Friday, March 13, 2015

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV)

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

“… your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you.” Paul here is addressing an issue that the church in Corinth was dealing with in regards to sexual immorality. The effects of sexually immoral behavior have huge spiritual implications. We see that it not only effects our spirit but our body that is a temple, a temple where God’s Spirit dwells. As Paul states, our bodies are meant for the Lord and the Lord for the body. Our purpose in life is to worship God and bring him glory and our bodies are part of that equation.

The Corinthians had likely fallen subject to the common phrases and thoughts of the day thus resulting in this address from Paul. It can be very tempting to adopt the world’s views and right and wrong. We are immersed in those worldviews and like the frog in the kettle, we do not realize that we are actually in a situation that is slowly killing us.

As Paul writes, flee and glorify God with your body. This is part of our act of worship and our devotion to our Lord.

Lord I pray that I flee from those things that keep me from you. Draw me closer to your presence. I pray that my body is a temple, bringing you glory. In Christ’s name,  Amen.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)

18 For the word of the cross is folly 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,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Corinth was a flourishing crossroad where many cultures and religions mingled. The church at Corinth had been started by Paul and in his absence was now plagued with serious problems of division, immorality and social snobbery. Intellect and wisdom were greatly admired and to many the cross seemed foolish especially to the Jews who demanded a kingly Messiah and Greeks who saw the cross as incomprehensible. Paul emphasizes that God’s way of thinking is not the world’s way of thinking and reminds the church that others may see the cross as pure foolishness but it is the cross that has the power to save. Today we live in a society that worships intelligence and power. As believers it is important to remember there will always be those who see our faith as foolish and weak. Ours is not the job to convince with wisdom and eloquent words but to present Christ crucified and let the power of the cross and the Holy Spirit do the work. The power is in the story of the cross not the messenger. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:17 “For God did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel and not with words of eloquent wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

Lord, help me to remember that it is not by my words or my strength that will lead others to your son but it is by the power of your Holy Spirit and the power of what Jesus did on the cross that will touch lives for you. Let us all be foolish for Christ our savior. Amen

Friday, February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 1:17-31 (ESV)

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

18 For the word of the cross is folly 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,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Wisdom is one of those terms that can be somewhat easy to define yet so difficult to grasp. When it comes to God’s wisdom it becomes even more unclear. Even as we grow more in our knowledge of God’s Word, life experiences and our relationship with God, it is almost as though God’s wisdom becomes more and more unfathomable. In this part of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul is stressing the distinction of God’s wisdom as opposed to the world’s wisdom. Believers in Corinth were divided based upon who baptized them. Paul is presenting to them a solution to these dissensions, God’s wisdom.

Proverbs 3:5-6 states that we are to lean not on our own understanding and to submit our ways to him. These verses from proverbs help to see that part of understanding God’s wisdom means our full submission to God, to truly lean not on our own understanding. God is so far beyond our comprehension and his wisdom is far beyond anything that we can begin to fathom and understand and our ability to think and rationalize can often be a blockade and stumbling block.

Heavenly Father, may I fully submit my life to you. May your spirit move in me and grant me your wisdom. I pray that I lean not on my own understanding but upon the wisdom that you grant me. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.