1 Cor. 10:15-22 – Partnership between Man and God

Translation and Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 03 May 2009


15. I’m speaking as to intellectual men; you yourselves must judge what I’m saying.

16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a partnership of the blood of Christ?

The bread which we break, is it not a partnership of the body of Christ, 17. since there is one loaf?

We the many are one body, for the many out of the one loaf partake.

18. Keep in view the fleshly Israel. Aren’t the eaters of the sacrifices partners of the altar?

19. So what am I saying?

            That a thing sacrificed idolatrously is anything, or that an idol is anything?

            20. Rather that what the nations are sacrificing is to demons; they are not sacrificing to God – and I’m not willing for y’all to become partners of the demons.

            21. Y’all are not able to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.

            Y’all are not able to partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

            22. Or shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than Him!

23. “All things are permissible,” but not all things bear together.

“All things are permissible,” but not all things build up.



Almost 20 years ago I stood before a crowd of people with Paula and took the following vow:

“I will have this woman to be my wife and will pledge my steadfast commitment to her in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faithfulness and tenderness, to live with her and cherish her, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage.”


This marriage vow was the turning point in my relationship with Paula. I was suddenly brought into closer fellowship with her than I had ever been with any other person before. But that fellowship continued past the marriage altar into a life of exclusive relationship with her, directing “all love… all faithfulness” toward her and “liv[ing] with her,” sharing meals together over a dinner table each evening.


The scriptures tell us that our marriages are intended to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5).


I)        vs. 18-20: Partnership between Man and God is Achieved through Sacrifice, Therefore We should come to God through Jesus

A)    :Description of O.T. fellowship offerings
Lev. 3:1 And if his offering is a sacrifice of peace-offerings – if he is offering from the cattle, whether a male or whether a female – he shall offer it perfect before the face of Jehovah. 2 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and he shall slaughter it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood around upon the altar. 3 Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace-offerings a fire-offering to Jehovah: the fat covering of the innards, all the fat which is upon the innards, 4 both of the kidneys, the fat which is upon them (and which is upon the flanks), and the lobe above the liver. He shall put this aside with the kidneys. 5 Then the sons of Aaron shall burn it up on the altar, on top of the whole burnt-offering which is upon the sticks which is upon the fire, as a fire-offering of a soothing aroma to Jehovah… 7:12)  … he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour soaked...  (14)  And from it he shall offer one out of each for a wave-offering unto Jehovah; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace-offerings. 15) And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. 16) But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow or a freewill-offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice; and on the next day, what remains of it can be eaten…”

B)    Death atones and reconciles God and man – fulfilled in Jesus

C)    The wrong kind of sacrifice offered to God doesn’t bring fellowship:

1.      Cain did not offer a death (Gen. 4) and God was not satisfied with that.

2.      Offering good works is not good enough (Our good deeds are “filthy rags” Isa. 64:6)

D)    Clarifications from vs. 19&20

1.      Sacrifices offered other than to God do no good

2.      Just because people worship something doesn’t validate it as a god!

3.      Actually all worship not directed to God is directed to demons

(a)    Paul quotes from Deut. 32:17 (congregational reading)

(b)   Plato himself taught this, for he wrote in his Symposium, “God does not hold direct converse with man, but all intercourse and communication is carried on between gods and men by means of demons”

4.      Modern-day sacrifices are of time, talent and treasure rather than sheep and goats and oxen. Every second, every penny, every action you spend is an investment in a god – either the one true God or else in partnership with demons. Where are you spending your three T’s?

5.      Fanny Crosby’s hymn speaks true: “Oh Come to the father through Jesus the Son” Partnership between Man and God is Achieved through the Sacrifice of Jesus.

II)      vs. 20b-22: Partnership between God and you Excludes any other god (therefore we should offer our lives as sacrifices and fellowship only with the one true God)

A)    Robert Philip Hanssen is a former FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for more than 20 years. Hanssen was arrested on February 18, 2001, at Foxstone Park near his home in Vienna, Virginia, charged with selling American secrets to Moscow for more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period. His activities have been described as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history". Hanssen now spends 23 hours per day in solitary confinement for the rest of his life the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, near the seminary I attended. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hanssen) The moral of the story? You can’t be an FBI agent and work in the service of our nation’s enemy. It can’t be tolerated by the law of our land. God also won’t tolerate this kind of two-timing spiritually either:

B)     “You are not able to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. Y’all are not able to partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” (v.21)

1.       “At idol feasts, libations were usually made from the cup to the idol first, and then the guests drank; so that in drinking they had fellowship with the idol” (JFB)

2.      Literally, Corinthians should not expect to participate in idolatrous worship one day and then participate in the worship of the one true God the next.

3.      Figuratively the cup and loaf represent partnership. You cannot be in partnership with God and in partnership with demons at the same time. (Not to say that you can’t be bothered by a demon, however.)

4.      Mat 6:24  “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and riches.”

5.      In his book, Mere Christianity (p.176), C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are people in other religions who… belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy… Many of the good pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position… Consequently, it is not much use tryin to make judgment about Christians and non-Christians…” Although I believe Lewis was a Christian, I believe he was confused on this point. The Scriptures tell us that there is no other name than Jesus by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

C)    God is jealous (v.22)

1.      Ex. 20:5 – second commandment prohibits idolatry because “I Jehovah am a jealous God”

2.      This past February 08, (2009) Fox News ran a story about a man in Manhattan NY who went by his girlfriend’s house and saw that another man was there making dinner with her, so the first man grabbed a gun and shot his girlfriend and the other man. Like that human lover, a Jealous God cannot tolerate it when you give your love to a rival god.

3.      John Calvin wrote that we should have nothing “to do with actions that have any appearance of putting honor upon idols… [for it is] a most atrocious offense against God… [which] should not be looked upon as a very trivial error… Do not… then use subterfuges in order that[you] may be at liberty to transgress the commandment of God… [T]o contend with God is nothing short of voluntarily courting destruction.”

4.      You are not strong enough to stand His fury; you cannot afford to dabble in sharing your worship with another god.

5.      Partnership between God and you Excludes any other god (therefore we should offer our lives as sacrifices and fellowship only with the one true God)

III)    vs. 16-17: Partnership between man and God is Exhibited in a fellowship meal (therefore we should take the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner).

A)    There is a distinction b/w the table and the altar

1.      Lord’s supper vs. cross

2.      Roman confusion – mass, transubstantiation, not distributing cup, not breaking bread but using wafers)

B)    Cup and loaf are partnership of Christ’s blood and body (v.16)

1.      This is where we get the phrases “communion” and the “Lord’s table” for the sacrament.

2.      koinwnea/Partnership/close relationship/common possession/fellowship/sharing/communion

(a)    The blood symbolizes the death of Jesus which brings us into communion with God

(b)   The sharing of the cup and loaf is done by the fellowship of believers

(c)    Believers have a common possession of Christ as Lord and savior

(d)   The elements of the sacrament are a means by which we enjoy fellowship with God

C)    This is rooted in the Passover

1.      Passover was a meal shared after the lamb’s blood had been shed to save them from death, but before the full deliverance from Egypt.

2.      bless cup, break bread (v.16)– traditions from Passover

3.      Reformed practice  – break bread, pray, all share.

D)    Unity pictured – one cup, one loaf (v.17)

1.      I think ideally there should be one common cup and one loaf that “we” all break our own piece off of to demonstrate most fully the picture of unity, but that’s just my opinion.

2.      The larger issue is that we administrate the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in such a way that it demonstrates unity:

(a)    Unity with God in Christ and

(b)   Unity with other Christians.

IV)  Conclusion: Our fellowship with God is like a marriage where there is living communion, exclusive commitment, and a sacrificial point of union.

A)    Partnership between Man and God is Achieved through the Sacrifice of Christ.

B)    Partnership between God and you Excludes any other god.

C)    Partnership between man and God is Exhibited in a fellowship meal.

Verse 15 contains the command: “Judge for yourselves what I am saying”

A)    Judge for yourself: Are you coming to God through Jesus alone as the one to bring you into fellowship with God, or are you trying to earn fellowship with God on some of your own merits?

B)    Judge for yourself: Are you only seeking fellowship with the one true God, or are you spending your Time, Talents, and Treasure on other idols? God is jealous, but He also is forgiving and He welcomes back all who wish to be made right again.

C)    Judge for yourself: Are you taking the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner, or do you neglect this sacrament in some way,

1.      perhaps taking it lightly or thoughtlessly,

2.      perhaps not taking it when you should be taking it,

3.      perhaps neglecting to establish church membership so you can partake,

4.      or perhaps missing the point of unity and fellowship with Christ and the church?

5.      Whatever the case, know that God delights in communion with us; He welcomes all who wish to come to His table, and I’m eager to help anyone who wants help in that process!


Order of Worship


3-May-09 (Bible ref’s from NASB)


Psalm 34:2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. 3) O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.


Psalter 133





ConfessionText Deut 32:12

"The LORD alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him. 13) "He made him ride on the high places of the earth, And he ate the produce of the field; And He made him suck honey from the rock, And oil from the flinty rock, 14) Curds of cows, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs, And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the finest of the wheat-- And of the blood of grapes you drank wine. 15) "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked-- You are grown fat, thick, and sleek-- Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation. 16) "They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 17) "They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. 18) "You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth. 19) "The LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters. 20) "Then He said, 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness. 21) 'They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, 22) For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains… 39) See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand… 43) Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people."




Amazing Love (Graham Kendrick)

OT Text

Isaiah 65:11-25


Carl Fisher

NT Text

1 Corinthians 6


Soul Adorn Yourself with Gladness


1 Cor. 10:15-23 Should I or Shouldn't I? A Question of Partnership between God and Man




Our Blessing Cup (JMT)


1Cor 10:16 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? 17) Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.


We are One in the Spirit


2 Cor. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.