The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
1 Cor. 10:6-13
 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.  Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,  nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:6-13 (ESV)
Now these things happened to the as and example but they were written down for our instruction on whom the end of ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. Not temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may endure it.
For our instruction on whom the end of ages has come.
Of course taken in context, this whole passage is talking about communion, who should and who shouldn’t commune and why. The congregation in Corinth was disfunctional enough that Paul had to write them a letter warning them that they could not continue in sexual immorality, idolatry, and other immoral behavior and still commune without putting Christ to the test, without expecting to see the same disastrous results as those who partook in the exodus saw in the desert. First Corinthians is quite the text, it isn’t popular, most of the unpopular practices our Missouri Synod has, strictures against women’s ordination, close communion, taking doctrine and morality seriously, and the idea that being a member of a congregation and partaking of Christ’s Flesh and Blood with them for the forgiveness of sins is more than something between you and God, but is part of being in community with one another and brings responsibility to one another and accountability to one another for our actions and beliefs come from a careful reading of this text. This is what has been written down for our instruction on whom the end of ages has come.
On whom the end of ages has come. Funny I hear people from time to time mock Paul, not only for the morality he espoused and which so many chafe against, but for his insistence that he lived in the last days. These same people in turn would like you to believe that you don’t yet. That it is coming. They twist all of scripture to serve teenage fantasies of Armageddon, secret raptures, military melt downs, nationalistic uprisings and rebuilding temples. But Paul is laughable? Mind you the ones who mock him for his eschatology tend to be the same ones who rant and rave about inerrancy of scripture, but who seem to mean by that that Revelation and the book of James are inerrant and the rest of scripture is open for speculation. These are the one’s Second Peter warns us of, who mockingly say, “where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our fathers fell asleep things continue as they have since the beginning of creation.”
These people understand nothing of Biblical eschatology, nothing of what the Bible actually teaches concerning the end of time. Paul is right. He can’t help to be, he was an apostle sent by Christ himself, with the commission to each what Christ had given him to teach. Paul knows that even in his day the end of ages had come, and Christ’s return was and is imminent. That is what Christ wants. He doesn’t want us to know when he will return but to live our whole lives as if his coming was imminent. Not an easy task. Worldly concerns have a tendency to take over our thoughts, to pull our attention. As every day begins and ends like the last. But Jesus himself was adamant that the end would be like the days of Noah with feasting and people being married and given into marriage. That it would come unexpectedly. This is what is most often ignored about Christ’s prediction of the end times. W concentrate on wars, earthquakes famines, and fail to see that Christ also has this other aspect, and all together he is saying, the end will come and everything will be just like it is right now. People won’t be expecting it. But we are those upon whom the end of ages has come. And these things are written for our instruction because Christ’s return is imminent.
And why was it that Paul was so adamant that he lived in the end of days? The resurrection. When Martha talks to Jesus about her dead brother Lazarus, she points to the hope that the Jewish people had for the end times, that the last day would be marked by the resurrection of the dead. To which Jesus answers that he is the resurrection and the life. When Jesus rises from the dead, when the skeptic Paul is convinced of this. When the disciples preach the resurrection to the city of Jerusalem, where the preaching would not have lasted a half hour were Christ still in the tomb, were the grave not empty, it could mean only one thing the end had come, the parousia has had its beginning. Our hope has been made certain in his resurrection. For in him we have forgiveness, in him we have life, and in him we live even though we die.