Today’s readings.. (1 Kings 17), (Jeremiah 43) (1 Corinthians 1), (1 Corinthians 2)
Today we start reading the first letter to the Corinthians. There are many believers there; Paul had spent much time there and his letters to them total 29 chapters containing a great many lessons appropriate for us today. The return of the Lord was very much in his mind, but he had no idea when; he was ultimately to tell Timothy in his last letter of all that “I have fought a 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 … will award me on that day.” [2 Tim:4 v.7,8]
His words to the Corinthians are a tremendous example of his efforts: for “the good fight” and “the race” is centred on helping others – in so doing we help ourselves. Our Lord is the outstanding example for us. We read today how Paul tells the believers that they are to “wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” [ch.1 v.7-9]
God is faithful to those who are doing their best to be faithful to him, they develop a real “fellowship” with “his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” But there is disharmony in Corinth and Paul’s appeal is for them to “be united in the same mind and the same judgement” [v.10] Sadly the failure to do this happens in every generation! It seems there have to be “foolish virgins”.
It brings to mind John’s words in his epistle, “They went out from us, but they were not of us … that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” [2 v.19] To clearly see those who are “of us” we need to fill our minds with God’s word and we will see those who are truly faithful to what has been revealed. We do not push out others – they end up going out of their own accord, but we may, by God’s grace, turn some around.
Christ sent him, he tells the Corinthians, to “preach the gospel not with words of eloquent (human) wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” [v,17] As he told the Galatians, “God … preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham” [3 v.8] and we come to see that God’s message to us begins in Genesis and goes through to Revelation.
We note how often Paul quotes from the Old Testament. Verse 19 is an example (he quotes Isaiah 29 v.14) “It is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” We live in a world today full of its own wisdom and “discerning”!
But notice how Paul makes the point “God chose what is low and despised in the world … to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” [v.28,29] God is everywhere present by his spirit (remember David’s Psalm 139 and Paul’s words on Mars Hill! (Acts 17 v.27,28) In this age of IPad’s and IPhone’s , &c we see what “power” God has ‘put’ into the air!
Paul says, “among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not the wisdom of this age” [2 v.6] it is “a secret and hidden wisdom of God …” [v.7]
The Bible reveals this more and more clearly as we diligently read – and as a result we sense more clearly “the presence of God” in our lives. Are you sensing this more and more clearly? As this world descends into chaos, it will be essential to have done this – as well as really knowing his word..