Archive for December, 2010
1 Corinthians 1:1-9: Paul’s Greeting
When people become Christians, they don’t at the same moment become NICE! This always comes as something of a surprise. Conversion to Christ and his ways doesn’t automatically furnish a person with impeccable manners and suitable morals.
The people in Corinth had a reputation as being unruly, hard-drinkers, and sexually promiscuous. When Paul arrived with the Message of Salvation, many of them became believers in Jesus and they brought their reputation with them right into church.
Paul spent a full year with them, teaching them how to live as believers in holiness as a community of believers. Then he left to plant other churches in other towns. Unfortunately Paul rec’d a letter from Corinth asking for help with those in the church who had falling back into their old ways. Factions had developed, morals were in disrepair, worship had degenerated into selfish grabbing for the supernatural.
So Paul wrote this letter we are going to study in the next few months to the church of Corinth as a pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear and unswerving in the conviction that God was among them and they needed to live their lives accordingly. Paul doesn’t disown them, doesn’t throw them out because of their immoral behaviour and doesn’t berate them because of their irresponsible ways. He takes it all more or less in stride, but also takes them by the hand and goes over all the old ground again, directing them in how to work all the glorious details of God’s saving love into their love for one another. – DEG paraphrase of MSG
v.1-3, Paul takes the first 9 verses at the beginning of this pastoral letter to greet those he is writing to. He tells them who the letter is from (Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ) and who it is to (church of God in Corinth & future believers who will read this letter–you and me). “Grace (Greco-Roman) and peace (Jewish)” was a special greeting from Paul that he Christianizes with the addition of the origin of grace and peace “from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.”
v.4-9, Then Paul gives thanks to God “always” (every time he thinks of them OR prays for them) because only by the grace of God can anyone come to believe and be accepted into God’s family and only through Jesus–this is the essence of the Gospel Message. This same grace enables these believers to become “rich in every way” including speaking about their faith and their spiritual knowledge and understanding–facts seen by Paul and reported by others. The changed lives of these Corinthian believers validated that truth of the Gospel Message that they had heard and believed. Paul finishes off his greeting with a guarantee: they have everything they need to live the Christian life, to stand against the paganism and immorality of Corinth. They have “every spiritual gift” to help them battle sin both in the church and outside in the world. And because they lacked nothing they could eagerly look forward to the return of Jesus. Paul says they will be “blameless” when Christ returns, which was not because of their great gifts but only because of what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection. Finally Paul says believers need never doubt God’s grace, his gifts or his promise to give eternal life because God is faithful. God himself had called all the believers in Corinth into “fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord…” and that call will never be taken away.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Before Paul tackles the problems that are plaguing the church he describes his hope for them. The hope that they would be considered blameless when Christ returns, not because of their great gifts, but because of what Jesus accomplished for them through his death and resurrection. Not just these believers but all who believe in Jesus will be considered blameless when Jesus returns–that includes me, not matter how much I have strayed from my “first love.”
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? First, I want to make sure I continually live for God, spend time with him regularly, focus on living my life for him each day. But not so I will be considered blameless! No, that brings me to my second point, I need to be so thankful for what Jesus did for me.
Thank you Jesus for your death and resurrection and my forgiveness of sins!
Starting next week I will continue my Journey Thru the Bible in the book of 1 Corinthians. Join me on my journey as we learn together.
One last thing, I would love to hear from you, take some time to make a comment on any of my posts. It’s simple, you can click on the title of the post and it will take you to the original post, scroll to the bottom of the page and type away. OR you can click on “add comment” at the bottom of each post. It takes you to the original post as well.
Hope to hear from you very soon.
Genesis 50: Jacob’s funeral & Joseph’s death
This being the LAST chapter in Genesis, it is fitting to have Jacob & Joseph (who represent the oath God made to Abraham) die and pass on God’s oath to the generations after them.
Just a reminder at the end of chapter 49 Jacob has taken his final breath and dies. But before he died he made his son Joseph swear to bury his body with his family in Canaan NOT Egypt.
v.1-9, just after Jacob died Joseph hugged and kissed his dead Dad, then he had him embalmed (40 days) and prepared for the funeral and burial. The Egyptians mourned for 70 days. When the mourning was over Joseph asked permission of Pharaoh (through his advisors) if he could take his Dad’s body to be buried in Canaan as he swore an oath to his Dad to do so. Joseph promised to not delay but be back to “work” as soon as his Dad was buried. Pharaoh agreed to Joseph’s request and Joseph left with all his brothers and their families (but left the kids and flocks behind). They were also accompanied by all of Pharaoh’s officials, senior members and officers of Egypt. There was a huge funeral procession.
v.10-13, when they arrived at Atad Thressing Floor (across from the Jordan River) they stopped to mourn, this time for 7 days. The Canaanites saw the mourning and the name of that place was changed Abel-mizraim (Egyptian mourning). Then Joseph and his brothers followed Jacob’s instructions and buried him with his family in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre.
v.14-21, after Jacob was buried Joseph’s brothers started to get concerned again. They were scared Joseph would carry out his grudge on them now that their Dad was gone. So they sent him a message saying…
“Before your father died, he commanded us, ‘This is what you should say to Joseph, “I’m begging you to forgive the crime and the sin your brothers committed against you. What they did to you was very evil.” ’ So now, please forgive our crime, because we are servants of your father’s God.” - GWT
Joseph cried when he rec’d this message. Then the brothers came in person and dropped to the ground in front of Joseph and told him they were now his slaves! Joseph told them to not be afraid. Then he told them “I am not God” and even though they meant what they did to him for evil God used it for good. God brought Joseph to Egypt to save everyone from the great famine! In his kindness Joseph reassured his brothers he would take care of them and their children.
v.22-26, Joseph and his brothers and their families continued to live in Egypt. Joseph lived to be 110 years old. He got to see 3 generations of Ephraim’s sons and to see the birth of the children of Manasseh’s son Makir (who Joseph called his own as well). Just before Joseph died he had his brother solemnly swear to take his bones with them to Canaan when God calls them back there–the place where God made an oath to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Joseph died at age 110 and was put in a coffin in Egpyt.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? The thing that keeps coming up is how forgiving Joseph is to his brothers. Not just forgiving, but even allowing them to be “off the hook” for what they did. He says that even though they meant what they did for evil God used it for good. He teaches me to look at every circumstance like God is trying to teach me something.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? I can honestly say many of the circumstances I have been in I have NOT looked at them as learning experiences but felt sorry for myself and got angry with those who caused them. From Joseph’s example I need to show mercy, forgiveness and remember God is continuing to teach me lesson after lesson. This is going to be something I will never completely understand until I am in his presence.
God, help me to remember I am in your hands and no matter what happens to me (and my family) you know what you are doing. Again thank you that you are God and I am not!