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Are “We” Like the Corinthians?

Thank you all for the opportunity to write these four devotionals. It has been an honor and a privilege.

How much are we like the Corinthians? In our current culture, do we wanna do what we wanna do, when wanna do it – even, how we wanna do it?

Like the Corinthians, do we also turn our eyes from sexual abuse happening within the church? Do we enjoy socializing and celebrating with people who claim to follow Christ, but are sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, or swindlers (1 Corinthians. 5:11)? Imagine if the Corinthians had electronic devices like we have today, such as iPhones, televisions, iPads, or the Internet. If they would have had access to such electronic devices, they probably would have used them inappropriately. Do we? Do we watch porn and violent movies, or use our social media platforms to slander politicians we don’t like, or neighbors, co-workers, or family members? How are we even vulnerable to sex trafficking and the like? Meanwhile, many who are like this are professing to be Christians.

Paul emphasizes throughout this epistle there is an expectation for believers to strive to live a holy lifestyle. Even now, in our social climate we have spiritual leaders who try to lead their congregation towards an honorable lifestyle. As we see repeatedly in the church, it isn’t easy because of narcissistic attitudes and corrupted behavior. As we let this continue, our family legacy is decaying, our church community is becoming spiritually dead, consisting of an immature body of believers. Meanwhile, the church might resemble the corruption of unbelievers’ in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Chicago? Yet, many churches refuse to believe that they are like the Corinthians.

But let’s take a minute to remember the gospel message.

Those who follow Christ (i.e. Christians) have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They’ve asked for forgiveness of their sins. They believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross for the atonement of all their sins. They believe Christ is the Messiah. Like the Nicene Creed states, the Son, Jesus Christ, was both man and Divine, miraculously born of the virgin Mary, yet lived a sinless life. He was crucified, resurrected, and will return for his children who believe.

After true conversion takes place in their mind, heart, and body, believers must turn away from sin, or at the very least have a strong desire to surrender to righteousness and holiness. As a new creation, they are forming into the image of Jesus Christ, having the mindset to hate what God hates and love what God loves. With God’s help, we can choose righteousness over sin.

Let’s remember our personal story of salvation today. Think back to when you first became a believer. Who led you through the sinner’s prayer? Where were you? Write down as many details that you can remember, sign, date it. Keep the letter in a visible place.

Are “We” Like the Corinthians?2022-10-01T09:05:27-06:00

Now is the Time for Spiritual Growth

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Leaders who are appointed by God, are anointed, given the mandate to lead Yahweh’s people to Him by teaching His true spiritual doctrine, in a manner that builds up the Kingdom of God. As the Apostle Paul was disheartened by the church of Corinth, today’s spiritual leaders are often frustrated by their members’ debauchery (indulgence in sensual pleasures), licentiousness (promiscuous and unprincipled sexual matters), arguing over peripheral issues (sweating the small stuff – Richard Carlson), and favoritism – any of which would contribute to members’ lack of spiritual growth. Consequently, the believer is distracted from important spiritual development pertinent to winning souls to Christ such as salvation, purity, worshiping and discipleship; prayer, and fasting.

Still, the greatest proof of the new birth in Jesus Christ is a recognizable changed life. The outward expression of the children of God’s love for Christ is demonstrated by our obedience to Him, our faith in Him, and our thirst for righteousness. We must be intentional in actively acknowledging that we know what the Lord is requiring of us, starting with the 10 commandments. Accordingly, Christians should not glory in leadership to the detriment of the unity of the church. “The ministers of the gospel are for the faithful, not the faithful for them” (Jerome Biblical Commentary).

Thus, understand the Lord God loves you and wants you to grow in Him. Be not deceived, Satan does not want you to grow in Christ. Therefore, my friends, there are no shortcuts on our journey towards spiritual maturity. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to grow us as we surrender 100% to the following:

  • Love Jesus. 1 John 5:1-2
  • Repent from our sins and learn from our mistakes.
  • Read the Bible and Pray every day – build an intimate relationship with Yahweh. The Holy Spirit will teach you God’s word.
  • Worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Ephesians 5:19
  • Love each other. 2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 John 4:7-8
  • Love our enemies. Matthew 5:43-45 (This is not easy but we must try)
  • Love righteousness not sin. 1 John 2:15-17 (If, the Bible says it’s wrong – don’t do it)

We must care about the type of person we are becoming and strive to live a life centered on God. As a result, we will discover that we are becoming more like Him, in the way we think, seeing people from His lens, and responding to the mundane issues of life. Therefore, we are not the same person that we used to be.

Today, take the time to read Psalms 119.

Now is the Time for Spiritual Growth2022-09-23T22:10:36-06:00

Why Is Faith Important?

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

To the non-believer, having faith in God is foolishness. However, to God, it is impossible to please Him without it. The author of Hebrews states, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). If you can’t see it but believe it will happen – that’s faith. Let’s say, you’re hungry and want to make a hamburger. All you must do is prepare it or order it. You don’t need faith to receive it. However, if you don’t have food or money, then you need faith to believe that your need will be met.

The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is filled with examples of faith. We can learn from these biblical ancestors. For those who believed in God were rewarded, and we see their faith in action.

Like them, we can keep the faith.
When we see no way out of a bad situation – Keep the Faith.
When we see no help – Keep the Faith.
For God is working things out for our good.
Supernatural help is on the way!

Yet, you may feel like the Corinthian Jews who needed a sign or like the Greeks who thought faith was not wise (1 Corinthians 1:22). The Apostle Paul explained how some cannot understand the concept of faith because it must be spiritually discerned. Faith comes through the power of the Holy Spirit so that Christian faith is connected to God’s power not man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4). It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes so we can discover God. Paul goes on to say, “It is because of [what God has done] that [we] are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

So then, how much faith does it take to please God? The KJV puts it this way, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place’, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you.’” (Matthew 17:20 KJV). Every believer at some point will struggle with faith, but full faith as small as a mustard seed is all we need.

Today, purchase a small container of mustard seeds to remind yourself how faith pleases God. Write on an index card “Matthew 17:20”. Tape three mustard seeds on the index card (be careful not to lose them, they’re small) and ask the Lord to increase your faith.

Why Is Faith Important?2022-09-16T15:14:09-06:00

We Need to Receive Correction. Who Me? Yes, You

1 Corinthians 1:1-6, 15:1-58

Let’s set the scene. Apostle Paul was running for his life out of Macedonia (Northern Greece), but then had to run for his life to the province of Achaia (Southern Greece). While journeying, some scholars say he was directed to Corinth by the Holy Spirit. The city of Corinth was the most prosperous city in all of Greece. It was the center of trading in the region where merchants came from every direction. It was a breeding ground for the rich and the poor and slaves – “The Haves and the Have Nots”.

While visiting for a year and a half, Paul shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and established a church. The church of Corinth was a mirror of the culture and diverse backgrounds of the city population, which consisted of Greeks, Jews, and slaves. Keep in mind, slavery in “the biblical days 1st Century, wasn’t based on ethnic backgrounds but on outstanding debts, plunder of war, being destitute, ‘voluntarily’ selling oneself, being sold as a child by destitute parents, a conviction of a crime, or kidnapping and piracy.” (Holman Bible Dictionary).

Approximately three years after Paul left Corinth, he received word about the problems in the Corinthian church from two sources: some Corinthians leaders, and the Chloe household. His first letter is about how the church should treat Christians living immoral lives (see 1 Cor. 5:9); this letter cannot be found. Paul evidently hears of more problems in the Corinthian church, so he sent Timothy to remind them of their apostolic life and teaching (1 Cor. 4:17). The Corinthians continued to live a corrupted life which prompted Paul to write the letter we call 1 Corinthians.

Now, we must ask the question; Why is it important for Christian believers to receive correction?

  1. Without corrections, the church body will be the same as the world of non-believers. (2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV)

    Paul is a fearless Apostle with a pastoral heart to address a variety of immoral acts, conflict within the congregation and with spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 1:10), adaptions of hedonistic values of Greco-Roman society, unworthily partaking of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-34), cultural compromise: incest (1 Cor. 5:1-13), sexual immorality, eating in pagan temples (1 Cor. 8 -11:1), and denial of resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-58). Holiness is vital to the Christian lifestyle. God chastises those whom he loves. (Hebrews 12:6-11 NKJV

  2. It is necessary to produce spiritual growth and development.

    When Biblical correction is done prayerfully and lovingly, we must have the posture of humility to receive correction. Correction is important to hold believers accountable to the true Gospel. Correction and accountability go hand and hand. In the Corinthian letters, Paul has given us a blueprint on how to handle a congregation that has lost its way from righteousness. Paul did not turn a blind eye to the problems within the Corinthian church, nor can we ignore the immoral conduct within the church today.

Receiving corrections is not easy no matter how gently it is given to us. When our sinful ways are exposed, we can feel a sense of shame and guilt. Our response to correction should be one of gratitude and repentance. For God loves, forgives, and saves people through His son Jesus Christ; we have an atonement for our sins. (John 3:16 KJV)

Now, it’s your turn. Take 15 minutes and think about how you respond when someone tells you of the error of your ways. If you responded unrighteously, repent, accept God’s forgiveness, and apologize to that person.

We Need to Receive Correction. Who Me? Yes, You2022-09-15T14:10:59-06:00
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