1 Corinthians

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“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)

August 17, 2016

Headship is a biblical title of relational authority. It is a beautiful word that unfortunately rubs many of our generation the wrong way. In 1 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul was trying to restore God-honoring order to their worship services, which had fallen into disarray. He reminded them that Christ is the perfect picture of headship and submission. As the Head of the Church, He lay down His life as a sacrifice for sin and will one day return to receive her as His bride. At the same time, Christ did all of this in submission to the Father, who is His head. They are coequal, yet the Son always submits to the Father. In like manner, those who would lead in worship must submit to appropriate headship and lead as servant-leaders. Clearly, men and women are to follow the order of creation and the intent of the Father in this. God’s Word, not human culture should be the “head” of how we worship.

“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV)

August 13, 2016

Our existence is “from” and “for” God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. He made us for Himself. As Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Do you know the One to whom you belong and for whom you exist? Come, and find perfect rest and purpose in Him.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)

August 10, 2016

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.

“you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5 ESV)

August 9, 2016

It was reported to the apostle Paul that a man in the Corinthian church had taken his father’s wife and that the incestuous affair had not been addressed by the church. Paul instructed them to put the man out of the church for at least two reasons. One, the man was unrepentant and his ongoing sin was hurting the church. And two, the man needed to be corrected for the sake of his own sanctification. Paul used judicial language. They were to “deliver” the man outside the protection of the church where the Lord reigns, to the world for Satan to administer discipline of his flesh (his sin nature). Hopefully, the man would come to his senses after seeing the “destruction” that following the flesh would bring on him, and he would repent. Notice that Paul was not speaking of the man losing his salvation, but of losing his place in the fellowship of the church until he might repent, or until the Day of the Lord.

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 ESV)

August 6, 2016

After contrasting the difference between the “natural man” and the “spiritual man” in chapter two, Paul addresses a troubling third spiritual category, the “carnal man” (“fleshly”). This person has received Christ as Savior (note Paul’s use of “brothers”), yet doesn’t yield to Him as Lord. Their behavior is not unlike that of the unbeliever. They do not desire to dig into the Word of God to be fed with meat, but want someone to bottle feed them with milk. They are divisive, jealous and hypocritical. Paul warns them of the coming Day which will expose their works. This is a miserable place to be spiritually, knowing the Lord, yet not fully surrendered to Him. They must stop being spiritual babies and grow up to maturity in the Lord.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV)

August 5, 2016

Some consider the story of the cross foolishness. They dismiss the gospel as folly. They see only weakness in Jesus. They are ignorant of His life-giving, resurrection power for those who believe. Yet, Christ is both the wisdom and the power of God. His wisdom and power are revealed to those who believe. Their minds and hearts are transformed, so that foolishness and wisdom, and weakness and power, reverse poles from North to South. They are made right with God and see all things as they really are, no longer walking in darkness, but in light.

“But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9 NKJV)

August 25, 2015

From verse 8 it appears that Paul was living in Ephesus when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. Ephesus was one of the great cities in the Roman empire located on the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor in the country we now know as Turkey. Paul stayed in Ephesus for an extended period of time and found the city to be an “open door” for the gospel, not only for its citizens, but also as a hub of ministry in reaching those in the surrounding cities. Yet, wherever there are people coming to Christ and getting saved, there is also increased activity by the Adversary, the devil. So, Paul planned to “tarry” in Ephesus as long as the gospel door was open, knowing that such “doors” do not stay open forever. There is an urgency to such opportunities that Paul recognized. Are we looking for such open door opportunities in our world today?

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV)

August 23, 2015

Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that the gospel he “delivered” to them was the same one that he had “received.” This is the gospel by which he was saved and by which they too would be saved, if only they would believe. This gospel is good news. It has certain particular facts that are well documented with a list of eye-witnesses. Paul is like a newspaper boy, he didn’t write the news, nor make the news, he is just the one who delivers it. And he delivers it whole and unchanged just as he received it. This is our task today. First, to receive the gospel ourselves and then, to deliver it to others, just as Paul did.

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV)

August 22, 2015

Apparently, the worship services in Corinth had become quite chaotic and confusing. This was not the pattern that Paul had given them when he planted the church. So, his letters to them are prescriptive in nature. He wanted them to understand that when God is present in worship there is order and peace, not chaos and confusion. Perhaps the ecstatic pagan practices of the Corinthian idolaters had infected the church. Or perhaps the disunity he described earlier concerning factions in the church had led to these tumultuous services. Whatever the cause, the church of Corinth, in a city of 800,000 population, was in danger of losing God’s presence in their worship. For wherever the Spirit of God is, there is peace.

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV)

August 20, 2015

In Paul’s chapter on why love is the greatest gift, he explains that the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge will pass away. While love will never end, these three gifts will no longer be needed. Why? Because prophecy will be fulfilled, language will no longer be confused (Gen. 11:7), and knowledge will become experience. Recently, someone asked whether we would know one another in heaven. The answer we see here is clear: Yes, we “shall know” just as we are “known.” And most wonderful of all, we shall finally be “face to face” with the One who saved us, Christ Jesus our Lord!