Paul declares the Greatness of Communion with Christ but declares the tragedy of Idolatry to be Demonic
1 Corinthians 10:16-22 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 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. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? NKJV
Paul concluded his last portion of this first letter to these Corinthian believers and us by imploring and pleading with them and us to run as fast and as far as we can from pagan idolatry. Paul has poured out his heart to these believers rebuking them for their sin of sexual immorality, envy, and strife all because he loved them and wanted their faith to be true or genuine. It was well known to Paul before he ever entered the city of Corinth that the Gentiles there were steeped, absorbed, and immersed in worship of all sorts of idols and false gods that were no gods whatsoever. Paul was well aware of the goddess Aphrodite (the sex goddess) as well as Zeus, Apollos, and many others. Paul was always concerned for these believers in Corinth being drawn back into their old practices by some of the remaining pagan people round about them. This is why Paul reminded them of who their True God Jesus Christ is and how He will never allow any test or enticements from the devil to overtake them, if they would just yield themselves (and us today) to the Holy Spirits Power transmitted through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul called them wise men and he used the Greek word phronimos which means thoughtful men, acutely insightful and wise, discreet, the word implies a cautious character. Paul wants to credit them with being such people and now that they have been brought out of their once pagan practices and false worship, Paul wants them to know that this is what he thinks of their character as they are now “in Christ” and enabled by Him to be discerning and be of good judgment. Paul reminds them of what the Lord’s Supper is truly all about with these two questions, “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). The obvious answer that the Corinthian believers and us today would give and affirm is an emphatic yes. The idea that the Catholic Church holds of the wine or grape juice literally becoming Christ Blood every time it is consumed is not correct and also the bread literally becoming a piece of our Lord’s Body is likewise incorrect, but what is correct during the taking of communion is what Paul writes to these believers in Corinth and to us and that is it “symbolically” places them and us every time we partake into fellowship, partnership, or participation with our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is what the English word “communion” means for it is translated by the Greek word koinonia which literally means fellowship, joint participation, communication, the share which one has in anything, intimacy the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship. Paul reminds these Corinthian believers with these two question how significant, substantial, and serious the Lord’s Supper is to our Lord Jesus Christ because He enters into a special union or intimacy with each one of us as we confess and repent of our sins before we partake in this great fellowship with Him. Paul describes in even greater detail the seriousness of partaking of our Lord’s blood and body in “symbolic” fellowship with Him in the next chapter of this letter 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Peter described this “communion” in this manner, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:41-42) for during those early days of the church there was no once a week observance of the “Blood and Body” of our Lord Jesus, but instead every single day the believers were partaking in, participating in, and partnering with our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in fellowship and communion constantly observing His Death, Burial, and Resurrection from the Dead.
Paul declares them and us like one big lump of dough like a mother would mix up with flour, yeast, milk, eggs, salt, sugar, etc. and so are these Corinthian believers and us all different souls in that Heavenly Bread Christ Jesus our Lord, as He declared Himself with these words, “Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst’” (John 6:32-35). Paul recounts to the Corinthian believers and to us how Israel took their sacrifices to the alter in the “Temple of God” and partook in the eating of those sacrifices before God’s Alter and in so doing made themselves “one with God” and in like manner the Corinthian believers and us today are already “one spirit” with the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul declared to them in 1 Corinthians 6:17 and he warned them in this letter then to “flee sexual immorality” because to engage in it would be to join our Lord Jesus Christ to that sexually immoral woman or man. Paul again here in this part of his letter likewise tells them to “flee idolatry” as we see that just like joining our Lord Jesus to an immoral person in sexual immorality, the Corinthian believers and us could become guilty of doing what the pagan Gentile heathen worshipper does as he declares with these words, “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons” (1 Corinthians 10:19-20).
The city of Corinth as we declared earlier was full of this demonic worship of Aphrodite, Zeus, Apollos, etc. and these pagans were sacrificing their animals to demon spirits that could never do them any good but only harm, even though the pagans did not know this truth. Paul declares to them and all of every generation that it is foolish to even dabble in idolatry because it is satanic which means what the unbeliever such as witches, warlocks, wizards, masons, eastern star, Jehovah witness, Mormons, sorcerers, and all other forms of false phony “spirituality” is eternally damming, remember what Peter said to Simon the sorcerer, “Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity’” (Acts 8:18-23). Therefore, Paul is warning them to flee from this evil while at the same time affirming his trust in them being wise men and women able to discern the difference between our Lord Jesus Christ’s communion table and the idolatrous table of demons. Paul says you certainly do not want to make God the Father Holy Jealous which will not be good for them because it would provoke His anger against such debase engagement as they and we have been reminded by Paul earlier of what happened to the faithless and ungodly “major portion” of the people of Israel all dying in the wilderness with the clothes they brought out of Egypt with them.
“For it is this communion which makes us all one. We being many are yet, as it were, but different parts of one and the same broken bread, which we receive to unite us in one body.” John Wesley
“Paul is deducing the mutual communion of believers from the fact of their communion with their common Lord. By each and all receiving a piece of the one loaf, which represents Christ’s body, they signify that they are all bound in one spiritual body, united to Christ and therefore to each other.” Marvin R. Vincent 1834-1922
“Idolatry is one of, if not the greatest affront to our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is the substitution of something or someone in His Place and it is even more abominable because it is putting His enemy in His Place of Honor, as it is written in Exodus 20:2-5.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…