May 9, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 7:1-16

Today’s passage hits right in the wheel house for all of us. At this point in his letter to the Corinthian church Paul begins to answer specific questions they had asked him (probably in a letter they had sent to him). You’ll see throughout the letter moving forward Paul says “now concerning.” This phrase is an indicator that he is going to address the next topic of their asking. This is a really cool thing and it helps us today to understand that the church of 2,000 years ago was searching for answers on how to live Godly lives just like we are today. So, we can really relate to the Corinthian believers here. Lucky for them, and for us, the man who answered their questions was supernaturally inspired and ordained to answer them perfectly according to God’s standard. Therefore, we can trust fully in Paul’s words. There’s a lot here so let’s “JumpStart” into it.

Paul describes both marriage and singleness as a gift (v.6). One is not greater than the other; one is not a blessing and the other a curse. In some instances, as in Paul’s case, singleness was the greatest way for him to live out the mission God had called him to and glorify God. For others, marriage is one significant avenue by which they are called to live on mission and bring glory to His name. Paul lists advantages and disadvantages to both here. The point here is not that a person remains single or gets married. The point is that every person, either married or single, is called to glorify God with their life, live out His will, and produce Spiritual fruit that leads to others coming to faith in Jesus. We have the ability, through Christ, to live that type of life as a single person or a married person.

Paul addresses the issue of marriage and singleness very head on because the Corinthians believers were struggling with sexual sin. Their culture was immersed in it. That’s yet another way we can relate to the church in Corinth today. Due to the vast sexual immorality facing the Corinthian believers, many had come to believe that all sexual activity was wrong and sinful (even inside a Godly marriage). This of course is a wrong view and Paul takes the opportunity to outline the Biblical purposes of sex in a covenantal Godly marriage between a man and woman. Paul gives very thorough descriptions of how honoring God in marriage and singleness must be void of all sexual immorality, and that sex was in fact created by God, can be honoring to God and be beneficial to living a Godly life when done God’s way.

Divorce is also something Paul addresses by referring the Corinthians to Jesus’ teaching on the matter (Matt 5:32, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18) and giving explanatory statements to help the believers honor God in their marriages and ultimately their lives.

Are you married and thriving in your relationship with God and your spouse? Married and struggling? Single and growing in your faith? Single and feeling like it is a curse not a gift? Struggling with sexual sin? You are not alone and you are not the first. These Corinthian believers did too. The believers of Center Point Church do too. Be encouraged today that in the gospel there is hope for all of us in all situations and stages of life. Cling to the gospel, practice repentance, seek reconciliation, ask for accountability, and commit to honoring God wherever you are today.

By: Matt Mofield

May 7, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Don’t be Dominated by Anything

Dominated.  Controlled.  Conquered.  Ruled.  Enslaved.

It can happen easily to us, and we can choose it slowly but surely.  Something in our life, possibly a good thing, becomes something we look to for security, satisfaction, and a sense of identity.  It can be something harmless and even “godly” at first, but over time the idol-factory in our heart turns it into something that controls us.  Can you relate?

Paul, here, is speaking mainly of sexual immorality.  But there’s more.  He’s speaking to a greater principle, namely that we shouldn’t be controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit.  We shouldn’t be enslaved by anything other than Christ.  Our bodies shouldn’t serve anything other than God.  We shouldn’t take things that are good in their proper context, like sex and food, or anything else that is technically “lawful,” and use them in a way that God did not intend or allow them to become our all-consuming desires.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

We need a regular system check.  We need to stop along the way of life and ask ourselves hard questions.  The idol-factory works quick.  It doesn’t need a long time or a lot of help in order to produce a shiny new idol in our life.  But this will only lead us to despair when we realize later on that it can’t provide security, it can’t provide satisfaction, it can’t provide self-worth, and it can’t provide salvation.

Only God can do all those things.

So, let’s make it a weekly practice to take a deep look inside our hearts, and make sure good things aren’t becoming idols.  Once these things have “satisfied” us a time or two (compliments, success, meals, etc.) we can easily think more is better.  We need to shut down the factory before it goes into over-production.   

What has the potential to dominate your thoughts?

What has the potential to become the “provider” of your security, satisfaction, and sense of self-worth?  

What dominates your life right now?  Is it anything other than the Holy Spirit?

By: Sam Cirrincione

May 6, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

As Christians we are set apart from the world to look different than the world. This should be evident in our ethics, politics, relationships, friendships, time management and many other areas in our lives. In today’s Scripture we see how we should be different from the world in our conflicts and disputes as well. The apostle Paul addressed situations in the Corinthian church where Christians are bringing other Christians to court to handle their differences. Paul calls them out for this. He does not hold back. He brings out sarcasm asking them how they’re supposed to judge the world and angels when they can’t even judge each other in trivial cases (v. 1-3). He points out that this is a horrible testimony to the world and legal system that will judge their cases with an unbiblical worldview (v. 4, 6). He shames them (v. 5a). He even tells them that it would be better to take one for the team in the dispute than to bring it to the world (v. 7). Paul does not hold back in this matter because he knows that the witness of the Gospel is at hand.

So how do we handle grievances and disputes amongst the family of God?

The go to passage for handling disputes amongst the body of Christ is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 18:15-20:

15“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” 

This means:

1. Point out the problem (sin) privately. Confront them individually and gently. This shouldn’t be done through a subtweet, a text or through a lawsuit obviously.

2. If the problem (sin) is not repented of, the first person should approach the other with 1-3 other witnesses.  This is not a witch hunt. Make sure that this is not for the purpose of gossip or slander and can best be done with a pastor or leader you both trust.

3. Let the church be aware of the situation, if the person is still in the wrong. This doesn’t have to happen in every situation but this is why it’s important to have mentors and church leaders to help.

4. If the problem (sin) is still going on and the people involved are not repentant then don’t consider them a member of the church. Once again, we do this gently, the goal is not ex-communication but restoration.

You’d be surprised but this actually works. Jesus knew what he was talking about when it came to drama and church problems and I’m pretty sure reality tv and political debates show us that the world’s way is the exact opposite of how we want to resolve conflict.

However, please remember:

There is a time to forgive and forget (overlook the sin/problem).

Matthew 18:21-22:

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. After is the parable of the unforgiving servant

Lastly, let’s remember that although we do see the danger and harm in bringing most church conflicts to the courts, there are cases that even the wisest pastors and church members need to go to law enforcement and the court. For example, a church is stupid and in my opinion sinful if it doesn’t handle a case of abuse or molestation without reporting it to authorities. As shepherds we can help after but we need to be careful to not ignore the authority God gives the state in certain legal matters where we are to obedient of and deserve legal justice for.

  • Do you handle church conflicts in a Biblical way?
  • Is there someone or a situation that you need to address in light of reading today’s jumpstart? If the Spirit is convicting or moving, please don’t ignore Him.

By: Erik Koliser

May 5, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 5

The church at Corinth was not without its problems, and in today’s text we see a specific issue that Paul takes time to address. Of all the sins and transgressions that we could fall into, sexual immorality is mentioned quite often in scripture. Early in the Old Testament, God lays out guidelines for sexuality because it is a gift from Him. Sexual relations form a union between man and woman as profound as the union of the believer with Christ, and we know that God has commanded that it be held only between a husband and wife. It is a powerful tool that God has given us; it acts as the glue that holds marriages together and is the means by which God has chosen to bring our offspring into the world! It is held to such a high standard that immorality in this area of our life is biblical ground for a divorce. The sin of sexual immorality carries weighty consequences.

Paul is tackling the issues directly in this passage, calling on the other believers to even exercise church discipline on this individual. Using the example of a lump of dough, Paul reminds the church that they are called to be holy. Leaven was not yeast like we would think of today, rather, a few small fermented pieces of old dough would be left to leaven the new dough. The church at Corinth needed to be reminded that those old ways needed to be gone completely.

Our sin is a serious thing to God. As believers we have been called to live a different kind of life. Even though Paul instructs the church to “to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,” notice that this discipline is to be balanced with grace: “so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” The purpose of the discipline was not to punish the man for punishment’s sake but to lead him eventually toward salvation. The guidelines and laws that God laid out for His children in scripture have very specific intentions: they are for our good, protection and flourishing, and they are for His glory as we live a life that looks different than the world around us. This distinction was explicit in the Old Testament, it was necessary in the New Testament, and it extends to us today. We are called to be a holy people for God.

Rather than think about the immoral people in our life, my encouragement would be to look inward. God hates sin, and His desire is for us to confess our sins, receive forgiveness from Him, and be holy.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

1 Peter 1:13-16

By: Alex Boswell