rhythm — of feasting at the Lord’s Table with God’s people and not being deceived by powerless idols who provoke God’s anger.
1 Corinthians 10:14–22
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
- What is an idol? Where do the Corinthians struggle in their idolatry? Where do we struggle with idols today? Read Psalm 115:1–8. What does this Psalm teach us about idolatry? How does worshiping something impact/change/shape us?
- What are the four ways we can see the concept of covenant in 1 Corinthians 10:14–22? How does that background aid in understanding Paul’s argument? Does it change the way you view the Lord’s Supper?
- What are the three ‘tables’ in 1 Corinthians 10:14–22? How does the Lord’s Table empower us to say ‘no’ to the ‘tables of demons’? Historically, what were the ‘tables of demons’? Contemporarily, can you think of any modern analogies? (Next week’s sermon, Lord willing, will tackle this head on).
- What is vertical communion? What is horizontal communion? And how does the Lord’s Supper facilitate them both? As you take the Lord’s Supper, which do you emphasize? Which can you grow in? What happens if either is missing in your meditation and practice?
- The final charge in the sermon called for you to ‘get a rhythm’ with Christ and his people? How can you do that? Why is prioritizing communion with Christ and his body necessary for getting your rhythms right? How does this ‘resonate’ with a lifestyle of ‘neighboring’?
For Further Study
- Get Rhythm by Johnny Cash
- The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes, And The Pride Of Life by Smalltown Poets
- The Beautiful Letdown by Switchfoot
- You are What You Love: A Conversation with James K. A. Smith by Justin Taylor — few recent books have been more illuminating that Desiring the Kingdom by J. K. A. Smith. In this interview, Justin Taylor asks Dr. Smith about his more recent book You are What You Love.
- Idolatry, the Lord’s Supper, and the Body of Christ by John Piper
- The Lord’s Supper in Paul: An Identity-Forming Proclamation of the Gospel in The Lord’s Supper by Jim Hamilton
- Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters by Timothy Keller — excellent treatment on topic of modern idolatry
- We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G. K. Beale
- You are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith
Soli Deo Gloria, ds