May 24, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 16

Final Words

Chapter 16 is the end to Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth.  He’s encouraged them, rebuked them, and taught them how to follow Christ in more effective ways.

In verse 2 he exhorts them about giving:

On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned… (v.2)

Paul teaches us about New Testament giving in these verses.  The Old Testament commanded a tithe – 10% of your income be given to the Lord through His church.  While that’s a good guide for today as well, Paul digs in a little deeper.

He teaches us:

  • To give regularly – on Sunday (the first day of the week) – this is the day we worship together in our church
  • To give consistentlyeach week
  • To give deliberatelyput aside a portion of the money you earned
  • To give generously – NASB says – as God has prospered you – another words give out of your blessing (and all of us are blessed)

No church will be without their necessary provision if God’s people will give this way.  It’s when we hold our giving back or give it elsewhere that God’s church suffers.

Paul gives them some final advice for living the Christian life in verses 13-14.  It’s solid advice for us today as well.  These five statements are a standard to live by:

  1. Be on guard. Guard your heart and life against sin and the evil one.
  2. Stand firm in the faith. Don’t vacillate – stand solid in your commitment to your faith.
  3. Be courageous. Be bold and remember Who’s side you’re on.  Remember what He can do.
  4. Be strong. Don’t quit.  Push through the toughest day.
  5. Do everything with love. Remember the value God puts on love.  Love God and love others.
  • Is your giving sacrificial and consistent to God’s church where you attend?
  • Which of the 5 statements hits home the most?
  • What will you do to live that out today?

By: Tim Parsons

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May 23, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

What do you think of when you think of the phrase “Heavenly Bodies?” Some of us may think of angels with wings, others may think of spiritual bodies that have glowing light around them and others may even think of these guys:

maxresdefaultWith all joking aside it is such a blessing to know that when we die we will be given new heavenly bodies that will not perish. This imagery gives such dimension to the gospel. Not only does our heart change when we receive Jesus as our savior but there will one day be a physical transformation. Our old bodies that was formed from dust will be transformed into spiritual bodies that God has prepared for us so we can live with him in eternity. I know this is not a concept that we dwell on often in our lives but it is such a message of hope. God leaves nothing undone even down to the very detail of our bodies. This hope is why Paul ends the chapter with these words:

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. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:56-58)

I challenge you to memorize these three verses and be motivated to walk in victory everyday doing the work of the Lord.

By: Chad Wiles

May 21, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-34

And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. 1 Corinthians 15:19

Is this stuff really true? Did someone who was dead come back to life? Should we bank everything on the idea of a Risen King?

Yes. Yes. YES!

These aren’t new questions. The Corinthian believers needed this reminder then — shortly after the resurrection — just as much as we do now, nearly 2000 years later. The apostle Paul gives us the assurance of this truth: Jesus Christ is not in a tomb, but risen, alive, and seated at the right hand of the Father. But that’s not all he tells us in this chapter.

Ever try to succinctly summarize the gospel but struggle with the words to do so? Look no further than verses 3 & 4 the next time you need the Good News: “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” WHAT INCREDIBLE HOPE & TRUTH PACKED INTO TWO VERSES!

Here are a few things I found important from this passage. In the comments section, please feel free to let us know what jumped out to you.

  1. Affirmation of resurrection.
  2. Affirmation of eyewitnesses to the resurrection.
  3. Powerful summary of the Good News.
  4. Urgency of the Gospel.
  5. Hope for our future resurrection.
  6. Combating false doctrine (baptism by proxy).
  7. Challenge to risk it all for Jesus.

To close today, here are two of my favorite songs about the resurrection. Blessings to you, church family, as you bask in the goodness of the Risen King Jesus.

By: Todd Thomas

May 20, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 14

Our passage today is one that has been the source of debate for centuries. It is one that makes Baptists’ skin crawl and Charismatics clap their hands with excitement (was that too far?). All joking aside, our goal today is not to further theological division, but to truly see how the Bible addresses these ideas.

The point of this passage is not to spark debate but rather to help the church see that the point of spiritual gifts is to build up the church. This is all over this chapter:

“3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.” (1 Corinthians 14:3-5)

“12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)

“17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.” (1 Corinthians 14:17)

“Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26b)

The building up of the church is what Paul wants the church at Corinth to grasp, and it is what he wants us to grasp as well. Pursuing Christ is not an isolated journey. We often drive home the importance of practicing the personal spiritual disciplines (praying, reading the Bible, etc.) and these are important and should be practiced consistently. But this is only half of what it means to grow in Christ. The other half is meeting together to hear the Word of God preached, sing to God in worship, and be mutually encouraged, challenged, and held accountable by other brothers and sisters in Christ. That list is certainly not exhaustive, but the point is that the church is not built up by an individual’s quiet time, but by sharing life together and growing closer together as the body of Christ. This means that we use our spiritual gifts in order to build up the church, and not ourselves.

How are you personally contributing to the building up of the body of Christ? Do you cause more division or unity? How do you use your spiritual gifts for others and not just yourself? How can we as a church grow in building up one another, and therefore building up the church?

In the comments, feel free to share different ways that God’s Word has been encouraging you lately, and different ways that the church can be praying for you.

By: Graham Withers