1 Corinthians

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“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)

August 24, 2014

Be strong, immovable, always work with enthusiasm for the Lord. Why? Because of the resurrection and because whatever you plant in faith will grow and produce a harvest. The promise of eternal life should make us fearless in our focus. It should make us immovable (persistently firm and unswerving) in our commitment. Do you ever feel that your work for God is insignificant? That your faith is useless? Remember what Christ gave for you and that when He returns, you will rise to His trumpet’s call. Nothing you do for Him is useless, even the giving of your very life. No good thing is forgotten or wasted that we do in His Name.

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT)

August 19, 2014

There is diversity of spiritual gifting, but one Spirit. Many parts, one body. If the church is behaving in a crippled manner, isn’t it because certain parts of the body aren’t active? Not that they aren’t present, but that they aren’t obedient to the Head, which is Christ? When the members of the body of Christ fail to do their part, the body falls short of its calling. But when every member moves in unity according to gifting, the church fulfills its calling. What if the church isn’t being the church because you aren’t being the member of its body you were gifted to be?

“You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT)

August 16, 2014

Paul addressed the tension between the believer’s freedom and the believer’s responsibility in this passage to the Corinthians. The church at Corinth had become almost antinomian in its celebration of freedom. They wanted no limitation on their behavior. Paul reminded them that their freedom in Christ was limited by its impact on others and on the glory of God. You may be allowed to do anything, but… 1) Is it good for you? 2) Is it beneficial or edifying to yourself and others? 3) Will it bring glory to God? or can you do it to the glory of God? 4) Will it help or hinder the gospel? It is true that we are no longer under law, but under grace. Yet this liberty is not the freedom to sin, but to live righteously for Christ. It is the freedom to live in love.. loving God and loving others as your self.

“Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NLT)

August 15, 2014

Some have referred to this as the Pauline Principle, the strategy being to adapt methods to the hearer while maintaining the integrity of the message. When Paul was in Athens he used their monument to the “unknown god” to help illustrate the gospel to them. When talking to a Jewish audience he quoted the Mosaic Law. When speaking to the Greeks he quoted their Greek philosophers. Paul shared the gospel in the language and culture of his hearer, rather than expecting the hearer to adapt to his culture and language. The Gospel MESSAGE is never-changing and must be guarded. But Gospel METHODS should be flexible to reach this ever-changing world.

“…while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church” (1 Corinthians 8:1b NLT)

August 13, 2014

What “strengthens” the church? Love. This does not discount the importance of knowledge, nor of good doctrine in the church. But it does clarify their priority. Love is superior. Let love guide and motivate the use of knowledge. As Paul said in Eph. 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.” An old cliché suggests, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Let others know that they are loved, then perhaps they’ll ask about the reason. Knowledge may win arguments, but love wins hearts.

“Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away” (1 Corinthians 7:31 NLT)

August 12, 2014

Do not allow yourself to become “attached” to temporal, worldly things. Maintain a practice of use. Live the life of the open hand. One hand open to God to receive and one hand open to others to give. Learn to use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Why let things own you? Live simply and generously. And experience the joy of setting your heart on eternal things.

“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 NLT)

August 10, 2014

When Paul wrote this to the Corinthians he was primarily addressing the problem of sexual sin that was so prevalent in their culture. Believers were to live differently than the culture around them. This was not a call to an outward asceticism, but a reminder of an identity change. They were no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to Christ. Their bodies were purchased by His blood and had become God’s holy temple where His Spirit dwelled. This word is as relevant today as it was then. We are no longer to be identified by our sexual orientation or sinful enslavement, for we have been bought out from under sin’s mastery. We have a new Master and a new identity in Christ.

“It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide” (1 Corinthians 4:4 NLT)

August 8, 2014

Paul rebuked the Corinthians who claimed to be followers of Paul or Apollos. He was not interested in the approval of men. His desire was to be found faithful by the Lord Jesus. He saw no value nor credibility in the evaluation of others or even his own self-evaluation. He recommended that we all wait until the Lord’s return to see what secret motives would be revealed and what praise offered. In the meantime, stop comparing one brother or sister with another. After all, anything good comes from God. And in the end, Christ deserves all the praise.

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT)

August 7, 2014

Paul uses a farming analogy to compare witnessing with planting. The one who sows and waters is the witness and the seed is the gospel. Yet, the seed comes from God and only He can make it grow. This removes both the pressure of success and the temptation to take credit. As the late Bill Bright used to say, “Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.”