1 Cor. 10:1-2

Jesus is My Life
Great Commission Church
1 Cor. 10:1-2

Intro: One of the most notable episodes in the Bible is the story of how God brought His people the Israelites out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the promised land called Canaan. Through this story, the Holy Spirit has given us a master key to unlock the truth about the three different spiritual conditions you can find yourself in. My purpose is to examine with you what it means to be in the land of Egypt, what it means to be in the wilderness, and what it means to be in Canaan – the three categories of men.

For over 400 years the children of Israel had been enslaved by the Egyptians. They suffered bitterly beneath burdens inflicted on them by their taskmasters. They were helpless. They could not rescue themselves. All they had was a much earlier promise from God to their forefather Abraham that He would act to redeem them. This is the same picture God gives us of the unforgiven sinner.

1.    EGYPT – unforgiven sinner in bondage to sin and death

At the Fall of man, when Adam sinned, God withdrew His Holy Spirit from the human spirit. Although the man retained his physical body and possessed still a functioning soul of mind, emotion, and will – he was empty of God.

Man was now spiritually bankrupt. He was destitute of that spiritual life only had by the presence of the Lord. God had left him. 

This was the consequence of sin – which is: the absence of all spiritual life. 

We are all born into this condition of spiritual death. Adam passed a sinful nature down to all mankind. We are easy prey to the ravages of sinfulness that entered the human heart on the day God went out.

This principle of sin is called “the flesh” in the Bible. (This flesh does not refer to the human body, which itself is not sinful).

The flesh in the biblical sense is an evil bias. It is a satanic agency from which all human wickedness springs.

Mark 7:20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 
Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 
Mark 7:22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 
Mark 7:23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Egypt and its cruel taskmasters represent the wickedness that must be judged by Holy God.

Isn’t it, therefore, obvious that God no more wants you to remain dead in your sins and under His righteous judgment than He wanted His chosen people Israel to remain enslaved in Egypt?

Consider Passover. It is a yearly festival remembering how God’s death angel passed over all the homes of the Israelites who had the blood of a sacrificial lamb applied to their doorframes and doorposts.

What did the LORD ask His people Israel to do? Simply apply the blood to the doorposts and to the lintels by faith and then rest in God’s promise!

What does God ask you to do? Simply apply the death of Jesus Christ to your own desperate need as a guilty sinner by faith, and then rest in His promise to forgive you and to give you a new life.

2.    CANAAN – believer enjoying the indwelling Christ living through him or her

Canaan in the Bible is not heaven. It is not the place we go when we die. Instead, it is Christ Himself, right now, living His victorious life through me.

Indeed, it is only the Lord Jesus who is capable of living the Christian life.

As we know from Rom 10:5, Christ not only reconciles us to God by His death, but He saves us moment by moment by His life.

That means, He died not only for what you have done, but He rose again to live in you, to take the place of what you are.

The Christian life is an exchanged life, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

His strength for your weakness! His wisdom for your foolishness! His drive for your drift! His grace for your greed! His love for your lust! His peace for your problems! His joy for your sorrow! His plenty for your poverty!

This is what Canaan is – you were brought out to be brought in. Out of slavery; into God’s promise!

This was God’s purpose for His people then, and this God’s purpose for His redeemed people now – the natural to become spiritual.

Natural man    Spiritual man
destitute of divine life    filled with the Holy Spirit
devil’s plaything    alive to God as instrument of righteousness
destined for hell    destined for heaven

2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

What, then, is the wilderness?

3.    WILDERNESS – carnal Christian living in self-imposed spiritual poverty

This is the same tragedy for believers today as it was for God’s people Israel back then as they wandered aimlessly in the desert for forty years.

They were a people who lived in self-inflicted need. They had deprived themselves. They had no one else to blame.

Every day they spent in the desert was a day they could have spent in Canaan – since God had given them the land!

However, they refused to believe that the God who brought them out was the God who could bring them in.

The wilderness is a picture of the believer who stops growing and chooses to follow his/her own flesh. 

If I am a carnal Christian, what does that mean? How did it come to this?

It means that you have been redeemed by faith in Christ through His reconciling death. You have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is by the Spirit’s gracious presence that Christ lives within you. 

But in a moment of irrational thought, you decide to live in spite of the truth that Christ lives in you. You have chosen to live apart from these holy resources.

You now live in self-imposed poverty. You live under the subtle influences of a defeated foe, your flesh. 

What did Christ do to the flesh at the cross? Christ took it with Him into the grave. 

You are just like the children of Israel who lived forty years plagued by the memories and the subtle influences of the Egyptians. 

What did God do to the Egyptians at the Exodus? God buried them to the last man in the depths of the Red Sea.

Like the Israelites, you enjoy neither the grilled meat of Egypt nor the golden corn of Canaan – you are stranded in the desert!

The unbelief of the children of Israel cheated them out of the blessing of God. The blessing of God was the reason they had been brought out of Egypt. 

In the desert, they lived only to discredit the good name of the One who had redeemed them. 
The carnal Christian is the one who has received the Holy Spirit. Even though he has all the fulness of Christ, he ignores Jesus’ presence. 

The result? He struggles to walk in holiness because he lives as if Jesus were not there.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

He constantly begs and pleads for all that God has already given him. But he will not take it.

He will not step out in faith that Christ is his life. 

But it may not be apparent to others that he is living a lie.

2 Kings 2:19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.”

Here was the city of Jericho enchantingly situated and beautiful. By all accounts it looked lovely. 

The traveler or merchant passing through would be glad to stay over for a few days in such an outwardly pleasant setting. They might even wish to return here for a vacation with their family.

But beneath all the charming exterior, there was heartbreak. There was a growing, sickening ache in the chests of the citizens.

The locals knew their own inner secret: “the water is bad and the ground barren.”

If you had been there in the early spring, you would have seen all the evidence of the coming harvest. You would have seen the tiny, tender plants bursting through the soil. You would have seen the leaves emerging from the buds on the trees and shrubs.

A week or two later you would have seen the blossoms fade and the fruit begin to form. You might even have congratulated the people on their coming harvest. It would almost certainly be plentiful. That was the tragedy of it!

Maybe it was still lurking in the hearts of the citizens – that feeble hope that this year things would be different. This year it would turn around. This year their fortunes would be reversed. Maybe they had finally turned the corner.

But something as heavy as lead, deep down in their hearts told them, “No! It will always be just the same! You know exactly what is going to happen.”

And it did. The fruit, just about to ripen, ready to be plucked, fell suddenly to ground – premature and immature – to rot and never to reproduce. 

This was the heartbreak of that beautiful city! So impressive to everyone except to those who lived there! So deceptive. 

What does this represent? What does it picture? It may be a picture of you. Do not be shocked to hear that it perfectly illustrates the carnal Christian.

Many carnal believers are good neighbors. They are ordinary, average, sincere Christians. They talk the language of salvation. They mean every word they say. They are not intentional hypocrites. Many are just worn out with it all. 

They are overwhelmed with a sense of defeat. They feel frustrated and spiritually empty, but when you meet them, they smile sweetly. They will grip you by the hand and say, “I am so glad I got to see you!” 

But on the inside, they know what you do not know about them – they know that for years they have labored in vain!

The fruit that has appeared so good to others has fallen so cruelly to the ground – premature, immature – only to rot and never to reproduce.

So many times, they have knelt somewhere and cried out to God, “Lord, you know how barren I am. You know how empty I am. You know that my Christian life is stale and unproductive. You know it!” – and yet they don’t know how to get out of the rut.


illus: I may say to a glove, “Glove, pick up this Bible,” and yet, somehow the glove cannot do it. It has a thumb and fingers. It has the shape and form of a hand, but it is yet unable to do the thing I command it. You may say, “Well, of course not. You have never told the glove how!” But I may preach to the glove. I may instruct that glove until my patience is exhausted, but the glove, try as it might, still cannot pick up that Bible. Yet I have a glove at home that has picked up a shovel dozens of times – but never once before I put my hand into it! However, as soon as my hand goes into that glove, the glove becomes as strong as my hand. Everything possible to my hand becomes possible to that glove – but only in the measure in which the glove is prepared simply to clothe the activity of my hand. That is what it means to have Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, dwelling within your redeemed humanity. You are the glove; Christ is the Hand! Everything that is possible to Him becomes possible to you. With Apostle Paul, you can declare the truth of Philippians 4:13!

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.