The Church at Corinth was gifted. They experienced and exercised the spiritual gifts, and yet they were divided and carnal. They had neglected Love. Paul tried to teach the church that the gifts mean nothing without Love. He wrote; “earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (1 Cor.12:31). God’s Agape’ Love is the more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 13) The ability to exercise any of the spiritual gifts mean nothing if it is done without God’s Love. Love is the key. If Christians miss that, everything else we do is a waste of time and effort. John wrote; “He who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love” (1 John 4:8). That is what it all comes down to, and Love is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22).
Our Father gives the gifts of the Holy Spirit to each Christian as He wills, and as we need them. We don’t decide for ourselves what we will receive; that decision comes from the Father to His children (1 Cor.12). Christ gives each of us different gifts, and He works in us and through us in different ways. We make a big mistake if we try to make God go with our plan or system. Jesus doesn’t operate in our lives by a formula or a program. I will probably experience the gifts of the Spirit and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a different way than you will. Don’t try to duplicate someone else’s experience in your life. There is One Holy Spirit but differing gifts, ministries, activities and manifestations of God the Spirit. Our Father does what He wants, when He wants. It is a great blessing when He uses us, and gives us the gifts that are needed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Whenever we partake of Communion is a good time for us to come before Jesus and ask, as David did; “Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps.139:23,24). It is interesting how good we humans are at examining others, but how blind we can be to our own sins. It is almost impossible to examine yourself, because the human heart is deceitful and wicked (Jer.17:9,10). Before we partake of the communion bread and cup is the perfect time for us to ask Christ to examine our hearts; while we hold in our hands the symbols of the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross to forgive us of our sins (1 Cor.11).
Beware of becoming overly confident in your own abilities. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” All temptations are “common to all of mankind” (1 Cor.10). We are all human. You are not the exception. You are not the Lone Ranger. You are not better or worse than anyone else. We all face failure at every turn. But Christ, our Rock is faithful. He will always give us a way of escape if we will listen to Him and His Word. That doesn’t mean necessarily that we will always take the way of escape, but Christ always offers it. If I fail, it is because of my unfaithfulness, not His. – Pastor Chuck Smith 1927–2013
The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with sports, although he was raised as an Orthodox Jew, he was also born a Roman citizen living in Tarsus, and influenced by Greek culture, and the Olympic games (1 Cor.9). He saw the Christian life as a race for an eternal crown. He compared the Christian to an athlete who wanted to finish what he started, and to finish strong. As Christians, we all have our own race to run, and God has given to each of us certain gifts & callings. Hebrews 12 tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus for inspiration”. When we do, there will be a crown of righteousness waiting for us in heaven.
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Jesus warns Christians who are strong in their faith, to be careful not to do wrong to those brothers or sisters who are weak in their faith thereby causing them to stumble (1 Cor. 8). If my actions cause a Christian who is weak in faith, to stumble, then it is better for me to stop what I’m doing. For example; I personally don’t see anything wrong with eating BBQ pork. But I realize some weaker Christians feel that, because of their traditions, including the eating of pork, that to them eating BBQ pork is offensive. And so, even though I love the taste and smell of BBQ pork, it would not be worth it to me if one Christian brother or sister was stumbled if I ate BBQ pork.
Jesus tells us that many things can come into our lives & cause the Word of God to be unfruitful (Matt.13:1-23). The Bible often reminds us not to be worried or anxious about anything. However it is easy to get caught up in material things, and be worried, and distracted from the Life giving, Eternal, and Spiritual things of God. Christians can lose their joy and faith if they become so successful that their possessions begin to possess them. In Rev 3:14-22 Jesus tells us riches will be a problem for the church in the last days. This world has many distractions and we can’t afford to get sidetracked. The Family of God is there to help us learn to live according to The Bible. We have spiritual Fathers and Mothers that will come alongside to guide us and ‘sanctify’ us if we will just ask. And some of us are spiritual Fathers and Mothers called to come alongside if and when we are asked. (1 Cor.7)
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“Sinner, I know that you have thought of your sin as your own burden, and you have been trying to get free of its weight, but there is a true and a better view: Sin was laid on Jesus, and it made Him to be covered with the bloody sweat, it nailed Him to the cross, it made Him cry out “My God My God why have You Forsaken Me?” Our sins bowed Him into the dust of death. When you see the true view of your sin you will hate it, you will mourn it, but you will thank God you can be free of it” C.H. Spurgeon (1833-1892)