Sunday, December 28, 2014

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 7 – Humility

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 7 – Humility
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We began this journey in October, 2011, first looking at the entirety of the Book of Acts.

We finished Acts in June 2013. It took us nearly two years to examine the text of Acts.

From there, we examined the Seven letters to the Seven churches from the Book of Revelation.

Taking those seven letters, we looked at ourselves as individuals, as well as a church body, and examined if we were in good standing with the Lord.

In January of 2014, we began looking at Paul's letters, or epistles, to the churches, to see where we could improve, and where we were doing well.

We are looking at Paul's letters in order, first looking at Romans, and now I Corinthians.

In Paul's letter to the church congregation in Corinth, he has first addressed their issues over whom to follow, or who is the head of the church. Paul makes it completely clear; it is Christ Jesus, and no one else.

He explains that the teaching and wisdom of God comes from the Holy Spirit, and teachers and preachers are "laborers", whom build on the only true foundation, which is that of Jesus Christ crucified.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 4:6-13
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

                   I.            CHURCH OF CORINTH'S PRIDE
a.      Paul used himself and Apollos as examples to the people
                                                                         i.      Paul states he applies this standard of not judging a person's motivations towards himself and Apollos as examples to the Church in Corinth.

                                                                      ii.      Paul makes it clear, the only judging we are to do as Christians, is "correction" of a believer's understanding of the word.
1.      And we are not only told to do so by Jesus, but told "how" to do it by Him as well.

                                                                   iii.      Paul states in verse 6 "Do not go beyond what is written."

I had a member of the congregation come to me a few years ago; they no longer attend here, so I will share the story. They brought two books to my attention that they insisted I needed to read, to get a better understanding of Jesus, and demons.

The first book told the story of Jesus growing up as a child, and the second was a deep analysis of the types of demons and their powers, or in other words a book on what is called demonology.

Praise God I read my Bible.  And I remember Paul's words and warning about going beyond what is written. The Word of God is all we need.

Both the stories of Jesus' childhood, and the information about demons is all fiction.

Stories and allegories created in some human's imagination to entice, and ultimately confound the readers.

 These books pose themselves as "study guides" to better your understanding about the Word of God, when in reality; they are nothing more than myth and urban legend holding just as much spiritual growth.

These types of books feed on ones desire for gnosis, a trap, scripture warns, that leads to pride.

b.     Paul warns the church to become humble
                                                                         i.      Stop thinking you are above others.

                                                                      ii.      Stop thinking you are better than others

                                                                   iii.      Stop thinking you have a deeper understanding than others, or secret knowledge that they do not yet have.

                                                                     iv.      Side note: that person ended up struggling with pride, and on many occasions wanted to challenge me on a Theological level.
1.      I met her with scripture, against her "beliefs" and "I was always told".

2.      She did not meet to grow spiritually or in understanding, rather to argue, challenge, and force her worldly views into a scriptural church.

3.      We have had a few jezebels try to push their way into our congregation over the last 9 years, but as long as we are founded in the Word, and stick to what the Word says, as long as we do not go beyond what is written, they become frustrated and move on.

c.      Paul states we (ministers) are last
                                                                         i.      We are set last, to be made spectacles to the world, angels and men.

                                                                      ii.      We are fools for Christ's sake.
1.      I Corinthians 1:26-31 "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
                                                                   iii.      We, ministers of Christ, are fools...then Paul begins a comparison of what the Word says we are to be, and what the Church in Corinth are.

a.      We are fools / You are wise
                                                                         i.      Paul is stating that if they truly walk close to Christ, they will meet with the same contempt and hatred that man showed Christ.

                                                                      ii.      The church in Corinth claimed to be "wise" in the ways of Christ, while failing to stick to the written Word.
1.      God gave us the Word to balance the Spirit, and the Spirit to balance the Word; you cannot live by one while ignoring the other.

b.     We are weak / You are strong
                                                                         i.      All believers are weak, as far as the flesh is concerned.

                                                                      ii.      However, the church in Corinth was busy telling everyone just how strong they were in the Lord.

                                                                   iii.      Pride speaks the loudest words.

                                                                     iv.      There is a fine line in boasting of the Lord and His strength, and boasting about how strong "you are" because of the Lord.

c.      You are honorable / We are despised
                                                                         i.      According to scripture, the more popular a church is, the further away from God it is. True believer's are despised.

                                                                      ii.      If they are teaching the truth, wouldn't everyone flock to them?      
1.      No...2 Timothy 4:1-5 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage (no judging motivations or heaven or hell)—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

                                                                   iii.      The church in Corinth bragged of their numbers...
1.      We would be wise to understand this.

2.      It's not how much money a church makes

3.      It's not how many attend each week

4.      It's not how many stained glass windows, how many pews, how large your parking lot.

5.      How many are accepting Christ? How many are Baptized? How many lives are being transformed by the power of God?

d.     We labored, working with our own hands
                                                                         i.      Paul is speaking here in verse 12 about his tent making, which he did in order to meet his needs in places where he was attempting to plant a church.

            III.            COMPARISON CONTINUED
a.      When we are cursed / We bless
                                                                         i.      The instruction for proper behavior is explained by Paul.
1.      We must not go beyond what is written.
2.      We must not think more highly of ourselves then we ought
3.      We must be humble
4.      Everything we have and are or will become is because of God, and NOT a merit
5.      We are last not first
6.      We are fools for Christ
7.      Weak in our flesh
8.      Despised by the world

                                                                      ii.      However, when we are cursed, we bless

b.     When we are persecuted / We endure

c.      When we are slandered / We answer kindly

The pastor who wrote the scathing hate filled letter of me, filled with lies.

I responded with kindness, inviting him to sit next to me at an event I saw him at; going out of my way on more than one occasion to speak to him when I saw him in town.

d.     We are treated as scum of the earth, garbage of the world
                                                                         i.      So be it.

                                                                      ii.      Paul is stating that we do not allow the behavior of the world to dictate, or control our behavior as followers of Jesus Christ.

                                                                   iii.      I do what I do to others, not because of who they are, but because of who I am in Christ Jesus.



Paul is making the point in I Corinthians 4:6-13, that in all things, we must stick to the word, watch the Apostles behavior for example, and above all things, remain humble.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 5 – Church and Its Leaders

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 5 – Church and Its Leaders
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are examining the second of the epistles authored by the Apostle Paul, I Corinthians.

Paul begins this letter to the church in Corinth with an explanation of who is truly head of the church and teachings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul then explains that as a church, or Body of Christ, we are to put our trust and faith into Jesus, not men, because it is in Christ where the power and wisdom of God is.

Last week Paul was telling us that his wisdom did not come by worldly teachings or knowledge, but by the Holy Spirit, and that the only way to understand what God's thoughts are, is to hear from the Holy Spirit.

This week, Paul continues to explain the Church and its Leadership.

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

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 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.

                   I.            IMMATURE IN CHRIST
a.      I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
                                                                         i.      I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

b.     You are still worldly.
                                                                         i.      there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?

                                                                      ii.      “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” 

                                                                   iii.      Paul calls them carnal because they had shifted their faith from Christ to other this case, men.

c.      What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul?
                                                                         i.      Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 

               II.            GOD IS USING SERVANTS
a.      Servants are assigned tasks
                                                                         i.      Ken Ham, Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, Joyce Meyer, the list goes on

                                                                      ii.      They are servants assigned tasks by God

                                                                   iii.      Some sow seeds as described by Jesus in Matthew

                                                                     iv.      Some water the seed which was sown, as Paul describes here in I Corinthians
                                                                        v.      However, it is God who makes it grow.
b.     The analogy is clear
                                                                         i.      The farmer plants seed, another waters it.

                                                                      ii.      But it is God who makes it grow.

                                                                   iii.      And one day, there will be a great harvest, and the wheat will be separated from the chaff.

c.      We are co-workers in God's service
                                                                         i.      Whether we sow seed, or water it.

                                                                      ii.      Preaching, teaching, ministering, helping, praying, healing, "being" the body of Christ

                                                                   iii.      When we act as the Body of Christ should, mature in our Spirit, not acting worldly (or as children), the Holy Spirit of God works through us and the Holy Spirit of God, which dwells within believer's, will build, lift up, edify and strengthen other believers.

            III.            THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO BUILD
a.      Paul laid the foundation, which is Jesus Christ
                                                                         i.      It is the ONLY foundation to build upon.

                                                                      ii.      Whether you use gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, it will be revealed by fire.
1.      Fire means "judgment" in scripture

2.      Gold, silver and precious stones represent that which comes from the Word and will stand the fire.

3.      Wood, hay and stubble obviously will not stand that test.

                                                                   iii.      vs. 13-15 "their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."

1.      That "day" is before the judgment seat of Christ

2.      This fire, or judgment, is the ability of Christ, who will be the judge who sees through everything we do. He alone knows our motives.

a.      Revelation 2:18 (from the letter to the church in Thyatira) These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance,

b.     What we "do" for the Kingdom is judged by God on that "Day"
                                                                         i.      If what we did was worthy (for God's glory, not ours) it will survive God's judgment, and we will receive a reward.

                                                                      ii.      If what we "did" in the name of God was not worthy (for attention, selfish reasons, to gain in some way, blowing our own trumpets), the scriptures say you have already received your reward, the praise of will burn up in the Judgment and you will "suffer loss..."

1.      Suffering loss means, you had the opportunity to receive a reward from God, but will not, because you acted in selfishness.

2.      However, you will not lose your place in heaven.

c.      Do not deceive yourselves
                                                                         i.      If you think you are wise by the world's standards, you need to become as a fool, so God can make you wise.

d.     No more boasting about mere men
                                                                         i.      For all are servants of Christ, and Christ is the servant of God.


We need to be mindful, not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.

We are all servants of Christ, and we serve God through the Holy Spirit when we are mature, but only serve ourselves when we act like children, or "worldly".

We need to change our thinking, absorb all that the servants of Christ teach, and use it to either sow seeds of faith in others as Christ talks about in the book of Matthew, or water what has already been planted, as Paul speaks of here.

When we do these things, building upon the ONLY foundation that can be built upon, Jesus Christ, our works will be as fine gold, or silver, and survive God's judgment on that Day.

And we will receive rewards for living as mature, spirit filled followers of Jesus Christ.

John 15:5-6   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!