There was once an event in college football known as “The Bowden Bowl.” Coach Tommy Bowden vs. Coach Bobby Bowden. Father versus son. Family members had to pick between their teams. Perhaps the individual with the most pressure to choose an allegiance was mother/wife, Ann Bowden. Every year when game day came, Ann would wear a football jersey split in two: half Clemson for her son and half Florida State for her husband. She was a cheerleader for both teams. But at the end of the game somebody wins, and somebody loses. It’s hard cheering for two teams in the same game.
- Where are your allegiances divided?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 10:14-22 (ESV)
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?
- In this passage, what was Paul asking the Corinthians to run away from?
- What examples did Paul give to illustrate how the Corinthians were still meddling with other gods and in idolatry?
- In what way, and to whom, does the bread and wine of Jesus unite believers?
- Paul said you cannot serve two gods or mingle with other gods (vss. 20-21). What sacrifices do you make that are not to God? In what ways do you feed the gods that culture worships?
RESPOND TO GOD
In the same way that we cannot cheer for two teams playing in the same game, we cannot serve two gods without losing. In our culture, we entertain many gods: beauty, nation, politics, wealth, and relationships. We “eat at the table” of a darkened entertainment industry, worship America more than the kingdom of God, and allow famous societal figures to steer us rather than the Lord. These idols desire the entirety of who we are. But, we have a jealous God who doesn’t just want a part of us; he wants all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We cheer for the winning team. And it’s worthy of the entirety of you.
- Ask God to reveal your divided allegiances between the things of this world and him.
- Surrender these things to God, and commit to serve him fully.