1 Corinthians 16.13f

Title: Where have all the men gone?

Text: 1 Corinthians 16.13f

Intro: Where have all the men gone?

I hope I do not offend you. That is not my intent, but I can see from the start that the Gospel is offensive and I know some of you may feel slighted – when I say some of you, I mean the women. Please hear my heart. This message is intended for the male segment of our population. Understand, women, you raise men. Men cannot become men without the influence you bring. But today, please hear my heart and my alarm when I consider our text and ask: Where have all the men gone?

We find ourselves in 1 Corinthians 16.13f. As Paul is closing out his letter, he has 5 commands he presents to the Corinthian men. His address at this moment is to the men. His Command is clear, and he minces no words. It is a good time for us to do the same. Again, this message is for all of us, but it is directed mainly toward men.

The Feminist movements of the late 1800s and the 1960s have caused our men to cower. The moral revolution of the same period, intended to liberate women, has instead, imprisoned the man and hurt the woman. Sure, there are some wonderful advances for women (job opportunities, Title IX, etc.). I recognize that, but overall – those movements have left men confused as to what they should be, and how they should act.

Ben Shapiro, when asked about due process and sexual assault and how we are to basically believe women without due process (Think Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh) replied:

Ben Shapiro: The Left destroyed mores with regard to the relation of traditional sexes. So, the original idea was that men were supposed to act with honor and chivalry when protecting women. And women were supposed to look for, for example, relationships just as men were. Sexual activity was supposed to be confined, that was ideal, it was supposed to be confined to committed relationships, particularly marriage. Not everybody lived up to that, but a huge number of people did. In fact, once people got pregnant, people basically got married. There are studies from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that showed a lot of 7-month pregnancies.

When you don’t teach men to protect women, you get men who will victimize women. And when you don’t teach women that they ought to cherish men who are responsible and good, all you end up doing is incentivizing bad male behavior.

The Feminist movement was not wrong when it said men are acting like pigs. They were wrong when they said women also ought to act like pigs, too and that this is a solution to our problem. 

After 50 years of this 2nd wave of feminism, the young men of our world have abdicated their roles and chosen to no longer try or to be responsible. They are not pursuing a college education. They are not getting the training they need to care for a family. They are found in their rooms trying to conquer levels or stages in video games, instead of trying to conquer a young woman’s heart or attain some type of training to make a living and provide for their families.

Boys are told that they can no longer be boys. In schools and churches, they are told to sit and be idle. If they’re too rambunctious, they are given medication to slow them down and make them behave. There is a movement amongst us to have gender roles removed – let me correct that, to have gender removed from society. And the world is buying it. There are young men now, who identify as female and enter into physical competitions against females – yet, they are biologically male.

And, instead of identifying this as a mental illness, the world is playing this fantasy game with them. You and I are encouraged to play along. Use the names they choose. Use the pronouns or made-up words they choose.

Ill.: The Air Force Academy this past week, instituted new policies for their cadets on using woke language. No longer can you ask a soldier or a sailor if they got a letter from ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. You must use the gender-neutral term, ‘parents’. The following is posted in an article on Foxnews.com from the orientation at the Air Force Academy.

Have you seen the recruiting commercials the Russians are using and the most recent US Army recruiting ads? It is unbelievable the difference. Our US Army recruitment video appeals to those who wish to embrace the LGBTQ+ lifestyle and agenda. The US Army video shows us a girl and they never show her doing her job or any part of her life in reality. They only show a cartoon. The Russian military recruitment video shows a young man and they show him doing his job, going through his physical training, and jumping out of an airplane. When you watch the videos, side by side, it is clear that we need to begin learning how to speak Russian. We’re going to get… We’re doomed.

No! It’s time. It’s time to wake up and raise up our boys to be men. Godly men, men who care, who protect and defend a woman. I saw a video recently of a young woman on the subway in NYC. She was being harassed, mistreated, and abused by a teen thug – a male. There were other men on the subway, but they just looked the other way while this young man slapped and abused her.

Where have all the men gone?

Let’s read our text together. Paul is very clear here when he addresses the men: 1 Cor 16.13f; 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Paul is using ‘military language’ here. It is clear in the 1st 4 commands. I could say some phrases from this pulpit this morning – some of you might catch them and others might not, but every man who served in the armed forces would catch those phrases – and know what I meant. There are phrases specific to the Army, the Marines, etc.

Paul is using language here that demonstrates this is a battle!

I. Be Watchful

Ill.: Someone has rightly said in a secular sense that the world can be divided into three categories: the few who make things happen, the many who watch things happen, and the vast majority who have no idea what in the world is happening.

Real men don’t just watch events unfold and they aren’t aloof to what’s happening. Real men engage. They may look like they’re just sitting on a wall, but they’re watching, observing, and engaging. Like a sentry on duty. You might not even know they’re there.

exp.: I’ve told you this before, this is the word from which we get our name “Gregory”. Actually, the Spanish transliteration is spot on with the Greek: Gregorio. Be Watchful! The imagery is of someone standing guard – maybe on a wall, maybe in the field, but they are on guard, nonetheless.

Ill.: I’ll never forget hiding in my barricaded fortress pulling guard duty in the middle of the woods. We were out in the middle of nowhere and the night was as dark as the coffee I learned to drink in the Army. There was no moon. I could barely make out the path, but it was just pure darkness in the trees.

We didn’t have night vision goggles. All I had were my ears. My responsibility was to be on the lookout for anyone coming. If I heard someone, I had to holler out: Halt, who goes there? Someone would identify himself and or themselves (there were no women). I would ask for the password. And if they didn’t know the password – the night would light up with machine gun fire.

I had no idea if anyone was trying to sneak up on us and capture our post. There were guys sleeping – relying on me. I did not want to be the guy who got his squad captured. Talk about the ultimate humiliation! You never live down being the guy who failed to protect his squad.

Paul is using this kind of language. You might find this translated – stay awake! That was the thought behind the command. That is what it meant. During the watch of the night, as boredom set in, one might tend to close his eyes… just for a moment. But don’t you do it! Stay awake! Be watchful!

app.: Paul is warning the men in the church to stay awake, be Alert, and keep a watchful eye out for the enemy is near. He prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour! He wants to destroy the church – but we must not let that happen – not on our watch! Men, this is on us!

II. Stand firm in the faith

exp.: Don’t act like you’ve not heard this before. It’s been used quite a bit over the past month. We first saw it back in 10.12 – where Paul issues the warning – Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. It is the context of chapter 15. We see it in v 1 – Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand. He employs our previous terminology, Watch Out, Stay awake in 15.34 – 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. And he comes back to this command to stand in 15.58: 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

III. Act like men

exp.: one word in the Gk; Andre or Andrew. We have this word in English, but for us, it is simply a noun: man. In the Gk, though, it is a verb – the verb, man. Kind of hard to translate that word because it doesn’t exist in English. We basically verbalize our nouns. Hence, act like men; behave like men; man up! But even that doesn’t make sense, because we really don’t know anymore what a man is supposed to act like! And there are two good reasons:

  1. In our lifetimes and in the generations before us, Men were poor examples or they were absent.
  2. With the feminist movements (late 1800’s/1960’s), men gave up and gave over their responsibilities.

This verb appears in the NT only here. But it appears multiple times in the OT. Most famously and repeated in: Be strong and courageous (Deut/Joshua). He is telling them, “when you go into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, be strong and act like men!” i.e.: The opposite of how their Fathers and grandfathers acted the first time they came to the Holy Land.

Paul’s understanding of what it means to “be a man” comes from the O.T. – His Scriptures. He employs language and grammar he is familiar with. Paul is echoing familiar passages such as:

  • 1 Samuel 4.9: Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”… Order: Take courage  (vb: strength) , and be men (vb: man),
  • 2 Samuel 10.12: 12 Be of good courage (vb: man), and let us be courageous (vb: strength) for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” Order is more like 1 Cor 16.13 – Be of good courage (vb: man), and let us be courageous (vb: strength) for our people.
  • Psalm 31.23f in the last three commands of 16.13f. The themes of pride, shame, and love all emphasize what Paul has been teaching the Corinthians So, alluding to Psalm 31 would be an appropriate fit.

Ps 31.23f reads: Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord,

Here we see the three commands in the LXX that we find in our text: Love, Act like men (Be strong), and Be strong (Courage of heart). With the context of 1 Corinthians dealing with pride & shame & love and relationships, Psalm 31 just might have been on his mind when he wrote this conclusion to his letter.

But what I want you to see is that translating these things is hard. Sometimes, you’re just translating an idea. Like the idea of the noun, ‘man’ turned into a verb!

I’m reminded of when David challenged his son, Solomon with the charge in 1 Kings 2.2:“I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…

David dies and Solomon has to ‘man up’ – he defends his throne and brings retribution to those who stood against his father. He has to put men to death. Those are tough decisions. He gives some of those men chances, but those men don’t take advantage of those chances – and they reap the consequences – they die.

So, what does it mean to “be” a man? Well, taking it from the OT, it means “to be brave” or “be strong in the face of adversity”, to show courage. Do you remember earlier when I said there was a video of a man on YouTube who was mistreating a woman? And there were men there, but they just turned away and didn’t come to her defense or protect her? That is the opposite of what it means to be a man. Those men behaved in a way that demonstrated their confusion. Maybe they were scared, but maybe they were thinking the way they’ve been taught – women are basically men and can take care of themselves.

And what does that look like to “act like men”? In these verses, we see courage in the face of adversity, but I think there is more:

1st, Character. Character is a trait in itself. It isn’t something you add or learn. It is revealed in those times of adversity. There is no such thing as bad character. You either have Character or you don’t. It is there or it is lacking. Some men lack character. Webster defines character as: moral excellence and integrity.

Chuck Colson, in a speech some years ago, stated: All of you know that I spent my life, the last 35 years going into prisons. I love it. I have a passion for it: to bring the Gospel to prisoners who are absolutely loved. But I discovered early on that the reason the prisons were being filled wasn’t all the sociological theories about crime that we hear generally. It was the fact studied at Harvard in 1986 by two great social scientists: the lack of moral training during the morally formative years.

It hit me that we are raising a generation that lacks male role models. The family has broken down. These kids aren’t learning character. Where does character come from? It comes from habits that you learn in the family first. That’s the first basic structure that Aristotle once said is the first school of human instruction. It comes from associations that you become part of, where you find your identity—you find role models and other people. That’s how character forms.

2nd, acting like men means stepping up. We see that in Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel. Even after they enter the Land, we see it in David, and in his challenge to his son, Solomon. As time went by, the Israelites failed to be men when times of struggle arose. In some instances, they vacated their responsibilities. Women and children were left to play the part of men.

The Lord warned the Israelites through Isaiah, that when men fail to be men, he will bring women and children to lead them. We’ve identified women who led Israel in Scripture. That isn’t a mandate to elect women to lead you. That is an indictment against a people who have rejected God’s leadership by failing to follow him! Isaiah 3.1-12: the sin of omission has led the people of Israel to the brink of destruction. The men have given up their leadership roles. Instead, they boast about the sin of Sodom (that’s homosexuality; think LGBTQ+). With the abdication of their roles in leadership and responsibility, infants and women will now rule over them. That is their lot – a lot given to them of their own choosing.

This is happening before our very eyes! Kamala Harris this past week advocated for children to have a voice in government. What? The prophecy of Isaiah against the Israelites is becoming a reality in the United States of America!

Men, act like men! That doesn’t mean being a bruit or a tyrannical ruler in your home or office. It means putting God first. It means putting your wife first and your children next. It means standing up and leading your family with character, integrity, and moral excellence. It means being courageous in the face of adversity.

t.s.: and it means… number four

IV. Be Strong

Exp.: Young men, you don’t gain strength from Video games. It comes from mowing and raking and lifting and carrying and swinging and the list goes on. It is physical strength. It is also an emotional strength. It is keeping your head when things are in chaos. It is trusting the Lord in the midst of the storm and doing all you can do in that process. I love the old adage: work like it all depends on you, but pray like it all depends on God. This comes out so well in the final command:

V. Do all you do in Love.

Exp.: Do everything in love. Let love be your motivation. Dads, discipline in love; moms, teach in love; people, serve in love.

What should you do? Southern Seminary put out a book: A Guide to Biblical Manhood. I highly recommend it to all men. In it, they list 25 things every man should teach a boy.

Ill.: 25 things every man should teach a boy…

Conclusion: Max Sherman was an unknown energy efficiency scientist until he ran some tests on an iconic product. As a specialist in examining the effectiveness of sealants within heating and air conditioning systems, he made a startling discovery that he reported in a small circulation publication, Home Energy Magazine. His finding, however, was picked up by USA Today, then the Wall Street Journal, and then a frenzy of media outlets.

His discovery was that most duct sealants were relatively effective with one notable exception: duct tape. Sherman reported that duct tape “failed reliably and often quite catastrophically” when applied to duct systems.

He blogged about the kinds of questions he started getting regularly along with his routine answers.

  1. Question number one: how did duct tape get its name? Sherman: I don’t know.
  2. Question number two: what can you use it for? Sherman: anything but ducts.
  3. Question number three: do you use duct tape: Sherman: all the time, just not on ducts.

What made Sherman’s story so newsworthy is the incessant joking that surrounds duct tape and how it’s thought to be the stuff that holds the whole world together. “Popular culture abounds with uses for duct tape: duct tape calendars, books like 101 Uses for Duct Tape, and more,” stated Max’s report, “but lab experiments have finally proved that duct tape, as it is generally used, should not be used to seal ducts.”

Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas wrote that story (Biblical Manhood) and then they conclude: And so we find that duct tape is good for many applications but cannot fulfill its original purpose – what it was created for and what it was named after. The irony of the naming and usage of duct tape is the same irony that is played out in men’s lives across the nation week after week. There‘s a lot men can do, but they are struggling to do what they were created for.

If ever there was a time for men to step up and be men, it is now! Not to lord their responsibility over their families, their church and their world. But, in love, to step up and be who they were created to be. Protect, Provide, Lead out! Men, will you stand? Boys, will you stand, too?

Father, I pray for our men, that they will rise up and fulfill the calling on their lives to be men. May we as men treat our women and all women with the dignity and respect they deserve. May we treat our daughters as young women, so they’ll know what a real man is (and what to look for in a mate). Father, helps us to show the way by the lives we live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Men, Be watchful and stay awake, Stand firm in the faith, Act like men, and Be strong. Do everything in love.

Let’s all stand for the Blessing & Benediction: 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13.20f

Advertisement

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Family, Gay Marriage, Homosexuality, Leadership, Purpose, Scripture, Sermon

1 Corinthians 16.1-11

Title: The Work of the Church (Part 2)

Text: 1 Cor 15:58-16:11

Introduction: We look once again to the letter of 1st Corinthians. He loved them dearly and wanted to address the struggles and issues they faced as a body of believers. And man, did they have a lot of problems! The beginning of this letter appears to address issues Paul wanted to confront. Beginning in chapter 7, it appears that Paul is answering questions they had sent them. These questions could have come up from everyday problems in the church and I’m sure some come from trying to understand his previous letter. Historically, we know there were at least 4 letters written by Paul to the Corinthian believers. And from all of this information, we know they had a lot of problems.

In chapter 15, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be the church – to remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Let the phrase resonate in your mind… the work of the Lord. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Hence, the title of my message this week: The Work of the Church.

It is a great ending to all areas of focus (foci, say foes-eye):

Our focus in the 1st part of 1 Corinthians has been to observe the blessings of the church in Christ: Blessings, Unity, Leadership, and Relationships. And really, if you go back through, you could make an argument that it really has all been about relationships. Whereas the previous sections in this letter have dealt with Freedom in Christ and a believer’s responsibility to exercise his or her freedom with others in mind, Paul now reigns them in and reminds them of the traditions they’ve learned. And he commends them for keeping some of those traditions and later says I can’t commend you for these others that you haven’t kept.

In the  2nd part – A Focus on Order, specifically, Order in Worship.  rd v2.

       So, what were these traditions? Let me outline the broader picture of order within worship by quickly looking over the next few chapters. Let me show you what I mean. Head Coverings in Worship (11.2-16), The Lord’s Supper (11.17-34), Exercise of Spiritual Gifts (12-14), and remaining steadfast, and immovable in the face of persecution because of the hope we have in our future resurrection (15).

Really, it’s been about Relationships. Even as we remain faithful and steadfast, people see us and get saved – relationships. That’s how Paul concludes 15 with One command: be. He’s telling them to be the church! We see something similar in 16.13; Act like who you are!

The Command (15:58)

So, you have this set of instructions for life as believers. So now – act like it. Then in chapter 16, Paul gives some practical steps in accomplishing this feat – of acting of being the church. He calls it in 15.58 – ‘the work of the Lord’ and ‘your labor’.

app.: So, what does Paul do after this charge? He gives some insight into what the work of the Lord is all about! Paul presents Six Principles for Christian Work:

t.s.: What must one do to accomplish the work of the church? 1st,

I. Don’t Be Self-Centered (16:1-4)

exp.: Now concerning; cf.: 7.1, 25; 8.1; 12.1; 16.1; the collection; specifically, for the saints. Paul is very specific with them about how to do this… Note the purpose: periodically and in proportion to your situation, plan to present a gift. And when I come to you, perform your service.

app.: Something that will really help advance the work of the church is to not be self-centered. But rather, be outward-focused!

t.s.: 2nd, when it comes to your work – you need a vision: rd 5

II. Begin with a Vision (5)

exp.: rd v 5; I will visit you… that’s the vision; there is more here, but that in a nutshell is the vision – he wants to go to Corinth (continue reading), and his plan is to go through Macedonia to get there.

ill.: I think about this as Pastor and my responsibility to cast vision and purpose. But what about you? How does your work in the church – that is, your smaller ministry in the overall, all-encompassing vision of Tarpley – how does your work fit? What is your vision? Can it be greater? Lisa, have you thought about streaming your Bible Studies on Facebook? YouTube? Penny, Tammy, Karen: As you consider OCC, how could we expand that ministry? Could we engage some of our businesses to get involved? Would those company owners, managers, and CEOs allow us to invite their employees to fill a shoe box of OCC? The Country Store, Covenant Services, Tauren, Bandera Electric Coop, TVFD? How can you expand your ministry?

app.: Let the work you do in the church have a vision. Our question should be: what would God have to be doing right now!

t.s.: Don’t be Self-Centered, but have a Vision; 3rd, Be Flexible

III. Be Flexible (6)

exp.: rd v 6; perhaps I might stay or maybe I might; sometimes the season might cause us to change our plans; wherever I go; Lanny Bridges (GABC): 9th Beatitude: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.

ill.: Consider Paul’s experiences: Paul experienced plenty of difficulties:

  • Acts 16:7f – And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
  • Romans 1:13 – 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2.17f – 17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.

app.: Here is the point, Satan will not make this an easy road to journey down! Satan puts up roadblocks and hinders us from moving forward, But he can only be as successful as God allows; And when we get knocked down. Get back up! we must be steadfast – be immovable; abounding in His work; knowing it isn’t in vain;

t.s.: Don’t be Self Centered; Have a Vision; Be Flexible; #4 – Be Committed!

IV. Be Committed!

exp.: rd v 7; you cannot disciple someone in passing! It takes time; I think we confuse programs with discipleship. We miss that or confuse those two. If you run a program, then it is done. But discipleship is about investing in people. That is why Paul said – rd 1 Thess 2:8 – We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives because you had become dear to us. CSB – our own lives.

ill.: Bryan Duncan had an album release back in the late ’80s, early 90’s entitled: Have yourself committed!  

Lisa and I watched a TV series from 30 years ago this past week. Pride and Prejudice. The basic idea behind the main character was that she formed judgments based on false information. When she took the time to get to know the male lead character, she found her first impression wrong and falsely formed the lies of someone else – whom she didn’t really know either.

I was reminded this week of a woman who came to Choir practice. We met in the hall outside the worship center as we waited for our Pastor to finish up his WEBS with members. I had come from the Youth Bible Study, and she was just getting there from … well, I don’t know. I greeted her as usual – she and her husband were becoming good friends to me and Lisa.

She seemed cold and indifferent toward me. And, as I had a tendency to do, I thought she might be cold and quiet toward me because I had done something wrong. What had I said or done to cause her silence toward me? Well, our pastor didn’t end his study on time… he just kept going! Don’t you just hate that when the pastor drones on and on and won’t land the plane? You’re like, oh, he’s coming in to land the plane! And Nope, he just hits the engines and starts circling the runway again!

Anyway, the silence was too much. I’m sure she noticed that her coldness to me was impacting this waiting. And then she said that she and her husband had just been fighting.

What a teaching moment for me, a moment I’ve never forgotten. All of the sudden, I didn’t want the Pastor’s Bible Study to end. I wanted to encourage her. I also realized that not everything is about me! She was going through something, and she needed encouragement, a kind word, and as it would end up – some godly counsel.

Although we were very young, Lisa and I had more experience walking with Christ than our friends. As a matter of fact, we became such great friends because we shared life together. It might sound like I’m bragging. But that isn’t my intention. There were multiple times in those early years when Lisa and I, both together with them, and apart (Lisa with her and I with him), where discipleship and growth occurred.  

app.: The Work of the church – making disciples, calls for commitment, calls for investment.

t.s.: But can I say, it won’t always be easy? Don’t Be Self-Centered, Have a Vision, Be Flexible, Be Committed, and # 5, Always Anticipate Opposition; rd v 8-9

V. Anticipate Opposition (8-9)

exp.: Listen, there are many adversaries; those you see and who are outspoken, and those you don’t who speak behind your back; there are those in the church and those outside the church. The opposition appears to be physical, but it is grounded in spiritual warfare.

ill.: Listen, if you’re looking for a church that doesn’t have opposition – what you’ll find isn’t really a church; J. MacArthur said, If you find a place that doesn’t have any problems, you’re not needed there! G. Campbell Morgan said: If you have no opposition in the place you’re serving, then you’re serving in the wrong place.

app.: You are a problem solver: Christ blesses a body with you because you have something to offer. You have something to offer that blesses this body! Satan wants to destroy this body of believers! But he can’t, so he’ll discourage and disrupt all he can.

t.s.: Finally, what do we see here concerning Paul and his work for the Lord? #6…

VI. It takes teamwork (10-11)

exp.: rd v 10-11; multiple players, each having a key role; sometimes, we think someone is too immature or has failed us before, but the truth is that people change; forgiveness is a key component in this Christian Faith!

ill.: The most famous story is of John Mark, who abandoned Paul and Barnabas when he was younger, Acts 13:13; But we see that he was of value to Paul in later years, 2 Tim. 4:11; 1 Pet 5:13; the Gospel of Mark

app.: As God’s Chosen People we must Not Be Self Centered. But rather, Have a Vision and Direction. Be Flexible and Committed. We must Always Anticipate Opposition and work together as a team – as one man contending for the faith of the Gospel.

t.s.: That demonstrates our unity…

««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««

Conclusion: So, what are our Take-a-ways:

Really, just one: Come back to the Vision. Compare your ministry with the Vision. Make sure you’re not leading folks away from the direction the church is going. Remember the purpose/vision statement?

The purposes of this body are declared to be:

1)  To glorify God through maintaining services both devotional and for public worship. We do what we do for God’s glory first and foremost.

2)  To proclaim earnestly the gospel message and to urge its personal acceptance.

3)  To cooperate by prayer, gift, and service in an effort to promote the grace of Christ

    throughout the world.

  1. We do this through discipleship – evangelizing the lost and teaching the Word.
  2. We do this through ministry and mission.

3 G’s: Glory, Gospel, Grace

Glorifying God; Proclaiming The Gospel; Extending His Grace to others

Blessing & Benediction: 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13.20f

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Christian Living, Discipleship, Scripture

1 Cor 15.58-16.4

Title: The Work of the Church: Six Principles for Christian Work (Part 1)

Text: 1 Cor 15:58-16:4

Introduction: We look this morning to the letter of 1st Corinthians. In chapter 5, verse 9, Paul mentions that this isn’t the first time he’s written to them. He loved them dearly and wanted to address the struggles and issues they faced as a body of believers. And man, did they have a lot of problems! The beginning of this letter appears to address issues Paul wanted to confront. Beginning in chapter 7, it appears that Paul is answering questions they had sent them. These questions could have come up from everyday problems in the church and I’m sure some come from trying to understand his previous letter. Historically, we know there were at least 4 letters written by Paul to the Corinthian believers. And from all this information, we know they had a lot of problems.

More specifically, in chapter 15, Paul is addressing the resurrection of Christ and the hope we have of our own resurrection when we die. And then in v 58, he gives them a charge – a command, in light of their hope as members of the Body of Christ: 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Hence, the title of my message this week: The Work of the Church.

It is a great ending to all areas of focus (foci):

Our focus in the 1st part of 1 Corinthians has been to observe the blessings of the church in Christ: Blessings, Unity, Leadership, and Relationships. And really, if you go back through, you could make an argument that it really has all been about relationships. Whereas the previous sections in this letter have dealt with Freedom in Christ and a believer’s responsibility to exercise his or her freedom with others in mind, Paul now reigns them in and reminds them of the traditions they’ve learned. And he commends them for keeping some of those traditions and later says I can’t commend you for these others that you haven’t kept.

In the  2nd part – A Focus on Order, specifically, Order in Worship.  rd v2.

         So, what were these traditions? Let me outline the broader picture of order within worship by quickly looking over the next few chapters. Let me show you what I mean. Head Coverings in Worship (11.2-16), The Lord’s Supper (11.17-34), Exercise of Spiritual Gifts (12-14), and remaining steadfast, and immovable in the face of persecution because of the hope we have in our future resurrection (15).

Really, it’s been about Relationships. Even as we remain faithful and steadfast, people see us and get saved – relationships. That’s how Paul concludes 15 with One command: be. He’s telling them to be the church! We see something similar in 16.13; Act like who you are!

The Command (15:58)

So, you have this set of instructions for life as believers. So now – act like it. Then in chapter 16, Paul gives some practical steps in accomplishing this feat – of acting of being the church. He calls it in 15.58 – ‘the work of the Lord’ and ‘your labor’.

app.: So, what does Paul do after this charge? He gives some insight into what the work of the Lord is all about! What must one do to accomplish the work of the church? Well, Paul gives us 6 principles to live by; however, this morning, we’ll only look at the first one. We’ll pick up with 2-6 next week.  

t.s.: What must one do to accomplish the work of the church? 1st,

  1. Don’t Be Self-Centered (16:1-4)

exp.: Now concerning; cf.: 7.1, 25; 8.1; 12.1; 16.1; the collection; specifically, for the saints. He’s speaking of a specific ministry opportunity that has been a focus for them. He tells us more in v1; as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. Cf.: Gal 2.10; Romans 15.23-28; Acts 20.4-6

How to not be “Self-Centered”: focus your ministry on others.

ill.: Having a nice facility in which to worship is wonderful. I love pretty much everything about our worship center. It is cooled or warmed for comfort. The seats are designed for comfort. There are screens to aid in the process for your viewing pleasure. Those of us on stage have one, too! We have a big, beautiful piano. A great sound system. The list goes on. I’m glad we have these nice amenities. We have a security system in place for your protection – and people working that security system. But there comes a moment when we must turn our focus on ourselves and begin to accomplish the work we’ve been called to do. What we’re doing here at this moment isn’t the Great Commission. He didn’t say, “Go and build buildings for yourselves.” He said, “Go and make disciples…”  

Paul is very specific with them about how to do this. In 16.1-4, Paul gives 5 Practical Ideas for Giving.

When you consider giving,

A. Note the Purpose (1)

exp.: People support good causes. They don’t just throw money down the drain. Here, Paul’s intention had been set forth before them; v1; the collection for the saints; there was a need in Jerusalem. Famine and hard times, as well as persecution, had created a financial crisis.

Note: This passage is about giving to mission/ministry, something above and beyond the tithe. Typically, a person/family tithes out of abundance with all God blesses them. Those monies are used in your local church. Other offerings/gifts are taken up for special ministries and missions. Lottie Moon is a great example. Annie Armstrong. The youth going on a trip. A couple going on a mission trip.

ill.: We do have great ministry and mission here. I love what was accomplished this past weekend. And, next year, I’d love to step it up a notch. But I also think it is time we look out into the world. There are so many who don’t know Jesus and have never even heard the name. Wouldn’t it be nice if we, that people at Tarpley, adopted a people group that is unreached and unengaged?

Define:

  • What is a people group?
    • “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance” (Source: 1982 Lausanne Committee Chicago meeting.)
    • In most parts of the world lack of understandability acts as the main barrier and it is appropriate to define people groups primarily by language, with the possibility of sub-divisions based on dialect or cultural variations. Such a list may be referred to as an ethnolinguistic list of peoples.
  • An Unreached People Group means that less than 2% of the people group are believers. For example the Deaf Community.
  • An Unengaged People Group means that there is no work among those people. No church, No missionary, No Bible Study.

app.: Wouldn’t that be something wonderful to do, as a church? Just on our own? Pray about who in the world is unreached and unengaged. Don’t worry about where they are, or how hard it would be to reach them. Just begin praying. God will supply all of our needs in accomplishing this mission. If, indeed, it is him calling!

t.s.: Have a purpose: 2nd, Look at how Paul says to do this:

B. Set aside these gifts in a Periodic Fashion (2a)

exp.: rd v 2a; on the 1st day of every week; That was when they would meet together – like us! They would come together for worship; They could give toward that mission or ministry every Sunday. Consider how that is for us: For many of them, they got paid at the end of the day. For us, we usually have a payday; That might be every Friday, or 2x’s a month, say the 15th and 30th; Some folks get paid once a month; That’s how we took our pay when I was in the military. Depending on your situation, you might only get paid after you bring in your crops or take your cattle to auction. If you get paid every qtr, your paycheck is a lot larger than someone who gets paid weekly.

ill.:

app.: But the principle is the same: when you get paid, set aside some of your money.

t.s.: But, whatever your schedule, at that time, Paul says…

C. Your gift should be Proportionate (2b)

exp.: rd v 2b; set something aside; how much? as he may prosper;

ill.: I was thinking about this as the rain fell this past week. Not everyone got the same amount of rain. And so, it is with people. People prosper at different rates. Sometimes God blesses folks with money they weren’t expecting. The Lord blesses the work of some financially. Some are greater than others. Added to this, some folks may make more money at different times of the year. Insurance adjusters rake in the dough during disasters. But not so much when there are no storms to be chasing. Ranchers, when they bring their cattle to auction; Farmers, when they harvest their grain or fruit, or whatever their crops are – and bring them to their auction, market, gin, or processing plant.

app.: Thus, should our giving be: proportionate to our income.

t.s.:

D. Planned (2c)

exp.: you have to love the organization here; rd 2c; so there will be no collecting when I come; no last-minute effort; What a great idea! Set a date in the future and begin saving up for that event.

ill.: Youth Explosion: folks signed up to give a large sum of money. At least, I thought it was large. Some folks gave one time, they just wrote a big check, and wah-lah. I remember a young, single female. She was in her early twenties. Probably her first-year teaching. She had to save a little from her paycheck each payday for some months. That’s what we (me and Lisa) had to do, too.

app.: You make a plan, then you work that plan. So, as Paul says: there will be no collecting when I come.

t.s.: And that brings us to the last of the 5 Practical ideas:

E. Performed (3)

exp.: rd v 3f; Then, when the money is there, you do the work and fulfill the mission.

Can I tell you this goes against my nature? I’m not naturally an organizer. To be fair, my life over the past 35 years has dealt with having to be organized. And, if it weren’t for Lisa, I’m sure I’d of flunked out of school and never been successful at what I do.

With that said, I’ve learned to get organized. I think for some folks, it comes more naturally. They enjoy it even.

And, if I’m honest, when I do get organized and participate well, I enjoy it, too! And so will you.

Conclusion: Let me give you a schedule for the next couple of months.

Beginning the last Sunday in October, a fifth Sunday fellowship, we’re going to turn our attention toward missions. Each Sunday we’ll have a different focus on Missions. That will carry on through November. Then, in December, we’ll take up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Think right now, How much would you like to give? $100, $500, $1000 or more? What would that take for you to be able to give a gift like that? How many pay periods until that time? How much could you set aside each pay period to meet that goal?

What about OCC? Maybe you’d like to make the boxes, but don’t have the money? There are people with serious medical conditions, just kidding, people who like to shop. They enjoy that sort of thing. Maybe someone would love to give, but putting a box together makes them break out in hives. It is time to get that organized!

  1. It is a good purpose.
  2. You could set aside some money or items periodically. Maybe make one box a month?
  3. That’s the proportionate part. Maybe your portion is to give and someone else is to purchase items and someone else is to put them together.
  4. Make a plan and then work on that plan.
  5. I give that to Penny, Tammy, and any other ladies helping with that endeavor.

Here’s the whole idea: Get your eyes off yourself. Don’t be self-centered.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Christian Living, Scripture, Sermon

1 Cor 15.35-57

Title: The Resurrection of Believers

Text: 1 Corinthians 15.35-57

Introduction: Ps 119.18: I came across a quote recently. I had seen it before. But, it got me thinking about the issue of how we live out our faith.  

Mark Dever, writing on this issue: If Spurgeon, Luther, Moody, or some other preacher from another century were to ‘wake up’ and observe our ‘Christianity’ would they even recognize this faith that bears the same name as their own?  Or, what about some other Christian from earlier, say, Augustine or Clement – would they recognize Christianity? Or, Dever then asks this question: have we shunned the gospel for so long, that it is no longer even recognizable to the saints of old?

Here are the 3 parts of 1 Cor. 15:

  1. The Foundational Element of the Gospel is the Resurrection (1-17)
  2. The Faithful’s Example in living out the Gospel was their hope of a future Resurrection (18-34)
  3. The Future Experience of the Resurrection is still our hope (35-58)

Let’s Review: three weeks ago, we looked at the Gospel. Paul gives the components or elements to the Gospel story quite often. Look at v1-4; Namely,

  1. Christ died (for sins),
  2. he was buried,
  3. he was raised,

This resurrection of Christ was validated by hundreds of people (so says vs 5-11).

In v12-34, we looked at the hope of a future resurrection for believers who’ve died. Added to this, our WEBS focused on 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18, where Paul describes the resurrection of those he refers to as “those who have fallen asleep” (cf.: 15.6, 18, 20). There is a 4th element to the Gospel message that we see quite often and that is:

  • Jesus will come again. That’s the hope that we believers have for end times. We identify this apocalyptic time in v21-28; 1 Thessalonians (4) is so helpful here in clarifying for us just what that will look like. When Christ returns, for those who have gone before, they will rise first, then we who are alive will be raptured together with them and so we will be with the Lord forever.
    • More specifically, we understand at death, the body gives up the spirit. The body is buried in the earth or sea. The spirit is with Jesus. To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5.8). And, as we see in Zechariah 14.5 and 1 Thessalonians 4.15-16, The Lord returns with those who’ve gone before. On his return the bodies are resurrected, the sea will give up their dead and the tombs will give up their dead. We will receive a new body… that’s what our passage today is all about.

And so we pick up in v35.

Read 1 Corinthians 15.35f; here we see the first of two requirements in this experience.

  1. Death: it’s that 1st death I was telling you about last week. Do you remember? Jesus mentions the two births in John 3 to Nicodemus: There is a birth, being born of the water. What happens to a woman who is about to give birth? Her water breaks. That first birth is being born of the flesh. That’s this tent we live in. The 2nd birth is being born of the spirit. That is that moment when we receive Christ as Savior.

The CIT (Central Idea of the Text) sometimes I call this the “Big Idea”, remains the same. Paul has been encouraging them to stand firm in their faith. (1f; 34; 58; ill.: Master and Commander of the Far Side of the Sea).

Their call to stand firm and be immovable is a strong challenge to them. And, it is for us, too. We’re not experiencing the level of persecution they were, but we’re challenged nonetheless! Especially in this day and age in the US.

And the truth is, there are more martyrs dying for Christ around the world today, than at any other time in history! And, as each day passes by, as we move closer to the return of Christ, that threat is a very real threat for you and for me, too.

Let me ask: are you up for the challenge? If the realities of Revelation come to pass in our lifetime, are you up for that challenge? Either way, death comes, it is the first reality in a move toward the resurrection.

exp.: rd v36-49;

transition: Then, there is a 2nd element to experiencing this resurrection from the dead.

2. Faith

exp.: rd v 50-57; I tell you a mystery;

ill.: some folks think that to live by faith, you must walk blindly. Nah, I don’t think so. There is valid evidence for the things we believe. I think of evolutionary theorists and how they come up with their theories. And yet, we have the same evidence, we only filter what we see through what we know with Scripture, and then it all makes sense. Yes, it involves faith, but there is a valid, intellectual side to it, too.

t.s.: And honestly, I think that is Paul’s goal here. Point: we have hope in a future resurrection because we have a resurrection that took place as evidence. Furthermore, there are valid witnesses to corroborate this event.

Truth #1: The Resurrection is an essential element of the Gospel Message. Truth #2: The Resurrection is validated by the tremendous body of evidence. Truth #3: The Resurrection can only be experienced through Death and Faith. Truth #4: is presented in v 58, the culmination of what he’s been driving at since v1.

The Effect: The Resurrection will affect your life and how you live. (58)

exp.: ὥστε; Marker of result; Because of this; For this reason; then you should – One vb: to be; become; γινομαι; two adjectives to describe; two participles (verbal adjectives) to describe;

  1. Become steadfast; this info, the gospel message, the overwhelming evidence, and the explanation of how it will all be, should plant you firmly where you are; and
  2. Become immovable – this info should not only plant you firmly but make you immovable; there is a 3rd description of what this does to you;
  3. Abounding in your Work;

ill.: 10 missionaries murdered in Afghanistan in 2010; or, The 5 Ecuadorian Missionaries in 1955; Lost people don’t get why we do what we do! They say, “They didn’t have to die!” Listen, We’re not afraid of death! We, believers, don’t do our work for money, prestige, or power. Some of those missionaries were doctors who left lucrative medical practices to help the poor! Christians do their work, because of this last PTC mentioned: we know

4. Knowing your work isn’t empty; κενός; Phil 2.5; I love this word knowing – this is faith in action! Heb 11.1

t.s.: When you gain an understanding of the resurrection, not just of Christ’s, but even your own: The Resurrection will affect your life and how you live. – and might I add, how you die.

Conclusion: I’d like to close with a video of Jordan Peterson. Dr. Peterson is a clinical Psychologist and a new believer. He’s also one of the smartest people on the planet. He began posting his classes at the University of Toronto in the early years of YouTube. So, there are 1,000s of hours of his lectures available. Anyway, while speaking in Australia, he was caught off guard by the high volume of questions concerning his belief in God. That’s a part of his story here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Christian Living, Scripture, Sermon

1 Corinthians 15.12-34

Title: The Focus of a Healthy Church: Our Future

Text: 1 Corinthians 15

Introduction: Ps 119.18

I found this in my clippings of illustrations. I have no idea where it came from, so I can’t cite who wrote it here…

On Tuesday, August 27, 1996, 26 years ago, yesterday, Shawn Hagwood began a journey of learning that would turn his life around. Earlier that week, 19-year-old Shawn made a cross-country trip to visit a friend in Rochester, Minnesota, a quiet, conservative community known for the famous Mayo Clinic. One night, he and his friend accompanied a group of local guys to an apartment complex inhabited mostly by Somalian residents. They were headed there with bats to settle a score with some of the residents for beating up one of their friends the night before. When they arrived at the complex, a group of guys came out to meet them with golf clubs. Things got out of control and a young Somalian kid from the apartments was seriously injured when someone in Shawn’s group swung a baseball bat. By the time the police got there, everyone involved had disappeared and the episode was classified as a racial gang crime of white guys against the ethnic residents …

Shawn was definitely part of the fight that summer night, but he never held a bat and was not the person who injured the kid. Still, when the authorities came knocking, the local guys Shawn had hung out with that night used him as an easy scapegoat, since he was from out of town. When the police brought Shawn in for questioning a few days later, it would be his last day as a free man for the next eight years …

Even though Shawn was basically on the fringe of the crime, and the only one put on trial at this time (two were brought to trial three years later and given a much lighter sentence), the jury came back with the verdict: Guilty …

Shortly after entering prison life, Shawn got his first visitor—one of the men from the jury. He thought maybe the man was there to help him get a new trial, but soon discovered he was simply there to be a friend. Though he initially put up a tough exterior, Shawn was happy to have company.

Shawn remembers, “He introduced himself as Dave Stensland, a clinical psychologist. He had driven four hours just to see me and to find out how I was doing. When he stood up to leave, I felt disappointed, but Dave promised to come again soon.”

Dave began regular monthly visits. They talked about everything from Shawn’s life goals after prison, to Dave’s evident faith in God, to how Shawn could cope with the sometimes paralyzing stresses of prison life and his bitterness over the injustice of his sentence.

For seven years, Dave visited Shawn faithfully …

By far Dave’s most important influence on Shawn was his faith. “He showed me the peace of someone who is close to God, but in everything he did and said, he was gentle. Because he shared Christ’s love with me consistently through the years, I began to open up more to the Lord.”

As Shawn studied the Bible with Dave, his life began to change. Through Dave’s example and guidance, Shawn finally found peace and purpose. He prayed to receive Jesus Christ into his life.

Question: What makes a man, like Dave, do something like that? To travel 4 hours one way, to a prison, nonetheless, and spend valuable time with a prisoner?  Could it be his faith? Could it be he lived out what he believed?

Last week we opened up to 1 Corinthians 15 and we looked at the Gospel. Paul gave a simple outline of the Gospel presentation. At first glance, chapter 15 feels out of place. It seems to be a turn in direction and not in line with where Paul’s been heading over the last 14 chapters. But don’t you believe it? He’s still answering questions and keeping the overall context of the focus of a healthy church: relationships.

There must have been a question in their letter to Paul, asking about what will happen to those who’ve already died. It seems like they understood the rapture, but that came from a living viewpoint. What about those already dead, their bodies decayed – only the bones remained. Maybe some were beginning to doubt. What will it look like? How will it occur? What will happen to my loved one who has already died?

But really, that opening introduction simply gives us the context for the whole chapter. The context is about the Resurrection Hope you and I have as believers and the charge to stand firm in the faith in light of that hope.

Let me repeat that!

The Charge (Big Idea) in Chapter 15 is to “Stand” and “Hold Fast” and “Be Steadfast, immovable” (1f; 34; 58; ill.: Master and Commander of the Far Side of the Sea) just as the faithful who’ve gone before us had done. Be strong and stand firm in the face of strong opposition just as those who have gone before us have done.

The Reasoning behind this charge: is found in the Resurrection. Without it, there is no story here!

So here is a simplified outline of what Paul says in the 1st half of 15: The Gospel finds its foundation in the resurrection:

  1. The Gospel – Everything about your current life is built upon this foundation called The Gospel. He died, He was buried, He was raised (1-4).
    1. This one element, His Resurrection, is vital to the whole story. Indeed, without it, there is no Good News. It was established and validated by many witnesses (5-11).
    2. Furthermore, this one element is foundational in the hope of those who had died and have gone before them (12-29). Without the resurrection, there are huge gaps in their or our faith (we’ll look closer at that in a moment)(12-19). The hope of the Resurrection caused those believers to remain steadfast in their faith in light of apparent persecution and death. And as a result, their witness led others to faith in Christ (20-29).
    3. Furthermore, it is also what drives us, Paul says, to continue to preach this message in light of the real danger of future persecution and death (29-32).

Let’s look at this Theological Truth and weigh its importance for our faith.

  1. Our Future Resurrection is founded upon one essential element of the Gospel Message: Christ is Risen (12)

exp.: Rd v 3-4; you received (1) that which I also received (3); Namely, that Christ died (and more specifically – for our sins), 2ndly, that he was buried, and 3rd, bringing out this essential element now, he was raised on the 3rd day!

app.: Paul is establishing a point here: without the resurrection, there is no gospel! It is an essential element of the Gospel message. But then, he takes it to another logical progression: rd v 12; Ah-ha! Here we find the information from their letter – some had said that there is no resurrection in the future for believers. By the way, this is a doctrine of the Sadducees that had made its way into Christianity. Paul clarifies here. Rd v13f;

Without the resurrection, there is so much wrong with Christianity: 1. Our faith is futile. 2. We’re still in our sins. 3. Those who have perished have no hope. 4. We as Christian are then, pitiful! Read through v19

But, that ain’t the way it is. Because Christ is raised. And, His resurrection is the first of many to come. Beginning with those who’ve gone before.

Check out this structure of his teaching in v 12-32:

  1. The Foundational Element: Christ’s Resurrection; The Gospel is Established in the Fact of the Resurrection; without it, there is no hope. (12-17)
  2. The Faithful’s Example: Their hope in their own future resurrection caused them to live faithfully for Christ – even to the point of death. That witness brought others to faith and faithfulness (18-20; 29). Added to this, is Paul’s personal example (30-34).

Let’s walk through these verses and see the way Paul presents them in what appears to be a Chiasm. Without the Resurrection of Christ, then

1. Our preaching is in Vain.

2. Your faith is futile.

3. We’ve been found to be misrepresenting God (our testimony is a lie).

4. You are still in your sins (hopeless and hell-bound).

5. And those who’ve died, they have perished and there is no hope for them (18)

6. We are to be pitied above all people. (19)

6. But Christ is raised (20)!

5. The “firstfruits” of those who are asleep and will one day be resurrected! (20)

4. Death came by Adam, But the hope of the resurrection comes through Christ who has removed the stain of sin.

3. We haven’t misrepresented God. He will be proven true when all things are subjected to him.

2. Your faith isn’t futile, because people believe and are baptized when they see the faith of those who’ve been martyred. (29)

1. Our preaching isn’t in vain. Indeed, we’re willing to face death to preach this message to the world (30-32).

Based on this, Paul issues a command: rd 33f; Wake up from your drunken stupor! Here is that call again, that charge to steadfastness and stability, to holding on to the faith, remaining unmovable, unshakable.

t.s.: As Jesus said to Martha in Jn 11.25: 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Conclusion: And I ask you, “Do you believe this?”

In the summer of 2003, after seven years of monthly visits to the prison, Dave’s wife Sandy called Shawn with the sudden and shocking news—Dave was dying of cancer.

The man who had mentored and loved Shawn like one of his own sons had only a short time left on this earth. Shawn recalls, “Although I didn’t want to live without Dave, I was so thankful that I had a chance to have him in my life for so long.”

A few weeks later, Shawn called Dave to see how he was doing. Sandy told him he was just in time to say goodbye. Dave was so weak that Sandy had to hold the phone up to his ear.

“He couldn’t respond much, but I knew he could hear me,” Shawn says. “It would be the last time I talked to him and it was a very hard conversation, but I was so glad that I was able to have it. I thanked him for everything that he had done and for being such a good friend to me. I told him, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for you.’ And then we said goodbye.”

A year later, Shawn was released from prison three years early for good behavior, and Sandy Stensland was there to give him a big sendoff. With tears of happiness, she hugged him tightly.

“Shawn, I know Dave would be so proud of you—and I’m proud of you, too,” she said. “Your life is going to be different now. Just remember that God has great things in store for you, and He’s giving you another chance.”

And who is Shawn Hagwood today? Besides being a happily employed software developer, he also uses his story to encourage others who are struggling with life, especially young people …

Because Dave Stensland took his faith seriously and he shared it with another person in need, a young man’s life was changed.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Eschatology, Evangelism, Scripture, Sermon, The Gospel

1 Corinthians 15.1-11

Title: The Gospel: An Old Rugged Cross and An Empty Tomb

Text: 1 Corinthians 15.1-11

CIT: Paul reminds the Corinthians of the great salvation they have in Christ and just how they got it!

CIS: to remind the church of the gospel story.

Introduction: Ps 119.18;

In the life of politics, we see some wins and we see some losses. I saw one report that 8 of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are now out of office. Liz Cheney was the most recent casualty.

As Christians, I firmly believe that we should be involved with politics. But here’s the problem with putting our hope in politics: We can’t legislate morality into a people. Morality will only be the practice of Americans when God’s Word takes root in the hearts of people. The only hope we have is a sweeping Great Awakening in the US.

So where is the hope? Is our hope in clean, fair, transparent elections? Is our hope in who governs us? Is our hope for a conservative Supreme Court? What hope do we have to share with a lost and dying world? Is it in the field of politics?

No, our hope is found only in the transformation of the hearts of individuals. It is the power of the Gospel transforming lives. Transformed people will vote a moral agenda into place. Only then will life be valued. Only then will we see less government oversight in our lives. Only then will people begin to care for the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner in the land – and stop expecting the government to do everything for us.

Point blank: it is the power of the Gospel… at work in the lives of people.

Paul reminds us of this hope we have through the Power of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15.1-11:

  • The Process by which these people were saved
  • The Proclamation that brings this salvation to them
  • The Proof of Christ’s resurrection through eyewitnesses
  • The Product of a saved soul…

Transition: let’s look 1st at…

I. The Process by which these people were saved (1-2)

exp.: rd v 1-2; They are reminded of how they came to Christ; Look at these very clear steps:

  1. The Word of God is Preached; Ladies & Gentlemen, we must communicate the Gospel with Words! The days of just being good have failed! We must now speak, too. I’ll never forget Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. Saying: You can’t live good enough to save yourself, what makes you think you can live good enough to save others? Actions only validate words; actions can’t replace words. Romans 10.14 – 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10.17: Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. The Gospel was designed to be communicated through words.
  2. The Word of God is Received; rd v 1; The Gospel is heard and has its effect! It is received by faith! I’ve been criticized for not offering an invitation every week. We’ve grown accustomed to people getting saved only here and only by me. No! People come to Christ the same way they have for 2000 years – when you tell them, and you invite them to receive Christ. They make that public – just as Richard did last Sunday!

Once that is done, a person begins to live a life worthy of this Gospel! Rd v1c; in which you stand…v2 … hold fast

  • The Word of God is Established, and we see how one stands in v 2; rd v 2;
    • Perseverance: and by which you are being saved;
    • Evidence: if you hold fast to the Word I preached to you; top & the tail (v1&v58)

ill.: There is an interesting article that came out this week in the Baptist Press: 10-year-old new believer helps mission team lead dozens of others to Christ; FBC, Jonesboro, Ga. Traveled to Montana to serve at an Indian Reservation. There is a yearly ‘Pow-Wow’ – a gathering of some sort, where thousands of Native Americans converge at this particular place. Anyway, this 10-year-old saw an Evangelcube on the table, heard the gospel, and got saved. He spent the week with this team. He would go and find some children and bring them back to the table to hear the gospel. He did this over and over. He heard the gospel presentation so many times, that he was then able to share with others – and did so.

The week came to an end and the people all had to go back to Georgia. This is a major downside to short-term mission trips. This little boy was so sad to watch them leave. I asked myself – who is going to disciple this little boy – or any of the other 28 children and 4 adults who got saved?

We preach the gospel to bring Salvation, and then, too often, we never disciple those we’ve evangelized.

I know what some of you are thinking, because it is what I’ve been taught, too. If this kid is truly saved, then we can trust the Lord to disciple him (and the others). That has been our biggest problem in Evangelism in the last 70 years. We make fishers of men who catch lots of fish and then leave them up on the shore without cleaning them! Leaving them there to die.

When you catch a fish, the job isn’t done. And it is the same when you are a fisher of men! When someone surrenders to Christ, the job is just beginning. That’s why in the vision I presented last week, evangelism isn’t in a circle all its own. It is encompassed in discipleship.

app.: Now, maybe, just maybe, there is a ministry there at the Reservation, and this child will be assimilated into a local church. The Word of God is preached and received, but it must also be established!

t.s.: 1st, The Process: God’s Word is preached, received, and established; 2ndly, the Proclamation… the 2nd reminder:

II. The Proclamation of this Gospel which makes salvation possible (3-4)

exp.: Sure, there are supernatural stories where people got saved without someone telling them. They picked up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room. I have a friend who started reading Galatians and saw that Scripture went against the Cult he was in. He arrived early to pick up his girlfriend and her roommate. He sat at the table and just opened up the Bible and started reading. When the girls were ready, he asked them to listen and he re-read the passage in Galatians. So, yes, there are really cool stories where God’s Word did its thing. Or a Muslim overseas had a supernatural vision of Jesus. But those are rare. The main pathway to salvation for many is that they hear the Gospel proclaimed. They all were able to receive Christ because of what he did.

Look with me at the Three Aspects of the Gospel proclaimed in v 3-4:

  1. Christ Died
    1. For our sins: God is holy and we are not; We could never remove our sins from before God; So, God acted on our behalf.
    2. According to the Scriptures
      1. By what the law prescribed
      2. By what the law foretold!
      3. I’m sometimes asked how people in the OT were saved. Answer: the same way we are saved – the only difference is they looked forward to the Cross in faith.
  2. Christ was Buried; In a Borrowed Tomb: In the belly of the earth; he would borrow it because he didn’t need it for long; his body wouldn’t see corruption.  
  3. Christ was Raised
    1. Time: on the third day; the timing is important because of what the Jews believed;
    2. Prophecy: According to Scripture; Jesus also predicted this about himself; Hebrews 11 points to Gen 22.4; Jonah, in the belly of the fish (Mt 12.39f); Luke 22.46; three days is a prominent theme of activity in the OT. I mean, it is repeated over and over again.

Ill.: in our Bible Study on Revelation, I taught about numbers and what they mean. Does anyone remember what the #3 represents? The significance of the numbers:

  • 1 is uniqueness
  • 2 is unity, disciples, animals on the ark
  • 3 is power, on the 3rd day – Jonah, Resurrection, trinity, a cord of three strands.
  • 4 symbolized the whole of creation: 4 corners, 4 winds

Three days were so important – three days declared someone to be dead – really dead. For Jesus to be raised on the 3rd day meant that he had Power over Death.

app.: The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death – the payment due to us for our rebellion against God is death. We could never pay the penalty because we’re ineligible. We needed a sinless sacrifice for us. And so Christ died for sins, once for all. That’s what we proclaim when we proclaim the Gospel.

t.s.: But there is more here from Paul. The third element adding to the Power of the Gospel…

III. The Proof of the gospel was established through eyewitnesses (5-8)

exp.: rd v 5-8; after rising from the dead, Christ Appeared to many. The women aren’t mentioned here, but they were amongst the first to witness Christ’s resurrection.

  1. Cephas; rd v 5;
  2. The Twelve; ill.: 100 years war (116 years); Sue’s Piano; rd v 6;
  3. 500; most of who are still alive; Tell me if you know this story: on an LA Freeway, there was a white bronco being chased by Law Enforcement. Do any of you remember that?
  4. His brother, James, is the senior pastor at the Church in Jerusalem.
  5. All the apostles (Mt 28); There are more than 12 Apostles, by the way – Paul being one of them; Barnabas, etc.
  6. Paul

ill.: Quote from Charles Colson; You can read this for yourself in the book Loving God by Chuck Colson, chapter 6, starting on page 61: “Watergate & the Resurrection”. I’ve been asked by young men over the past 20 years or so, what books had the greatest influence on my life. To this day, Loving God remains in my top 5. (Loving God, Amazing Grace, 24/6, Charles Spurgeon, Dangerous Call, Growing up to God, The Deliberate Church, Amillennialism)read the blog post

app.: The resurrection is an amazing story, validated by those who were willing to die for what they knew to be true.

t.s.: We see this in the Result in their lives, and in the lives of people today. That’s #4;

IV. The Power of the Gospel Produces very specific Results in a saved soul (58)

exp.: just what is this product? We see it in v 58;

  1. The hope of our resurrection! v 12-57
  2. They are reminded of their life in Christ.
  3. Be Steadfast (1 other time in 1 Cor.; 7.37, in ref. to marriage); most of us know what this means: standing fast in your place or standing your ground in the faith, showing strength in the face of adversity.
  4. Be Immoveable (only time here); άμετακίνεητος΄ – α -without; κινέω – eng.: kinetic – motion, to move away; without movement.
  5. Always Abounding in the Work: you might say ‘at all times’; abounding in the work of the Lord.
  6. Knowing this work is not empty! Κενός, Kenosis is the process of emptying out something completely. This is the word used to describe Christ in Philippians 2, where he left heaven and ‘emptied’ himself of his divine qualities, becoming a man.

app.: your work should be abounding (this is what gives credibility to your proclamation), but also filled with the knowledge that all you do isn’t in vain – it’s not empty! There is a good return for your work, even if you don’t see it now.

Conclusion: Invitation to come to Christ

  1. Will you receive this gospel? You’ve heard the preaching of the Word today.
    1. Christ was killed
    2. He was buried
    3. He was raised
    4. He was seen
  1. Will you become established in it? Deeply rooted, growing up in Him? This is your opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by.

Pray & we’ll be dismissed.

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17May the power of the Cross and the Victory of the Empty Tomb fill your lives this week as you live out your life for Christ’s Glory!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Evangelism, Scripture, The Gospel

Focus of a Healthy Church: Service

Title: Focus of a healthy church: Service

Text: 1 Corinthians 12-14

Introduction: Ps 119.18

This week, the Wall St. Journal published an article on Relationships by Jeffrey Hall. The Price We Pay for Being Less Social. Mohler: The argument (in the article) suggests that human beings are not just more dependent upon social media. They are actually far less involved in social interaction. Beyond that, they are really failing at relationality.

We don’t actually need a research project to tell us that young people are less socially relatable today than they were, say 30 years ago. If I understand the study correctly, it is of Gen Z and it is the same study taken 7 years ago on the same generation. 7 years ago, a study concluded that this generation was spending too much time online. It was thought that they couldn’t spend any more time online than they were. The scary part is that these young adults have only grown in the amount of time they spend online.

Hall writes: “There’s another way to look at this to see that this social trait is only part of the equation. In short, people are exhausting. Humans have an innate desire to conserve our energy in social interactions, and interacting with others takes work. It’s tiring to act in a certain way for the benefit of others. Sometimes people have disagreeable opinions or talk about uninteresting things.” He concludes, “When given a choice, people often prefer to just not deal with all that.” 

You think? I find it interesting, that the rest of the world finds it interesting – almost like we didn’t know this before.

What does this have to do with us? Well, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. I’m going to put you on the spot and ask you to finish my statement: Nothing in the church is more important than… relationships!

The reality of the church is that it is played out in and through relationships. That’s what 1 Corinthians is all about: Relationships!

I’ve created a diagram to put down on paper how those relationships work in a church. I hope you can see it. Every believer, here at Tarpley, should be involved in three areas in the life of a church: Worship (you’re here), Discipleship (Bible Study), and Service (ministry). That’s it! that’s what I’ve been encouraging believers for the past 15 years. When you come to church you should be involved in those three areas each week.

Today’s focus is on this 3rd area: Service. Paul breaks down the next three Chapters of 1 Corinthians (This morning we’re in chapters 12-14) into 5 bite-size teachings: There are 5 truths Paul teaches us about service.

Truth # 1: In Service there is

I. Unity in the midst of Diversity (12.1-11)

exp.: rd v4-6; 1 Chron 26.1; 11; 12; In Leviticus, as the people come together to build that tabernacle, God gifts them with people who can do different tasks. Each one is gifted with the ability to accomplish certain tasks. There is diversity within the whole. Your translation in our text might say ‘Division; Diversity; Variety’; Rd v 7; The gifts vary, the gifts differ, the gifts are divided up among the believers by God, who knows just what the body needs; One last note: Division or Variety or Different (3x’s in v 4-6), but one Holy Trinity! 

ill.: Consider a fellowship dinner – just the clean-up! Remember Acts 9? Saul, Saul, Why are you persecuting me? Who are you, Lord? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

app.: The Body, we are the body; Paul understood this from the very beginning. We see that unity as a body in v 1-3; so here is this commonality, the one thing that unifies us – we’ve all surrendered our lives in service to Christ! This is our common bond. All of the gifts are given by the same Spirit – another thing we have in common. And we have the same Father who is the source of it all. The character of God – unity in the Trinity, is to be our character, too.

t.s.: In service, there is unity in the midst of diversity. Truth # 2: In Service there is

II. Mutuality in the midst of Variety (12.12-30)

exp.: each gift or member is in mutual dependence of all the others; rd v 12-18; I love that word arranged. In the Gk it is the word τίθημι – which means to place or put; he put us just where he chose. Often times the word ‘chose’ is translated from the word ‘elect(ion)’. Not so here, but rather it is the Gk word; θέλλω – which is translated as ‘will’ or ‘want’ or ‘wish’. Think about that: God places each member of the Body where he wills. He continues w/ the illustration of the eyes; rd v 21-25; (24) compose – to mix with; (v25) division is σχισμα

ill.: one of my all-time favorite stories is the story of the body that was walking on the railroad track. The body chose to let the eyes lead because they could see. But soon, the feet began to feel a vibration. They sent a message to the eyes with caution; The ears; but the eyes wouldn’t listen!

app.: In our service, there is a mutual need, inter-dependence upon all the various parts to make us function. We value each part!

t.s.: there is unity in the midst of diversity and mutuality in the midst of Variety and In service there is …

ΙΙΙ. Love as a Motive (13.1-13)

exp.: And we see that in Chapter 13 – the famous love chapter. Why? Because without Love, your service is meaningless; rd v 1-3; tongues; prophecy, understanding, knowledge, faith; generosity, martyrdom; nothing without love! Definition: Love is and love is not; rd v 4-7; Love is one of only a couple of things that we have right now, that will endure; rd v 8; our service here will one day end, but the love continues; our imperfection will end, when the perfect comes!

ill.: Christ w/ ch. 13; what about your name? 4 Becky is patient and Sheri is kind; Lisa does not envy or Sue does not boast; Linda is not arrogant 5 or Stephanie is not rude. Sam does not insist on his own way; Steve is not irritable or resentful;6Robert does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7Darilene bears all things, Clay believes all things, Ida Belle hopes all things, Tammy endures all things.

app.: Service is wonderful, but the motive for our service must be love…

t.s.: The 4th truth…. In service, there is

IV. Edification as a Result (14.1-26)

exp.: in the following verses, Paul compares the two gifts: tongues and prophecy; rd v 1-4; ill.: Mary (Laneheart), when she prayed. Paul is saying that selfishness has no place in service, but rather selflessness is for the building up of the body; and really, the edification and encouragement of the body is the goal. Rd v 12; Desire the gifts that build up the body, not the gift that glorifies yourself! Note:

  • Prophecy builds up the body – tongues are simply for oneself.
  • Prophecy benefits the unbeliever – tongues confuse him. Rd v 13-16; rd 22-23;

app.: and, isn’t this why these gifts are given – to serve the body and build it up? rd v 26; yes, your gift is needed here and it is useful here; if you think about it, there is no room for selfishness in the body, only that which edifies and strengthens us.

Plug: WEBS: Spiritual Gifts Assessment; Personality Assessment

t.s.: In service, there is:

  • Unity in the midst of Diversity
  • Mutuality in the midst of Variety
  • Love as a motive and edification as a result (and finally,
  • There is order, not chaos

V. Order, not Chaos (14.26-40)

exp.: review 26, rd v 27-28; tongues are out of place if there is no one to interpret – otherwise, someone is just showing off and drawing attention to himself.

ill.: Dime con quien andas y te digo quien eres.

And, drawing attention to yourself has no place in worship – for Worship is for the glory of God. Rd v 29-32; ill.: Have you ever noticed that no one speaks when I’m preaching? That comes from this practice – that we don’t cut each other off when we’re serving and giving our gifts. Each one has a place, no one talking out over another, let one finish; the key is found in v 33; our worship should mirror God’s Character – He is not a God of confusion! The author of confusion is Satan! Our God is a God of peace!

Paul then describes more order; Rd 33b-35; This almost sounds like a contradiction from ch 11 (remember, when a woman prays or prophecies – i.e., reads Scripture); but this is no contradiction; here the reference is to Authority; remember the context here is Order; 1 Tim 2.11-12; do you see the created order here? Adam was formed first, and the woman was deceived first; 

ill.: I love the ministry of women and women bring so much to this body through their gifts. Paul warns the Corinthians and us as well (rd 33b) that order should be guarded.

app.: Don’t get hung up on gender roles here – Don’t miss Paul’s point: God created order, it’s a part of his character and we are to reflect that Character in our orderliness; rd v 39-40; exercise your gifts, serve the body – that’s why God gave them to you – to build this body up – but keep it orderly and decent, for that reflects His Character.

t.s.: Max Lucado: Every Thursday during a Young Life summer camp, four hundred students make the fourteen-thousand-foot climb up Colorado’s Mount Chrysolite. Several Young Life leaders and I walk with them. (let me clarify: Max is wrong here. Chrysolite is only 12,822 ft. A tidy sum, but nowhere near the 14ers class.)

[On one of those trips], somewhere around the number four thousand, [a student named] Matthew decided to call it quits. I coaxed him, begged him, and negotiated a plan with him: thirty steps of walking, sixty seconds of resting. Finally, we stood within a thousand feet of the peak. But the last stretch of the trail rose up as straight as a fireman’s ladder.

We got serious. Two guys came up beside Matt, each taking an arm. I pushed from the rear. We all but dragged Matt past the timberline and to the awesome view at the top.

That’s when we heard the applause. Four hundred campers on the crest of Mount Chrysolite gave Matt a standing ovation. As I slumped down to rest, a thought steamrolled my way: There it is, Max, a perfect picture of my plan. Do all you can to push each other to the top. Was this a message from God? Well, it does sound like something he’d say.

Most of you know that I like to hike. I don’t think anyone here has encouraged me more than John Chunn. He used to loan me his Garmin and follow me on the internet, tracking my hike. Something I’ve learned is that you should never summit alone. You need a partner, or better, a team.

Conclusion:

  • Are you hitting all three areas of involvement? Great rod to measure by.
  • Another measuring rod: in your service – do you facilitate order, or bring chaos; building others up or tearing them down; Q.: What’s your motive? Is it Recognition? Or Love? Do you find yourself a loner or mutually dependent? Does what you do through service bring unity to the body?

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Scripture, Sermon

1 Corinthians 8-10

Title: Living in Obedience: A focus on our behavior

Text: 1 Cor 8-10.23

Introduction: Were’ in chapters 8-10 in 1 Corinthians.

Let’s begin 1st: Ps 119.18; 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

How we got here: healthy church – her blessings, her relationships

Preface: I don’t know why, but when I say what I’m about to say, it makes some people mad – angry. Usually, those folks are the very ones suffering from what I’m talking about. So, let me be very careful in how I present my finding. You ready?

I connect depression with sin. What I mean by that is this: from my experience on a personal level and from a professional level – people I’ve encountered in life who suffer from depression can trace that depression back to a time of rebellion in their life. So, I want you to contemplate, without sitting here being angry at me, sin with depression. This might very well be that moment in life right now for some folks. Hence, the anger. When you tell someone the reason behind their depression is their sin, their rebellion, it makes them angry.

With that being said, we might need to talk some more, because I’ve just opened a can of worms that I can completely deal with in one sermon. But, with that being said, once we’ve had a chance to work through some of those issues, people begin to find their way out.

That was my experience. I’ll just tell you: I used to suffer from severe depression. So much so, that I planned on three different occasions to take my life. I’m so glad God intervened in a way that has me standing alive and well here before you today.

I want to share two books with you. (1) Twelve Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson. (2) Happiness is a Choice. It is by Dr. Frank Minirth and Dr. Paul Meier. In this book, these men teach about behaviors and the effect proper behavior has on one’s Psyche, as well as, the effect wrong behavior has on a person. They say, “Make better choices.” Here is the list narrowed down in this 2nd book.

  1. Be Kind. (read from pg 19) this reminds me of a message from Robert Garland some months ago that has stuck with me – mainly because of Lisa: Never pass up an opportunity to be kind! Being Kind is simply showing a Christlike love toward others.
  2. Focus on healthy behavior. this is getting harder to identify in our society. The current woke culture would like to eliminate what you and I understand to be healthy behavior because sin makes people feel bad about themselves. I discuss this in more detail at WEBS.
  3. Challenge inaccurate thinking with the Word of God. Put bluntly, this is false teaching. But the reality is that many folks just don’t understand what the Word of God says. There are a lot of bad ideas out there related to Christianity and the Word of God.
  4. Share hurts. Each of us has experienced our feelings of being hurt. It helps us when we talk about those feelings with others with whom we are in relationships. It is a part of growing up. It’s a part of maturing in our lives. Bottled-up feelings of betrayal, anger, disappointment, etc. lead to stronger relationships.
  5. Meet dependent needs through Christ and the local church. This is huge! Enter into healthy relationships! End relationships with folks that hurt you! Too many of us put our hope in relationships that can only be fulfilled in Christ. Too many women look for that fulfillment in a man. That man doesn’t exist on this earth! The same goes for men. Some people look for it in a bottle – pill bottle, alcohol bottle, smoking weed, and the list goes on.
  6. Consider the Medical. The truth of the matter is that some folks have a chemical imbalance and need the assistance of a physician. But, the percentage of these folks is probably a lot lower than you would think.
  7. Emphasize Christ.

Their premise, which is backed by years of study and validation, states that good behaviors cause connections to happen in the brain and result in good mental health; on the other hand, poor behaviors result in depression; These guys have latched on to an idea that Paul presented to the Corinthian Christians 1960 years ago.

This is what we’ll see in the next few chapters of 1 Corinthians: our behavior affects our emotional stability. Bad behavior leads to depression and good behavior leads to joy.

To begin look with me in 8.1; Rd 1a; so, the issue appears to be about eating meat that was sacrificed to idols; rd v 1b; I think, we can surmise right away that Paul is saying that doing and acting out of knowledge is one thing, but doing and acting out of love – that’s a whole different animal.

Transition: Though the issue is about the meat of animals sacrificed to idols – and the consumption thereof, Paul’s concern for them is first and foremost…

I. A Mandate for Obedience (8)

exp.: rd 1b again; So now we have a thesis dealing w/ knowledge and love; knowing is one thing, but doing is another; Jesus said, If you love me, keep my commandments (Jn 14.15);

ill.: Colossians 1.9-10.

exp.: Back in 1 Cor… There is a sense of pride concerning their knowledge; they’re missing what Paul’s been teaching, what Jesus has said; rd 2-3; So he’s saying, In your knowledge:

  1. Let love be your guide. Note: the 2 ‘we know’ v1; v4; Illustration: May I share your story about ‘Amy’?
    1. Remember there is One God (capital G) and many gods (little g); rd v 4-5; this is important! Their sacrifices are nothing; those ‘things’ are just wood or stone; the meat is just meat, fit to eat; it’ll taste just like the meat from any other animal; rd v 6-7;
    1. Don’t let your freedom become a stumbling block to others. Love them enough to abstain. Although they may know that there is only One God, they don’t grasp the full idea that those ‘little ‘g’ gods’ are nothing. They have too much history in this…

ill.: I see this principle applies to so many ‘things’ in the Christian life. 1st and foremost, beer and wine; you have a woman who struggled with alcohol, and she goes on a rampage about how evil it is. No one can have a beer or a glass of wine at dinner! Or, you have a man who struggled with secular music and how it was so harmful to him – causing him to think bad thoughts and act on them. Then, wah-la, no one can listen to Country Music because it is evil!

exp.: rd v 12-13.

app.: So, what, if you have knowledge! If you destroy your brother through your freedom, you’ve failed. That’s why it is so important to have love with your knowledge.

t.s.: Paul offers this mandate for Obedience to love, but then offers himself as a model…

II. A Model of Surrender (9)

exp.: Let’s look at Paul’s Work; rd v 1-3 and let’s look for the personal pronouns in the 1st person sg; And so he does this self-examination, and the 1st thing he does is establish…

  1. Paul’s rights; rd v 4-12a; but then…
  2. Paul’s Decision to surrender his rights; rd 12b; 15-18;
  3. Paul’s Obedience; rd 19; v 23;
  4. Paul’s Exhortation for them to do the same; rd v 24;

app.: So Paul offers this positive illustration – himself; My rights, set aside, and through my love for people – the gospel becomes real! Would you do the same? Listen, you have rights also. However, when you chose to do something right, for the wrong reason – relationships are destroyed; brothers and sisters in Christ are damaged;

t.s.: Now, Paul is thinking that his example isn’t enough -so he offers a negative illustration – Israel, and he does this through the bk of Exodus…

III. A Manual for Failure (10)

exp.: Exodus; Chapters 12-17; and what Paul says here is that these people were blessed, but they blew it! look in 10.1a;

  1. Their Blessings: Look at what they were:
    1. Protection – the cloud; rd v 1a
    2. Promise: Deliverance; rd v 1b-2
    3. Provision: rd v 3-4;
    4. Problem: God was not pleased! Rd v 5

But then Paul says, look at how they responded;

  1. Their Response: examples for us; Rd v 6-7
    1. Idolaters; rd v 8;
    2. Immoral; rd v 9
    3. Instigators; putting Christ to the Test; rd v 10
    4. Ingrates: whiners and complainers.

exp.: but Paul says they were that way to be an example for us on how NOT to behave! rd v 11;

app.: I don’t worry too much about you having statutes of Buddha in your living rooms, But I do worry about the other three; and in my own life – when have I been selfish, though right to do so and hurt the Body through my ‘putting Christ to the Test’ or whining and complaining!

Conclusion:

There is a movement by many godless people in the world who want to make bad behavior to be considered good. Implement gay marriage or remove marriage altogether. Get rid of sin. Sin makes people feel bad! Change long-standing laws to no longer make it wrong to steal or destroy property, etc.

ill.: Did you see the article in the New York Times by Steve Descano this past week? He is the District Attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia. His article is entitled, “My Governor may pass bad abortion laws, but I don’t have to enforce them.” He has made a public vow to not prosecute laws he doesn’t agree with. We’re already seeing that in California, where people just walk into a store with large bags and empty the shelves and just walk out the door!  

This evil theory and this is my take on it all, is to change the laws so that people are no longer wrong. If they’re no longer wrong, then they don’t have to feel bad about it! They want to ‘help’ people who suffer from mental illness to feel good about themselves. Make it ok for a man to dress like a woman by removing gender stereotypes. If you can remove the stigma, then folks who have problems won’t feel bad about feeling the way they do.

Here is the problem: (1) it doesn’t work. I watch Daily Wire videos. In one video I heard Ben Shapiro say that if changing laws and removing the idea of wrongness worked, then why are just as many transgendered people committing suicide today as there were a generation ago. (2) Sin is a very important part of the Gospel. Our rebellion is why we’re in the mess we’re in. Sin is what we’re saved from!

As believers, we have a mandate for obedience that stems from love.  Eat what you want to eat. Drink what you want to drink. However, we have an example in Paul, but we also have the perfect example in Jesus, to show us how our freedom isn’t to be used selfishly. We act in love! And we have bad examples of the Hebrew Children who wandered in the desert because of their rebellion and selfishness.

If you’re interested, we’ll come back to this idea at WEBS of where our rebellion leads us (into depression) and how we can overcome the cloud of depression through surrendering to Christ.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Are you blessed? Would you say God has blessed you? If so, how do you respond to those blessings?
    1. Idolatry?
    2. Immorality?
    3. Instigators?
    4. Ingratitude?
    5. How do you express your attitude of gratitude? Through obedience? Is it evident in your behavior?
  2. As an example to others – do you line up under Paul or the Israelites? Do a self-exam; Can you say, ‘be like me’? or Do what I say, not what I do…
  3. As you look at your rights, which ones would you hold on to, even to the destruction of another brother or sister? Is your behavior toward others a contributing factor?

Preparation for the Lord’s Supper: Chapter 11:23

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Christian Living, Evangelism, Scripture, Sermon, Sin, The Gospel

1 Corinthians 7

Title: Relationships: To Be or Not to Be … married

Text: 1 Corinthians 7

Introduction: Ps 119.18

The focus of our study these recent weeks in 1 Corinthians is answering the question: What does a healthy church look like? What are the marks of a healthy church?

Many of you are gardeners. I assume you look at your plants and ask yourself – maybe not out loud, but surely in some fashion – what can I do to make my plants grow, thrive, and produce? If you’re not getting what you think you should, you ask yourself – and probably out loud to the plants – why do you look so bad? Are they not getting the water they need? Are you watering too much? Are you watering the wrong way or at the wrong time? Are there nutrients in the soil? Is some animal or creature hurting these plants, stealing the fruit? If you’re new at gardening, you ask yourself: what are the signs of a healthy plant.

And then, you make a course correction in the way you tend your garden until the plants are healthy and productive.

As we begin the journey through chapter 7, I’d like to answer a couple of questions before you even know to ask them.

  1. Let’s begin by looking at verse 1; rd v1; this phrase now concerning, is used a few times over the next couple of chapters to address some questions that were apparently asked of Paul in the letter he received from the Corinthians. v 25.
  2. In answering their questions, he will clarify for them the strength of his answers by where the answer comes; Rd v 10a, 12a; 25; 40; when we see this, one wonders does this mean that it isn’t inspired by God; Answer: It is! All Scripture is God-Breathed.
  3. Here is another question that might arise as you read his instructions: Was their situation particular to them alone? And, therefore, would that concern us? rd v 26; some have said that their situation (present distress) was particular to them and doesn’t apply to us. I disagree. The situation itself is unique for that moment, for that church; however, the principles of the relationship dynamic would still apply to the universal church. I’ll explain this in greater when we get there.
  4. Verse one is a colloquialism used in that day. We still use it today and many like it. Rd v 1; actually, a closer, word for word translation would be: good to a man a woman not to touch. But that isn’t even a literal word-for-word translation: good to a man a woman not to kindle. This word for ‘fire/kindle’ is found also in Acts 28.1-2; The specific teaching was a euphemism used to describe the intimacy between a man and a woman; it appears that there was a ‘false teaching’ going around the church at Corinth that intimacy was wrong, therefore, marriage shouldn’t take place.

Transition: So, Paul answers this question and says… Answer #1:

I. Get Married (2-9)

exp.: rd v 2-5; so, Paul gives a basic outline of what is right between a man and a woman (who are married BTW); in v 6-9 he gives a quick synopsis of v 25-40; There is better and there is best; it is best to remain single, but you don’t have to – and, you’re not in sin if you choose to marry; so, get married;

t.s.: and in v 10, he gives another answer…Answer #2;

II. Stay Married (10-11)

exp.: rd v 10-11; Get married and stay married; even if you separate, remain unmarried because there is always the hope of reconciliation; this word ‘separate’ means divorce; Mt 19.6; what God has joined together, let no man separate; and Rom 8.35ff; Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

app.: So, don’t divorce (and you know what God thinks about Divorce – Mal 2.16 – He hates it), but if it happens – don’t marry someone else (because technically you’re still married); Mt 5.31-32; why is it adultery? Because she or he is still married!

Ill.: Bro. Don used an example years ago: An epoxy is created when you combine two separate compounds to form one. There is the epoxy resin and a 2nd compound, a hardener. Typically, these two compounds are stored in separate containers. Two tubes, when I was a kid. Today, you might find them in two separate syringes that join together when you press the syringes.

The mixing of the compounds forms a chemical reaction between the two separate pieces – which bind them together. The epoxy is so strong after this chemical reaction, that to break it, you damage both two pieces. Parts of both pieces splinter and remain with the other.

You may say, Oh, I’ve separated these two pieces, but the reality is that they’ve still parts of each one joined together with the other!

Ill.: one more – just for fun. Consider the difference between relationship and fellowship. Many of us have relationships through birth and marriage. You say that person is in my family. So, that is the relationship you have with that family member. For me, it is my biological mother. I never really knew here. But she was still my ‘mother’. As for fellowship – there was none. Relationship vs. Fellowship.

There is a man I know and love, from a church I used to serve in. As a new pastor, we were driving down the road in our small town and there was a man who looked exactly like my friend. We looked at him and he looked at us. No response. No Hello, no wave of the hand, no smile. Nothing. Nothing more than if you were in your front yard and watched a bird fly from one limb to another. I was like, “Dude, that man looks just like you!” He said, “yeah, he’s my brother.” Turns out, that was his relationship. But come to find out and it was that way the whole time I lived there. They didn’t speak. Relationship vs. Fellowship.

You can get divorced. You can never speak to each other again, but you’re still married.

t.s.: So Get Married and Stay Married; The 3rd answer he gives is…

III. Work on your Marriage (12-16)

exp.: rd v 12-13; don’t simply leave a spouse because they are non-believers; stick with it and work on that marriage; rd v 14; your godly life will impact theirs; who knows but that they might get saved! Your children need that godly influence, too. Now, I wish to address what Paul is talking about culturally:

  1. Arranged marriages
  2. A spouse becomes a believer in the course of time
  3. He’s not talking about a believer marrying a non-believer. 2 Cor 6.14;

app.: in their society and culture, as in ours, divorce came easily; Paul was saying, stay and work on your marriage; w/ God, there is always hope.

t.s.: Now, I’d like to skip v 17-24 for a moment and move to Paul’s 4th answer:

IV. Some should not marry (25-40)

exp.: rd v 25; before we look at his specific answer, I think it is important to gain an understanding of the Gk culture; two separate philosophies:

  • The Ascetics – this guy is a monk; he denies himself all worldly pleasures; the 2nd group…
  • The Epicureans – taught that it was fine to feed your physical desires because the physical didn’t touch the spiritual. Paul wants to refute both ideas; rd v 26; so now Paul gives us the 4th answer: Some should not marry. But, why? He gives them 4 reasons:
  1. The Present Distress (26); Evidently, there was a present struggle in their society. Paul was saying It’s easier when you’re alone (Ecc 4.9-12); rd v 27; if you’re not married, don’t seek to be, but if you are, don’t try to get out of it; now he gives us the 2nd reason for some not to marry; rd v 28;
  2. Worldly Troubles (28); simply put, I want to spare you that; and quickly, he gives a 3rd reason; rd v 29;
  3. Time is Short (29-31); there are two words in the Gk for time:
    1. Chronos – Chronology; deals with a period or duration of time;
    2. Kairos – deals with a specific time, or as the ESV translates it – an appointed time; Life is short and the appointed time of Christ’s return is very soon. He continues; rd v 30-31. This present world is passing away, and in v 32-34a he gives the 4th reason;
  4. Because of the Preoccupation involved in Marriage and Family; rd v 23-34a;

Conclusion: I’d like to return to v 17-24; rd 17-24; I think this hits home for us!

  • Don’t always be trying to change your present circumstances; be content in where you are!
  • Don’t try to rid yourself of your Jewish marks or to gain them; Be content with who you are!
  • Don’t try to escape your responsibilities or even change them, but if God opens up the opportunity, by all means, avail yourselves of them. Be content with how you are doing!
  • Your 1st responsibility is to God (23) and His glory! And that is in your marriage, in your job, in your life. Be Content in God!

But you might ask: How can I bring glory to God now? I’ve messed up so many times in the past? Answer: Grace. If you’re sitting here this morning or watching via the stream, understand that we’re all sinners and we all need God’s grace. Your failures, my failures, your sin, my sin, your rebellion and my rebellion are real. It all needs the grace of God.

I worry that too many folks will just get down because of their past. That isn’t the point. The point is grace and forgiveness! So, you didn’t do things right in the past. Too many folks let that be their focal point. You don’t have to stay there in the past – repent and ask God for forgiveness.

  1. God will be glorified through our successes and failures. I prefer it be my successes, but my failures prove him right, too! Here is the concept of repentance: repentance is simply acknowledging that God is right, and I was wrong.
  2. Maybe there is some repentance that needs to take place. The beauty of a bad situation is mercy. In God’s infinite mercy, he has provided a way for us to experience forgiveness and mercy through our repentance – the turning away from our sin.

Father, I haven’t done things the way you’ve designed. I’ve made decisions that showed I was really lord of my life. Please forgive me.

If you have already done this… trust in what God says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Finally, I want to say a word about what happened in Uvalde this past week. 22 people dead at the hands of a sick individual. In Luke 13.1, Jesus was confronted about a tragedy that took place in his time. 13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

First, this isn’t a ‘how-to’ on addressing people who are going through such a tragedy. Jesus isn’t speaking to the victims or those who suffered a loss in the tower falling. He’s addressing people who are critical of those victims. You see they assumed that those people suffered because they had sinned. The reality of sin is that it doesn’t just affect the sinner, but it affects all of us. I sin and you’re affected.

Do you remember in John 9, the disciples asked Jesus of the blind man: who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus said neither, but that God’s glory might be displayed in him.

The tower didn’t fall on these people because they were worse sinners than others. And those Galileans didn’t die horrible deaths because they were worse sinners than other Galileans.

But here is the lesson: 1. Everyone is a sinner, and none is any worse or any better than any other. 2. Everyone dies and no one really knows when or where or how it will be. Some people die young and some die old. But everyone dies. Therefore, Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to call for repentance because we’re all sinners in need of forgiveness. And then we should live our lives for God – for His Glory!

In reference to Uvalde, some of you may be asking what can you do? Alto Frio needs folks to volunteer every day to help care for the ~150 Law Enforcement officers from around the state who are serving in the Uvalde Area. And the 25 or so members from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association working in Uvalde. Alto Frio needs workers, money, and items. Call Kim St. Clair at 830-834-9210 and see how you can volunteer.

There is also a place online at altofrio.com where you can donate. http://www.altofrio.com

I got word this weekend that some folks from Tarpley Baptist drove over Friday and volunteered to get the camp ready to receive those officers and workers from Billy Graham’s Center.

Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all for the glory of God in your life.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Luke, Scripture, Sermon

1 Corinthians 5&6

Title: Relationships Inside the Church: Judge One Another

Text: 1 Corinthians 5&6

Introduction: Ps 119.18 –

In April 2017, Two women came to church – one was late (which seemed to be her modus operandi) the other was early (as too, was her MO). The late lady was a busy lady. She seemed to be successful in the eyes of the world – a County Commissioner and employed at the local state university. The other lady was punctual, hard-working, and of retired age.

There was a rift between the two women who both had responsibility within the church. One area they worked together was that they both prepared the Lord’s Supper. If I understand the situation, their church would have different folks prepare the Lord’s Supper – I suppose like a rotating service.

On this particular Sunday, the younger woman was late as usual. The older lady had grown tired of the younger woman’s inability to correct her tardiness. She felt the younger woman was arrogant and felt entitled – I suppose to her success. So the elderly woman put together the Lord’s supper and retreated to the pastor’s office. She wanted to let him know it was ready.

In comes the younger woman and skirmish breaks – the pastor steps in, but it is too late. The older lady is injured. The police are called. The younger woman is arrested.

I want to talk to you this morning about relationships within the church.

There are many verses in the Bible that are popular: John 3.16, Jeremiah 33.3; Romans 3.23; 6.23; Gal 2.20; etc. Mt 7.1 is quite popular, though many don’t know the reference. They quote it quite often but have no idea where it is in the bible. Turn there with me and read; 7.6; So, what does this mean? What are “holy” & “pearls” in the story? Paul clarifies for us in the following 2 chapters that we don’t judge lost people – God will do that. We judge each other! I’ll come back to that…let that stew for a moment.

The Focus of a Healthy Church: Blessings, Unity, and Leadership. Today we move to relationships, an important part of unity. Have you heard the slogan: Unity at any cost! It really is a bad idea. We see it in many mainline denominations today, compromising Biblical Truths for peace within their denominations. Here in Corinthians, Paul calls for unity, but that unity must be based on Scripture. There are core biblical beliefs that unify a church. And Paul’s call to them for unity was against the sin that was in the body. The Church must deal with Sin within the Body!

In the following 2 chapters, Paul outlines why brothers are to judge each other; In Corinth, there was a young man who began shacking up with his father’s wife…let’s read about it in v 1; this is so nasty, that even the world disapproves! Rd v 2; So here is the Call: pass Judgment on your brother and expel him from your midst! Beginning now, in v 3, Paul offers 6 reasons to pass judgment on church members.

  • For His Benefit
  • For Our Purity
  • For the Sake of Obedience
  • For Our Witness
  • For Our Benefit
  • For the Glory of God

The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:

I. For His Benefit (5.1-5)

exp.: rd v 3-5; clearly, here is the reason – that his soul may be saved; When someone acts this way, they’re clearly saying I’m not a believer; it doesn’t mean he is a non-believer, but if he’s acting that way, he just might be. You see, lost people act lost. Saved people act saved. That’s the assumption. Now, sometimes, some saved people act lost, but they’re not. They need to be corrected so that they can act like saved people again.

app.: Someone must confront the wayward person and clarify: are they lost or saved? When the church confronts the brother (or sister), there should be conviction, confession, and repentance; if this brother or sister chooses not to repent, then the church has no choice but to treat the brother like he’s acting – expel him;

t.s.: for his own good – that his soul may be saved; and v6 tells us the 2nd reason, The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:

II. For Our Purity (6-8)

exp.: rd v 6-8; Paul uses some imagery from the Jewish Religion; I think it is safe to assume these Gentiles would understand what he’s talking about; v 6 says that a little sin in the batch, permeates the whole batch; the bad part must be cut out! Why? He’s alluding to the Festival of Unleavened Bread; On the 1st day of Unleavened Bread, the Passover lamb is sacrificed. It was customary for the husband to walk through the whole house looking for some leaven. When he found it, he would scoop it out and do away with it, thus cleansing his house. In like manner, we too must cleanse our house, cutting out any sin that stains her. But, Paul clarifies a point for us in v 7, that sounds kind of confusing: rd v 7; he’s not advocating that our righteousness is gained through simple obedience, but rather our obedience is a sign of our righteousness imputed to us through Christ. So, sometimes saved people act lost, but sometimes there are lost people in the church who really aren’t saved; they’ve not committed their life to Christ. Their sinful behavior is a poor reflection upon the church within the community the church dwells. Rd v 8;

ill.: lemonade w/ the youth! And I spit in it!

app.: Hey, a little sin in the body of Christ is nasty to God!

t.s.: So we pass judgment on our brother for his own benefit, for our purity, and the third reason…

III. For the Sake of Obedience (9-13)

exp.: simply put, Christians live in obedience to God. He is who we serve. He is our master. rd v 9-10; this doesn’t mean ignoring lost people! No, we can and should associate with lost folks – that’s how they get saved! -rd 11-13;

Paul also clarifies for us what was mentioned in the introduction: we’re not to judge outsiders (non-members), but rather only members; We’re supposed to be active among the lost, how else will we ever influence them? We’re just not supposed to behave like them!

App.: Lost people need to see the difference. They need to know that there is a difference besides getting up a little earlier on Sunday!

And when one of us does move into the realm of disobedience when one of us is bringing shame to the cause of Christ – that’s when we are to heed v 13; rd v 13;

t.s.: Fourth, The Passing of Judgment upon a brother is:

IV. For Our Witness (6.1-6)

exp.: rd v 1-3; it is our destiny to judge; I don’t know how this will happen; I only know it will; Dan 7.22; It isn’t explained elsewhere in the NT, except for maybe Matthew 19.28 (which is the reference where Jesus says the disciples will sit on 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. However, Paul speaks of it as if they know what he’s talking about; this is not contradictory to 5.12a; that (5.12) is in the now, this is in the future; rd v 4-6; and that before unbelievers! What a statement!

ill.: we err when we…

  1. We think everyone out there is Christian… there are lost people skeptically watching
  2. We don’t work for unity w/in the body… and take the fight out there.
  3. We air our dirty laundry…

app.: This is to our shame when we fail to take care of ourselves and leave these things to people who have no standard like we do! It is a poor witness and the lost say, why would I want to be a part of something like that!

t.s.: We should pass judgment within our own walls because it hurts our witness when we take these things outside the church… 5thly, the Passing of Judgment upon a brother is…

V. For Our Benefit (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7; When we don’t pass judgment like we should, we hurt ourselves and each other; it’s like we’re already defeated! Why not rather just be wronged rather than to take someone to court! This is so hard to do; Rd v 8; but instead, we hurt each other by treating each other in this manner.

app.: here is what benefits us:

  1. Just be wronged. Forgive the person and move on. Rd 9-11
  2. Ask for mediation between the two of you. If it is so bad that you can’t rectify this between the two of you, agree on a mediator.
  3. And if that doesn’t work – seek someone within the body to be an arbitrator – someone whose judgment will be final.

t.s.: But there is one final reason Paul gives in passing judgment upon a brother…

VI. For the Glory of God (12-20)

exp.: rd v 12-17; such behavior is harmful and destructive; to the person himself, to the body of believers, and to the glory of God; rd v18-20;

Conclusion: Bought w/ a price!

  1. You no longer sit on the throne of your heart. You surrendered that to Christ and his Holy Spirit took up residence in your soul. Rd v 19
  2. You are not your own… you don’t live life your way anymore – you surrendered your rights to Christ. Rd v 20
  3. The goal of our relationships is to bring glory to God.

Do you remember the story of the two women? Push came to shove… I mean that literally, and the older lady got hurt. Her arm was broken and damaged. Police were called, charges were filed, one lady got arrested, and the media had a hay day! I mean it was on every channel and in the newspaper! The younger woman refused to admit that she injured the old lady. The young lady felt that she had been wronged by the older lady trying to prove how arrogant she was. She wasn’t arrogant, she simply was right!

Maybe she was right in what happened with the Lord’s supper. Maybe the old woman was cantankerous. But the younger woman would not give in and ended up taking this thing to court.

The prosecutor brought in 2 witnesses on the first day. On the 2nd day, he presented three more witnesses. After lunch, things didn’t continue – and come to find out, the defense was frantically working to work out a plea deal. The younger lady faced 10 years in prison and up to $10,000.00 in fines. A plea deal was struck and they all returned to the courtroom.

It came out at the trial that the women had been having trouble in their relationship. The pastor met with the older woman, but the younger woman refused to counsel together to work out their problems. And because of her refusal – push came to shove, and someone got hurt.

My guess – is both women were wrong. Both women should have been corrected a long time ago. The end product – the church was publicly shamed. A lost world said, “That’s why I don’t go to church!”

What do I want you to take home with you?

  1. Relationships are important. They’re essential to unity and leadership.
  2. How we live out our relationships communicates the gospel to the world. I’m talking about forgiveness, compassion, and humility. Y’all, either this stuff is true, or it isn’t.
  3. Where there is sin, it must be confronted and taken care of in the body.
    1. For his benefit
    2. For our purity
    3. For the sake of obedience
    4. For our witness in the world
    5. For our benefit
    6. And for the Glory of God!

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Church Discipline, Matthew, Scripture, Sermon