Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

temple

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+3.16-23

Scripture

Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Observation

Together we are God’s temple. The Holy Spirit dwells n us. If anyone tries to destroy His Temple, God will destroy them.

Those who think they are wise in the world’s ways should become fools because God’s standard of wisdom is different to the world’s. We must not boast about our human leaders because we belong to Christ.

Application

We are God’s temple. Together the church “contains” or become a place of habitation for the Holy Spirit.

We read this verse and think it means “I am a temple of God.” But Paul says “You (plural) are the temple of God.” He does not say “You are temples of God.”

It is when we worship and work together in the unity of the Spirit that God is manifest amongst us.

This is not to deny that each individual christian has the Holy Spirit. Three is a special anointing that comes when the people of God come together and worship with one heart and one mind.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and fill me. Empower me to worship you in unity with my brothers and sisters so that we truly become the temple of God. Amen.

Sunday’s Sermon

power-button-290x290

The sermon for February 12th is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, I talk about Preaching With Power.

The first 5 minutes is missing from the recording, but the rest is pretty good.

Click here to listen on your browser, here to download the mp3

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 2:1-6

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%25s=1+Corinthians+1.2-16

Scripture

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.

Observation

When Paul came to Corinth, he didn’t come with fancy words. He resolved to know nothing but Christ crucified. He came in fear and trembling, not using persuasive words but allowing the power of the Spirit to demonstrate the truth.

The wisdom that Paul teaches amongst the mature in faith is not the world’s wisdom, but God’s wisdom. This wisdom is a mystery that is only now being revealed. The powers of the world did not understand this or else they would not have had Christ crucified.

We have received the Spirit of God, not the spirit of the age. Therefore Paul is able to explain spiritual truths with spiritual words. The person without the Spirit is not able to understand the things that come from the Spirit, but the person with the Spirit makes all kinds of judgements by the Spirit.

Application

We have the Spirit of God. Later Paul says the same thing in different words; we have the mind of Christ.

The difference between mature christians and baby christians is that the former have learned to listen to the Spirit of God and to obey Him. The Spirit of God is available to every born-again Christian, and the Spirit leads us into all of God’s wisdom.

That is not to say that we are all independent believers. We need the body. We need correction and encouragement from others. We need the means of grace- Scripture, worship, sacraments.

The Spirit of God is able to lead us into deeper revelations through the various prophetic gifts.

The Spirit of God is able to give us deeper understanding of the word than we might get from studying at Bible College.

The Spirit of God can give us deeper insight into ourselves and the people to whom we are ministering.

The Spirit of God is like a river powerfully surging through our soul.

But we must listen to the voice of the Spirit. We must obey the voice of the Spirit. We must allow our conscience to be enlivened by the Spirit.

When we do this, God can use us mightily,

Prayer

What a mystery it is, Lord, to think that I have your Spirit, your mind, in me. Please let me hear the voice of the Spirit in every minute of my day. Teach me to hear, to listen and to obey. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

1corinthians

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+1.18-31

Scripture

For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Observation

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.

God makes foolish the wisdom of men. We don’t come to know God through wisdom, so He gives us a cross. Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but all God offers is the folly of Christ crucified.

We were not wise by human standards nor powerful. But God chose the lowly and insignificant to challenge the standards of this world.

Application

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom and His weakness is stronger than human strength. Even on His worst day, God is smarter and stronger than any human being- and God doesn’t have bad days!

Some people, even some Christians have problems with considering Jesus as a baby. Often the same people have problems with imagining the Son of God on the cross. They want God to be seen to be all-powerful, stomping on His enemies.

This “stomping” approach is how human beings, fallen and led by the flesh, deal with conflict.

God is bigger, smarter and stronger than that. He shows His power in becoming weak and inviting us to worship Him and to receive His love.

What is the greater victory- to defeat your enemy with weapons or with love? To make your enemy your friend is the greater victory.

When Jesus laid down His life on the cross, He turned many enemies into friends and disciples. The cross is still drawing people into God’s kingdom.

God’s folly is smarter than our wisdom.

Prayer

Father, you have shown your great power and might by laying it down on the cross. Help me Lord to live my life in your wisdom not my own. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

1corinthians.jpg

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+1.10-18

Scripture

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.

Observation

Paul appeals to the Corinthians to be in agreement and be united in one mind and purpose. He is shocked by reports of divisions in the church with people claiming to follow Paul, Peter, Apollos or Christ.

Paul wasn’t crucified for their sins so they shouldn’t be following him. They were not baptised into the name of Paul. His role was not to baptise but to proclaim the gospel. The gospel is the power of God to those who believe, but to those who are perishing it is folly.

Application

The gospel is grace- the grace of God. We don’t have to pay the price of our sin because Christ did that for us,

It offends people who think they are good enough for God and therefore do not need a saviour.

It offends those who see religion as a way of controlling God. How do you appease a God who gives up His right to be angry?

It offends those who refuse to believe in the concepts of sin, holiness and judgement.

It offends those who want a life that is tidy, not a saviour who is covered in blood.

It offends those who recognise the implications of the cross. If God has given all for me, then I must give all for Him.

For those who are being saved, the gospel is the power of God. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

Blessed are those who recognise their sin and receive God’s forgiveness.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for enduring the cross for my salvation. Thank you for coming into my life and setting me free from sin. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

risen5815

Referencehttps://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15.19-26

Scripture

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Observation

If our hope in Christ is only for this world we are to be pitied. But Christ has been raised from the dead, and His resurrection is the beginning of the resurrection of all His disciples.

Then the end will come . Jesus will hand over the kingdom to His Father, after He has destroyed every power and authority.

When Christ has overcome all these things, even death, then He will be subject to the Father so God may be all in all.

Application

Jesus is alive! This is the wondrous message of Easter Day. The one who was dead is now alive.

Paul tells us that Jesus’ death and resurrection is like a first fruit or an opening chapter in the resurrection of all people.

Jesus is destined to rule over every power and authority in the world and then hand it all over to the Father.

Prayer

Thank you Father for the good news of the kingdom. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

temptation

Scripture

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he shall also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Observation

The Jewish ancestors were all under the glory cloud and all passed through the sea, being baptised into Moses. They drank from the rock that followed them and that rock was Christ.

The lives of these people were given as examples to us. We must avoid idolatry, sexual immorality and complaining as some of these people did and were punished.

God does not let us be tested beyond our ability to endure, but He also provides a way through the trial.

Application

We often see trials and temptations as negative things designed to trip us up. The Old Testament saints were tempted in many ways and often failed and were subsequently punished.

God allows us to be tested to take us deeper into Him. Temptation can be a cause for deeper trust, not just an undermining force.

As christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, we are not condemned to sin. No, our destiny should be to overcome sin as we are increasingly transformed into the image of Christ,

We must learn to recognise temptation and our unique individual weak points. When temptation comes, and it will, we should be so aware of our dependence on the Lord that our eyes are on Jesus and not the source of sin. As we learn to do this, we learn to overcome in every test.

Prayer

Help me Father to discern the weaknesses of my heart and to trust in your strength to stand firm against temptation. Amen.