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.
1 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT) 16 So I urge you to imitate me.
“One of the things we need constantly to remind ourselves when reading Paul (and when thinking about our own Christian living within a hostile world) is that nobody in Corinth, or any of the other towns outside Palestine, had ever before witnessed somebody living the way Paul lived. Nobody had seen someone giving of himself generously, living a life of self-sacrifice, and refusing to play the power-games and the prestige-games that were the stock-in-trade, not only of the sophistic teachers who came and went (and made a lot of money), but of the local rulers, the magistrates and civic dignitaries, and those who promoted and ran the new imperial cult. Paul was different, and the difference mattered, because he was modelling the Christ-life…His only authority – but it is the most powerful sort – was that of someone who was living and preaching the gospel of Jesus, and acting out the commission which Jesus had given him. He didn’t need to say much; he left that to the ‘puffed-up’ people. His uniform – the life he was living, which he urged them to copy – said all that was necessary.” [Wright, N.T.. Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians]
As we worship to the song, “Louder” (click here)by Matt Redman, let’s pray for our churches that our lives will speak louder and glorify our Savior Lord Jesus Christ in the cities that He has called us to.
1 Corinthians 4:15 (NLT) 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you.
Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT) We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
As a spiritual father in Christ, Paul is not going to withhold telling the truth to the Corinthians. Corinthians’ love for wisdom, philosophy of their culture was dangerous because they were priding themselves in knowledge, in self accomplishment and self-sufficiency which took them farther away from the cross. Humility went out the door. Denying the power of the cross was manifested in their arrogance which impacted their relationship with Paul and others. We all need to hear the message of the cross again and again to live the life that God has intended for us, a life of loving God and loving others with sacrificial love. Paul is committed to seeing his beloved children in Corinth through so that they may life a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.
Spend time praising and worshipping our risen Lord as you sing “Christ Is Risen” (click here) by Phil Wickham. Let’s return to the cross, remembering how we were rescued from sin and death.