Devotionary Podcast

Join us as we work our way through the Bible, one book at a time. You'll enjoy the inspiration of a devotional and the insights of a commentary all in one place and all designed to make the Scriptures approachable and applicable to everyday life. Enjoy!
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Now displaying: Category: 1 corinthians

Devotionary is a new podcast that is designed to make the Bible accessible and applicable to everyday life. It combines the inspiration of a daily devotional and the insights of a commentary, but in language that is easy-to-understand. We will be working our way through the entire Bible offering a chapter-by-chapter overview of each book. The goal is to give you a solid understanding of the Bible’s overarching and unified message of redemption. We hope you enjoy.

Oct 9, 2017

ThIs it is. The final part of Paul’s letter. And he ends it with a bang, not a whimper. He has not run out of steam or things to say, but like all good things, they must come to an end. So, he wraps it all up with one last admonition to be wary, watchful, faithful, courageous and strong. Oh, and to love. That one was especially important to Paul. This final charge, found 1 Corinthians 16: 10-24 is simple, yet powerful. In it, Paul provides the Corinthians, and us, with a strong message to which anyone would be wise to listen. The overall theme of Paul’s letter has been one of community in the face of the constant temptations to live in disunity and isolation. The body of Christ is meant to be an organism, not an organization. The members of the body are gifted by the Spirit of God in order that they might encourage and serve one another. There is no place for competition or conflict. Pride, arrogance and self-centeredness are to be avoided at all costs, recognizing them as cancers that can destroy the body from within. The ongoing well-being of the body of Christ requires an attitude of unity, cooperation, selfless service and sacrificial love. The time is short and the need great. So, we are to stay focused and faithful.   

Oct 8, 2017

The church, the body of Christ, is bigger than you think. It goes far beyond the walls of your local church building. It reaches into distant lands and encompasses people groups who speak languages you've never heard of and would not understand. In this final chapter of his letter, Paul begins to wrap things up by reminding the church in Corinth of his expectations that they participate in the collection of funds for the needy believers in Judah. He wants them to give and to do it gladly and generously. For a congregation that was struggling with issues of pride, self-centeredness and comparison, it was a great way to remind them that the church of Jesus Christ was far bigger than their local congregation. While they were bickering over who had the most important spiritual gift or who was baptized by the more important leader, the churches in Judah were suffering from persecution and a famine. They were struggling to survive. But the Corinthians were arguing over food at their love feasts and wasting money taking one another to court over matter that were of no eternal significance. Always spiritual, but also practical, Paul brings his letter to a close by providing his audience with a much-needed wake-up call to consider the more important matters of life: The well-being of the body of Christ and the continued spread of the gospel around the world.

Oct 7, 2017

In this episode, based on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58, Paul is nearing the end of his letter and begins to focus this reader’s attention on the end of life and the return of Christ. It is as if he is trying to refocus their attention on what really matters. Not only should they believe in and look forward to the resurrection of their bodies, they should understand that the bodies they will receive will be sin-free and death-resistant. This Greek idea that had permeated the church in Corinth that the human body was somehow evil and the soul good was unbiblical. And while our earthly bodies are dying and decaying, subject to acting out our sinful inclinations, and prone to resisting God’s will and the Spirit’s leading, they will be renewed one day. We will receive resurrected bodies. Spanking new, God-created bodies that will be free from sin, pain, suffering, disease, and death. And as Paul states earlier in this same chapter, that hope is based on the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection. He too received a new body. He had been brutally beaten, crucified, pierced in His hands, feet and side, but had walked out of the tomb alive and well. Yes, He was still carrying the marks of the wounds on His body, but He was alive and would never die again. And we have the same remarkable fate in store for us. Our bodies, like His, will be new and improved.    

Oct 6, 2017

Paul could be a patient pastor, but there were a couple of things he wasn’t going to put up with. One was anybody attempting to alter the message of the gospel in any way. He felt so strongly about that one that he issued a curse on anybody who tried. “…even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse! (Galatians 1:8 NIV). The second thing Paul was unwilling to tolerate was the questioning of the validity or veracity of the resurrection of Jesus. And then, as now, there were many who had a difficult time getting their heads around the idea of someone bodily raising from the dead. And in Corinth, it was especially difficult because their Greek culture taught that the body of man was evil, while his soul was good. So, the idea of there being a resurrection of what was essentially evil, made no sense to them. They believed that when you died, your soul went to be with God, but your body was left behind. But Paul begged to differ – because that kind of thinking, as logical as it may have sounded – was in direct conflict with the promises of Scripture and the reality of Christ’s resurrection. So, as we unpack 1 Corinthians 15, verses 12-34, we will see Paul take on this false belief head-on.

Oct 5, 2017

In today’s episode, we’ll be in verses 1-11 of 1 Corinthians 15. I’ve entitled this episode “Back to the Basics”, because Paul is moving from his discussion about division within the body of Christ at Corinth, to a much more pressing and important issue: The resurrection. There was some unhealthy debate going on at Corinth regarding the issue of the resurrection. Some within the church were questioning the validity and veracity of Christ’s resurrection. Others were simply saying that there would be no bodily resurrection of the dead. We don’t know the source of these controversies, but it’s obvious that Paul is not happy about what is going on. For Paul, the resurrection was not up for debate. It was not a fable, the result of wishful thinking, or some pastoral ploy to get people to buy into becoming a Christian. It was the heart and soul of the gospel. Without the resurrection of Christ, every man, woman or child who has placed their faith in Christ remains in their sinful, condemned state. They are separated from God. A dead Jesus is not a saving Jesus. A martyred Messiah may inspire devotion and even emulation, but it is not His death alone that saves us. It is His death, resurrection and ascension. He sits at the right hand of the Father. He ministers on our behalf. And one day He is coming back for us. It is the resurrection that guarantees us eternal life and the possibility of abundant life right here, right now.  

Oct 4, 2017

Order versus chaos. Peace rather than confusion. Paul wasn’t asking for much. After all, he was addressing the members of the local congregation in Corinth. So, why was he having to spend so much time dealing with all the disunity and unnecessary disputes going on with the fellowship? Because they were becoming a real problem. And in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, Paul calls for order in the house – the house of God. Now, this is another one of those passages over which there has been more than a little debate and disagreement. And, as usual, we need to make sure we stick with the context. If not, we can get off into the high weeds and find ourselves reaching conclusions that Paul never intended or establishing precedents for the global church that he never meant to go beyond the particular circumstances taking place in Corinth. Yes, there will be principles we can apply, but we must be careful not to infer things that were not part of Paul’s original agenda. His intent, as always, was to build up the local body of Christ. He was calling the Corinthians to use their better judgment and not let their actions and attitudes be driven by pride, selfishness or behavior that he would deem foolish and harmful to the body of Christ.

Oct 3, 2017

What’s your purpose? Why are you here? For the believer, the answer to these two questions should be quite simple: To love and build up the body of Christ. As we begin 1 Corinthians 14, looking at verses 1-25, we’ll be looking on as Paul continues to admonish and encourage the believers at Corinth to get their spiritual act together. Pride was everywhere, but love was in short supply. Well, they had plenty of self-love, but that’s not what Paul was looking for. He was wanting to see each and every believer in the church there take their focus off themselves and begin to think about how they might strengthen the local body of Christ. To do that, they were going to have to let go of their own self-centered agendas and over-the-top concern for their own personal well-being. They were members of the body of Christ. They had been gifted by the Spirit of God in order to minister to the body of Christ. But they were too busy trying to impress one another with their particular spiritual gifts to actually worry about loving one another. Spirituality had become a competition. Personal status in the local congregation was more important to them than the overall health of the church in the community. So, once again, Paul is forced to take them to task.

Oct 2, 2017

The lasting legacy of love. That’s the title for this episode as we dig into 1 Corinthians chapter 13, a very well-known and often-quoted portion of Scripture, especially in wedding ceremonies. But for us to get the full impact of what Paul has to say in this chapter, we must keep in mind the context of all that has been going on in the church there in Corinth. Pride, arrogance, self-centeredness and a demand for individual rights, within the local church body, had resulted in an unhealthy atmosphere of disunity and division. They had spiritual gifts, given to them by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ, but they were using them with selfish motives in mind. They had become badges of honor and points of dispute. So, in the midst of all the problems Paul is attempting to address, he writes this incredible treatise on love. For Paul, love was the glue that held the body of Christ together. Without love, the church is nothing more than just another man-made organization with little or no power to truly change lives. Even the use of the gifts of the Spirit, if done so without love, is wasted energy, amounting to nothing in the end. Selfless love for others is not an option for the believer, it is essence of what it means to be a believer. We love because He first loved us.

Oct 1, 2017

The church, the body of Christ, is NOT an organization. At least, not in a biblical sense. Sure, the local church has leadership, by-laws, terms of membership, a staff, a budget, operating procedures and a myriad of organizational attributes, but it is, first-and-foremost, an organism. The body of Christ, of which each local congregation is a part, is not an organization that people choose to join, but an organism which God has created and into which He has placed those whom He has called. For Paul, this distinction was essential. Within the local church at Corinth, the believers were losing sight of the true nature and function of the body of Christ. For them, it was no different than being a member of the local synagogue or attending a pagan temple. But for Paul, it was the mysterious and divinely ordained creation of an interdependent group of diverse individuals who shared a common belief in Jesus Christ as Savior, who each enjoyed the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and who, together, formed a totally and radically unique entity called the body of Christ. In this episode, called “Unity and Diversity”, we will be looking at what Paul has to say on this important topic as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12, verses 12-31.   

Sep 30, 2017

Pride is a powerful and potentially destructive force. It rarely builds up or edifies anyone but the one who harbors pride. And pride within the body of Christ is especially dangerous, as it is antithetical to God’s expectation of unity and unanimity among His children. So, when Paul discovered yet another manifestation of pride among the Corinthians believers, he addressed it with his usual loving, but nevertheless in-your-face style. Today, we’ll be looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verses 1-11. I’ve entitled this episode “All for One and One for All.” You probably recognize that as the slogan or mantra of the Three Musketeers. But it nicely applies to what Paul has to say to the Corinthian church. The issue he is having to deal with is that of the spiritual gifts and the Corinthian’s misunderstanding and misuse of them. They saw them as symbols of importance and tended to compare their gifts with one another in order to determine who had the more important of the spiritual gifts. It became a competition, which led to feelings of superiority or inferiority. Rather than using the gifts as they were intended, to build up the body of Christ, the Corinthians were busy building up themselves, and causing unnecessary division within the church.

Sep 29, 2017

You didn’t want to get on Paul’s bad side. He was a loving, patient man, but he also had a strong intolerance for anything or anyone who would dare disturb the unity of the local church. He was willing to go to the mat with anyone who felt they had the right to reach inside the body of Christ and wreak havoc on the love and unity that was supposed to be there. In this episode, we’ll be in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, verses 17-34. I’ve called it, “Family Dysfunction” because Paul is going to deal with a situation within the local family of God that was resulting in some serious problems. And it all revolved around one of the most important ordinances of the church, given to us by Christ and designed to commemorate His sacrificial death on behalf of sinful men and women. The divisions and disunity that marked the church in Corinth had made their way into the celebration of the Lord’s Table or communion. Intended to be a unifying and community building experience, the taking of the bread and wine, symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood, had been turned by the Corinthians into into a time marked by divisiveness and disunity. And he was not going to put up with it. Christ died so that we might be made right with God and one with all those who share our faith in Christ. Disunity in any form is dysfunctional at best and destructive at worst.   

Sep 28, 2017

Warning! The following content is potentially controversial and most certainly, difficult to understand. But hopefully, with a little thought and an eye to the context surrounding the passage and the historical setting in which the Corinthian church existed, we can gain some insight into what Paul was dealing with and how it applies to us today. This episode deals with 1 Corinthians 11, verses 2-16; a much-debated passage that has left more than one theologian stumped and a lot of believers confused. But at the end of the day, I think Paul is addressing the problem of order in the church. That is a constant issue within the body of Christ, and has been for centuries. The cultural contexts change, but the need for order and decorum never do. In the attempt to be relevant, churches are always running the risk of making compromises and concessions that can end up weakening the gospel message. In an effort to take advantage of their newfound freedoms in Christ, many believers end up losing sight of the more critical mission of making the gospel and the community of Christ attractive and appealing to those who are lost. Demanding our rights or flaunting our freedoms may seem appealing, but they can end up being a real turn-off to those outside the church.  

Sep 27, 2017

I hate to tell you this, but it isn’t all about you. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the apostle Paul. In today’s episode, based on 1 Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 14, through chapter 11, verse 1, we are going to hear what Paul has to say about the matter. And he will not mince words or pull any punches. He’s going to let the believers in Corinth have it with both barrels, admonishing them for their selfishness and self-centeredness. As members of the body of Christ, they had a responsibility to put the needs of others ahead of their own rights. Doing what is best for others takes precedence over what I may or may not think is best for me. And the model Paul provides is himself. He could boldly, but not braggingly, claim that he had been selfless in his service to the people in Corinth. He refused to accept any kind of financial help for the work he had done there, even though he had every right to it. He had ministered to them on his own dime, never asking for them to donate a single cent to his well-being. For Paul, the well-being of the body of Christ was of a far great priority than his own well-being or that of any other believer in Corinth.

Sep 26, 2017

In today’s episode, we will be looking at the first 13 verses of 1 Corinthians 10. I’ve titled it “No Place for Cockiness” because Paul is going to take head-on the problem of the Corinthians demanding their rights and the resulting evidence of pride in their lives. There were those in the church in Corinth who were demanding that they had certain rights and they were unwilling to give them up even though those rights were doing some serious spiritual damage to the less mature believers in the church. This unnecessary and ungodly division was not something Paul was willing to overlook. He was concerned that this cockiness on the part of the more mature believers in the church was actually a dangerous thing. They were becoming a bit too self-righteous and he knew that their over-confidence could easily lead to failure. Pride always goes before the fall. Which is why Paul warned them to be careful not to fall. Just when these people thought they were standing on firm ground, they would discover that their confidence was in self, not God. And for the believer, self-confidence is a dangerous companion on the walk of faith. Self-confidence will prove a lousy defense against temptation. It will get exposed as what it is: Unreliable and incapable of protecting us from the ways of this world and the attacks of the enemy.   

Sep 25, 2017

The Law of Christ. It almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? And yet, as we unpack 1 Corinthians chapter nine, we’re going to find that the law of Christ is exactly what Paul presents as the solution to a problem facing the believers in Corinth. They were obsessed with their rights and privileges as followers of Christ. They were demanding their own ways and defending their rights to do as they pleased. But in doing so, they were abusing one another and failing to exhibit the kind of love that Jesus modeled and that the gospel demands. Rather than loving one another, they were defending their rights. And Paul would use himself as an example of one who had determined to give up his rights for the sake of the gospel. He wasn’t going to let his freedoms in Christ shackle another believer with unnecessary guilt and shame. He wasn’t going to demand his own way and run the risk of tempting a brother or sister in Christ to wander from the way of Christ. The law of Christ is that of love. It is obedience to the command that we love one another as we have been loved by God through Christ. It is a law of sacrifice and selflessness. It is a law of otherness rather than self-centeredness. And yet, the law of Christ is not legalistic. It is not about demanding behavior that earns God’s favor. It is about living as Christ lived and loving as He loved. It is about the blessedness that comes with giving rather than receiving.

Sep 24, 2017

Loving to know versus knowing to love. That’s the title for today’s episode on 1 Corinthians, chapter 8. In this chapter, Paul continues to answer some of the questions that had been sent to him by the Corinthians in a letter. In this case, he addresses the topic of knowledge. Not academic or head-knowledge, but an awareness of right and wrong that allows a believer to do certain things that others might think are prohibited. Part of what Paul is having to deal with is an abuse on the part of some within the church in Corinth who were overstating their newfound freedom in Christ. They were demanding their rights to eat certain foods and to engage in particular practices that others felt were off limits. These more mature believers felt like they were having their rights stifled by those who were less spiritual. These baby Christians, who had come out of pagan backgrounds, were struggling with issues like eating meat that had been sacrificed to false gods. They saw the more mature Christians doing so and felt like it was wrong. For them, it was as if those who ate that meat were worshiping the false gods. They were appalled. They couldn’t understand why someone would do such a thing. And the more mature believers felt like they had every right to do what they were doing and not have to put up with undeserved judgment. But for Paul, it all went back to love. Knowing you’re right means nothing if you don’t know enough to love others.

Sep 23, 2017

This episode is based on the second half of 1 Corinthians, chapter seven, and covers verses 25-40. I’ve entitled it, “A Matter of Priorities” because Paul is going to challenge the Corinthian believers that their focus on the things of this world was out of whack. They were so earthly minded that they were finding it difficult to be of much good to the kingdom and its cause. Keep in mind that they had written Paul a letter to which he was responding. And their letter was filled with questions regarding whether to get married or to say single. If married, should a couple give up their sexual relationship so they could concentrate of spiritual growth? Should single people stay single or pursue a marriage partner. For Paul, the issue was one of priorities. He wanted them to keep their focus on Christ and their energies dedicated to accomplishing God’s kingdom purposes. The world in which they lived was temporary in nature. Those questions about marriage with which they were so consumed were off point. Jesus even said that at the resurrection of the dead, “they will neither marry nor be given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30 NLT). Marriage is an earthly institution that will have no reason for existence in heaven. And so many of the things about which we worry and fret in this life will mean nothing in the next. Rather than allow ourselves to become overly attached to this world, Paul would have us set our sights on the next.

Sep 22, 2017

In this episode, we’ll be in 1 Corinthians, chapter seven, verses 1-24. It’s entitled, “Right Where God Wants You” and has to do with a believer accepting the circumstances of his life even as he embraces his new-found relationship with Jesus. Salvation is intended to change our hearts, not necessarily our circumstances or surroundings. Of course, if we are living an immoral lifestyle prior to coming to Christ, God would want us to not only repent of it but walk away from it. But Paul’s emphasis in these verses has much more to do with the grey areas of life that accompany our salvation. If we’re married when we come to faith, we should stay married, even if our spouse is still an unbeliever. If we were single when married, there is no reason we cannot stay single. If we were pursuing a certain career path when we came to know Christ, we should keep on keeping on. Salvation is intended to change our lives from the inside out. But we can sometimes lose focus and start worrying about making external changes. It is easy to think that, since God has provided us new life in Christ, we should pursue a NEW LIFE in Christ. But pursuing a career change, an alteration to our marital status, or a radical departure from our normal way of life is not what God is looking for. Sometimes the greatest lesson we can learn from our conversion is that of contentment.

Sep 21, 2017

In today’s episode, we’re going to be digging into the second half of 1 Corinthians, chapter six, covering verses 12-20. I’ve entitled it, “A Change in Ownership” and it’s going to deal with our freedom in Christ. One of the things Paul found himself dealing with was the Corinthians’ tendency to abuse their newfound freedom in Christ. Sexual promiscuity was a huge problem in Corinth. Decadence and gluttony were also big problems. In fact, just about every one of the seven deadly sins was on the menu in Corinth, including pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. And Paul was faced with the unenviable task of having to call the Corinthians to task on virtually every one of them. At the heart of each of these sins is the love of self. And the love of self was the antithesis of the love of Christ that all believers are to exhibit. Christ-like love is selfless and sacrificial. It is other-focused and self-denying. In fact, Jesus told His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NLT). And Paul makes it clear that, as believers, we no longer belong to ourselves. We have been bought out of sin and self-worship by God and the price He paid was the death of His own Son.

Sep 20, 2017

In this episode, we’ll be looking at the first eleven verses 1 Corinthians, chapter six. I’ve entitled it, “Where’s the Proof?” and in it, we’ll take a look at Paul’s words concerning the life change that should have accompanied the salvation experience of the Corinthians. Rather than exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, they were living like the rest of the world, having disputes and taking one another to court over them. There was no unity. There was no bond of love. And their actions gave evidence of worldliness rather than righteousness. Paul, as a minister of the gospel and a shepherd of the flock of God, was not willing to sit back and let the Corinthians destroy the reputation of Jesus Christ through their behavior. He was going to call them to accountability and remind them of their status as children of God. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ, their lives had been changed. They had been cleansed. They had been declared holy by God. They had been restored to a right relationship with God. So, why weren’t they living like it? Why weren’t their lives giving evidence of their new natures? True life change was not optional for Paul. It was a necessary and non-negotiable byproduct of salvation. And he would not be content until the believers in Corinth began to live as what they were: children of God.

Sep 19, 2017

In chapter five of 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses an interesting topic: Excessive tolerance. It seems that there was a man in the church there who was guilty of having an affair. Not only that, it was with his stepmother. But Paul’s real issue is not with the man or his adulterous affair, but with the over-accepting nature of the church’s reaction to it all. Rather than be appalled at the man’s sinful behavior, they were actually bragging about it. Instead of embarrassment, they were exhibiting a sense of approval. If you recall, in our very first episode, we talked about Paul’s use of the plural pronoun “you.” This letter was written to the body of Christ, not a single individual. And Paul addresses then corporate nature of this man’s sin. Sure, it was he who had committed adultery. And it was his own stepmother who participated in this unacceptable behavior. But the church was also corporately culpable, because they had done nothing about it. In essence, their failure to speak up was as good as an endorsement of the couple’s wicked behavior. And when sin goes unaddressed in the body of Christ, it spreads like a cancer. It infects and pollutes. It weakens the spiritual immune system of the church. And tolerance, while it may appear to be an act of love, is actually a form of hatred. By remaining silent and refusing to address the sin in our midst, we reveal a disregard for the well-being of the one whose sin we are overlooking and a deadly apathy to the health of the church.

Sep 18, 2017

Today’s episode deals with chapter four of 1 Corinthians, where Paul makes a seemingly boastful claim that the Corinthians should imitate his behavior. That’s why I’ve entitled this episode, “Do As I Say and Do.” Paul isn’t an arrogant ego-maniac with an inflated sense of self-worth. He is a follower of Christ who is honestly attempting to live his life in keeping with the precepts taught by Jesus Himself. He is a Christ-follower, so, he has no problem telling the Corinthians to get in line behind him. As long as he is walking after Christ, they can’t go wrong by following in his footsteps. And shouldn’t that be true of each and every one of us? But the problem is that we too easily find ourselves wandering off into the weeds of life and blazing our own trail, leaving the way of Jesus somewhere in our rearview mirror. Paul wasn’t claiming to BE Christ. He wasn’t inferring that his life was on the same par as that of Christ. But he had no qualms inviting other believers to not only do as he said, but do as he did. His was a life worth emulating. Not perfect, but in the process of being perfected, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our world could stand a few more lives worth imitating. There are far too many vain, self-absorbed, immoral and ungodly examples out there. And while we can’t be Christ for anyone, we can certainly mirror His life and live out His teachings as we submit to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sep 17, 2017

Today, we move into chapter three of 1 Corinthians. This episode is entitled “Worldly Wise” and deals with a problem facing the Corinthians that is common to all of us as believers. It has to do with the constant temptation to live as citizens of this world rather than as citizens of the Kingdom of God. Paul accused the Corinthians of living as if they belonged to the world. Their lifestyle and behavior was not in keeping with the ways outlined by Paul and modeled by Jesus Christ Himself. Worldliness rather than godliness. It’s a constant reality for the Christian. Why? Because we live in the world and are constantly pressured to fit in rather than stand out. We have been called to live lives that are set apart to God. But when we do, it makes the world uncomfortable. Our godliness makes those around us feel guilty about the way they live their lives. So, they attempt to get us to abandon God’s ways for the world’s ways. They pressure us to take a different path, the one Jesus said leads to destruction. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13 ESV). Being worldly wise too often leads to compromise. When we start listening to the world and choosing to take its advice, our distinctiveness as Christians gets lost. Our uniqueness becomes blurred. Instead of modeling spiritual maturity, our lives become characterized by infantile attempts to blend in rather than stand out. And the church suffers as a result.

Sep 16, 2017

In today’s episode, we’ll be taking a look at 1 Corinthians chapter 2. It’s entitled “The Mind of Christ” and will deal with the believer’s ability to comprehend the ways of God, including the offer of salvation made available through His Son and the wisdom of His Word made understandable by His Spirit. The entire life of the believer, from salvation to sanctification, is the work of God. Even our ultimate glorification, when we will be finally and completely transformed into the likeness of Christ is His doing. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the three persons of the Trinity, each play a part in the life-transforming reality of the gospel. And Paul wants the Corinthians to understand that this divine re-creation, has nothing to do with the efforts or insights of men. While Paul, Apollos and Peter were used by God to spread the message of His grace and goodness expressed through the gift of His Son, their words did not save anyone. Their powers of persuasion convinced no one to believe. It was the Spirit of God, speaking through them on behalf of God, and empowering the lost to accept the free gift of the Son of God that did it all. Salvation is a spiritual process, from beginning to end. And we have no reason to boast about playing a part in it.

Sep 15, 2017

Today’s episode is based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and is entitled “The Work of God.” In it, we’ll see Paul dealing with the division that arisen in the local church in Corinth. It seems that the people within the congregation were giving unnecessary and undeserved credit to Paul, Apollos and Peter for the roles they had played in their conversions. They were taking sides and arguing over which of these men were the most significant in terms of leadership. But Paul wasn’t going to put up with it. As far as he was concerned, the only one worthy of any credit for the salvation of the believers in Corinth was God Himself. It had all been His idea and totally the work of His power. Paul, Peter and Apollos didn’t save anybody. They had simply pointed people to the source of salvation: Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the God-appointed, grace-provided Savior. As soon as the people started arguing about men, they were getting their eyes off of Christ, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” as the author of Hebrews calls Him. The Corinthians had no business boasting in their role in their own salvation and they had right to make much of the part Peter, Paul or Apollos may have played. It was Jesus who made them pure and holy. It was Jesus who had freed them from sin. And no one else.

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