I’ve been reading through 1st and 2nd Corinthians for the last couple of days. I can’t help but be impressed on how focused and dedicated the Apostle Paul was. And then, just to make it interesting, look at all of the different problems that Paul had to deal with and how he chose to deal with them. The Apostle Paul was sold on Jesus. He was sold on who Jesus was, what Jesus accomplished and especially that Jesus had literally risen from the dead. I get that. That’s not the challenge. The challenge is keeping myself and persuading others to get and keep being sold on Jesus.
Paul faced a lot of the same problems that we face and admittedly there were some that were unique to his time in history. Undoubtedly he went through many hardships that most of us will never encounter. Yet times are changing and we may indeed face the same hostilities that he did, down the road. When you think of all the advances we have in communication and travel, knowledge that we’ve gained through science and medicine etc, we have some advantages that Paul didn’t have and of course, Paul had one advantage that we don’t have. Jesus appeared to Paul. Actually he had more that one advantage, signs and wonders were still happening within the church. Some would say they still do and I would agree. Caution is really needed in this specific area. False prophets are with us and their numbers are increasing.
Paul dealt with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, how the Church, the body of Christ functions, the importance of edifying the Church, the need to support the ministry, dealing with sin in the Church, clarifying and establishing the Gospel, the role of husbands and wives, the Lord’s Supper, what love is, and a whole bunch more and this is only the church at Corinth! Among other things, Paul was a teacher and he taught well. We still teach about the same things today.
Fast forward to 2017. This is what I see:
- much of humanity still needs to hear the Gospel and make a decision on who Jesus is. To present the Gospel, we, the Church, need to know what and why we believe, what we believe. Far too many Christians are still feeding on milk. The North American church is generally weak because too many Christians are weak in biblical knowledge including theology, sciences knowledge and faith. Far too many Christians are easily deceived. Take a look at the success of “The Shack”.
- the Destroyer wins by dividing, he is winning outside of the Church throughout the world but he should not be winning within the church. We need to focus on building up the church, not tearing it down, without abandoning the pillars of our Christian Protestant theology.
- we are losing our youth and this ought not to be so. We need to learn how to effectively defend our Christian worldview and share it with our youth.
- Jesus doesn’t walk on our earth right now, He currently sits on the right hand of God the Father in heaven, just like He did for the believers at the church at Corinth.
- the Holy Spirit is the helper that Jesus gave believers when He left this earth, we need to focus more on His presence, His guidance, the gifts He still gives to the church. The Holy Spirit is our union with Christ, the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11), and vital to our new life in Christ. VITAL.
- somethings within our society are more difficult to deal with and some are less difficult but it is no time to sit idly by. No decision to do something is a decision to do nothing. Get involved within the Church, start small but start and build up.
- maintaining faith is not easy, it takes work, because the essence of our faith is a relationship with God, which needs to be maintained on a daily basis. Our relationships with our spouses or relatives and friends shows that you need to cultivate relationships to maintain them. Walking with God is no different and to expect otherwise is foolishness. Our daily bread is God’s Word, our daily drink is God’s Holy Spirit. There is no spiritual growth without feeding on the nourishment that God has provided.
- prayer is like breathing, be instant, always, anywhere, anytime.
- distractions abound, priorities, focus and dedication are prerequisites.
- internal doubt will always be a reality, we trust what we have not seen yet, our faith is our hope BUT it is a sure hope that the Holy Spirit within us confirms, while we still walk in our fleshly body. When doubts arise, and they will, understand them for what they are, the flesh fighting against the Spirit. Be encouraged, it’s not terminal to our spirit.
- there will always be doubters, those who say there is no God, no spiritual reality, no reason, no purpose, just random chance, our universe was created out of nothing. I cannot believe that. I will not believe that. What God has made that I can see with my eyes and understand with my mind, what God has spoken in His Word that I can hear with my ears, how God has touched me within my heart, tell me otherwise. I cannot deny the reality of our God, His plan, His love and our precious Saviour Jesus Christ that He sent and His promise. We who believe in Jesus, who He is and what He accomplished on the cross for us, shall rise because Christ arose, we shall be saved. There is more than ample reason to believe, yet all of the reasoning can be denied. Denial is a choice, denial is a decision.
Summary: We face the same choices that the believers in Corinth did. Time separates us but our basic realities are the same. There are so many misconceptions that abound about our Christian faith, yet there are many, many throughout history and many to this present day, when they honestly investigate the scientific facts, the divine revelation, the historical testimony, change their minds and believe. Rejoice that our names are recorded in the Book of Life. And pray for those who do not believe, that they might believe, that their names may be recorded in the Book of Life also.
Revelation 3:5 (NIV) “The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!