Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paul’s Call For The Church

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10 KJV)

I am now 91% complete on my chronological reading of the Bible. I’m in Acts, and I look forward to each day to find out if I’ll be reading Luke or Paul’s letters.  Seeing where these letters fit into his journey helps me understand the timing and current activities. I can see that his witness in each city is the same. From the Jewish scriptures, he teaches of the Messiah, then of Jesus’ completion of those prophecies. He knows them well, having studied to be a priest himself. Only a stop on the road to Damascus changed his path to the strait gate and narrow way.

Other converts were teaching, too, and new Christians began dividing themselves. Paul hears of such a division in Corinth:

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:12 KJV)

Paul gives the most beautiful answer, one that remains a foundational truth today:

Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:13 KJV)

Whether it is the church, pastor, youth director, Sunday School teacher, college, ministry, missionary – the list is endless – that brought us to Christ, we are never to be more interested in them than we are in serving our Lord. We do not seek the name Christian for ourselves, but for Him.

If we say, “I’m a member of the Greater-than-any-other-church,” or “Dr. So-and-so preaches this-or-that and reaches more people,” we are denying God’s power and presence, placing our faith in mankind, in flesh. Paul wrote about that, too:

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:29-31 KJV)

Through Acts we can see Paul’s witness and his preaching. He pretty much defines it in 1 Corinthians:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:23-25 KJV)

It is very difficult to get past the stumbling block and the foolishness – Christ requires we follow His teachings, His commandments, when all we want is to pleasure ourselves. The thought of giving up anything creates a defensiveness in us that is really a stumbling block – and our own foolishness. Paul knew this better than most and was God’s choice to teach us, even today.

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Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)