1 Corinthians – Harvesting the Fruit

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“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 The local church is a field that ought to bear fruit. The task of the ministry is the sowing of the seed, the cultivation of the soil, the watering of the plants, and the harvesting of the fruit. How does this image of the church apply to the problems in the Corinthian church as well as our churches today? The emphasis must be on God and not on the laborers. Paul and Apollo were only servants who did their assigned tasks. It was God who gave life to their effort. Even the faith of the believer was a gift from God. It is wrong to center attention on the servants. We must look instead to the Lord of the harvest. God is the source of life and all our blessings. God is the source of growth. We need to realize that no man can do all the work. Paul planted the seed, Apollo watered and God gave the increase. The key in this scripture is that we need to humble ourselves before God and give Him the credit and the glory. What men may think of our […]

1 Corinthians – Controlled

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“Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you, I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?  When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 What is it about their life and conduct that make Paul level such a rebuke at them? It is their worldly spirit, their strife and their factions. This is extremely significant because it means that you can tell what a man’s relations with God are by looking at his relations with his fellow men. If he is at conflict with his fellow men, if he is a quarrelsome, argumentative, trouble-making creature, he may be a diligent church member, he may even hold a church office, but he is not a man of God. But if a man is at one with his fellow men, if his relations with them are marked by love and unity and concord then he is on the way to being a man of God. Paul is writing about a man that is controlled by his sinful nature. I know in my life when I asked Jesus into my heart, at first, I was still controlled by my sinful nature, because I knew no other way, but […]

1 Corinthians – The Spirit helps us Grow

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“When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” 1 Corinthians 2:13-16 The contrast here is the saved person is indwelt by the Spirit of God and the unsaved person is still part of the world. At one time every Christian was part of the world. When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, the Spirit came in and we now move in the spiritual realm. After this we are expected to grow in the Lord. As Christians day by day receive the things of the Spirit, they grow and mature. One of the signs of a mature Christian is discernment; the ability to penetrate beneath the surface of life and see things as they really are. Unsaved people walk by sight and really see nothing. They are spiritually blind. The maturing Christian grows in his spiritual discernment and develops the ability to understand more and more of the will and the mind of God. The Corinthians lacked this discernment, they were spiritually blind. We need to have the mind of Christ. This does not mean that we are infallible and start playing God in other peoples lives. No one instructs God. “Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?  Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?” […]

1 Corinthians – God is a Spirit

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“But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 God is a Spirit and we can only know Him by His Spirit. “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) I cannot know what is going on within your personality, but your human spirit within you knows. Neither can I know the deep things of God unless somehow, I can enter into God’s personality. I cannot do that but by God’s Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, each believer becomes a sharer of the very life of God. Paul lays down that the only person who can tell us about God is the Spirit of God. He uses a human analogy. There are feelings which are so personal, things which are so private, experiences which are so intimate that no one knows them except a man’s own spirit. Paul argues that the same is true of God. There are deep and intimate things in him which only his Spirit knows; and that Spirit is the only person who can lead us into really intimate knowledge of God. It is easy to become so involved in the world that there exists nothing beyond it. We must pray […]

1 Corinthians – The Abundant Life

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That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 This verse is from Isaiah 64:4. The context relates to Israel in captivity, awaiting deliverance. The nation had sinned and had been sent to Babylon for chastening. They cried out to God that He would come down and deliver them, and He answered their prayers. God had a plan and they did not have to be afraid. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Paul applied this principle to the church. Our future is secure in Jesus Christ. God’s plan for His people is so wonderful that with our human wisdom we cannot comprehend them. A day walking with God is a good day no matter what is happening, because God will work everything out to our good. We will live the abundant life if we just believe God and be obedient. The believers at Corinth had forgotten the cost of their salvation. They had gotten their eyes off the Cross. They were involved in minor matters because they had lost the wonder of God’s plan for them. They needed to return to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This relates to our churches today. Many in the churches don’t ever know what their salvation costed God. The churches today fight over the color of the carpet when all that matters is the salvation of souls.

1 Corinthians –The Gospel is God’s Plan

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“Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.  But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 Salvation is purchased by the Son, but it was planned by the Father.  The gospel is so simple that it can be understood by an illiterate pagan. It is also so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths. There is wisdom of God in the gospel that challenges the keenest intellect. However, this wisdom is not for the masses of lost sinners, nor for the immature believers. It is for the mature believes who are growing in their understanding of the Word of God. Paul was answering those in the church who were promoting Apollo, who was an eloquent and profound preacher. This wisdom tells the saint about the vast eternal plan that God has for His people and His creation. The wisest of the world could not invent or discover this marvelous wisdom in God’s plan. God made the plan, set it in motion, and will see to it that it will succeed. God’s plan of redemption was not a hasty afterthought on the part of God after He saw what man had done. This plan of God was in place before He made man. He knew what was going to happen before it happened. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by […]

1 Corinthians – Paul’s Aim

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“I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:5 Paul’s aim for preaching the cross and only the cross was so that everyone could see the power of God. Paul wants everyone to know that it was not by human wisdom that we are saved it is only by the wisdom of God. He came speaking in simplicity. It is worth noting that Paul had come to Corinth from Athens. It was at Athens that, for the only time in his life, as far as we know, he had attempted to reduce Christianity to philosophic terms. There, on Mars’ Hill, he had met the philosophers and had tried to speak in their own language (Acts 17:22-31); and it was there that he had one of his very few failures. His sermon in terms of philosophy had had very little effect (Acts 17:32-34). It would almost seem that he had said to himself, “Never again! From henceforth I will tell the story of Jesus in utter simplicity. I will never again try to wrap it up in human categories. I will know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him upon his Cross.” No one can argue against the proof of a changed life. It is our weakness that too often we have tried to talk men into Christianity, instead of in our own lives, showing them Christ. “A saint,” as someone said, “is someone in whom Christ lives again.” “They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.” (Romans 15:19)

1 Corinthians 2:3-4 – Paul’s Attitude

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“I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:3-4 Paul was an apostle, but he came as a humble servant; as a servant of Jesus Christ. He did not depend on himself. He became nothing so that Jesus Christ could become everything. He depended on the power of the Holy Spirit. It was not his experience or ability that gave his ministry its power. It was the work of the Spirit of God. His preaching was a demonstration not a performance. The Holy Spirit used Paul’s preaching to change lives. This was all the proof Paul needed that his message was from God. Our attitude is what influences all our actions. It is only the right attitude, which gets us good results. All the smiles and hand-shakes are not going to get you far, if you do not have the attitude to help others, without any selfish expectations in return. Paul had the right attitude. He knew that Jesus Christ was in control and that he was only a servant of God. Life is so much better when we have the right attitude. In the beginning of the grass cutting season, I had a problem with my mower; the belt would not stay on. I would have to stop several times while cutting and put the belt back on. I could not find the problem. It would upset me that I was having this problem. Then one day I decided that I was not going to get upset about this problem any longer. I was just going to put it on when it came off. My attitude changed and my belt stopped […]

1 Corinthians – God Shows His Wisdom

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“As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” 1 Corinthians 1:29-30 God shows His wisdom by means of righteousness, sanctification and redemption in Jesus Christ. These are things that Christ did for us. Jesus Christ is our wisdom. It is only in following Him that we can have life and life more abundant. It is only by listening to Him that we can know the truth. Jesus Christ is our righteousness. In the writings of Paul righteousness always means a right relationship with God. Of our own efforts we can never achieve that. It is ours only by realizing through Jesus Christ that it comes not from what we can do for God, but from what he has done for us. Jesus Christ is our sanctification. We belong to God and we are set apart from the world to serve God. Jesus Christ is our redemption. Jesus Christ is the only one that can free us from our sins of the past and help us in the present. He can give us peace about the future. The Corinthian church was glorying in men and we must glory in God only, because He is the only true wisdom in the world. “But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 9:24)

1 Corinthians – God Choses the Foolish

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“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 The Corinthians had a tendency to be puffed up with pride. There is no room in God’s grace for pride. God is not impressed with our looks, our social position, our achievement, our natural heritage or our financial status. God called people not because of what they were, but in spite of what they were. The Corinthians church was composed primarily of people who were terrible sinners. Before Paul’s conversion, he was very self-righteous, he gave up his religion in order to go to heaven. The Corinthians was on the other end of the spectrum, and yet they were not too sinful for God to reach them and save them. God chose the foolish, the weak, and the despised to show the proud world their need for God’s grace. I am one of those weak ones that God chose and as I have said before, I don’t understand why He chose me. The message and miracle of God’s grace in Jesus Christ utterly confounds the high and mighty people of the world. The wise of this world cannot understand how God changes sinners into saints, and the mighty of this world are helpless to duplicate the miracle of God. Why does God use the foolish […]