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1st Corinthians 5

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.

 

1st Corinthians 4

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.

 

1st Corinthians 3

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.

 

 

 

1st Corinthians 1

First Corinthians opens with Paul’s Greetings and Prayers of Thanksgiving saying that he thanks God for the folks in Corinth and prays for their enrichment through the testimony of Jesus.

As we move into verse 10 Paul warns the saints against the reports of division in the church and that they need to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind”.   He explains that he has learned of “contentions” among the people.

One definition of “contentions” is heated debate.  Heated debate often leads to hate speech or disagreements to the point that you are not able to speak to each other in love.  You avoid each other, you turn your head and pretend not to see each other and perhaps find it difficult to even pray for each other.

This is not unlike some of the things we see in the church to this very day.  Sometimes our strong wills are such to the point that we want to control others or perhaps “put them in their place”.  Here Paul is warning the church against this type of action.

It is strongly believed that part of this disparagement between the folks in the church at the time was over baptism.  Some people may have been telling people that they were baptized by Paul while others were saying that they had been baptized by someone else.  Some questioned others of the genuine nature of their baptism to the point that they perhaps even questioned the other persons salvation.

Paul closes this first chapter by explaining that the Gospel is not made for earthly wisdom.  In verse 18 he says that “the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe but for those of us who DO believe it is the power of our very faith”.

I love verse 23 and 24 where he explains that the preaching of the crucifixion is foolish to some and a “stumbling block” to others but to the believing heart it is actually the “power of God” and the “wisdom of God”.

Verse 27 is a much quoted scripture and one that bears memorization.  “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and He has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”.

When I read this my mind actually goes to the money that we spend in research to answer questions that no one seems to be asking or even worse, we spend millions of dollars to prove things we already know.  They could actually give me only a small percentage of this money and I could answer their questions.  (Just a thought).

Most of this first chapter could be summed up in the Good News that if we as a church would or could become united with one mind and concentrate on the preaching of the gospel, Christ’s crucifixion and work together we could accomplish great things like they did in the early church in the book of Acts.

It seems to me that this letter could have been written to our modern day church just as well.  Our contradictions, hate speeches, division and diversions demonstrate to the world exactly what we don’t want or need.  Division.

A house divided against itself will surely fail.  A house divided against itself will have no future.  I wonder if this was a prophetic word to use today instead of a simple letter written by Paul to the Church of Corinth.

All Of The Bad News

It seems like daily I am seeing the morning news, internet news and radio news.  All of the news seems to be sad, disheartening, challenging and all around horrible.

I have some good news.  JESUS is alive and well.  He has extended His love to us.  He came as the Son of God, lived here on earth and then sacrificed His life that we could experience His extended love and live with Him in His eternal kingdom for ever.

While He was on this earth He extended His love, in His death, burial and resurrection He left us the promise that if we would confess with our mouth that He was the Son of God and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you would be saved.

I invite you to experience the love of God and the love of Jesus today by inviting Him into your heart, cleanse you of your sins and then find a Holy Bible and begin to learn who Jesus is.  You will find He is the answer to everything you have been searching for all of your life.

Sunday School

I attend a great church here in the L.A. area.  One of the things I enjoy about our church is our Sunday School.  We have a really nice group of about 15-20 people in my class with two really great teachers.  Normally, we follow a suggested reading and printed class lessons but today was a little different.

Our Sunday School books did not arrive on time for our class this morning so instead of reading from our printed books our teacher asked us to read or recite our favorite Bible verse or chapter.  This turned out to be quite a blessing.

It’s so much fun and quite enlightening to hear from others and their lives,  what gives them encouragement and even hearing some of the trials they face in their lives. This morning we heard from some who had simple verses and others had longer chapters.

The chapter that most inspired was the 13th Chapter of 1st Corinthians.  One of the brothers read the entire chapter, one of sisters read a couple of verses.  This too has been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  My comments were very simple.  I strongly believe that this is one of the keys to a successful Christian life.  It holds all of the keys that represent Christ.

I  have decided to do a complete study on the 13 chapter of 1st Corinthians and you will see more of that very soon.

I hope that your church has Sunday School and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ric Overton

Disturbing News

I spent part of the day today reading various stories in the news.  I was actually disgusted by some of the things I read about how Christian people react to various kinds of people.  I read stories about how drug addicts were not welcome to attend morning worship services until they were able to “get themselves together”.  I read an interesting article about how an alcoholic was expected to “clean  himself up” and perhaps the most irritating of all was from a Pastor who left a scathing message to a waiter whom he “assumed” was gay (he was not).

What are we thinking church?  Where is our mind?

In the process of simply being friendly we would never say these types of things to people.  I am praying that we are not actually telling people how Christ like we are while we are using this type of language and saying these types of things in an effort to win them into the Church.

Forget  the whole idea of judging…..this is simply wrong.  There are no other words for it. When was the last time that we quit shopping in a grocery store because one of the people that was employed by the grocery store was divorced?  Why do you support your electric company, telephone company, gas station (you get the point) but refuse to welcome them into the Church because they don’t fit our standards?

Mostly I think it has to do with ignorance or the inability to see the other persons side  or to “walk a mile in their shoes”.  Of course there is also the stupid factor.  When we open our mouths without our mind being in gear.  However, none of the above is an excuse, reason or explanation for these types of actions.

Remember that we represent the Master.  The Son of God who died on the cross for our sins.  All of our sins, not just the sins we approve of because “we all fail” OR the sins that we have committed that we don’t want anyone to find out about (the sins by the way that we yell the loudest about)(we yell about  them mostly because they were done in secret and no one will ever find out).  NO NO NO Christ died for ALL of our sins and we as believers should welcome everyone with our arms outstretched.

Trust me Jesus is going to whether you do or not.  Hopefully and prayerfully, he will do the same for you.

Ric Overton