Archive for March, 2012

1 Corinthians 7:12 (10–16) “But to the rest I say, not the Lord,

I think we need to understand the uniqueness of the situation. Jews had been taught one way, one rule of order and now, as believers, they were placed in a different situation. So the question about how we live life now was important and especially in marriage.

Even though Paul is writing to the church at Corinth the majority of believers there were Jewish and divorce was only practiced by liberal Jews. But, Paul encourages us to keep in focus on who we now are (as believers) and what our purpose is.

That means that Paul is issuing a command for a situation not covered by any command Jesus made or endorsed. Jesus did endorse the Jewish Law (in it’s essence, Matthew 22:36–40), but it didn’t directly cover a decision to believe after a marriage had been consummated.

So when asking questions about marriage and divorce the Old Testament still has tremendous direction for the husband and wife. Yet, all of scripture warns us against divorce at all costs. Too many times we forget that God says, “the two shall become one flesh”, Genesis 2:24. One flesh doesn’t just mean have sex. It takes time and patience to become one with your mate, give it that time and effort.

Decisiveness involves learning how to make decisions based on an understanding of God’s ways and God’s will.

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1 Corinthians 6:19 (9–20) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,

When Paul asked that question he was realizing our innate ability to forget who we are.

The fact that my physical body is a temple of the Holy Spirit is not just a deep theological discussion but also a fact of righteous living. The Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity lives in me in exactly the same way He lived in Jesus, John 2:21.

When I sin (go back to my old way of living) not only do I hurt myself and those around me but I also hurt the Holy Spirit as well, Ephesians 4:30. One way to make the Holy Spirit happier with me is when I “flee immorality”, 6:18, Genesis 39:12.

We need to constantly be remembering that when we made that decision to make Jesus our Savior He moved in and took up residence in our bodies as Lord until our work here is done, 2 Corinthians 6:14–18.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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1 Corinthians 6:11 (9–20) “but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

The reason the church at Corinth failed to judge each other rightly was because they apparently thought there salvation left them free to indulge in past sin. You can sense the exasperation in Paul’s voice.

Just because my Lord has forgiven my sins past, present and future doesn’t mean I have to discover what the future ones may have been.

Sin (a violation of God’s principles of living, Matthew 22:37–40) is always sin. There is never a time when it becomes OK! If you jump off a cliff, where do you think you’re going to go? All violations of God’s law only serve to hurt you (the one committing the sin) and those around you (the full consequences of your sin).

Since the hurt sin causes is what lead us to Jesus, staying with Him in everything we say, do and think is what will help to keep us from going back to that sin. We don’t want to go backwards but forward, 6:18.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

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1 Corinthians 6:8 (1–8) “On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.

To defraud is to deprive somebody of money or property by dishonest means.

One of the responsibilities of a congregation of believers is to help each other through problems with each other. The temptation to fall back onto worldly thinking and take advantage of another when there’s a chance you won’t be detected is tremendous. But when it happens taking the matter before civil court hurts our testimony before the world.

It makes God look like He has no power to help us while His word tells us otherwise. Paul tells us that there will be a day when we will be judges over the affairs of men (the Millennium), so we might as well get into practice now. Today there are organizations of believers dedicated to helping believers stay out of court like Peace Makers.

When we fail to handle situations in a Biblical way, by going to civil court against each other, we make ourselves out to be liars telling each other and others that God has the answer to all our problems but this one. We steal away hope.

Discernment involves knowing when the only action I should take is to pray.

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1 Corinthians 4:15 (4:6–21) “for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel.

Paul now proposes another better way we (the local church) should look at each other, as children of a father.

When Jesus gave His disciples the command to go it was to make disciples, copies of themselves who were copies of Him. In another sense a disciple is the child of a father (the one who brought you to Christ). The father’s role is to make his children mature adults like himself.

When we look at each other in church we are all children/disciples of the same Master/Father, but each of us was brought to faith through a person who becomes our local master/father. We are each subject to that person and need to learn from them how to be what God wants us to be, mature imitators of Christ.

As the leadership of the church imitates Christ Jesus the membership is imitating them. Part of that imitation is to seek out those God wants us to mentor or disciple, like Paul had done with Timothy and others. As members of the congregation we should be looking for someone to hold us accountable for our maturing in the faith.

Obedience involves doing what God wants me to do when He wants it done, in the way He wants it done and because He wants it done.

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1 Corinthians 3:21 (16–23) “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you,

Paul is saying that there is no point in boasting about what grouping or faction we belong to (3:4, 5, 22) since we all belong to each other and everything belongs to me.

This is not communism in the sense of all of us being equals. We are all equal in the sense that we are believers and called to serve each other. But we are not equal in that some have been called to lead and others to follow, Romans 13, Acts 2:41–42.

What Paul is saying is that we are to take ownership of everything including each other. Remember when Jesus spoke about the men who were left with certain talents of money and were expected to invest and show a gain when their master returned, Matthew 25:14–30?

Well, in that sense we are to look at the church we belong to and ask ourselves what we are doing to build it up or tear it down. Because when our Master returns he will test all of what we have done in His absence with fire, 3:13–15.

Responsibility involves learning to establish personal disciplines to help you become the person God wants you to be.

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1 Corinthians 3:13 (10–15) “each man’s work will become evident;

In these six verses Paul uses the word “if” three times. It gave me the sense that as believers we have a choice, a choice to grow in our faith and become useful to our Lord and Savior or not.

But, if we decide to be of value to God and to each other there seems to be a right way and a wrong way to do it. I think the idea is that as we let go of the way the world seeks after success and follow better the way God wants then what we do will last.

Even though we don’t always know what we have done of value to build each other up, I think that one way we can insure a rewardable work is to do what Paul told Titus to do in Crete, which was to keep busy, Titus 3:9.

Identifying our selves with those who are working is doing nothing but engaging in useless conversations when we could be using that energy to help a brother through a problem I might one day suffer, Galatians 6:1.

Diligence involves focusing on the job the Holy Spirit has given us and getting it done.

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