Reflection on 1 Corinthians 10:1-13


Scripture

The temptations in your life are no different fro what other people experience. God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so you can endure.

Observation

Paul reminds us of the experiences of the ancestors in the wilderness. They were guided by the cloud and passed through the water. They were tempted in various ways, and some of them yielded to the temptation.

The temptations in our life are no different to those faced by others. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can stand, and He will provide a way out.

Application

Sometimes we may feel that we are going through unique temptations and that we commit sins that nobody else ever did. This isn’t true. Our temptations are common to all people.

The good news is that if we truly surrender to God, He will provide us with the strength to overcome every temptation.

I have found in my life that every temptation is a questioning of God’s love for me or His willingness to supply my needs. In the heat of battle I forget who I am in Christ- a beloved son of God.

The solution to temptation is not to work up the strength to overcome it in my own ability. Nor is it to pray for the strength from God.

The solution is to go back to who I am. I spend time in worshipping and praising God. I meditate on His love and His character.

In losing myself in God, I find my true identity in Him. Then the temptations go away because the tempter is no longer able to touch me.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that you always provide a way out of temptation. Help me to keep my focus on you and dwell in your presence always. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Scripture

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last for ever.

Observation

We can have all the spiritual gifts in the world, but without love it is nothing- a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal.

Love is patient and kind. It is not jealous, boastful, proud, rude, demanding or irritable.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy will pass away because in heaven they will no longer be needed. Love lasts for ever.

We see things imperfectly now, but in eternity we will see clearly.

Application

This chapter is famously called the “Love Chapter.” It is sandwiched between two sections of Paul’s most extensive teaching on the spiritual gifts.

Some people try to contrast love and gifts. They claim that Paul is saying that love is better than prophecy or speaking in tongues. But he is not giving us a choice of one or the other. He is saying that anything we do in the name of Christ has to be done with love. If we don’t love the people around us, the actions we produce clash with the motives of our heart, rendering them useless.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit will not be needed in eternity. They are needed in this life because our relationships with God and with each other are marred by sin. People are hurting because of sin. The gifts will not be needed in heaven where everything is made perfect. This does not mean we should ignore them in this life.

Some people argue that now we have the complete New Testament, the perfect revelation of God’s will, then the partial things are now useless. There is no place in Scripture that says the gifts will cease.

We must pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit- love and prophecy, the fruit and the gifts. In this way Christ is glorified in us and through us.

Prayer

Fill me Holy Spirit. Let every gift and all love be expressed in me. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Scripture

I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Observation

In this passage, Paul explores the area of spiritual gifts. He says that nobody can curse Jesus if they are speaking by God’s Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit gives them all. God works in each person in different ways, but He is still the same God.

God gives His gifts to help us serve one another. These gifts include words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The gifts all come from one God and are given as He determines.

Application

Back in the 1970’s during the charismatic revival, spiritual gifts were controversial. Not so much today, in most parts of the church.

Back then there were people who claimed to be “tongue testers”. They could tell whether a person was speaking in tongues by the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. So they were using the gift of discernment of spirits to prove their point that the gifts of the Spirit are fake.

Here is the good news about spiritual gifts, and tongues in particular. Nobody curses Jesus while speaking in tongues. If you love the Lord you will want to please Him. These gifts, even the ones we cannot rationally understand, will glorify Jesus.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to all who love the Lord. They are there to help us minister to one another and to glorify God.

Prayer

Father, I thank you for the Holy Spirit. Please help me to understand how to flow in the gifts of the Spirit so that the Name of Jesus is lifted up through me. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

1-cor

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+9.16-23

Scripture

I don’t have any reason to boast about preaching the Good News. Preaching is something God told me to do, and if I don’t do it, I am doomed.

Observation

Paul does not preach the Good News because he wants to or because he gets paid. The Holy Spirit drives him onward, and because God has commanded him to preach, he feels doomed if he doesn’t.

He is not by nature a slave, but he enslaves himself to everyone in order to win them. So he lives as a Jew when he is among Jews and as a Gentile when he is among Gentiles. He does all this for the Gospel so that he can share in its blessings.

Application

Paul had no reason to boast about preaching the gospel. It was God’s command for him to do this so he was compelled to do it.

When I stepped out of ministry with the Uniting Church to plant a new church, it was not a decision that we made lightly. We knew that God had commanded us to do that. One colleague said it was the bravest step of faith he had ever witnessed. But to my thinking it would be far braver to say “No” to God, knowing that you are being deliberately disobedient.

Sometimes God backs us into a corner, forcing us to say “Yes” in the hope of greater blessing.

For Paul the blessings were not always obvious. He was badly beaten, imprisoned, ship-wrecked and ultimately executed because of his obedience. Yet it was in these times that he knew the greatest sense of the presence of Christ.

For most of us the steps of obedience come in small daily decisions that lead us inexorably to the presence of Christ. We learn to obey and it feels like choosing a curse to do anything else.

Prayer

Lord you always lay before us the choice of life and death, obedience and sin. Help me to choose your way every day. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

download

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+8.1-13

Scripture

Many things in heaven and on earth are called gods and lords, but none of them really are gods or lords.

Observation

Paul answers a question that had been raised by the Corinthians themselves, that is, is it right for christians to eat food which had been offered or dedicated to idols?

Paul says that even though the food is offered to idols we know that the gods and lords they represent are not really gods at all. We know that there is only one God the Father and Creator of all things. So these idols are nothing to Him.

But some people have grown up believing in these gods. To see christians eating meat that has been offered to false gods might cause to stumble such a person whose faith in Christ is weak. For the sake of these people it would be better not to eat meat in their presence.

Application

Paul’s approach to this issue is very pragmatic. We know that in Christ, God has given us all things. We know that other “gods” are false gods. Therefore we have nothing to fear from eating meat offered to imaginary deities.

This is not to deny that demonic forces can hold people who worship these gods in spiritual bondage.

In Christ we are “more than conquerors.” If any demon attaches itself to the food that we eat, then our praying over our food in the name of the Lord cleanses that which might be unclean.

People sometimes worry about artefacts bought in developing countries. Unless they are idols, or you get a revelation that there is a spirit associated with the item, then they are usually harmless.

Christians should avoid idols and other items intended to be worshipped. To bring such items into our homes is to honour the demonic spirit behind it.

In all things we should remember that Christ is greater than all so-called gods. We are to live in joy and freedom and not in fear.

Prayer

Lord, help me to walk in victory over all false gods and demons in this world. May I always live in joy and freedom not in fear and bondage. Amen.