Demons for Dinner

1 Corinthians 10:19-22 "19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"


In our Passage, Paul is dealing with idolatry. For the Corinthians:

  • The problem was a social cost to them following Christ and stepping out of those temples. The temples were the center of Roman society. its where people met, its where people partied… 1 Pet 4:4 “...they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;”

  • There was a sensual cost… of stepping out of those temples. 1 Corinthians reminds us of the connection between idolatry and sexual immorality. Often connected as he just said in 1 Cor 10:7. Moses warns about the danger of dining with demons in Numbers 25:1-3  writing "the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods (IDOLS). 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor (IDOL), and the LORD was angry against Israel."

  • serious financial cost… because the relationship and connections made there is what led to trade, and monetary growth. The temples were the centers of trade…there were not banks in the time… people actually had their money kept at the temples… https://www.vita-romae.com/ancient-roman-banking.html. Col 3:5 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

2 Considerations for the Context:

1. Remember what idolatry is:

  • Oxford’s Dictionary Idolatry: the practice of worshiping statues as gods or [having] too much love or admiration for someone or something.

  • Biblical definition of idolatry: When something becomes more important to us than God.

  • Counterfeit Gods:“An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, and anything that you seek to give you what only God can give.”

  • Dwight L. Moody says it this way:

“You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.”

2. Keep in mind the attributes of God: Jealous

It is important to understand how the word “jealous” is used.


Its use in Exodus 20:5 to describe God is different from how it is used to describe the sin of jealousy (Galatians 5:20).


In Exodus 20:5, it is not that God is jealous or envious because someone has something He wants or needs.

  • Exodus 20:4-5 says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...

John Calvin famously said "the human heart is a perpetual idol factory" [Institutes I.11.8].
  • "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim [idols]—for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:12-14, NASB).


  • The root meaning of that word jealous is "to become intensely red."Think in terms of the changing color of the face or the rising heat of the emotions. Being jealous and being zealous are essentially the same thing in the Bible.


How does idolatry provoke God to Jealousy?


1. You provoke God when…You rob God of the unique devotion due him.


It is interesting, indeed, that the word "demons" in the epistles is always used in the plural.


v20a No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God.


sacrifice/offer: specifically a sacrifice in an act of worship… it is an expression of devotion. The heathen or pagan is supplied. It simply refers to the unbeliever.

demon: a hostile transcendent being w. status between humans and deities, spirit, power, hostile divinity, evil spirit it denotes an inferior pagan deity. "Demons" are the spiritual agents acting in all idolatry. The idol itself is nothing, but  idols have "demons" associated with them 1Corinthians 10:20,21 ; Revelation 9:20 ; cp. Deuteronomy 32:17 ; Isaiah 13:21 ; 34:14 ; 65:3,11.


So what can demons do?

  • influence your heart: When we willingly ignore the Lord’s way and flirt with the things of Satan by setting up idols of any kind, we open ourselves up to demonic influence. In rebuking Ananias, Peter said, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3).Matthew 10:1 ; Mark 5:2 ; 7:25 ; Luke 8:27-29 ; Revelation 16:13

  • affect your teaching/belief. They disseminate errors, and seek to seduce believers, 1Ti 4:1, "Demons" tremble before God, James 2:19 ; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matthew 8:29 ; Luke 4:41 ."Demons" tremble before God, James 2:19 ; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matthew 8:29 ; Luke 4:41 .

  • afflict your body: Associated with sickness and disease… Luke 13:16.

“A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone and asked, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you." Livingstone wrote back, "If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."” Good News Broadcaster, April, 1985,  p. 12. Followers of Christ are people uniquely devoted to God.
  • Titus 2:14-15 “[Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

  • James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

  • 1 Pet 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

We cant compromise at this table.


2. You provoke God when…you rob God of undiluted fellowship that He deserves.


v20b I do not want you to be participants with demons.


participants: κοινωνός - one who takes part in someth. with someone, companion, partner, sharer. It points to something we now have in common.

Key point in the demonic forces in question: “The rhetorical structure here relies heavily on Gr-Rom. understanding that a δαίμων (demon) is a service-oriented divinity of a second order...With sharp satire Paul says that God has reason to be jealous if the Corinthians engage in civil feasts where sacrifice is made to mere secondary divinities...he Corinthians are in effect insulting ‘the Lord’.”

We were created for fellowship with God.

  • Gen 3:8 “[Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,...”

  • Gen 5:24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

  • Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

  • Gen 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,”

  • Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

  • In Contrast: Jonah1… Fled from the presence of theLord.


The division and dilution of the Corinthians church is not solved by simply harmonizing with each other. It required that their fellowship with Christ becomes the priority.


“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” A.W. Tozer

James 4:4-5 “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship(love) with the world is enmity (war, hostility) with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?”


We can’t compromise at this table.


3. You provoke God when... you rob God of the undivided allegiance He deserves.

Recognize the disparity in redemptive work of christ and the guilt imposed by the demonic:

v21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.

v22You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

The root word (koinōnos) comes four times in this paragraph, and there are two occurrences of the word partake (17, 21). The partnership acts in two ways: with one another as fellow-worshippers and with the god/gods/God whom they worship. The worshippers share together in the spiritual reality behind all that happens.

The cup is one thing, but the table refers to the whole experience of the Lord’s supper.


I & II Corinthians (C. Prohibition against Idolatry and Further Explanation (10:14–2210:22. Paul made this clear when he wondered if the Corinthians wanted to arouse the Lord’s jealousy, and if they were stronger than the Lord. God is often portrayed in Scripture as a jealous, possessive husband (Jer. 31:32; Hos. 2:1–13). He requires exclusive communion from his people.


No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve money, or sex, or sports heroes, or singers, or politicians, or pastors, with allegiance that only Christ deserves. We dont compromise at this table.


  • EPh 4:5-6 “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

  • Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

  • John 6:66-68 “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,”

We can’t compromise at this table


A. W. Tozer -- "An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand." and he is a jeaolous God.


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