I Corinthians: The Knows vs. The Know-Nots

March 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Posted in I Corinthians | Leave a comment
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Bible scholars and commentators have identified many themes in the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth: the importance of being wise, the proper use of the spiritual gifts, the correction of improper ecclesiology, and the necessity of unity within the Church, just to name a few. As I studied through the Book of I Corinthians in preparing to teach an adult Sunday School class, though, I became convinced that one of the main keys to understanding it is to see it as a letter about the knowledge of God in Christ, and the danger of operating outside of that knowledge. I enjoyed studying, teaching, discussing, and learning about topics ranging from our “calling” as Christians, to how our conscience informs our spiritual decisions, to the true meaning of Christian love, to the roles of men and women in church, to the doctrine of bodily resurrection, to the right and wrong kinds of addiction, all the while focusing on the tension existing between those who live in the light of God’s gracious knowledge, and those who do not.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.

I Corinthians 2:2

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he KNOW them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I Corinthians 2:14

KNOW YE NOT that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

I Corinthians 3:16

For I KNOW NOTHING by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

I Corinthians 4:4

Your glorying is not good. KNOW YE NOT that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

I Corinthians 5:6

KNOW YE NOT that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

I Corinthians 6:9

KNOW YE NOT that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

I Corinthians 6:15

What? KNOW YE NOT that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

I Corinthians 6:19

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we KNOW that we all have KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he KNOWETH any thing, he KNOWETH NOTHING yet as he ought to KNOW.

I Corinthians 8:1-2

Do ye NOT KNOW that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

I Corinthians 9:13

KNOW YE NOT that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

I Corinthians 9:24

But I would have you KNOW, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

I Corinthians 11:3

Ye KNOW that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

I Corinthians 12:2

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I KNOW in part; but then shall I KNOW even as also I am KNOWN.

I Corinthians 13:12

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye KNOW that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58

Here are the links to posts in the category, I Corinthians:

1. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade (1:1-9)
2. Clear Calls for Christians: Proper Unity (1:10-23)
3. Clear Calls for Christians: Point Upward (1:26-29)
4. How We Know What We Know (1-2)
5. Pavlov’s Kids (1:20-21)
6. What Christians Want You to Know (1:23)
7. The Foolishness of God? (1:25)
8. Knowers, Growers, and Showers (3:1-13)
9. It’s Time to Grow Up (3:1-9)
10. Wise Watering (3:5-6)
11. Quarterback Commandment No. 9 (3:13-15)
12. What the Knows Have and What the Know-Nots Have Not (3:15-23)
13. Ministers Must be Managers (4:1-5)
14. Faithful to Him and to Each Other (4:2; 12:14)
15. Ministers Must be Meek (4:1-13)
16. Ministers Must be Mild (4:14-21)
17. Pride Is Everywhere (4:7; 5:6-7)
18. The Know-Bodies (5:1-5)
19. Delivery and Birth (5:1-5)
20. Beware the Fight with the Flesh (5:1-5)
21. Spiritual Body Shaming (5:6-13)
22. Leavenless Lump (5:7:11)
23. Know When to Say Know (6)
24. Mercy / Memory (6:9-11)
25. Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to be Detestable (6:9-11)
26. Adiaphora and Analyzing Ambiguous Activities (6:12; 8:13; 10:23, 31, 33)
27. Fooling Around with Celibacy in Marriage (7:1-2, 7, 32-37)
28. Having a F.I.N.E. Marriage (7:1-5, 9, 32-37)
29. Getting Busy in Marriage (7:2-5)
30. A Concupiscible Marriage (7:2-5)
31. Imagination in Marriage (7:2-5)
32. Guarding the Top of the Wall in Marriage (6:15-18)
33. An Irascible Marriage (7:2-5)
34. A Knowledgeable Marriage (7:11-16)
35. Know Your Real Identity (7:17-23)
36. Having a P.C. Marriage (7:25-35)
37. What the Knows Ought to Know about Conscience (8)
38. Know Your Rights (9)
39. A Prize-Winning Run (9:24-26)
40. Know Your Limits (10:1-28)
41. Quarterback Commandment No. 4 (10:11-13)
42. The Blessings of an Unhappy Marriage Part 2 10:13)
43. Head Knowledge (11:1-15)
44. The Cause, Confusion, and Consequences: Problems with the Lord’s Supper (11:17-30)
45. Forgetting To Remember – Part 1 (11:24)
46. Forgetting To Remember – Part 2 (11:24)
47. The “Ways” to Remember (11:24, 4:17)
48. Forget-Me-Nots (11:24)
49. How the Knows are Gifted (12:1-6)
50. Discipleship Lesson 6: The Local Church (6:19; 12:14-28)
51. The Determination, Demonstration, Distribution, and Designation of the Spiritual Gifts (12:7-31)
52. Love and Order (13)
53. Suffering in Marriage
54. LONGsuffering in Marriage *
55. Be Kind to Your Spouse
56. Objections to Being Kind to Your Spouse
57. Jump-Starting Your Marriage
58. Performing a Biopsy on Your Marriage
59. Getting the Puffiness Out of Your Marriage
60. More Testing for Puffiness in Your Marriage
61. A C.A.L.M. and Courteous Marriage
62. A C.A.L.M. and Accommodating Marriage
63. A C.A.L.M. and Longsuffering Marriage
64. A C.A.L.M. and Merciful Marriage
65. The Right Kind of Rejoicing in Marriage
66. Practical Principles for Policing the Exercise of Spiritual Gifts in Church (14)
67. Order in the Church (14:23-25)
68. Up from the Grave with the Knows! (15)
69. A Major Breaking News Story (15:3-4)
70. Put It On and Pack It On (15:9-10)
71. Vanity Must be Expelled (15:53-58)
72. Immortality Must be Entered Into (15:53:58)
73. Corruption Must be Eliminated (15:53-54)
74. Thankfulness Must be Expressed (15:57)
75. Opportunity Must be Embraced (15:55-58)
76. Reality Must be Encountered (15:56)
77. Yesterday Must be Eclipsed (15:58)
78. The Needs of the Knows (16:1-14)
79. The Addict (His Characteristics) (16:15-18)
80. The Addict (Signs of Addiction) (16:15)

*most-viewed post in category

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Yesterday Must be Eclipsed

March 20, 2018 at 11:58 am | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 2 Comments
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The victory that Christ has achieved for us means that, as we live for Him in this temporal world:

V.anity must be expelled;
I.mmortality must be entered into;
C.orruption must be eliminated;
T.hankfulness must be expressed;
O.pportunity must be embraced;
R.eality must be encountered;
and
Yesterday must be eclipsed.

The past should not be ignored, but it must be kept in the shadow of what is to come if we are to be victorious. Past failures and sins can’t be denied, but they can be covered with the light of the Truth about Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58

We must be steadfast, meaning faithful, and unmovable, meaning stubborn about standing on the Word of God. We must be abounding – going further AND farther – challenging ourselves to do more for Christ, and to overcome our fears and the things that make us uncomfortable. We must know that what we are doing for Him is not vain – it does make a difference in eternity.

This is the antidote to the worldly philosophy – especially highlighted in Ecclesiastes – that nothing really, ultimately matters – that what happened before is going to happen again. No, the past is in the past, and it must be eclipsed by our hope in the future victory and in the battle for victory that we are waging right now.

 

Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to be Detestable

March 1, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, Quotes | 1 Comment
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There is real hope here for the sexual detestable, but it is not to be had for anyone who is indignant over the word detestable. Anyone who is offended when their [sic] sin is called detestable is still a drowning swimmer trying to fight off the lifeguard.

Douglas Wilson

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I Corinthians 6:9-11

Reality Must be Encountered

February 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 3 Comments
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The victory that Christ has achieved for us means that, as we live for Him in this temporal world:

V.anity must be expelled;
I.mmortality must be entered into;
C.orruption must be eliminated;
T.hankfulness must be expressed;
O.pportunity must be embraced;
and
Reality must be encountered.

The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

I Corinthians 15:56

Face the facts: Death is in the world. It is coming for every one of us. It is here because of sinOUR sin. And our sin is shown clearly by the Law.

That’s the strongest effect of the Law – it highlights our sin. We need to face that fact, and we need to encounter it – deal with it, talk to our friends and others about it. The opportunities that people have to trust Christ – and the opportunities we have to work for Him – are limited. The Gospel is the Good News, but the Good News isn’t good news without the bad news. You can’t get the victory over something you’re not willing to face.

Next time we will see that yesterday must be eclipsed.

Opportunity Must be Embraced

February 14, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 4 Comments
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The victory that Christ has achieved for us means that, as we live for Him in this temporal world:

V.anity must be expelled;
I.mmortality must be entered into;
C.orruption must be eliminated;
T.hankfulness must be expressed;
and
Opportunity must be embraced.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

I Corinthians 15:55

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:57-58

The fear of death, combated by thankfulness to God, gives rise to the opportunity for faithfulness and service. The “work of the Lord” is work that always needs to be done, and not grudgingly – like a kid having to clean up his room – but joyfully, like packing to go on vacation. A child might be “willing” to do his homework, but he will EMBRACE the opportunity to ride a a rollercoaster (even if it means waiting in line for an hour). Knowing that we have the opportunity to win in this life ought to make fighting in the fight joyful.

Next time we will see that reality must be encountered.

Thankfulness Must be Expressed

February 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 5 Comments
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The victory achieved by Christ for His people is sure, but its ultimate fulfillment is yet to be experienced. For that to happen, these things must occur:

V.anity must be expelled.
I.mmortality must be entered into.
C.orruption must be eliminated.
and
Thankfulness must be expressed.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:57

The quickest way to lose our thankfulness, and to be discontented and dissatisfied, is to stop giving thanks. God does not owe us the victory. It is a gift of His grace, and He is perfectly entitled to our gratitude.

It has become very fashionable recently for famous athletes to thank God after winning a game.

athlete giving thanks to God.png

I won’t pretend to know how sincere they are when doing this, nor what their particular ideas of “God” may be in each case, but I can’t fault them for the idea. It certainly makes sense to give thanks to Him, but, if you are thankful to God (and should we ever be!), then don’t dilute it by saying, “Thank God!” flippantly, or by saying, “Thank God it’s Friday,” when God is the last thing on your mind as you enter the weekend, or by saying, “Thank You, Jesus, I thought that fool would never shut up!” when you are exasperated. Make sure you are sincere, but, being sincere, DO be expressive. Thankfulness reminds us that our victory is not really ours, but His.

Next time we will see that opportunity must be embraced.

Corruption Must be Eliminated

January 31, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 6 Comments
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The victory achieved by Christ for His people is sure, but its ultimate fulfillment is yet to be experienced. For that to happen, these things must occur:

V.anity must be expelled.
I.mmortality must be entered into.
and
C.orruption must be eliminated.

Everything physical in this world is corrupt. Because it is subject to the effects of sin, it is decaying. Our bodies are decaying. However, our bodies are important to Christ, so we need to care of them.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

I Corinthians 15:53-54

If you are a Christian, sin does not terminate your relationship with God. But there is a sense in which it affects your fellowship with Him. It also affects your mental abilities, and it can (and often does) affect your physical health. One day our bodies won’t be subject to sickness, pain, disease, and death, but, in this world, we need to avoid things that lead to corruption and make it so that we can’t serve Christ with energy. Sin is the main thing that does this.

Next time we will see that thankfulness must be expressed.

The Foolishness of God?

January 29, 2018 at 10:41 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: If the Bible is true, how can it mention the terms “foolishness of God” and “weakness of God” in I Corinthians 1:25? God is not foolish or weak.

Answer: I Corinthians 1:25 is part of a type of argument called a rhetorical argument. The Holy Spirit was using the Apostle Paul to point out, from the point of view of the worldly philosophy used by the Greeks of that day, that to preach that Jesus died on the Cross for our salvation would seem “foolish.” The Greeks and the Jews both thought the Christians were “foolish,” and they that they themselves were “wise.” But, if you follow the argument on through Verse 29, you can see that God specifically chose things that seem foolish to people who are proud in their “wisdom” to demonstrate His greatness. Preaching the crucified and resurrected Lord seems silly to people who are proud of their own “wisdom” and works, so God uses this to humble them, so that they will bow down and worship Him alone, admitting that He is wiser than them. That’s one of the failings of the false “works-based” religions, such as Islam, Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism. They do exactly what verse 29 says we must never do: try to “glory” or show off our goodness or our good deeds before God. Any “god” who would accept daily prayers and pilgrimages and fasting and dietary restrictions and so forth as bribes or payments to be placed on the cosmic scales of justice is a false god. Men have invented these false deities, claiming that their gods would accept the “glorying of the flesh (human beings)” in their presence. The real God will not.

Immortality Must be Entered Into

January 22, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 8 Comments
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The victory that Christ has achieved for us means that, as we live for Him in this temporal world:

V.anity must be expelled.
and
I.mmortality must be entered into.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:53-58

Christ died to redeem the souls of His people. However, our bodies are important to Him also, so we need to take care of them – while remembering that something supernatural will have to happen to them if they are to be changed from mortal to immortal. Just as our souls have received eternal life, so will our bodies be given an immortal state when they are glorified at the return of Christ. Things that are spiritually empty – lacking true value – not impacting eternity – not advancing the Kingdom of Christ – need to be exchanged. This is one reason why physical exercise (which keeps our bodies healthy and in better condition to serve our Lord) is better than playing video games. It is why reading a book (which strengthens our mortal mind) is better than four hours of snapchatting cat videos.

Next time we will see that corruption must be eliminated.

Vanity Must be Expelled

January 12, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. | 7 Comments
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For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:53-58

Victory in this life is never “final.” The winner of the national championship this year will have to start from scratch next year. “All-time world records” eventually get broken. Nations rise, and nations fall. Even in our personal lives, the joy of overcoming problems is a temporary joy, replaced in time by the onset of some new problem. However, as Christians, we are called to live “victorious” Christian lives, winning the battle against our three main enemies: the devil, the world, and our as-yet-unredeemed flesh. One day, Jesus, Who won the victory over these on the Cross and in His Resurrection, will manifest this victory so that we who are in Him will experience that victory fully, and now, in this life, although we can’t achieve a “final” victory, we can live more and more victoriousLY each day.

Recently I studied and taught through the book of I Corinthians, and one thing that surprised me was how much of it is devoted to dealing with our physical bodies. One reason for this is that an early attempt at corrupting Christianity, known as Gnosticism, was prevalent on the scene during the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Gnostics were attracted to Christianity because Christianity does in fact emphasize the spiritual. Gnostics had the idea that spiritual things were good and material things were bad, but they failed (or refused) to see that true Christianity stresses the importance of the physical as well as the spiritual.

A superficial and vain view of the importance of our physical bodies must be expelled in favor of a balanced realization that our physical, material bodies are important to God in this life, and that He has plans for them in the life to come, if we are to truly live victoriously on our way to the ultimate victory which is yet to come.

Next time we will see that the second step to victory is entering into immortality.

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