Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (day one)
“HAVING CONCLUDED this, that one died for all, therefore all died.”–v 14.
“But may it never be that I should boast (or place confidence) except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world was crucified to me, and I to the world.”–Galatians 6:14.
The Gospel was not presented in the first century in terms of “your best life, now”. Without apology or hesitation the first preachers of our faith portrayed faith in terms of a death to one life and a resurrection to a new one. The offer was a new life. The cost was your old life. All of it.
We came to a verdict/conclusion (Greek krino, decision or judgement), said Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14. The death of Christ means that all men were dead (already) and have lost the justification for continuing to be so. Why stay on a sinking ship?
Time for a similar verdict from us all.
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day seven)
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”–v 7.
It is a Greek word that means “to shine out”. The manifestation of the Spirit. Given to each of us. For the good of all of us.
One of my favorite FBCSA moments is Christmas Eve. Candlelight service. Darkened room. Thousands of individual candles glowing brightly in that night of hope. Sounds of “Silent Night” being sung out into a cruel and desperate world. We are all together at that moment. Small lights all. Each of us contributing to the beauty and testimony.
I think Paul had something like this in mind as he described spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit in each of us shining out the message of God’s great, merciful, strong and trust-worthy Son.
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”–Matthew 5:16
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day six)
The Holy Spirit is the activity of God personified. He hovers over the deep, He reveals, He teaches, He reminds, He heals, He brings life where there was none, He bears fruit, He gives gifts; where he moves things turn from black and white to vivid color. 1 Corinthians 12 is the Holy Spirit in theory; Acts is the Holy Spirit in action.
And here is another truth, as is true of Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s aim is to glorify God. He desires to draw attention to the beauty, majesty, goodness and joy of God in all His activity, especially in the life of God’s church. That is why He gives us gifts. His gifts are the other-worldly activity of God in us and through us to draw the world’s attention to the glory of God in the Gospel.
You can grieve the Holy Spirit; you can’t render Him dormant. Do this today: invite the Father to show you where the Holy Spirit is at work in your life; ask Him to show you the Spirit’s gifts.
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day five)
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 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.
It is the brilliance and distinctiveness of God’s plan to use the church for His Glory and Purpose of building His Kingdom. God calls and gifts “each” of us and then works in “all” of us to build unity and effectiveness. One of God’s goals for the christian life is for each gifted believer to demonstrate that they have the Spirit of God within them. According to Paul, this is clearly evidenced in the Body of Christ.
In this passage has all the ingredients: sovereignty (11,18,24), diversity (4,5,6) and unity (11,12,13). It is a clear picture of a beautiful, vibrant New Testament Church.
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day four)
One Spirit, many gifts. Why has God given us all of these gifts? Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation…God has placed all of these gifts in the body. Are they for our own edification? For our own pleasure? For our own benefit? No…they are for the benefit and edification of the whole church. We are to use our gifts to serve others. For a healthy church, you will see the members serving one another with tireless and self-less energy, using their God–given gifts to serve the body.
What gifts has God given you? How has He equipped you to serve others? Are you using your gifts to glorify God or to gain benefit for yourself? Ask God to search your heart. A healthy church is a serving church…serve others with your Spiritual gifts! (1 Corinthians 13 tells us to use the right motivation for serving, too.) Let’s grow our church!
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day three)
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
Paul’s purpose here is not to identify the Prophet! Teacher! Leader! Rather, his point is that the church is a terrible place for heroics. You want the prophecy gift? Here it is: Prophecy means serving by never leaving somebody without God’s voice when that person has lost his way. You want the leadership gift? Here it goes: Leadership means channeling your influence to craft the kind of life together that allows people to grow to the full extent of their giftedness. You want the guidance gift? Here you are: Guidance means that you’ll never leave someone without forgiveness and friendship when that person has blown it again. Gifts aren’t given in addition to love, but in order to love.
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day two)
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.” vs. 21
In all my years of being in choirs I have never led a group, nor been in a group where there were too many tenors. We are a commodity. As it is most groups make do with the ensemble that they get. This is the nature of the volunteer organization. If, however, one day 20 new tenors showed up to rehearsal, I doubt you would hear the altos leave in protest. Choirs don’t work that way. When you are in a choral group you submit to the concept that it takes more than one to make music. It is necessary to have different voices with different ranges to be able to create the music.
What is the message? Show up to choir and discover how to live out this scripture! Or, perhaps, marvel at the gifts God has given you, and submit his kingdom work. You will undoubtedly find how other gifting will complement yours, and you will see the music of God’s plan.
Re:Verse reading–1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 27-31 (day one)
“For even as the (human) body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the (human body), though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”–v 12
It was, for many years, the official motto of the United States. (In 1956, Congress passed a resolution making, “In God We Trust” the official motto) Even so, this powerful Latin phrase stands on our national seal and currency. It means, “from many, one!”
It is wisdom learned from Christ and His church. If the church is the body of Christ (v 27), we are the means by which He continues to act in a physical world. He is the Head. He makes the decisions and plans. We carry them out.
We are a diverse group. Race. Ethnicity. Age. Background. Gifts. Social and Economic standing. But, by the work Spirit of God we have become One! One life. One Lord. One Destiny!
Re:Verse reading–Matthew 25:31-46 (day seven).
He is the prof who tells in advance what the final exam will be. No mystery. Only one question. “Are you in right relationship to the Christ?”
Some people read this story and conclude that Jesus was teaching us to be charitable, and that charity, in and of itself, is a way to be saved. I think they are mistaken.
“By grace through faith”, says the Scripture, declaring clearly the way of eternal life. A careful reading of this story reveals that it is not so much the charity done (hungry fed, naked clothed etc.) as the relationship with Christ that these deeds indicated. “I was hungry and you gave ME food” says the Lord. Faith in Christ is the inward reality. Charity is the outward expression.
Deeds, even charitable ones, can never substitute for faith. They can, however, prove it is present with saving power.
Are you ready for your final exam?
Re:Verse Passage – Matthew 25:31-46 (day five)
We read about this promise throughout scripture. God would send a Messiah and King to save the world. The problem was, that what God had in mind for a King and what many people expected were completely different. The King God sent would be humble, meek, and vulnerable. God’s plan was prophesied over and over in the Old Testament. Yet, many missed it. The religious leaders were looking for royalty, arrogance, and a leader who would overthrow political and social structures and systems.
What Jesus describes in Matthew 25 is something completely different. Knowing and loving Jesus changes the human heart. Believers do understand the majesty, kindness, and power of Christ. They also begin to see the needs of others and serve them. Does our relationship with Christ cause us to see Him and others in ways that bring honor and glory to Him (The King)?