Aug. 7- (1 Cor. 6) Why do you think Paul is forbidding the Christians from taking each other to court?  On maybe a lesser vein, where in the church do you see Christians showing the world we are no different than they are?  How can we change that?

Paul is trying to say to the Corinthians how hurtful sexual sin is to the person and to all around them including the world that is watching.  Look at the list of unrighteous acts that will lead people not to inherit the kingdom of God (vv. 9-10). If you can relate to any of the sexual sins seek forgiveness and right standing before God.  If you can’t relate to those sins, look at the other ones…. seek forgiveness and right standing before God!  We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Selah

How does Paul emphasize that the Christians’ relationship with Jesus is not simply spiritual but physical as well (vv. 12-20)?  He says (v.18) “Run away from immorality”. What form should this “running away” look like for Christians today?

                As you look over chapters 5 and 6, list the warnings and assurances you find.  Memorize verses to help you maintain a “temple” in which the Holy Spirit resides.  

Aug. 8 – (1 Cor. 7:1-16) What a mine field Paul is picking his way through!  Morality in those times is a lot like it is in the world today. Paul does not retreat from any subject…if it will help the new Christians grow in the Lord.  He divided his comments (vv. 8-16) into three area; a message for people who have been married but now aren’t (vv. 8-9), a message for married people (vv. 10-11), and a message for people in the tricky situation of being married to someone who is not a Christian (vv. 12-16).   Put that together with a new relationship with Christ and new Christians had a lot to navigate.  Do you remember as a new born Christian, some areas you wrestled with?  How did you come to a new understanding?  Who helped you?  Why not thank them this week for their mentoring and guidance?

The idea of mutual equality before God was very daring in Paul’s time and is still challenging today. How does Paul express this in practical terms in this passage?

Aug. 9 – (1 Cor. 7:17-40) One of the greatest achievements of the nineteenth century, (largely the work of devout Christians) was the abolition of the slave trade (not that it doesn’t continue in other forms; but the conscience of most of the world confirms slavery as evil).  Paul is not saying slavery doesn’t matter.  He’s saying regardless of your social status, your status as a member of the Messiah’s people is far more important. What things today do we choose (yes it is a choice) to become slaves to?  (ex. debt?) Selah

                DID YOU KNOW?  Paul probably left Corinth in A.D. 51.  This was right about the time when there was a famine (severe grain shortage). It was a time of great distress (v. 26) and people thought it might get worse.  What would be some examples of a “very difficult time” in which Christian believers should put on hold such life-changing plans as marriage or up-scaling in living? 

Aug. 10 – (1 Cor. 8) Paul mentions those with a weak conscience. Paul sees the conscience like a sort of internal compass, telling each person what is right and wrong.  The human conscience, like a compass, is a sensitive instrument and can easily malfunction.  Reeducating someone’s conscience takes time and patience.  Several of the Christians in Corinth (before their recent conversion) had been regular worshipers in the shrines of the idols.  And once you shared in that dark but powerful world on a regular basis, perhaps for many years, it would be difficult to separate part of it (the meat) from the whole thing.  Years of teaching, prayer and wise help would be needed to cope with any element of the old package deal.  Otherwise, it would be disturbing to see Christian friends (who didn’t have that background of worshiping idols) eating that meat. 

                It was causing Christians to feel that they (or the offending party) had sinned by eating this meat.  Do you feel free to do certain things that other Christians consider wrong, or do you refrain from certain things that another Christian think is okay?  Whichever side you sit on, are you judging others for doing the opposite?  (God is the only one to judge!) 

                DID YOU KNOW?  In those days, most of the meat sold had been offered to one idol or another. 

Aug. 11 – (1 Cor. 9:1-14)   This chapter seems to be a about a pattern of self-denial.  Paul said, “I could demand or expect thus and thus but choose not to, for in that choice, I may reach another with the gospel.”  Our culture demands we stand up for our own rights, even at others’ expense.  Yet Jesus keeps reminding us of the joy from self-sacrifice and humility.  What could you choose through self-denial today so that someone else might have a better “view of Christ”?

                Paul continues to press the point that he has rights but will not demand them so that maybe one more person will know Christ (vv. 9-14).  Think of how this has played out in your life whether an observation or an experience you had.  Was the gospel hindered or proclaimed? 

Aug. 12 – (1 Cor. 9:15-27) Expand on what Paul means by each of the different ways he would seek to remove barriers to the gospel (vv. 15-23). 

                Christian freedom is not freedom to do what you like, but freedom from all things that stop you from being the person God wants you to be.  This is freedom for the service of God and the Gospel.

Aug. 13 – (1 Cor. 10:1-13) The first part of chapter 10 reminds me to see the mistakes in others only so I don’t repeat them in myself. It says that most of the Israelites bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  I think Paul was saying that they all were led by the same cloud, they all ate the miracle manna God gave them but they still were not satisfied and ended up dying in the wilderness… not receiving entrance into the Promised Land.   It reminds me of the saying: “Only but for the grace of God…go I.”  Knowing and believing is not enough, it is responding to what you know and believe that brings the kingdom of God into your life.  Selah

                God does put limits on what He allows in your life (10:13).  Don’t ever doubt that!  Yes, it’s okay to remind Him of that (You are actually reminding yourself that you are trusting Him in what limits He sets and that all things can ultimately work for good!).