“By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” (I Cor. 15:10)

Aug. 21 – (I Cor. 14:26-40) Can you imagine if everyone shared in a service?  But we are encouraged to bring “something”.  This tells me we are to be communicating with the Lord through the week and have something fresh from Him that we could share. The corporate meeting takes on much deeper meaning when God gives you something during the week and you see it fitting in to what God has given other parts of the body that they share on Sunday! So, whether you share or not, it is a great faith builder.

Paul is now helping us to understand how to get the most out of a service where there is speaking in tongues and prophesying.  Explain the order that he suggests will most build up the body of Christ.

                I think verses 33-35 is hard for us to understand given our Western culture.  Paul assumes women will take leadership (I Cor. 11:12-16) roles in praying and prophesying.  Could it be that there needed to be some parameters because of the cultural setting of the time and Paul’s concern for peace and order?  I think this needs a cultural study. Anyone want to take the challenge?

Aug. 22 – (I Cor. 15:1-11) This chapter is one of the greatest sustained discussions of a topic which Paul ever wrote.  The theme is the resurrection.  He begins with Jesus ‘resurrection but continues to include all believers in Christ.  Paul is trying yet again to get the Corinthians to understand where they are and who they are in God’s long story.  If they understand where they belong in this story so many other things that have troubled them will be seen in the correct light. Do I really understand where I belong…where He has me every moment of every day and how I got there?  Hmm.

Paul is sharing how his former life contrasted against his current life. It shows God’s grace so dramatically.  It also shows me that we need to be careful what we would bank our life on. Let’s work on making sure how we view something is how God sees it.   Selah

Aug. 23 – (I Cor. 15:12-34) When you were a new believer in Christ, was there a great interest and enthusiasm for the things of the Lord?  It felt wonderful to be out from the burden of sin and brought many of us to almost a feeling of giddiness.  But then we realized the “weight” was coming back…  What was that all about?  Verses 15-19 help us to understand that Christ saved us at the point of our admission of need for forgiveness of sins but we needed to realize the sanctification process will continue until we see Him “face to face”. In these verses, it seems some of the Corinthians believed Christ died for their sins (and was resurrected) but they still believed there was no resurrection of the dead.  Can you think of a sect of Jews that Jesus dealt with who believed there was no resurrection for the dead? (Matt. 22:23)? Some also seemed to believe you could be baptized for another deceased person’s soul.  One source I read said there are cults today who still believe in this practice.  The ritual was a living person laid under the bed of a deceased person and spoke acceptance of Christ (The Book of First Corinthians by Paul A. Hamar; 1980; p. 147). Do you think they were having trouble changing “what they grew up believing”?  I know this sounds crazy but I have a feeling when I get to heaven, I will feel the same about some of my beliefs.  What did we “grow up believing” that God needs to sanctify (renew our mind) so we reflect “His image” better?  Ask Him!

Aug. 24 – (I Cor. 15:35-49) These verses are easy to misinterpret, especially if you don’t read it all together. Many versions of the Bible can mislead people by saying “physical body” and “spiritual body” (v.44) One interpretation is that Paul is not making a contrast between our physical and our spiritual self, something we might call a ghost.  They believe the contrast he’s making is between a body animated by one type of life and a body animated by another type.  One is animated by food, drink and air, the other by God’s own Spirit.  What do you think?

Aug. 25 – (I Cor. 15:50-58) You might think after a terrific chapter filled with hope even after we physically die ( or the Lord comes back for us), that Paul would finish with rejoicing over what we look forward to, but he doesn’t.  What does he do in verse 58 and why?

                Do you ever get discouraged that the work you are doing for the Lord is futile or too small to make a difference?  How can verse 58 be an encouragement for you in those times?

Aug. 26 – (I Cor. 16:1-11) Paul is talking at the beginning of the chapter about the Corinthian Christians (as he also instructed Galatians Christians) giving to the Jerusalem Christians.  How does this consolidate the ‘body of Christ’ universal? 

                In 16:9 Paul mentions an “open door” and “opposition”.  When we are trying to “spread the gospel” why does this always seem to be the case?  How do you push through to victory?  Why not share your testimony with all of us?  I think we all are due for some encouragement from you!

Aug. 27 – (I Cor. 16:12-24) There are four commands Paul gives in verse 13 almost like an army commander might give.  Name the 4 commands. How can we as a church obey those commands?

                As you think about difficult situations you are facing right now, what would it mean to approach that situation in love?  Please seriously consider this.  Why?  Let me share a situation I was in where I did not heed this verse and where it took me.  Maybe it will help you to circumvent something.  

I found myself in a situation where someone was clearly breaking a commandment. As I tried to show a destructive path that was unfolding, I spoke out of anger and hurt and frustration, trying to get light on the reality of the path it would lead to.  Obviously, it was not received well. I kept asking the Lord how to change it (yes I’m always trying to “help” fix things). After a time had passed God showed me that once again I am not the “fixer”, He is.  But most importantly He showed me from Eph. 4:11-16, that I spoke the Truth but it had not been in love…. and that is a key!  After being convicted, I had to go back and ask forgiveness for my wrongful attitude.  So the moral of this story is, if you need to speak to a brother or sister, make sure it is done in love…. the same kind of love Jesus had when He chose to die on the cross for your sins!  SELAH