19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
God wants us to see His big picture and experience and reap its blessings. God’s big picture is this: It’s about real life and living real life. And real life is about the Kingdom of God and our participation and role in living it, advancing it for His honor.
“…the creator God has unveiled his genuine model for humanity in Jesus the Messiah, and there are certain ways of behaving which just won’t fit. If you want to be a truly, fully human being, those ways of behaving have to be left behind. Coming on board into God’s kingdom while still being that sort of person is a liability both for the person themselves and for everybody else.” [NT Wright, 1 Corinthians, Paul for Everyone, p.67.]
Let’s pray: Father, thank you that you have made us the dwelling place of your Holy Spirit. In your power, please help us to be the witness of your great love and forgiveness as your Kingdom people, so that others may come and see what you have victoriously won through Jesus Christ, the Lord.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
“…God has himself provided the way in which people can leave their past, and indeed their present, behind, and move forward into his future. You can be washed clean, whatever has happened in the past. You can be made one of God’s special people, whatever you are in the present. You can be ‘justified’, declared here and now to be one of God’s true people. And this happens ‘in the name of the Lord, King Jesus, and in the spirit of our God.’…The point is that when you become a member of the Christian family, with baptism as its mark and faith as its inward reality, you receive a new identity, and are launched on to a new lifestyle. [NT Wright, 1 Corinthians, Paul for Everyone, p. 70.]
Something miraculous happened when we came to the Cross of Jesus Christ and responded in faith with “yes!”. God gave us a new identity and a new way to live!
Let’s pray: Father, empower us with your Spirit and help us to believe and trust afresh in what you have done in us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by your Spirit.
Galatians 5:13 (NLT) – For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
The beauty of being God’s church is that we have the freedom to choose him, freedom to love, freedom to give, and freedom to live empowered lives here on earth. Unfortunately, we also have the freedom to not live in this way and return to our old ways and habits.
Let us pray that we would use our freedom to live lives of worship that honor God and reflect his goodness to this world that is hungry to know him.
Let us worship to the song “Yours (Glory and Praise)” (click here) by Elevation Worship.
1 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) – 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.
“[T]he passage emphatically calls the church to claim its identity as a people with a distinct character and mission, a counter-cultural prophetic community. Within such a community, the members are called to take active responsibility for one another’s lives and spiritual wholeness. In 1 Corinthians 5, we encounter a vision of the church not as one voluntary association among many, but as the covenant people of God; to be inside this community is to find life, and to be outside is to be in the realm of death…The church must recover its lively sense of vocation as a people set apart for God’s service and living in a way that exemplifies fidelity and grace.” [Richard Hays, 1 Corinthians, Interpretation Commentary, p. 89.]
Let us pray and ask God to help us fully live out our identity as God’s covenant community as we share the love of God with our friends, family members, coworkers, and students on our campuses.
Let us worship to the song “Living with a Fire”(click here) by Jesus Culture.
1 John 3:18 (NLT) – Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Paul’s command to banish the sinful man from the community of believers could seem counterintuitive and unloving. But it was truly a display of love – for the man and for the church.
“[W]e can imagine the howls of anger at such a suggestion in today’s church (‘Unloving!’ ‘Intolerant!’ ‘Judgmental!’). Paul might well have answered: is the doctor unloving or judgmental when he or she tells you that you must have the operation right away? Do we want a doctor who ‘tolerated’ viruses, bacteria, cancer cells? And if we say that the moral issues Paul mentions…are not like diseases, are we so sure? Do these things build up community, or destroy it?” [NT Wright, 1 Corinthians, Paul for Everyone, p. 62.]
Let us pray for the Spirit’s empowering to live in biblical love, one that is marked by truth and action, and let us worship to the song “Love like Fire” (click here) by Hillsong.
Romans 10:15 (NIV) – As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
When Paul banished the sinful man in 1 Corinthians 5, he did so because he was driven by the hope of salvation for him. When Paul commanded the church to get rid of the old leaven, he had a vision of what the church was supposed to look like – a community of genuine believers that would reflect the goodness of God and carry his salvation to the reaches of the world.
Today, let us be refreshed in our calling to bring salvation everywhere we go. May we catch God’s heart afresh to be driven by salvation in everything we do.
Let us also worship to the song “Relentless” (click here) by Hillsong.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
This week’s message is a reminder that sin is pervasive in this world. But as God’s church, redeemed by Christ, we are made new. Out of this reality, we do not have to live in sin any longer. And by God’s grace and power, we can turn to him and live out our calling as his covenant community. Indeed, this is who we are!
As you take time to reflect and remember all that we received from God, pray and ask God to help us live as new creations. Let us also confess how much we need God and how much we desire to remain near to him.
Let us worship to the song “Lord I Need You” (click here) by Matt Maher.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT) 30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
The Corinthians had become intoxicated by the “wisdom of word,” but were thereby emptying the cross of Christ of its power (1:17). They were so enamored of form and rhetoric that showing off with eloquence became more important to them than the gospel, which is displayed in its greatest power when it is not running noisy competition with people more interested in promoting themselves than in God’s power (2:1–5). When Paul comes, however, he will not be impressed by their “word”; he won’t really care “how these arrogant people are talking,” no matter how eloquent their rhetoric. No, he will be interested in only one thing: What power do they have? In the light of 1:18–2:5, this is the power of the gospel, the power to forgive, to transform, to call men and women out of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Mere talk will not change people; the gospel will. [Carson, D. A.. The Cross and Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians]
Let’s pray that God will use us to preach the gospel in the cities He has called us to.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT) 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
Paul wants the believers in Corinth to know that being a Christian means living by God’s power. Knowing a lot about God, Christianity means nothing unless our lives are changed to become more like Christ. The power that is manifest at the cross, in weakness, in humility is the power that gave us new life, eternal life! The same power is at work in our lives today to make us more and more like Jesus as we live in obedience to Him. We can live by God’s power when we can humbly come before the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge our utter helplessness in saving ourselves, repent of our pride and arrogance and live in dependence upon the Lord. Paul is passionate for the Corinthians and for us to not miss out on the blessing of living the life of the cross which will count for eternity. Let’s live in God’s power not just for ourselves but also for the sake of others we are reaching out to. Let’s once again assess the course of our lives, our choices, decisions through the cross – not through the perspectives and standards of this world.
Let’s worship to “Jesus Only You” (click here) by Martin Smith and declare that our lives will be about Jesus alone!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
“Jesus lived the cruciform life of loving God and others, the life that God’s first son and servant (Adam), and God’s adopted sons and servants (Israel) had failed to live. He died by a crucifixion that all of us deserve: “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Then God raised him from the dead to prove that, by his cross, Jesus had triumphed over God’s adversary, the devil (Genesis 3:15, Acts 2:24, Colossians 2:15). It is by faith in Jesus as the perfectly obedient son and the perfect offering for sin in our place that we are finally and completely restored, having been reconciled to and made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Romans 3:21-26)…Through the gospel we enter the reality of the promise that our corrupt, me-first life will be forgiven and progressively replaced with a cross-shaped, you-first life of glory by the power of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Through Jesus we are shaped by the cross into the shape of the cross.” [Davis, Jimmy. Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life]
Let’s sing “Living With A Fire” (click here) by Jesus Culture and let’s pray that God will fill us once again with His Holy Spirit, that ‘me-first’ life will be replaced by the cruciform life.