1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV) 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
“Christian thought begins from a confession that binds us specifically to the one God of Israel and declares our personal union with and allegiance to this one God. We exist “for him,” not for our own purposes. To the extent that this confession of the one God echoes the Shema, we should also hear the echo of that text’s call to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).”[Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, page 140.]
Wanting to love others and go all out for God’s kingdom and building of his church stems from the heart confession that there is but “one God, the Father and Lord, Jesus Christ…from whom all things came and for whom we live.”
Prayer: Let’s confess how we are living for our one God, the Father and Lord Jesus Christ and let’s worship to this song, “Living With A Fire” (click here) by Jesus Culture.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3, 13 (NIV)8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
“Knowledge and love are thus contrasted in two ways. First, the net effect of each (knowledge puffs up; love builds up); second, the difference it makes for the one doing the knowing or loving.” [Fee, Gordon D.,The First Epistle to the Corinthians, p.364]
“Love trumps knowledge. The central message of this chapter is a simple one: Love is more important than knowledge. Paul calls for a shift from gnosis to agape as the ordering principle for Christian discernment and conduct.” [Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 145]
Prayer: “Thank you Lord that I no longer need to relate to others in my “knowledge” or pride, but now, I can live in the new way of your love. Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me with your love so that I can go all out in your love for the building of others, your church. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Let’s also worship along with this song, “Hands to the Heavens” (click here) by Kari Jobe.
1 Corinthians 8:9-12 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
We often go about our daily decisions, actions and lives without second thought of how this might impact one another in the church. But, our daily lives (or one can say daily “lifestyle”) can be more impactful to others than what we might “say.” As we can see here, by what others “see” in us or by our example, we can cause harm or even to the extent become a stumbling block, which can destroy their faith. Let us be careful with how we live our daily lives. Let us be considerate of how our daily lives matter before the Lord and impact others.
Reflection/Prayer: Are there lifestyle patterns or habits that might be hindering or harmful to others around you? Let’s stop whatever may be causing harm and confess the ways we may need to change before the Lord. Let’s pray that there will be “more of Jesus and less of me” as we sing along with this song, “More Like Jesus” (click here) by Kristian Stanfill.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV) 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
“But quite apart from its function in the argument, this narrative has significance all on its own. Here is the closest thing to Christology that one finds in Paul and here we see again why the ‘scandal of the cross’ was so central to his understanding of everything Christian. For in ‘pouring himself out’ and ‘humbling himself to death on the cross,’ Christ Jesus has revealed the character of God himself. Here is the epitome of God-likeness: the pre-existent Christ was not a ‘grasping, selfish’ being, but one whose love for others found its consummate expression in ‘pouring himself out,’ in taking on the role of a slave, in humbling himself to the point of death on behalf of those so loved. Discipleship in the present calls for servanthood, self-sacrifice for the sake of others.”[Fee, Gordon D., Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (NICNT), Kindle Locations 4673-4679]
Let’s pray that we will have the same mindset as Christ in our relationships with one another in the church. Pray for 2-3 people in your missional group, campus/grad ministry or small group and pray for an opportunity to serve one of them in some way this week.
Let’s close our time in prayer in worship with this song, “How Great Is Your Love,” (click here) by Kristian Stanfill.
Matthew 22:35-40 (NIV) 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
“Once more, what Jesus says here about loving God, and loving one another, only makes sense when we set it within Matthew’s larger gospel picture, of Jesus dying for the sins of the world, and rising again with the message of new life. That’s when these commandments begin to come into their own: when they are seen not as orders to be obeyed in our own strength, but as invitations and promises to a new way of life in which, bit by bit, hatred and pride can be left behind and love can become a reality.” [N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone: Part Two, page 95]
Let’s thank God for the reality of His love through Jesus that has changed everything and now we have been invited to live in this new way of life – loving Him and loving others. As this is our heart’s desire, let’s pray that it will bear fruit through out the day in whatever we do and whomever we interact with.
Let’s also worship and be encouraged by this song, “We Could Change the World” (click here) by Matt Redman.