Monday, January 17, 2011

Do you love Jesus?

As I read the final chapter of 1 Corinthians today, there are just a few bullet points that came to me as I read.

1) We are called to submit and minister, financially and otherwise, to all the saints as they are in need.  This is not optional, this is expected.  Are you giving first fruit of your labor to ministry?  Are you prayerful of what ministries you may want to support, or maybe you are you supporting your own ministry?  Are you investing in The Kingdom of God?  Giving to secular charities is one thing, but we are called to help the brethren and invest in The Kingdom.  For example, there are brothers in sisters across the globe that risk their life to get The Word of God in to the hands of those that want it, the least we can do is do what we can to help get them The Bibles they need.  I'm not preaching at anyone here, I am only saying that The Word makes it clear that we need to invest in that which rust and moth can't destroy....where and what that looks like is between you and God; ask The Lord to direct you. 

1Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:

1Corinthians 16:15-16 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints—
16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
**I'm sure this could go without being said, but just for the record...I think it is clear that we are to help with genuine need, not "sow a seed" to those pulpit pimps.
2) I love verses 7-9!  Our big brother Paul calls on us to imitate him, and right in these 3 verses he makes it clear that he has some ideas, he has some plans, yet he is under no illusion that he does anything without confirmation, direction and Grace of God.  That needs to be our mindset too; "Your Will, Lord, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else"
1Corinthians 16:7-9 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.
8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.
9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

3) This 3rd thought is just something that struck me curious.  Typically at work I read the ESV version, then I get home and prepare my email using the New King James version.  It is interesting how the ESV basically says, be a man; but the NKJ is more descriptive....I like more detail; however, King James uses the word 'men' instead of 'brave' also....not a big deal, just made me curious because I don't know that with our culture today if someone says, "act like a man" if I would automatically assume that meant to "be brave".  Sorry for the ramble on this....the ultimate point is that we are to stand strong in the faith, we are not to waiver and we are to be steadfast and brave in the face of trial and persecution...are you ready to do that when Satan gets his way in this country?

1Corinthians 16:13

(ESV) Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

(KJV) Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

(NKJV) Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

4) The last thing I think is SO POWERFUL. It is verse 22.  Paul just writes this entire letter correcting, encouraging, teaching and inspiring love and he wraps it all up with:

1Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

NOW THAT IS A POWERFUL STATEMENT!  BE ACCURSED!

Accursed: Doomed to destruction or misery:

Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ?
1Corinthians 16:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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