The Lord’s Day 10-30-16

“The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” – Psalm 18:46 NKJV

When our trust is in the Lord, the waves of life may swirl and crash, but the water is shallow because we’re standing on the solid bedrock of God. He’s aware, He’s involved, and He watches over His own! Give thanks today for He is gracious and good…

Accounting

“Judge nothing before the time” (1 Cor. 4:5) can be a difficult principle for thinking, experienced disciples to follow-through on; especially regarding other believers. At the beginning of chapter 4, the principal is clearly laid out that a steward is to be responsible. Paul says this:

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV

As a believer, each one is accountable directly to Christ. Even if there are certain earthly roles involving hierarchy, Christ is still ultimately the one to do the judging of His people. Paul emphasizes that even though he has nothing to be accused of, it doesn’t make him justified; and he doesn’t stop there, he goes on to include this:

“Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” – 1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV

Paul didn’t seek the praise of men or fear criticism, because it was obedience that motivated him. It was also the standard that held his words and pen in check.

How are you doing regarding feelings toward other believers? Does your prayer life include praying for other Christians and church leaders? Judge nothing before the time…

Foundations

The differences between natural and spiritual aren’t always easily discerned. And quite often, it takes time to prove which is which. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, the true foundation of a redeemed life is described. It’s specifically built on Christ and His teachings, not a variation of them or a “Jesus-plus” system. In the first century, many were attempting to add to, delete from, and make changes to the basic tenants of faith in Christ. Paul called it a “carnal” approach, or a catering to the flesh. Consider:

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” – 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 NKJV

As a disciple, the goal should be to seek out the lasting truth, not a trendy or socially acceptable creed. There’s always a carnal-based idea floating around church circles looking for a receptive ear, but the mature believer knows prayer and time are required to discern the difference.

Trends come and go; are you committed to searching out what’s lasting based on scripture, time and prayer? Are you willing to make decisions based on what that reveals? For the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire…

Revealed

Logic can be dangerous concerning spiritual things. Not because reason must be set aside for faith, but because rationale and reason are according to “something” or “someone”. In the case of spiritual matters, reason according to God is the only rationale worth pursuing; and the Bible says the deep things of God are only discernable by the Holy Spirit. Ponder this for a minute:

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God…but the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:10, 14 NKJV

The scripture teaches that there are many deep things of God we can’t understand. For example, Job was an incredibly righteous man, with integrity, prayerfulness, and commitment; but there was still much more to the picture than he knew. When God eventually spoke to him from the whirlwind, he understood the immeasurable scope of God’s nature.

God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit helps us see. And since that’s the case, how much of your Bible do you have a working knowledge of? Are you trying to increase that amount? The things of God are spiritually discerned…

Wisdom 10.19

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” – Proverbs 10:19 NIV

While most of the attention may go to those making noise, disciplined words speak of maturity and Christlikeness. The growing disciple will find that real wisdom is rarely chatty. It’s usually subtle and easily missed by those looking for entertainment.

Leading

It’s often said that leadership equals influence. As an apostle, Paul was commissioned to influence people. He explained his approach and process this way:

“When I came to you…I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – I Corinthians 2:1-5 HCSB

Sure, God had gifted him with great skills, however:

  • He didn’t rely on excellence of speech
  • He was determined to focus only on Christ
  • He went in weakness, fear and trembling
  • He wasn’t dependent on persuasive words
  • He wanted their faith to be specifically in God’s power.

Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a leader…you can be.

Or maybe you don’t think of yourself as influential…you can be.

It’s less about skill set, and more about mindset. Whether it’s modeling good habits for your kids, keeping the peace on your street, or helping a co-worker; the goal is to rely on God‘s power, not your own. So don’t worry about perfection; focus on obedience and the rest will follow.

Cross

The cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe. It was true in the first century and still true today. Perhaps that’s why some preachers try to make the gospel more palatable to those who consider themselves above it. However, it’s the very point of victory over sin, the transaction for the redemption of mankind, and the specific reason Christ came to earth. On numerous occasions, the early church leaders got push-back concerning the gospel from philosophers and Jews who considered themselves advanced in knowledge. But, this is how Paul described it:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…for the Jews request a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and the Greeks foolishness…because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-23, 25 NKJV

There is no more precious truth than Christ dying for us and rising again. As a disciple, it’s the very core of our faith and not something to be minimized while attempting a more culturally acceptable way to know God.

Have you considered the cross lately? Have you ever stopped and thanked Jesus for His commitment to wear it while it was still rugged and not yet a piece of jewelry? Don’t avoid the message of the cross, it is the power of God…

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