Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 1”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 1. Paul begins addressing this letter not only to the Corinthians, but to all who call on the name of Jesus. As you read below, all who call on the name of Jesus have been sanctified in Christ. The word translated into: “To those who have been sanctified” is hagiazó, which means I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, sanctify, hallow, purify. All who call on the name of Jesus have been made holy. Have been set apart as holy. Have been treated as holy. Have been purified. Praise God! It’s been done!

Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

v. 1-3 (NASB)

Paul was called as an apostle (a messenger, one sent on a mission), not by his own will, but by the will of God. God has to be the one to call us and send us out. We can’t call or send ourselves out.

Paul continues:

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

v. 4-9 (NASB)

The word “confirm” means “secure.” God will secure our sanctification (holiness) to the end, so that we will be blameless when Christ returns. We can stop worrying about failing and worrying that we’ve fallen beyond recovery. God won’t fail us. He will lift us up. We are always secure in Him.

Even though we are sanctified in Him, His holiness is not always seen in us. We have to allow Him to work in us. For God’s holiness to be seen in us Paul exhorts us to:

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

v. 10-17 (NASB)

It is not God’s will for the church to be divided. Jesus is the head of the church. He is the One we need to be following. When we are each following Him, doing what He sends us out to do, we will not be divided.

I like how the Amplified version translates the last verse above:

For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).

v. 17 (AMP)

This is a powerful statement! When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to minister through us, and instead try to minister His Word through our own wisdom, the words we preach will lack the power to produce fruit. God says, For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11, KJV). When God sends His Word out through us, we can be certain that it will produce fruit.

In the rest of the chapter, Paul talks about God’s wisdom versus the world’s wisdom.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

v. 18-25 (AMP)

All the wisdom and power of God are in Christ.  That’s why Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. If we remain in Him and He in us, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5). Paul said, And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

v. 26-31

God calls those who are not wise by human standards to shame those who are. He humbles all this way so that no one can boast before Him. The one who is wise by the world’s standard is humbled when their wisdom is brought down by someone who is not influential or intellectual in the world. The one who is not considered wise by the world’s standard is humbled when God speaks through them because they know that it is God’s power and wisdom speaking through them, not their own.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for sanctifying us in Christ and confirming us to the end so that we will be blameless at His return. We praise You for Your wisdom and power in Christ. Help us to remain in Him and allow Your Holy Spirit to produce fruit in and through us. We humbly rely on You and Your wisdom, not our own.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

*We will continue next  week with studying 1  Corinthians 2. Have a blessed week remaining in Christ and  relying on His wisdom!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series (recap Romans)

Since going through Paul’s letters one chapter at a time (once a week) will take over a year to complete, I’ve decided to take a week in between letters to pray and allow God to recap what He’s taught me so far. We  finished Romans last week. Next week, we will move onto First Corinthians.
Here’s a list and the links of the chapters we’ve studied so far in Romans:

Romans 1  – benefits of faith and consequences from unbelief

Romans 2 –  justified through Christ

Romans 3 – faithfulness of God

Romans 4 – receiving God’s promises

Romans 5 – benefits of being justified by faith

Romans 6 – dead to sin and alive to God

Romans 7  – released from the law and bound to Christ

Romans 8 – setting our minds on the Spirit

Romans 9 – children of the promise

Romans 10 – believing and confessing Jesus as Lord

Romans 11 – remnant chosen by Grace

Romans 12 – living a life surrendered to Christ

Romans 13 – lay aside deeds of darkness and put on the armor of Light

Romans 14 – accept those weak in faith and do not judge one another

Romans 15 – be filled with the Holy Spirit and build others up

Romans 16 – faithful servants of Christ

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for these teachings from Paul. We pray that as we study his letters You would fill us with Your love and give us revelation to know You better and to understand Your will for our lives. You have all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We know nothing apart from you. We humble ourselves before You and receive all that You want to reveal to us.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

*We will be studying 1 Corinthians 1 next week. Have a blessed week in the Lord!

 


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 1”

I am starting a new series today. I invite you to join me in studying Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. This series will run every Monday. We will study one chapter a week. If you would like to follow along with this series, read the chapter listed for the week and then share whatever God taught you through that chapter in the comment section below. We can minister to one another, as God may teach each of us something different through the chapters.

This week, we start out by reading Romans chapter 1.

The first half of the chapter talks about the benefits of faith and how the gospel of Christ is exalted through faith.

In verses 1-17, I learned that:

  • Faith is obedience (v. 5).

 We often think we have to do everything right to be obedient. But the Bible says, “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16).

  • Faith is noticeable and spreads to others (v. 8).

When we believe God is who He says He is, and believe He will do what He says He will do, His power is unleashed in us: his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21).

  • Faith builds and encourages us, and those around us (v. 12).

When I am in faith I am filled with God’s Holy Spirit and lifted up. “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). When I start to lose hope, and God leads me to someone in the faith who is filled with the Holy Spirit, they encourage me and build up my faith. “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

  • Faith leads to righteous living (v. 17).

James 2:18-19 says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Faith does not just believe God exists. Faith trusts God as Lord of our lives. When we submit our lives over to God He fills us with His righteousness and our actions begin to change.

 

The second half of Romans 1 talks about the consequences of unbelief, and how it hinders the gospel and leads to unrighteous living.

In verses 18-32, I learned that:

  • Unbelief suppresses the truth God has placed within us (v. 18).

God has clearly made Himself known to all of us. There is no excuse for us not to believe Him (v. 19-20).

  • Unbelief darkens our hearts (v. 21).

Even though we know God, we don’t acknowledge and worship Him as Lord and our Creator. Instead we acknowledge and worship the things that have been created. When we start to worship things of this world over God, our hearts begin to harden to the truth and we become blinded by Satan’s deception. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

  • Unbelief does not please God (v. 28).

When we deny God, He gives us over to our depraved mind (v. 28). The Bible says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).

  • Unbelief separates us from God and His righteous, and leaves us in our unrighteousness (v. 29-32). 

We need God’s righteousness to do what is right. When we reject Him we are “filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; [they are] gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32, NASB)

 

So to summarize Romans 1, when we put our faith in Christ, the power of God is released in us and displayed through us. When we persist in unbelief, we hinder His power to change us and impact the world for Christ.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for this study of Paul’s letters. Thank you for teaching us in Romans 1 about faith and unbelief. Help us to continually put our faith in You and make You Lord of our lives. Fill us with Your righteousness so that we are empowered to do what is right. In Jesus’ faithful name we pray, Amen! 

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 1? Is there anything He revealed to you that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we talk about what we learned in Romans 2. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week walking in faith!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Sin Series “Pride”

This is the fourth message in my series on the bondage of sin that is weighing down the body of Christ today. Last week, I talked about tolerating sin by allowing the world to be our teachers instead of Jesus.

James 4:4-10 warns:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

The world is full of pride. It cannot submit to God’s authority. When we fall into pride we also can’t submit to His authority. The verse above exhorts: “purify your hearts, you double-minded.” To be double-minded means we believe in God but then we doubt His wisdom and authority.

James 1:5-8 explains:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 

The reason we fall into doubt is because we submit too often to our carnal mind. Our carnal mind is defiled with unbelief. When we submit to it, it leads us in opposition to God’s will.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:7, KJV

Our Spiritual mind is purified in Christ. When we submit to it, it leads us into God’s will.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

How many times do we seek God for His will on a matter, but then our minds start rolling through our own ideas of how to handle it?  If we don’t cast down those carnal thoughts, and submit our minds to trust God’s authority, we will walk in opposition to His will.

I had a situation come up recently. I went to God with the matter, and I felt Him speak to me in my Spirit that I was to leave it in His hands and do nothing. Whenever God tells me to do nothing about something, I know right away it’s going to be a challenge for me. After submitting the situation to God, while waiting on Him to move, my mind continued to think about what I could do to help. Instead of casting down those thoughts, and praising God for coming to my defense and handling it, I submitted to my carnal mind and took the matter into my own hands. By the evening, the situation had spiraled into a huge mess. God humbled me and showed me how much grief could’ve been avoided had I listened to Him in the first place.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.

Proverbs 8:13-14

God has all the understanding and power. We don’t. So why would we not want to seek and accept His wisdom and His authority over our own? When the church operates in its own wisdom, it operates in opposition to God. God opposes the proud. Pride is what led to Satan’s destruction. Satan knows if he can tempt us to submit to our carnal mind, he can lead us to follow him to his destruction. I read a message recently that said “Satan promotes pride; it makes you like him (misery loves company).”

God gives grace (power, strength and wisdom) to the humble. If we want to see change in the church we must humble ourselves before God. We as a body must be in unity of the spirit by each of us doing our part and operating in the mind of Christ. In everything we should seek and accept God’s wisdom over our own.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Romans 12:16, KJV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 1:27, NASB

Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:2, KJV

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Philippians 4:2, KJV

Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one with another, love as brethren, be tender hearted, be courteous:

1 Peter 3:8, KJV

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us the mind of Christ that we may know You and understanding Your will. As these verses above clearly show us, it is Your will that we operate in the mind of the Spirit. Help us keep our thoughts on You and cast down everything that is in opposition to Your will. We humble ourselves before You, and lay down our wisdom in exchange for Your wisdom, Your power, and Your authority. In Jesus name, we submit to You. Amen!

 

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*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

 

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Monday’s Blog: God’s Promises Still Stand

I met a woman recently at my homeschool co-op class. Her name is Amanda also. I found out that she also writes blogs. For several weeks we’ve been sharing our stories and personal struggles with each other. She’s been going through a lot of hardship since her and her family stepped out and followed God’s will. Last week, she shared that she’s been fearful of looking back at the Scripture verses God first led her to before the arduous journey her family has been on the past few years. She explained that she’s been avoiding those chapters lately out of fear of disappointment.

As she shared her story with me, I realized that we were struggling with the same fear. When I surrendered my will over to God’s, and started following His plan, God spoke His will to me through two specific chapters in the Bible. For the first year or so, I would read the verses frequently with great expectation and hope. But as time went on, and troubles arose, I started losing hope as God’s plan appeared to be forgotten. I’ve avoided those verses out of the same fear Amanda had. I couldn’t face the disappointment that they hadn’t come to pass.

As I was talking to Amanda, I suddenly realized why God brought us together at that exact moment. I expressed to her, “Maybe God brought us here to tell us that those promises He spoke to us individually still stand.” Since then we’ve prayerfully re-read our verses and God has individually confirmed to us that His promises for us do indeed still stand.

For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

Romans 11:29, NLT

I love how God goes through great measures to remind His children that His promises are true. He never takes back His Word. If God promises us something, He will deliver. We must not give up and lose faith when we don’t see His promises come to pass in the time frame we expect.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 11:1-2, 11

If you are waiting for a promise to come to pass, God is speaking this message to you too. His promises for you still stand. Don’t be afraid to look back at those promises. Psalm 119:148 says, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Continue meditating on God’s promises, and keep the faith that they will come to pass at just the right time.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed.

Psalm 71:20-23

 

*I want to thank my friend, Amanda, for giving me permission to share this message. You can read her inspiring messages on her blog: I’m Still Clay


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