Most Miserable

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Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 15 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25

Read the “1204 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “A Family Addicted to the Ministry

“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19)

When I was working for my dad’s candy company, I would occasionally run into miserable people who seemed to take pleasure in ruining the day of everybody they came in contact with. There was one person in particular that I especially dreaded having to deal with. She worked for a supermarket that I delivered to in Philadelphia and her job was to check the order that I was bringing into the store to make sure the invoice was correct. Her job title was “security receiver”. She hated her job, she hated life, and she particularly hated the vendors, like me, who were delivering products to her store. She would sometimes make us wait outside in the rain or snow for long periods of time until she finished doing some “important” other task, like sweeping the floor, or filing away some paperwork. The worst day of my week was the day that I had to deliver to this store.

One day, however, I noticed something on her car, which was always parked right outside the back door of the store. There was an “OBX” sticker on her back bumper. “OBX” represents the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. I didn’t think this lady enjoyed anything about life, but apparently she enjoyed spending time in North Carolina. One day I decided to take a chance and talk to her about the bumper sticker. Her countenance changed immediately, and I think she even smiled. She began to tell me all about her past trips, and how she was looking forward to an upcoming vacation. Her attitude changed as she began to think and talk about something she enjoyed, and, more importantly, something she looked forward to. She transformed (at least temporarily) from a miserable person to a happy one.

In our text above the Apostle Paul states that people who do not believe that Christ is risen and who also won’t acknowledge a resurrection of all believers, are miserable people. Why? Because they have no hope, nothing to look forward to after this life. Paul says that if all we have is this life then we will be a most miserable people. Later on, in verse 58, Paul states that because of the hope that we have, we can be steadfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord. Why? because we know that all of our labor down here will pay off with a wonderful reward in eternity.

The lady at the supermarket got happy temporarily thinking about a vacation. How much more should God’s people get happy thinking about the fact that because Christ is risen, we know He has the power to raise us up as well, and pull us out of this earth, which can oftentimes be a miserable place, and take us to a place that is anything but miserable, a place of exceeding, eternal joy.


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The Greatest of These is Charity (Love)

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Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 13 – 14; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “1203 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23)

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12 & 13)

The Bible speaks much about love. In our passage today the word “charity” is used, which is the same word that is translated “love” many other places in the Bible. It means to love unconditionally; to have a deep abiding love that goes far beyond mere affection. This is the kind of love that God has for us. It was what He demonstrated (commendeth – Romans 5:12) when He died for us sinners. Why God loves us I do not know, but the Bible tells us He does.

This kind of Bible love spoken of here in our text and some of these other passages as well is something people often claim to have for others, especially in word. In other words, we often say that we love certain individuals or people in general. However, in practicality, I don’t think that we are being entirely truthful. Love is clearly more than just words, and it is even more than just feelings. Love is action. Love can be seen in the things that we do as well as say. In vv 4 – 7 of 1 Corinthians 13 there are listed practical examples of how love is put into action. Let me list them for you here:

Charity:

suffereth long, (patience)

and is kind;

charity envieth not;

charity vaunteth not itself, (does not boast)

is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, (inappropriately)

seeketh not her own,

is not easily provoked,

thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity,

but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things,

believeth all things,

hopeth all things,

endureth all things. (is able to survive anything, unconditional)

There are 15 practical applications of real love in those four verses. Take a good look at each one of them individually. Now ask yourself honestly: “Do these demonstrations of love show up in my love for others? Or am I falling short?” I think we both know the answer to that question. We all fall short, don’t we. I am not trying to make you feel bad, but I am trying to get you to realize how much needs to be done in our lives in order for us to truly represent Christ as His ambassadors. Remember, the Bible is clear that people will only see Jesus in us as we demonstrate love before them and to them. Now, here is the exciting part: You can’t love people in the flesh. It is not something that you can do on your own. You see, God is love; and you can only love people if the Holy Spirit of God is in you and is not being quenched (hindered from working in and through you). We must yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God inside of us. We must allow Him to love people through us. We must somehow get ourselves: our feelings, our hurts, our desires, etc. out of the way.

Do you want to love people as Jesus loves people? The world has love, but it is a conditional love. Some people are easy to love, but most people are not. Jesus died for a bunch of unloveable people. We must take our love up another notch if we are truly going to be His disciples.


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Preparing for the Next Generation

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 28 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 1 – 3; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0516 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:” – (1 Chronicles 28:2)

In today’s passage in, 1 Chronicles, we see David making all of the preparations for the building of the temple in Jerusalem. David would not be the one who would assemble all of the pieces together and produce the final product, as that job would be given to his son, Solomon. But David did everything else. When Solomon took over as king he had everything that he needed in order to complete the project.

In these two chapters we have seen that David did the following in order to prepare for the building of the Temple:

1 He planned it. David supervised over the drawing of the blueprints for the Temple

“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.” – (1 Chronicles 28:11-13)

2 He provided for it.

David provided for all of the gold, silver, brass, wood, and other materials. Everything that was needed to build the temple was provided for by David. Solomon did not have to gather any of the building materials, they were all ready to go.

3 He prayed for it.

Notice David’s prayer for Solomon and the temple in 1 Chronicle 29:10 – 19.

I think the temple should be called David’s temple. He did all of the hard work. Solomon really had the easy part. Why should he get all of the credit?

I see in this passage a picture of what God wants us to do for future generations. We are to plan, provide, and pray for the generation that is following behind us. When they arrive, they can then build upon the foundation that we have laid. Too bad Solomon didn’t continue building after he built the temple. If you study Solomon’s life you will see that he will eventually start squandering all of the things that were handed to him. He will forsake many of the things his father fought and worked for to provide for him. What a shame. We need to remember to take the things that others have built for us, and preserve them; and then build upon them so that we can deliver them to the next generation.

 


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Learn From The Past

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Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “1202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Are You Unworthy?” and “Be Careful

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” (1 Corinthians 10:5-6)

“In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.”
Edmund Burke

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
George Santayana

In 1 Corinthians 10, God gives us the example of the Children of Israel as they left Egypt and wandered through the wilderness on their way to the Land of Promise. The Bible references that there were people who did things that did not please God, which must mean that they were not acting in faith for “without faith it is impossible to please him”. There were many things that happened during their 40 years of wilderness wanderings that earned the chastisement of God: there was the golden calf, the rebellion against Moses, the numerous complaints about water and food, the griping about the manna, their lusting after the quail, and on and on it goes. In verse 6, however, we learn why God recorded all of these things in the Bible. They were examples for us to learn from, and hopefully not repeat.

1  We can learn from the past mistakes (and successes) of those recorded in the Bible.

2  We can learn from the past mistakes (and successes) of those who are with us today, particularly those who are older and have experienced a little more of life than we have.

3  We should also learn from our own past mistakes and successes.

We do not have to re-invent the wheel when we can take what others have learned and put it into practice in our lives; and we don’t have to see the bad history of others repeated in our own lives. Learn from the past!


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Bought With A Price

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Today’s Passages – 1Corinthians 6 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “1201 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Stumbling-blocks

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Let me give you a parallel verse to the one listed above:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

God says that we are bought with a price, meaning we no longer belong to ourselves. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary. The context of 1 Corinthians 6:20 has to do with committing sin, which we have no right to do as believers; but I believe this verse tells us much more than to not commit sin. It deals also with our desires, our will. We really have no right to do with our lives that which we desire to do, unless those desires are God-given desires. Romans goes on to tell us that it is reasonable for us to yield our will to the will of God. I often quote another verse from Romans:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

Notice that the “no good thing” that Paul refers to in this verse is his will; and “that which is good” is the will of God. This tells us the same thing that our text tells us. We have no right to do with our lives that which we desire. Our desires need to be surrendered to God. He owns us. He purchased us on the Cross of Calvary. This does not just mean that we shouldn’t commit sin, it goes way beyond mere obedience to His moral laws. Our goals, desires, and especially our passions need to yielded to the control of the Holy Spirit of God.

God desires to mold us and shape us to perform an ordained work (Ephesians 2:10) for Him, He has the perfect plan for our lives; and His plan will bring us the most fulfillment, and the most happiness. We may think we know what we want, but we must be very careful to determine that the thing which we want is what God wants for our lives. We often sing the song, “This World is Not My Home”; but really when you think about it, we could sing, “This Life is Not My Own”. We belong to God. He has purchased us, and it is our reasonable service to give our lives completely to Him.


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A Father’s Love

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Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read a previous post from this passage – “Baby Christians”

“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” – (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)

First Corinthians is a pretty strong letter; it contains a lot of bold criticism for the Church at Corinth. However, it is important to remember that the Apostle Paul was not writing to these people simply to set them straight. He loved these people very dearly, and wanted to see them get back on track. Paul gives the analogy of a father’s love for his children in order to describe his love for this struggling church. Paul had started this church. He served these people, and lived among them for eighteen months on his second missionary journey. He cared deeply for these Christian brothers and sisters, which gave him the right to “rebuke them sharply”.

There has always been this debate in our society about tough love. Many would say that if you are too strong in your discipline that you will drive your children away into rebellion. However, I disagree with that line of thinking. I believe that you can be strong with those who know that you genuinely care for them. If you truly love people, they will let you be straight with them. My pastor in Texas used to say that you have to build up a bank account of love with your people before you can have the right to get tough with them. They need to know that you genuinely care for them. When I worked in the supermarket in Texas, I had a store manager  who was brutally honest with his employees. He was occasionally very tough, but at the same time we knew that he genuinely cared for us; he loved us. As a result there was nothing that we wouldn’t do for him. He earned our love and respect.

The Apostle Paul could say what he said to these Corinthians because they knew that He loved them. The preachers, Sunday School teachers, and leaders in our churches need to demonstrate that kind of love for the people they serve, and this will, in time, give them the right to get tough when it becomes necessary. People will simply not give an ear to someone who doesn’t truly care.


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Are You Unworthy?

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 10 – 12; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Memory passage for the month of November – Luke 1:26 – 38

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read a previous post from this passage – “Be Careful”

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” – (1 Corinthians 11:27)

The answer is yes – and no.

How’s that for an answer? Let me explain. In ourselves (our flesh) we are completely unworthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper. There is nothing good about any one of us. The Scripture has a lot of things to say about the sinful condition of men. Not just “bad men” by the way: all men. “There is none righteous, no not one.” Isaiah probably said it best: ”But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) We are all unworthy.

However, those that are saved are completely worthy. Paul said, ”Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”  (Romans 3:22). So even though we unworth in ourselves, because of the blood of Christ we are completely worthy. He has removed all sin from our record. Positionally, He sees us as righteous as He sees the Lord Jesus.

So what does the Scripture mean when it says, ”wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily…”. The word “unworthily” is an adverb. An adverb modifies or explains verbs or other adverbs. The word “unworthily” here modifies the verbs eat and drink. In other words, Paul was not saying that the person eating was unworthy, but rather that the way he was eating and drinking was unworthy. Read the context. It clearly indicates that Paul was correcting them for what they were doing while remembering the body and blood of the Lord. The Scripture is teaching here that our focus during the Lord’s Supper should be on nothing but the death and shed blood of the Lord.

If you are saved, you are worthy to sit at the Lord’s table. If you have sin in your life (and who doesn’t), while you are reflecting on the Lord and His sacrifice for you, it would be a great time for you to confess those sins to Him; but by all means come to the table, and remember  what He did for you.


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A Family Addicted to the Ministry

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 15 – 16; Proverbs 4

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 16 – 20; Memorize – Isaiah 9:6)

“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” – (1 Corinthians 16:15)

Addiction is not usually thought of as a good thing, but I think that addiction to the ministry would certainly be an exception to the rule. We do not know much about this fellow Stephanan, save that he was on of the earlier converts in Achaia, which was where the city of Corinth was located. We also know from chapter one that Paul personally baptized “the household of Stephanas”. Other than that we only know that Stephanas was addicted to ministering to the saints, along with his house. That means that the whole family co-labored together in the ministry of the gospel.

The word “addicted” here is a word that means appoint or ordain, which means to set apart. This family was “set apart” for the ministry. Now there is no indication from the Scriptures that this family was serving “full-time”. In other words, this was not a missionary family that went to Bible school and was then sent out to serve the Lord in some foreign place. It seems from the context that this family was one of the first families to get saved in Corinth, and was one of the founding families of the church there. They were laboring together in their home church. Yet, they were addicted to the ministry there. I can see Mrs. Stephanas teaching a Sunday School class. I can see Mr. Stephanas working behind the scenes getting their meeting place ready to go. He’s tired because he worked all day at his secular job, but he’s so addicted to the ministry, he just has to spend some time  after work down at the church. He’s got young Stephanas Jr. with him. He also teaches, and serves as a deacon. He’s hooked on the ministry. He goes soul winning and visits the sick. He just can’t break away from serving the people of God there at his local church.

I wish we had some more families, like the household of Stephanas that served God together in the ministry here at Jersey Shore. I thank God for every individual that comes to our church, but there is something very powerful and very wondeful about a family that serves God together.


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Are You Unworthy?

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 10 – 12; Proverbs 2

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 6 – 10; Memorize – Colossians 3:15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read last year’s post on this passage – “Be Careful”

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” – (1 Corinthians 11:27)

The answer is yes – and no.

How’s that for an answer? Let me explain. In ourselves (our flesh) we are completely unworthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper. There is nothing good about any one of us. The Scripture has a lot of things to say about the sinful condition of men. Not just “bad men” by the way: all men. “There is none righteous, no not one.” Isaiah probably said it best: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) We are all unworthy.

However, those that are saved are completely worthy. Paul said, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”  (Romans 3:22). So even though we unworth in ourselves, because of the blood of Christ we are completely worthy. He has removed all sin from our record. Positionally, He sees us as righteous as He sees the Lord Jesus.

So what does the Scripture mean when it says, “wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily…”. The word “unworthily” is an adverb. An adverb modifies or explains verbs or other adverbs. The word “unworthily” here modifies the verbs eat and drink. In other words, Paul was not saying that the person eating was unworthy, but rather that the way he was eating and drinking was unworthy. Read the context. It clearly indicates that Paul was correcting them for what they were doing while remembering the body and blood of the Lord. The Scripture is teaching here that our focus during the Lord’s Supper should be on nothing but the death and shed blood of the Lord.

If you are saved, you are worthy to sit at the Lord’s table. If you have sin in your life (and who doesn’t), while you are reflecting on the Lord and His sacrifice for you, it would be a great time for you to confess those sins to Him; but by all means come to the table, and remember  what He did for you.


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Stumblingblocks

Today’s Passages – 1Corinthians 6 – 9; Proverbs 1

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 1 – 5; Memorize Colossians 3:15)

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” – (1 Corinthians 8:9)

The context of 1 Corinthians 8 has to do primarily with idolatry. Paul was telling the strong Christian that it was certainly OK with God for him to eat meat that was sacrificed to idols. You see, the strong Christian understands that these idols were just inanimate objects, and though they might mean something to other people, they are nothing to him. It is sort of like my view of Christmas trees. There are some Christians that are very offended by a Christmas tree because they originated as a part of pagan worship; but for me the Christmas tree is just a part of our Christmas tradition. I do not worship the tree. I bow down to it only to retrieve the presents that are underneath it.

However, if my having a Christmas tree became a stumblingblock to somebody, it would be wrong for me to have one. I do not think that this would happen today, but if a new Christian happened to visit my house and see the tree, and then bowed down to it in worship, I would probably have to re-consider owning a tree. The same argument can be applied to many “liberties” that we have.  Drinking alcohol would be a good example. Now there are a lot of arguments in the Bible against drinking alcohol, but the bottom line is that God will not revoke my salvation for drinking. However, my drinking could very likely be a stumblingblock for somebody else. I may be able to handle an occasional drink now and then; but the person I am influencing may not be able to handle it, and may become a drunkard. So, I don’t drink. I don’t want to point anybody in the wrong direction.

We also need to be very careful that we don’t allow ourselves to be tripped up in our Christian life. There are a lot of things out there that could cause us to stumble if we are not careful. Just because somebody else is doing something, or even another Christian is doing it, does not mean that it is OK for us.


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Baby Christians

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5; Proverbs 30

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 146 – 150; Memorize – Colossians 3:15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. (1 Corinthians 3:1 & 2)

The church at Corinth was a church that had many issues which we could sum up into one main category, carnality. They were a very carnal church. Paul says here in the verses above that they were babes. The symptoms of their carnality can be seen throughout these chapters. For instance, they had a problem with unity; they were divided. Some of them were following Paul; some Apollos; some Peter. They ought to have been following the Lord; this way they could also get behind anybody else that was also going the same direction. Man worship seems to be a symptom of the carnality in our churches today as well. We love to pick out a spiritual guru who will do all of the work for us. He will get to know God and study for us, and he will tell us what we need to know. You see, this way we won’t have to get to know God ourselves. I praise God for the many different men that God has used in my life, but they were all just men. I still needed to follow God on my own, just in case one of these men ahead of men decide to take a detour away from God.

Another symptom of the church in Corinth which revealed their lack of spiritual maturity, and their carnality, was immorality. There were many within the body of Christ there that could not control their passions. They were committing some of the worst types of sin including fornication, and unfortunately, it did not appear that the church was dealing with it. They did not seem to be too upset about it. Our churches today are much the same way. It is almost as if we have given up trying to fight immorality anymore. The world we live in has certainly become a cesspool of immorality, so we figure that as long as we are not as bad as they are, we are doing ok. I don’t think God sees it the same way.

How can we reverse this trend? How can we try to conduct our churches in a way where we are still loving and reaching people with problems, yet we are maintaining a mature, separated walk with the Lord. I believe if a church is going to be able to pull its people away from the world, and lead them into a separated lifestyle of service, it will have to have these three ingredients:

1  There must be some shining examples – The leadership of the church, beginning with the pastors, must be men of God that are excited and passionate about serving the Lord. These men and women do not see separation as something to endure, but rather a lifestyle that they enjoy. These people don’t have to do what they do, they love it.

2  There also needs to be strong exhortation – Bible principle must be preached and taught with a conviction that can only come through the power of the Spirit of God. Messages need to be flooded, not with the philosophies of men, but with the principles contained in the Word of God. The people need to hear, “Thus saith the Lord”.

3  There also needs to be service exercise – People need to have a purpose, and they need to be busy serving the Lord. Let’s plug people in to some type of service that enables them to use their gifts for the glory of God.

4  There also needs to be a spiritual excitement – We get beaten down by the world enough. Our people need to see God working. They need to be convinced that this is real, that we are really on the wining team. There needs to be some spiritual victories that will motivate the people to keep going. Nothing is more motivational than seeing people saved, and seeing peoples lives changed.

Carnality will be less of a problem in a healthy, vibrant, excited, motivated, and growing church. People will be able to resist the pull of the world if there is a stronger pull coming from within the walls of the church.


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passage: 1Corinthians 15 & 16.

The Victory Is No Mystery – 1Cor. 15:51-58

Good morning. Another week has passed. Black Friday, Small Store Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all behind us. Did you get all your Christmas shopping done? Good! You had a victory. That’s what today’s blog is about: VICTORY! We already have the victory, but we don’t realize it. When we don’t realize it, we lose.

I was reminded of an Abbott and Costello skit. They go into an illegal gambling establishment to bet on the horses. This was where they got the idea for off-track betting. Just remember that legal gambling is just as bad as illegal gambling – only someone else gets to keep your money! Costello places the bet, and a voice comes over the radio…

And they’re off…”

The race is over…”

You lose!”

That was a comedy, so you already knew that Costello was going to lose. Do you know you already have the victory: you are not a loser? 1Corinthians 15 tells us…

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of deathis sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs 54-57)

We have the victory! It was given to us by God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Death has no more sting: death cannot hurt us. Death is swallowed up in victory!

How can we know this victory now?

Well, you could… die. And at the rapture of the church, when your corruptible has put on incorruption, and your mortal has put on immortality, you will be with Jesus. That’s victory!

Or (and I prefer this way better) by faith. 1John 5:4 says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Verse 58 of 1Corinthians 15 tells us the result of this victory through faith: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

We will be stedfast. Immovable, standing firm in our faith. God said it; that settles it.

We will be unmoveable. Nothing, and nobody in this world, or any situation for that matter should shake and shatter our faith. We have the victory and greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

And we will be always abounding in the work of the Lord. Soul winning, tithing (supporting our pastor, the church, and it’s ministries), and what ever the Lord has asked us as individuals to do (teach, edify, be a friend), are some of the works we should be abounding in.

And at the end of verse 58 there is victory: “…forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

That’s victory. Keep on going for the Lord.

Peace (John 14:47).


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True Love

Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 13 – 14

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23)

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12 & 13)

The Bible speaks much about love. In our passage today the word “charity” is used, which is the same word that is translated “love” many other places in the Bible. It means to love unconditionally; to have a deep abiding love that goes far beyond mere affection. This is the kind of love that God has for us. It was what He demonstrated (commendeth – Romans 5:12) when He died for us sinners. Why God loves us I do not know, but the Bible tells us He does.

This kind of Bible love spoken of here in our text and some of these other passages as well is something people often claim to have for others, especially in word. In other words, we often say that we love certain individuals or people in general. However, in practicality, I don’t think that we are being entirely truthful. Love is clearly more than just words, and it is even more than just feelings. Love is action. Love can be seen in the things that we do as well as say. In vv 4 – 7 of 1 Corinthians 13 there are listed practical examples of how love is put into action. Let me list them for you here:

Charity:

suffereth long, (patience)

and is kind;

charity envieth not;

charity vaunteth not itself, (does not boast)

is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, (inappropriately)

seeketh not her own,

is not easily provoked,

thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity,

but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things,

believeth all things,

hopeth all things,

endureth all things. (is able to survive anything, unconditional)

There are 15 practical applications of real love in those four verses. Take a good look at each one of them individually. Now ask yourself honestly: Do these demonstrations of love show up in my love for others? Or am I falling short? I think we both know the answer to that question. We all fall short, don’t we. I am not trying to make you feel bad, but I am trying to get you to realize how much needs to be done in our lives in order for us to truly represent Christ as His ambassadors. Remember, the Bible is clear that people will only see Jesus in us as we demonstrate love before them and to them. Now, here is the exciting part: You can’t love people in the flesh. It is not something that you can do on your own. You see, God is love; and you can only love people if the Holy Spirit of God is in you and is not being quenched (hindered from working in and through you). We must yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God inside of us. We must allow Him to love people through us. We must somehow get ourselves: our feelings, our hurts, our desires, etc. out of the way.

Do you want to love people as Jesus loves people? The world has love, but it is a conditional love. Some people are easy to love, but most people are not. Jesus died for a bunch of unloveable people. We must take our love up another notch if we are truly going to be His disciples.


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Bought With A Price

Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 6 – 9

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

I apologize for the late post. I overslept this morning listening to the rain and wind beating against the windows and roof of the house. It was an easy day to stay in bed a little longer.

Let me give you a parallel verse to the one listed above:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

God says that we are bought with a price, meaning we no longer belong to ourselves. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary. The context of 1 Corinthians 6:20 has to do with committing sin, which we have no right to do as believers, but I believe this verse tells us much more than to not commit sin. It deals also with our desires, our will. We really have no right to do with our lives that which we desire to do, unless those desires are God-given desires. Romans goes on to tell us that it is reasonable for us to yield our will to the will of God. I often quote another verse from Romans:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

Notice that the “no good thing” that Paul refers to in this verse is his will; and “that which is good” is the will of God. This tells us the same thing that our text tells us. We have no right to do with our lives that which we desire. Our desires need to be surrendered to God. He owns us. He purchased us on the Cross of Calvary. This does not just mean that we shouldn’t commit sin, it goes way beyond mere obedience to His moral laws. Our goals, desires, and especially our passions need to yielded to the control of the Holy Spirit of God.

God desires to mold us and shape us to perform an ordained work (Ephesians 2:10) for Him, He has the perfect plan for our lives; and His plan will bring us the most fulfillment, and the most happiness. We may think we know what we want, but we must be very careful to determine that the thing which we want is what God wants for our lives. We often sing the song, “This World is Not My Home”; but really when you think about it, we could sing, “This Life is Not My Own”. We belong to God. He has purchased us, and it is our reasonable service to give our lives completely to Him.


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Grow Up

Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. (1 Corinthians 3:1 & 2)

The church at Corinth was a church that had many issues which we could sum up into one main category, carnality. They were a very carnal church. Paul says here in the verses above that they were babes. The symptoms of their carnality can be seen throughout these chapters. For instance, they had a problem with unity; they were divided. Some of them were following Paul; some Apollos; some Peter. They ought to have been following the Lord; this way they could also get behind anybody else that was also going the same direction. Man worship seems to be a symptom of the carnality in our churches today as well. We love to pick out a spiritual guru who will do all of the work for us. He will get to know God and study for us, and he will tell us what we need to know. You see, this way we won’t have to get to know God ourselves. I praise God for the many different men that God has used in my life, but they were all just men. I still needed to follow God on my own, just in case one of these men ahead of men decide to take a detour away from God.

Another symptom of the church in Corinth which revealed their lack of spiritual maturity, and their carnality, was immorality. There were many within the body of Christ there that could not control their passions. They were committing some of the worst types of sin including fornication, and unfortunately, it did not appear that the church was dealing with it. They did not seem to be too upset about it. Our churches today are much the same way. It is almost as if we have given up trying to fight immorality anymore. The world we live in has certainly become a cesspool of immorality, so we figure that as long as we are not as bad as they are, we are doing ok. I don’t think God sees it the same way.

How can we reverse this trend? How can we try to conduct our churches in a way where we are still loving and reaching people with problems, yet we are maintaining a mature, separated walk with the Lord. I believe if a church is going to be able to pull its people away from the world, and lead them into a separated lifestyle of service, it will have to have these three ingredients:

1  There must be some shining examples – The leadership of the church, beginning with the pastors, must be men of God that are excited and passionate about serving the Lord. These men and women do not see separation as something to endure, but rather a lifestyle that they enjoy. These people don’t have to do what they do, they love it.

2  There also needs to be strong exhortation – Bible principle must be preached and taught with a conviction that can only come through the power of the Spirit of God. Messages need to be flooded, not with the philosophies of men, but with the principles contained in the Word of God. The people need to hear, “Thus saith the Lord”.

3  There also needs to be service exercise – People need to have a purpose, and they need to be busy serving the Lord. Let’s plug people in to some type of service that enables them to use their gifts for the glory of God.

4  There also needs to be a spiritual excitement – We get beaten down by the world enough. Our people need to see God working. They need to be convinced that this is real, that we are really on the wining team. There needs to be some spiritual victories that will motivate the people to keep going. Nothing is more motivational than seeing people saved, and seeing peoples lives changed.

Carnality will be less of a problem in a healthy, vibrant, excited, motivated, and growing church. People will be able to resist the pull of the world if there is a stronger pull coming from within the walls of the church.


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