Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

30Dec/16

The Kingdom of God (Part 2)

Where God rules and reigns and where things happen.

The seeds of the kingdom should produce fruit of the kingdom, aligned to the will of the King.  The enemy puts lies in the way to stop that – you’re too weak, too old, etc.

Kingdom Authority – what basis do we have?.

Authority is NOT about how loud you shout.  Jesus brought with Him the presence of God. A thermometer measures the spiritual environment. A thermostat changes the spiritual environment. Jesus was a thermostat – He changed the spiritual temperature, and so should we!

Our zone of x rubs off on people. So our zone needs to be cultivated with the kingdom of God.  All miracles Jesus did was under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit came on Jesus and He started doing kingdom stuff.  When one is aligned with the Holy Spirit, you have the authority.  Acts 2v22 says Jesus was accredited.

Jesus did what God wanted man to do. The second Adam for God wanted to redeem the world.  In the garden, what did God do?  Placed him in the garden. The Hebrew ‘garden’ means hedges in and protected. A safe place.  Why is there a hedge? Where did the serpent come from then? It’s not a perfect world?  Adam was told to tend the garden and to guard the garden. Adam had to keep extending the garden. God gave Adam the keys of authority to deal with whatever he found.

So along comes the serpent and Adam gave the keys to Satan.

Even though the enemy is defeated, the enemy does not understand that. So the enemy keeps fighting and he still thinks he has the power.  The enemy gets a foothold when Christians don’t think they have the authority. We’ve won but there is still a war.

1 Cor 4v20.  Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but power. We think we say the right words we are bringing the kingdom of God.  No, it is power; the ability to bring the power – i.e. when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.  Power comes in the form of a person. Not something to be controlled.  The more you welcome the Holy Spirit, the more power you have. 

When we are witnesses it’s not just a set of words, it’s also about actions that witness, to demonstrate to demons etc, the way they remember 2000 years ago when they were defeated.

Matt 12v28. If you drive out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Individual salvation is wonderful but that was not the final goal.  Salvation is not the pinnacle of God’s plan, it’s an interim step.  The final target is a race of men and women filled with the Spirit and doing what Jesus did.  In other words bring the kingdom into the world. 

If we are not little Jesus people then we are religious and the enemy has got us sussed, we are no threat. So we need to be blown by the wind of the Spirit. We were saved for a purpose!

The Holy Spirit wants to be glorified in demon oriented circumstances.  Worship releases the Spirit. Keep easing out the boundaries.  Go higher in spirit.

Holy Spirit given without measure.  Are you a lake or a river?  Rivers flow and change geography. A lake goes round and round in the same scenery.

Spirit is without measure. When saved we had the Spirit a little bit – found it hard to witness.  Baptised in the Spirit it gets more and easier to witness.  Get full and they just have to bump into us. Spirit is in overflow!  It’s always coming out!

28Dec/16

Temple of the Holy Spirit

This morning I want to talk about the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 16, says this. ‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?’

The word “you” in 1 Corinthians 3v16 is plural in Greek. In English the word “you” is ambiguous—one cannot always tell whether it is a singular “you” or a plural “you,” for both are spelled the same. When I was in America more than 2 decades ago, I found that the further south you went, the friendlier people got and people from the south of America, have managed to remove that ambiguity from the English language.

When they mean more than one person they say, “ya’ll.” Well, here in Chapter 3v16 Paul uses the Greek word for “ya’ll.” Literally it reads, “Do ya’ll not know that ya’ll are a temple (singular) of God and the Spirit of God dwells in ya’ll.”

And he says to them don’t you all know that you all are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that God’s Spirit lives in you all. And when we understand the context we come to understand that verse 16 of 1 Corinthians chapter 3 actually being addressed to the local church

Now you know I like a bit of context, because it would be easy for us to simply answer ‘yes’ to knowing we are the temple of God and that His Spirit lives in us. Praise the Lord and move on.

But I think we just need to look at what led Paul to ask this question. So what is the context. Well 3 things.

Divisions and quarrels

We find that Paul is speaking to believers in respect of divisions and quarrels among them. If we were to go back to chapter 1v12 we find that the church in Corinth was in danger of splitting into 4 cliques or groups. So what was happening? Well it would appear that the division and quarrels seemed to stem from comparisons between preachers.

I remember David Williams preaching through 1 Corinthians back in 2011 and he reminded us that in our culture we make comparisons all the time. Insurance websites, energy websites all make comparisons for us. Those comparisons are ok. Shows like X-factor compares peoples ability on singing and performance and he said those comparisons are not ok because they are comparing people.

1 Corinthians 3 has comparisons – one follows Paul, another Cephas and another Apollos. They were comparing ministers. There was an attitude in the church at Corinth that compared people, and because of this Paul calls them infants because they were worldly. It’s like when we were kids and we would get into arguments and end up saying things like well my big brother is taller than you, well my dad’s bigger than your big brother, well my dad’s over six feet tall so there!

And it’s a very real attitude of the world to compare people or to compare ministries, this is better than that one, that is better than this one and so on. But it is also true that we can congregate into groups and cliques with people that like the same things as us whether that be in relation to a particular set of beliefs or a particular ministry or person.

Indifference and non-involvement

Secondly, there was the challenge of indifference and non-involvement (verses 12-15). Paul used building materials to illustrate this point – what were they building with? Was it with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw? Paul was warning that even though the foundation was flawless, there was a possibility that what they were building with material that would not stand the test of fire on the day of judgement – yes they would be saved but only just as one escaping the fire.

In other words, Paul was asking them was their building up of each other church really making a difference in people’s lives – were they really contributing effectively. Did they strengthen the church. Paul was warning the Corinthians that their building could be rickety and not stand strong and was encouraging them to build with gold, silver etc – build with things that last.

I was encouraged to hear about the testimony Penny brought – how folks in this church family came together to help them see Stephen and his family in France. What a wonderful display of kindness expressed between believers – that’s an example of building with materials that stand the test. But so is every expressions of loving kindness to one another that get made through phone calls, texts, cards, visits, practical help that strengthen, encourage and bring comfort to people. So to is every act of service that people do in the church week in week out simply because they want to serve Jesus. Serving one another, loving one another. Building with materials that last

The suggestion in verses 12-15 was the Corinthians were not doing that.

Worldly wisdom

Thirdly, Verses 18-21 would suggest that some were seeking to build church according to the wisdom and the practice of the world. Jesus said He would build His church and we want church to grow; we want people to be saved and for this place to be filled and overflowing with people praising God for all that He has done in our lives, but here is a warning.

Seeking to make the church impressive and powerful by the methods and the standards of the world.

I’m not sure how many of you watch The Apprentice on TV. 12 aspiring individuals looking to make it big in business and looking to have Alan Sugar as their next business partner. Imagine if the techniques in that programme were the methods and standards church was built on.

If you want a big impressive church you need proper marketing – need to get a digital billboard produced to invite people to ICF. Then we need a TV advert, really selling Jesus and salvation as a product – and it’s yours for free! Text believe to receive your free 30 day trial. Start a transformed life today.

Within the church itself we will need to have a number of teams, each led by a project manager to compete the various tasks. Need to make sure everyone is pulling their weight and if it does not go well then we will need to answer to the board and someone will be to need to get blamed for the failure of the task!

Joking aside, there are a lot of useful techniques in business and yes, they can be used to great effect in the church but what I love about what Paul says is that in effect all things are yours – whether it’s ministry, or from the world or present or future – all of it is yours, but you are of Christ and Christ is of God.

Ultimately we need to remember that God is the one who is in charge and it is His Church not our church that is getting built. And again the suggestion is the Corinthians were building their church.
So the context of 1 Corinthians 3v16 is that there were divisions and quarrels – group and cliques forming around those; people not involved in strengthening or contributing to the church and there were people looking to build their church according to the wisdom and methods of the world.

And you have to ask – why is there this question in chapter 3 verse 16

So when we were holidaying in Spain, we hired a car and as you know, they drive on the right hand side of the road and it takes a little bit of time to get used to it – things like the gearstick being on the right hand and then when driving, and then there are the navigational aspects of roundabouts and left turns that need concentration. But you do get used to it. And then when you return to the UK you have to re-adjust to driving on the left.

And the question that Paul is saying is one like ‘Don’t you know that you have to drive on the left hand side of the road?’ And yes, you know that you have to drive on the left hand side of the road but for some reason you are not driving on the left hand side of the road, because you’ve just returned from Spain. The question is actually designed to provoke a reaction to put things right before you cause an accident.

And the question posed by Paul to the Corinthians is very similar. You can almost hear his frustration – do you not know this? Do you not know? This is so fundamental. Why have you drifted away from this truth that you yourselves are the temple of God and God’s Spirit dwells in you!

Paul is not saying this to teach them what they already know, he is saying it to jolt the Corinthians back to that fundamental truth because what Paul is saying is actually if you don’t get back to it – verse 17 – there are going to be implications and I don’t think you want to go there.

Paul was concerned that in their arguments and comparisons of preachers and the things that would of been said to each other. In the seeking to build the church based on worldly wisdom and methods, not building with gold and silver but with wood and hay, you can see how Paul got so frustrated because the Corinthians in their church activity and in their relationships with each other were not building the church, they were actually destroying it. Destroying by their comparisons, by their trust in worldly wisdom and methods and in their lack of building each other up with that which lasts.

Paul was so passionate about this because the church of Jesus Christ is a living organism, not just an organization. We are the body of Christ.

Now you will have to forgive the illustration I’m about to give but hopefully you get the point. You can divide a pie into six pieces without destroying it; you are just preparing to serve it. This is because a pie is an organization. But if you divide a dog in two you have destroyed it, because the dog is an organism. The Corinthian church was in danger of being destroyed and Paul needed to tell the Corinthians just how serious this was.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:17, that if anyone destroys the temple of God, “God will destroy him.” Notice that the punishment fits the crime: destroy and you will be destroyed. Does this mean eradication, extermination, judgement upon the believer? Well I am sure I don’t want to find out! Do I want to be destroyed by God? No way, so what do we need to do

Conclusion

Paul states that the local church is a “temple of God.” There are two primary words for temple in the Greek New Testament. One signifies the entire temple, including the outer courtyard, which anyone could enter. But the other word denotes just the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, which could only be entered by the High Priest, and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Greek word for “temple” used in verse 16 is this latter word.

So Paul is saying that the group of believers at Corinth, who constituted the church in that city, was a sanctuary of God, a holy of holies. This was true not only of the church of Corinth; this is also true for our church and every other church. Imagine that! As a body of people, we are a temple of God. God Himself has called us holy and significant. It’s not we will be a temple, but we are, present tense, we are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Paul goes further in Chapter 3v16 and states that the Holy Spirit “dwells” in the church. It’s telling us that when we gather together the Holy Spirit is among us in a unique way, creating unity, confirming truth, and ministering to needs. The Spirit of God is here right now, not just because I’m here or just because you’re here, but because a believing church, a believing group of people is here in His name.

And the challenge each of us face is this.

When the world considers God it typically associates it to the church. When the world sees churches divide because of cliques or groups, where it sees a church that is more like a successful business, or where it sees a church that does not build people up in the faith and show love then it draws its own erroneous conclusions about the character of God—based solely on what it sees in God’s people. And in the process God’s reputation is damaged. While Satan can never destroy God’s character he certainly tries to damage His reputation, and he does it through the people of God.

And Paul was saying to the Corinthians and what Paul is saying to us is this – don’t let cliques, groups, worldly methods and wisdom, indifference, non-involvement be the hallmarks of how our local church is perceived. But be the temple of God, where His glory is supreme, where His name is honoured, and where His Spirit lives and moves.

Just like doing comes out of a place of being in our individual lives, so too our doing as a church comes out of a place of being as a church and that being starts with recognising what we are together – the temple of the Holy Spirit where His spirit dwells.

What type of church do we want to be known as? Do we want to seek his glory and his fame or do we want to be involved in destroying it. This is serious stuff

‘Don’t we know that we are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in us? I’m not saying there are divisions, I’m not saying there are cliques, I’m not saying there is indifference or non involvement but what I am saying is that our foundation is flawless, because that is Christ, but that the church we want to be is the temple of the Holy Spirit where God’s spirit dwells because our collective doing comes out of a place of collective being.

Let’s pray.

Thank you Lord for the reminder of what’s important. May we be a church that is known as being a place where dwell – where your spirit brings unity, brings wisdom and direction and where your people are strengthened, encouraged and comforted, built up with that which lasts so that your glory your glory and your name is honoured in all things in all ways and at all times by all people you call to be part of your church in this place.

Amen.

21Sep/15

Resurrection!

1 Corinthians 15

The resurrection chapter.

v3 says 3 most important things.

  • Christ died according to scriptures
  • Christ was buried according to scriptures
  • Christ was raised to life according to the scriptures

Paul returns to where he started in chapter 1 : Christ and Him crucified and devotes the whole chapter to resurrection!

We are amazed at doctors, nurses, paramedics, surgeons etc.  they can resuscitate; but we are not talking about that – we are talking about resurrection

Ezekiel 37: dry bones vision. That is resurrection and one day it’s going to happen

Job:  though worms eat my flesh yet I will see see you!  He has the hope of resurrection!

Daniel:  sees humanity rising from the dust of the earth.  He sees the resurrection. (Dan Ch 24)

What’s important about resurrection?

If no resurrection then we are men most miserable because preaching, faith is in vain.  There is no hope.

Channel tunnel:  goes into English side and comes out the French side.  If not then we’d be left wondering and darkness would win the day. Jesus went into tunnel of death and came out the other side!

How do we know Jesus is alive? Paul says He was seen by  people and seen by himself!  We know because we met with Christ, because we have a personal relationship with him.  He lives within my heart.  People can’t take away our experience of Him.

v32 says do you think Paul would lay his life on the line for things that are rubbish?

Then he starts talking about resurrection of people who believe in Jesus.  Not just the engine driver gets out the tunnel but everyone on the train!  Like putting a bulb in ground will come out completely different, so too

  • Perishing body for imperishable
  • Dishonour raised in glory
  • Physical to spiritual
  • Weakness raised in power

Paul ends with “O death where is thy sting… Grave where is your victory?”.

Bible talks of 2 resurrections.  Dan 12 says some raised to eternal life and some to eternal death. 1st resurrection is the rapture, after the millennium is second resurrection. What’s important is we are in the first and that we are ready.

Let’s know excitement of resurrection!

 

21Sep/15

Love is the most excellent way

1 Corinthians 13

And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love!

Faith is still absolutely vital.  All through scripture faith is vital for our salvation, vital for pleasing God, But love is more important

Hope.  We need hope. If no hope then we are in a dark and desperate condition.  We have a hope that is steadfast and sure.  Hope is glorious.  But love is more important

End of chapter 12 says.. And now I will show you a more excellent way….

Chapter 12 is fabulous because it’s all about body ministry and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  All needed, all good, all give glory to Jesus.   But there is the most excellent way.

God moves in the most excellent way. The way of love!

1. The law. 5 books.   Hangs off 2 things: love God and love your neighbour.   The most excellent way

2. Dealings with Israel.  Jer 31:3 .  God loves them with an everlasting love.  Despite everything, God goes the most excellent way.  Hosea shows how much God loves His people

3. Life of Jesus.  Summed up in John 3:16

4. The church.  Summed up in Gal 6:14.  All about the love of Jesus displayed by the cross

5. Character of God. The river from Genesis to Revelation, all the names of God that displays His love.  John says this God is love.

6. Life of service.  John 21.  God wants to know if we will love Him before we serve Him

What love isn’t and what love is?

 Isn’t Is (always) 
 Envious  Patient
 Boastful  Kind
 Proud  Protective
 Rude  Hopeful
Self-seeking Trusting
Evil Persevering
Keeps no record of wrongs (forgiving)
Glorifying

 

Bad news!

  • We are to love one another
  • Love our neighbour
  • Love the unlovely

Because that means we have to be patient kind etc….  That’s bad news! How am I going to be able to fulfil it?

Good news!

It’s God love in us and through us that does it for us! Eph 3:17-19

Generations change.  The love of God does not. Love crosses generations. Crosses cultures, etc. We need the love of God more than anything else.  We need faith. We need love more.  We need boldness. We need love more.  We need the Spirit, the gifts, hope, but we need love more.  It is the most excellent way!

16Sep/15

Communion

1 Corinthians 11:17-33

Also known as the Lord’s supper or last supper or Lord’s table.

Passage does start at verse 22 …for i received from the lord….etc

Topics have to be dealt with that are tough and often open to interpretation

  • Guilty of sinning against against body and blood of the lord
  • A man drinks judgement on himself
  • Many are weak and sick and some have fallen asleep
  • A man ought to examine himself

Look at this movement… v2 Paul says, ‘I praise you’; v17 in the following directives I have no praise for you; then in v22 shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

So what were the Corinthians doing wrong?

Neglected Jesus way

Jesus divided it up.  Share it amongst us.  Jesus served.  The server had some last if any left.

Neglected Jesus work

That Jesus died and resurrected.  They treated it like a restaurant, like a pub crawl.

Neglected Jesus word

They forgot what Paul had already passed into them

Neglected Jesus will

Do this in remembrance of Him was what Jesus wanted.

***

If we approach life in that way, things will not be good.

When we look at theses phrase and understand

1. Guilty of sinning against against body and blood of the lord Cross is the greatest thing and by neglecting way, word, will etc then we are sinning against …

2. A man drinks judgement on himself The cross is plan A. There is no plan B. So if we neglect way, word etc. If the neglect the cross we drink judgement on ourselves

3. Many are weak and sick and some have fallen asleep Talking about spiritual health.  Because of neglect of table some Christians are weak.  There are sick Christians.  There are Christians that are asleep.

4. A man ought to examine himself. Not just about reconciliation. But make sure it’s right motive and right heart.  Don’t come out of tradition. Not out of a matters of fact. But because He is the One who died for me.

The reverse will be true: When the cross is first then you have

  • Victory over Satan
  • Freedom from condemnation
  • Release of Christ’s life
  • Therefore a man ought to examine himself
16Sep/15

Coverings

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Examples : covering are necessary.

  • Coats for coal;
  • blankets on bed;
  • coverings of cling film for food;
  • Adam and Eve: God made a covering.
  • Noah: pitched the Ark inside and out. It has a covering inside and out.
  • Moses: basket was pitched with tar: a covering
  • Ruth: garment used to illustrate a willingness to come under Boaz covering.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:29-32.  Covering in prophecy; weighing the word.

Headship.

v3. Headship is not a hierarchy: i.e. not Father then Son then Holy Spirit

So it is with God then Christ then man then woman. This is about different roles.

Eve ate the apple but Adam took the blame because Adam did not fulfil his role. Headship depends on which way you are looking.  We need to look correctly.  Jesus looked to God. Ruth looked to Boaz because Boaz looked to God.

True headship is in Ch 11v1.  Follow my example as I follow the example of Jesus

16Sep/15

Getting the Prize

1 Corinthians 10

End of Chapter 9 we understand that the gospel needs to be kept open – don’t win the battle that prevents you from sharing the gospel.  Then in Chapter 9v24.27 Pauls says to run to get the prize.

Then in 1 Corinthians 10 Paul takes the lesson from Israel. Same spiritual cord, same spiritual food, same spiritual drink, same spiritual rock that was Christ.  But their bodies were scattered over the desert.

So just be careful that all you have had over your life and what God has done that you don’t miss out on what is the prize!

To get the prize:

Keep your eyes on the prize because it will keep you going through tough times.  What is it you want in God?  Then keep your eye on the prize!

Don’t be overloaded. ! Cor 10:13. God is faithful. Not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  God does not overload us!  If you are carrying too much, Jesus said we can come to Him for rest.  This verse 13 is about Satan overloading us, but when that happens God will provide a way out of it.

Reframing from… verse 20…don’t participate with demons.  Refrain from anything that’s evil.

Do things that are beneficial. See also Acts 2:42.  Do things that are beneficial to get the prize.

 

 

16Sep/15

Can win the battle but lose the war!

1 Corinthians 9

Jesus was not concerned about winning against Pilate – He could of – but He didn’t because He has his eye on the souls of men.

The Corinthians did not like Paul – there were questions like ‘Am I not free?’, ‘Am I not an apostle?’.  Paul says to those who sit in judgement over him.

The Corinthians had the attitude of different levels of apostle. Cephas gets all bills paid, Paul has to bring his own tent.  v9-11 even the ox who treads the grain gets the right to eat it.  But that is all Paul says!   He is not concerned in getting one over the Corinthians but all that matters is that the war is won – that the gospel is preached and souls are saved.

Paul’s strategy in v22:  ALL things to ALL men that by ALL means I might win some!

Churches can sometimes be more concerned with winning the battle but the war is lost,  The light has gone.  The church is the only organisation that exists for the non-members!

Don’t be over anxious about the battle.  Aim to win the war!

 

11Sep/15

Food Sacrificed to Idols

1 Corinthians 8

How relevant is this today?

Knowledge puffs up but love builds up – key to the passage

Context: for Corinthians there were lots of idols.  People worshipped them. Paul came and the people came to know the true and living God.

3 changes:

1. Worshipped the created to the Creator

2. gods had to be carried around with them to a God who carried them.

3. Costly idols to salvation for free. The price has been paid already

Problem was these new Christians were still going down to the temple.  Food brought to the idols but idols don’t eat!  So this food was eaten by the people.  Some people thought this was wrong so what do they do?  The idol is not a god, so does taking food to it become meaningless?  Also does food bring you nearer to God?  No. So there is nothing wrong with it!

But the principle is this.  Does it draw you closer to God or does it take you away from God.  So bring the principle into everyday life.  Any question in your life – apply the principle!

But with freedom on things that are meaningless comes responsibility. Eating food sacrificed maybe nothing to you but it may cause someone else to sin.

What we do affects someone else.  Its not just between me and the Lord.

So back to key verse: Knowledge puffs up but love builds up

So in the knowledge of my freedom, my actions may not be loving to others.

 

11Sep/15

Marriage

1 Corinthians 7

Lots of representative circumstances:

  • Single and glad
  • Single and want to be married
  • Married and happy
  • Married and not happy
  • Married and divorced.
  • Etc

The state wants to redefine marriage: same sex marriage etc.  Should church reflect ‘society’ and reflect living together?

1. Importance of Marriage

The dispensation of time starts with marriage: Adam and Eve. Only God was present

At the wedding at Cana, Jesus made a difference in their marriage

At the marriage of the Lamb, God begins everything with a marriage!

2. Institution of marriage

Not like an intitution! But what is the basis for it? Each man has own wife each woman has her own husband. It rules out same sex marriage.

The chapter is actually about removing immorality. Also all sexual activity is within boundary of marriage that’s why it is until death do us part.  If a man dies, the woman is released to marry again but in the Lord. That’s how it is to be . That’s God’s intention – not to be unequally yoked.

Paul in Corinth turns back time to the way it should be. Goes against the trend of the day. Goes back to the garden of Eden.  Leaving and cleaving before interweaving. Paul did not go with culture and neither should we.

Marriage licence is not a worthless piece of paper.  It’s a promise.  Just like a ten pound note.

What makes a marriage? A pact: promises to each other in the sight of God.  An act: Illustrations of marriage God uses the natural to illustrate the spiritual. God used marriage to illustrate Christ and the believer with the church

Divorce and remarriage.  Not preached openly but we do preach God’s design for marriage.