August 14, 2015
Being a gospel preacher or missionary is a faith venture. The call to ministry is answered with no salary guarantee. The apostle Paul had preached the gospel to the people of Corinth, yet never asked for payment. He worked night and day making tents, so he could offer the gospel freely. However, other preachers had come to Corinth claiming superior status and demanding payment. Apparently, these preachers disparaged Paul’s credibility as an apostle, so that he had to remind the Corinthians that he was the one who had first led them to faith. In America today, a very small minority of “preachers” profit from the gospel message giving a bad name to the office. However, the vast majority of true gospel preachers struggle as Paul did trying to survive on meager offerings, while at the same time trying to train up new believers to support the very ministry which led them to eternal life. Do you support those who preach the gospel?
August 10, 2015
After Paul gave a list of sinful lifestyles that would keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God (i.e. “fornicator, idolater, adulterer, homosexual…”), he reminded the Corinthians that many of them were once marked by these names. But no longer. Since receiving Jesus as Lord, they had new identities, new names. Their sin was washed away, their clothes of shame were replaced with sanctified holy ones, and their names were changed to “child of God” as they were justified and adopted into God’s family. Stop calling yourself by an old name. Stop reducing yourself to an identity that only describes your sin. Instead, receive your new name and identity in Christ, and walk in it.
August 8, 2015
Paul called himself a “steward of God’s mysteries” (1 Cor. 4:1). A steward is a manager who serves on behalf of the owner. Managers in business are judged by their success. But Paul said that stewards of God are judged by their faithfulness. In God’s Kingdom, faithfulness is success. It’s not how much or how many you have, but what you do with what you have. The world teaches us to want more and to keep raising the bar for success. Yet, the Lord asks us what we have done with what we already have. The Lord is looking to find one that is faithful.
August 7, 2015
Paul compared 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 the message of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God.”
August 6, 2015
The “natural” person is one who has not been born again spiritually. They are unregenerate and already dead in their sins. That is to say, they are spiritually dead. And so, they are dead to the things of the Spirit. Their spiritual deadness accounts for their spiritual deafness and blindness. Only being raised to new life will open their ears and eyes to understand spiritual things. No amount of argument or persuasion will wake the dead. Only the saving power of God’s gospel of grace received through faith will bring them to life.