Posts filed under ‘Journey Thru the Bible’
I Corinthians 10:12-13: Temptations
Paul continues to use the children of Israel as an example of what not to do, as he discusses the topic of temptations.
v.12, the children of Israel had experienced many miracles right before their very eyes. Yet they gave into temptation many times. Paul warned the Corinthian believers to “be careful not to fall” into temptation as well. He warned them because they began to take pride in their faith and to take it for granted what Christ did for them. They thought they were “standing strong” and they began to be very sure of themselves to the point of being pridefully, that is the time they will “fall.” Paul also warned that they could fall into temptation just as the Israelites did when they fell into idolatry. Paul warned the Corinthian believers to not let down their guard because that was the time when they are most liable to fall.
v.13, “the temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” Temptations come into every believers life, no one is exempt. Temptation is not sinful, the sin comes when a person gives into a temptation. But God does not leave us to be tempted, “God is faithful.” He will not always remove the temptation because facing it could be a way of God strengthen our faith. However he will “not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.” There is no temptation that a believer can’t resist, but the believer must stand against it. Each temptation can be resisted because God made it possible to resist–he’s our strength against temptation. God promises that “when you are tempted he will show you a way out you can endure” so you won’t give into the temptation and fall into sin. It will take self-discipline to look for the “way out” in the middle of the temptation, then take it when it is found. Probably the most obvious way out is staying away from things, people or events that tempt you. Example: if you have a problem with lust, you need to stay away from books, movies, magazines and websites that lead to temptation to lust. Common sense, right?! Another way out is by having friends that you can trust who can hold you accountable when you’re tempted. That person can ask you the tough questions and support you and pray for you. God loves his people so much that he will always provide a way out when temptation comes.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? The most important point that strikes me here, is to get back into meeting regularly with my accountability partner. I have been out of the habit for a while now. And temptations have sprouting up regularly. So I need to connect back with my accountability partner and share honestly my struggles with him. And when temptations come remember God is going to supply a way out, so pray and ask for help. I know he will give because he loves me.
I Corinthians 9:24-27: Run to win
Paul called upon the Christians to deny themselves as they looked forward to future reward. Paul compared this to a race, picturing the ancient “games.”
v.24-25, the Greek Olympic games were already operating in Paul’s time but they were 2nd in popularity to the Isthmian games celebrated every two years at Corinth. Athletes would come from all over Greece to win the highest honour “the prize.” To not only win the prize but just to get prepared for the games required “discipline in their training.” Typically for 10 months before the games the athletes denied themselves many ordinary pleasures in order to prepare and be in top condition for the games. But even though “everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize.” This prize was a great honour to the athletes and they would give up everything to get it. Paul told the believers in Corinth to be just like these athletes, however he did not mean that the believers were running AGAINST each other with only ONE winner. Instead he wanted every believer to “run to win.” Every believer should be putting the same effort forward to win an “eternal prize” not like one that “will fade away” like the pine wreath crown the athletes win at the Isthmian games. The eternal prize is not salvation or getting to go to heaven, no those in the race have already been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, no the eternal prize was the crown of life at the end of life where God says “well done, though good and faithful servant.” So the goal was to honour God with our lives by winning the lost and building up the Saints.
v.26-27, Paul’s next words are telling the Corinth believers that not only was he asking them to be self-disciplined but he also practiced what he preached to them. He too had to “discipline [his] body like an athlete, training” to run the race not aimlessly like a boxer who is “just shadowboxing” or punching at the air. But to practice with “purpose in every step”, with a goal in mind–the ultimate goal: honouring God. In the Isthmian games if you broke any rules including the training rules you were automatically disqualified. When Paul says “I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” he is not talking about the loss of Salvation but loss of reward. The disqualification for an athlete didn’t mean they would loose their citizenship, only their opportunity to win the prize. And Paul didn’t want to loose his reward when he stood for the Judgement Seat of Christ.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Simply I am going to start to “train” for my Christian life. I have already started to eat healthier physically, but now I am also going to do the same spiritually–spend regular times with Jesus each day in both study and prayer, no excuses. To focus on the eternal reward as I stand before Jesus. Also to deny myself anything that will potentially harm me. Stay away from those things I am so easily tempted by.
I know it has been awhile since I have posted my ”Journey Thru the Bible” but I am back. C’mon along with me as I journey through the Bible, as I discover amazing truths that I missed the first time I studied or great reminders of things I had forgotten about. It’ going to be an amazing adventure!
I Corinthians 9:19-23: Chameleon for the Gospel
Paul wanted people of all cultures, backgrounds and races to hear the Gospel and be saved. So Paul embraced and adapted to culture he was in except when those cultures hindered or violated the Gospel.
v.19, Paul’s goal was to glorify God and bring everyone to Christ. Though Paul was “a free man with no master” which is to say free from all human control, he chose to be a “slave to all” without compromising the Gospel message. Paul could vary the style or method of his message becoming a accommodating to his audience so that he could “bring many people to Christ.”
v.20-23, Paul chose to be like his audience without compromising the doctrine of God’s Word and the Gospel message. Paul was willing to “live like” his audience in order to “bring” them to Christ. Paul mentions three groups: Jews, Gentiles and those with weak consciences.
Jews: When he was with Jews he “lived like a Jew to bring Jews to Christ.” Paul conformed his life to the practices of those“who follow the Jewish law” even though he was no longer “subject to the law” himself because of his freedom in Christ just so he could “bring” Jews who are “under the law” to Christ. He gained an audience with many Jews because he conformed to their regulations and restrictions (after he had been a Pharisee). However he never conceded that those regulations had to be kept in order to become a believer. Examples in Acts 16:3, 18:18, 21:20-26.
Gentiles: When he was with Gentiles “who do not follow the Jewish Law” he met them on their own turf. Paul lived according to God’s law because he didn’t “ignore the law of God” no “he obey[ed]” it. But when he was with Gentiles he did not require them to follow the Jewish law, unlike the false teachers of that day (Judiazers), in order to become believers. Instead he spoke a message that would “bring them to Christ.” An example is Acts 17:1-34.
Weak consciences: The “weak” that Paul refers to are believers who are baby Christians who needed to grow deeper in their knowledge of Christ and deeper understanding of their freedom in Christ. So Paul set aside his freedoms and starting living by their restraints for a time so that he might “bring the weak to Christ.” Paul chose to do “everything [he] could to spread the Good News” to all people and “find common ground with everyone, doing everything [he] can to save some.” But Paul never compromised the Gospel truth, God’s Law or his own conscience in the process.
Paul had one purpose, to take the Gospel to the unbelieving world. He did not preach with pride, counting the numbers or converts, instead he preached with love for the Gospel and those who heard it and in the end he could “share in its blessing.”
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? There was a number of things I took away from today’s study. First, to find common ground with the unbelievers in my life as I try to reach them for Christ. However to never have a know-it-all attitude as I speak to them. Listen a lot more than I speak. Then share in their needs and concerns, genuinely care for them. And always look for opportunities to tell others about Christ.