Read: 2 Corinthians 5-9
Marked: 2 Corinthians 5:1, For we know that if our earthly house, [this] tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
I love to camp. For years I would go camping and stay in a tent. Sometimes a few days, at times a few weeks. A tent is a great shelter for a time, but it isn’t designed to be a permanent dwelling.
Our earthly body is like a tent. It isn’t meant to be our permanent dwelling. As we age that becomes more apparent as the tent of our flesh slowly wears out.
But Jesus promised to go and prepare a new building for us, saying, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Paul likewise spoke of an exchange that would take place at the end, when what was sown in corruption, is raised in incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:42).
I like tenting, but only for a time. I’m looking forward to that day when I exchange my earthly tent for a heavenly mansion; when corruption becomes incorruptible and when death, sorrow, and tears will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4).
Read: 2 Corinthians 1-4 Marked: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
All of us suffer from hurts, hangups, and habits. Emotional and physical pain and suffering is common to us all. How do we deal with these things which come on us unexpectedly; illness, financial crisis, family sorrow, death? Some get angry. Others depressed. Still others self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. But this just adds to the hurt.
God is the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort. He comforts us in tribulation (affliction). So when we know Him, we find comfort in His presence and we can invite others to experience His comfort too.
Read: 1 Corinthians 15-16
Marked: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all [that] you [do] be done with love.
As Paul completes his letter to the Corinthians he gives some final exhortations. Watch, stand fast, be brave, be strong, do all with love. I think the emphasis is on love and we are to love with strict attention which is what the word, watch, means. Likewise, we are not to move from our responsibility to love God and love others.
The word, brave, literally means, to make a man of, or, to act manly. Love, therefore, is an indisputable aspect of the character of a godly man or woman. Godly love and love for God and others is the strength of the man or woman of God
Read: 1 Corinthians 12-14
Marked: 1 Corinthians 13:13, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.
Paul makes the case that no matter how much we think we know, we don’t know as much as we think. This is true of earthly things but also true of spiritual things like prophecies, knowledge, and power. Many seek after these gifts but only to edify themselves.
Once again Paul reminds us that love is the primary goal of the Christian because the other things are done in part and will fail, cease, and vanish away (V8). But what will remain and not depart are faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.
Our work, our labour, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, is never to cease when it comes to these three.
Read: 1 Corinthians 9-11
Marked: 1 Corinthians 9:12, If others are partakers of [this] right over you, [are] we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
As a member of society I have certain rights which are common to all citizens. Paul makes the case that as an apostle he had certain rights that others did not (V1-6). But the case he makes isn’t concerning his rights versus anyone else’s but his willingness to deny himself the rights others were quick to assert.
We all have the right to enjoy the fruit of our labour (V7-9). We have rights as citizens of Canada which are codified in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But Paul’s says he has not used his rights, but has endured all things so as not to hinder the gospel (V12).
He has not used his rights and he hasn’t written these words that he should receive what was owed him (V15). His only desire was to preach the gospel (V16). It was his reward and he preached without charge lest he abuse his authority in the gospel (V18).
Read: 1 Corinthians 5-8
Marked: 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
In answering the question of eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul addresses a greater principle of knowledge versus love. We all have knowledge, or think we do, but Christian behaviour isn’t founded in knowledge, but love. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
The goal of the Christian isn’t to amass knowledge but to grow in love. As Paul says, knowledge puffs up (V18), but love edifies. Both knowledge and love can stimulate growth, but knowledge absent of love can grow an arrogant heart and stubborn pride.
Love seeks to edify, which means to build a house or erect a building. Christian love has as its objective the betterment of the person and the restoration of that which is broken.
Read: 1 Corinthians 1-4
Marked: 1 Corinthians 3:4, For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I [am] of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
Paul begins 1 Corinthians arbitrating a division occurring in the Corinthian church. They were experiencing contentions because they were dividing according to who they followed.
One considered himself better, or greater, than another because of who he was following. But division according to party or clique has no place in the church. These sorts of divisions and contentions show carnality and carnality shows immaturity.
We can’t speak to the carnal as spiritual people but only as babes in Christ (V13). Babes in Christ need milk and can’t handle solid food because they’re not able to receive it (V2). Where there is envy, strife, and division, there is carnality. And where there is carnality, there is immaturity.
Read: Acts 18-19
Marked: Acts 19:2, he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
When I first received Christ as Saviour I knew very little. I had no knowledge of the nature and character of God. I believed Jesus was Saviour but knew little more.
In a similar sense these believers had heard the preaching of John the Baptist, that the Messiah had come who would take away the sins of the world, but they had not yet learned that they would receive the Holy Spirit when they believed in Christ.
John taught a baptism of repentance and baptized with water. Jesus brought the baptism of salvation and baptized with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). The Holy Spirit gives us power (Acts 1:8) to be witnesses of Jesus (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit indwells every believer (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit seals the believer and is the guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
Read: 1 Thessalonians 1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1-3 Marked: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
Hollywood and the recording industry aren’t the standard for moral living. The Word of God is. If Hollywood can push the boundaries of sex, it will, along with the recording industry, to encourage immoral living.
But we are encouraged to please God in Scripture by walking (doing life) according to His standard in which we should abound more and more. This word is used of a flower going from bud to full bloom. God’s will is that we become sanctified, purified, and set apart and includes how we deal with sex.
In 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul reminds us that sin is usually an outward act. But sexual immorality is an inward act. We are to glorify God with our bodies not only outwardly but inwardly because our bodies belong to God. We are the temple of God and the temple was the place set apart from the world.
We are not to imitate the world with our bodies but imitate the sacredness and sanctity present in the temple of God.
Read: Acts 17
Marked: Acts 17:30-31, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
The men Paul spoke to worshipped, among their pantheon of gods, the Unknown God. This, Paul says, was done in ignorance, and so he revealed this god to them. Much is done because of ignorance, but once truth is manifested we can no longer hide behind our ignorance.
God will not overlook it. The truth is, God will judge the world in righteousness through Jesus Christ. The proof offered is Christ’s resurrection. We can choose to deny this proof, but we can’t remain ignorant of it.