Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

1 Cor. 15:29-16:24; 2 Cor. 1-2

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your Labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 NIV

I began my morning workout listening to a sermon that was about these verses and I knew God had a word for me. The pastor asked a question that stuck with me. “How can I expect victory with partial obedience?” Because, deep down I knew I haven’t been living in victory. Instead, I’ve been going through the motions and “limping” my way into the new year. Sometimes I am tempted to quit on the process. But, then I remember that I am not fighting for victory, but fighting from it. It’s a gift that I have to receive every day.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Cor 16:13 NLT

The devil would want nothing more than for me to give up.

We think you ought to know dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But, as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. And you are helping us by praying for us. Many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety..” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NLT

Dear Father. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I surrender my will to you. Thank you for the power of prayer. That you hear me and answer me. Your mercies are new ever morning. Great is your faithfulness. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Corinthians 12:12-15:28

22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

I Corinthians 12:22-26 ESV

The depth of the analogy of the body and the church runs deep. Just this passage shows layer after layer of this comparison, not to mention the other references to this concept in Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews.

In a recent bible study discussion about this concept, one lady said, “I must be the toenail.” She had deduced that toenails were nonessential and so was she. Now, we might all have days we feel non-essential, but just that week I had lost a good chunk of a toenail while running, and I could verify that even a toenail plays an important role in our body function.

While I do not think Paul’s purpose in writing this passage was for us to match body parts to ourselves or others in the local or global congregation, he does have many other purposes in using this illustration.

The church is made up of different people with different roles to play and different gifts.

The church is interconnected, and reliant on one another.

We cannot discredit someone else’s (or our own) place in the body of Christ.

The church is both complex and uniform, diverse and united, many yet one.

I should not diminish someone else’s place, nor should I discredit my own. On the days I feel like a toenail (or appendix or whatever organ I have deemed non-essential), I need to remember that even a cracked or missing toenail affects the whole body. It is not okay for me to sit on the sidelines uninvolved or feeling inadequate. I am a part of the body of Christ and I am indispensable!

What does it look like to function as the body of Christ? The next couple chapters lay that out with a little more detail.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:13 ESV

As I move about my life as the body of Christ, my faith in God and my hope of eternity with him, should overflow in love. Love that sacrifices self. Love that champions others. Love that swallows harsh reactions, love that celebrates, love that shoulders burdens, believes the best, endures the worst.

Love. God’s love. It reconciled me to him and should be the driving force behind each breath I take as a member of the church, his body, on earth.

Loving Father, you have created a marvel in your creation of the Church. The task you call us to would be impossible on our own or with simply human guidelines and so you reminded us to do it all in love. May love craft my everyday as I seek to fill the role you created me for. Thank you for the powerful tool that is the body of Christ and for my part in it. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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1 Corinthians 4:14-7:40 

It is tough when a patron in the church becomes the burden of sin in the church too. I have seen it twice in my lifetime and both times the model that Paul provides was not followed. Still today, people in the church love the sinner and their resources and turn a blind eye to the sin continuing to take place in the individual’s life. I am interested in reviewing Paul’s thought patten.

 I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold to shame you. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. – 1 Corinthians 4:14 MSG

The church should be shamed and so with some sarcasm, he tries entering the back door and suggests that dispensing shame is not his prime purpose but rather, as a father, he is there to warn them of a significant spiritual danger – pride.

There is a cure for pride. Shame means to turn back or around, in a state of turning, as turning one’s attention in a riveted way. Wholesome shame leads a person to consider their condition. When I am shamed or made to feel ashamed, I am being scolded. Sometimes it is necessary to shame someone for redemptive purposes, by that, turn them back to their senses – a positive shame.

There are three sections where Paul addresses issues in connection with patronal abuse in our reading today – that of the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5, the abuse of the law courts in 6:1-10, and immoral banquets in 6:11-20. Since my personal experience allows me to appreciate chapter 5, let’s see if I can add some more flavour there.

God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house. – 1 Corinthians 5:13 MSG

I was an elder in a church and was asked to write a piece for a policy that would deal with antagonists in the church. At the end of the day, cleaning house, was a solution. Shame is a central theme.

Paul is trying to motivate the believing community to function as a court of reputations to impose sanctions of shaming as well as conferring on each other the honour with which God has gifted them.

Paul is faced with a serious issue and has to build up and reestablish his position of authority. He has to put the church in their place and has to introduce the perspective of Jesus and himself an apostle and father of the believers.

Now the healing can begin.

Father, I am grateful for strong people in the church who can speak on Your behalf. Help me be one of those people. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I cannot remember the first day I loved the name of Jesus. It is amazing how much I love His name today. I wish I could remember that day.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord
minister to Him, love the name of Yahweh
and become His servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold firmly to My covenant— Isaiah 56:6 HCSB

There is something about loving the name of God which basically means to love God. In a concrete way, loving means to obey. Loving the name of God means I love and imitate His character. That is how I and others know I am in love with Him. So there is the emotional love and the action love. Action comes in the territory of serving and is reflected in my whole life and with my whole being. It means that loving Him reflects on me keeping His law.

All of this is for one reason – so when foreigners show up in the temple because they are motivated by love for God, they will stand out from the one who have come with a deceitful motive.

It is why Jesus prayed for us to be one – under Him, our Saviour – bond together in the bond of love and peace. It is only when I walk away from God’s love does my own love grow cold. It is amazing – it is either this or I am persecuted for my love.

God, deliver me.
Hurry to help me, Lord! – Psalm 70:1 HCSB

I need God because how else will I be able to love my enemies, to do good to those that hate me and to pray for those who persecute me.

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come. – 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14,22 HCSB

While the church is open to everyone, the church does not consist of everyone. The mark of a follower of Jesus is based on their love for Jesus – not affiliation or family ties. Therefore it is my choice that I make – I chose to love.

Father, I want those who see me to see Jesus in me. While I struggle for the words, I pray that my actions will be not leave doubt. I need You Lord – there is nothing I can do on my own without You. I expect You to show up and give me wisdom and to guide me in all my relationships. It is the only way that anyone will see You in me. As You taught us to pray, I ask you to not lead me into temptation but to deliver me from evil. May Your Kingdom rule in my heart and in my life so that I may love like You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Isaiah 49-52; Psalm 69; 1 Corinthians 14

God’s got this.

Save me, O God!
    For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
    with waiting for my God.

Psalm 69:1-3 ESV

Whether the muck threatens our own life and mental health or those of a friend, God offers timeless encouragement with the reminder that He is present and hears our cries.

When the humble see it they will be glad;
    you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

Psalm 69:32 ESV

Pity parties pull us into ourselves. If I keep looking at myself, my shortcomings, my circumstances, I miss the hope He gives. The psalmist reminds me to seek God. Not looking at the problem or even searching for possible outcomes, but seeking Him. His glory, His praise. Worship. My selfishness draws me toward self-preservation. Worship draws me to His presence.

Paul Tripp points out the need for this perspective in parenting also, while convicting me of my own need for greater worship and selflessness.

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

I Corinthians 14:15 ESV

Mind, heart, and soul, must recognize the place God has in our lives and in our challenges. Placing him first keeps everything else in line.

Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
    and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on his God.

Isaiah 50:10 ESV

The following verse here (Isaiah 50:11) talks of someone who makes their own light instead of trusting God as verse 10 guides us to. We are so quick to solve the problem in the immediate rather than praying first, trusting first. This message of, “God first, God only, God always,” will speak life to us and those around us.

One thought that is continually pounded home in I Corinthians 14 is that we should strive to build each other up, to encourage one another. We might know the good news, but we need to keep hearing it, speaking it into our own lives and building up those around us with it.

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 51:11b ESV

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

For you shall not go out in haste,

    and you shall not go in flight,

for the Lord will go before you,

    and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Isaiah 52:7, 12 ESV

God is there. God is here. He’s got this. Whatever fills today and tomorrow and the next day. Whatever threatens my life or my family members’ lives, or my neighbor’s lives. He’s got it covered. We don’t need to rush around like crazy people trying to find the answer, to figure it out. We need to seek Him first. He will go before us and behind us and work it out in His way, in His time.

Lord God, help my first response, my gut reaction to be to run to You. First and always may You be the answer to all I’m trying to figure out. Instead of my worrying through it on my own, lift my eyes to You and Your plan. Not earthly resolution, but eternal glory. Not a strictly emotional response or only a logical one, but one that melds mind and spirit as You created me to function, a unified, complex being to bring You worship. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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