Principles for Giving - 1 Cor 16 : Ross P

Ross concludes our series in 1 Corinthians . The substance of all that Paul has to say is let all things be done in love. Ch 13. We can have all the spiritual gifts and talents but if we have no love then we are nothing.

Ross reminds us of the epistle outline that after establishing the Corinthian church Paul moved to Ephesus, some 200km away. While he was there Chloe’s household made a delegation to him, Ch1. They had concerns for the church over divisions, sexual immorality, law suites, disorder, and denial of the resurrection.

Stephanus also had specific matters, and Paul answered each one with: ‘now concerning’ within the letter. Marriage, food offered to idols, spiritual gifts and the last issue, collections for the saints. What should they do with money that had been given?

Ch 16 contains two sections: collection principles and practice, then some personal comments of greetings and travel plans.
Paul models to us that we should always plan with the thought that our planning will only happen if the Lord permits, Lord willing, deo volante, ‘DV’, vs 7.

Principles for Giving;
We should give regularly, individually, deliberately, purposefully, proportionately, generously, and cheerfully.

1. On the first day of every week. Giving should be regular.
2. Each of you.  Giving is an individual matter.
3. Deliberate. Each of you are to put something aside.
4. Store it up. Giving should be stored for a purpose.
5. As you may prosper. Proportionate to how much you have.
6. Accountability for the use of money. Consider where the money is being used.

Tithing
Ross shows that in Genesis tithing was voluntary. Under the Law of Moses, tithing became compulsory, in addition to voluntary offerings, but in the New Testament, we find no evidence that tithing is required concluding that tithing is not a NT principle. Instead, we need to decide in our heart how much we should give.

The Resurrection - 1 Cor 15 : Andrew S

As we contemplate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His victory over death comes into focus.  Here in Ch 15, Paul lays out the logical argument for the resurrection and Andrew skillfully takes us through Paul's reasoning.

Rom 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Through a life of sin a wage is owed, and that debt is death.  If Christ died and did not rise again then we would conclude that Christ must have owed a debt. His death would have had to pay his own debt to sin so he couldn’t have paid debt of others. There would be no payment made so we are still our sin, and if we are still in our sin then there is no good news.

But it was not possible for death to hold Christ because he lead a sinless life and owed nothing to sin and therefore Christ can pay our debt. The resurrection of Christ demonstrates that the offering of Christ is effective in carrying away our sin.

Andrew finishes with two reflections on the impact of the resurrection on our life:
1. It changes our identity and heritage in that we no longer are connected to our forebears through the common inheritance that all men die. In the resurrection we become dead to sin and alive to God. Through our kinship in Christ we can daily seek grace from the Father to live a resurrected life.

2. It alters our future and destiny. Imperishable, glorious and powerful. Our destiny.  Death is swallowed up in victory. In a moment corruption becomes incorruptible. In a moment the struggle ends. We can endure. We can hold fast. it is the end of suffering but the beginning of all expansive joy and and thrill in heaven.

Male & Female He Created them - 1 Cor 11 : Ross P

In Chapter 11 Paul commends the Corinthian church for remembering him, and for maintaining the traditions he delivered to them, but he has to rebuke the members for their conduct when they gather together and their approach to the Lord's Supper.

In bringing us God's word Ross address the often heated topic of gender roles in society, and in the church, and shares from his own life experience regarding the changing attitudes he has observed to head covering and gender roles. He explains the distinctions of patriarchal versus matriarchal and egalitarian society, but concludes with the scriptural understanding of a complementarian view of the role of men and women. 

In this message, Ross asks the questions of:

1. Do we accept or resist the gender role God has assigned us?

2. How can we mirror Jesus as we demonstrate the gospel in the role God gives us? As male and female, do we show servant leadership as Jesus submitted to the Father. As male and female we can mirror Jesus.

3. If I disagree with God am I still willing to submit to Him?

4. Do we take the Lord's remembrance supper seriously?

Liberty and Temptation - 1 Cor 10: Geoffrey S

Chapters 7,8,9 looked at our motivation toward the furtherance of the Gospel, and effects our liberty of choices can have on the lives of others. Matters of conscience.  

In Chapter 10 Paul warns the Corinthians about the consequences of indulging their liberty leading to idol worship, sexual immorality and discontentment with God's provision. This is no different for the Church today. Chapters 7,8,9 is about the effects on others while Chapter 10 considers the effects on a christian's walk, holiness and effectiveness for service.

When we are tempted, we need to rely upon Christ for a way of endurance, rather that resisting in our own strength.

We are reminded of the prohibition of bowing down before idols through the example made of Israel in the wilderness, and that God will have no other gods before Him.

Motivation for the Gospel - 1 Cor 9: John W

John considers how our hearts should be motivated by the great Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it effects the choices we make.

Ch 7-10 provide principles to live by in areas of uncertainty. They help us live for the Gospel.

Some things we must do; commands of God, laws of the land that we must not breach. A lot of things we have in life we have a choice over. We need principles to guide us on moral issues.

Paul says all things are permissible but not all things are helpful.

1. Ch7 Does this choice help me keep in step with God? Living for the Lord.
Is everything beneficial. All is permissible but not all things are helpful. Will this decision help me walk closer to God?

2. Ch8, food sacrificed to idols. Living for others. Will this decision help other people? Is it good for others.
People can be destroyed by the choice of someone who has greater knowledge.

3. Ch9 Will this choice help or advance the gospel?
We should surrender our rights so that the gospel is not hindered.

4. Will this decision be helpful or advance the gospel. Will it help me in eternity in running for the prize.
All the runners run but only one person wins the prize so run the race in order to win the prize.

Lawsuits & Liberty - 1 Cor 6 : Simon S

Simon begins with observing that Paul letters are conversational. Written from real people to real people with real and troubling problems. 

Secondly, the letter is pastoral with a purpose of teaching and helping the people in the Corinthian church, faith in action, integrated with real life. Sometimes the message is hurtful but Paul’s motivation is his love for the brothers and sisters in Corinth. 

Thirdly, Paul’s message is theological and speaks about Jesus, the centre and foundation of the church, and that the problems that arise stem from people not building their lives around Jesus, or not fully understanding the message of the gospel. False theology underpins un-Godly living, and Paul corrects their false views and misconceptions by bringing the believers back to Christ, back to the cross. It is theology but its also theology in overalls, a knowledge of God that needs to be lived out. Not just wisdom kept in your head so that you can boast, but wisdom that moves from the head to the heart and bears fruit in Godly living.

Disputes
Paul tells the Corinthians that their disputes with each other are never more important than the message of the Gospel so why not suffer wrong for the sake of the Gospel? 

The Gospel is all about not getting what you deserve but instead receiving grace.

We risk our disputes over taking the Gospel of Christ. By walking away from the cross and instead toward the court room we have already lost.

Liberty

Love for each other takes precedence over liberty. True christian freedom is doing what is good and not just what is good for you but good for all. Live a life that enhances rather than exploits.

Intimacy with God defiled - 1 Cor 5 : Roland G

Roland humbly takes us through the difficult and detestable issue of sexual defilement that Paul raised with the believers at Corinth. The message then is even more forcefully applicable to the church today, involving immorality within the church, defilement, ruined relationships with God and man and judgement.

Chapter 5 is given to us in God's Word and it is necessary to hear what the Lord has to say to us through it.

Humility - 1 Cor 4 : Geoffrey S

A life of Discipleship requires a life of Servanthoodwhich requires a life of Humility.

Ways to develop and attitude of humility

1 You are aware of your need for God’s grace and ask Him for humility
Heb 4:14-16
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

2 You ask God to think ‘show me where I’m wrong rather than “I’m right and I’ll prove it”
James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you

3 Have an attitude of Teach me, not I know all I need to know. Proud people are not teachable
Ps 119:33-34
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it

4 Think first of others feelings and needs
Philippians 2:3,4
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

5 Give God the credit for your achievements
The humble man boasts in what the Lord has done
Jer 9:23-24
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord

6 Worship God sincerely and don’t just go through the motions
Luke 18:10-14
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus:‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. ’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner! ’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted

7 Be willing to suffer humiliation and embarrassment for Jesus sake
1 Peter 4:15-16
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name


Jealousy & Foundations 1 Cor 3:1-23 : Andrew S

Andrew picks up on what we have learnt from Chapters 1 and 2 that the Corinthian christians had every spiritual blessing but no grounds for boasting and divisions wrought by delusions  of spiritual superiority. The Corinthians thought of themselves as being spiritually superior, in contradiction to the mind of Christ. But Paul describes them as behaving as 'merely human'. 

The only work that matters is work laid upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus.

True spiritual understanding goes hand in hand with character growth. Wisdom does not start with a statement of learning but a statement of relationship.  Prov 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The Corinthians problem was not that they were not smart enough; they were just not applying it. Discernment comes from constant practice to discern between good and evil. Heb 5:12-14. If we want the Christian life then we need to live the Christian life.

God's Wisdom 1 Cor 2:1-16 : David S

David looks at question of division in the church that was being caused by the cultural mindset and popularity. Greek philosophy, the quest for knowledge considered that man was ultimate judge of truth and meaning. If men decide what is true then there cannot be any unity because we all believe our own truth to be correct with no room for God. God’s wisdom claims salvation is in Christ alone but man says salvation is found in man. The Cross becomes foolishness to those perishing. Paul presents a God centred message with Christ at the centre,  prepared by God before time.

If we observe that churches are closing down as numbers fall then something in their message isn’t working. The response is to undertake customer focussed re-branding but Paul doesn’t resort to worldly wisdom. He does not get a speech writing or put on a drama or elaborate powerpoint; no! Paul criteria for successful gospel presentation are: be a poor public speaker, be afraid to the point of trembling with no stage presence, but must preach the gospel of Christ crucified and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The method God blesses is for those who love Gods word and people filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the growth strategy for the church. The foolish things of the world.

God's wisdom is true wisdom.  All the questions of life, purpose, origin, destiny can be found in the wisdom of God, vs 7, 8.  Hidden wisdom from God. The gospel has been fully revealed to us in Christ. Gods eternal plan. A mystery hidden, now in full display to those God has chosen to reveal it to. The Spirit of God had to reveal it to us. We would never perceive it ourselves. One day we didn’t believe, the next day we believe.  God has to open our eyes before we can see Christ. It takes the power and wisdom of God for us to see the dying Jesus on the cross as the Lord and King, vs 14.  The matters of God must be spiritually discerned. Spiritual sight is a result of life giving illuminating power from God on whom he blows on whoever he wills. Hidden from some and revealed to others. We are still commanded to believe the gospel but how can we believe unless God first opens our eyes. God is in control, not us. We are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. All God needs is people who love His word, who preach Christ crucified, who are filled with the Spirit and who trust that His spirit will bring the spiritual life to whoever He is calling.

The Scandal - 1 Cor 1:17-31 : Sam M

The importance of the Gospel message is not found in it delivery but in its content, the cross of Christ. The power and wisdom of God is the message of the cross. 

Through attempts to make the message of the cross culturally relevant, the message can be emptied of its power.  The cross is scandalous message and folly to unbelievers. A stumbling block. It must not be re-interpreted to suit our religious sensitivities. Our wisdom is a person and that person is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Local Church - 1 Cor : Introduction - Ross P

Ross introduces a new series on Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church. He observes that the Church described in Eph 5:27 that is 'without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish' is not what we see in the local church with all of our fallenness and difficulties and yet this is what God see's of us in Christ.

God see's the church more according to the hymn

The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; 
she is his new creation  by water and the Word. 
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride; 
with his own blood he bought her, 
and for her life he died.


But our experience is more like verse 3 of the same hymn

Though with a scornful wonder we see her sore oppressed, 
by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed, 
yet saints their watch are keeping; 
their cry goes up, "How long?" 
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.


The letter to the Corinthians is and essential message to us to put away quarrelling, divisions, disputes over custom, sexual impurity, idol worship, and pursue love and the good name of Jesus in all things.

Ross also shares a clip from The Bible Project and their excellent summary of 1 Corinthians
Tim Mackie
http://www.jointhebibleproject.com