1 Corinthians 3 Part 1–Spiritual Maturity

Everyone likes to do what is easy and comfortable.  It was the same at Corinth.  The church was in an uproar. There was division primarily over whose teachings the group was going to follow.  Paul was furious.  He spent a great deal of time preparing the church at Corinth to be a leader in the growth of Christianity for gentiles and for that part of the world. Still, after much time, they were spiritually–still exactly where they started.  They were quarreling, they were not interested in the deep faith that comes through following Christ closely.  They were still worried about themselves and what the church would do for them.  
 
Paul knew that they needed to be focused on how to serve, not whether they were being served adequately. The church was, for their purposes, the preparation place for them to minister to others. It was not a club, nor was it a place to be entertained.  These people needed to focus on how they were to give back–not on who was the main teacher and what nuggets of doctrine they should cling to.  That selfish attitude about church and ministry had stunted the church’s development and the spread of faith across the area.
 
In modern churches, Christians still struggle with whose teaching is best, what worship style is best, who has the best kid’s programming…and the list goes on.  What the body of Christ should be asking is where does God want me, and how can God use me in the church.  We need to support a church that honors God and His teaching, but, our attitude should focus on His leading and our serving–not on whether or not we will be adequately entertained; and whether our church provides all the bells and whistles we require.  
 
In Christ, we grow to become selfless servants on a mission to lead others to faith in Christ. Any other purpose is useless.  The awesome promise our Lord, Himself gave us was simply this, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33.   Let’s be ministers in the church, not spiritual babies!
 
God Bless You

 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

1 Corinthians 2 Part 2–Spiritual Discernment

The reason why the world does not understand the things of God is that the things of God are spiritually discerned. When we start our relationship with God, through Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes and indwells our lives. When that happens, we begin to see things from a spiritual perspective and things like selflessness and sacrifice make sense.  We begin to understand that life does not revolve around our interests, but, around the interests of God.
 
The world will never see that.  The world will always see things from a temporal standpoint. Survival and personal gain will always make the most sense.  The world not only clings to that, they think those that do not seek personal gain are crazy.  They cannot see the eternal gain of following God.  That simply feels foolish.  That is why we must continue to seek God’s leadership–and not the world’s. The world will never accept the selfless direction of God. They will become enraged at the peace and purpose found in those that follow the Lord.  They will always think the church is silly or even crazy!  That is why God’s Spirit is so vital to our lives.
 
We simply need to follow the leading of God’s spirit in our lives. He will guide us, protect us, and make our lives full and meaningful.  So, even if the world thinks it is foolish, it will be an abundant, full and eternal life.
 
God Bless You

 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except for their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[d]

But we have the mind of Christ.

I Corinthians 1 Part 3–Men Simply Do Not Get IT!

Throughout the generations, men have attempted time and again to show how foolish it is to trust the Lord and honor Him with our lives. Men have tried to prove that God does not exist and that God should have no part in the daily affairs of men’s lives. They have persecuted, martyred and attempted to wipe God’s name from any and everything the public may see.  Still, thousands of years and dozens of fallen kingdoms and empires later–God is still standing.  His word is still the basis of the legal system we enjoy. He is still named on every coin, and history is divided by the coming of the Savior. 
 
The reality is that men will always try to replace God with their own version of supremacy. Science, art, philosophy, wealth, entertainment or just plain old chaos–men always think that their ways are better than God’s. They see spiritual truth as foolishness. They see followers of our Lord as simpletons and crazy people. Still, God remains large and in charge. His ways are still the best and walking with Him still is the only true source of peace and purpose.  The world unnerved by our confidence and faith–because they simply can’t understand.  Truth is, that is not our problem.  We speak the truth and hope that they come to know Christ.  We are selfless and God-seekers! We know the truth and as the verse plainly states, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
 
God Bless You

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord

I Corinthians 1 Part 2–Divide and Conquered!

One of the enemy’s best tools to render the church ineffective is the ability to divide the church over petty issues.  Paul was grieved that this growing and vibrant church was suffering because they were divided over whom they would follow.  Some were following Paul’s leadership, others were following Peter, still others Apollos and then there were those that said Hey I am following Christ!  In truth, all the named leaders were following Christ.
The pride that came from saying they were following the right leader, was the same pride that inspired Eve to eat from the tree, inspired men to build the tower of Babel, inspired the Jewish leaders to crucify Jesus and inspires people every day to think themselves the center of the universe.  
 
As a body of believers, we need to be united in spirit and in truth.  We need to seek first the Kingdom of God and not our own interests. Modern denominational divisions are as prevalent as ever in history; but, Christians need not dwell on the denominational differences, they need to dwell on the person of Jesus Christ. As we dwell on Christ–He can help us to discern what is best and he can help us to walk in a life of victory and purpose. We will be concerned about honoring God rather than being right.  Jesus said it best, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33. 
 
 As a family, let’s strive to unite and not divide our family. Then, God wins and we do as well.
 
God Bless You

 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Church Divided Over Leaders

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

I Corinthians 1–Introduction

 Paul was a Scholar, a lawyer, an apostle and a pioneer for the church. He left the comfort of being a rising star among the Jewish leadership to become the most prolific author in the New Testament. In God’s way, the Lord took the least likely candidate for evangelism to the Gentile world and used him to not only begin the church movement but to completely change the focus of Christianity to save the world. Paul started the church at Corinth during his first missionary journey and it had taken off.  But like most churches, it had its share of growing pains and problems. Over the next several weeks we will look at the church at Corinth and see that many issues they faced, we still face today.  
 
God Bless You

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Church Divided Over Leaders

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas;beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

2 Samuel 22–David’s Heart of Praise

The Book of Psalms best articulates the heart of King David.  David was a mighty warrior, a stealthy strategist, and a seasoned leader.  He trusted God and with God’s lead, he led Israel to be the nation God called them to be. But, within his heart was a man that simply loved God! He could not help but write and sing songs of adoration to the God whom he loved.  His faith and devotion to God had to have been contagious. Unlike Saul, David was never concerned with making a name for himself, instead, his desire was simply to honor and follow God.  That is apparent in the psalms and songs from David’s heart. 2 Samuel 22 is one of the collections of David’s Greatest Hits album. 

 

In the midst of life, we too must adore our God and Savior. Everything we are and have is a result of God’s kindness and mercy. It is easy to forget that our very lives and eternal future are a result of Christ’s death and resurrection. While we face a difficult world, we cling to the hope of eternity with God and in His presence. That is a reason to praise God and to cling to the hope of our salvation. Like David, we must never stop recognizing God’s hand in our daily deliverance; because we know that all that we are and all that we have come from Him.

God Bless You

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears…

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

2 Samuel 21-Various Stories of David’s Reign–Making Amends to Gibeah

After David became king, God caused a famine in the land. When David inquired to the Lord about the reason for the famine. God told David the famine was a result of the killing of the Gibeonites by Israel at Saul’s direction.  So David went to the Gibeonites and sought to make amends.  The Gibeonites wanted the lives of 7 of Saul’s family. With great sadness, David complied and sent 7 of Saul’s descendants to Gibeah, where they were killed.  In addition, David reclaimed the bodies of Saul and Jonathan and returned the bones to be buried in the family grave.  His efforts appeased God and the famine was over and the peoples were healed.
 
Throughout life, we are faced with tasks we wished we did not have to perform. Whether king or humble servant–the journey we take has tough moments.  If we will continue to seek God and follow his lead, he will show us how to overcome the barriers and obstacles in our lives.  As we do, we can help to make things right for others as well.  Like David, our first stop must be at the throne of God. When we get there, the Lord will give us what we need to proceed.  Help me, Lord to understand what it takes to complete the journey You have set out!
 
God Bless You

The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord’s inheritance?”

The Gibeonites answered him, “We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” David asked.

They answered the king, “As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and their bodies exposed before the Lord at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord’s chosen one.”

So the king said, “I will give them to you.”

The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the Lord between David and Jonathan son of Saul. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[a] whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed them and exposed their bodies on a hill before the Lord. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds touch them by day or the wild animals by night. 11 When David was told what Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had stolen their bodies from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.