We were born with a sinful nature and born into a sinful world. But God, because of His omnipotence, omniscience, and His great love already had a plan in place to rescue us. The plan called for His Son, Jesus, to be born sinless, live a perfect life, and die a horrible death on a cross to redeem and reconcile us to Himself. When we accept this plan, our sins are forgiven and we are placed in right standing with God. Jesus was resurrected from the grave as the firstborn of all creation to live eternally. Everything was created through Him and for Him. Without Him, nothing exists or can exist. He raises up leaders and kings and He brings down those leaders and kings for His own purpose. We are created to glorify God and to one day be raised in His image, changed from mortals to immortals, from corruption to incorruption, to worship and praise Him throughout eternity.
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”—1 Cor. 1:10-12 (NIV) The only way the church at Corinth or any church can be in unity is through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As long as we follow after fleshly desires, we will each have our own opinion about every little thing. The world sees these things going on in the church and wonders, rightly, what we have that they don’t have. Before two or three people or a group of any size can be united, each individual has to be willing to give up their “rights”. When we go to church or to any group for that matter, we need to leave our egos at the door. As Christians, we do not receive a “bill of rights”. Our leader, Jesus Christ, modeled an attitude of service and good works. If our focus is on what Jesus wants and not what our flesh wants, we will be united in our worship and our service to the community. If we set this example, the world will want what we have. 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Matt. 20:28 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Just as Jesus used everyday examples to teach, Paul does the same thing here. Everyone who had ever made a purchase of home or land, easily understood that once the transaction had been completed and witnessed, it became a legal contract. While contracts and covenants are both legal and binding, the big difference in the two is this; A contract is valid only as long as both parties do what they have bound themselves to do while a covenant is binding on one party even if the other party fails to keep their end of the deal. So, since God knew man would not keep up his end, He made a covenant that bound Him regardless of what man did. Once God made the covenant promises to Abraham, God was bound by His own word to keep it forever. Nothing man did or does or will do can change God’s plan. He was faithful to Israel even though they failed Him time after time. The new covenant is not a change in God’s plan, it was decided on long before the foundations of the world were laid. Under the new covenant, God is faithful to all who receive Jesus as Savior, even though, we, like Israel fail Him time after time, He is bound by His own Word to remain faithful to us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,so also you share in our comfort. — 2 Cor. 1:3-7 NIV
Everything that we have belongs to God. Whatever He has given to us is to be shared with those around us. The things with which God has blessed us should be held very loosely in our hands. They are to be used to bless others and further the work of the Kingdom here on earth. The early church understood and practiced this principle of giving and receiving. There are many verses that teach us to give to the poor, widows and orphans. We must open ourselves up to be channels of blessings. This is also true in Spiritual things as well as natural. In the Spiritual area, we don’t do quite as well in giving or receiving. God has given us the Comforter to comfort us in all situations and we need to learn to share that message with a hurting world. But, we also need to learn to accept that comfort when it is offered to us. Every one of us needs help in some area of our lives whether we want to admit it or not. As long as we deny it, the pain and the chaos will not go away. None of us can fix ourselves, even though, satan would love for us to believe that we can. Reach out and touch someone was a Biblical principle long before it was a commercial.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Eccles. 4:9-12 NIV
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. — Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV
Sometimes when I am reading about one of the great miracles that Jesus did when He was here on earth, I forget that He was a man just as we are. I want to attribute those miracles to someone with access to more power than we have access to. If I could truthfully do that then I would be relieved of trying to live up to His example. But, woe is me, because to do that would be to deny His full humanity and therefore, it would be a lie. So, I must agree with Jesus that I have access to the power that enables me to do “greater things than these”.
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. — John 14:12 NIV
I recognize the sins that I commit and I ask forgiveness for them. But how many times have I sinned by omitting or not doing what the Holy Spirit has asked me to do and used the excuse “I can’t”? God is not a man that He should lie and He says that we can through His power. To believe anything less is to believe a lie.
So, today, right now, Father, I ask your forgiveness for those times when I could’ve and I should’ve but I didn’t. Make me more aware when those situations arise again and arouse in me the boldness and power to do what you have asked me to do. Thank you for your forgiveness, your mercy and your love. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. — 1 John 1:8-10 NIV
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Paul is telling us to be spiritually alert, sober minded and armed for battle. The demonic forces are well-trained in deception and guerrilla tactics. They are very good at creating illusions that deceive “even the elect”.
24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. — Matt. 24:24, 25 NIV
So, what does it mean to be spiritually alert? It means that we have to be prayed up, full of the Holy Spirit and well disciplined in our study of the Holy Scriptures. Jesus defended Himself against the devil by quoting scriptures to Him. If Jesus needed the scriptures to ward off satan then we surely need them even more. We need to be aware of where we are weak. The demons know our weaknesses and they attack us in those areas. Don’t walk too near the edge of the cliff. If certain things cause you to be excessive or respond wrongly. stay a long way away from those things. Your pride will tell you that you can handle the situation but your Spirit knows better. Let the Spirit man rise up and mortify the flesh.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. — Romans 8:12-14 NIV
The battlefield is the mind, if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, then we can win the battles.
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NIV
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. — 2 Peter 1:1-4 NIV
How are we supposed to live a holy lifestyle in today’s world? We are bombarded by filth and violence continuously. How do we find grace and peace in abundance in our world today? By accessing the Divine power that raised Jesus from the dead and now gives us everything we need for a Godly life here and now. The word translated “life” here in verse three is the Greek word “zoe” and it means life that is real and genuine, a life full and complete, devoted to God, blessed, even in this world when we put our trust in Christ, and it will be consummated after the resurrection into a more perfect body that will last forever. God has given us “very great and precious” promises so that we can participate in the Divine nature because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed and cleansed from the corruption of this world and the evil desires of our flesh. In and of ourselves, we can do nothing, but we can do all things through Jesus Christ.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Phil. 4:13 NIV
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.–Eph. 1:18-21 NIV
It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the power that is available to each of us through Jesus Christ our Lord. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that assures us of our hope of eternal life. If our hearts were totally in sync with God’s heart that we might see through His eyes and hear through His ears, the difference we could make in this age would be immeasurable. This is the truth that Jesus wanted us to get hold of when He said:
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.–John 14:12 -14 NIV
We can grasp a part of the truth of this statement when we realize that it is still God doing the works and miracles today. . When our only motive becomes to glorify God and His Son, Jesus and we believe that the dunamis power of God, His Holy Spirit, resides in us, then I believe that we will begin to see those miracles occurring today, just as they did when Jesus and the disciples walked the earth.
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.—2 Timothy 2:14-15 NIV
Paul is instructing Timothy (and us) about the destruction and divisions that are caused by debating over doctrines. He is instructing us that our time would be better spent in meditating on God’s Word and doing exactly what it says without adding anything to it. This is what the scribes and Pharisees had done to the Old Testament law. They had added their own interpretations to it and were weighing the people down with useless requirements. Some of us do the same thing today and then wonder why our church attendance is down.
The important thing for us to remember is that God made the plan of salvation very simple for a reason. It is not a burden to bear, it is easy to understand and for us, it is free, even though, it cost God His only Son. Anyone can do it.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.–John 3:16 NIV
Is there more to the story? Yes, but just believing and repenting is all there is to salvation. Knowing the rest of the story will help you enjoy the journey.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.—1 Cor. 5:6-8 NIV
Paul continues to emphasize the necessity of having a humble mindset. We must live our lives with humility and the attitude of a servant. Jesus is our example of serving others in our daily lifestyle. The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is their teaching of the necessity to keep the Law. In the Old Testament law, the Jewish people could eat no leavened bread during the Feast of the Passover. They were even required to get all the leaven out of their houses so nothing could be tainted with the leaven. They had to celebrate the Passover each year. This required them to kill a sacrificial lamb each time. But Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb and he was sacrificed once for all sin of all times. He does not need to return to the cross each year. Jesus is the bread of Life and because of this, we are not required to follow the old ways. In fact to do so is to add to the plan of salvation things that God does not require of us The leaven that we need to avoid in our life is pride and the desires of the flesh. We replace those things with the fruit of the Holy Spirit who now lives in us. We are”new creations” in Christ Jesus and He has fulfilled the law for us. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.–Matt.5:17 NIV