Monday, August 29, 2016

Unmoveable, Always Abounding

1Cor. 15:58  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.

In this verse the apostle Paul exhorts us to be both unmovable and on the move in our service for the Lord. How can we be both at the same time? We are to be unmovable in our stand for the truth of the gospel, but at the same time we must be on the move taking the gospel to the lost. The problem with many Christians and churches today is that they focus on one aspect of this and neglect or ignore the other. In other words, some stand for the gospel, but do nothing to take it to the lost while others focus on trying to reach people but compromise truth and water down the gospel in their effort to reach more people. 

The church at Corinth allowed false teachers to come in and move them away from sound doctrine and as a result they were failing in their work for the Lord. In the context Paul rebukes the church at Corinth for listening to those false teachers deny the doctrine of bodily resurrection and provides correction and instruction concerning the matter. The exhortation of v.58 is based on that correction and instruction (“Therefore”). He is saying, “If you have really believed on the risen Christ who died for your sins (vs. 1-18) and you really believe that because He lives we will also be raised up when He comes for us (vs.19-57), then you should be… (v.58). Right doctrine believed in the heart will produce right behavior, but wrong doctrine believed in the heart will produce wrong behavior (v.19, 29-34). Other passages present this same truth (2 Tim. 2:16; Titus 1:1). 

It is God’s will for all believers to be stablished in the faith (Col. 2:7) and then we must be stedfast and unmovable in our stand for the faith (16:13; Phil. 1:27). The faith is the body of truth God has revealed to us in His word. The church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). We must stand for all scripture given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:13-17). More particularly, we must stand for the inspired scripture rightly divided (2:15). Failure to rightly divide the Bible is at the root of all false doctrine in the professing church today. Let’s not just tote a KJB, let’s believe it, study it, practice it, and preach it. 

The gospel of Christ excludes any and all works of man (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The apostle Paul was unmovable in his stand for the gospel of the grace of God (Gal. 1:6-12; 2:5; Phil. 1:17). Paul was always on the move with the gospel (1 Cor. 15:10)! We are not saved by works, but those who are saved should work for the Lord who saved them by his grace (Eph. 2:8-10). Salvation by grace produces fruit (Col. 1:3-6; Titus 2:11-14). False teachers slander the gospel of the grace of God by calling it a "license to sin" (Rom. 6:1-2). 

We who have believed the gospel have a heavenly hope (Col. 1:5; 1 Cor. 15:42-52). Christ coming secretly at any moment (BEFORE the Trib.) to rapture us up to heaven to be glorified with Him is our hope. We must not allow anything to move us away from this hope (Col. 1:20-29). Many fundamentalists are being moved away from this hope. They are no longer looking for Christ from heaven, but the antichrist from earth. Being unmovable in this hope should cause us always abound in the work of the Lord! 

The world, the flesh, and the devil are always seeking to move us away from truth and our service for Christ and in these last days of apostasy many are being moved (1 Tim. 4:1). If Paul could keep the faith (2 Tim. 4:7), we can too by the grace of God (Acts 20:17-24; 2 Tim. 1:7-15). How can we stand in this evil day? We must put on the whole armor of God  (Eph. 6:10-20). 

The key to right movement is right motivation. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word motive as “That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will.” In 2 Cor. 5 the apostle Paul revealed his motives for ministry: the coming of Christ (vs.1-8); the judgment seat of Christ (vs.9-11); the love of Christ (vs.12-15); the commission of Christ (vs.16-21). It was these motives that caused Paul to be unmovable and yet always on the move. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Guiding Principles to Live By

1 Corinthians is a letter of reproof and correction in which Paul plainly and directly addresses problems that he had heard about in this church. He also answers questions they had written to him about. Apparently they did not bring up the problems in their letter because Paul heard about them from others (1:11; 5:1). Before he answers their questions he deals with the problems and gets to the root of it all (3:1-3). 

There are basically 3 kinds of people:
1. The natural (2:14) – those without the Spirit
2. The spiritual (2:15-16) – those in the Spirit that also walk in the Spirit
3. The carnal (3:1-3) – those in the Spirit that walk after the flesh

Notice that Paul calls the carnal “babes in Christ." One of the identifying marks of a carnal person is spiritual immaturity. One of the ways this immaturity shows up is in the inability to judge (6:1-5). It also shows up in making self the #1 issue (8:1). On the other hand, one of the identifying marks of a spiritual person is spiritual maturity. One of the ways this maturity shows up is in the ability to judge (5:3). It also shows up in putting Christ and others before yourself (8:13). In chapter 9 Paul explains why he so often DENIED himself! 

All believers have the position of adopted sons (Gal. 4:1-7). The Spirit within our hearts makes this position in Christ real to us as we grow in the faith. Children must have many regulations to guide them because they do not have the ability to make proper decisions on their own. Mature people are discerning and do not need everything spelled out for them. Compare the detailed rules of the law with the spiritual principles of Paul’s epistles. 

In chapters 6-10 Paul gives key principles that will guide the believer in always making the best decision (Phil. 1:9-11). It is apparent that the church at Corinth was making poor choices. For example, there was dispute over doubtful things like eating meat offered to idols. Some thought it was sinful just to eat the meat. Others knew it was not a sin but did not care about their weaker brothers. Spirituality is to have knowledge WITH charity! Paul shows that though it is not a sin to eat that meat it may not be the best thing to do (8:8-9). It is possible to do something that in and of itself is not sinful but if it is done with the wrong attitude is becomes sinful (8:12). 

1. Is it expedient? (6:12a)
Expedient - Literally, hastening; urging forward. Hence, tending to promote the object proposed; fit or suitable for the purpose; proper under the circumstances. Many things may be lawful, which are not expedient. The word expedient is similar to expedite. Will it be profitable for us on our journey in Christian growth (Phil. 3:12-14)? Anything that hinders your Christian growth needs to be laid aside, whether it is a sin or not (Heb. 12:1). 

2. Can it bring me under bondage? (6:12b)
We must not mess with anything that has the potential to enslave us in the flesh. How can we serve Christ if we are serving something else (Rom. 6:12-23)?     

3. Will it be a stumblingblock to others? (8:9) 
What about the weaker brethren (Rom. 14:13-23)? Will it hinder the gospel (9:12, 23)?

4. Is it spiritually edifying? (10:23)
To edify is to build up. Will it help build up the new man (Acts 20:32)?

5. Does it glorify God? (10:31)
If you know the scriptures, you will know what glorifies God. Can you do it as to the Lord and in His name (Col. 3:17, 23)?

If we will honestly ask ourselves these five questions when making a decision, we will know what to do. 

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