Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘church’

Verses 3-4: “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

My wife attended a Christian high school, and she recalled a lesson she learned in class about God’s design for marriage. The speaker in the class described what would happen if you took 2 sheets of notebook paper and glued them together. After drying sufficiently, if you attempted to separate the papers, you couldn’t do so without tearing them. Each paper would wind up, at best, tearing off part of the other piece of paper, when they were able to be separated at all. You might say each sheet owned the other.

Obviously a great object lesson in “the two becoming one”. However, it also demonstrates the destructiveness of divorce. That’s why it is so important to enter marriage seriously and thoughtfully, putting God first in the relationship. Remember, it is God Who created marriage, and He meant it to last a lifetime. Husbands and wives today would do well to remember the above verses. If each partner in the relationship took seriously the “ownership” of each other, they would better strive to protect and to nurture that union. Marriage also is an analogy to Jesus Christ and the church; remember, He paid a huge price to buy our redemption and salvation; we need to remember as Christians just Who really should be “calling the shots” in our daily lives.

Something to think about.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Verse 6: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

A male church leader and a female church pianist once confessed to the pastor of an affair with each other (both were married to other spouses). The church was shocked; the pastor, with the support of the deacons, took appropriate action. The church leader stepped down from his leadership role as did the pianist from hers. They were both genuinely repentant and sought help in mending their marriages. In this manner, the church had to defend against the corruption of sin into its membership, and two families were ultimately restored.

Paul had an opposite problem here; it was reported to him that a brother in the Corinthian church was guilty of active sexual immorality. The difference here is, not only had the brother not repented of it and was still sinning, and not only had the Corinthian church not acted to discipline him, they actually were proud to the point of acceptance of it! (The verse quoted above is NKJV; NIV translation uses the phrase above “Your boasting is not good”.

Paul couldn’t believe his ears! Corinth historically was a city that had an open acceptance of loose and open sexual lifestyles (page 80, Deeper Discoveries, A. Sexual Immorality (5:1), in Holman’s New Testament Commentary of I & II Corinthians). Paul reminded them that the church, although ministering to sinners and unbelievers, is supposed to be different from the world. When people see the church tolerating sin that they supposedly are against, they cry “hypocrite!” It hurts the ministry of the Gospel when the church tolerates sin, worse when it brags about it! When ministering to a member about their sin, if they are unrepentant, the church has to take action. Sometimes that action is to dismiss them from the fellowship (in verse 5 of this passage, Paul calls on the church to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”). Hopefully when the fallen member comes to repentance, then we should be faithful to welcome them back.

Reading that passage about historical Corinth calls forth comparisons to the modern world and some churches we have today. We don’t need to let Satan poison the whole church with one little piece of bad “leaven”. We should always confess our sins to God and seek our church family’s help in repenting of that sin.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 2: “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

During the 2016 Presidential election, I heard a term that I was not familiar with: faithless elector. I was familiar with the term elector and the Electoral College, whose votes are the ones that determine the presidential and vice-presidential election. However, I had never heard of a “faithless elector”. According to Wikipedia:

“In United States presidential elections, a faithless elector is a member of the United States Electoral College who does not vote for the presidential or vice-presidential candidate for whom they had pledged to vote. That is, they break faith with the candidate they were pledged to and vote for another candidate, or fail to vote. A pledged elector is only considered a faithless elector by breaking their pledge; unpledged electors have no pledge to break.

Electors are typically chosen and nominated by a political party or the party’s presidential nominee: they are usually party members with a reputation for high loyalty to the party and its chosen candidate. Thus, a faithless elector runs the risk of party censure and political retaliation from their party, as well as potential legal penalties in some states. Candidates for elector are nominated by state political parties in the months prior to Election Day.” I found this at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faithless_elector .

Paul was stating here that Christian leaders should be considered “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God”. (verse 1) Paul then stressed that stewards need to be found faithful. According to the Holman New Testament Commentary on I & II Corinthians, page 60: “Stewards were high-ranking servants entrusted with the oversight of households. They were especially responsible for the management and distribution of household resources.” Paul used this office as an analogy for church leadership because both stewarded the secret things.”

You definitely would want someone trustworthy and faithful to be in charge of your affairs, especially your most closely-held and prized things. So, imagine how hurt a person is when they find someone that they trusted is faithless. I’m sure faithless electors have “lost the trust” of those people who thought that the electors would vote the way that they were elected to (whether that was the right choice or not…this isn’t a discussion about electors, per se). Imaging the brokenness of someone who is not faithful to someone else as they are supposed to be (marriage is the perfect example…the hurt that is felt when that trust is broken).

Thus, Paul’s stressing that a steward should be faithful is the point he makes here to the Corinthian church. Those Christian leaders had been faithful to the cause of Christ, and he wants the church to emulate that same type of faithfulness to Christ, too.

Something to think about, today as well. Like the song states “may all who come behind us find us faithful”.

Read Full Post »

Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.””
Ephesians 2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

The following dialogue comes from the new Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon, which Hanna-Barbera aired as part of the show 2 Stupid Dogs.

Secret Squirrel was locked up in a cell in a straitjacket. A microscopic menace named Quark had made it look like he was crazy so that he would be locked up. Quark was destroying massive buildings, to which Secret asked him: “how could a subatomic speck like you destroy all those structures?”

Quark: “oh, it’s so simple; I just pulled out the bottom atom!” (which he demonstrates by removing the bottom atom of the stool Secret had sat upon, causing it to crumble.)

After bragging about his plan to wipe out North America for his entertainment career, he escapes. Suddenly the wall falls down; there stands Secret’s faithful sidekick, Morocco Mole!

Secret: “Morocco!”
Morocco: “Secret! I knew you weren’t crazy. You’re only crazy about catching criminals!”
Secret: “Thanks, Morocco. By the way, how did you knock down that huge wall?”
Morocco: “Simple; I just pulled out the bottom brick! heh.” (showing Secret the bottom brick as he unties him.)

Now what that humorous cartoon points out is a very simple construction fact: most all structures have a dependent component that the rest of the building is fabricated upon. It’s known as the cornerstone in most buildings. Wikipedia defines a cornerstone as “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone)

My father, a retired brick mason, always started laying out a building by constructing a corner to build the intersecting walls off of; without that steady corner, the walls wouldn’t be sound enough.

What is Jesus without the church? Well, He is still the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, God; that doesn’t change. What is the church without Jesus? That’s the point in a nutshell. Without Jesus, the church would be like other religions that eventually cave in and collapse. It would be a shell, a sham, a house of cards that would fold under pressure.

Christian, remember today that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your faith; faith built upon such a Rock can stand up to anything.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 2: And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,”

God has blessed our church with a pastor; it has been approximately 17 months since our previous pastor was called to a church near where he grew up. We miss him and his family, but we knew that God was in the call and in the move. These last months have felt like we were in a wilderness; all we could do was pray and wait on God’s perfect timing in between visiting and interim preachers. We knew our pastor search committee was doing just that: praying and waiting on God’s timing. Of course, we didn’t know at the time that our new pastor was being led by God through a series of destinations that would bring him right where He wanted him to be. Now, we are at the beginning of what I pray will be a long relationship between pastor and church; I wondered if that’s how it felt when our previous pastor was first called to this church years ago. There were people here who were there for that previous beginning as they were for this new beginning.

Stephen is pointing that out to the council. The God of their fathers was there when He called Abraham to a place he’d never been, out of a land he called home. Abraham followed God’s command, not being able to see what was ahead, but trusting in God. Stephen is reminding the council that God has been, is, and ever will be. There’s more to the story.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

verse 1: “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Paul here is continuing his discourse on earthly bodies contrasted with resurrection bodies, according to my Bible footnote. This verse brings something additional in mind for me.

I used this verse in a devotion while on our most recent Carpenters for Christ mission trip. The church whom we were building a new sanctuary for, had lost their building to a lightning-strike-caused fire that pretty much gutted their original building. What was neat to marvel at, though, was the congregation’s attitude: when asked how the church was, they would say, “oh the church is doing fine and in good shape…our meeting house needs some work though.”

What a wonderful way to look at their situation. The building they worshipped in was “the meeting house”…what they called the church is truly that…the body of believers in Jesus Christ. Even if our meeting houses or earthly tents need some work or are looking worn, may His church continue to grow and thrive every day for Him.

Read Full Post »