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Archive for April, 2012

1 Corinthians 12:26 (12–26) “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

I don’t know how many of you all have noticed the growing trend, in the church, to pick and choose whatever worship service to attend during the course of the week. Maybe because we’re listening to all those good radio programs and seem to be getting fed all we need so in an effort not to get spiritually obese we go to church less?

In these verses Paul explains that we physically need the presence of each other. We forget that what we’re doing as a body the world is watching. But more importantly we forget that head knowledge and experience are two completely different things.

It’s interesting how many of us tend to remember this when we’re faced with different kinds of troubles, because we come running back to those church services looking for support to get through those times.

In those instances, let’s try to remember that once you’ve been given support, you owe support.

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

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1 Corinthians 12:7 (1–11) “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Paul now breaks up the Gifts into three categories:
First the special gift each one of us will receive or motivational gifts, 12:4 & listed in Romans 12:6–8;
Second the ministry gifts, these are the areas in the local church where you are to exercise your motivational gift, 12:5, 28-31 & Ephesians 4:11;
Third the manifestation gifts, these are the effects of my exercise of my motivational gift in a ministry gift area in the local church, 12:6, 7–11.

You’ll notice that Paul gives his list of motivational gifts to the Romans and not to the Corinthians that is because he felt they weren’t mature enough to understand them, 1 Corinthians 3:1–3. So in this letter he has to settle for getting them to learn the basis of all Christian-living, sacrificial love, 1 Corinthians 13.

We saw that the primary purpose of the Gifts are to glorify our Lord and Savior to both believer and non-believer, but the next purpose is “the common good” that is to help us grow in our faith, Ephesians 4:11–13. If we are exercising Gifts to show off how mature we are or immature others are then we have failed to understand their purpose. And, if we have decided that this doctrine is too confusing and so will ignore it, you just prove your unwillingness to grow.

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

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1 Corinthians 12:3 (1–11) “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.

I know that for the most part most of us have been taught that anything you can do for the Lord or the church is your spiritual gift, but, no!

Let me explain a little. Paul has just finished telling us how God likes things to be done in an orderly and balanced way, spiritual gifts is no different, 14:40. For this reason Paul will now go on and organize the gifts so that the Corinthians will better understand their purpose or goal and how they are to function.

The purpose of the spiritual gifts is so as a body (12:27), yet in our own way we can admit and state that “Jesus is Lord”, 12:3.

Paul clarifies this point in 14:24 & 25 stating that the ultimate purpose of the gifts is to have an impact on those around us so that, observing our testimony, they will come to glorify God as their God as well. We don’t want to be like them (the world of unbelievers where we came from), we want them to be like us, able to say Jesus is Lord.

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 12:2 (1–11) “You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

Paul spends considerable time discussing the problem Corinth was having with spiritual gifts, I think because they are an important part of any believers life, like it or not.

The Corinthians had come from a background where they would go to their temples for worship and wait to be possessed by their gods who would make them do and say foolish and silly things. Now they had started to copy that behavior in worship times as believers. And, some were saying that if you didn’t get possessed you couldn’t be a believer. Sound familiar?

The Holy Spirit we know lives in us, not to throw us to the ground and shake, but to help us mature and be the best witness at work and at home we can be, 12:12 & 13. We need to be careful of external influences on our lives especially when they call us back to behaviors we left behind because they were wrong, 12:3.

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 11:19 (17–34) “For there must be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Although I believe that we naturally tend to group together with family and friends at church what was happening in the church at Corinth was not good, 11:17. Not only were they spiritual and physical hurting each other, they were hurting their testimony in the world, 11:27–32.

I think Paul uses those strong words in verse 11:19 to scare, if possible, those who were being contentious (11:16 & 18) to stop and think about what they are doing. Remember that in the previous chapters Paul stressed that our behavior must be tempered by the needs of the weaker brother next to us and not my preference.

Divisions, factions prove we are not following Paul’s example of agape (sacrificial love), 11:1.

Being contentious and divisive doesn’t mean you’re not a believer, but it makes it hard for those who are seeking to maintain order and a healthy growth atmosphere for all believers in the church no matter where they are in their spiritual growth.

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

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1 Corinthians 11:2 (1–16) “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

I wonder how long it takes for an action to become a tradition.

When Paul wrote this letter the Greco/Roman world gave little respect to women. Even in the Jewish world women had lost much of the respect and honor as God’s creation they should have experienced. This is obviously because we live in a fallen world and everything that God has set up man and Satan have torn down. But through Christianity women and children were given the respect and honor due them.

Here enters the problem, as I see it. In the excitement of being free to express them selves as equals among believers some women had gone too far, 11:16. God has an order in His creation, 11:8–12. It is because there is order that science can discover anything at all, though some try to ignore it.

So when Paul talks about traditions he is talking about establishing and maintaining order in the church. Paul’s discussion here is not so much about the veil as it is about maintaining God’s structure of authority and individual rights in balance. Rules, regulations and traditions can come and go but never at the expense of God’s order. Even the angels know this, 11:10

Reverence involves recognizing that God works for us through structures of authority.

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1 Corinthians 10:23 (14–33) “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.

When Paul here tells us all things are lawful, the context lets us know what he is not talking about, like the calculated taking of a life.

Paul lived a very restricted life because he was more concerned with the spiritual development of those he worked with than his own desire. Yet, for all those restrictions he seemed to have traveled through all of then known Asia and Europe. He also established many churches and influenced the course our faith, as we know it today.

It makes me wonder what kind of impact we could have on those around us if we could stop wasting time on our freedoms and focus on the needs of those around us in the most effective way possible.

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

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