Good morning friends and thank you for joining us here on Paltalk as we continue this series on "Who Are We In Christ?" studying from the book of 1 Corinthians. Also Leanna and I want to thank A Far From Normal Faith Ministry, My Look Online and Lokey Sisters for allowing us to post on their social websites, and also thank each of you that read, listen to and watch on all the various networks.
As we continue this series, please have your pen and paper ready so that you can keep notes as we go along and also your Bibles. As she does each week, Leanna will be posting the scriptures here in the room and I thank you Love for doing that.
Let's all turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 6. For those who joined us last week, you will remember that Apostle Paul was dealing with judging.
1 Corinthians 4:6-7 KJV (6) And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (7) For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
1 Corinthians 4:6-7 GW Brothers and sisters, I have applied this to Apollos and myself for your sake. You should learn from us not to go beyond what is written in Scripture. Then you won't arrogantly place one of us in opposition to the other. (7) Who says that you are any better than other people? What do you have that wasn't given to you? If you were given what you have, why are you bragging as if it weren't a gift?
Friends, I've shared with some of you that I'm not about titles. There are those in the ministry who get irate when you don't address them as pastor. To me, that person needs to earn that title. I have some on my wife's and my site, Cross Roads Fellowship who call me Pastor Jim. Usually it's from members we have from the Philippians. It's their custom to place a title before one's name. At one point I was leading these young members spiritually. When we have respect for a leader, it's natural for us to feel loyalty toward them. Paul warns us not to allow these loyalties to cause divisions within the church. Our loyalty should be to Christ, not to His human servants.
Leanna and I have been under pastors that we loved, but, I find often that some of the congregations put these leaders so high on a pedestal that it's like they're worshiping this man or woman. Church, true spiritual leaders are representatives of Christ and have nothing to offer other than what God has given them. Those who spend more time debating church leadership rather than delivering Christ’s message don't have Christ as their top priority. I hope we all have an understanding of this.
Like the Corinthian church, we see many of the same things affecting churches today. What are those things? The biggest problem in the divisions they were facing? And often times because of these things we see division and that was exactly what was happening in Corinth and what Paul was addressing to them and for you and me today. Glory to God!
Pride being one of the first things. Clicks within the congregation will cause problems. Come on everyone, we've all seen it. Maybe been part of it. That usually leaves a group feeling left out, doesn't it? They feel like they're not worthy to even be there. They feel shunned. Seen it friends? Been part of it? On either side of the fence?
Let's get away from this chapter for a few minutes, yet we're still following the guidelines of the title, "Who Are We In Christ".
I want to read a post that I've shared a couple times within the past probably 6 years. I'm not sure who the actual writer is, but I usually get choked up reciting this. Why? Because I've seen much of this.
Jesus will bear the sin of the Assyrians who gloated over their captives they skinned alive. Jesus will bear the sins of SS troops gunning down women and children running from burning synagogues with clothing burning ablaze. Jesus will bear the sins of child molesters making sure their victims never testify. He will bear the sins of Pharaohs sacrificing thousands of laboring lives to build a deifying tomb. Jesus took on all of this and more. He was tossed about in the endless storm of enraged fathers beating toddlers to their deaths, pimps seducing runaways into lives of drugs and prostitution, Canaanites burning their children to Moloch. Nice church ladies cannibalizing other nice church ladies over coffee. Impoverished parents in China selling their children into slavery. He will bear the sins of Bible-believing leaders praying long and loud while their wives sit in the back of many churches hoping their make-up covers their bruises. Jesus will tumble alone. He will bear the sins of embezzlers, gangsters, bullies, rapists, liars, thieves, the indifferent, sadistic, and self-righteous. It's a scene of unbearable horror, and unspeakable magma. He is the accused for us all, bearing the weight of abused children, families destroyed by adultery or apathy, civilizations decaying, and wars ravaging.
So why do I bring this up? As I read and you heard, these are huge events that happened that Jesus took to the cross some 2000 years ago. Yes we heard of World War 2 events, horrific things in Vietnam , things that we can read in the Old Testament. But my friends, did we notice some of the other issues? Nice church ladies cannibalizing other nice church ladies. Is there any difference between the things I just said? What about the pimps? What about the pastor's wife who covers her face because that minister who's preaching hell and brimstone and telling the congregation they need to repent of their sins hours before slapped her silly because his toast was burnt, or his suit wasn't ironed? But ask him if he's a Christian, he would say, "Of course I am, I am a pastor." Oh yaa.
Same on Christian networks, I see so much bullying, gossiping and lying, but praise the Lord that's not the normal for Cross Roads Fellowship. Friends, when we learn the truth of how we're to live our lives according to the scriptures, we need to act them out also. Resist the devil when those thoughts of slandering another brother or sister happen. Before saying things that you know will hurt them. Where is that uplifting and edifying, especially when those things said are a lie?
Turn please to Philippians. I want us to look at humility. Jesus was absolutely divine, yet absolutely human. In coming into the world He did not empty Himself of His divine nature or attributes, but only of the outward and visible manifestation of the Godhead, The insignia of majesty. He had to empty Himself of His glory or He would have paralyzed the men He came to save. Although equal with God, He took upon Himself the form of a servant for our sakes, that He might meet, as God manifest in the flesh, the death of the cross.
Let's see what Apostle Paul says. And remember my brothers and Sisters, while Paul wrote this epistle, he was led by the Holy Spirit in what He wrote. That is very important for us to remember.
Philippians 2:5-11 KJV Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Church, I see so many that when they get saved, or born again, they want to get right into ministry. Many want to become preachers, yet they're very naive to the gospel. Everyone is called into ministry, but God has a specific plan and being a minister may not be that calling. It may be missions work. It may mean working at a food cupboard or pantry. Maybe leading Sunday school is where he has you start. We my friends need to be humble, and this is what Apostle Paul was trying to get across.
Lets read 1 Corinthians from the King James and then from God's Word.
1 Corinthians 4:8-13 KJV (8) Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. (9) For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. (10) We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. (11) Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; (12) And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: (13) Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
Paul isn’t saying that he likes dealing with the brokenness, he's just saying that it's part of the deal. The path to real life often feels like death. The Corinthians could not escape this process.
1 Corinthians 4:8-14 GW (8) You already have what you want! You've already become rich! You've become kings without us! I wish you really were kings so that we could be kings with you. (9) As I see it, God has placed us apostles last in line, like people condemned to die. We have become a spectacle for people and angels to look at. (10) We have given up our wisdom for Christ, but you have insight because of Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored. (11) To this moment, we are hungry, thirsty, poorly dressed, roughly treated, and homeless. (12) We wear ourselves out doing physical labor. When people verbally abuse us, we bless them. When people persecute us, we endure it. (13) When our reputations are attacked, we remain courteous. Right now we have become garbage in the eyes of the world and trash in the sight of all people. (14) I'm not writing this to make you feel ashamed but to instruct you as my dear children.
Can we see the love and compassion Paul is showing, yet with instruction of how to live for Christ? The disciples of Christ, and especially his ministers, should hold fast their integrity, and keep a good conscience, whatever opposition of hardships they meet with from the world. Whatever they suffer from men, they must follow the example, and fulfill the will and precepts of their Lord. They must be content with Him and for Him, to be despised and abused.
2 Timothy 2:19-26 KJV Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (20) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (21) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (23) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. (24) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (26) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Someone right now I believe needed to hear this. Maybe many. Friends, when you and I go through the storms of life, we need to remember this. His incarnation and resurrection, heartily believed, Church, with all your faith, non wavering, will support the you and me under all the testings of the present life.
Let's read the rest of the chapter in 1 Corinthians and we will finish up for today.
1 Corinthians 4:15-21 KJV (15) For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. (16) Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. (17) For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. (18) Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. (19) But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. (20) For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (21) What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
So what's Paul telling the church in Corinth? To me he's letting them know that there aren't many good examples to follow. Paul is sharing with them that he, being led by the Holy Spirit, should be their example. He's encouraging them to imitate his life. Now, Paul is not telling these people that he's God and that he's perfect. He's saying that as he lives his life trying to follow the model of Christ, they should do that as well. Timothy has been doing this, so they can also look to him for help in this area. I don't think I've said this yet, as I guess it's been said I say amen to much, but amen someone? Do we get this?
My dear friends, teaching from God's Word is not what I had planned for my life. No way Hosea. But there are those who are in my circle of friends that God has drawn to me. Praise Christ Jesus. I've shared hundreds of times when there was a terrible mess in a church that Leanna and I were part of and because I was not going to be part of that, we prayed and we prayed and 2 months later after telling God every excuse I could come up with of why I did not qualify, every single time I would pray or think of where He would have us go to church, I kept hearing "Right here and let me guide you." March 4, 2012, we started holding services here at our house. Glory to God.
So I often think about, even now, "Why me, Lord? Why now? Why here in Brownville Junction of all places? I don't know why He chose me. Maybe because I asked Him many years ago to lead me where He will. Maybe because I said I want to do all He wants me to do. Maybe because I've allowed Him to break me? And anyone that knew me 20 years ago, 10 years ago and even 5 years ago, know that there's been a change in me. Nothing that I did, but what Christ has done in me. Glory to God.
So why do I bring this up? Church, much like Apostle Paul, I'm hoping that God will use me as a Spiritual leader. I do study the Word of God. I try to teach you my friends in a way that you understand what scriptures say without taking away from it. I also try to teach those who've followed this ministry by example. There are those who have followed these sermons and the prayers added on many sites from other countries. Most are from here in the United States.
I think if we look at how this chapter ends, we find that Paul does it in a peculiar way.
Leanna, can you please post 18- 21 again please?
1 Corinthians 4:18-21 KJV (18) Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. (19) But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. (20) For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (21) What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
I see here that there are those who are causing problems and to me, Paul is writing like a father figure, if you will. Do we see that? Are you going to do what I say or do I have to sit you in a corner for a time out? I think back to my childhood and I never heard that. There were times I heard about the belt, or one time I can remember getting a yard stick and oh yea and having to choose a stick and of course I picked the thinnest one. What a mistake that was!
But we see here that Paul's asking if this letter and Timothy will be enough to correct their arrogant spirit and bad behavior or will he need to discipline them when he arrives? His motive is still love but his manner will change if necessary.
Friends, in closing and this is hard for me to say but needs to be said. Because of an issue that is going on and because of where we are in this chapter, it's speaking to me. Christian leaders do have the responsibility to call God’s people to repentance. Christian leaders are to exhibit spiritual power. The claims of the troublemakers simply will not hold up to this test. I shared with a friend a couple days ago that when there are those who ask for prayer for certain things, I pray that the things being kept in the darkness are revealed in the light. I do hope that each of you knows what I am saying.
1 Corinthians 4:21 KJV What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
Friends, I need you to get this message that I am about to share. God loves you. There are times that it seems like He is not only invisible, but distant and is not hearing our cry's when we run into tempests. I spoke with a woman just yesterday that shared some very personal happenings going on in her life and within her family and asked me to be in prayer.
Church, God knows everything about you. Every little thing. He knows you are going to mess up. He knows there are going to prideful issues. He knows there will be temptations that come and he knows that you an I are going to fail at times. Friends, we are going to fail at times. He knows that that there is wickedness all around us. We see these things spoken in His Holy Word, but friends, that is why He sent His Son to die for you and I. It is why that gruesome picture of Jesus hanging on the Calvary's cross should be imbedded in our mind, but also should be beautiful because it shows His love for you and I.
Church, you and I have to understand this, with no hesitation. No resistance. No wavering in our faith, what so ever. God loves you so much and He loves you so much that even though you have been wicked, even though you have been hatful. Even though you have lived a life of doing everything that you can against God's perfect plan that He had for your life, He wants you in His family. He will do anything to have you and I in His family. Church get this. He will pay to have you and me in His family and will go as far as paying to have you in His family. And that is exactly what He did. He bought you and I with the life of His son. His son was brutally beaten, mocked, charged with a crime that He was not guilty for, so that you and I my dear friends could be freed from bondage of sin. He took the place of our eternal damnation. Someone shout Halleluiah!! Praise the name of the the Lamb that was sacrificed for you and I. That my friends is how much God loves you.
There are times that leaders of the church need to take the bull by the horns. As I've shared with you for the past couple weeks, pastors that Leanna and I were under a few years ago had to deal with me because they loved me. They knew there was something in me that God wanted to use to further the Kingdom of God. As I shared with you, there was a religous spirit that needed to be dealt with and praise God He took that from me. There have been times I've had to make tough decisions and I know there will be those times again when ministering with others. As I mentioned before, I have a terrific bunch on both our Christian social sites and I think a lot of it is they have respect for me and I have love, compassion and respect for them.
As we will see next week, the things going on in Corinth were terrible, just like here, and we'll see how Paul addressed those issues.
Leanna and I want to thank each of you for joining us here in the J and L Ministries room here on Paltalk and also those who read, watch and listen on jandlministries.weebly.com. We thank you who have been watching on our u-tube channel called J and L Ministries, and also those who watch on all the secular and Christian networks. We thank you so much for your support.
We love you my friends, and our hope is that you take what you've learned each week and put your faith in it and live it out in your own lives.
Have a blessed week our friends.