'Be careful that you take for granted that you are standing and fall!' is Paul's overriding theme in these verses. 'Remember the Israelites in the wilderness when they came out of Egypt!' he exclaims. These messages from the Old Testament were for the church at Corinth to hear as they are for Bearfield today. We must not take our salvation for granted. Now, that is different from being assured that we are children of God who can look forward to eternity now and forever with Jesus Christ. The wonderful news of the Gospel should drive us to seek with all of ourselves to be more close, more pure and holy, to God, not allow us to think that we can indulge ourselves as the Corinthian believers felt.
At the end of the passage we have read this morning is that great verse which is often quoted: 'God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you can endure'. The Greek word Paul uses here describes the situation when an army is surrounded whilst they are going through a narrow mountain pass. It appears that the only ways are forward or backward, yet suddenly an escape route is discovered. So, what Paul is saying here is that firstly, your thing which is tempting you is not unique-you are not the first one to be tempted by it; secondly, there is a route to safety but you have to look for it and when you find it, go down it-too many Christians love the temptation which they fall repeatedly to and then throw up their hands and say they are helpless: No! The Holy Spirit of God is within you so you now have choices-to follow Christ or to carry on indulging in sin! Thirdly then, if God is always guaranteed to provide a way of escape, then when we fall to sin's temptation it is utterly our responsibility. Adam and Eve fell to the serpent's tempting words and then blamed the serpent for what they had done. God saw them as responsible and exiled them from the Garden of Eden.
We studied the book of James a little while ago, remember he took no prisoners! In chapter 4 verse 7 he declares: 'Resist the devil and he will flee from you.' We cannot blame anyone else, just come to God and ask for His forgiveness.
I remember as a schoolchild, a group of us going back to school after it had closed and messing around. The Head called us out in the Assembly next day and asked us what we had done. We all came out with feeble excuses and in giving out his penalty of a series of detentions, he said: ''If only one of you had said you were sorry I would have forgiven you!' So it is with God.