August 25, 2014
As Paul closed his letter to the Corinthians, he reminded them of many people who had served them in the church. As he listed several of these Christian workers by name, he encouraged the believers at Corinth to willingly submit to their leadership and to show them appropriate appreciation for their hard work. One of the marks of the body of Christ is that we are not to look down on those who serve among us. Instead, we are to applaud their service. Who is someone that serves in your life that deserves your appreciation today?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”