Reflection on 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7.29-31

Scripture

It won’t make any difference how much good you are getting from the world or how much you like it. This world is now passing away.

Observation

The Lord is coming soon so everything will change. Being married or single count for nothing. Our economic status and our position in the world are totally irrelevant in heaven.

Application

We spend so much time and energy in worldly matters. Our education, job, marriage (or otherwise), family, money, possessions can all dominate our thinking. Christians are not exempt from this.

It is important that we carry out our responsibilities diligently, but none of the things that we get anxious about carry any importance in heaven.

Money cannot save you.

Politicians cannot save you.

A nice house and secure job cannot save you.

We worry about these fleeting things that are inconsequential and neglect the issues of eternity and salvation.

At the gates of heaven we will not be asked, “Did you live in a nice house?”. No it will be, “Do you know Jesus and were you faithful to Him?”

The Lord is preparing us to be citizens of His kingdom. If we incest our love and affections on the things of this world, we cannot be listening to His lessons about eternity.

It’s all about priorities really. Do I live as if this life is all there is? Or do I see a vision of eternity, a distant city on a hill bathed in light that calls me home?

Prayer

Lord the cares of this life threaten daily to strangle my faith in you. Please help me to die to this life and to live for you. Amen.

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Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+1.1-9

Scripture

God can be trusted, and he chose you to be partners with his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Observation

Paul writes to the church at Corinth whom Jesus chose to be His own people. He prays for God’s blessing and peace to be with them.

Paul never stops thanking God for the church in Corinth. They will not miss out on any blessing as they await Christ’s return. God van be trusted to care for those whom He has chosen.

Application

In these few verses, Paul uses the word chose (or chosen) three times. Like the nation of Israel, these people were chosen by God to reflect His glory and to carry the gospel of Christ to their city and beyond.

We are chosen by God. He is sovereign.

We often think of the choices we make, including the decision to follow Christ.

But before we chose God, He chose us.

From before time began and long before I was even born, God had a plan for my life that included eternal life with Him.

The Lord arranged my life and manoeuvred key events in my life so that I would be ready to say “Yes” to Him.

This is not to say that my life is predetermined by God or that I am a robot following a divinely ordained program. At the intersection of divine will and human deciding there is always mystery.

God chose me! Why me as opposed to someone else, I do not know. I rejoice that He called and I answered.

As for those who have not said “Yes” to Jesus, I believe they were chosen too, but they have not yet realised the preciousness of God’s grace.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for reaching down and choosing me. Help me to see those whom you have chosen but do not yet realise it, and to share the Good News with them. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

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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

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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

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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

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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.