Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 16
The last chapter of First Corinthians is when the apostle Paul concludes his weighty letter with a personal plea in giving, and gets personal by sharing his overall heart for the Corinthian church. He has covered some tough topics – from sexual sin within the church to spiritual gifts being properly used to the importance of the resurrection. And with these final verses, Paul affirms his love for the church. In the last 19 verses, Paul reminds them of his plans for travel in his missionary journeys while sharing his heart for them and the love they should have for others.
This is a great reminder that all of our discipleships, counsel, accountability, theological discussions and tough talk should be rooted in love as well. As Christians we are in the same position as Paul where we may be called to say tough things concerning others’ sin. Sometimes it is uncomfortable, awkward and even rejected regardless of how we communicated that counsel. That doesn’t mean we need to stop keeping each other accountable but it does mean that we need to check our own motives when calling each other out. Do we have the heart of Paul when he tells the same church he has called out in the previous 15 chapters that “he can’t wait to spend more time with you” (vs. 7) or “Let my love be with you all in Jesus Christ” (vs. 24)? Do the people we rebuke or hold accountable know that we love them and that discipline and accountability are done out of love? Do our actions and words represent that?
Pastor Tim concluded a series last week (What’s Love Got to Do with It?) about the importance of love and how we should show it by God’s definition, not the culture’s. He concluded last week’s message challenging us to live out that love by God’s definition and I think these passages can help serve as a reminder of the many vows that were made when Paul concluded a tough letter with his love. Do you show that same love to the people you disciple? To your children? To your spouse? To your co-workers/ classmates? Do you call out sin without mentioning grace? Do you show love with your time as well as your words? These are all great questions we must ask if we want to be a church that is known for our love.
Posted by: Erik Koliser