Two Cups: Divine or Demonic?

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

I Corinthians 10:16-21

Introduction: The primary text states "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils." There is a great movement among professing Christians toward an inclusive approach to fellowship in the church (local and universal).

This passage reminds us that our fellowship must often be a mutually exclusive one when it comes to some matters. On the one hand we have gone too far in excluding people from fellowship on matters of preference and not solid biblical doctrine.

On the other, we have not been stringent enough on taking a firm stand against those few areas of faith and practice where there can be absolutely no compromise.

This past week I spent three hours with two transgender persons. One was a man who used to be a woman. The other was a woman who used to be a man. Both of them were bright, articulate, and willing to engage in a broad range of questions.

The man was the head of an organization in my state to promote the acceptance of transgender persons in the general community as well as the Christian community. The woman was pursuing her Ph.D. at a prestigious local university. This was the first time in many years I have had occasion to speak with such people in a calm, logical, rational way.

After a long discussion we reached a point where we basically had to agree to disagree based upon our different views of God's will and God's Word. It was an amazing and enlightening conversation. Dialogue remains possible but fellowship does not.

There are times when someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong. Of course there is always the possibility that we are all wrong - but we must live with the consequences of our beliefs.

Standing on the edge of the allowable puts us in danger of falling into the sinful. There are times when our ambivalence must of necessity give way to resolution:

Joshua said choose you this day whom you will serve.
Elijah said how long halt you between two opinions?
Jesus said he that is not with me is against me.
James said a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.
Paul said come out from among them and be ye separate.

1. Doctrine of Devils (Demons) I Timothy 4:1

a. Depart from the faith (I Timothy 3:15) They neglect the local church as the pillar and ground of the truth and appeal to culture, human reasoning, and feelings.

b. Distort the faith (I Timothy 4:3) Whereas some depart from God's Word others seek to distort God's Word by adding to it.

c. Dilute the faith (I Timothy 4:7) Instead of adding to God's Word they subtract from it and replace it with fables.

2. Distraction of Devils (Demons) I Corinthians 10

a. Idolatry (Exodus 32:8) Aids to worship become the aim of worship.

b. Fornication (Numbers 25) There is a physical and spiritual joining together seeking to "join together what God has put asunder."

c. Tempting (Numbers 21) Doing evil to see what God will do.

d. Murmuring (Numbers 14:24, 28) Longing for Egypt more than Canaan.

3. Deception of the Devil (I Corinthians 10:11-13)

a. They say the God who judged them will not judge us (10:11)

b. They say we are O.K. because we think we are O.K. (10:12)

c. They excuse themselves by saying that you don't know what we are going through (10:13)

Conclusion: Believers need to brace themselves and arm themselves with the Word of God as we proceed through an increasingly post-Christian culture. The pious platitudes and slogans of the past are not enough. We must know where God's Word draws the line (and where it does not); and be prepared to stand.

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