It’s at this point that I feel like I should interject a few thoughts. The first 5 chapters of 1st Corinthians has been heavy and in some people’s mind perhaps even VERY judgmental.
Let’s reexamine the actual messages here. In today’s world people are looking at everything they possibly can in order to bring condemnation to someone else. The reason they want to do this is to draw the attention away from themselves; sort of projecting self righteousness onto you in order to clear themselves in some way.
The reality is that when Jesus came He did not come to bring condemnation, He came to bring life. Condemnation separates you from God. Condemnation separates you from the reality of your own human traits. Condemnation makes you feel unworthy. As explained by my Pastor this week, conviction is a different thing.
Jesus came to bring us eternal life. Period. When the rest of the New Testament was written, it was written as a guideline of how we should live our lives to draw ourselves closer to God and understanding of His fullness. In order to draw closer to God you have to remove those things in your life which cause separation. These things are what makes your walk with God difficult.
Unless you are superman you are going to fail. Unless you possess superhuman strengths you are going to blow it from time to time. When these things happen don’t wallow in self-condemnation but rather glory in the teaching process and be aware that you are still human.
I am ready to head into the next section of 1st Corinthians but wanted to stop for a moment and explain that this is not condemnation but a step into a closer walk with God.
Paul took the 5th chapter to address a specific person that has apparently been have a physical relationship with either his mother or step mother.
In verses 2-5 Paul admonishes the church at Corinth to put this person out of the church. It appears that Paul is basically telling the leadership of the church that they can not allow one person to damage the message of the gospel.
Verses 6-8 Paul makes reference to leaven. Leaven of course is similar to yeast which once allowed to activate will grow bread to twice or perhaps three times its original size. Perhaps Paul is warning the church to stop the such actions before they fester and grow into something that it should not.
In verse 9-11 the church is told to not only put this person out of the church but he continued to say not to even keep company with such a person.
One of the potentially confusing parts of this chapter is that we are told all the way through the chapter to avoid sinful people. However, in the last two verses Paul explains the rules of judgement.
Basically, Paul has told the people in the church to NOT judge anyone without first judging themselves.
Paul opens the 4th chapter of 1st Corinthians by explaining criteria of being a minister. He explains that a minister is a steward of the the gospel. A minister holds the “mysteries” of God and because of that trust he must be found faithful. He tells us not to judge each other but we need to judge ourselves.
As the next section (vs. 6) Paul expounds on some of the misunderstandings regarding his ministry. He speaks of people getting “puffed up” against one another.
Paul seems to be lamenting for most of the rest of the chapter about the abuse they have suffered and how they have been mistreated because of the Gospel. In verse 17 he even reveals to the Corinthians that he has sent Timotheus to them in order to warn them and explain the proper delivery of the Gospel.
In verses 18 and 19 he acknowledges how some people have gotten angry because they think he is not going to visit them but makes the promise that he will visit BUT when he comes he will not be preaching to simply satisfy the people who have spoken against him but will be preaching the power of the gospel.
Paul closes the chapter by asking them if he wants them to visit with a rod and preach hard against them or if he wants them to come in love.
Chapter 5 will explain more of why he asked this question.
[youtube width=”420″ height=”315″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyzaJfRSLts[/youtube]
Paul opens the third chapter explaining that he is feeding the people with the “milk” of the Word. Eating the “meat” of the Gospel too quickly can lead to many other problems. Carnality is one of the issues that can appear. People who are not “seasoned” in the Word can begin to think of themselves as more important than another. This is a HUGE mistake. As Paul explains in the 3rd and 4th verses it appears that some people were trying to sell themselves as more important by putting titles on themselves to show some type of superiority.
I’m sure this will sound familiar to many people. Verse 3 explains that even in the early church there were already beginning to see signs of division. Could this be the beginning of denominations as we know it today? Just curious……
Paul is self-explanatory in the following verses 5-17. Paul introduces Apollos who was a well respected minister of the Gospel in the Corinthian church. Verses 5-9 explains in a nutshell that there is no one that is more important than the other. One person does the planting. Sometimes this is nothing more than planting a seed of love or of a positive message or an offer of hope.
Along comes person number two who waters that original seed. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a kind word or deed perhaps it’s a helping hand or more importantly; perhaps it was that situation where that person was expected to say something disparaging and they didn’t.
Proverbs 25:11 is possibly one of my favorite verses when speaking about witnessing. It says: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Sometimes the best words are the ones not spoken. Once a word is off your lips it can’t be recalled. Something heard can’t be unheard.
Back to the point: Paul was explaining that each person has their own jobs. It is expected that you will not always fulfill the same role. Sometime you may be the planter and next time you are the harvester. The important part of this logic is that you are playing a part regardless and it is very important that you play your part well.
Paul pulls out of this chapter in verses 18-23 that the ministers of the Gospel will be held accountable for their words, actions and deeds. He explains in verse 22 that whether your Pastor is the most respected Pastor in all of the Church world OR the least of all, we are all in Christ.
He closes in verse 23: And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. This is a significant verse because it explains “the chain of command” or exactly who’s who. We are in Christ. We belong to Him. Christ is God’s. We already are aware that Jesus is the Son of God. Paul reconfirms that when he use the quote that Christ is God’s.
Paul opens the 2nd chapter of 1st Corinthians explaining that he may not be the most prolific speaker ever to come to Corinth. He goes on to explain that he really doesn’t know a lot about the Church of Corinth except that they had accepted Jesus as The Christ. An oft quoted verse is seen in verse 5 when Paul says “Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” How often in your daily walk do you hear a person who is very well spoken and seemingly very intelligent but doesn’t understand God at all. Verse 9 is like a “mainstay” in our faith. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Paul spends much time in this chapter explaining the “Spirit”. He speaks of the spirit of man and the Spirit of God at some length. He mentions the “spirit of the world” in verse 12 and then goes on further to say in verse 14 “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: Verse 16 is also a favorite of mine: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” Oh to have the mind of Christ. Where we are able to look through the present situation to the victory that waits for us on the other side. That mind which allows us to look at sickness, disease and death as just another step on our journey. To look at that person who we meet and see that their souls are much more vastly important to God than the circumstances we see. Oh to have the mind of Christ.