Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians

Abstain from sexual sin!

Scripture reading for June 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4

Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us to impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, Who gives His Holy Spirit.”

The apostle Paul loved the Thessalonian believers and because of this told them the truth in very clear terms. Sexual immorality was a problem in that culture, as in every Gentile nation. God has not called us to impurity and immorality, but to holiness and being set apart for Him. He desires godly offspring, raised in a covenant marriage between a man and a woman who know God. In fact, sexual immorality wrongs those involved and God is the Avenger of all sexual sins. Those sins include fornication (any sex outside of marriage), adultery (sex with another’s marriage partner), homosexual relationships, incest, and pornography and related sins. This is God’s instruction, not Paul’s or man’s. To disregard this will bring God’s vengeance.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, not thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and clearly warning all Your brothers and sisters concerning sexual immorality. I believe that You are the avenger of such sins. Help me to clearly and lovingly preach the truth of the Gospel and call people to repentance from these sins and cleansing by Jesus’ blood. My greatest joy will be Your return!

1st Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

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The cheerful giver!

Scripture reading for June 11th: Philemon

Key Scriptures: Philemon 8-14 “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you–I. Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus–I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the Gospel but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.”

Paul was not into authoritarian leadership. He was a servant leader who acted in respect towards others in the Church. He had the opportunity while in jail in Rome to lead Onesimus, Philemon’s run-away slave, to Christ. Under Roman law, slaves who ran away could be put to death. But Paul appealed to Philemon to treat him now as a brother in Christ. As a run-away slave, Onesimus would have not been at all profitable to Philemon, but now as a brother, he would serve him as a brother and was also valuable in the Church as a member of Christ’s body. Paul could have ordered the proper treatment, but he knew that allowing Philemon to choose freely to do the right thing was by far the best for all involved.

Philemon 15-16 “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this amazing story of a run-away slave who was saved and restored to his master. Thank You that we are all like this slave, running from You. Thank You that You received us back and made us profitable again! Help me to never forget! Give me opportunity to share Your great mercy today!

1st Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

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Crucified with Christ

Scripture reading for May 17th: Galatians 2

Key Scriptures: Galatians 2:15-16, 19-20 “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”. . . .”For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Justification means being made “just” before a holy God. Our sins are forgiven on the basis of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death for sin and sinners on Calvary’s cross by means of crucifixion. Paul explained that we appropriate this justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by our own efforts to keep God’s law. In fact, by the works of the law, no flesh can or will be justified. Paul further described how he viewed his own justification. His old man and sinful flesh were by identification, through faith, crucified with Christ. Paul, the sinner, died on that cross and was also buried with Christ. But as Jesus Christ rose from the dead through justification by God through the Spirit of Holiness, Paul identified with that resurrection and claimed the life of the resurrected Jesus in his own body!

Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for inviting me to believe and identify with You in Your death on the cross, burial, and resurrection to a new life. Help me to clearly communicate the full Gospel and simple faith in Christ Jesus.

1st Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received (the Gospel): that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. . . .”

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Deserting Christ

Scripture reading for May 14th: Galatians 1

Key Scriptures: Galatians 1:3-8 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him Who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Paul was writing to the Galatian church concerning a troubling development that came to his attention. There were false teachers there who were distorting the Gospel of Christ Jesus. This was causing believers to desert Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation and begin to seek to find salvation through works of the Law in addition to faith in Jesus. This was troubling because there was only one Gospel and one Savior, Jesus Christ! Paul had received this Gospel by a revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul called down a curse on anyone, including angels in heaven or himself, who would preach another gospel. He repeated this for emphasis because this was a life and death matter.

Galatians 1:11-12 “For I would have you know, brothers, that the Gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing Your Gospel of repentance and faith in Your sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. Thank You for revealing this Gospel to Your apostles and disciples, to Paul, and to me and all who have believed. Help me to preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2nd Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

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Bind the strong man!

Scripture reading for January 20th: Mark 3

Key Scriptures: Mark 3:22-27 “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and” by the prince of demons He casts out demons.” And He called them to Him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”

A big part of Jesus’ ministry was casting out demons and healing those oppressed by Satan. So much so, that even His own family thought Jesus to be “out of His mind.” (Mark 3:21) The scribes came down from the religious rulers in Jerusalem and accused Jesus of using demonic power to cast out the devils. Jesus patiently called them to listen to Him and in a rabbinic posture, asked them a question: “How can Satan cast out Satan? . . .” He pointed out that a house divided against itself would not stand. He stated that in order to cast out demons (the strongman), they must be bound first. The rope or chain Jesus had used was His authority–authority from God the Father in the kingdom of heaven. He went on to warn these religious people about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the unforgivable sin!

Luke 11:19-20 “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for demonstrating Your authority over the devil and demons, binding them with Your powerful Word. Give me greater discernment when I confront the forces of darkness and patience with those who lack understanding about spiritual authority.

2nd Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

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Reward from the Lord!

Scripture reading for January 15th: 2nd Timothy 4

Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 4:5-8, 22 “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” . . . .”The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

Paul’s final words to his son in ministry calls him to a reminder of the eternal reward that will come on the Day of Christ when at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will all be rewarded for the deeds done in the body. Paul knew his race was at the end here on earth. He was soon to be beheaded–poured out as a ‘drink offering’! He had maintained his faith and fought a good fight to stay true to Jesus Christ, suffering for the Gospel but anticipating the reward! This reward would also be for Timothy and all others who faithfully followed and endured! God is with us and His grace will bring us through to reward! We will cast our crowns at Christ’s feet!

Daniel 12:18 “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the promise of reward from You for faithfulness and endurance through the trials here on earth. Help me to maintain my testimony and finish the good fight in Your grace filled with Your Holy Spirit.

1st Corinthians 3:13-15 “. . .each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

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The God of peace and love!

Scripture reading for October 2nd: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Paul’s closing benediction calls the church at Corinth to joy and peace in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit bring love, peace and joy to all the saints. They are restoring all believers and bringing comfort, agreement and peace. As believers through the grace of Jesus Christ allow and invite God the Father to live in their midst, His love and peace brings true fellowship through the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit living in each one. This is the pattern for God’s people everywhere–and especially in our lives today!

Psalm 76:1-2 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem (Peace), His dwelling place in Zion.”

Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, establish Your abode in my midst and the midst of Your Church. May Your grace and peace and love flow from Your people in unity and fellowship as they are fed by Your delightful Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 “Your Words were found and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of hosts.”

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Conceit can bring deception!

Scripture reading for October 1st: Jeremiah 11-13, 2nd Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

Paul carefully explained how God had given him great revelations, even catching him up to the third heaven. He heard things that he could not reveal or explain. God allowed a thorn in Paul’s flesh from Satan, to keep him from conceit. Conceit is pride that puffs up a person and allows deception. Paul sought God for deliverance, but God assured him that His power would be made perfect in weakness and His grace would be sufficient to keep him. Paul’s boast now was in his weakness so Christ’s power would flow through him.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing grace that can keep me from pride and deception. Help me to boast only in You and my many weaknesses that Your power may work through me to accomplish Your will.

Jeremiah 13:15-17 “Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light He turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

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Satan in disguise!

Scripture reading for September 30th: Jeremiah 8-10, 2nd Corinthians 11

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15 “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

The spiritual warfare Paul warned the Corinthians about came in the form of counterfeit apostles, teachers and “Christian” workers. Satan loves to disguise himself as an ‘angel of light’ when he is really a dark fallen angel. Satan uses people he has taken captive to be his ‘deceitful workmen’ right in Christ’s church. To identify the counterfeit “Christians”, we must know the genuine Jesus and those who genuinely represent Him and His Word. If we fall for the counterfeit, we will suffer now and in eternity. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment if we are teachable.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Truth and the Spirit of Truth Who brings me discernment. Correct me and help me daily to stay true to You and listen only to Your Word taught by Your gifted people.

Jeremiah 10:23-24 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in Your anger lest You bring me to nothing.”

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Spiritual warfare!

Scripture reading for September 29th: Jeremiah 5-7, Psalm 75, 2nd Corinthians 10

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 10:3-7 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

Paul was concerned about false teachers and their deceptive ideas and philosophies defiling God’s people. They were making fun of his own humble stature and demeanor when he was present with them and now his bold approach to correction in his letters. Paul set them straight, that they were all in a spiritual battle. This battle was not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spiritual forces who used argument, proud ideas, and opinions contradicting Christ Jesus. We must control our thinking and use the divine weapons of prayer, worship, confession of truth and faithfulness to God’s Word to destroy the strongholds of evil attacking us.

Psalm 75:2-3 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I Who keep steady its pillars.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the divine weapons You provide Your Church for pulling down strongholds. Help me today to bring every though captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'”

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