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2 Corinthians 3:7-11

Thursday, May 24, 2018

“But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul had stated in the previous two verses, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” God had made Paul adequate, as an inspired Apostle of Jesus Christ, to teach the truth that saves people’s souls.

 

He was not like other teachers in the church at Corinth who “peddled the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17). He taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a heart and mind of purity (of motives) and sincerity (of love). It seems obvious from these verses that those unscrupulous teachers were not only making merchandise of God’s word, but they were also teaching it falsely. They evidently taught the Law of Moses as being a part of the Gospel of Christ (or vice versa).

 

This is one of the most clearly stated passages of Scripture that teach us that God’s former covenant with Israel, including the Law of Moses, are no longer in effect today. When Paul refers to “letters engraved on stones,” and to “the face of Moses” that shined with glory; there can be no doubt that he is writing about the 10 Commandments issued by God on Mount Sanai, and the entire Mosaic Law that it came to represent (Read Exodus 34:29-35).

 

The Law of Moses is called “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation” because it identified sin, but provided no means of taking those sins away. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM’” (Galatians 3:10).

 

Please don’t misunderstand. The Law of Moses was adequate for God’s people who lived under it and endeavored to keep it as best that they possibly could. Paul even wrote in today’s text that it “had glory” (verse 9). The glory of that covenant and law are just greatly surpassed by the glory of our covenant and law in Christ Jesus. It is written of Christ in Hebrews 9:15, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

 

Those who loved and obeyed God through the Law of Moses with a good heart and pure conscience were forgiven by the blood of Christ (not by the blood of the animals sacrificed) just like we are. But the point is, why would anyone want to go back to something that is inferior and “incomplete” when we have the fulfillment and completion of that old law in Christ Jesus himself and our covenant with Him? The Law of Moses was a constant reminder that God’s people needed their Messiah Savior and the forgiveness that only He could provide. Since He has come in fulfillment of the “Law and the Prophets”, He surpassed and superseded it.

 

Eric boiled this all down excellently to one paragraph in his lesson book: “The old covenant was a ‘ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones.’ Despite this inferiority, its origin was in God and therefore possessed divine glory. This foretaste of an even greater glory became obsolete by the ratification of the new covenant. Paul begins to suggest the diminishing nature of this glory that should have been understood by the sons of Israel through their experience with Moses. If the old covenant came with death and condemnation, and the new covenant came with life and immortality, how much greater glory would it possess?”

 

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Quoting Eric Parker on today’s verses. I don’t think I can improve any on what he wrote in his lesson book. First his commentary on verses 1-3:

 

“Following a vivid word picture to depict the work of Paul and his fellow evangelists (1 Corinthians 2:12-17), he employs yet another for the Corinthians. Paul rebukes the brethren for accepting letters of commendation ‘for some’ while not valuing the direct work of Paul and company amongst the church of God at Corinth. Paul’s entourage possessed a superior letter composed of the brethren at Corinth and written upon the evangelists’ hearts. They were ‘letters of Christ, cared for’ by Paul and friends, ‘written with the Spirit of the living God’ (v. 3).

 

“Letters of commendation were not unusual among the ancients (e.g. the Zenon Papyri 2026). Letters of commendation were also not unusual in the NT (e.g. Acts 9:2 // 22:5; cf. also Acts 18:27f; Rom. 16:1f; 1 Cor. 16:10f; 2 Cor. 8:16-24; Col. 4:7-9). Letters of commendation were typically given in cases of unfamiliarity; consequently, the accusatory teachers were relatively unknown to the brethren. Paul, on the other hand, required no such letters because of his intimate connection with the church. Thus their requirement for him to present these letters is nonsensical.”

 

Now Eric’s commentary on verses 4-6:

 

“The evangelists’ confidence was grounded in the Lord. While the Corinthians may have supplanted the year and a half Paul spent with them (Acts 18:11) with slanderous lies, Christ never would. Yet, Paul and his compatriots did not take undue credit: ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth’ (1 Cor. 3:6). Paul had no qualms about recognizing the Lord’s purpose for him. Paul and the other teachers were vessels of honor, profitable to God (2 Tim. 2:20f). We should never faint under the accusations of the enemy; moreover, we must recognize their source is Satan himself. His wiles and schemes are ‘under the belt’ and he will use whatever means available to defame our character and muckrake God’s servants. Paul’s role (and ours!) is to serve ‘a new covenant of life and Spirit.’”

 

We will look at “the letter that kills” and “the Spirit that gives life” (verse 6) in tomorrow’s reading.

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

“Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord, I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul used the time that he gave the Corinthians (to work out their issues and repent of their sins) to go about and preach and teach the Gospel. A “door” of opportunity was “opened” for him to do the Lord’s work (verse 12). There is no “idle” or “down” time for the faithful child of God. We should always be looking for opportunities to do good works, and the Lord will always make them available to us if we just keep our eyes open for them.

 

Paul’s spirit was restless, anxiously wanting to meet with Titus and hear his report as to whether the brethren were receptive to Paul’s warnings and admonitions or not (2 Corinthians 7:5-6; 11:28). Paul loved his brothers and sisters in Christ so intensely that he was hanging on what their response would be to his message. The Good News that Paul had spread throughout Troas and Macedonia and Achaia (to the brethren in Corinth), was a “sweet aroma” that ultimately led souls to “triumph in Christ” over sin and death and Satan and hell (verse 14).

 

“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (verse 15). When someone preaches or teaches the truth to the lost people of the word, they are a “sweet smelling savor to God.” This is the Old Testament language of animal sacrifices that were “pleasing to the Lord.” Paul is telling us here that, when we teach the truth to others, whether they believe it and accept it or reject it and ignore, the Lord is pleased with us and our efforts, and the love and concern we have for the people He created in His own image.

 

“And who is adequate for these things” (verse 16). Paul is admitting his own personal inadequacy to undertake such an enormous task of securing the eternal salvation of immortal souls. And yet, this is the very thing that he had dedicated his life to. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:4, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” Unlike other (false) teachers who were “peddling the word of God,” Paul and his companions taught the word in “sincerity” and truth and love for humanity (verse 17). God not only makes those who love the truth (like Paul) ADEQUATE to teach it, He also OBLIGATES us to teach it (Romans 1:14)!

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 2:5-11

Monday, May 21, 2018

“But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree— in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did It for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul appears to be writing about the brother who was openly engaged in gross fornication recorded in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. There he had instructed the brethren to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). It is obvious that they obeyed his directive, but they had not understood the importance of welcoming and receiving him back once he had turned from his sin in godly sorrow.

 

We are reminded again of the reason for and goal of church discipline. When an erring Christian refuses to repent, he is to be handed over to his wicked ways so that he can feel the full sting and repercussions of his sinfulness. But, if and when he does repent, he is to be welcomed back with loving arms into the fold of safety. The desired end result of punishment is repentance and restoration, so that an eternal “spirit may be saved.”

 

When someone has been “delivered to Satan” and then he repents, he will be “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” if he is not received and restored to his proper place in his spiritual family. Godly sorrow is good and profitable, but the “sorrow of the world” is excessive and unproductive and only “produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Excessive, worldly sorrow is one of Satan’s tools, not the Lords. If we refuse to “reaffirm our love” for a once-fallen brother who needs to be restored, Satan will use that to his advantage to completely discourage such a person in the hopes that he will absolutely abandon his faith.

 

The long and short of it is this: We need to forgive people when they repent and ask for forgiveness. I am reminded of what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ Again Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

 

Paul even went beyond forgiveness when he told his brethren to “forgive and comfort him” (verse 7). We need to let a repentant Christian know that we not only ALLOW him back into the fold, but we LOVE him and WANT him back more than anything! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

 

The angels in heaven rejoice when a fallen brother returns to his senses and to His God! So should we!

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 2:1-4

Sunday, May 20, 2018

“But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful? This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul delayed his visit to Corinth for the brethren’s sake, so they would have time to work out some issues they were having, and repent of the sins that were plaguing them. We learn from today’s verses that he also postponed his arrival for his own sake. The apostle understood the value of good timing when it came to the very important issues of life. I think we can all understand that there is an appropriate time for grieving and healing, and that celebrations should sometimes be deferred.

 

Paul wanted his visit to the city of Corinth to be marked by joy and not sorrow. So, for his own sake, so that he would not be consumed by grief at his arrival, he waited with the confidence that his brethren would do the right thing and repent of their sins and work out their own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Paul did not enjoy rebuking and disciplining his beloved brethren in Christ. But, anyone who has ever raised children understands how correction is both a disturbing and necessary thing. Even though chastisement and corrective discipline are not enjoyable, they must not be avoided if we want our children to grow to be mature, responsible, accountable adults.

 

Sinfulness must be addressed and not ignored in the Lord’s church because eternity is hanging in the balances. I know the tendency is to disregard sin and not “offend” anyone or cause a big “disturbance”. But if we ignore unrighteousness, souls can be lost and congregations can be destroyed. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). Sin is a very big deal friends! Paul used strong words to convey this truth. He was filled with sorrow because of it, and wrote out of “much affliction and anguish of heart” (verse 4)! Can sin still grieve us? Or have we allowed the bombardment of the media to callous our hearts to the shamefulness of iniquity and transgression?

 

The good news is that godly sorrow and true repentance lead to elation and rejoicing!

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 for tomorrow.

 

Please come worship God in spirit and truth with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 1:15-24

Saturday, May 19, 2018

“In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea. Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time? But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us — by me and Silvanus and Timothy — was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul is essentially saying here that he was not the kind of person that talked out of both sides of his mouth. His yes meant yes and his no meant no. In other words, he meant exactly what he said. But when he had previously purposed to come to Corinth to see his brethren, he changed his plans in order “to spare” them (verse 23). He didn’t want to come to them with the heavy hand of discipline, so he gave them the opportunity to work out some of their problems, with the hope that his eventual visit would be one of joy and not sorrow.

 

Paul didn’t make his plans and promises in a whimsical way, nor should we. We should always strive to be people who mean what we say and say what we mean. Jesus said, “Let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No , no'; anything beyond these is of evil” (Matthew 5:37). The Lord is teaching us here that if we are people of our word we will never have to swear about anything. But, inevitably, sometimes we must do things differently than what we originally intended. Paul’s change of plans was actually made in the best interests of the Corinthians, even though some of the brethren slandered him for it.

 

Quoting Eric Parker from his workbook again:

 

“One of the worst challenges we may face is slander. In fact, according to the U.S. judicial system, slander is a crime! The Apostles were not exempted from experiencing those ills. Paul’s undefiled conscience caused him to long to be with the brethren, but their response to him in the form of false allegations prevented him. Elsewhere, Paul and his companions were prevented from coming by the Spirit (e.g. Acts 16:6f) or by Satan (1 Thess. 2:18), but this was a deliberate choice made in an effort to ‘spare’ the brethren.

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

2 Corinthians 1:12-14

Friday, May 18, 2018

“For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.”

 

Quoting Eric Parker’s workbook for today’s verses, accompanied by the 2 questions he asked for these verses in Bible class:

 

“Paul had tremendous pride in all of the disciples he brought to Christ. He hoped also that his disciples would have pride in him. This was not the condemnable trait of sinful egotism, but rather a joy found in the digging, planting, watering, and harvesting of God’s crops. Christ prayed for the unity of those whom His apostles would teach (John 17), but we see here again that Paul is on the defensive. He offers his own undefiled conscience (cf. Acts 23:1 and the additional traits of ‘holiness,’ ‘godly sincerity,’ and ‘in the grace of God’ in this passage) as his testimony (Gk: marturion) against the plaintiff false teachers.”

 

Question 1) How could Paul boast in himself, without it being a sin?

 

Question 2) When is the “day of our Lord Jesus”?

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 1:15-24 for tomorrow.

 

- Louie Taylor 

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

“We do not want you to be unaware” (verse 8). We cannot afford to be “ignorant” when it comes to the word and will of God! Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, went to great lengths to keep people informed about the spiritual things that were pertinent to their soul’s wellbeing and salvation. He informed the Corinthians that he had often suffered greatly while teaching and preaching the truth in the province of Asia. Paul was exposed to great harm at the instigation of Demetrius the silversmith in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41); and he went as far as to say that he “fought with wild beasts” while he was staying in that city (1 Corinthians 15:32). He willingly risked his health and life to help people learn the truth and go to heaven, and people need to know about that.

 

Paul said that he and his companions were “burdened excessively, beyond our strength” (verse 9). Sometimes the burdens of life are just too great to bear by our own strength. That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The truth is that we all need help sometimes when we are overloaded with a world of troubles and concerns. God has given us our brothers and sisters in Christ to help alleviate the weight and the pain. And, when we are burdened beyond our own ability to endure, that’s when it becomes clearly evident to us that only God’s strength can see us through (verse 10). And, even if we have to die for our faith in Christ, we can depend on the Almighty God of heaven to raise us from the dead by His awesome power and take us home to be with Him forever.

 

“You also joining in helping us through your prayers” (verse 11). We see the value, once again, of our spiritual family in Christ, to help keep us afloat when we feel ourselves sinking under the weight of our burdens. One thing that every one of us can do for a brother or sister in Christ who has fallen upon hard times, is pray for them. James 5:16 tells us that the effective prayer of a righteous man (person) accomplishes much. We can be brought safely through the storms of life through the providence of God and the prayers of good brethren.

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 1:12-14 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul’s opening statement is taken from the department of redundancy department. The word “comfort” is used 10 times in just 5 verses! Why do you think that is so? Did Paul not have a thesaurus handy and could think of no other word to use? Of course I am trying to be funny and of course there are no words that have accidentally found their way into the canon of Holy Scripture. The inspired Apostle is greatly emphasizing the fact that we have a God in heaven who loves and cares for us, and wants only what is best for us, and that we can always depend on Him to be there for us to comfort and carry us through life’s difficult moments.

 

As God comforts us in our times of trial, He also equips us with the experience and ability to comfort other people when they incur afflictions as well. Eric Parker wrote in his lesson book: “The basic theme of this first subsection is the unparalleled ability to comfort, of which God is the Possessor. The opening theme is no doubt an example for Corinth to follow, an admonition to the brethren, and an exhortation following Paul’s rebuke in earlier letters. The comfort that God possesses is to be replicated by His followers as we realize that God helped us in our hour of affliction. Paul has no qualms about calling the Corinthians to this service, nor should we.”

 

The Greek word for “comfort” is “paraklesis” and it means “a calling to one’s side” (Vine’s). This comes from the same family of words from which we get the word “Comforter” (parakletos). The Holy Spirit and Jesus are both referred to as “Comforters” in the New Testament (1 John 14:15-16). As the revelator of inspired Scripture, the Holy Spirit comforts us through the revealed word of God. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The word “encouragement” is the Greek word “paraklesis”.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 that God comforts us by His grace. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” Notice that the comfort that the Lord provides is of the “eternal” variety. No matter what may happen to us in our earthly lives, we can take the greatest of comfort in knowing that, if we remain faithful to God until death, God will give us an eternal inheritance in heaven.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:17 also says that we are comforted “in every good work and word.” I’m not sure if this refers to God’s works and words or our works and words, but it works either way. All of God’s works and words are good, and they provide us with comfort and confidence in Him, and in the knowledge that He is more than capable of taking care of all of our physical and spiritual needs. And when we follow our heavenly Fathers’ example and do and say encouraging things to other people, that is a great source of comfort and edification for the recipients and for ourselves as well.

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

Introduction to 2 Corinthians

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth (which is actually his third {1 Corinthians 5:9}) is probably one of the most neglected, understudied books in all the Bible. I think that is because of the vast difference in the subject matter and writing styles that exists between First and Second Corinthians. In his first letter Paul addressed all sorts of controversies and difficulties the brethren were experiencing in the church there, and he also answered a bunch of interesting questions that the brethren had presented to him. Then you get to Second Corinthians and Paul uses a lot of ink defending himself, his credibility and his apostleship, and he does so, quite often, with a much less direct and comprehensible style of writing.

 

But the book of Second Corinthians is not the lamentation of a spurned Apostle writing from a defensive posture. It is a letter that expresses love, concern and affection for dearly beloved brethren for whom Paul wanted nothing but the best. “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you” (2 Corinthians 2:4). The brethren in Corinth were succumbing to the deceptive and destructive influence of false teachers who were leading them astray, and disparaging the authority of an inspired Apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to win back their affection in order to properly redirect their wayward steps and save their immortal souls.

 

The following six paragraphs are quoted from a commentary on PDF that I pulled off the internet from the Floral Heights Church of Christ (of which I know nothing about, by the way). I like this “Overview of 2 Corinthians” even though there is no name associated with the document for which to cite the appropriate credit:

 

“Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians sets forth the apostle's great love for the brethren. Everything that Paul did was for the benefit of the Corinthians (see 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2:4; 4:15; 12:14-15, 19). Paul's great desire for these brethren was their spiritual restoration (see 2 Corinthians 13:9). The Corinthians; however, needed to clear three major hurdles to achieve restoration. First, the Corinthians needed to identify and pray for the forgiveness of their sin of being unwilling to forgive one who seeks forgiveness (see 2 Corinthians 2:5-9). Secondly, the Corinthians needed to clear themselves from sharing unlawful affections with unbelievers such as uncleanness, fornication, and lasciviousness (2 Corinthians 6:11ff; 12:21). Thirdly, the Corinthians needed to be restored for being deceived by factious brethren who were teaching false doctrines and making faulty accusations against Paul (see 2 Corinthians 12:19-20; 13:3).

“The beauty of reading 2 Corinthians is that one can clearly see God's expectation for His beloved saints. The saints are those who are obedient in all areas of truth (see 2 Corinthians 2:9). The saint is to be the mirror image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). The saint is to be cleansed from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). The saint is to be presented to God as a pure virgin in respect to sin (2 Corinthians 11:2). The saint of God is to "do no evil" (2 Corinthians 13:7). The Christian today is expected to be no less perfect than these early New Testament Christians (see Matthew 5:48). There is no sin that God overlooks or excuses without man seeking justification.

 

“A great "device" of Satan is lies (see 2 Corinthians 2:11). There were many ministers of Satan in Corinth who laid claims to being Christian yet their deeds were far from Christ like (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). These factious brethren sought to destroy Paul's reputation as an apostle who spoke divine revelation so that the Corinthians would turn away from him. These men accused Paul of being inconsistent (2 Corinthians 1:17), preaching his own ideas (2 Corinthians 3:1; 4:1-6; 5:12; etc.), deluded (2 Corinthians 5:13), a coward (2 Corinthians 10:1, 10), an idiot (2 Corinthians 11:15), not an apostle (2 Corinthians 12:11; 13:3), and that he and Titus were participating in a scam of the brethren (2 Corinthians 12:17-18).

 

“Paul was fearful that the Corinthians would be fully persuaded by these false accusations. Paul wrote, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3). Again, Paul writes, “For I fear, lest by any means, when I come, I should find you not such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not; lest by any means there should be strife, jealousy, wraths, factions, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults;” (2 Corinthians 12:20). Paul had great anxiety for the brotherhood of saints (see 2 Corinthians 11:28). He would not sit back idly and do nothing while brethren lost their eternal souls.

 

“To combat the false accusations by the factious brethren of Corinth Paul lowers himself to their tactics. Apparently the factious were boasting of their ancestry and the need for the Corinthians to continue in the Mosaic system as well as the teachings of Christ (very similar to the Acts 15 Jerusalem Conference and the book of Galatians) (see 2 Corinthians 3:4-18; 11:22). Paul boasts not only of his sufferings but also his experience of being transported to the third heaven (see 2 Corinthians 11:22 - 12:6). Paul was in all sense of the word an apostle of Jesus Christ who spoke divine revelation. Paul writes, "I am become foolish: ye compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I am nothing" (2 Corinthians 12:11).

 

“Having proved his apostleship and the error of the factious, there was only one thing left to do. Paul was coming to Corinth and those who would not repent of their sins would not be spared but rather dealt with sharply (see 2 Corinthians 13:1-2, 10). The practical application for the saints today is that we too must "do no evil" (2 Corinthians 13:7). Those who will not be restored to the Lord through teaching, patience, and longsuffering must be dealt with. Paul would not sweep men's sins under a rug of apathy and pretend to be in favor with God. One year had passed between the writings of 1 and 2 Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:10). Now was the time for the brethren to be either restored or exposed as moving from death unto death (see 2 Corinthians 2:16). Paul concludes by saying, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11).”

 

Please read 2 Corinthians 1:1-7 for tomorrow.

 

Happy reading and have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 16:19-24

Monday, May 14, 2018

“The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. The greeting is in my own hand — Paul. If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

“Greet one another with a holy kiss” – Christians should greet each other warmly when they see each other. Of all people, we should love each other the most. Paul wrote, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” (verse 22). The Greek word for “kiss” (philemati), has at its root in the Greek word used for “love” in this verse (phileo). This is the warm and affectionate love that (should and usually does) exist between brothers and sisters. We should love the Lord for all that He has done, continues to do and promises to do for us. We should love each other because we share in His grace and mercy and eternal promises. Oh, and by the way—A handshake or hug will be just a dandy way to express that love and affection!

 

“If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha” (verse 22). The Greek word for “accursed” is “Anathema”. It means to be brought under a curse, to be delivered up to divine wrath and dedicated to destruction. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). And also, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). Obviously, to love Jesus means much more than just FEELING or SAYING that we love Him. It means obeying Him FROM a heart of love.

 

Those who do not love the Lord are “anathema” and cannot rightly say “maranatha”. That is the Greek rendering of two Aramaic words that essentially means, “O Lord, come!” To love the Lord is also to love and hasten the day of His appearing. “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). The Lord (the righteous Judge) is coming back! Ready or not! Love Him or not! Are you ready for the Judgment Day? Friends nothing but NOTHING that this world has to offer you is worth giving up that eternal “crown of righteousness” for!

 

Please make your life right with God before it is too late!

 

Lord willing, we have some introductory comments on book of 2 Corinthians tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 16:15-18

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

The Bible was written TO real people, it’s truth was taught BY real people and much of the subject matter is ABOUT real people. I love it when Paul acknowledges the men and women who enriched his life as he traveled and worked among them in his service to the Lord. Stephanas was a man that Paul helped to convert and he personally baptized him and his household (1 Corinthians 1:16). Anyone who has ever baptized someone for the forgiveness of sins and into Jesus Christ knows what a special privilege and honor that is, and what an emotional bond that is forged between the two participants.

 

Stephanas and his family devoted themselves to the “ministry of the saints” (verse 15). They gave themselves fully to serving their brothers and sisters in Christ as they displayed their working faith on a daily basis. It is only fitting that people such has him should have their names immortalized in the annals of inspired Scripture. Many others have served in this capacity and yet have gone essentially unrecognized, and many faithful servants fly under the radar today as well. God knows who they were and are. Comfort can be taken from knowing that if God recognized people like Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, He has taken note of the faithful hearts and works of His other dedicated workers as well.

 

“They have refreshed my spirit and yours” (verse 18). These men delivered the letter from the brethren in Corinth to the Apostle Paul that encouraged him greatly. It was wonderful news to Paul that his brethren still loved him, and they had enough confidence in him to ask him a bunch of questions that were weighing heavily upon their hearts. These three special servants brought back the good news to Paul in the form of a letter and verbal salutations. Brothers and sisters in Christ should be a breath of fresh air to one another! We are all bonded together by spiritual ties that run deeply and eternally. Let’s do that! Let’s refresh one another! I know that most of us have a lot of work to do in that area. Especially that guy I see in the mirror every day!

 

Please finish up this amazing letter tomorrow by reading 1 Corinthians 16:19-24.

 

Please come worship God in spirit and truth with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Praying all the mothers have a great Mother’s Day! Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 16:10-14

Saturday, May 12, 2018

“Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord's work, as I also am. So let no one despise him. But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brethren. But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity. Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul had previously written that, “I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). I am not sure why Timothy would have reasons to fear coming to them (verse 10). Maybe it was because Paul thought that anyone that he sent would be perceived as an enemy by Paul’s enemies. Whatever the reason may have been, Timothy was to have been treated with love and respect because he was “doing the Lord’s work”. Not because of his reputation or his affiliation with Paul, but because he taught and took a firm stand for the truth, and he was doing the will of God!

 

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (verse 13). Paul gives some final exhortations to his brethren in Corinth by using a bunch of military terms. The charge to “be on the alert” was originally used to refer to the work of an army sentinel whose job was to stand guard and keep watch for the enemy. Paul demanded that they “stand firm in the faith.” They were to hold their ground like any good soldier would do in a skirmish and not flee from the battle. “Act like men” carried with it the idea of conducting themselves with courage and bravery. He ordered them to “be strong” and fight the good fight faith so that they could overcome the world and win the victory.

 

“Let all that you do be done in love” (verse 14). I really adore the way that Paul tempered all this tough, military jargon with the exhortation to be loving people. This tells us that to “stand firm in the faith” does not mean to treat those who are weak in the faith with harshness. To “act like men” does not mean to be a jerk. The defining aspect of being a true man of God is to have a heart of love. Real men love their wives, children, family in Christ, neighbors, friends, acquaintances and strangers. To “be strong” does not mean to be cruel. Let’s refresh our memory about the kind of love that Paul is writing about here.

 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) (NASU)

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8) (NKJV)

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 for tomorrow.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 16:5-9

Friday, May 11, 2018

“But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

As Paul begins to wrap up his letter he tells his brethren of his future travel plans. He had originally intended to visit them on his way to and from Macedonia (2 Corinthians 1:16). But he changed his plans in order to “spare them” his reprimands (2 Corinthians 1:23), and to give them a chance to work out their issues (1 Corinthians 4:11). He kept open the possibility of spending the winter with them (verse 6), but only if the Lord permitted (verse 7).

 

The Apostle gives us the perfect attitude and outlook on life to follow after with his words of verse 7. Making plans is a good and responsible thing to do and you know the old saying: “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” But we also must leave room for the will of God. Sometimes we make our plans and then life happens and we need to make the necessary adjustments without abandoning our faith and commitment to Him in the process.

 

The truth is that we never know what the next day, or even the next moment, holds in store for us. The best we can do is make our plans with the understanding that the Lord’s will may prove to be different for us. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17)

 

“A wide door for effective service has opened to me…” (verse 9). Do you look for opportunities (open doors) to serve the Lord by serving other people? If you will take the time to look for them, I promise you that God is opening them up for you. Pray for God to open doors for you to help others and to teach them the Gospel, and pray for eyes to see them and for the words to say. “There are many adversaries” that want to see you do nothing and to fail when you try. But if you are determined to serve the Lord no matter what man can do to you, the victory is already yours!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 16:10-13 for tomorrow.

 

Enjoy this beautiful day that the Lord has made!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Thursday, May 10, 2018

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Paul had written in the previous verse that our “work” or “toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Giving money to the congregational collection to carry out the work of the Lord’s church is a most very important work indeed! A need had arisen within the church in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-27; 2 Corinthians 8-9), and Paul had “directed” the churches in Corinth and the regions of Galatia to take up a “collection” to be forwarded to the needy “saints” living there.

 

This was a collection for a specific purpose, but it still amounts to a pattern for all churches of Christ forever to follow, because this is the only New Testament command (and approved example) given for collecting money, and Paul had given this same command to several other congregations. Raffles, bingos, fairs, auctions and other kinds of “fund raisers” are very popular today but not authorized by the New Testament (the divine standard) as legitimate ways for churches to collect monies.

 

Notice that Paul is not saying to put aside some money at HOME like many people claim that he is. That would make no sense in the context because Paul told the brethren to “put aside and save” the money so that “no collections be made when I come” (verse 2). If they saved it at home until his arrival then they would still have to make the collection when he got there! Obviously he was telling them to take this collection when they were gathered together and to accumulate it and save it for him to receive at a later date.

 

This collection was to be made “on the first day of every week” (verse 2). This only makes sense because this was the day that the Lord’s disciples regularly gathered together to worship and praise God (John 20:19, 26; Acts 20:7). This was the day of the week that the Jesus arose from the grave and defeated death for us (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). This is the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10) when the disciples gathered together as a church to take the “Lord’s Supper” (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20), and the perfect time to take up a collection. This is the perfect and authorized day and place for all churches of Christ (in all places and for all times) to take up their collections as well.

 

The command to contribute to the collection was for “each one” of the brethren in Corinth (verse 2). It is every Christian’s God-given privilege and responsibility to “sacrifice” a portion of their God-given blessings to the work of the church of the Lord. Surely there can be no more important endeavor than to support the church that Jesus died in order to purchase (Acts 20:28). If He considered it worth dying for then we should deem it worth sacrificing for. Teaching the Gospel, saving the lost and helping support needy Christians are the vital works that God has assigned to congregations of His people (Ephesians 4:12)

.

The portion of the collect that goes to “benevolence” that a church takes up should be earmarked “for the saints” (verse 1). The word “saint” is the Greek word “hagios” and means “holy one”. A “saint” is a “sanctified” child of God who lives in a covenant relationship with Him (1 Corinthians 1:2). In other words, a saint is a (living) Christian! The New Testament only authorizes congregations to give “benevolence” to Christians who are in need (Acts 2:45; 4:34-37; 6:1-8; 11:26-30; Romans 15:25-28; 2 Corinthians 8:1-6; 9:1; 1 Timothy 5:5-16). An individual Christian CAN and SHOULD help any person they are able to when a need arises. But the authorized work of a local church is limited to “needy saints”.

 

Is this much ado about nothing or taking the New Testament pattern very seriously? Is this splitting hairs or trying our best to obey the pattern of the divine standard that God has given to us? Ultimately we each have to make that determination for ourselves and act accordingly. I personally am going to give serious heed to the command given in God’s word to obey the pattern! “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13 {Philippians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:9}). The commands that the Apostles give to us in the New Testament are the commandments of God (1 Corinthians 14:37)!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 for tomorrow.

 

Hope you have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:58

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

I really just wanted to focus on this one, powerful verse of Scripture for today. “Therefore”! Since the Lord is going to return and destroy the works of Satan. Since sin and death are going to be swallowed up in righteousness and victory, let’s make CERTAIN that we are on the “right” side with the “sheep” when the “parting” occurs (Matthew 25:31-33). Therefore, since there IS a resurrection, don’t eat, drink and be merry (verse 32). Instead be steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the Lord’s work!

 

Because Christ is returning to resurrect the dead and judge the living and the dead, we can and MUST be “steadfast”. This word literally means “firm” and implies an unwavering commitment to Christ and His will and commandments for us. This is not to say that there will not be ups and downs and storms and waves in our lives in Christ Jesus. But it does mean that we must make the determination to hold fast to the rope of our anchor (hope) and refuse to let go until Christ calms the seas. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19). The hope and assurance of a glorious, righteous resurrection and an eternity in heaven (within the veil) should provide us all the motivation we need to be unwavering in our commitment to Christ and to keep a steadfast hold on our anchor!

 

“Immovable” – This is the only time in the New Testament that this word is used and it is very similar in meaning to “steadfast”. It means to be firmly planted and unwilling to budge from your position or run away from it. While we are standing firmly in the Lord with a dogged determination to fight for the cause of righteousness and against the onslaught of the devil, we must be “always abounding in the Lord’s work!” So much for the idea that all we have to do is believe in Jesus to be eternally safe and secure. Being a faithful Christian is work and sometimes it is hard work! But as long as we are making the effort to serve the Lord in righteousness and resist Satan’s allurements, He will always be with us to help us stay faithful.

 

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12) God will never leave us alone in our struggles as long as we are fighting the good fight! And we have so very much to fight for in light of the awesome day of Christ’s glorious return!

 

Peter also commented on the coming of Christ as motivation to serve Him well and live our lives in righteous devotion to Him. “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11). Indeed and amen! Nothing this world has to offer is worth losing heaven over!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 for tomorrow.

 

Stay steadfast and unmovable!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:50-57

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

So, what’s going to happen when Christ finally does return? Well, since “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” since our earthly bodies are “perishable” or “corruptible” and the realm of heaven is “imperishable” or “incorruptible” (verse 50), we must be “changed” (verse 51). “The dead will be raised imperishable” (verse 53). Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” And those who are alive at Christ’s coming “will be changed” (verse 50; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

 

This change will happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (verse 52). The Greek word for “moment” is “atamos” which means an infinitely small thing or amount. The Greek word for “twinkling” means “rapid movement”. In just about the time it takes for a “rapid eye movement” this “mystery” will take place. The “last trumpet” will sound and the dead will rise and everyone will be changed. Jesus “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.” I’m not certain what all of that is going to sound and look like, but I know that Christ’s Second Coming will be LOUD and QUICK!

 

The Apostle Peter also has somewhat to say about Christ’s Second Coming. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The dead will arise from the graves, all who are alive on the earth will be transformed, and the physical universe will be incinerated and obliterated in a moment’s time! What a powerful and awesome event this will be! For the people who belong to the Lord, it will be a great and glorious day! For those living outside of Christ it will be a great and terrible day! Read Paul’s words from 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10:

 

“For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.”

 

For those of us that love and serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, “death will be swallowed up in victory” (verse 55)! Death is literally mankind’s “mortal enemy”! Paul cites the prophet Hosea who depicted the grave as a scorpion that has lost its stinger. “Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight” (Hosea 13:14). When the Lord returns for His own, He will defeat our final and greatest enemy for us (verse 26)!

 

“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15). Please friends, make certain that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before He comes back to reclaim His own! Repent of your sins, put Him on in baptism (if you haven’t yet) and serve and worship Him faithfully until either the day you die or the day He returns, whichever comes first! You will have sweet victory in Jesus!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:58 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

Monday, May 07, 2018

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

In today’s reading Paul continues his farming metaphor from the previous verses. Just as seed is sown in the ground one way and raised another way, the same is true for the human body. It is “sown” in weakness and dishonor as a perishing, decomposing, natural, fleshly body. But it is “raised” in power and glory as an imperishable, undefiled, eternal, spiritual body (verses 42-44). God crafted our physical bodies to be suited for life on this temporary, physical plane of existence. But in eternity, He will change each of them into spiritual bodies that will be suitable for an everlasting existence in the eternal realm.

 

The Apostle Peter wrote the following in 1 Peter 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Jesus went back to heaven to prepare a dwelling place for His faithful disciples, and God will fit their spirits with “glorious” bodies that are capable of dwelling there forever.

 

“The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL” (verse 45). Paul quoted Genesis 2:7 here which refers to God creating the first man from the dust and “breathing” life into him. The word “Soul” in this verse refers to physical and not eternal life. The same word for “soul” is used in reference to animals in Genesis 1:24. All this verse means is that Adam was a living, physical being, and the implication is that we all acquired our “fleshly” bodies through Him. But Christ became a “life-giving” Spirit when He defeated death for us and arose from the grave. Since this statement is said in juxtaposition to what we get from “the first Adam”, I believe this just means that Christ will provide us with a spiritual body similar to His own.

 

How is Christ considered to be “The last Adam”? I just think it means that Jesus is the only individual who holds a unique relationship with all humanity similar to that which Adam holds. Both Adam and Jesus had (have) a profound effect on our very existence. The story of life on earth opened with Adam when he entered the grand, physical “stage”. And that same great story will come to an awesome conclusion when Jesus returns for the “grand finale”. Jesus is God’s last and greatest offer to mankind. He is our only hope of eternal salvation. It is true that through Jesus everyone (whether saved or lost) will be equipped with spiritual bodies suitable for an eternal existence. But only those of us who love and serve and obey Him in trusting faith will be delivered up to heaven with the kingdom when our King returns.

 

“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual” (verse 46). This is a great, general, universal truth and reality. In all of God’s dealings with mankind, first came the physical “type” or “shadow”, and afterward came the spiritual reality. Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”

 

The Sabbath day of rest was just a “shadow” of the real, eternal rest that Christ provides to His faithful followers in heaven (Hebrews 4:9-11). The temple in Israel was just a foreshadowing of the spiritual holy place that is the church of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16), and even the bodies of Christians that “house” the Holy Spirit who “dwells” in them (1 Corinthians 6:19). All the kings and priests under the Old Covenant merely prefigured the perfect High Priest and King of kings that we have in Jesus (Hebrews 4:14-16; Revelation 19:16).

 

And the same is true for the kingdom that our Eternal Monarch reigns over. Under God’s prior covenant with Israel, there was a physical kingdom. But under God’s covenant with His people through Christ, the kingdom is spiritual. And God will never revert back to the inferior, temporary, physical nature with His kingdom. Nor should He. Jesus established His superior, eternal, spiritual (church) kingdom on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago (Daniel 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Acts 2:14-36); and when He returns it will be to deliver that kingdom up to His Father in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:24).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed and safe day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:35-41

Sunday, May 06, 2018

“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

“How are the dead raised” (verse 35)? What seemed like an impossibility to some of the brethren in Corinth should not have been so difficult to accept and grasp. On the physical level, the way that nature works mirrors the manner in which God will accomplish the resurrection. Just like in the plant world, “that which you sow does not come to life unless it dies” first (verse 36). Just as a seed must “give up its life” in order to produce a beautiful plant, so our physical bodies must be “planted in the ground” so to speak, to give rise to our resurrected bodies. Please understand that I am using a figure of speech here, and I am not saying that God requires all physical bodies to be interred into the ground before He can “raise them up”. God will resurrect all human bodies whether they are buried in the ground or incinerated or whatever may happen to them.

 

“And with what kind of body do they come” (verse 35)? Well, with a “different” kind of body. Once again, just like the plant that shoots up out of the ground is much different looking than the seed from which it came, so our resurrected body will be different when God “changes” it into the form that is “just as He wished” (verse 38). “All flesh is not the same” (verse 39). If we can clearly see that God has equipped humans and animals with bodies that are appropriately suited to flourish in their differing environs (fish in the sea, birds in the air, etc.), it shouldn’t be too difficult for us to imagine that God will provide us with spiritual bodies that are perfectly equipped to dwell in a spiritual eternity.

 

The main thing to understand here is that the resurrection is God’s business, and we just have to believe that He has the power and the will to deliver on what He has promised. Not all analogies perfectly parallel the realities that they are used to depict, and we don’t have to understand everything there is to know about eternity. Our finite brains aren’t able to fully compute that which is infinite anyway. We just need to believe that our perfect, all-powerful, infinite God is more than capable of equipping us for our eternal dwelling place. The One who created the Universe and the Earth and all that dwells upon it can certainly take it all and change it into something much more glorious than it is.

 

Our job is simply to believe Him, and Love Him, and obey Him, and reverence Him, and worship Him in spirit and in truth. He will take care of everything else!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:42-48 for tomorrow.

 

Please come worship God in spirit and truth with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:29-34

Saturday, May 05, 2018

“Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? Why are we also in danger every hour? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul is still making arguments in support of believing in the resurrection of the dead, although, admittedly, the reasoning from today’s verses seems rather bizarre. “If the dead are not raised, why then are they baptized for the dead” (29)? It is obvious (to me anyway) that some people were practicing “immersion substitution”. That is to say, some people were being baptized to try to save other people who had already passed away. Here is the important point to take notice of however: Paul is not condemning or endorsing this practice. He is just pointing out that some people were doing it. The reasoning then is, why would people even bother to do such a strange thing if the dead “are not raised at all?”

 

I want you to also notice the distinction that Paul is drawing between what is stated in verse 29 and verses 30-32. In verse 29 he asked what will “those” do, and why then are “they” baptized for the dead. In verses 30-32 he shifts to what he and his companions were doing. The pronouns “we” and “I” and “me” were used instead of “they”. So, Paul was not teaching that we can be baptized for someone else in order to save that person. He is just pointing out a peculiar practice that some of the brethren in Corinth were participating in to make a point. And let’s face it, the brethren in Corinth did some pretty wild things! As Paul pointed out in verse 34, “Some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame”!

 

“If from human motives I fought with wild bests at Ephesus, what does it profit me” (verse 32). Now an argument in favor of the resurrection from the way that Paul lived his life. Paul was living proof that there MUST be a resurrection from the dead. Why in the world would he expose himself to harm and danger and death every day of his life, if THIS life was all that he was living for?! What a miserable, hopeless existence it would have been to have taught and preached and clawed and fought, day after day to try to help save people’s immortal souls, if people’s souls just perished with their bodies. Paul would not have exposed himself to “wild beasts”—to resistance and persecution and harm and hardship on this earth, if this earth was all there was to life! He would have just enjoyed his food and drink and then died as peacefully as possible.

 

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (verse 33). It matters who you hang out with. There were some “bad influences” at the church in Corinth. They were teaching things that were contrary to logic and truth and it was causing unnecessary distractions and harm to the brethren’s faith. It is good to try and be a positive influence in the lives of “ungodly” or “worldly” people. But when they begin to influence us for the worse, it is time to “come out from their midst and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:35-41 for tomorrow.

 

Enjoy your day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Friday, May 04, 2018

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

Okay so Paul is still arguing that belief in the resurrection of Christ and of mankind at His return is a no-brainer for the child of God. If there is no resurrection than God’s whole plan of the eternal salvation for mankind is doomed to failure. “The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (verse 26). If the dead do not resurrect then that means death will never be defeated, Satan wins, God loses, we all lose! But, of course we know that that is simply not a possibility!

 

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (verse 20). Technically speaking, Jesus was not the “first” to arise from the dead (sleep), for others, such as Lazarus, had been brought back to life from death. But Jesus IS the first to come alive again and STAY that way! But Paul is actually not saying that Jesus is the “first” but the “first fruits”. The idea of “first fruits” is an Old Testament concept and command where God’s people offered Him the first and best of the produce of the earth, which, in turn, served as a guarantee that God would provide all the rest to follow.

 

Just as Israel gathered their harvest after they sacrificed the first fruits, God will “gather up” all His faithful children and bring them home to heaven with Christ when He returns! And, just as the idea of Christ being our “Forerunner” into heaven implies that we will follow Him there; also the idea of “first fruits” implies an “order” in the resurrection—First Christ arises, then we will follow. The difference is that Christ was the Forerunner into heaven only for those who faithfully and obediently follow Him. But, the bodily resurrection is guaranteed to ALL people who have ever lived and died.

 

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (verse 22). Paul is obviously talking about the “general resurrection” of all the dead, when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead, and to take His disciples home to heaven. Because of Adam’s sin, all human beings have to die (accept for those living on the earth at Christ’s Second Coming). And because of Christ’s resurrection, all human beings will arise. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

 

“The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (verse 26). I can’t wait to go home to heaven! Truth is, no one of us will have to wait very long to meet our eternal destinies! And physical death is the necessary “portal” to an everlasting spiritual existence. But. Make no mistake about it. Death is an ENEMY! Death is the Devil’s work. Because he brought sin into the world through the first man and woman, all people suffer (to one degree or another) and die. But Christ (who had to suffer and die as well because of {our} sins) is going to return to wipe our enemy out! He has already defeated Satan and He will soon defeat death once and forever! This will be the final demonstration of His power before He delivers the kingdom up to heaven and over to His Father (verses 27-28).

 

Oh and by the way, when Christ returns, “Then comes the end when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father” (verse 24). Did you catch that? When Christ returns, it will not be to establish a kingdom upon the earth, but to deliver His kingdom (which has long been established) up to the Father in heaven! I sure do pray that you are a part of that already-existing, spiritual kingdom (Christ’s church). If you are not or if you are uncertain, I would be glad to talk to you about that so you can make sure you are prepared for Christ’s return!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:29-34.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Thursday, May 03, 2018

"Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

 

---End of Scripture Verses---

 

So what are the consequences of believing that there is no resurrection from the grave? First and foremost, if there is no resurrection then Christ himself never bodily arose from the dead! Christianity would be no better than any other religion because Jesus would be just like all the other “religious leaders” that had ever gone before or after Him—DEAD! All that would be left of Him are the remains of a corpse in a grave! But our Savior accomplished what no other would-be savior could ever hope to do. He laid down His own life (body) for His people, and then He took it up again by His own power (John 10:18).

 

Also all of the Apostles’ teaching would be “vain” (verse 14). The Gospel of Jesus Christ would not be the “Good News” at all. It would just be worthless, empty doctrine and the Apostles would be no more than liars and false witnesses (verse 15). They would have been mere fools who devoted their lives to a fallen leader and who went about spreading false doctrine about Him after His death.

 

Furthermore, everyone else who has ever devoted their lives to Christ would have “worthless” faith (verse 17). We would still be condemned by our sins because Jesus’ death alone was not enough to atone for our iniquities and transgressions. Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). Without His resurrection there would be no power to forgive and save. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11).

 

“Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (verse 19). In other words, if there is no resurrection from the dead, then all the Christians who have parted from this world are just dead. But, and the implication is this, THEY ARE NOT!!! Anyone who teaches that when we die we are “just like rover, dead all over,” do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God (Matthew 22:29)! The people who die in Christ live forever more! God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:32)!

 

“If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (verse 19). What an amazing verse and thought! I have heard Christians say before that even if the Bible turned out to not be true, the “Christian life” would still be the best life to live. I have even made similar statements before myself. But Paul clearly states that just the opposite is true! If we devote our lives to a dead, powerless Savior who offers us no eternal life after our physical death, we have led the most pitiful life imaginable! Why not eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die (verse 32)!

 

But the good news is that the Gospel IS the Good News and a life of obedient, righteous devotion to Christ IS the very BEST life to possibly live! “Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Jesus died for our sins and arose from the grave and ascended into heaven as our Forerunner (Hebrews 6:19-20) to prepare us an eternal “dwelling place” (mansion) there (John 14:1-4)!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul delivered the most thorough discourse about the “general bodily resurrection” in all of the Bible in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. When Paul preached about the resurrection of Jesus just 50 miles away in the city of Athens, many of the listeners “began to sneer” (Acts 17:32). In this letter Paul was writing to brethren who had been steeped in the error of “Greek Gnosticism” for most of their lives. Among other things, this doctrine taught that there was no such thing as a bodily resurrection.

 

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you…” (verse 1). The word “gospel” means “glad tiding” or “good news”. Without a resurrection would there really be any good news for a Christian to be glad about? If Christ had not defeated death for us by overthrowing and loosening the grip of the grave, we would be, of all people, the “most to be pitied” (verse 19). An essential and uplifting part of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the resurrection of our Lord after His death, which guaranteed a resurrection of all people at His return.

 

“For I delivered to you as of first importance…” (verse 3). The fact that Jesus died and was buried and was raised from the dead is of the utmost importance to the eternal salvation of human beings, and is the cornerstone of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s death, burial and resurrection all happened “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 3:4). The brethren in Corinth could have read Old Testament passages such as Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:10 (and others) as evidence that the death and resurrection of Christ had been prophesied by the prophets of old.

 

Another important piece of evidence that Christ arose was that He was seen by literally hundreds of people after He arose from the grave. (verses 5-6). The Apostles had taught this very thing to the Corinthians and they believed them before they obeyed the Gospel (verse 11). Why in the world would they have trouble accepting a bodily resurrection when they had already been taught about it and had willingly received it as truth (verse 12)?

 

By the way, the concept of “obeying the Gospel” is clearly expressed in the wording of Paul’s statement in verse 3. When someone crucifies the old person of sin and buries him in the waters of baptism, and then arises out of the waters to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-6); that is just following the pattern set by the Savior, which is the crux of the Gospel.

 

Another “by the way” is that Jesus appeared “last of all” to the Apostle Paul (verse 8). One of the qualifications for being a chosen Apostle of the Lord is to personally see Him alive after His resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). Paul was the last Apostle chosen by the Lord to speak with His authority. There have been no true Apostles since the Apostle Paul and there will be none chosen in the future.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:34-40

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

“The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Okay, so the assembly was being disrupted by people prophesying at the same time, and speaking at the same time, and in foreign languages at that! To add to the confusion, some women were asking questions and trying to address the assembly as well. Maybe they were “gifted” women who thought they had the right to exercise their gift in the assembly just as the men did. Paul said that this was not permissible in the church at Corinth, nor in any of “the churches”, as far as that was concerned.

 

The term “keep silent” (verse 34) literally means “to say nothing”. Just like in verses 28-30 where Paul told the “tongue-speakers” and the prophets to “keep silent” while someone else was speaking to the congregation, the women were “not permitted to speak” in the context of addressing the assembly. This was not just a matter of orderliness but also an issue of subjection. Just as “the Law also says” (Genesis 3:16), the man should exercise “headship” over the woman (1 Corinthians 11:3).

 

Paul made the argument for the submission of women having its foundation in “the Law” in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 as well. There Paul carried the basis for his reasoning all the way back to the Creation. “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

 

“Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only” (verse 36)? These two questions imply that the church at Corinth had no right to teach and practice things differently than what had been delivered to them from authoritative sources. The word of God did not go forth from the congregation at Corinth. It was first issued forth from Jerusalem by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. The Corinthians needed to conform to the revealed, established, authorized pattern that had been delivered by the inspired men who had been given “the keys of the kingdom” by Jesus himself (Matthew 16:19).

 

The same is true of all local churches that claim to be “of Christ” and that desire to worship and serve the God of heaven. It is essential for all people to study the New Testament pattern that has already and permanently been established for the work, worship and “structure” of autonomous “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). No congregation is free to teach and practice what they cannot find authorized by command, example or inference in the pages of the New Testament. The word that “went forth” did not come to the church at Corinth “only”. The same authoritative word revealing the same pattern has gone out into all the world, and it has not and will not change no matter how “old” it gets.

 

“If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment” (verse 37). Paul wrote these words, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, nearly 2000 years ago; and they are still just as much the commandments of God today as they were when they were first written. Cultures change, opinions change, attitudes change, but the word of God always stays the same (Matthew 24:35)! No matter how badly our culture twists the definitions and roles and “identities” of “gender”, it is God that still makes us male and female (Mark 10:6)! And the Lord has structured our roles in such a way that men should be in positions of leadership over women. The world will handle its affairs in the ways that it sees fit. But in our homes and in the local churches of Christ, we must honor His will and His divine arrangements.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:26-33

Monday, April 30, 2018

“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

“Let all things be done for edification” (verse 26). This was the underlying principal that governed all the “regulations” regarding the proper use of miraculous gifts. If they could not be used in ways that “edified” or “built up” the brethren spiritually, they should not have been used at all. Whatever the contribution that any “gifted” individual might have offered to the assembly—whether an inspired psalm, teaching, revelation, tongue, or interpretation—wisdom and restraint needed to be exercised for the betterment of the congregation.

 

When prophesying or speaking with and interpreting foreign languages, only 2 or 3 brethren were to speak at any given assembly, and then only one at a time. It is very confusing when several people try to speak simultaneously during the same meeting. God is not the “author” of that kind of confusion when it happens in His church (verse 33), even when the brethren were using the miraculous gifts that He had blessed them with.

 

And it was not like they could truthfully say that they couldn’t help or control themselves, because “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (verse 32). In other words, they had the ability to control their “gifts” or “power”. Gifts of a truly miraculous nature did not overpower the will of the people wielding them, unlike what the so-called miracle workers of today would have us believe.

 

“God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” (verse 33). I love this verse for several reasons. I love the fact that the God we serve is a God of peace. He is not the root cause of wars and strife and fury and tumult. As a matter of fact, I fly to Him for calm and serenity whenever I feel my life careening frantically out of control. This verse also tells us that if we ever find ourselves in a “church assembly” where the “worship” is chaotic and confusing, we can be certain that it is not at God’s behest and that He is not in the midst of the people gathered there.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:34-40 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:20-25

Sunday, April 29, 2018

“Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, ‘BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

“Do not be children in your thinking” (verse 20). Paul had written in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that when he was a child he used to speak, think and reason as a child. But when he became a man he put away childish things. Like little children, many of the brethren in the church at Corinth were enamored by things that were amusing to them. They were treating their “gifts” like toys instead of tools to convert the lost and edify their brethren, and it was high time that they grow up. There are certain areas in a Christian’s life where it is okay to be like children. Humility and purity are two good examples. But we need to grow up spiritually and become the kinds of mature, generous, sacrificial men and women in Christ that God wants us to be.

 

“In the Law it is written, ‘BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME,’ says the Lord” (verse 21). Isaiah had preached to God’s stubborn, hard-hearted people and they refused to listen to him. Because of this, the Lord promised to send a foreign people with “stammering lips” to conquer and humble them (Isaiah 28:11). When this prophecy was fulfilled, it confirmed Isaiah’s preaching, and Israel then knew for certain that what he had spoken to them was the truth.

 

The only point that Paul is making with this quote from Isaiah is that God used the “foreign tongues” of the Assyrians to grab His unfaithful people’s attention. They were a “sign” to dispel their unbelief. That was the purpose of the gift of “tongue-speaking” in the first century as well. It was a “sign” for “unbelievers” (verse 22). The design of a sign is to lead someone to something beyond itself. All miracles were used as “signs” to point people to the Gospel message that was being preached. “Tongues” were signs to grab the attention of unbelievers. “Prophecy” was a sign to grab the attention of believers. All miracles were intended to help produce faith in the hearts of the people who witnessed them.

 

Even though tongues were a sign for unbelievers, if “ungifted men or unbelievers” were visiting a congregation, and “all” the people there were speaking in foreign languages, the visitors would think that everybody in that church was “mad” or “crazy” (verse 23). But if all “prophecy” (verse 24), it would still be somewhat chaotic, but at least the strangers could understand what they were hearing. The power of the word of God could “convict” them and “call them into account.” That is to say, the preaching of the Gospel could pierce their heart’s and point them in the direction of salvation, just as God designed it to do.

 

“The secrets of his heart are disclosed” (verse 25). I so love this statement! Have you ever listened to a sermon and felt like the preacher was talking directly to you? Sometimes the word of God embarrasses us, condemns us, convicts us of our “secret” sins. It is almost like the preacher has looked directly into our hearts and then exposed the iniquities that we thought were hidden. Sometimes the word of God even uncovers the sins that we ourselves are unaware of so that we can make the necessary corrections that God wants us to make. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

 

One final point—“And so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (verse 25). If we are never fully convicted of our sins so that we can actually turn from them and be forgiven, then it will be impossible for us to ever worship God truly and properly.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:26-32 for tomorrow.

 

Please come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:13-19

Saturday, April 28, 2018

“Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

“Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret” (verse 13). This verse shows us that some of the “tongue-speakers” were actually endowed with the ability to interpret their own “foreign” words. Paul encouraged them to “pray”, not in a “tongue”, but for the ability to interpret what they were about to speak. In fact, Paul said “if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful” (verse 14). It seems that the “tongue-speaker” did experience some kind of spiritual or emotional benefit from such a prayer, but he still didn’t really understand exactly what he was praying.

 

The “outcome” or the “answer” to the issue was to “pray with the spirit” and “with the mind also” (verse 15). The solution to the dilemma was to either not use “tongues” while praying in public, or to let the inspired prayer only be spoken when either the speaker or a listener could interpret it. If people aren’t given the opportunity to say “Amen” to a prayer, it might as well not be vocalized. The word “amen” means, “so let it be!” (Vine’s Dictionary). An “amen” is an expression of approval and agreement. If people can’t make sense of a prayer, they can’t make it their own by expressing their concurrence.

 

“I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also” (verse 15). It is clear from this part of the verse that singing was a regular part of congregational worship in the first century church and an apostolically approved act of worship. It also seems obvious that some brethren had the gift of “inspired song” given to them by the Holy Spirit. The word for “sing” is the Greek word “psallo”. Much earlier in the history of this word, it was used to express, playing “a stringed instrument with the fingers” (Vine’s Dictionary). During the New Testament time period in which Paul wrote, however, the word meant simply “to sing a hymn” or “to sing praise” (Vine’s Dictionary). According to the same Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:19, the instrument God wants us to “make melody” with is our “heart” as we sing praises to Him.

 

But Paul tells us to sing with the “mind” or with the “understanding” also. Just as when we pray, it is important to have a good comprehension of the words that are being sung. I know that I sometimes actually catch myself just singing the words of a hymn “into the air” (verse 9) without giving much thought to them. We must remember that when we sing, we are lifting worship and praise up to God who sits on His throne in heaven; and we are also “teaching and admonishing one another” with the words (Colossians 3:16). Let’s focus on the words that we are reading as we sing, and make certain that the lyrics accurately teach the truth of God’s word. In this way God will be glorified and we will be edified (verse 17)!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:20-25 for tomorrow.

 

Have a super day!

 

Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:6-12

Friday, April 27, 2018

“But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

To boil Paul’s argument down to just a few words, he is saying that unless he spoke to them in a language they could understand, he couldn’t TEACH them anything (verse 6). He used the illustration of “lifeless things” to prove his point (verse 7). You can play any musical instrument you like. It’s going to sound like a bunch of NOISE unless you play a clear, distinct melody (kind of like the way it sounds when I try to play ANY musical instrument). This is another argument from “the lesser to the greater”. If this was true with lifeless things, how much more so with human beings?! The Holy Spirit wanted Christians to teach and impart useful knowledge to people when they spoke with His Power.

 

“If the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle” (verse 8)? What if an army trumpeter grabbed his horn and just started blaring random notes with no intention or meaning? The troops wouldn’t know whether to hold their position or muster for battle. There would just be mass confusion because they would have no clue whatsoever what was expected of them. That’s kind of the way it was with the worship services at the church in Corinth. With all the NOISE of the “tongue-speakers” rattling off their unintelligible words in unison, it was chaotic and confusing (verses 23, 27, 28).

 

The solution to their problem was, first of all, to utter “speech that is clear” so that the listeners could understand what was being spoken. He also commanded them to speak “one at a time” in verse 27, and to “keep silent” if there was no one to interpret (verse 28). Without these “regulations” or “measures” in place, the end result would just be “speaking into the air” or “wasting their collective breath.” Sound that doesn’t convey information is just useless noise (at least when it comes to worshiping and serving God!).

 

“There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning” (verse 10). This serves to further demonstrate that “tongues” were actually established, intelligible “languages”. Not ecstatic “gibberish”. These tongues (languages) were for a “sign” to the people who could hear the Gospel taught in their “native tongue” from the mouth of a person who had never studied their language (Acts 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 14:22). But for those who could not understand the language, it would be the speech of a “barbarian”. This word “barbarian” merely referred to anyone who spoke a “strange” language other than Greek. So, even a barbarian was one who actually spoke a foreign language, further demonstrating that “tongue-speaking” was not “gibberish”. Even though it would SOUND like gibberish to someone who didn’t understand it.

 

“So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church” (verse 12). This is the goal when brothers and sisters assemble together to worship and serve the Lord. To build one another up, not to exalt self or create confusion. “Let all things be done for edification” (verse 26).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:13-19 for tomorrow.

 

Blessings!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 14:1-5

Thursday, April 26, 2018

“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Okay, once again, in chapter 12 Paul gave us a list of miraculous gifts that were all given by the Holy Spirit for the good of the congregation. In chapter 13 he taught of the temporary nature of these gifts and that love was the more excellent way that would far outlive the impermanent miracles. Now in chapter 14 he addresses some of the ways that the brethren were abusing their gifts and how they should be properly used or “regulated” in the assembly. Chapter 12 – the nature of the gifts. Chapter 13 – the duration of the gifts. Chapter 14 – The proper uses of the gifts.

 

“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts” (verse 1). Let’s not gloss over this statement because it is loaded with significance. Everyone can attain love so Paul urges us and them to pursue love by earnest endeavor. But miraculous gifts are just that—gifts. They were either given or they were not. No amount of effort could acquire someone a miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit. Groups today who insist that people must be baptized by the Holy Spirit and speak in “tongues” as evidence of their salvation or approval by God miss this point. God gave gifts to people according to His own discretion (Ephesians 4:8). The Holy Spirit “fell on” only a select few (Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-48). Gifts were definitely “desirable” and useful, but only a temporary measure and only if used in appropriate ways.

 

“But especially that you may prophecy” (verse 1). “Greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues” (verse 5). This is because the “prophet” spoke in the language that was common to the listeners, and therefore what he spoke was understandable by all. This potentially lead to the spiritual growth (edification) and encouragement (exhortation) and the comfort (consolation) of everyone in the assembly (verse 3). The one who spoke in tongues edified himself (verse 4), but the one who prophesied edified the whole congregation. So which was better? Folks, we call that one a “no brainer”!

 

“One who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God” (verse 2). Paul is not teaching that “tongue-speaking” was a special ecstatic “prayer language” that Christians were to use when speaking to God! He goes on to clarify WHY it was that a person speaking in an unknown language spoke to God and not to men: “for no one understands him” but God! As a matter of fact, the “tongue-speaker” himself often didn’t fully understand what he was saying when he spoke in a foreign language. Somehow he was “edified” spiritually by the experience (verse 4), but he still spoke “mysteries” in his own “spirit” (verse 2).

 

Tongues were a gift FROM God FOR revelation, not a gift FOR speaking TO God. That’s why it was important for a person to not speak in tongues unless there was someone there in possession of the gift of “interpretation” (verse 5). Paul will go on in the next several verses to present a series of arguments to show the uselessness of tongue-speaking that is not interpreted.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:6-12 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

So many people abuse, misuse and misunderstand what the Apostle Paul is teaching in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. A great many of them are just honestly misguided or mistaken in their take on this passage. But people simply MUST accurately interpret this crucial section of inspired Scripture if they ever hope to come to an accurate understanding of the nature and duration of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is the definitive statement in all of Scripture that speaks to the fact that miraculous gifts were always intended to be temporary, and to the timing of their termination during this current and final dispensation of time.

 

First of all it must be established from the beginning that when Paul said that prophecy, tongues and knowledge would be done away (verse 8), he was undoubtedly talking about miraculous gifts granted to Christians by the Holy Spirit. He is not saying that people’s ability to “speak” things and to “know” things are going to cease to exist at some point. In chapter 12 he catalogued a long list of miraculous gifts that were given by “the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 8, 9, 11). The gifts of “prophecy” (verse 10), “tongues” (verse 10), and “knowledge” (verse 8) were all included in that list.

 

Then in 1 Corinthians 13:8 he stated that there will come a time (in the future for him but in the past for us) that those MIRACULOUS GIFTS will “be done away”. And those three gifts are just a sample that represents the whole of miraculous gifts. To be clear, Paul is really emphasizing the permanency of love in these verses (“love never fails”), but he does so by contrasting that to the temporary nature of the miraculous abilities that the Christians in Corinth were so enamored with.

 

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part” (verse 9). That which is “in part” is contrasted with “the perfect” in verse 10. The term “in part” refers to the piece-meal fashion in which God used miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit to impart and confirm His revelation. I like the way that Mike Willis put it in his commentary on this verse: “No one person had all of God’s revelation or could communicate all of it; each had only a part of it.” This was not because of the limitations of mankind, but because of the design of the Lord. It was an intentional part of God’s plan that His word would be revealed “in part” until “the perfect” should come.

 

The next question to be answered then, is what WAS or IS “the perfect”? For consistency’s sake, it must be of the same nature as the thing that was given “in part” against which it is contrasted. If the “piecemeal” nature of God imparting His revelation during the period of the miraculous is that which was given “in part”, then logic would dictate that “the perfect” is referring to God’s completed revelation. God revealed himself “partially” at some point, and then afterward He revealed himself “completely”.

 

Once again, I like the way that Mike Willis explains this: “Spiritual gifts were temporary in nature and served the same function in relation to God’s revelation as scaffolds serve in the erection of a building. When the structure is completed the scaffolds are removed; similarly, when God’s revelation was completed, the miraculous spiritual gifts (his spiritual scaffolds) were removed.” So then, once the New Testament “canon” was completely revealed and recorded, there was no longer a need for miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit in God’s plan of revelation and salvation for mankind.

 

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things” (verse 11). Paul used this statement as an illustration to help prove the point that he had just made in the previous verses. During the age of miracles, the church was compared to Paul (or any person) when he was a “minor” or a “child”. But the church reached “adulthood” or “maturity” at the “age” of perfect revelation. At that point, just as a mature man should start talking, thinking and reasoning as an adult, so the church “did away” with “the partial” and reached the age of “majority” or “maturity”, and had no further need of the miraculous gifts of its “childhood”.

 

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…” (verse 12). This is just another illustration used to prove the same point. The mirrors used in the first century were nothing like the glass mirrors backed with reflective material that we are used to today. Our mirrors produce sharp, clear reflections of ourselves. But back then, a mirror was usually nothing more than a polished piece of metal that produced a “dim”, “hazy” reflection.

 

During the miraculous age of “minority” of the church, they saw things “dimly” (the parallel of “in part”). But after the point of “majority” for the church, when God’s complete revelation came (“the perfect”), then people could start seeing “face to face”. Notice now, Paul is not referring to WHO or WHAT we will see, but to HOW we will see! He is not referring to seeing God’s face, but to “seeing” or “understanding” His word “clearly”.

 

“Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (verse 12). Paul is not saying that we will know EVERYTHING there is to know at some point. He is not referring to a time when we will see God “face to face” and He will clarify to us all the things that have puzzled or troubled us in our lives. That has nothing to do with the point and the comparisons that Paul has been making in this context. The point is that when God’s completed revelation was recorded, people then had the ability to “fully know” God’s will for them in all aspects of their lives.

 

AND HERE IS THE CLINCHER! Don’t miss this final point because it really seals the deal. “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…” (verse 13). After “the perfect” had come and the miracles had ceased (that which was “in part”), these three “blessings” will abide. In other words, throughout this final dispensation, “faith, hope and love” will “abide”. This is how we can know FOR SURE that Paul is not referring to the return of Christ as the “perfect” coming and the age of miracles ceasing. When Christ returns, there will no longer be a reason or a use for “faith” and “hope”!

 

When we actually see CHRIST “face to face”, our firsthand KNOWLEDGE of Him will do away with our need of HOPE and FAITH in Him! “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:24-25). NOW we walk by "FAITH" but THEN we will walk by "SIGHT" (2 Corinthians 5:7). When Paul said that faith, hope and love will abide, even after “the perfect” has come, he was obviously talking about the recording of God’s perfect revelation. The New Testament is referred to as “the perfect law of liberty” in James 1:25.

 

So then, Paul is saying that when God’s completed revelation was recorded and preserved for us, then He would no longer use people performing miracles to impart and confirm His truth. If any person who claims to be inspired by God today or to have miraculous powers bestowed by the Holy Spirit, he is either misleading you, or he has been misled himself. Paul is also saying that, even after the perfect revelation of God has come, and the partial miraculous method has been done away, faith, hope and love will remain. These are much more noble than miracles anyway and of much greater importance.

 

“But the greatest of these is love.” Love is the “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Paul says that love is even greater than faith and hope. It’s kind of hard to fathom how love could be greater that faith! Until you stop to consider that, according to Jesus, the two greatest commandments are to love God with all heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love neighbor as self (Matthew 22:36-40)!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

I always think of that comic strip from the 70’s, “Love Is…” when I read this passage. We looked at the definition of love yesterday, but we actually could have skipped it because Paul tells us what “love is” in today’s verses. And what love “is not,” and what love “does” and “does not”. We see very clearly from this passage that, although the noun form of the word is used, love is obviously an action word.

 

“Love is patient.” The King James version reads “Love suffereth long.” That is the Greek word makrothumeo and it literally means “long-tempered”. It is so very easy to be short tempered and lose your patience with your “loved ones” isn’t it? But a “long-tempered” person resists the urge to retaliate, even though he has the power to do so. This is an attribute of God himself. According to Exodus 34:6, our Lord is “slow to anger”. I am really so grateful that my heavenly Father is this way because, if He were not, He would have destroyed me a long time ago because of my foolish sinfulness!

 

“Love is kind.” The word kind is also translated “good” in various places in the New Testament. This is the word that Jesus used when He said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36). A kind person is good to other people even if others do not treat them well.

 

“Love is not jealous.” A loving person works hard at not being envious or resentful of other people when they have an abundance of the Lord’s blessings or “gifts”. The other side of that loving coin is that “Love does not brag and is not arrogant” when a person does, himself, have a wealth of “enviable” possessions or talents. Loving people rejoice with others when they enjoy success, and share with others out of a heart of abundance.

 

Love “does not act unbecomingly.” God’s people are not to behave disgracefully or dishonorably or indecently. Those of us who follow our Lord’s example are neither “rude” nor “crude”. Love “does not seek its own” pleasure, profit or honor, at the expense or neglect of someone else. Love is not “self-seeking” but “self-denying”. Love “is not provoked” easily to wrath or irritation. A loving person should not walk around with a chip on his shoulder. Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered.” A faithful Christian should not keep a “running account of” and does not “dwell on” the things that other people have done wrong to them. We should work on not being irritable and vengeful, but amiable and forgiving instead.

 

Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” If we take pleasure in sinfulness, the very thing that God hates, then we do not love God or the people that He created in His own image, the way that we ought to. Notice that “truth” is set in opposition to “unrighteousness” in verse 6. People who “abide” and “rejoice” in “falsehood” or “error” do not practice “righteousness” from God’s perspective. If we see people living in “religious error,” love dictates that we try to teach and show them the truth.

 

Love “bears all things.” A child of God bears up under persecution and afflictions and helps bear the burdens of those who are crushed by a load of care. Love “believes all things,” but is not gullible or foolish. Love is not suspicious or doubtful, but believes the best in people until given a reason to do otherwise. Love “hopes all things.” Love demands that we hope the best for everyone and believe the best in everyone because we would want others to do the same things for us. Love “endures all things,” because, “love never fails…” (verse 8).

 

Even when our heath and bodies betray us, love can still come shining through. Even when we lose all of our money and earthly goods, no one can steal our love away from us. And no one can rob us of the love of God. After all the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit “ceased” because they outlived their purpose, love has remained a constant for brothers and sisters to cling to throughout the ages.

 

Love is greater than all the miraculous gifts put together. The brethren in the church at Corinth possessed a wide array of miraculous gifts, and yet did not use them in a loving fashion. In God’s eyes, all their amazing, miraculous feats were “nothing” (verse 2), because they were done without love. Even if we give everything we have—all our money, time, energy, and even our own lives—it profits us nothing if it is not motivated by a heart filled with love (verse 3). If we only “do good” begrudgingly, out of a sense of “obligation,” we are just wasting our time from God’s point of view.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Monday, April 23, 2018

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Let’s start with a definition of the word “love” from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: “Verb, agapao and the corresponding noun agape present ‘the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the NT.

 

"Agape and agapao are used in the NT (a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race, generally, John 3:16; Rom 5:8; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly, John 14:21; (b) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, John 13:34, and toward all men, 1 Thess. 3:12; 1 Cor. 16:14; 2 Pet. 1:7; (c) to express the essential nature of God, 1 John 4:8.


"Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom. 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cp. Deut. 7:7,8.

 

"Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 2:4; 3:19; 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian, Gal. 5:22. Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, John 14:15,21,23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 5:3; 2 John 1:6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

 

"Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to 'all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,' Gal. 6:10. See further 1 Cor. 13 and Col. 3:12-14." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 105.]

 

“In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant "love" and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential "love" in them towards the Giver, and a practical "love" towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver.”

 

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 again tomorrow and we will have some commentary, Lord willing.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

Sunday, April 22, 2018

“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul listed some of the miraculous gifts given by the Holy Spirit in order of importance in verse 28. There was a reason that he placed “various kinds of tongues” at the very end of this list. The brethren in Corinth placed the greatest emphasis upon “tongue-speaking”. We will see in chapter 14 that their worship services were loud and chaotic as they tried to speak over one another because the “tongue-speakers” were trying to draw attention to themselves. Paul told them to “earnestly desire the greater gifts” (verse 13). Not all of the Holy Spirit’s endowments were equally significant. They were all needed and useful, but some were greater in importance than others.

 

Notice that the first three gifts on the list were focused upon the teaching and preaching of God’s word. Apostles, prophets and teachers dedicated their lives to disseminating God’s revelation and they ranked as 1, 2 and 3. These were the “greater gifts” that God wanted His people to give the greatest heed to. People have a tendency to glamorize the “miraculous”. But if you think about it, which is more important in the grand scheme of things? The word of God, or the things used to confirm that word? The main reason that God even allowed some of His people at a certain period in time to perform miracles was to validate the message that was being spoken (Mark 16:15-16; Hebrews 2:3-4).

 

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). God instilled within His word the power to save people’s souls (James 1:22), and transform their lives from conformity to the corruption of this world, into the godly image of His dear Son (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18). That internal salvation and transformation is greater (in quality and duration) than any external awe and wonder that a miracle could arouse. Miracles were a very important part of the early stages of God’s plan of salvation, but we will learn in chapter 13 that they have long since outlived their intended usefulness. It is still important to read about then and believe in them (John 20:30-31), but not to see a miracle with our own eyes in order to have faith in Christ Jesus (John 20:29; Romans 10:17).

 

“And I show you a still more excellent way” (verse 31). Not just a better way but the best way. Paul is not talking about a greater GIFT, but a WAY that is greater than ALL gifts. As we learn in the case of the Corinthians, having the ability to perform miraculous gifts didn’t necessarily make you a better person. Love does. Paul now turns his attention to love (chapter 13). The brethren in Corinth lacked the proper love for one another, and that was the cause of their abuse of one another and their misuse of their miraculous gifts. We will learn in chapter 13 that all the greatest achievements and acts of charity and bravery are meaningless without love. In God’s eyes anyway.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 for tomorrow.

 

You are invited to come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 
- Louie Taylor

 

1 Corinthians 12:14-26

Saturday, April 21, 2018

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

One of the worst things that Christians can do is play “the comparison game” with one another. Some people will look at a very charismatic or talented brother in Christ and feel like he has nothing to offer the congregation in comparison to what his brother brings to the table. That is kind of like a foot saying, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body” (verse 15). Every member in a local church is useful and important to the proper and healthful functioning of the whole body. Gifts and talents may come in different shapes and sizes, but all are useful and necessary.

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a few brethren who actually feel so superior in importance that they see little or no use for some members in a local congregation. That is kind of like an eye saying to a hand, “I have no need of you” (verse 20). There is no place for pride and arrogance in the kingdom of God. Much of what Paul wrote was, “so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:6-7)

 

Every gift or talent that any of us has is a gift that we have “received” from God. It is foolish sinfulness to boast about blessings and talents and resources that have been given to us by God’s grace. We should use God’s gifts with the heart of a servant and not the arrogance of a superstar. We are all together in the same ship that is sailing toward the same ultimate destination. Let’s focus on loving and helping and serving one another during our voyage together.

 

“God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to the member which lacked” (verse 24). Think about your body for a moment. What parts do we give the “more abundant honor to”? Our face? Our teeth? Our hair? The more visible and conspicuous parts? We get so hung up about appearances in our society that we often pay little or no attention to the parts that we can’t see. I know it may be hard to imagine, but we can actually live without hair or teeth or a pretty face! But we’re not going to last very long without our heart, our liver, our lungs, our kidneys. Even our pinky toes serve a vital role in the overall health of our bodies. You smash that little guy against the bedroom dresser and you learn very quickly that, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (verse 26)!

 

In God’s eyes, even the most seemingly insignificant part (person) is held in the greatest esteem, if it (he/she) is actually serving the purpose that He has put it (him/her) there for. Paul doesn’t specify who the “less honorable parts” are (verse 23), and that’s probably a good thing. I’m certain that I wouldn’t like being identified as the “armpit” of the congregation. But, I am so glad I have armpits because they are very important to the health of my body! God made it that way! Let’s try to see people the way that God sees people. No one inferior, no one superior, but all important and dependent upon one another, and working together toward the same spiritual goals.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 for tomorrow.

 

God’s blessings and safety!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

Friday, April 20, 2018

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.

 

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

In chapters 12-14 the Apostle Paul addresses some of the problems that the brethren in Corinth were experiencing with miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. In these three chapters he deals with this issue from three different vantage points. In Chapter 12 he writes about the types and the purposes of these gifts. In chapter 13 he talks a bit about the duration of miraculous gifts. And in chapter 14 he deals, rather extensively, with the proper regulations of gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 

Paul’s main point in today’s reading is that there were “varieties of gifts,” but they all were given by “the same Spirit” (verse 4). There was a strong sense of rivalry among the brethren in the Corinthian church. Rivalry existed between males and females (1 Corinthians 11:2-16), rich and poor (1 Corinthians 11:17-22), and between the various “gifted” members. Some thought their gifts were much more important than anyone else’s, especially those who had the ability to miraculously speak in foreign languages (tongues). In tomorrow’s reading we will actually see that some of the brethren felt inferior or even insignificant.

 

Paul emphasizes in today’s verses that all the “members” of a congregation belong to the same “body” (verse 12). There was no need or room for rivalry, or feelings of inferiority or superiority. All Christians are part of the same “organism” and should be working toward the same goals and objectives—“the common good” (verse 7). It should have been obvious to them that the Holy Spirit was not working against Himself by granting a diversity of gifts to multiple individuals. The brethren were to use their gifts in a synergistic effort to build up and strengthen the body of Christ and cause it to flourish.

 

“You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led” (verse 2). Isn’t it amazing that the most meaningless and trivial things can “lead us astray”? For the heathens in Corinth it was lifeless, powerless, speechless idols. “They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat” (Psalm 115:5-7). We have our own “idols” today that rob our love and attention away from the One who deserves those things the most.

 

“No one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (verse 3). If someone claimed that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and yet cursed the Lord Jesus, they should just have known that such a “prophet” was a phony. Maybe some of the brethren were being pressured into denying the Lord that saved them in order to avoid persecution. Whatever may have prompted someone to say accursed things against Jesus, the same person couldn’t then rightly claim that He was being led by the Spirit.

 

Verses 5-10 comprise a list (not an exhaustive one) of the various miraculous gifts that were granted by the Holy Spirit to the Christians living in the first century. It is very interesting to learn that, along with “tongue-speaking” and “healing” and other recognizable miraculous abilities, there were also actually some people with miraculous “wisdom” (verse 8) and miraculous “faith” (verse 9). I don’t know exactly how someone’s faith could be miraculous when personal faith is a prerequisite just to become a Christian. But somehow “faith” was a gift.

 

And all of these gifts were to be used in a unified effort by those who had been “baptized into one body” by the Holy Spirit (verse 13). Christians are all “one” (the word is used 11 times in today’s verses). It doesn’t matter what economic or social status, what race or color, what age or gender, or what variety of backgrounds. All Christians “drink from the same cup” and share in the same blessings!

 

More on this subject tomorrow Lord willing.

 

Please read I Corinthians 12:14-26.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 11:23-34

Thursday, April 19, 2018

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

 

“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.”

 

“So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul had criticized them for coming together, “not for the better but for the worse” and abusing the Lord’s Supper (verse 17). There were divisions among them (verse 18), and many were turning it into a drunken feast (verse 22). But in verse 23 he stops with the criticism and begins to tell them how to fix the problem. Most people know how to fuss and complain about the wrong ways that other people do things. The Lord’s people should be all about finding the solutions to help make the problem go away and the people better!

 

“For I received from the Lord that which I delivered to you…” (verse 23). What Paul imparts to us in these verses amounts to a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. When the Lord revealed to Paul that, “in the night He was betrayed” He “took bread” (verse 23); He was saying that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper Himself during the final Passover meal that He shared with His Apostles. This also stresses the reverence and gravity of the occasion since it was the very night that He was betrayed by a close friend and handed over to be crucified for the sins of the world.

 

The Lord also revealed the nature of this sacred meal and the elements of it. The Lord’s Supper is a “memorial meal”. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (verse 24). Even though the Lord’s Supper was instituted DURING the Passover meal (Matthew 26:26), it was still separate and different from it. Paul told the Corinthians to eat their meals at home and not when they were gathered together to worship the Creator (verse 34). The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of the Christ’s death which consists of unleavened bread (the only type of bread allowed during Passover), and fruit of the vine (grape juice – it is never referred to as wine in any Gospel account).

 

It is an occasion to memorialize with thankfulness (verse 24), Christ’s body and the blood which were sacrificed on the cross for our sins. The elements ARE the bread and the fruit of the vine. The elements ARE NOT the literal body and blood of Jesus. When Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 26:26), and “Drink from it all of you, this is My blood (Matthew 26:27-28); He was saying that figuratively. Just think about it. He was sitting right there with them, alive in a body of flesh and blood. They could not possibly have literally eaten His body and drank His blood! That is gross to even think about! They were eating bread and drinking juice that REPRESENTED His body and blood!

 

“This cup is the new covenant in My blood” (verse 25). The death of Jesus instituted a new covenant between God and humanity (Hebrews 9:15-17). It is a covenant of newer and better quality than any other previous covenant. It was “enacted upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:6), and initiated with a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23). When we take the Lord’s Supper it is a reminder of the covenant that we willingly entered into with God through Jesus. It reminds us of the great things He has done for us, and the love, godliness and obedience that we owe Him. By the way, the “cup” is not an element of the Lord’s Supper either. The cup represents the contents (the grape juice which represents Christ’s blood). The containers we use are just expedients.

 

We must be careful to not take the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner” (verse 27). Paul first told us what the Lord’s Supper is NOT, then he told us what it IS. Starting in verse 27 he shows us what we need to DO about it. First he talks about the appropriate “manner” to take the Lord’s Supper. Once again, it is not a common meal but a sacred memorial commemorating an extraordinary sacrifice. It is a time to gather as a church with brothers and sisters in Christ and prayerfully and thankfully “eat the bread” and “drink the cup” in a decent and orderly fashion (1 Corinthians 14:40).

He then addresses the appropriate “attitude”. A person first “must examine himself” (verse 28). Not to determine if he is WORTHY to take the Lord’s Supper, but to determine if he is THINKING RIGHT. No one is worthy of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But if we can prepare ourselves mentally, and dismiss the worldly thoughts and behaviors, and get the right focus, then we can partake in a worthy MANNER. Many of the brethren in Corinth were spiritually “sick” and “asleep” (dead) because they did not judge themselves or “the body rightly” (verses 29-31).

 

It think the Lord’s Supper must be a very big deal! How about you? It is obvious that it means a lot to the Lord!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 for tomorrow.

 

Have a wonderful day!!!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

In verse two Paul had praised his brethren for remembering him in everything and for holding firmly to the traditions that he had delivered to them. Now he departs from the praise and delivers some criticism. He starts this section by writing, “I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse” (verse 17). There were at least two problems being addressed here. First, they were turning the memorial of the Lord’s Supper into a common meal. Second, they were dividing the assembly when they “came together”. So, they weren’t really coming together as a unit to worship and serve the Lord when they gathered together “as a church” (verse 18) under the same roof.

 

“For there must be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you” (verse 19). God’s purposes can actually be served even in the most undesirable of situations. Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that the Lord hates “strife among brothers”. But hearts are revealed when people splinter and fracture within the Lord’s body. It becomes “evident” by the behavior of the members of a congregation which ones are “approved” and which are not. Those who serve the Lord out of a heart of gratitude and obedience come shining forth like the sun. It also becomes evident which members have “heart trouble” and need help to see things more clearly so they can make the changes necessary to please God.

 

“Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper” (verse 20). Paul is actually saying here that it was impossible for them to eat the Lord’s Supper under the conditions in which they were meeting together. They didn’t wait for one another before they began eating, they didn’t share with one another and some were actually drinking to the point of intoxication (verse 21). Taking the Lord’s Supper was an impossibility for these brethren because the memorial meal of Christ in no way resembled the mockery that they were making of it. We will see in tomorrow’s reading what the Lord’s Supper actually consists of and what the proper mindset is for taking it. But one thing should be obvious—It is not to be a drunken feast! These misguided brethren were obviously carrying the heathen practices of their society into the church. Not good!

 

Just a couple of side notes. I think that verses 18-20 clearly indicate the appropriate place to take the Lord’s Supper: “When you gather together as a church.” And verse 22 (along with verse 34) tells us plainly that a church should not assemble to eat common meals. When we gather together as a church it should be to engage in spiritual undertakings. We come together to worship God and learn His will for us. And the Lord’s Supper is one of the acts of worship that must be engaged in on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). It is a memorial meal consisting of two emblems. The fruit of the vine is emblematic of the blood of Jesus, and the unleavened bread is a symbol of his crucified body.

 

The Lord’s Supper is a somber memorial of the greatest act of love ever known and shown to mankind. God came to this earth in the form of a man and allowed himself to be sacrificed at the hands of wicked men on the cruel cross of Calvary. If we can’t show our Savior and our brethren their due respect during such a critical commemoration, we effectively “despise the church of God” (verse 22).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Okay now this… This section really boils down to a lesson about submission. “Christ is the head of every man” (verse 3). It doesn’t matter whether people choose to admit this truth or willingly submit their will to the authority of Jesus or not. Christ is the head of the human race, and all of His creation is subordinate to Him. And, “the man is the head of a woman” (verse 3). It is a part of God’s divine order that women are to be subject to the authority of men. People don’t like that arrangement any more than they like the idea of subjection to Christ, but the opinion of the majority will never change God’s truth. Whoever rebels against this arrangement rebels against God the Father who is the head of all.

 

I believe that Paul was teaching the brethren that a woman’s submission to man is not nullified when she becomes a Christian. I believe the context teaches that there was a custom in Corinth for women to wear a “covering” or “veil” when in public as a “symbol of her submission to the authority of man (verse 10), and that custom did not change when they obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If this is true, then the issue was not that women should PUT a veil over their head while “praying or prophesying” (verse 5), but that they must KEEP their veil on in such settings.

 

Here are some of the reasons why I believe that Paul was writing about a local custom and not a command for all women everywhere in every assembly. First and foremost, he actually called it a “custom” in verse 16. Also, the lesson that he was teaching us could be learned from “nature” and not by any law that God had previously enacted (verse 14). Paul also based the “nature” argument upon whether it is “proper” for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered (verse 13). The word “proper” means that which is proper or decent in terms of the customs of man.

 

Notice also that the women could do the same things the men could do, only they must have their head covered when they did it. In some setting, these Christian women could “pray and prophesy”. I don’t believe this was in the assembly because Paul stated clearly that the women must “keep silent” in that setting just a few chapters later (1 Corinthians 14:34). But it seems clear that some women received the gift of prophecy and there was a venue in which they could properly exercise this ability. Maybe it was in a small gathering, much like some of the Bible class or Bible study settings that we have today. Another good argument against the “covering” applying to all women universally is that the need for it ceased to exist when the age of miracles ceased, along with a woman’s ability to “prophecy”.

 

Some people take the stance that Paul settled the issue by saying that that God gave women their hair and that is all the covering they need, but that argument just doesn’t hold up at all. Paul argues that consistency would insist that, if women prayed or prophesied with their heads uncovered, they might as well shave their heads as well (verse 6). But he is not arguing that a woman’s hair was a suitable enough covering for them to properly express their submission to man while praying and prophesying (verse 15). That would completely negate the need to argue in favor of keeping their covering on in the first place. He is just saying that the uncovered head is just as shameful as the shaved head (verse 5).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

Monday, April 16, 2018

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’ do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

“Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (verse 24). Paul spells things out for the brethren in today’s verses about eating meat from animals that had been sacrificed to idols. The long and the short of it is that eating the meat is perfectly alright, as long as it doesn’t violate your own conscience (verse 25), and it doesn’t give the wrong impression to someone else (verse 28). All that a Christian does in his life of devotion to God and love for neighbor should be to glorify his Creator (verse 31) and to edify his fellowman.

 

“Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake” (verse 25). They were not under obligation to investigate whether the meat had been used in sacrifices when they bought it in the agora. They didn’t need to trouble their consciences because food was just food, and a heathen ritual didn’t change the nature of the meat. Every good thing in the world was made by God for the people He created in His own image to receive freely and with “thankfulness” (verses 26, 30). If they were to buy something at the “store” and take it home to eat, that would not mean that they were worshiping the idol.

 

“If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake” (verse 27). It was okay to buy meat and take it home and eat it, and it was okay to go over to a friend’s house if invited and eat meat as well. Notice here that it is perfectly acceptable to the Lord for Christians to “socialize” with “unbelievers”, even idolaters. The command to “not associate with” applies to a “so-called” brother in Christ who has been “marked” as unfaithful and living a life of sinfulness (1 Corinthians 5:9-12). We do this, however, with the understanding that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We don’t want to spend the preponderance of our “leisure” time with immoral people for fear that their bad habits will “rub off on us”.

 

“But if anyone says to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’ do not eat it” (verse 28); because it obviously has special significance to him. If an “unbeliever” volunteered that information then he associated it with the idol and it was more than just a meal to him. In a case as that it would not have been good to appear to condone such a practice. If a Christian brought up the idol then he likely had a “weak” conscience and didn’t understand that the idol was nothing. In that case it was not good for a “strong” Christian to risk emboldening a “weak” Christian to violate his own conscience.

 

Boiling this down to one sentence, meat is not just meat when someone gives it greater significance than it deserves or when eating it in the presence of other people who do. A parallel today might be eating “trick-or-treat” candy around a person who thinks that Halloween is sinful or satanic. Candy is just candy, unless someone thinks it is associated with something demonic. In cases where that would violate our own conscience or “offend” someone else’s, it would be better to avoid eating the sweet stuff all together. But hey, candy is unhealthy to eat anyway! ;^)

 

Food and our privilege to exercise our “rights” are both insignificant in the long run. The only things that truly matter, in view of eternity, is that we glorify God and help people with their salvation (verse 33)!

 

We will “cover” 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 for tomorrow, Lord willing!

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

 

 

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Sunday, April 15, 2018

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Just as Paul told the brethren in Corinth (and us) to “flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18), he also says to “flee from idolatry” (verse 14). In verse 13 he said that no temptation is beyond a person’s ability to resist, but with the temptation God will always provide a way to escape. Since idolatry was so deeply entrenched within Corinthian society and such a strong temptation for the brethren living there, they needed to avail themselves of that escape route and RUN!

 

Paul appealed to their intellect when he wrote, “I speak as to wise men” (verse 15). Doesn’t it just make since that when Christians partake in the Lord’s Supper and commemorate His sacrifice by eating unleavened bread and drinking fruit of the vine that they share in His body and blood (verses 15-16)? The same was true with the priests of nation of Israel. When they ate portions of the meat sacrificed to God, they shared in the sacrifice that was offered to Jehovah on the altar (verse 18).

 

That’s the way it is with idolatry. A union takes place when eating meat offered to idols in certain situations. That’s why they couldn’t “share” in the rituals and dedication feasts or the sacrifices that took place in temples. Because they would share in the sacrifice and become one with idol. They would actually share with “demons” (verse 20), since they were dabbling in Satan’s realm and not the Lord’s, when they partook in sacrifices offered to false Gods.

 

Paul had already written in 1 Corinthians 8:8 that meat offered to idols was just food, and there was nothing wrong with eating it as long as they didn’t eat it in a way that would cause a weak brother to stumble. But they still needed to avoid the situations that would cause them to participate in the dedication of that meat to idols. There is nothing (spiritually) wrong with you or me enjoying a plate of chicken wings. They are just food and very yummy food to eat at that! But it is not a good idea for a Christian to go to Hooters for lunch and participate in the sinful exploitation of women that always takes place in those establishments. (Already I know that some of you don’t agree!!!)

 

The “cup of the Lord” and the “cup of demons” just don’t mix together! We can’t have fellowship with God and fellowship with sin (Satan)! It is impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)! We must choose sides and go all in with one or the other! Our God is a jealous God (verse 22; Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 32:21), and He is perfectly just and righteous to be that way! We are “married” to Him through Christ and we must not commit spiritual adultery against Him!

 

Let’s make the determination in our hearts to stay away from “shady” places and out of sinful situations! We must be careful to remain true to our covenant with God and not provoke Him to jealousy. He is much too strong for us (verse 22), and we dare not incur His wrath and retribution!

 

God will be pleased if you come worship Him with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 10:13

Saturday, April 14, 2018

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

 

When three thousand Israelites were killed near Mount Sinai for worshiping a golden calf (verse 7), that was not God’s fault. When 23,000 men fell in one day because of their idolatry and sexual immorality with Moabite women (verse 8), no one can rightly blame God for that. When many were killed by “fiery serpents” because of their impatience and distrust in God’s providence (verse 9), it did not have to end that way. When 14,700 were killed by the “destroyer” because of their incessant grumbling and complaining (verse 10), they had no one to blame but themselves.

 

“God is faithful,” even though His covenant people often are not. In each one of these examples of wickedness and faithlessness, the violators had every opportunity to “escape” from their temptation to sin. In every instance, the perpetrators had the option to put up a fight against the urge to defy, disrespect and disobey their Father in heaven, who carried them out of the land of slavery and oppression by His strong, loving hand. God was with them 24/7, shielding them by day, guiding them by night, and providing for their every need. And yet they sinned because they were unappreciative, dissatisfied and rebellious.

 

The same is true for God’s people today. No one holds a gun to our head and forces us to break God’s commandments when we choose to rebel against the Lord and sin. No temptation has “overtaken” us or “seized” control of our free will to resist. After having chosen to yield to Satan’s allurements, not one of us can truthfully say that we had no choice in the matter. That we just could not help ourselves. That it was against our ability to resist. If we are really looking, God will always “provide a way of escape” for us to defeat the devil’s temptations. God is always faithful and He is always there for us in our times of need. If we choose to put up a fight, He will not allow sin to defeat us.

 

The bad news: There is no good excuse for sin and unfaithfulness. We have no one to blame but ourselves for the consequences that follow, whether temporary or eternal.

 

The good news: You don’t need superhuman strength to resist temptation. At least not your own. The all-powerful God of heaven will not allow you to be tempted beyond your breaking point. He has already mapped out an escape route for every temptation you may incur. LOOK FOR IT and USE IT!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 10:1-12

Friday, April 13, 2018

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.’ Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”

---End of Scripture verses---

“Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (verse 12). Paul was an inspired Apostle of Jesus Christ, and yet he knew that even he could be “disqualified” from the “Christian race” if he did not “discipline” himself and bring his body under control (1 Corinthians 9:27). In today’s reading, he used several (bad) examples of the disobedience and misbehavior of God’s covenant people and their subsequent and consequent fall, to teach the Corinthian brethren that they needed to change their lax attitude and sinful behavior.

“I do not want you to be unaware” (verse 1). God has preserved the Old Testament for us so that we will not be “ignorant” of how He abhors and punishes the irreverent, sinful behavior of His people. Every story we read in the Old Testament was “written for our instruction” so that we will learn from the “example” of God’s covenant children of old. Of course, we should imitate the good examples, but in today’s reading Paul wants us to learn to avoid the same mistakes that Israel made throughout their history, and not follow their bad examples.

Verses 1-4 suggest that the brethren in Corinth were overconfident about their status of privilege and condition of safety with God through their covenant in Christ. They had been baptized into Christ and they all partook of the Lord’s Supper, and they thought that made their salvation secure. But Paul warned them that Israel had been figuratively “baptized into Moses” and they partook of the “same spiritual food” (manna), and “spiritual drink” (water from the rock) with Christ. And yet, “with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness” (verse 5).

“Do not be idolaters, as some of them were” (verse 7). Idolatry was a huge problem in Corinth and a source of “double trouble”. They combined the worship of idols with the act of sexual immorality, steeping themselves in both spiritual and physical adultery. Paul quoted Exodus 32:6 to show them that Israel committed the very same “spiritual suicide” at Mount Sinai with the golden calf when they, “SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Three thousand people were killed on that dreadful day (Exodus 32:28).

“Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day” (verse 		</div>
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1 Corinthians 9:15-18

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

“But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

The Gospel’s power and a faithful preacher’s influence are a billion times over more important than any money that he could get from preaching it. Paul used none of his rights and privileges as a preacher and an apostle with the Corinthians concerning payment, and he wasn’t making an appeal for them when he wrote the words of this chapter. He would have rather died than go back on his decision to freely devote his life to Jesus Christ and to the preaching of the Gospel of salvation (verse 15). His spiritual and eternal rewards were much more valuable than any pittance that the brethren could have contributed in their support.

 

Paul could “boast” that he preached the Gospel for free, but he was still under “compulsion” because he was a hand-picked, chosen vessel for the Lord (verse 16; Acts 9:15). He could have chosen, by his own free will, to disobey the call to serve the Lord, but that would have proven disastrous for him. The alternative to preaching would have been an unthinkable eternity of calamity and “woe”!

 

“For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me” (verse 17). Paul knew he had to preach the Gospel one way or the other. He would either preach “voluntarily” and yet still receive a “reward”. That reward would be preaching the word “without charge” (verse 18) out of a heart full of love for his fellowman, and sharing in the thrill of helping to save souls. Or he could preach against his will (only out of a sense of duty), and fulfill the “stewardship” that had been entrusted to him. I am sure there were times that he vacillated between willingly and unwillingly preaching the truth. But, either way, he never stopped helping others learn the Gospel!

 

Christ was enough of a reward for Paul. Is He for us? Do we willing forgo our earthly “rights” and “privileges” to serve the Lord with a clear conscience, and help our friends and brethren get to heaven? Let’s look for ways to do that!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 for tomorrow.

 

Blessings!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 9:1-14

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

 

“My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

 

“I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.’ God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul had just previously written about the importance of Christians giving up their rights for the wellbeing of their brethren (chapter 8). In today’s verses he reminded the Corinthians that he had done the very same thing for them, so he wasn’t asking of them anything he didn’t willingly and daily do himself. Paul had the same freedoms as other Christians, and even more privileges as an Apostle of Jesus Christ (verse 1-2). But he did not avail himself of all of his “rights” in order to be the best servant of the Lord that he could possibly be (verses 4-7, 12).

 

Some at the church in Corinth questioned (examined – verse 3) the validity of Paul’s apostleship. He made a quick defense of that by stating that He had “seen Jesus the Lord,” and that they had witnessed his power because they were his “work in the Lord” (verse 1; consider also 2 Corinthians 12:12). The brethren in the church at Corinth were Paul’s best defense for the authenticity of his apostleship.

 

“So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (verse 14). In verse 7 Paul used the illustrations of a soldier, a farmer and a shepherd to prove that a preacher of the word should expect a living from his vocation. A soldier collects his wages, a farmer eats of the fruit of the crop, and a shepherd drinks the “milk of the flock.” Even an ox should be allowed to eat from the grain that he threshes (verse 9).

 

Arguing from the lesser to the greater, it only stands to reason that the Gospel preacher, who has a much more important job than all of these, should expect compensation as well. He fights the most important battles as a soldier in the Lord’s army; he tends to the needs of the church of Jesus Christ which is the Lord’s spiritual vineyard and flock; and he feeds them the far superior spiritual food. The faithful preacher deals in matters of life and death, heaven and hell. “The worker is worthy of his wages” (1 Timothy 5:18).

 

“If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ” (verses 11-12). Paul had every right to expect monetary compensation from them for dedicating his life to serving their spiritual needs. But he gave up that right so that it would not appear to the brethren that he was in it for the money. He would do anything (within reason) to keep from hindering the power and the spread of the Gospel.

 

Paul, like Jesus, gave up his rights in order to serve God and his fellow man to the fullest. In what ways can we do the same?

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 9:15-18 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Monday, April 09, 2018

“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.

 

“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

 

However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Some problems can’t be solved by “knowledge” alone. Knowledge “puffs up”, but love “builds up” (verse 1). Knowledge without love is merely academic, is not wisdom, is harmful and even destructive (1 Corinthians 13:1-8). Most of the brethren in the church at Corinth knew, “that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one” (verse 4). But obviously not all of them had this knowledge (verse 7). Even though Christians had (and still have) the “liberty” to eat meat sacrificed to an idol, a child of God is called to forgo his rights in order to help a “weak” brother to keep from stumbling.

 

“Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat” (verse 8). Food does not affect our relationship with God. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4:4). Food is really a neutral subject. Unless a brother or sister violates their own conscience by eating something that they associate with a sinful activity, such as idolatry. Then, eating food becomes a sin. It would be a real shame for a “strong” Christian to eat something or do something that is purely neutral that would tempt a “weak” Christian to follow their example and violate their own conscience.

 

Paul is going to elaborate more on this issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols in chapter 10. But today’s passage is really all about giving up our rights in order to help our “weak” brothers and sisters stay faithful to the Lord. We learn from verse 10 at least one aspect that defines the “weak” Christian written about today’s verses. He is a “follower”. He is someone who would be tempted to do a thing that he has a problem with, just because he saw a “strong” Christian do it. He is a convert who does not realize the full implications of Christianity. But he can demonstrate “strong” faith in Christ by avoiding things that he thinks are wrong or about which he is uncertain or doubtful.

 

There is a twofold warning here for us to all take heed of. Since very few people think that they are actually the “weak” Christian, we all need to be careful to guard our words and actions. First of all, we must be careful to not do anything that will violate our own conscience, even if everybody else is convinced that a thing is okay to do. Secondly, and of equal importance, we all must be careful to not place a “stumbling block” in the path of a brother or sister in Christ (verse 13). If we know that a Christian believes a thing to be sinful, even if we know that it is not, we should forgo our “right” to do it in his presence. We want to take great pains to avoid the risk of “ruining” a brother by helping him to violate his own conscience and commit a sin (verses 11). That would ruin us as well since we would be “sinning against the brethren” (verse 12).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 9:1-14 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 7:32-40

Sunday, April 08, 2018

“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

 

“But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

 

“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

When Paul wrote, “But one who is married is concerned about the things of the world” (verse 33), he wasn’t saying that married people are focused on worldly things in the sinful sense. He was just saying that much of a husband’s focus is placed upon taking care of his wife, and a wife’s on taking care of her husband. He is actually talking about things that the Lord absolutely expects married people to do, like working to support them and buy them nice things, keeping house, giving attention to one another’s interests, taking time for intimacy, having and raising children, etc.

 

But, by necessity, a married person’s “interests are divided” (verse 34), between pleasing a husband or wife, and pleasing the Lord. Although marriage is a very good thing and a wonderful gift from God, those of us who are married must make certain that our spouse doesn’t absolutely “monopolize” our attention. While it is much easier for the single person to have “undistracted devotion to the Lord” (verse 35), married people must set aside time to give their undivided attention to God as well. The first and most important commandment, whether we are married or single, is still to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30)!

 

Paul wrote in verse 36 that a man should let his virgin daughter marry if he thought that was the right thing to do. This may sound strange to our ears, but a parent had complete control over his children in certain first century cultures (even still in some cultures today). Even though things are much different for us in our place and time, we still see vestiges of this in our modern society. Many men still ask a woman’s father if they can have his daughter’s hand in marriage (if they are smart!). We also commonly see the father of the bride “giving away” his daughter to her husband.

 

“So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better” (verse 38). But remaining a virgin was only better if the daughter desired to stay that way (“if it must be so” – verse 36). As long as there was no “constraint” or “necessity” (verse 37) to marry on the woman’s part (“it is better to marry than to burn with passion” – verse 9); and as long as there was no “prior commitment” (“authority over his own will”); it was good for a man to keep his daughter a virgin. At least in consideration of the “present distress” (verse 26).

 

“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives” (verse 39). Marriage is a very serious undertaking, whether in the “present distress” or even in the best of times. This is obvious for a variety of reasons, including the amount of attention that the inspired Apostle gave to this subject in this letter to the Corinthians. If you haven’t married yet, please choose your spouse as wisely and prayerfully as possible. If you are currently married, try to be the very best spouse you can be, and make the best of an other than ideal situation of that is the case. In God’s eyes, marriage is permanent. You can’t separate the “one flesh” union without causing and incurring serious damage. Possibly even eternal damage.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 for tomorrow.

 

Please come worship God with is in spirit and in truth today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.

 

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

 

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 7:25-31

Saturday, April 07, 2018

“Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

The Apostle Paul is still suggesting that the Christians in Corinth “grow where they have been planted,” but in today’s verses he explains why this is an important thing to do. He begins by addressing the subject of “virgins”. Jesus did not directly address this issue in His earthly ministry, but Paul is still writing under inspiration, and His “opinion” in the Lord is completely trustworthy (verse 25).

 

“In view of the present distress,” Paul recommended that “it is good for a man to remain as he is” (verse 26). Once again, I am not certain exactly what the distressful condition was that plagued the brethren in Corinth, but it was likely a matter of persecution because of their faith in Christ. Paul suggested that it would be better for virgin daughters to remain in the state that they were in and not marry. It was not a sinful thing for them to get married, but Paul was trying to spare them as much “trouble in this life” as he could with his advice (verse 28).

 

He actually suggested that ALL people remain as they were. “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife” (verse 27). To seek to be released from a wife or husband that you are bound to would be sinful, so that is never a good thing to do (verse 10-16). But it is not sinful to marry if you have been “released” from a spouse (verse 28). Marriage is a good blessing given by the Lord and it is necessary for some (most?) in order to avoid sexual immorality (verse 2). But, under their current living conditions, a blessing could actually turn in to a source of “trouble”.

 

By the way, I do not believe that verse 27 authorizes a person to remarry if their unbelieving spouse has left them (verse 15). The “bondage” of verse 15 is not the same as the being “bound” of verse 27. When Paul wrote that Christians are “not under bondage” to their unbelieving spouses who insist upon leaving them, he was saying that they were not their “slaves”. In verse 27, he uses a different word to refer to the “bonds” of marriage. There are only two things, according to Scripture, that can “release” a person from that most intimate union—death (verse 39) and sexual infidelity (Matthew 19:9).

 

“The time has been shortened” (verse 29). The word for “time” here is the Greek word “kairos” which means a fixed time period, and not “chronos” which means an indefinite period of time. He is saying this in reference to the “present distress” and that it won’t last forever. But for the duration of that troubling time period, things would sort of be turned upside down. To be married would be like not being married (verse 29). To weep and rejoice and buy and sell would be way down on the list of priorities (verse 30). For the faithful Christians of that time, it was going to take all the focus and attention that they could muster just to keep their faith strong in the Lord.

 

“The form of this world is passing away” (verse 31). “Form” is the Greek word “schema” and it refers to the “outward appearance” and, once again, was written in light of the “present distress”. This world is ever-changing and the brethren in Corinth were going through a period where everything could be lost in just a moment’s time, and Paul wanted them to be “free from concern” (verse 32). He didn’t want them to get all caught up in temporary things because he wanted nothing to interfere with their eternal salvation that depended entirely upon their allegiance to Christ.

 

When you think about it, the same is really true for us today. Time is short and the world itself is passing away, and not merely its current “form” of distressing ungodliness. No matter how well things might be going in our earthly lives right now, they won’t last for long. On a brighter note, no matter how poorly things might be going for you, it is all only temporary as well. The most important thing is to stay focused on and devoted to the One who holds the whole world and all eternity in His hand. Nothing but NOTHING in this wicked, cursed, fleeting world is worth losing heaven over!!!

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 7:32-40 for tomorrow.

 

Have a great day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 7:17-24

Friday, April 06, 2018

“Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

Paul had just given one exception to the rule of staying married to your unbelieving husband or wife in verse 15. He said there, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” But that is the exception and not the rule. God’s desire is for us to stay married to the one that He has bound us to in the most intimate of all earthly relationships. I think Paul is really emphasizing that point in today’s passage where he gives us two other examples to show that God has not called us to change our “social relationships” when He calls us out of the world and into the kingdom by His Gospel.

 

The two examples he cited as proof that the Gospel doesn’t demand “national” or “societal upheaval” are “circumcision” and “slavery”. Circumcision was a means to distinguish Jewish people from non-Jewish people. But in the church of Jesus Christ, a person’s nationality is completely irrelevant. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28).

 

“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God” (verse 19). This text reveals a couple of things about circumcision in an indirect way. The first is that circumcision is obviously no longer a part of “keeping the commandments of God.” Since circumcision was a foundational aspect of the Law of Moses, that Law is obviously no longer in effect, and no one is bound to its precepts today. The second very interesting implication is that there was actually a medical procedure to be “uncircumcised”. Some Jewish men would attempt to “hide” their circumcision to avoid social embarrassment or harassment because of their national mark of identity.

 

But Paul’s main point is that, in Christ, it really doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or not. The second example he used to demonstrate that becoming a Christian does not demand a change in societal status is “slavery”. If a person obeyed the Gospel while in the capacity of a servant of another man, he should not “worry about” that (verse 21). You can be a faithful Christian and a faithful slave at the same time. Our freedom in Christ does not demand that we seek freedom from an earthly “master”.

 

Please understand that Paul is not “condoning” slavery in this passage and neither am I. He is merely teaching that Christ did not die to abolish the institution of slavery. He died to liberate individual people from the bondage and slavery of sin and save their souls. He did that for ALL people, for those standing on the highest and the lowest rungs of the societal ladder, and all rungs in between.

 

What Paul is teaching here is that it is perfectly alright to “grow where we have been planted.” It is okay to be content in the social status and social relationships that we find ourselves in when we come to Christ, AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT SINFUL OF COURSE! Your nationality is irrelevant when you are a citizen of the kingdom of heaven! Your position in society is inconsequential when your name has been written in the Lamb’s book of life!

 

We should really take this to heart during the current hateful and divisive political climate that we have in our nation today. Our spiritual association is much more significant and binding than our political affiliation. We are citizens of the kingdom of heaven before and above being democrats, republicans, libertarians, and even Americans! The spiritual ties that bind Christians together in Christ should be much greater than any bonds that this world can produce!

 

Another thing that Paul is NOT doing here is teaching that we cannot strive to “better” our position in life. He IS teaching us to be content, but he is NOT insisting that there is no room for “ambition” and “upward mobility”. It is good for a slave to “become free” if he can “do that” (verse 21). But climbing the social or corporate or national ladder is not what Christ has called us to do. Christ called us out of the world and into His kingdom in order to serve Him and be loyal to Him first and foremost. We must remember that if we “belong” to Christ, we will always be His slave whatever our position in earthly society might be (verse 22-23).

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 7:25-31 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 7:12-16

Thursday, April 05, 2018

“But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

When Paul wrote, “But to the rest I say, not the Lord” in verse 12, he was not suggesting that this was another apostolic opinion. He was merely indicating that the Jesus had not addressed this issue personally in His earthly teachings. What Paul declared in today’s verses is just as much a command as if Jesus had said it himself, because Paul was speaking on the Lord’s behalf and with His authority. To tell someone they “must not” do something is a directive not a recommendation.

 

A huge problem for married Christians in the first century was that a marriage could turn hostile if one spouse gave his life to Christ and the other did not. Societal bias was so slanted against Christians in some places that if your spouse chose to follow Jesus, that could qualify as grounds for divorce. But notice here that the disciple of Christ is forbidden from initiating a divorce if he or she is married to an unbeliever. “He must not divorce her” and “she must not send her husband away” (verse 13).

 

It is no wonder why Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” (Luke 18:29-30). Choosing to follow Jesus could (and still can) very well cost you your marriage. As long as it was (is) not the Christian’s choice to break those bonds, he/she will receive many times over the blessings that were (are) lost.

 

“The unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband,” and vice versa (verse 14). Whatever Paul means by this statement, he is definitely not saying that an unbelieving husband or wife is “saved” just by being married to a Christian. Obviously he is using the word “sanctified” in a conditional way. The same is true when he says that the children in a marriage are made “holy” by the presence of a believing mother or father.

 

I think Paul is simply saying that the believer legitimizes the “mixed” marriage in the current dispensation we are living in. Consider the fact that, under God’s previous covenant with Israel, believers were forbidden to intermarry with non-believers (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; Ezra chapter 10; Nehemiah 13:23-31). But, under God’s present (and final) covenant arrangement with mankind through Christ Jesus, there is no such prohibition. The unbeliever doesn’t make the believer unclean. On the contrary, the believer makes the unbeliever clean. The Christian “sanctifies” his/her family and is his/her home’s “saving grace” and greatest hope for the receipt of God’s blessings.

 

That having been said, I believe the Bible still teaches clearly that it is much wiser to marry a Christian than a non-Christian. We open our lives and our homes up to many unnecessary difficulties and temptations when we do not chose a mate that shares our spiritual worldview and most important values. Paul unequivocally says that “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

 

And even though what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 is not contextually referring to the bonds of marriage, the principal is still true. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” I believe it is wiser to marry someone who will make it their number one priority to help you get to heaven.

 

But if you are currently married to someone who does not faithfully follow Christ, make it your number one priority to make the marriage the best you possibly can, and to help him/her get to heaven. “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” (verse 16) “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” (1 Peter 3:1-2)

 

“Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace” (verse 15). When Paul wrote that we are “not under bondage in such cases,” he was not saying that the “bonds” of marriage are somehow broken in those instances. He is merely saying that Christians are not forced to fulfill their marital obligations to “unbelievers” who have no desire to live with them. The word for “bondage” here means to “enslave”. A believer is not the unwilling non-believer’s “slave” if they become contrary and hostile.

 

But we must remember that this verse does not contradict what Jesus and Paul have clearly taught in other places in the Bible. There is still only one exception to marriage as an unbreakable bond, and that is sexual infidelity (Matthew 19:9). Even if verse 15 does allow for a “divorce”, it does not authorize a remarriage. I know many Christians who have been married to non-Christians, and when the marriage did not work out, they cited 1 Corinthians 7:15 as their right to divorce and remarry. At the very MOST, this authorizes the right to divorce and remarry, if the non-believer leaves BECAUSE of the believer’s faith in Christ. And even that is very questionable.

 

Please understand that I am not trying to tell anyone who they can and cannot marry. I just want to do my part in helping people be as well-informed as they possibly can be when making these eternally important life decisions. My prayer is that none of us will base our decisions on questionable interpretations of inconclusive passages that could very well lead us astray and cost us our eternity.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 for tomorrow.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

1 Corinthians 7:8-11

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

“But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”

 

---End of Scripture verses---

 

It is very interesting that in 1 Timothy 5:14, the Apostle Paul advised the “younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.” In verse 8 of today’s passage he recommends that the unmarried and widows remain unmarried. According to verse 26, Paul strongly suggested that Christians remain in whatever state that they presently found themselves in order to avoid as much difficulty as possible (verse 26).

 

“It is better to marry than to burn with passion” (verse 9). To remain unmarried was “good” at that time, but to enter into the union of marriage is “better” than to constantly battle against the lust of the flesh. The union of marriage between a man and a woman is the only way that God has sanctioned to satisfy this very legitimate need. We read Hebrews 13:4 yesterday: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” And it’s a shame that we would even need to specify that God condemns “same sex” marriage (chapter 6 verses 9-11).

 

In verse 8 Paul gave an “authoritative opinion,” but in verse 10 he issued an “instruction” or “command”. A husband and wife (who have the right to be married) should not divorce. According to God’s design, marriage is a union that binds a man and woman together until death causes them to part ways (Matthew 18:8). Of course, Jesus gave us one exception to that rule. If either spouse is sexually unfaithful and betrays the trust of their sacred bond, the innocent party may divorce the offender (Matthew 19:9). But even then, God does not mandate the separation of that which He has joined together (Matthew 19:5-6). But He does give the option.

 

Paul was not suggesting that he did not have the authority to make this command when he said, “I give instructions, not I, but the Lord” (verse 10). He was merely drawing our attention to the fact that Jesus himself had spoken often of the sanctity and permanency of marriage. We already referenced Matthew 19:1-9. Jesus said, again in Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount: “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32). Consider also what Jesus said in Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18.

 

“But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband” (verse 11). Paul must have known that some would choose to divorce their spouses even though they have been commanded not to. In such cases God has given us two options: Either stay unmarried or reconcile with the covenant spouse. There is no third option, even though many Christians try to justify divorce and remarriage for any reason, by what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:15, 27-28. We will cover that in detail a little later, Lord willing. But I will just say today that Paul is not contradicting in those verses what clearly commands in verse 11.

 

“And the husband should not divorce his wife” (verse 11). There are no double standards with the Lord. What God requires of the wife, He also requires of the husband. Even in a culture that sometimes viewed the wife as the “property” of the husband, God did not originate or share that view. Men and women stand on equal footing before God in the kingdom of the Lord, even though they have been given some differing roles and responsibilities.

 

Please read 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 for tomorrow.

 

Have a super day!

 

- Louie Taylor

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