Brothers and sisters, here is what I want you to know about our people who lived long ago. They were all led by the cloud. They all walked through the Red Sea.
They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
They all ate the same supernatural food.
They all drank the same supernatural water. They drank from the supernatural rock that went with them. That rock was Christ.
But God was not pleased with most of them. Their bodies were scattered all over the desert.
Now those things happened as examples for us. They are supposed to keep us from longing for evil things, as the people of Israel did.
So don't worship statues of gods, 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."#1(Exodus 32:6)#2
We should not commit sexual sins, as some of them did. In one day 23,000 of them died.
We should not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did. They were killed by snakes.
Don't tell your leaders how unhappy you are with them. That's what some of the people of Israel did. And they were killed by the destroying angel.
Those things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who are living at the time when God's work is being completed.
So be careful. When you think you are standing firm, you might fall.
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.
My dear friends, run away from statues of gods. Don't worship them.
I'm talking to people who are reasonable. Judge for yourselves what I say.
When we give thanks for the cup at the Lord's Supper, aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? When we break the bread, aren't we sharing in the body of Christ?
Just as there is one loaf, so we who are many are one body. We all eat from the one loaf.
Think about the people of Israel. Don't those who eat the offerings share in the altar?
Do I mean that what is offered to a statue of a god is anything? Do I mean that a statue of a god is anything?
No! But what is offered by those who worship statues of gods is really offered to demons. It is not offered to God. I don't want you to be sharing with demons.
You 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.
Are we trying to make the Lord jealous? Are we stronger than he is?
You say, "Everything is permitted." But not everything is good for us. Again you say, "Everything is permitted." But not everything builds us up.
We should not look out for our own interests. Instead, we should look out for the interests of others.
Eat anything that is sold in the meat market. Don't ask if it's right or wrong.
Scripture says, "The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it."#1(Psalm 24:1)#2
Suppose an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go. Then eat anything that is put in front of you. Don't ask if it's right or wrong.
But suppose someone says to you, "This food has been offered to a statue of a god." Then don't eat it. Keep in mind the good of the one who told you. And don't eat because of a sense of what is right and wrong.
I'm talking about the other person's sense of what is right and wrong, not yours. Why should my freedom be judged by what someone else thinks?
Suppose I give thanks when I eat. Then why should I be blamed for eating food I thank God for?
So eat and drink and do everything else for the glory of God.
Don't do anything that causes another person to trip and fall. It doesn't matter if that person is a Jew or a Greek or a member of God's church.
Follow my example. I try to please everyone in every way. I'm not looking out for what is good for me. I'm looking out for the interests of others. I do it so that they might be saved.