Give Glory to the Lord – 5-17-22

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Greeting

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are [a]sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Gifts at Corinth

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all [b]utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed [c]in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sectarianism Is Sin

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all [d]speak the same thing, and that there be no [e]divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are [f]contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

18 For the [g]message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the [h]disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a [i]stumbling block and to the [j]Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Glory Only in the Lord

26 For [k]you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many [l]noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the [m]base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:2 set apart
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:5 speech
  3. 1 Corinthians 1:6 Or among
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Have a uniform testimony
  5. 1 Corinthians 1:10 schisms or dissensions
  6. 1 Corinthians 1:11 quarrels
  7. 1 Corinthians 1:18 Lit. word
  8. 1 Corinthians 1:20 debater
  9. 1 Corinthians 1:23 Gr. skandalon, offense
  10. 1 Corinthians 1:23 NU Gentiles
  11. 1 Corinthians 1:26 consider
  12. 1 Corinthians 1:26 well-born
  13. 1 Corinthians 1:28 insignificant or lowly

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Welcome to our study of First Corinthians. This is a powerful book revealing who God is and instructing us in how to draw closer to God.
I assume at this point we all know who Paul is, as we have discussed him at length during our reading of Acts and Romans. We will discuss more, I am sure, as we progress in the book. Paul was a missionary, an apostle, a scholar of Hebrews Scriptures, a Jew, a believer and follower of Jesus, and so much more.
He founded the Church in Corinth, to whom he is writing this letter, during his second missionary journey. If you recall, the second journey was rough, he spent most of it fleeing for his life, then we separated from his team, had a failed missions visit to Athens and was mocked – so he arrived in Corinth, depleted and humble. He began to work instead of ministering. But he did gather together all the believers and had fellowship. As much as he taught them, they ministered to him and built him back up. Paul also spent the longest period there (in the years somewhere around 49-51).

Corinth was an evil, morally bankrupt and corrupt city. Although typical of the day, Corinth was part of a region where there were still Greek Temples as well as Roman temples and more Gods than you can count and most of them required some sort of sexual worship. The Lord has preserved enough texts and scrolls and archeological finds from the time, so that we could have understanding – as this book is one of the few books that REALLY does require some historical background to understand. This particular city was like the Las Vegas and or New York City of 1990 (before it they tried to clean them up and make them family friendly) of its time, so sins was a bit more plentiful and open there. So you can begin to understand that outside of the doors of their church it was almost as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah, less violent. So to be a Jew and or a believer there would really make you stand out.

Paul was in Ephesus, another city overridden with temples of false gods and moral depravity, in the estimated years of 53 to 54, when he wrote that first letter to the church in Corinth, not too long after leaving them.  You see Chloe’s people, or someone from her household, came after Paul to tell him that when he left there were suddenly contentions and divisions within the church. Much like all of Paul’s letters, we do not have the list of questions / problems he was answering. So we must be careful – the right answer to the wrong question will get us in trouble. After answering their question the later part of the book is new lessons and things Paul wants to say to them.

Paul loves the church at Corinth and begins with showing his love and reminding them they are doing a few things right, before he tells them they are doing a few things wrong.

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

He reminds them they were called into this and Jesus loves them, as well. He didn’t need to be long and flattering. Just to the point. Then he gets right into addressing the purpose of this letter.

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Contrary to popular opinion the Bible does NOT tell us not to judge, aka discern and test the spirit behind it. But Paul does seem to repeat the concept that we must not be critical and judgmental of each other, instead be in unity. We are to judge of they are speaking Biblical truth (chapter and verse), but not judgmental of the fact that they may not know the Bible as well. It is not about knowledge but it is about relationship with Jesus (who is the word).  This should be fairly straight forward, yet we learn the first century church was a little petty – and I am sure if we are honest we all have a dose of petty within us. And hopefully that dose of petty is dead with the rest of our flesh. But flesh seems to be quite alive in Corinth.
Mind you, when I am working on a message or one of these posts – I often share thoughts from it and concepts with people around me. As the word is fresh in my heart and the revelation hasn’t faded. So I am quite sure (although completely speculation) that the church at Corinth was taught the same principles we learned in the book of Romans (as it was written there). So they should know the idea of dying to the flesh.

11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”

So here is the complaint – people apparently calling themselves Lutherans and following Luther. They are saying they were raised Catholic, so they are Catholic. Or started to going to a Methodist church so they are Methodist. 
Apparently, from numerous sources I have learned that they were not even saying “Paul”, “Apollos”, or “Cephas” – to not embarrass the people whose names they were using Paul changed it to the names of himself and people in his team. Which works to exaggerate the situation and make it more obvious how the situation reads. Just like me using the names of denomination in the place, does.
It was not the fault of the people preaching, it was the fault of the people following!
Early churches met in homes – and the Corinthian church was large and frequently met in multiple houses because of the size. So some speculate that they were dividing into these homes instead of cycling through and maintaining themselves as one unit. If true or not – this same matter can be seen in groups and clicks in the modern church – people who will not fellowship outside of their little circles. The beginnings of division.
I remember growing up there was one large family with 3 generations and lots of children in each generation. I recall a lady speaking to my mom, or another woman in the church in front of me saying that group of families are such a snobby click – always having birthday parties and cookouts and not inviting anyone else. And that adult looked at the woman and said – they are all one family. Let me introduce you formally to them, because they will definitely invite you to something. Do not tolerate even the perception of division. As Paul write:

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”

Basically Paul is saying it is NOT about man but about God! They took their eyes off of the one in whose name they heard the word. Denominations are actually an abomination and have divided the church and have suppressed teachings.  If there was no such thing as denominations everyone would have heard all of the Bible. And do not tell me denominations and different churches do not suppress teachings. I once met a couple who were professing born again Christians but were never taught about the rapture. I always assume Christians have a basic understanding of the word of God. If this pandemic has done anything – it shut so many churches that people looked online for church and were exposed to so much more and are now mingling with others who have better understanding. Not to mention people coming into the kingdom for the first time. It might be time to explain more and assume it’s the first time everyone is hearing it.

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. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

The cross, aka the work of the cross which is our plan of salvation, is foolish to a world who doesn’t want to be saved and doesn’t believe they need salvation. We must first know we need saving before we can even accept it and it is hard for people to admit they are wrong, let alone humble themselves.
“But, I did my best.” Will not grant you access into heaven.

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

This year we are seeking Godly Wisdom and are reading the wisdom texts every weekend. It almost seems Paul is saying it is wrong to do. But not at all. We are to seek GODLY wisdom – not the wisdom of man. Seek godly council from man, not council from man. It is man’s council – man who trust in himself over God. It is the difference between, getting the word in your head and getting it in your heart. Which is why I often remind you all to think about what we read during the day and get it inside you!

22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

For the Jews seek a sign – Jesus told the Pharisees that even though they were seeking a sign, He would not give one to them – ironically He was one; fulfilling the prophecy and performing miracles all around them. What sign did they seek?  This is not saying that once we believe we shouldn’t seek for signs and wonders to come through us.  Because we definitely should seek that. BUT it is greater to seek our own and other’s salvations!

What verses 22 through 24 is saying is that some people come to church for one thing and others come for another. I have a friend who hates listening to preachers who are very charismatic.  He calls them cheer leaders. I have another who only wants a charismatic preacher. So when I share (online) with him or her I am selective who I share what with.  It is human nature to like different things – and we all have different learning styles. Paul is acknowledging it. BUT Paul says he (and those other leaders involved in this complaint) preach the unadulterated word. He is saying he is preaching to make God happy, not to make his audience happy. Not everyone in the church like or learns the same way and they are all one body, not divided – and are ok no matter what the style is as long as it is the truth unadulterated.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

You see it doesn’t matter what you want or how you want to hear it – God is in control and being preached. And if God does signs, cool. If God doesn’t do signs, cool. If God provides wisdom and insight, cool. And if not – we are cool with that as well – because even at God’s smallest, He is still bigger than we can imagine, and in control and working His plan. So we are to get on board even if we do not see signs or understand it. The signs and wonders are not for us anyway. They are to Glorify God, and therefore tools He uses to gain glory in situations, drawing men to Him. Same for wisdom – it is to glorify God as Solomon glorified God in His wisdom.

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

We are called – we hear that call somehow, some way, and we are drawn to the Lord. We answer the call learning He wants a relationship with us. Then we begin to get to know him through reading the Bible and praying (but mostly by reading). And then we learn we have a job to do: to go tell others about Jesus. And then we learn we are created with a purpose too – that purpose is to glorify the Lord. And that can really sum up the chapter – stop being divided by fulfilling what you are made to do which is to glorify the Lord.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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