Tamworth Community Presbyterian Church Experiencing Christ In Community

Sermons

1 Corinthians 6:1-20

In America a pastor sued his denomination for age discrimination
Apparently he couldn't find a church willing to hire him
for the salary he demanded.

In another case a pastor sued his own church and the church board,
claiming they were interfering
with the performance of his duties.

The board of trustees of a Baptist church in Louisiana
filed suit to remove their pastor from his position.

A few days later, another group, claiming to be the real trustees,
filed a counter suit, to keep him

They asked for those who had filed the previous suit be removed as church members.

in Illinois a family sued their church for injuries
that their 15-year-old son suffered at a church picnic
when he fell out of a tree.

His parents watched the boy climb the tree
warned him to be careful because it was dangerous,
when he fell out and injured himself,
they still sued the church anyway.

division drives out love among the household of believers
like ripping a shirt in 2 even if the shirt's repaired
it still shows up the stitches

or like scar tissue from a wound
where that part of our body never really performs as well again

how we act towards one another shows how seriously our relationship with Jesus is

why not rather be wronged
than to strike out to be proved right

in the Corinthian Church factions had formed
they were being taught some peculiar teachings

some were teaching Jesus had already returned the second time
so you could do what you liked

others taught the Church in Corinth was far superior in wisdom & maturity, now all they needed to do was leave the basics behind

follow new -- more spiritual paths, by these more spiritual teachers

for all this apparent wisdom & maturity Corinth was a divided church

there were improper and indecent sexual relationships
a man who was having an improper relationship
with his fathers wife
court actions
divisions over rival preachers

misunderstandings and false teachers
improper relationships
with Christians visiting the temple prostitutes

Corinth as a town known for its vices

it was a port town full of the sordid rich who lived life to the full
the miserable poor wanting what they couldn't have

even they were shocked by what they were hearing coming out of this church family

as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:6-8

6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers! 7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

Be reconciled - seek to handle the relationship that has broken down with Godly Christlike counsel

Rather than trying to settle the dispute whatever it was with the help of godly people from the church family these parties were running to outsiders to try and push their cause their self justification

GIVE IT UP - STOP BEING SO SELF INTERESTED _ BE CHRIST CENTERED INSTEAD - be reconciled as you have known the reconciliation of God's grace in your life of your sin

As Jesus puts it Stop trying to pull the speck our of your brother or sisters eye when you have a great big log stuck in yours

Ken Sande puts it in his book The Peacemaker

"Instead of blaming others for a conflict or resisting correction, trust in God's mercy, take responsibility for our own contribution to the conflict, confess our sins to those we have wronged, ask God to change our attitudes and our habits that lead us to conflict and seek with God strength to repair any harm we have caused"

So often in conflict it's easy to use attack responses to resolve it
Where we are more interested in winning a conflict
Than we are in preserving a relationship

When we forget to see one another
looking down on one another instead
Love one another
Forgive as we have known God's gracious forgiveness
of our sin


 

It's easy to just focus on selfish me
Where it's about my rights - my control
my grip on the situation
There is no we in adversarial conflict

Which is what was happening in Corinth they were selfish and self interested

They had to see one another

Instead of reaching for Christ honouring reconciliation
The warring parties were seeking to be proved right
Without regard for their fellow brother or sister in Christ

the more you engage another's heart, really see one another as people, broken sinners saved by grace, people who are inconsistent performers and the less you declare his or hers wrongs, the more likely they are to listen to you

The Corinthians thought they were wise full spiritually alive
So full so proud

Just like the angry man is the last person to see the anger that wagers war inside his soul so the Corinthians had a lost a sense of how spiritually sick they had become

Take a hard look at yourself - A really hard look at yourselves
Paul says

cutting through the tendency we have to be vague or blind or too general with what we have done and how we affect those around us

We have to cut through the propensity we have to self justify in sin
Recognize that I do what I do and I want I want

There was evil among them and instead of mournful prayerful dealing with it they were just standing by and trying to look the other way

Paul says it's not on
he takes them on - remember the cost of your holiness now

verse 11

11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Everyone of us deserved eternal punishment
everyone of us was destined for death
we were all evil doers so remember grace is the work of God

forgiveness is what God brings to us in the very costly person of his son who gave his life so that we might know the forgiveness of God

our freedom was bought at a price, we are not our own
so knowing forgiveness how do we show it
knowing the love of Jesus how do we demonstrate that

5 times Paul rebukes these Corinthians what they do not know

verse 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?
verse 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels?
verse 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the
kingdom of God?
verse 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a
prostitute is one with her in body?
verse 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the
Holy Spirit,…

what it all proves
is that these Corinthians don't know much

DON'T BE LED ASTRAY is the warning splashed large in all this is

Paul quotes back at the Corinthians what they had been saying among themselves

As we read in verses 12-13

12 "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

What are the things you really love at the moment
What moves you or drives you to tears
What do you find your mind most preoccupied with?
The pressure is Paul says to lower the standard
The brush off the pervasiveness of sin

It seems we run in one of two ways
We either run to where everything is on
Miss out on nothing - live it up and through expressing your freedoms expect to find a greater glory

Or we run to starve ourselves from everything
Cut it off, cut it out - be stoic and through suffering
expect a greater glory

NO WAY Paul says
Neither way is right - you are not your own,
We - you and I were bought at a price -
so honour God with your body


 

some sins Paul tells us we need to know the way our souls tick
FLEE - Keep running don't think you can stop

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. Verses 18-20

Who we are, Paul tells us,
We are a temple of the Holy Spirit
How we live, what we do matters

What Paul throws back for the Corinthians is - let me paraphrase their logic

You say the stomach is for food and food is for the stomach
So having a stomach points to the need for food - so you indulge it

Their same logic was being played out sexually
Having genitals are for sex and sex is for genitals

We have come back to the world of porneia
Porneia isn't just about watching a crude explicit sexually exploitative video - it's a heart word

porneia is sexual immorality that sweeps up every single activity of sexual activity outside of marriage in attitude and action

Godly marriage is the right place for the expression of sexuality
That God created for us as sexual beings

Flee from everything sexual outside marriage
Don't twist the freedom you have from Jesus
Forgiven - redeemed - precious in God's sight
Now to be a licence to sin

what nails you most
where do you find you take refuge when the heats on
or find your heart running after
when the heats turned up
and its not what you wanted

we are a sensual age, we talk more now about the sexualization of children, or the softy porn ways the media advertisers to more graphic sexual images of the movies we watch or the books we read

As Colin Buchanan wrote the words to the song
Be careful little eyes what you see

Know yourself, the way you throw your heart at the world
Know the danger now
Be careful Paul says Flee, turn from what is sexually tempting, run, seek the counsel of a wise follower of Jesus be accountable

It's so easy to fall into a trap where sexual addiction becomes a prison

It's time to bring it to the light - confess
Grace means forgiveness is real
Change is possible, a clean heart
is something only God can bring

God's view of comfort is twofold

With the discomfort of sin and the awareness of struggle and failing

It is also that we are boldly loved and that God reaches in to the ordinary and the significant parts of our lives with mercy grace forgiveness and love

God's spirit is the compelling force that helps us see ourselves as we truly are and fills again with life affirming hope that God is fully into us with radically generosity

We need a movement of faith
To ask God to turn our heads and point our feet
look and really see his gracious fearsome forgiving love

to have a constructive displeasure of sin
and be captured by the joy of Christ overflowing in our souls

Honour God with your body

Let's pray…

Psalm 32

Aged 19, one of the great American theologians
Young Jonathan Edwards
decided to make a list of resolutions.

Like many of us try to do when we come up to a new year
Or about turning a new page or taking a new direction
Edwards instead took a whole year to pen all his
He went for 70
Here's how he starts it all off

"Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake."

Edwards was seeking an intentional forward gaze
What was he going to let shape his soul

We might not talk the same way as him now
Yet Edwards was onto something with his 70 resolutions.
his 22nd resolution reads,

"Resolved: To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea, violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of."

Getting a real grip on my soul's bearing
Owning up to the total landscape of my soul accurately

Or as Paul puts it in his letter to the Philippians
Living now like we are in training for the resurrection to come

1Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
The stand out word Edwards called Happiness
King David calls blessed

Blessed isn't just a single personal encounter
Blessed is a community experience
A household sharing - it's a plural experience of us together

Blessed points us to the abundant, overflowing, profuse grace
blessedness is what God showers upon those who love him.

grace is nothing less than God's gift of faith and repentance, the desire to die to self so that we gain life in and only through Jesus .

Looking more and more to Jesus while becoming more and more like Jesus

God's grace reshapes and transforms us to be like Christ
That's where God turns our face towards him
The question is will we be happy in God's holiness.
It is costly
David points the way

What is happiness made of
Whose happiness is it
Where is happiness found

What are we to make of Psalm 32
what is happiness made of?
As we read in Psalm 32:1-2

1Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

True happiness is forgiveness for transgression.
our sin covered.
Sin is the want and waste in our lives
We are used, misused and abused
We crave and want and throw our heart at the world
Our bodies can make us miserable
We face general hardship or troubles or limitations
We grumble and complain about what isn't

It's that place we find ourselves
What we so often do next is sin

God opens our eyes to see the theatre of his glory
Grace is God breaking open
the messy broken stumbling world of our lives
where Jesus steps in to redeem us as we are

as we so often seem to think that we have to look good for God to want to chage us


 

True happiness we find is in Christ

Verses 3-4
3When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer. Selah

look at the consequences of keeping silent.

Sin - not confessing, not owning up, letting the sin stay dark, deep and untouched
David outlines some of them for us:
There was a physical destruction.
"My bones wasted away. . ."

David's conscience was plagued daily.
"Through my groaning all day long. . ."

David sensed God's fatherly displeasure. "
Your hand was heavy upon me. . ."

It hit David hard with depression of the spirit.
"My strength was sapped as in the heat of summer . . ."

Unconfessed sin makes us fugitives.
We become fugitives from God,
from the person we've sinned against,
fugitives from ourselves.
No wonder that it leads to such physical and spiritual torment!
That fugitive life is also the life of a lie.

Think about it - during that time of David's silent, what did David do?

Surely he prayed. He would have gathered with others for worship. He would have written songs, counseled others, poured himself into his appointed work as king,

David may even have participated in general confessions during worship. Yet all this time he concealed his sin. He kept silent.

through it all he tells us he was a stranger to true happiness
he was miserable, because he was estranged from God.

David tells us he realizes he was running away from God
Maybe you know that feeling even now
Release is possible
But it takes a courageous step of hope

Verse 5
5Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

As someone puts it this way

"How does God's grace meet you in your sufferings? We can make the right answer sound old hat, but I guarantee this: God will surprise you. He will make you stop. You will struggle. He will bring you up short. You will hurt. He will take his time. You will grow in faith and in love. He will deeply delight you. You will find the process harder than you ever imagined - and better. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. No matter how many times you've heard it, no matter how long you've known it, no matter how well you can say it, God's answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine. "

Grace means courage

The truth is
We work very hard at landscaping our "front yard lives"
so that we look good to others.

We may even allow people into our living rooms
so they can see around a little bit of us,

yet our lives are really lived in the inner rooms, the dark, inner parts.

The Lord wants truth in the inner parts because that's where he lives.
He is the God of change and progressively
Invites us to ever deeper awareness of his loving kindness
As all change comes through Jesus

David brings us in to something that's quite personal
He brings us into the world of secret sin

The call of David is to step out from whatever it is from in the dark corner of your soul

Bring that sin that's been hiding and bring it out into the open under the light and gaze of God

Confession isn't about us feeling good about ourselves
It is a turning
A Godward movement
A work of God in us

David's warning is silent sin is cancerous to the soul
It rots us from the inside out
It makes us slaves


 

the heat of the spiritual battle that rages around us is significant
if we keep silent
We soon find ourselves another casualty
David tells us to take action
confess

verses 6-7
6Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. 7You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

the heat will come on us
we will feel it and see it

David here looks his sin squarely in the eye
He starts working backwards

Let me show you what I mean
Actually I claim no originality to it

A bloke by the name of Ken Sande in his book The Peacemaker puts it better than I ever can…

"When you find yourself in conflict work backwards through the progression of an idol to identify the desires that are controlling your heart. Ask yourself these questions:

How am I punishing others?
How am I judging others?
What am I demanding to have?
What is the root desire of that demand?
…Pray daily that God would rob your idols of their influence in your life by making you miserable whenever you give in to them"

King David reminds us God wants truth in the inner parts because that's where he lives. That's exactly where his Holy Spirit locates us

Secret sin is corrosive
It eats up relationships
It frustrates our desires and plans
It hides in the dark and is deceiving

Address it squarely, without excuses
As David does identify what's happening
My reaction is me
nothing and no one makes me live the way I do

in confessing - do the seven A's

Address everyone involved
Avoid if, but, and maybe
Admit specifically
Acknowledge the hurt
Accept the consequences
Alter your behaviour
Ask for forgiveness

As God's grace is fully yes for us through Jesus
Delight in God as he has chosen to delight in you
To see you and me and see his Son's love
Who gave his life and shed his blood

To redeem us before God
He did that knowing full well what was in us

Like Paul Silas & Timothy advise us in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16 Be joyful always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Challenge: Just as David needed Nathan, we also need others to help us see the sins in our lives. This week, ask a respected friend to help you identify a stumbling block in your life.

On August 10, 1723, at the age of 19, Jonathan Edwards resolved in #68 of those 70 he penned: "Resolved: To confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help."

Let's Pray…

 

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Today we continue on from where we left off last week
It's the same continuation of thought
Applied to life in Corinth

To recap last week the Corinthian Christians were being taught by those who came after Paul, Super Apostles they called themselves who said to the Corinthians to believe they had already spiritually arrived

spiritually they were to think themselves superior
to look down on everyone else
morally they were encouraged to live as though
they had arrived at spiritual perfection now

what was done in the body no longer mattered
you could do what you liked

they were taking credit for successes that only grace can produce
they were being less than watchful and protective
when it came to temptation and sin in their lives

they were smug, feeling entitled to what they could never earn or achieve

lovelessness ruled their hearts
no longer looking out for one another
looking out only for themselves

there was a considered opinion of superiority in wisdom
there were division over who's minister was the best

there were super apostles claiming superior knowledge to the Apostle Paul

spiritually these Corinthians thought themselves superior
beyond reproach

morally this spilt over into the way relationships went
the extent of the disconnection of the Corinthian character
from Christ honouring godliness

a relationship had struck up
between a man and his stepmother

as we read in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

to show how whacky this was
this guys relationship with his stepmother
was forbidden not only in Jewish law
but also by Roman law of the day as well

this would have filled the gossip mill of the Corinthian market place
today we step into the area of holiness
of an intentionally ungodly relationship
that was a source of pride
for the Corinthian Church members

What have you Done! Paul writes reminding them
Holiness matters in the life of a follower of Christ
Not so much that we think we can somehow
live in sinless perfection

But to really deal with the sin in us honestly, seeing the ongoing and progressive work of God in and on our souls, own up to our sin

At the heart of sin is the evil in our desires
often it's not so much what we want,
but that we want it so much

The deceitfulness of sin is that we so often deceive ourselves
what we let rule us comes out
what comes out reveals what we are letting rule our lives


 

just as we are reminded of our standing by Paul
we are redeemed by Christ as we see back at 1 Corinthians 1:2

2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - their Lord and ours:

Holiness is lived out faith
Holiness is the touch point of my vertical relationship with God
In the very practical life I live horizontally
in relationship with other people

especially in the household of believers- my fellow brothers and sisters in Chrst

listen to how these Corinthians had been treating the situation
of this improper sexual relationship
between a son and his stepmother

back to chapter 5 verse 6

6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?

The actions of the Corinthians
These people who had seen and received the Good News
Who had seen God's spirit on the move

so when they heard about it
and saw this man now living with his father's wife
how they reacted was to boast about it

we are free in Christ, this freedom was a new form of enslavement to sin for these Corinthians

Wake Up Paul tells them

These same Corinthians now come across looking more sexually perverse and permissive than the pagan Romans known for their drunken sex parties or the sensual Greeks who had a goddess called Artemis, who was a fertility symbol they worshipped

stop it cold Paul warns
Stop it now
Holiness matters, how we live
is something God cares a great deal about

All of this falls out from Paul using one word to these Corinthians

In verse 1 the word in English is two words sexual immorality
In ancient Greek the word it was one porneia

Porneia is the same Greek word we get the modern word pornography from

Porneia isn't just about watching a crude explicit sexually exploitative video - it's a heart word

porneia is sexual immorality that sweeps up every single activity of sexual activity outside of marriage in attitude and action

Godly marriage is the right place for the expression of sexuality
That God created for us as sexual beings

He also created us as sexual opposites
As males and females we are different in lots of different ways
but also complimentary together - marriage is a union before God

Sexuality and how we express that
As God created it
has a boundary placed around it

A fence that is to be a lifelong commitment
between a man and woman called marriage

This is the right place for sexual expression it protects us and nurtures us

Anything that steps outside that
enters into the world of porneia - Sexual immorality

The problem as Paul writes about is
How this obviously sinful situation
Was the source of boasting and pride for the Corinthians

Who saw this instead as a badge of their new freedom
They are so puffed up, spiritually so full and arrived
They felt no need to deal with something like this

their endorsement of this relationship was as bad as the relationship itself

There was evil among them and instead of mournful prayerful dealing with it they were just standing by and trying to look the other way


 

Paul says it's not on
he takes them on - remember the cost of your holiness now

verses 6-8

6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Pride filled sin is infectious - I am accountable to you for how I live as a fellow brother or sister in Christ

Candor straightforwardness and frankness have a high value in holiness

Sin is sin what we identify with and worship matter

no matter how good a grip we think we have on a particular sin it has a way of spilling out in our lives

We need God's spirit on the move in our souls for us to get a bigger wider view of his grace and the embrace of his love

John Calvin that great leader of the refomration said this about our human heart

"The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much." That in the human heart there is a perpetual factory of idols that gushes forth

The core solution to sin is repentance
coming back in need to the one who promises more grace

it's time to bring the sin that's been hiding itself
in the dark confines of your soul into the light of God's truth
it is time to call things for what they are
how we have let them capture our hearts worship
and the ways we have let them

the action Paul calls for is crunchy as it is swift
as we read in verses 9-11

9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who claims himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such men do not even eat.

Eating a meal, enjoying celebrating the Lord's Supper together
Paul brings us back to what redemptive truth
looks like in the life of a believer

We are sinners saved by grace
Not one of us deserves God's mercy
we are all works in training for the resurrection to come

will we take up the challenge to pray God continue to work in my heart and soul progressively shape me to be more like Jesus

Create in me a climate for holiness in my life where there was a wasteland of bitterness

Create greater love in the place where there was rage and hatred for the sin that person committed against us

Help me Lord to forgive others as you Lord have forgiven us

Paul practical clear advice is willful sin matters
that when a fellow brother or sister in Christ
Boasts with puffed up pride something we know
the Bible clearly spells out as sinful, idolatrous,
sexually immoral

We point them to a passage like 1 Corinthians 5
Sin is serious before God
Owning up is identifying what is happening in me

It is cutting through the tendency we have to be vague or blind or too general with what we have done and how we affect those around us

We have to cut through the propensity we have to self justify in sin
Recognize that I do what I do and I want I want

In the situation at Corinth
This was so serious that Paul says
treat this guy the way he is living
Like someone who doesn't want to live
in a reconciled relationship with Christ

How can people so spiritual get it so fundamentally wrong?

That question Paul keeps bringing the Corinthians back onto is
What rules you? Is the same for us

What we need Paul says is constructive displeasure with sin
To glorify God
To express the person and character of Christ in our lives

We were dead Paul reminds us to wake up in Christ we have life - we come alive, so stop living like you are dead, or all that you live for is only now,

Grace is where God meets us with his love
So that what was dull dead religion
Is Technicolor joy in Jesus overflowing in us

God's grace and his forgiveness and spirit alive in my soul is my only hope

Let's pray

1 Corinthians 4:1-21

A letter like Corinthians is where we have to keep on getting our heads around something ancient,

another land in another time with another customs,
with different lives to ours

still what they faced also still feels very present in the temptations we face and the times we endure

where we find our soul anchored
where our lives are most prone to wander
where joy sits on our heart in Jesus

to be able to simply answer
where the community of Christ Centered people in your life is

in Corinth we find ourselves dealing with a church
that had descended into factions
they argued over who their favoured teacher was

they argued over the future - they argued - well about anything

if we were a fly on the wall at a Corinthian Church service
we'd witness disharmony in all its forms
arguments, disputes, lovelessness

factions over the Paul camp and the Apollos followers and the Cephas disciples

here in ancient Corinth some local Church teachers started teaching they had some special revelations of wisdom they wished to share that was superior than the tin pot itinerant Apostle Paul who'd been with them 3 years earlier

their message was it's time to move on
you don't need that apostle anymore,
it's time to move with the times

in fact what they shared they said was even far superior than any eye witness to the resurrected Christ could ever teach them
far wiser than anything a leather working tent maker could ever share

in short the Corinthians were being taught to believe
they had already arrived spiritually

spiritually they were to think themselves superior
morally they were encouraged to live as though
they had it all now

what was done in the body no longer mattered
you could do what you liked

they were taking credit for successes that only grace can produce
they were being less than watchful and protective
when it came to temptation and sin in their lives

they were smug and felt entitled to what they could never earn or achieve

in attitude this view of arrival was endemic
it showed when they expected of others
the perfection that you think you have achieved yourself

self glory is poisonous
it's self referencing, self congratulating attitude of pride

Paul writes in pastoral love for them to put their pride aside and to clothe themselves in humility with a Christ shaped love
demonstrating his love in this letter
to warn, to shame, to correct
to do all he can to see they get back on track

even sending his trusted fellow worker Timothy to speak with them and pastor them in the way Paul knows they need to be steered back towards their relationship with God

so lets walk through what Paul has to say to the already arrived Corinthians about attitude

this passage breaks 3 ways
as we navigate the text itself

Paul directs the Corinthians attention to their divisive pride
In attitude to how well they serve or self serve in love

we read about it in verse 1

4:1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.

then down to verse 6

6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one over against the another.

Paul's standing argument is to combat the attitude of smug superiority is to show that humility begins with our recognition we are not our own, we were bought at a price it is Christ we serve and not ourselves.


 

As an Apostle after all is an eye witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus

The stand out is that in Christ we face our need for upmost humility
We are stewards to the mysteries of God
Who handle an ancient truth
Wrapped in the eternal plans
of the infinitely loving God

Paul uses the word servant in verse 1 & 2 to describe his work,
a better way to see that word servant is as a steward

called first of all to be faithful to his master to be faithful to distribute to others what he had received from God

Next Paul moves the discussion on he asks the Corinthians to assess themselves are you kings or fools now you are in Christ

like we see in verse 8

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings -and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!
he says so you think you've arrived already
consider this instead verse 10

10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!

Notice the irony he uses, we get a read on what they had been saying of themselves

Already rich, already filled already arrived
No wonder their attitudes and behavior towards one another
turned loveless and hurled invective

The only way these Corinthians would learn
Was if they got who they are now
How they were called to live
as stewards of Christ's love and mercy

verse 15-16
15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

How we go at the world reveals who we are
I was thinking about that like the way we use the internet
on our computers or phones or ipads or tablets

In some ways how we go about that reveals who we are
What we like, what we search, what we read or watch

When we're feeling low what page we like to look up

When you think about it
Does that reveal something to yourself about who you are?

Wisdom isn't what we know
It's what we apply
Not just outwardly showing we conform to God

For Paul the question he had was where is the community of Christ centered people in your life - how well are you loving them

Paul makes crystal clear what he has been setting out from the beginning about what source we drink from to take our satisfaction

The Corinthian church had developed into factions
Paul wants to cut through it
pointing them the right direction

to set the ground compassionately
That when he comes on a return visit to Corinth he will come
as a pastor not as a policeman to them

the battleground being fought over
was what does appreciation look like for a follower of Christ

what is it we are to do with ourselves
given we know our own hearts are prone towards
pride or desire or fear of man or even unbelief
we hijack our own hearts

God's word aims a bead that bears straight at our hearts
expose to the light of God's truth
what we often feel and hide in the shadows of our souls


 

What Paul wants for these Corinthian Christians and for us is
To know Christ more and more, rest in him,
be amazed that he makes so many promises to you
that he keeps them

God's grace is sufficient, His mercy and love is life transforming
Paul calls us to humble our hearts

also we are to take on board a challenge like this , verses 16-17
16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Could we say to someone
Imitate me as I follow Christ
Not because we are puffed up with pride
Not because we think somehow we have spiritually arrived

But because we know that only by grace we are saved
Our attitude reveals our heart
Living my life in Christ Jesus bears a special kind of fruit

Would you make this your prayer for this week
In that what we seek is to live with personal integrity
We seek Biblical self knowledge -
We seek to let God's word saturate our hearts
warm our souls
turn our faces to turn towards him

living as a redeemed people by Jesus
we also are to be people who ask for help

accountable people , prepared to share a struggle
ask someone to check up with us

for a problem or a habit or a misplaced desire you know wants to keep hiding itself in the dark and you know it's time to bring it out in the light open to God's truth

follow me as I follow Christ is being willing
to be courageous to go to hard places in our lives

be bold and willing to expose and see our sins and sorrows for what they are

We also express honest godly emotion
In which we create a climate of grace in our relationships
We give mercy because we are given mercy
We cultivate a humble, large, generous heart

That reaches across and sees the other person
Let's pray…

1 Corinthians 2:6 - 3:23

Is there something mysterious to you about following Jesus
Do you have a question you've got that you've said out loud
"When I get t heaven I'm going to stand in Paul's line
to ask him …this?"

or when I stand before Jesus I want him to answer this problem

have you ever noticed when things are running smoothly or things are starting to go well that we brace ourselves expecting something bad to come

like we feel slammed
or tempted with things we didn't think were still a problem
unexpected, unexplained troubling stuff going on

where do you reach out to
what are your first impulses to see that stuff as

Paul here wants to engage us in seeing the reality of life as followers of Jesus in the midst of real spiritual warfare we are surrounded by

where hard things go on in the life of those who follow Jesus

As we consider this passage this morning think about where it is you are seeing the Spirit of God on the move in your life.

what God is most challenging you with ,
what part of your life you are most thankful
so that you overflow with joy in Jesus

In Corinth Paul brings us back to look at a church where
their time together had become chaotic

when Paul first preached the gospel
Many became followers of Christ
Three years pass since Paul lived there

Now the infant church he left behind
Seems to have developed some unloving
worldly ways about how they were coming to church

so in his letter Paul anchors this letter from the start in the truth, of who these Corinthian Christians are

The question they were asked
What is it you have let take captive of your heart and soul
Other than Jesus Christ

As we read in 1 Corinthians 2:6-7

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

There is no hope to be found in living for here and now
this mystery Paul comes to is to how we as people
now come alive in Jesus

God in his divine planning
Had already decided to reveal himself in the flesh through Jesus

if King Herod or the Jewish Sanhedrin
or Pontius Pilate or Satan had understood what they were about to do when they crucified Jesus they would not have done it

Paul reminds these Corinthian Christian
Of this lesson from the past and God's plans
he turns their gaze on their present situation

The instinct of our foolish wisdom is to trust ourselves and control our situation, that only makes matters worse

The mark of sin in our heart is to insist that life is about me
To make me the centre of everything

Paul says open up your eyes, see God

God who is with us and for us in Jesus
makes new life possible through his agent of change
Through His Holy Spirit, the Counsellor
Who writes the promise of life on the human heart

Verses 11-14
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are discerned.

We're only ever guessing if we think we can totally read people
We only ever say what we want others to hear
Often times there are things we are thinking
that would be highly inappropriate to say out loud

with God notice how deeply he dives into our lives
when he redeems us as his own

Paul brings us to see in the midst of our weakness
We come face to face with God's encouragement and comfort

The Holy Spirit is the one who comes alongside us with immediate need for the moment

In the midst of our uncertainty God has provided witness to his grace and glory to bring us comfort in the midst of trouble

God brings mercy and actual truth to us when we are feeling foolish

See here how Paul addresses the Corinthian trouble

Two problems are raised
The first is about wisdom
In a church that claimed it was wise
The reality was their church life was chaotic
Relationships were messy

Paul makes them face who's glory are they in it for
God's or their own

Our goal is to know the joy in God
Where God starts curiously with the mess in us

God brings that through his redemption in Christ
In the midst of the mess, he is patient

1 Corinthians 3: 16-17

16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for God's temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.


 

Paul addresses the household of believers together
In Jesus we are new creations the old is gone the new is come
With His Holy Spirit in us
We are now God's temple, God living in us

Our life is not to be about us, but God alive in me

These Corinthians claimed to have the mind of Christ
when really they were acting more like worldly individuals
living for themselves

in some ways we look on and go what on earth were they thinking?

Amazingly this same passage applies to us
We can see the same tensions 2, 000 years on

we are also in the midst of real spiritual warfare
So wherever you see anger and disharmony,
division and mean spiritedness

We can know we are looking at Satan trying all in his power
To disrupt and discourage us in following Christ

Wherever we start seeing our behaviour starting to look more like people living like now is all we have Paul's advice is

Remember you are a temple of God in which his Holy Spirit lives
We are bought at a price, we are not our own
We have the mind of Christ

So where do you run to for courage?
What are you using to replace trust in God?

Paul's challenge to us is to see where God is on the move in us

Just as where we come from
Impacts on where we are likely to turn back to
When it's tough or you're discouraged

we all feel the heat

as we read in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

3:1 Brothers (and sisters), I could not address you as people Spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

infants in Christ, prone to grumble and complain
in the habit of fighting
directing their anger towards one another

Confusion reigned and half truths ruled their conversations in the life of the Corinthian Church

they stepped into escapist flights of fancy
Like their actions didn't matter
Or their behaviour towards each other didn't count

These Corinthians Paul could not address as spiritually mature people instant he calls them infants

They were people who were guided by their flesh
Driven by their appetites and desires
Evidenced in their jealousy and strife

on the plain of relationships
On that horizontal plain with one another
They lacked real love as a household of believers

notice how Paul starts his conversation
with shifting the gaze of these loveless Corinthians

1 Corinthians 3:18-23

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; 20 and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future-all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Shift your weight
Create a climate of grace in your relationships
Just as you know the grace and love of God
move towards one another
as a household of believers

say and do what needs to be said and done to the one whose opinion matters and whose mercy helps

our refuge isn't this world
it is in God

Wisdom isn't what we know
It's what we apply
Not just outwardly showing we conform to God
But see and sense God's inward transformation in us

Don't throw your heart to the world
Come on your knees before the throne room of God

You are of Christ, and Christ is of God

We are to stand in the theatre of God's glory
To see the opportunity of his mercy and redemptive work in us

So where are you seeing things going on in your life
Is it time for you to have a candid conversation with God

Paul had to get these Corinthian Christians to face up to how their behaviour wasn't matching what they were claiming they believed

We have the God of life who truly makes us alive in him

We have the God who comes towards us

We need to cultivate a humble heart

20 and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future-all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.


Let's pray…

1 Corinthians 1:18- 2:5

Skit Guys Identify 3:20

Being someone who follows Jesus
The central thing in our walk with God
Isn't sin management

it is understanding who we are in Christ.

Our identity now in Jesus is not defined by our failures
or by our past
but only by Christ's work on the cross.

We sin and are sinned against
We want and waste in the things we do
So often we fall short of what we know we should be
Or who we want to become

Yet they don't define our walk with God

Jesus death on the cross wasn't for us to somehow manage our lives better

It was so that we would see the God who has come towards us

Who asks us what way is our life facing right now
So when you stand looking in the mirror of yourself
Do you see that God is turning your head
and heart and soul in his direction

Or do you feel the lack
Or the pride in your own achievements

Like has something or someone besides Jesus taken the title to your heart's trust and delight?

Sometimes we need to come back to what feels so basic
Yet what we most need to know is

the cross is where we face the mercy of the God who loves you and me more than we see and more powerfully than we realize

just as Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthian Christians
1 Corinthians 1: 27-29

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

God's kingdom turns things on their head
In many ways coming down to how we see ourselves

I don't know if you have ever been asked
Or maybe you've asked yourself
WHY follow Christ

Paul wants us to turn the whole conversation on it's head here

If your trust is in Christ, what we start to see happening
is a work of God,
God goes to work in our lives
The changes are progressive

The areas he changes us in are everyday parts of us
In how we speak, or the way we deal with our ill heath,
think about money or deal with that conflict
or poisonous tongues

in the most basic difficult human situations God comes into,
we get asked how are you reacting
When the heat of your life gets turned up
How do you respond

Because look at where Paul points us
Verse 18

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The gospel is a message of the God who turns to face us
Not as we would like him to think we're like
But just as we really are
Broken, inconsistent performers
People prone to hurt those we love
who seek our kingdom to come


 

In this very place the message of Jesus
point us to our foolishness and weakness
God shows us the cross as the place where we meet
face to face with his love

In the midst of that pain and anguish where Jesus gave up his life
We see God really wants you

So much so he was willing to pour out all his anger and judgment
for all and every sin you have you are and you will commit
and place that on his Son

Jesus as he died on the cross took the punishment for our sin and he died so that we might have new life, forgiveness and hope

The message of the cross sounds so foolish
Unless our heads and our hearts and our souls
are pointed towards God

We like to think we can save ourselves

God says we are foolish if we think that we are good enough
Or have enough to get God's favour

We are fools to not think that someone must pay for our sins
the incredible extravagant message of the love of God
Is that forgiveness is God's work towards us
Forgiveness from God moves us towards him

We soon see that forgiveness comes as an attitude

It's in Jesus that we become truly human

If you are someone here today who has never asked for forgiveness from God then we start with the cross
We start with seeing ourselves before God
Knowing that we deserve death
for all our actions, attitudes, thoughts

We have lived like God is not there

Forgiveness comes from God by asking Jesus to be Lord of our souls
To ask him to forgives us our sins

To take responsibility for our wrongs with honesty
bring them under the spotlight of God truth
and recognize the effect our sin and wrong has caused
on those we love or know

Part of that forgives from God then is dealing with us in our worst relationships

asking God for compassion to show sorrow
to those we have sinned against
moving towards those who we have hurt
Asking for their forgives of us

Our sin is not an accident
We apologise for accidents
We seek and ask for forgiveness for our sins

Forgiveness is an attitude bearing on our soul
And the direction our lives are pointing

As we read in verses 20-21

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

The question is with forgiveness
are you in it the way God is

The trouble for these Corinthian Christians that Paul was writing his letter to is that they had forgotten love points in God's direction
Even when we are relating with other people

The love of God and his forgiveness
Shows that just as God has forgiven me
He has turned my face and my feet so that they point
in his direction

the challenge from God is will I show the same sort of attitude towards those who sin against me or fess up to those I sin against


 

The Corinthian Church had hit the same problem
they got stuck with forgetting to love one another
forgetting that who they were was only brought about
By what God had first begun in them

We start by asking the same question as Paul does
In how do you live for yourself

The Greeks of Corinth lived for finding wisdom
The Jews lived for finding signs

When we live for ourselves
Our self takes on a thousand different shapes
and wears a thousand different disguises

who are we in Jesus verses 22-25
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

The question is has someone or something else beside Jesus Christ taken title to your hearts trust and delight

If Jesus has captured your heart and soul
how have you been applying that love lately?

God turns our lives around
And turns the things we so often find ourselves
place our trust in on their heads

when we are weak in ourselves
we can know the strength of God

forgiveness is God accepting us just as Jesus Christ is
it is in Jesus we have hope life and future

it is in Jesus that we become real people
we share real needs
confess to real sin

and know a real Holy Spirit
the Spirit of God who is at work in each and everyone
who has asked Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour

we need Jesus
the merciful saviour from the large sins
of both our heart and our behaviour

so I will close with Paul's challenge to us
think about what direction your life is pointing
do you point your life towards God
are you walking in his direction

26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Let's pray…

1 Corinthians 1:1-17

is sport a contentious game for you to watch or play
how loud do you get watching your team go round
how hard do you play when you're out on the paddock

the team you back
Ever find yourself having to defend them
While at the same time pull them apart for lack of effort

Ever found yourself feeling the need to make excuses
when your team isn't doing so well

we all follow something like on another tack
What about an author
One you like reading,
or an actor who's movies
you'll try and watch when they come out?

No matter what the critics review says

We can do the same in church circles like have you got a favourite speaker
Someone you often listen on catch up
the last conference they last spoke at
or read a book they just published

what do you say when someone says something about them,
ever find yourself go into bat to defend them?

We are born worshippers
we all take our influences from all sorts of places good or bad

as we see in this day and age where it's all about
The latest guru, or the latest trend, or the latest approach

In our churches we can be made captive to the same things but this is not new
Just as the Corinthian Christians did
Where they were arguing that their spiritual leader
was better, more persuasive
and more influential than the other

What they did was turn following Jesus into a whole new form of contention

Trouble was it wasn't unifying
it was simply tearing their community life apart
Through a lack of love

They had made Jesus a contentious Christ and Paul had something plain to say into that mess

Before we get there but I want to back up a sec and recap on this letter to the Corinthian Church

There are some ancient things about this community that help us to see what was going on with the church family tensions

So Some background

Corinth was a sea state rebuilt under Julius Caesar
on a map it sits on the southern part of Greece
from Athens you can take a 1 hour train trip to get to it

Ancient Corinth is a small land bridge half way up
on the bottom part of Greece
So sea travelers and goods pass across it
as a strip of land it is only 8km wide from sea to sea

so slaves were used to unload the ships and ballast
pull the boat along a row of tree trunk runner along the 8km
to the other side and put everything back in the boat

it was labour intensive
but worth it for time and safety
that bottom part of Greece was dangerous to shipping

Corinth was a frontier town
Where the slaves outnumbered free men 10:1
so you can imagine it
this town was ruled with an iron fist

Corinth was also known as an exceptionally religious city
As a place where so many passed through
Traders & sailors, wealthy merchants and slaves

It had many shrines, temples and gods
Corinth was a town where religion and politics
were linked

like the meat you bought at the markets was sacrificed at the local temple

all the citizens of Corinth were expected to make sacrifices at the pagan temples dedicated to the Roman Emperor, it's also where you did business if you were a business man in town

only the Jews were exempt from having to do this

it's into this cosmopolitan
bustling port and it's vigorous cults and temples
Paul arrives to share the Good News about Jesus Christ

staying with Priscilla & Acquila local tent makers like Paul
Paul sets about preaching the gospel and many respond

so we read in Acts 18:8

"Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized."


 

and so around 51 AD after spending roughly a year
Paul leaves Corinth to continue on with his missionary journey
in Ephesus (in modern day turkey)

while in Ephesus Paul hears news
from Cloe and Stephanas about problems brewing in Corinth

issues that disturb Paul sufficiently to write a letter to them

these were hard issues this infant church was facing
that came up after Paul left Corinth

others had come along trying to seize control of the church

these men rejected Paul's authority as an apostle
their teaching was emptying the church of it's love

issues were dividing them, they lacked love
their attitude spilt over into the way they lived
like a man was having an adulterous relationship
with his step mother & no one was doing anything about it

church members taking one another to the public courts
factions were apparent at the Lord's supper

to top it all off when the church was meeting
there was chaos in the meetings some babbling in tongues
while prophets talking over the top of each other
wives calling out questions to their husbands as they were leading church

the Corinthian Christians were getting known the world around
for their licence to please yourself

when they shared the Lord's Supper together
some were getting drunk while others had nothing to share in
others started thinking that Jesus had already come
so that what they did now in their bodies
didn't matter - you could do what you liked

into this situation Paul writes the letter we know of 1 Corinthians
starting not what they think of themselves
but what God has called them to be

as we read in 1 Corinthians 1:4-6

4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge-- 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.

Paul goes on to point out

" It's Jesus who has sanctified them - that is made them holy (vs2)
" they have been given grace (vs4)
" they've been enriched (vs5)
" they do not lack in gifts for the work of serving Jesus (vs7)
" and that God is the one who called them (vs9)
the only thing missing was what was at the heart of their problems in Corinth

love

this was an awful unholy row going on here in Corinth

factions had grown
Paul appeals for unity where contention had arisen
Worship was being replaced by lovelessness

So he writes as we read in verses 10-12

10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."

the Corinthian Christians were playing their own version of Big Brother House with their ministers

this was a cult of ego
quarreling about who was more superior
Paul, Apollos or Cephas

3 factions formed, each member of the church identifying with whichever minister baptized them

Paul's runs at the wall and asks who have you let capture your heart
the question is, verse 13

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

All impossible questions to answer really
they're absurd questions - Paul knows it

our tendency is to self centeredness and false saviours
the questions they were being asked was about
who has your alegiance


 

the Corinthians were creating messiah replacements
which only underscores the scandalous way
they had been behaving in this church

Paul goes on, the only remedy, the only way they were going to get through the troubles that had now grown up was if they threw away their idols and come back to the cross of Christ

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Paul cuts through it by saying
It's the gospel what matters most
not wisdom - not pop stars only Jesus
his death for our sins
his resurrection from the grave for our new life in him

your idol reveals you
their the image towards which we aspire

so we are responsible for how we live
what we are shaped by

Paul's reminder is the gospel is about the transforming power of the cross

We are not what we were
We are not yet what we should be
Only by God's grace and God's work can we only become what he makes us

Paul was driving us to see that the cross is where our lives enter into the story of God

The power of the cross is all about the death of Christ for our sins

so that we could demonstrate that power in our lives transformed inside to out by Him

relationship is modeled by God himself
as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
a perfect model of relationship love

we are created for relationship with God
and relationships with one another

so if we take the love out of our relationships with one another
we cannot claim to be in sync with our relationship
with our heavenly father as well

the two are linked the vertical of worship and the horizontal of relationships here amongst us as God's people

Jesus is our model for how we are to go about loving one another
Jesus who willingly sacrificed himself for us
Who bore the pain of the cross for our forgiveness

So often we lack love because we love ourselves too much
So that we won't reach out across to someone

We are in the midst of a spiritual battle that wages all around us
We are called to have the eyes and ears for God

Which is the call for us to pray for and pray with one another

It's what Paul appealed to his brothers and sisters in Corinth to do
As he made them aware of the results
of them loving themselves
rather than their fellow member
in the household of Christ in Corinth

That fellowship is one of encouragement and seeking the others good
Of prayer and practical fellowship

It is also warning each other of the realities of the spiritual warfare that we are faced with whether we see that clearly or not

Where we are to come to the lordship of Jesus over our lives
In the gospel we are told that God accepts us just as Christ is

He accepts me not as I am but as I am in Christ Jesus
We are accepted because of the wondrous work of Jesus who fully pleased the Father and gave us of his own perfect goodness

Jesus reigns in power and so he makes us God's children

It is not about our acceptability or worth
It is about the big story of the God of salvation
Who calls on us to look outside ourselves
To allow the power of God to transform us
to be more like him


Tamworth Community Presbyterian Church
EMAIL: minister@TCPC.org.au
PH: 0401006418