Archive for August, 2006

1 Corinthians 15

Paul went to great lengths to remind those in Corinth of the reason that we are here. To remind them of what is yet to come.
I don’t think that Paul was teaching them these things for the first time. (that’s just my opinion). The church today is no different than the church in Corinth. Often we get caught up in things that really don’t matter, things that discourage us and then we lose our focus on what its really all about.
Paul very tactfully (by the Holy Spirit) addressed these things to the church at Corinth for their sake and also for ours.

Let us read 1 Corinthians 15 again or listen to it at:

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/

also for another good story to listen to: Ed’s story (when you listen..remember, this is what its all about)
you will have to copy and paste for now

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First a bit of a recap. Toward the end of I Corinthians, Paul is answering various questions that were put to him by the people of Corinth. Beginning with chapter 12, he is answering a question about spiritual gifts, first noting (chapter 12) that gifts provided by the Spirit are for the good of the entire Body, and that (chapter 13) spiritual gifts without love are worthless.

Paul next (chapter 14) addresses the gift of prophecy, and says that this should be a spiritual gift that is eagerly desired. Unlike tongues, prophecy can benefit the entire body. Without interpretation, tongues are only of benefit to the speaker. In verse 19, Paul states that he would rather speak five intelligible words (a prophecy) than ten thousand unintelligible words (in a tongue). In verse 21, Paul even quotes from Isaiah 28:11-12 to make his point.

Paul then states that tongues are for unbelievers, but prophecy is for believers. He does not expand on his reasoning as to why tongues are for unbelievers, but I guess we can look at Acts 2 to see the effect that tongues had on unbelievers – once the tongues were followed by Peter’s sermon. Of course, then Paul goes on to say that prophecy can affect an unbeliever also.

Verses 26 through 33 then state how tongues and prophecies should be managed when the believers come together. Paul lists hymns, words of instruction, revelations, tongues, and interpretations, then says (verse 26) that these must be done for the strengthening of the church. No tongues if there are no interpreters present. Prophecies should be controlled.

Oh yeah…women should remain silent in the churches.

And in verse 37, Paul explicitly says that he’s writing the Lord’s command.

Postscript: Deuteronomy includes some tests for a true prophet. See Deuteronomy 18:21-22 and Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

Our Pastor had bumper stickers made up a couple years ago that said, “Love Wins”. Love is a gift that is available to everyone. It always, no matter what, wins.
We all have spiritual gifts, but Love is available to each and every one of us. It is our responsibility to teach others about the Love that God has for them. This is the very way to do it. Show them Love.

A perfect example: my daughter and another little girl didn’t get along last year. We had a carnival in our church parking lot last week. An out reach ministry for the area schools. We live and go to church in less than a quarter of a mile of each other.
We gave away almost 700 book bags with school supplies in them. In addition to the hot dogs, snow cones and pop corn we gave away some love…
The little girl was there that we had some trouble with and she came up to the table that I was working (book bags). She wasn’t finding one that she liked. As hard as it was I said, “hello.” She really had said some nasty things to my daughter last year and really I didn’t want to be nice. I wanted to ignore her, but…… Something came over me (The Holy Spirit) and said, “Angel, pour on the love. This is your opportunity, she is on your stomping ground now, do it!” and I said to the little girl that was unable to find a FREE book bag that she liked out of probably 20 or 30 different styles. I said to her, “what kind of book bag are you looking for?” She explained the kind she was looking for. We didn’t see one on the table so I looked her in the eye and said,” I tell you what, I will personally go inside and see if I can find you the one you are looking for”. She looked at me like,
“Why are you being so nice to me?”….
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book bag she was wanting but she decided on another one, and as a result my daughter came home from the pool the other day and said,” mommy, mommy Shelby is being nice to me now and we are friends”. I said,” See what a little Love can do”.
No matter what, Love Wins. Not only did this teach my daughter a lesson about Love, it taught me one as well. It worked. What the Holy Spirit led me to do worked…
Not always easy, but always wins. We all are capable of showing love to others and the closer we walk in faith the easier it is to love. Before my walk I wouldn’t have been able to be nice to that little girl. I would have been the complete opposite of what I was. We are the Body.

Thanks be to God 

Sorry, Chatty Gabby tonight 

This is one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture, but I do have to say that Chapter 13 is even better (I don’t want to take anybodies thunder, but I do have to say that no matter how great the gifts are – and they are great – Chapter 13 talks about something so much better.)

The reason I like this chapter so much is that it really puts the proper focus on God’s plan for accomplishing his mission on earth – Us. See God intends to use all of us. There is not greater role and no lesser role. We all have a place to play in this glorious mission. I love the word picture that is created when Paul talks about how each part of the body is important. Just think about it. Would you like to go without your hand? Or how about just a finger or two? Maybe you could spare a foot or a couple toes. Maybe you don’t need your ears at all or your eyes are expendable. The truth is all of us are glad we have all of these parts. If we know anyone who does not have them we marvel at how they get along without them. Paul is trying to show us how important each one of us is in accomplishing the dream of God. Just because Billy Graham preached to millions does not make him more important than the house wife would graciously told her friends and neighbors about Jesus love. Just because your pastor prepares a sermon every week, does not mean he is more important than you are. We all are gifted by God in different ways and are useful for him mission.

I also love how Paul focuses on the spiritual gifts being equally important and given as God wills. They are given when needed and only where needed. We don’t own them. They are gifts from God to accomplish his mission on earth.

This is a passage that makes me glad we’re doing this study as a group. Much of it makes no sense to me.

I know the Corinthian church had problems, and was saturated with prostitution and the cultural blend of sex and worship, but I still don’t get all the talk of dishonoring one’s head by covering or not covering…

In a nutshell:
* A man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head. (Ok…. )
* A man should not have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God. (But the woman isn’t?)
* For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman. But all things come from God. (I can live with that…)
* Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him? But if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? (HuH? How?)

Please help me out here.

‘Get rid of divisions,’ he tells them again. This, I understand.

Paul then moves on to abuses of the Lord’s supper. Some were eating a meal, and it was not a remembrance, but a fulfillment of a physical need. Do that at home. Others were showing up drunk. Both of these improper practices resulted in “shaming those who have nothing.”

He warns them to be careful with observing of the remembrance, or some may become ill… or die. “For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself.”
Can you think of a current application of this caution?

You won’t be able claim that you didn’t know how to handle issues or how to conduct yourselves with unbelievers when you continue reading below.

We are all alike in Christ
But God doesn’t necessarily like all of our ways at times
Remember…23 thousand died for sexual immorality
And others too in many other ways in several different accounts in the bible (seems like God wanted to impress upon us this importance)

We all have temptations…but God won’t let us be tempted more than we can
Handle.

We all partake of ONE loaf…Jesus. Him only. Let’s remember who we are
Even with our freedoms and always be on guard.

Consciences may need to be overridden by love. So we must let God’s glory be the factor we choose In whether we should do something or not do something with an unbeliever. Don’t let the enemy use the conscience of an unbeliever against us. Let’s make the things we do..or don’t do…. be done intentionally.
Don’t let the enemy instill doubt in our minds (because that is where all the battles are fought). Let’s be predetermined and ready always to do what is right, in all things.

Dwayne

We ended 1 Corinthians 8 by talking about sinning against weak brothers and sisters by poor exercise of our freedom. Paul is in teaching mode when we shift to the material here.

Paul starts 1 Corinthians 9 by talking about his authority to teach – namely, his authority as an apostle. Regardless of one’s thoughts about Paul’s apostolic claims, he tells the Corinthians that Paul should at least be considered an apostle to the Corinthians themselves.

He then enters into a discussion which the NIV translation refers to as “the rights of an apostle.” Specific rights that Paul cites include the following:

  • the right to food and drink
  • the right to take a believing wife along
  • the right to not have to work for a living

In addition to human examples (soldiers who do not have to pay their own wages), Paul cites Deuteronomy 25:4, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Paul then proceeds to say, in verses 11 and 12:


1 Corinthians 9:11-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.


After similar comments regarding the right of support that he does not exercise, Paul provides some insight into his techniques. In verses 19 through 22, Paul notes that he does not have the same presentation for every audience – different people need different presentations. There is no single “Gospel Proclamation Method” that will fit all people – we need to address the specific needs of the person we’re addressing.

Proving his point, Paul then addresses his Greek audience with a sports analogy. He probably wouldn’t talk about “running a race” if addressing natives of Jerusalem; a good Jew would not run around a track in the nude. But his Greek audience knew that a race only has one winner, and that you need strict training to compete in a race. But the race that Christians are running has a prize that is better than any Olympic wreath or medal.

16:8 Give thanks to the Lord!
Call on his name!
Make known his accomplishments among the nations!
16:9 Sing to him! Make music to him!
Tell about all his miraculous deeds!
16:10 Boast about his holy name!
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
16:11 Seek the Lord and the strength he gives!
Seek his presence continually!
16:12 Recall the miraculous deeds he performed,
his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed,
16:13 O children of Israel, God’s servant,
you descendants of Jacob, God’s chosen ones!
16:14 He is the Lord our God;
he carries out judgment throughout the earth.
16:15 Remember continually his covenantal decree,
the promise he made to a thousand generations –
16:16 the promise he made to Abraham,
the promise he made by oath to Isaac!
16:17 He gave it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as a lasting promise,
– 1 Chronicles 16:8-17

One of the things that made David such a great king was his commitment to praising and worshipping God. David gave credit where credit was due. It would have been very easy for him to get a big head and begin to think he was the one that made everything happen, but he never really did. While he definitely made big mistakes during his reign, he always seemed to remember to praise God for the victories of Israel and thank God for his provision. David was definitely on to something here.

I know I find myself not thanking God enough for the wonderful blessings I have in my life. When I look at my family, my friends, my job, my home, and many other things, I realized I am blessed beyond belief. I even think of all of those throughout this world that have so much less than I do and many of them still consider themselves blessed. This just makes it more obvious that my praise and adoration of God is all the more necessary.

Heavenly Father,

It is so easy to go day by day and to forget to thank you. Yet, I know I have so much to be thankful for. I often take everything for granted, but I know that I should not. Lord, I pray that you would help me to have a grateful heart. Help me to always appreciate the blessings you have put in my life. Also, help me to continuously focus on how I need to use these blessings to bless others. I love you Lord. Amen.

Paul is talking about Christian freedom. Christians have the freedom of eating meat and don’t worry about eating someting that is sacrificed to idols. Christians believe that what we eat isn’t going to drive us away or bring us closer to the Lord. We know the Lord Jesus Christ and have Love. Idols are nothing and are fake. But if our freedom is a stumbling block to a new believer or a non-believer we need not be so free….We need to refrian from that freedom for the sake of helping and loving others. That’s what it’s all about. Not us… OTHERS 🙂

Paul comes out with all guns blazing in 1 Corinthians 7 when he talks about singleness and marriage. He makes some very good points about remaining single.

1. If you are single you have much more time and energy to focus on serving God.
2. If you are single you do not have to worry about pleasing anyone but God.

However, Paul also says that there are some of us (and I am more than willing to admit that I am among them) that need to be married because our “desires” would run amuck outside the bonds of marriage. I can admit that as a person called to full-time ministry, I know it would be easier without a family. I am also willing to admit that I could not dream of living my life as a single person. God did not give me that ability to live that way, but he did call me into his service.

I appreciate that fact that Paul makes it clear in parts of 1 Corinthians 7 that it is only his opinion and not God given commands. Verses 7:25-39 may be good advice if it is possible for you to follow this advice, but they are not commands we must follow. I am personally very thankful for that.

Paul talks about how if we are married to someone who does not share our faith that we should stay with them as long as they are willing to be with us. Essentially, we should not be the cause of a divorce. This seem to make a lot of sense. If we are truly following Christ, then our life is a witness to our spouse. If we truly love them then we should want to stay with them and live a life of faith before them each and every day.

Paul also talks about how we should not seek to “break out” of their place in life just because we become a believer. However, I don’t think Paul is saying we must stay exactly where we are in life after we become a believer. It seem more like he is saying that it is okay to be where you are at. There seems to be an element of “contentment” in his statement. What do you think?