Paul often uses athletic metaphors to communicate important truths of what it means to live as a Christian. He chose these metaphors so that it is easier for his audience to understand. This passage is no different as the Corinthians were great lovers of sports and Corinth was the location of the biennial Isthmian games, an event that was second only to the Olympic Games in importance. Paul was emphasizing our goal as Christian is to work to advance the gospel (see v.19). For us to advance the gospel, we need to run towards the imperishable crown. When we are in a race, we do not just standstill. Paul says in Philippians to work out our salvation which means we must continue to obey and abide in Christ. Being a Christian means we must be spiritually productive and press on to achieve the purpose God has called us to. Paul also reminds us everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training (v.25). Just like an athlete who prepares for his competition, we must be determine
Over 70 times in the New Testament, we are commanded to give thanks and praise to our God. In the book of Psalms alone, it is thought that there are around 36 references to thanksgiving, occurring in 24 different Psalms. So why is thankfulness so important? The truth of the matter is, there are infinite reasons to give thanks and praise to our God – and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are three to get you started! 1. BEING THANKFUL IS GOOD Psalm 92 opens with these words: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High, to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night. Giving thanks is good! The word good here could be interchanged with ‘right’ or ‘fitting.’ Thankfulness is the only appropriate response to God whose lovingkindness we wake up to each and every morning, and whose faithfulness we can sing of night after night. Thanksgiving is the only fitting response to Jesus, who laid down His life to
Paul appears to be answering questions from Christians in Corinth. In the previous chapter he talked about engagement and marriage. In our passage today he talks about food sacrificed to idols. This is one of those subjects where there is no one answer for all situations. It is complicated. Because it is complicated Paul examines the hearts of the believers that influence their beliefs on this issue. Instead of discussing the minutiae of this food versus that food. Paul wants us to look at our hearts. In verses 1-2 he notes “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”. Paul is highlighting the importance of having Biblical knowledge as well as humility and love for our brothers and sisters. This is very wise of him to start with this teaching. It is so easy to promote one idea and think we are better than others and look down on oth
The story of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:1-30) shows us how to have confidence in a crisis-- Jehoshaphat was shaken one morning when his intelligence sources came running in with the horrifying news, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat’s life and his entire kingdom were on the brink of extinction! Talk about a reason to panic! What would you do if you heard some threatening news that affected your future and maybe your life? This godly king did the right thing. Jehoshaphat turned his attention to seek the Lord and called the nation to prayer and fasting. He did what was not automatic in a crisis: He prayed. Many times, we think of prayer as a last resort. After we have exhausted every other possibility, all we do is pray. Jehoshaphat resisted the temptation to panic, or trust his army. He recognized his great need, so he prayed. Yes, recognition of our great need should drive us to prayer. The Apostle Paul writes that in Phi
Corinthians 6:6 captures the spirit of today, “I have the right to do anything". Freedom is today idolatry. 1 Corinthians speaks of conflict and taking one another to court, sexual immorality, greed, drunkardness, slandering and swindling. Today the world says these are okay. Everything is relative. You determine what is right or wrong. No one else should do it for you. "I have the right to do anything". This is the root of our sins and we must repent, not just the behaviour but our sinful pattern of thinking. There is a very wrong and sinful way of thinking. We must turn away from it, otherwise we will always let sin rules. Paul refuted all these sins in a very simple way, you are a new creation in Christ. This is the 'new me'. Why should I not go to court to settle conflict with a fellow believer? Because my eternal destiny is to rule and judge with God. Why should I not commit sexual sin? You body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. To Paul it is that simpl
The Corinthian church had some serious problems that greatly concerned the apostle Paul. In this chapter, Paul is clearly enraged by what is going on between believers in the church. There appear to have been disputes that had been taken by church members to the civil courts. Paul is not talking here about serious criminal offences, but about trivial (v2) disputes. He is angry that these have not been settled between people who are supposedly guided by the Holy Spirit and of one family in Christ. Instead, they have taken their complaints to the secular courts, whose way of life was different to Christians because they did not live by the word of God. Paul wonders how this can be. He tells the church, “Dare you take this before the ungodly for judgement?” (v1), and tells them that their behaviour is shameful (v5). He is angry because this indicates that the people valued their pride, selfishness and desire to be ‘right’ above the instructions given to Christians to be united. Colossians
2 Chronicles 10 After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king. The people approached King Rehoboam seeking relief from Solomon’s heavy taxes. The young king then sought out advice from the elders. The elders advised him to be kind to his people but King Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted instead the young people who had grown up with him (v6-8). Presumably, he was looking for people to advise him to cater to his own intentions. The results were disastrous and the advice that his friends gave backfired. It led to conflict and rebellion. We face difficult decisions constantly. Where do we go to for advice? We must first seek God, above all others. Proverbs 3:5 says: lean not on our own understanding but to lean on God. It is wise to seek advice and views from your elders. It could be from our pastors, lay leader’s of the church or people who are close to you. After receiving the advice, we have to discern if the advice given applies to God’s word to our situation. To
Most theological scholars believed that Moses wrote this prayer after being told by God that he and the whole generation of 20 years and above then (except for Joshua & Caleb) lost that privilege to enter the promised land because of a lack of trust & faith in God that he struck the rock in anger to bring water out for the grumbling Israelites to drink instead of speaking to the rock as the Lord had told him. They had to continue wandering in the wilderness until that whole generation who disobeyed God died in the desert (Numbers 20). With that as a background, we read that Moses started the prayer by reflecting on who God is -our dwelling place (v.1), Creator, Everlasting God (v.2) and Judge (v.6). Then he recalled what they have gone through, standing under the wrath of God (v.7-11), and ending that prayer requesting God for wisdom and compassion. It is comforting to note and be reminded that in these challenging times, with the unceasing presence of the coronavir
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile. 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. People have different, even opposing ideas about the nature of wisdom. In recognition of this, Paul in this passage, gives us an understanding of some aspects of true wisdom, or spiritual wisdom versus aspects of worldly “wisdom”. Paul begins in chapter 3 verse 1 by rebuking the believers in the Greek city of Corinth. They were worldly and not spiritual. If Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Brunei, would we far
We all have wants and desires; more money, more authority, less stress, or a better relationship. We pray for the results we want to see, put our time, energy and effort into achieving our goals. In today's reading, Solomon had a difficult decision to make. Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for anything he wanted. Perhaps this offer can be regarded as God's “coronation gift” to the young king. It was also a test, which he passed: instead of asking for riches or success, he humbly asked for the wisdom to carry out his God-given responsibilities (v. 10). By asking God for wisdom first, Solomon showed where his heart's treasure lay, that is, in which direction his deepest desires pointed. How about us? Let’s say with the psalmist: “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God ... Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps. 84:2, 10). The second chapter also highlights the need for a temple.
#ThursdayDevotion – “Not on Eloquence but God’s Power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NIV) Power versus Eloquence In today’s reading, the Apostle Paul spoke of his qualification as an apostle and messenger of the Gospel. The people were comparing him to other teachers and preachers, some who were true teachers while others were false teachers. It was known to the apostle that there were teachers who were better skilled in public speaking than he was, but he also noted
The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the early church in Corinth because he had received some news regarding the divisions in the church. Paul knew the church well because he had led the early Christians there to faith. This news concerned and dismayed him greatly, so he wrote urgently to them in order to advise them. He started with a greeting of peace and blessing (1 Cor 1: 1-3) and thanksgiving for them (1 Cor 1: 1-9). This was to express his intention to bless them. Then he addressed his first concern, which were the reports he had received of disunity and church division. He had heard of quarrels amongst them regarding who they claim to follow, “One of you says, I follow Paul, another, I follow Apollos, another, I follow Peter, still another, I follow Christ” (v 12). He told the church that their quarrels made no sense because they were all followers of Christ, not the individual preachers or teachers who claimed to follow separate personalities. Paul named 4 groups of people; t
#SundaySermon Series: Equipped in God's Promise - Abundant Life Date: 03.01.21 Shalom Church! Come and join us for this week's Sermon on a new series, Equipped in God's Promise - Abundant Life! Have a Blessed Sunday and Stay Safe! God Bless!
In this passage, we read that God was warning his people not to adopt the idolatry of the surrounding nations. Sadly, despite God’s repeated warnings about worshipping idols, the people of Judah were overrun with idolatry. We read in verse 11 that God is contrasting himself to the pagan gods, Yahweh is a living and active God who has created the heavens and the earths. God is reminding us that only He is worthy of all our worship, time and praise. What is wrong with idolatry? Idol worship can take many forms and it is anything that we put our trust, time, heart and commitment other than God or more than God. Idolatry starts with our heart. That is why Matthew 6:21 says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. What do we treasure more than God? For different people it can be different things. For some, it could be good grades. It could be our job. It could be success in business. More often than not, it will be money or possessions. It is really difficult