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1 Corinthians

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The Best Is Yet To Come

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

Naturally we get used to life as it is. Without clear teaching and Holy Spirit inspired faith, we assume that there will be no change, except further spoiling or decay. It is Satan's lie. The glorious truth is that the first man (Adam) and the second Man (Christ) are radically different.

We Will Be Changed

1 Corinthians 15:50-54

Despite our habit of trying to present ourselves in the best light, that will never be good enough for God. Our sin-stained bodies, the evidence of our rebellious nature, cannot enter God's presence. In the same way that we must be born again to be welcomed into God's kingdom, everything that reeks of sin must be replaced before we are welcomed into Christ's physical presence. We will be changed! Note, Paul does not say we will improve ourselves, but the change will be applied to us. God will give us a resurrection body and an uncontaminated heart.

Victory Through Christ

1 Corinthians 15:55-58

We are used to the idea that death will always win in the end. It is everybody's observation, but there is also a hunger for eternity. The old hymn by Rev Henry F. Lyte says, "Change and decay in all around I see - O Thou who changest not, abide with me." He knew sadness, disappointment and sickness but also knew the living Jesus. Christ's resurrection is the best attested fact of ancient history, and overwhelmingly proves that death is not the end.

Ready to Give

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Looking back on this letter to Corinth, Paul needed to rebuke and correct the believers about their wrong doctrine. Their selfish pride had led to a misunderstanding of the gospel, disunity, immorality, abuse of the Lord's Supper and misuse of spiritual gifts. They were living for the moment without the perspective of eternity. They did not realise that this life is the prelude to resurrection and being united with Christ for ever.

On The Move Without Fear

1 Corinthians 16:5-9

Paul was used to travelling. Before he met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, he went all over Israel and to different countries, trying to eradicate the Christians and their faith (Acts 26:11). After having met Jesus and been commissioned by Him, Paul kept moving with the gospel message wherever the Holy Spirit led him. His preaching led people to put their trust in Jesus, and churches were formed. But how would they be taught and encouraged to live as believers amongst people who were hostile to them?

Honouring Gospel Workers

1 Corinthians 16:10-11

Paul's visit to Corinth would be delayed (1 Corinthians 16:5-9), so he was going to send Timothy to teach and encourage the church until the apostle could visit. However, in a culture where age meant wisdom, Paul's young apprentice might be ignored or treated with contempt, even though he had the apostle's authority.

Persuasion and Partnership

1 Corinthians 16:12

Paul, Peter and Apollos had all been to Corinth. All three men had significant ministries, but the immature church was divided about who was best (1 Corinthians 1:11-12), even though they saw themselves as fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). The church had asked for Apollos to go and Paul would have liked him to accompany Timothy and Erastus (Acts 19:22), but Apollos felt he should not leave Ephesus.

Strong in Truth and Love

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Paul sent five simple instructions to this dysfunctional, but Jesus-loved church in Corinth. They are all linked to the precarious state of the church: divided, morally compromised and uncertain about doctrine. Firstly, 'Be on your guard'. The church is always under attack, either from outside through persecution or from inside by false teaching or division. The wise believer, like the wise parent, will be aware of spiritual danger and will want to protect the Body of Christ.

Humble Service

1 Corinthians 16:15-18

Like every flourishing city, the wealth of Corinth was dependant on its workers. But their masters, the ship owners and the merchants had little interest in their welfare. They drove hard bargains and demanded everything from their servants and slaves. But Jesus said that church leaders should operate differently (Matthew 20:25-28). The leaders should demonstrate their willingness to serve before they lead; as did the household of Stephanas.

A Shocking Greeting

1 Corinthians 16:19-24

At the end of Paul's letters he usually sent warm greetings to the church, and often to individuals he respected as gospel workers. On this occasion he wanted the church in Corinth in Greece to know that the churches in Turkey honoured them as brothers and sisters. Although miles away they affirmed their family relationship in Christ.