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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Verses 8-9: “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

When she was a teenager, my wife had a principle that might seem strange to some. She would not go to the movies, even if there was one she wanted to see. She would wait for that movie to come out on video so she could see only that movie at her house. As a Christian, she was cognizant of the fact that someone seeing her go to a multi-screen theater might wonder if she was seeing a G-rated film or something rated worse. Even though she was confident in her salvation, she didn’t want to give the appearance that she watched movies that she shouldn’t, lest it hurt her witness to others. That’s a principle she’s kept to this day.

Paul here is cautioning the Corinthian church about eating food served at pagan temples (these temples also doubled as centers of civic activity). He explained that technically it didn’t matter, since idols were non-entities and there was only one true God. However, he cautioned the flock not to become “stumbling blocks” to weaker or new Christians, who might not fully reconcile what they saw with what they were told. Paul even concludes the chapter stating that he would never eat meat again if it caused his brother to stumble in their walk. As always, we Christians need to remember…we might be the only Jesus some people see today, so therefore let Jesus shine through your walk.

Something to think about.

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Verses 18-20: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I went to a military academy for high school. As a cadet officer, I worked in the office of the active-duty enlisted sergeants who were assigned as instructors at the academy. In working with them and talking with them, I learned a good many things, not the least of which was “don’t get into trouble”. We had one cadet, though, whose name was Jose; the sergeants liked him, despite his many times of breaking academy rules. One of them told me one day why Jose getting into trouble was different from other cadets getting into trouble. “It’s because he only gets himself in trouble, ” Sarge said. “He doesn’t pin the blame on anyone else, he doesn’t get others in trouble with him. The knucklehead only gets himself in trouble. Now, he’ll serve his punishment and pay his dues…and he’ll still go right back and do something bone-headed and get himself in trouble again. But he never drags anyone down with him.”

Paul hear states that “every sin that a man does is outside the body”…except for sexual immorality, which involves contaminating the body that Jesus bought “with a price”. When you buy something, you own it…it is yours! When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we surrender ourselves to His Lordship…soul, mind, and body. Why then would you do something to the body that belongs to someone else? Bad enough that you may damage your own possession, but damage something that is not yours?

Paul encourages the church to “glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. We might be the only witness for Christ that a lost person may see; don’t damage the impression you would leave on them.

Something to think about.

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Verse 7: “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another,. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

In our society, we’re taught and trained to win. Compete as hard as you can, show no weakness, go for the win. But the following story at this Reader’s Digest link is a heart-warming story about a football team that chose to give up a victory because it was the right thing to do. Read this story for yourself at https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/football-team-loses-on-purpose/ .

Why would Paul encourage the brethren at Corinth to just accept the wrong and not take their brother to court? Because it was the right thing to do. Defeating a fellow Christian and church member in a lawsuit wouldn’t further the church’s witness in the community. It would only hurt it. It was better, in Paul’s advice, to just accept the wrong, to let themselves be cheated, than to bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, the world is watching. Sometimes, you have to “take one for the team” to ultimately win.

Something to think about.

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Verse 16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

What does it mean to treat your body, to treat yourself, as a temple of God?

Well, for instance, how convincing is it to watch a physical fitness instructional show, and the “expert” who is supposed to have been doing the exercise all this time…doesn’t look like the exercises did them any good? (Now, I’m not talking about other people behind the instructor who are beginners or intermediates…but you expect the expert to look like that all the physical fitness works!)

In the Scooby-Doo episode “Spooky Space Kook”, the gang was at an abandoned airfield, looking for the outer-space ghost. Shaggy peered into a window of a building that the ghost’s footprints led into. When Fred and Velma asked what he saw in the window, Shaggy said, “Doesn’t matter anyway…the windows are too dirty to see into.”

You’ve often heard me quote that sometimes, “we are the only Jesus some people see”. Being a temple of God, the Lord can’t shine through us without “clean windows”. We are changed by Jesus coming into our lives…do we show it? Unless we let Him “clean the windows” from the inside, He can’t shine through to let everyone see Him in us. (My thanks to my wife for providing that analogy!)

So, are you living for Jesus today? Do others see a temple…or an old building with dirty windows?

Something to think about.

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Verse 9: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”

The first time our Carpenters for Christ group had heard of the Church of the Brethren, it was on a mission trip to help a COTB church in Erwin, TN. One of the church members was telling us about the history of the church, and said something that struck me interesting. Whereas a lot of us call the building we worship in “the church”, the congregation up there called it “the meeting house”. The church member said it is because the congregation is the church…and he is right.

We may worship in a building, but God’s people are the church. The day after the deadly tornadoes that struck North Alabama some years back, one of our CFC “churches” was worshipping on a slab that was the only thing left of their “meeting house”. But they worshipped and praised God; as I recall, there were even some baptisms that day that had to take place in a church member’s pool!

In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Sometimes it’s good to bring a visitor to the meeting house, but if you can’t bring them to the house, take the church to them! The church is to serve God! We are to be God’s tools to deliver the Gospel and to minister and serve others.

I close today with a good quote from our pastor, Bro. M. R. Hamilton: “if you don’t like the lot in your life…build a service station on it!”

Something to think about.

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Verse 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;”

A car racer, Cliff Steele, has a freak accident and his brain is surgically placed in a nigh invulnerable robot body.
A test pilot, Larry Trainor, has a freak accident, requiring him to be wrapped in radiation-proof bandages to contain the alien being that has bonded with him.
A talented, athletic, beautiful actress named Rita Farr has a freak accident with strange volcanic gases, giving her size changing abilities.

All of them considered freaks; but Niles Caulder bonds them together into a team to protect the world…a team called…the Doom Patrol.

5 teenagers with various mutations are recruited to the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. One has wings, one has optic blast vision, one can form ice, one has beast-like strength and agility, and one has telekinesis. Feared by the world, these mutants will become mankind’s protectors…the X-Men.

In both instances, DC Comics and Marvel Comics created magazines about outcasts; these outcasts became unlikely heroes and the reading public loved them. Even today, some of these heroes exist now on the big screen of movies. But if you were to pick some type of superheroes to be easily accepted and popular, would you have picked these? Even a young Stan Lee had to convince his bosses when he was first starting out to give him a chance with a teenager who wasn’t a sidekick…a teenager who would become Spider-Man!

Paul is reminding the Corinthian church that God has picked the least likely choices (by man’s standards) to spread the Gospel, to show The Way. Think about Jesus’s disciples: were they all-star teams of leaders with great talent sets? Were they the Justice League or the Avengers?

No, their occupations were:
Fishermen
Tax Collector
Zealot
Tradesmen
And some we don’t even know what they did…they were just called by Jesus.
(Found this info at https://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/occupations-of-the-12-disciples-faq.htm)

The world would look at them and say “They’re going to help change the world?” Jesus looked at them and said, “Come, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Something to think about.

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John 8: 56-58: “”Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.””

In Exodus 3:13-15, Moses is at the burning bush, receiving his “marching orders” from God. When Moses asked God what to say when he tells the children of Israel that the God of your fathers has sent me to you (knowing that they would ask what His name was), God said “I AM WHO I AM.” In verse 14, the Bible states: “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.”

I recall reading the information at the following website, https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-am-who-i-am. John Piper shared the following insight:
The Most Important Name for God in the Old Testament
The most common and the most important name for God in the Old Testament is a name that in our English versions never even gets translated. Whenever you see the word LORD in all capital letters, you know that this name is behind it. In Hebrew, the name had four letters — YHWH — and may have been pronounced something like Yahweh. The Jews came to regard this word with such reverence that they would never take it upon their lips, lest they inadvertently take the name in vain. So whenever they came to this name in their reading, they pronounced the word adonai which means my lord. The English versions have basically followed the same pattern. They translate the proper name Yahweh with the word LORD in all caps.”

Wow. Powerful. Contrast that with today’s society, where it seems like a lot of folks take God’s name flippantly, irreverently, and in vain. Sad.

So, when Jesus makes this statement to the Jews (who couldn’t fathom how Jesus knew Abraham), and says, “before Abraham was, I AM”, there is NO doubt as to what He is telling them…He is God.

As I mentioned at the outset, I was only going to be sharing insights God showed me on some of His names. This is the last one for this study. However, when you sum it all up, Jesus is simply I AM. He is God! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He simply…IS.

The next study we’ll be doing will be revisiting a favorite book of mine that we have walked through before. Be in prayer for me, and check back in a while, as we began a return visit to 1 and 2 Corinthians.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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