Tuesday, August 29, 2006

1 Corinthians 6:12 - 20 (NLT) 12. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14. And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. 15. Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16. And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17. But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20. for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

I know this is a big chunk of scripture but I’ve got to be on the road tomorrow morning by 3:30 a.m. and don’t think I’ll have time to send out anything! I’ll be back Monday morning, God willing.

Perhaps the whole of all we deal with every day can be brought into focus when we read verses 19b and 20. You and I do not belong to ourselves. We belong to God because, not only did He create us, but He redeemed us. He paid the price, the high price of His Son’s life, to make us right with Himself.

If there’s anything we as individual’s and as local bodies of Christ can possibly use to better ourselves and our interactions with each other and the world it is this.

You and I belong to God. To please Him, we must know what He wants by reading His Word, talking with Him, listening to Him and acting according to the understanding that He reveals to us through His Spirit.

It is no different for the church. It has been said that the people “are” the church and, in a sense, this is correct. The church is not a building; it is a group of believers that call upon Jesus as Savior and Lord. But if the church does not have Christ as its Head and instead tries to run by human will, rules and regulations it is NOT the church. It is just another organization. The “called out ones” are called out of the world and its ways. We do not run on man’s principles but on God’s. The only valid set of rules for the church to operate on comes from the Bible. If anything in our government and denomination required constitutions are at odds with God’s Word, they need to be thrown out. Everything that the church does must align with God’s Word.

We are not our own. We are His.

Monday, August 28, 2006

1 Corinthians 6:7 - 11 (NASB) 7. Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8. On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. 9. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10. nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT) 11. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Every one of us in the church, the body of Christ, was once like that. But every one of us was cleansed; every one of us was made holy, set apart for Gods purposes; every one of us was made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

What a reminder! Christ died to set us free from our past life; the life of sexual sin, idol worship, adultery, male prostitution, homosexuality, theft, greed, drunkenness, abusiveness, and cheating people (language of NLT). And thats the short list! Yet, we spend a great deal of time trying to justify, as the Corinthians did, why we still do some of those things.

All you who claim Christ as Lord are called to live a Spirit filled life, denying the fleshly desires, working together for Gods purposes to further and establish His Kingdom. So, before you start bashing gays, adulterers and thieves, examine your life. Is there anything that doesnt fit into Gods plan? Pray for deliverance; for yourself and then for each other. Does your brother or sister need help overcoming some sin? Tell them youre there for them, love them, pray with them.

Gods power has delivered you from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and is more than ample to help you, and all of us who call on Christ as Lord, to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

1 Corinthians 6:2 - 6 (NASB) 2. Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3. Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4. So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5. I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6. but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

1 Corinthians 6:2 - 6 (TMSG) 2. The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of Christians. If someday you are going to rule on the worlds fate, wouldnt it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? 3. Why, were even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? 4. As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you dont trust in any other way? 5. I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what youre doing. Is it possible that there isnt one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I dont believe it. 6. And here you are taking each other to court before people who dont even believe in God! How can they render justice if they dont believe in the God of justice?

In a day where divorce in the Christian community has reached the same level as the rest of the world and many Christian businesses are run according to the this worlds standards, it is quite understandable that Paul would be upset with the Corinthian churchs involvement in the worlds ways. After all, we Christians are to be in the world and not of the world.

If we look closely at the church of today it sometimes appears to be the thorny ground that Jesus spoke of in Mark 4:19 (NASB):

19. but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

To be separated to God is to be separated FROM the world and its ways. Much of what Jesus spoke about illustrated this:

Jesus: Blessed are the poor
The World: The poor are a nuisance
Jesus: Blessed are those that mourn
The World: Get over it
Jesus: Blessed are the meek
The World: Youve got to be aggressive to get ahead
Jesus: Blessed are the merciful
The World: Show no mercy
(remember the Karate Kid battle between good and evil dojos!)

God is our Father. His Son, Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Holy Spirit indwells us and gives us insight into Gods ways. A victorious life is a surrendered life; a life yielded to the ways of God.

Lets not live up to the reputation of Christians shoot their wounded. Lets help each other, pray for each other, forgive each other and, in general, treat each other according to Gods ways and not the ways of the world, for one day we will reign with Christ. As the Message translation put it, lets start practicing now!

Revelation 20:4 - 6 (NLT) 4. Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5. This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.