God doesn’t want you to do anything bad
My Christian friends, remember the story about my mob, the Israel people. A long time ago, they all followed Moses and walked out into the hot dry country. And God put a big cloud above them, and that cloud showed them where to go. Then they came to the Red Sea, and God pushed the water back so that they all walked through the Red Sea on dry ground.* It was like God baptised everyone that followed Moses, at first in the cloud, and then in the sea. They all ate the food that God gave them,* and they all drank the water that God gave them. He used his power to put a special rock there for them, and water came from that rock, and they drank it. And that rock followed them all the time in that dry country. That special rock was really Jesus Christ. He went along with them.* That’s how God helped the people. But later most of them went wrong, and he was not happy with them. So he killed them, and their bodies lay everywhere in that dry country.* All those things happened to the Israel people to show us that God is not happy with people that do bad things. Those things happened so that we will not want to do bad things, like they did.* Don’t do what some of them did. They showed respect to statues that they thought were gods. God says this in his book,
The people sat down to eat and to drink, to show respect to those statues. Then they stood up to play.”*
And some of them slept with a person that was not their own wife or husband, and they did what married people do together. So God killed 23,000 of them in one day. This story tells us that we can only sleep with our own wife or husband, not with anybody else.* And some of them tried to test God. They tried to see how far wrong they could go before he punished them. And he did punish them. Cheeky snakes came and killed them. This story tells us that we can’t try to test Jesus Christ.* 10 And some of them complained about God and said that he was not fair, and one of God’s angel messengers came and killed them. This story tells us that we can’t complain about God and say he is not fair.*
11 All those things happened to that mob a long time ago, and God got his men to write it all in his book, to show us that those things are wrong. We have to think about those stories and learn from them. You see, we’re living in the end time now, and soon Jesus will come back. 12 So be careful. If you think you are standing strong for Jesus, look out. You might fall down and go wrong. 13 Sometimes you will want to do bad things and you will find it hard to stop yourself, but remember that other people find it hard to stop themselves from doing bad things too. And remember this, God wants to help you. He will show you a way to stop yourself from going wrong, and he will help you to go the right way.
You can’t respect Jesus and respect bad spirits too
14 Listen, my friends, I’m telling you this. Keep away from those statues that people think are gods. Don’t respect them at all. 15 I know that you people can think properly, so you yourselves work out what is right.
16 Think about when we get together to remember what Jesus did for us. We all drink from that cup, and we remember that Jesus Christ died for us, and his blood came out, and we thank God for him. That joins us together with him and with each other. And when we break up the flat damper and eat it, we all remember that Jesus Christ’s body got broken for us. And that also joins us together with him and with each other.* 17 You see, we are a lot of people, but all of us eat from one damper, so all of us are like one body when we eat from that same damper.
18 Think about the Israel people. They give animals to God and cook their meat on a special table. They show respect to God as they eat that meat, and that joins them together with God and with each other.*
19 You see, this is what I’m saying. Those statues that people think are gods, they are really nothing. And if people give food to those statues, that food doesn’t get any power at all. 20 Really, those people are showing respect to bad spirits, not God, and they are joining themselves to bad spirits. Don’t do that. I don’t want you to join up with bad spirits.*
21 You can’t go 2 ways at the same time. You can’t drink from the cup of our leader, Jesus, and then drink from the cup of bad spirits. You can’t eat the damper from the table of Jesus, and then eat food from the table of bad spirits. 22 If you do, you will make God jealous, and he will get angry with you. And he is a lot stronger than you.*
Don’t do anything that might give other people problems
23 Some of you might say this, “We are free from that Jewish law. We can do anything we like. We can eat that food that they give to those statues, and it will not hurt us.” All right, but I’m telling you, “No. Not everything is good for us Christians to do.” And you might reckon, “We are free, so we can do anything.” But I’m telling you, “No. Not everything helps us be better Christians.”* 24 Don’t just think about yourself, and what is good for you, but think about what is good for other people.
25 So, all right, this is what you can do. You can buy food from anyone that sells it, but don’t ask them if they first gave it to one of those statues. And don’t ask yourself, “Is it all right for me to eat this food, or not?” 26 You see, Gods book says,
The earth, and everything in it, belongs to God.”*
Yes, all food is from God, so it is all right for us to eat that food.
27 Maybe there are some people there that don’t believe in Jesus, and they ask you to eat dinner with them. If you say, “Yes,” and you go to their place, then you can eat whatever food they give to you there. Don’t ask yourself, “Is this food all right or not?” Don’t think about it. Don’t ask them any questions about that food.
28 But then, if somebody there says to you, “They gave this food to those statues that they think are gods,” then stop. Don’t eat that food. Think about the person that told you about it. That person might not know if it is all right to eat that food or not, and you don’t want to give that person a problem. 29 It will not matter to you. You know it is all right to eat that food. But that other person doesn’t know, and he might think you are doing wrong.
Maybe you ask me, “Why can another person say what I can do and what I cant do? 30 I thank God for my food. So, if I eat that food, nobody can blame me when I eat it.”
31 Don’t think like that. You have to think like this, that we have to live in a way that shows everyone that God is great and God is good. So whatever you do, even when you eat and drink, do it the way God wants. 32 Don’t do anything that might give other people problems. Don’t make problems for Jewish people, or for people that are not Jewish. And don’t make problems for God’s people. 33 Be like me. I always try to do what makes everyone happy. I try to help other people. I don’t just do things to help myself. You see, I want God to save those other people.
* 10:1 Exodus 13:21-22; 14:22-29 * 10:3 Exodus 16:35 * 10:4 Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11 * 10:5 Numbers 14:29-30 * 10:6 Numbers 11:4 * 10:7 Exodus 32:6 * 10:8 Numbers 25:1-18 * 10:9 Numbers 21:5-6 * 10:10 Numbers 16:41-49 * 10:16 Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20 * 10:18 Leviticus 7:6 * 10:20 Deuteronomy 32:17 * 10:22 Deuteronomy 32:21 * 10:23 1 Corinthians 6:12 * 10:26 Psalm 24:1