Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. Everything you do should be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16.13,14
Do you like compact lists that help you to be a better person? That is what Paul has given us here. This makes up part of Paul’s final words in this letter to the Corinthians. You have heard it said that we save the best for last. The four points that he shares with us are not wimpy. Quite the contrary. Stay alert. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3.10 that the day of the Lord will come as a thief. If you have ever had the misfortune to be robbed, you know the terrible feeling with which it leaves you. If we do not keep watch, we could be lost due to our lack of vigilance. Stand firm in the faith. Paul tells us 1 Corinthians 15.2 that we are being saved if we hold firmly to the message that he preached. Otherwise, my faith is vain. It is of no value. How do I know that message today? By reading the Bible. Show courage. It is said that courage is not the absence of fear. Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1.7 that God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3.6 not to give way to fear. Fear is so detrimental to our lives. It can hold us back and keep us from being all that God wants us to be. Be strong. When I think of strength, I think of an anchor. We need to be firmly grounded in our faith and in our hope. Do everything in love. Decision. Love is my decision to obey let come what may. As a follower of Christ, one who loves Jesus, I must not be a wimp. I must be a warrior. A love warrior wanting to take the world for the One who made redemption possible. Are you following Paul’s advice in your life?
#risingjoy #1-Corinthians #lists
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; it there is knowledge, it will be set aside. I Corinthians 13.4-8
Love endures. It is what will carry us to the end. Not the passionate, emotional type of love that the world holds in such high esteem. This love is the type that is a decision to do what Jesus commands, John 15.12-14. The above verses are in the middle of Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts to the church in Corinth. Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will all come to an end. Jesus teaches that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. We will obey him. Sometimes I put my name in the above verses and ask myself if my love has these qualities. At times, I pass the test. However, at other times I find myself falling far short in the love category. We as humans are not easy to love. If this love were the emotional feel good love, let’s face it, we would not finish the race to win the prize. But it is a decision to keep Jesus’s commands. He is there to help because he loves us. That, my friends, is reason to have joy overflowing.
#risingjoy #1-Corinthians #love
“With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that ‘we all have knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
1 Corinthians 8.1
Some Corinthians gloried in their knowledge. Their worldly perspective caused them to ignore or despise others who were not as advanced as they thought they were.
Without love, people exalt themselves because of knowledge. See Jeremiah 9.23-24. Here applies the old phrase that it’s not what, but who, you know.
#votd #1-Corinthians #knowledge
“For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.”
1 Corinthians 4.9
The unregenerate man thinks of titles, positions, and privileges in a given group or setting. Jesus calls the “best and brightest” to become the rejects and oppressed.
God calls us all into an eternal covenant whose major characteristic today is suffering. To reject the suffering of Christ, with Christ, is to reject the covenant and all its promises.
#votd #1-Corinthians #suffering
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.”
1 Corinthians 15.17
Denial of the resurrection undermines the entire gospel. The power of God is shown in raising Jesus from the dead. In this way he provided proof of the value of the cross.
No part of the gospel may be denied. It all stands or falls together. The Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Ascension, the present Reign of Christ in the church, his Second Coming, are essential elements of God’s Good News.
#votd #1-Corinthians #gospel #resurrection
“But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak.”
1 Corinthians 8.9
The Corinthians were arrogant and independent. They insisted on exercising their freedom, to the detriment of their brethren. Paul pulls them back to examine their impact on the weak.
How does my use of freedom affect others? Are my actions making others stronger or weaker in faith? Am I aware of how others interpret my words and actions?
#votd #1-Corinthians #freedom
“The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.”
1 Corinthians 14.4
In context Paul addresses the use of the gift of speaking in tongues without an interpreter. His statement is a criticism of selfish use of miraculous gifts. The goal is edification of all. That is the key word of the chapter.
Pentecostals take this phrase out of context as permission for their practice, which has nothing in common with the miraculous gift of the first century. How sad to turn it on its head!
#votd #1-Corinthians #edification
“So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.”
1 Corinthians 4.5
Man judges differently than God does. Either he is critical and demeaning, or he puts his fellow man on a pedestal. Paul had to deal with both in Corinth.
Jesus requires that we judge with righteous judgment, even in relation to himself, Jo 7.24. That means we judge as God has revealed. Motives of the heart should await his final judgment.
#votd #1-Corinthians #judging
“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1.18
Salvation has three tenses: past, present, and future. Paul says we are being saved. God continues to preserve us and save us from temptation, from the power of sin, from the wiles of Satan.
We have need of constant vigilance. This is not a reason for worry, but for peace of mind, because God’s power is more than sufficient. How am I trusting in God to save today?
#votd #1-Corinthians #salvation
“If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know.”
1 Corinthians 8.2
The Corinthians valued knowledge above all things. Their supposed knowledge led to pride, v. 1. What matters is not what we know, but who knows us, v. 3.
We know what we are permitted to know, Dt 29.29. That knowledge we must know, for it is our salvation, in Christ. All else calls for humility.
#votd #1-Corinthians #knowledge
“but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”
1 Corinthians 1.23
Mattered not what others thought about the Good News of Christ. Paul knew it was the only way to salvation.
Does every subject of ours relate to Christ crucified on the cross for our sins? Is he the center of our faith and message?
#votd #1-Corinthians #crucifixion
“If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that when you assemble it does not lead to judgment. I will give directions about other matters when I come.”
1 Corinthians 11.34
Meals eaten with the Lord’s supper, as Jesus ate with the disciples at Passover, became a motive for division. Paul puts a stop to them.
Abusing and disobeying God’s laws leads to a sentence of condemnation. We must be careful to follow the Lord’s model of faith, practice, and work.
#votd #1-Corinthians #judgment
“But just as it is written, ‘Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.'”
1 Corinthians 2.9
Paul quotes Isaiah 64.4 to emphasize the wonder of Christ. God is working out his plan. He has revealed it to man. Only those who love him will benefit from it.
“Mind” translates the word for heart, referring to the whole inner person, and often a specific aspect of it. Here, the thoughts of man. Love is the condition of receiving such wonderful things.
#votd #1-Corinthians #love
“Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.”
1 Corinthians 7.17 NLT
Converts often mistake what they should change in their lives. Paul tells them that their circumstances are not what is important. His rule: Stay where you are!
Christians often think they can grow and develop if things around them would change. But what God wants to change are habits and attitudes.
#votd #1-Corinthians #change
“For they refreshed my spirit and yours. So then, recognize people like this.”
1 Corinthians 16.18
Paul refers to three brothers sent by the Corinthian church to help and encourage Paul. The Corinthians wanted to associate with whom they considered big names. Paul wanted them to see that those who were involved in God’s mission were worthy of recognition.
Who is doing God’s work that deserves recognition among us? What can I do to refresh the spirits of the saints who do God’s work?
#votd #1-Corinthians #mission