God did not save us from some abstract evil. Some foreign and distant concept which we heard about in stories. This was no negative energy, no maleficient dictator ruling far away with evil.

No. He saved us from a very real, imminent, internal evil. He saved us from ourselves. The evil tyrant was you, it was me, ruling over ourselves and others. Imposing our selfish desires and our ways on others and demanding justice, while never wanting to be judged ourselves.

Jesus did not only die for some Hitler like person across the globe who you hear about on the news. They were surely included in His plan, but He died for you, the evil within you.

He died as if you were the only sinner on this planet. I mean that. If everyone else had been perfect and you were the only sinner, He still would have come, lived the perfect life, died the needed death, and rose in victory, just for you. Oh, and He did that exactly. Sure, He died for everyone, but He is God, and He is omniscient. You were on His mind personally, specifically, the whole time. How could He think about everyone that way all at the same time? That’s where our fragile logic ends and He begins.

Jesus loves you, and He died for you, child. He died for you, to claim you as His own. Do you know what happened at the cross? Everything we are (dirty, evil, filthy, conceited, sinful) was exchanged for everything Jesus is (good, holy, perfect, pure, righteous, love, power, kindness… on to everything good.) That was the trade. Doesn’t make sense, does it now? Can your mind fathom why God would want you? He loves you and wants you. Surrender to Him. He died so you could be His, so you could dwell with Him, in this life and the next. He offers everything He is, for everything you are. By the way… He loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way.

Will you serve and love Him as well?

When is the last time you heard a story of the hero dying for the villain?

This is love

What does love feel like?
Rough wood and rusted nails

What does love sound like?
The soft, but bold, intense voice of a man speaking the truth and with His last saying ” It is finished”.

What does love smell like?
I would love to say roses, but it smells like the musk of a tomb

What does love taste like?
Communion. Something we take far too lightly today.

Finally, what does love look like?
Like a Roman cross, with an indistinguishable being on it. Bleeding and heaving breaths. It looks like a crown of thorns placed deep within a skull, like nails driven into hands and feet, like a spear in the side. That is what love looks like.

Love is not flowers and perfume all the time. Love hurts, love costs, love demands your all. When you realize what love is, what it cost, what it took, it changes you.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Love cost a lot, but the reward was great. We now have a savior, a redeemer. We have a high priest in the Heavenly places, and we have a connection with God now. A beautiful relationship with the God of all creation, and our best friend. He gave us the freedom at the cross, and victory through His resurrection. This is the greatest story of all time. Learn it, love it, because you are loved by Him.

This is love.

True Repentance

First Semester Old Testament Survey Paper

 

David. What comes to the mind at this name? Do you think of an ancient Bible hero, a young shepherd boy, a royal king, or a fallen man? Whatever your idea of David is, let it be known, that he was no different than you or I. David was a regular man, a shepherd during his childhood, who tended the sheep all day and defended them. He had no royal line behind him, no divine holding from God, as did the prophets and priests. David happened to be a regular man like you and me, what made him so great was his commitment to God and how he allowed God to use him as He wanted. He allowed God to move throughout his life and take control for His glory and David’s good. David sinned, and according to human terms, he messed up pretty badly, committing adultery and murdering the woman’s wife, simply to have her as his. Along with this sin, David lied, cheated, disobeyed, had pride, and did many more things against the nature of God. However, David repented, and this is what we are studying, looking at and applying to our lives, how David did not let his sin define him, but instead allowed God to refine and redefine him to the image of His own heart. After all, David is called “a man after God’s heart” (Acts 13:22), and he did seek God throughout his life. As we study the life of David, there are three things which we must direct our attention on: What repentance means to God. What repentance meant to David. What repentance should mean to us. Continue reading

Oh the Praises

Infinite in majesty

Creator of the galaxies

Father of man

The great I Am

Son of Man

The One who can

Born to die

Light in His eye

The humble shepherd

Healing the leper

God of eternity and all beyond

Put man on Earth to correspond

He talked with them, they lived among

The tall trees, creeks and young

How He knew we would fall

Created us so proud and tall

The power of Satan overcame them

For they did not trust in the I Am

Jesus took the nails, crown and cross

To toss our sins, and never count the loss

How great the name of the Holy One

To fill the sinner’s heart and tongue

With joy, adoration, and love

To praise the Lord, and never sing enough

How we owe our all to the Lamb

Our lives, to praise Him who broke the dam

Now water, living, flows free

Rushing, gushing, covering me

One day we will walk hand in hand with the Lord

Until then we will fight, Bible as sword

O to sing the majesty of He

Who died and paid for all on Calvary’s tree.

My Treasure

I have caught your tears

I have seen your fears

I have walked with you through the years

I am always here

you are the one I treasure

I love you beyond measure

I created you in the garden

I bought you with a bargain

That for you I’ll give my son

That we may become one

This is my gift to you child

It is reckless, free and wild

You are the prize of my creation

In this dark sea I will be your floatation

With me, you will never sink

Though when you fail, you may think

That the waves have won over you

When really I will carry you through

Life is a journey and it is long

The road and boat seem to carry on

But there will be a day of peace

When all your years of fear are released

I will walk you through the golden gate

I will claim you as my own, your fate

Forevermore will we rejoice and be together

Until then do not be moved by the weather

For the rains and storms will come

There will be pain, sorrow and then some

But those are nothing when compared

To the awesome wonders prepared

Child never lose faith or hope

Despite the times at the end of the rope

I will never leave you, never forsake

You are the treasure I paid to retake

I love you more than you can imagine

You will always be my passion.

The Mission

The greatest, the king, the Lord of everything.

The loving, the shepherd, holding back nothing.

This is our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Him dying to pay our precious bodies, prized.

All sufficient, all loving, all encompassing.

With love and grace, to Himself, sinners, summoning.

This is the price He paid, the love he gave:

That the nails, thorn, spear and blood, would always be enough.

The greatest victory in history, is no longer a mystery.

It is shown time and time again, within the Father’s plan.

This is our hope, our joy, our claim: that Christ has lifted our name.

From dirt and grime, to Heaven on high.

Now, we lifted from our death and fault,

Must take the name of our savior, Christ, and exalt

From life to death, make it our mission

To praise and honor the Savior risen.

The Rapture of the Living and the Dead (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

Theme: The Immortality and Raising of the New Life and Body

Significance: There was a mystery within the words of the apostle, which had been discussed and aroused in the churches: What about those living when Jesus returns? What occurs to them. Paul here is answering the question, and he says that not all must die to see Jesus, but that even those in Him when He returns shall be ascended and their bodies of dust shall be made into the new one of Heaven.


Contextual Study

            The mystery of those who lived at the time Jesus’ return, was one circulating throughout the bloodstream of the church, firing through the brain cells, and Satan used a harmless little question to spark another debate and divide the church further. The Corinthians were famous for nitpicking into the greys, the technicalities, their arguments started on little, careless subjects, and growing to elephants which trampled and dragged in all those around them. Satan, who is very clever and crafty, knew this was a weak spot within the structure of the church.

The question involved those who by the time of the rapture, Christ’s recalling of all believers from Earth into His presence, would still be alive. What would happen to those who still had breath when the trumpets sounded to the longing ear? Paul answers them with this statement: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” This means that although not all would have died at the time of Christ’s rapture, everyone who proclaims the Name will be risen into the sky and taken. Now, notice the generality of the word risen. This is intentional, as one can be physically risen from the ground into the air, and one can be risen from the grave into new life, both are given new life. The return of Christ is not only for those who are asleep in Him, but for those who still trod the dust of this world, lifting the Name up.  They are the ones who are longing for the trumpet to sound, and when they hear it, can you imagine the joy?

There were different beliefs on this process, and therefore the creation of this mystery ensued after. As it may be known, the leadership of the Jewish nation was the Sanhedrin, who were divided into two groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees were very sacrilegious, they believed only in God the Father. There was no Son, no Spirit, no demons, no angels, no afterlife, no resurrection, and man was judged for his works here on Earth, works. They should not have even bothered calling themselves “religious”. The Pharisees, were still conservative, legalists who we represent perfectly today, they were no worse than we are everyday. The Pharisees however, entertained the beliefs of angels, demons, and the Son. Now, they did not believe Jesus was their messiah, because they expected a glorious arrival, one of power, in which the messiah would conquer all their enemies, especially the Romans and rule in the Jewish nation. The Pharisees, are more like Christians than the Sadducees who are barely even “religious”, they believed in the resurrection and the afterlife, yet they never covered the happenings of those still living, and therefore the mystery comes forth.

There were the Greeks who as we discussed before, did not fathom the resurrection of bodies, because the soul was all that mattered, into the underworld for the rest of existence, and that was that. There was no need for the body, and when you died, your body was to be buried and never touched again. The Greeks did not hate the body, there was simply no use of it for them, it was pointless. Even within the church, there were those who believed in a sleep before heaven, there were those who believed in a place called paradise which is occupied by those in Christ until the rapture, and there were those who believed that we ascend straight to Heaven, the final resting place. Paul had a lot of opinions placed on this topic, and he corrects them by acknowledging the resurrection of the dead, but then the apostle adds on that all will be changed, and that the living as well, will be taken up and changed to their new bodies. All in Christ are risen and made new.

The kingdom of Heaven is not one of flesh and blood as some believed. The Jewish people had an utmost respect for dead bodies, and they had very strict rules in the burial. This was because the same body resurrected and was taken to Heaven. There was barely any difference in the earthly and heavenly body, according to the Jewish beliefs.  Paul writes this to correct the thought that our physical bodies inhabit Heaven. The dead are raised imperishable, that which had perished, will be imperishable, eternally secure, and that which was living, but was capable of dying will no longer be, but will be capable of eternal life through Jesus. All God’s people will be taken up into wherever we go, whether it be to paradise or Heaven, we will be in the presence of God and that is all that matters. Death will have no hold on us.


Self Study

We all know the sting of death, if you are old enough to read and understand theologically these devotionals, you have very likely experienced the sting of death. At least you have known someone, family or non familial who passed. Death hurts, death tears and to those of the world, under the power of Satan, death incites fear. The Christian is still affected by death it hurts to see loved ones go, however, we are free from the curse of death and sin. There is no fear in death, for Jesus Christ overcame the grave and death.

We are the believers before the rapture, and there are those who have died and are metaphorically asleep. As it was put by a writer in a website I read, “Just as the sleeper (the soul and spirit) does not cease to exist as the body sleeps, so the being of the person does not cease to exist when the body dies.” This was a good way to put it, and it is a commonality between death and sleep, and perhaps a reason why Paul writes “sleeping”. In this age, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and before the rapture, we are among the dead and the living, but both are alive in spirit and soul, simply their body rests. There are many beliefs today involving where those in the pre-rapture times go for that temporary time till the rapture, where all believers go after the rapture, if Heaven is not yet to be occupied, and when the rapture is to occur. These are all technicalities, variations in the story from the two definitive points, the life of Jesus and the return of Jesus/Heaven. How people write this story or anticipate the times between these two is different, but not to be fought over. The important thing is the belief in Jesus, the resurrection and changing of both the living and dead, and our eternal life in Heaven.

Whatever you believe, make sure you live in anticipation. Live each day top be holy and to be honoring to God. This is important as God could return at any moment, and find you at any point, and our future life in Heaven is something to rejoice on, and to be thankful for, enough to live for the glory of God in gratitude. The psalmist which Paul quotes writes, “Where, O death, is your sting?” Like a bee without venom in its stinger, the initial prick hurts, but there is no effect after, no curse of venom which courses through you. Christ has taken the serpent and removed its destroying, paralyzing venom, he, Satan, may strike, but again with no effect after. Christ has granted us victory in Him, and there is nothing which separates us from that.

Let the apostles charge be one of our callings: “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Let us live up to this, and be firm in Him for the good works He has provided us with to glorify the Name. Death is no more, it exists but we will all be caught up in the end to Heaven. Do not find yourself trapped within the many versions of the resurrection, rapture and temporary destination, they all lead in the end to Heaven and they all begin with the life, death and resurrection of our Savior. Remember Romans 14:17, do not get caught up in the minute things, but focus on how you glorify Christ through this life.


Application

            If you desire to live more for God, then live in the idea of death, and then resurrection. For two ideas, die in the body daily, kill the flesh and live for the Spirit. Glorify God in each decision, through prayer and meditation repel Satan, drive back evil and live holy. Secondly, live in the realization that we are going to die one day, even if Christ returns, we are out of the earthly body and into the heavenly. The old one is dead to our soul, it has no purpose as we have become new.  Whether or not you are dead or alive when Jesus returns is not of importance, as this body is already dead and is slowly decomposing. To live holy there is no secret formula, no trick, no code, but instead there is Christ. It begins with the daily reading and more importantly, meditation of the Word. Reading it for five minutes or even three hours and not meditating, is as if you wrote an entire speech with a plan behind it for every human to find peace and joy, but you wrote it on the ocean surface. What was the point? For this devotional, meditate on the rapture. How do you want to be found when your savior calls you home? How are you living life now? Are you glorifying God? How do you want to live life until you return home, whether through death or the rapture? There are many more questions and ideas to think on. Pray and ask the Spirit to help you meditate on this. Pray and pray and pray and pray, and also, pray. This is our most effective weapon and defense on Satan, and there is nothing else which holds so much power. Prayer heals, prayer strengthens, prayer softens hearts, prayer hardens desires to honor God, prayer tears down walls, prayer builds fortresses of immeasurable strength and holiness. It is our hope and our tool in war, use it to honor God and fight Satan. Will you live holy in waiting of your Heavenly home?


Prayer

            Dear God, I come to You today asking You to guide me to Your throne. Please give me whatever I need to live for you, help me in my prayer and meditation life, may I honor You O Lord! I look forward to Your rapture, when we all will be made new in body. Until then, may we live for You! In Jesus name, Amen!

Living in Anticipation of Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:44b-49)

Topic: The natural body becomes the spiritual body, and they cannot be separated.

Significance: Paul is combating the Gnostic doctrines which had entered the church. These were preaching the separation of physical and spiritual, and teaching the evil of matter and the good of spirit. A good belief, in moderation, not to the point of the gnostics, who denied to body and acted in whatever manner they desired as the body had no meaning. This is not the gospel which Paul had so greatly emphasized.


Observation

As I have mentioned in devotionals before, the Gnostic movement was one which believed that all physical was evil, hopelessly evil, and therefore there was no point in even trying to save it. Therefore, they lived out in the physical, life here on Earth, however they wanted, because they believed that the spiritual was inherently good, and therefore they didn’t have to do anything for it. This movement counter-acted the Gospel of Christ, as it first denied some very key parts of the Gospel. Jesus was not fully human, the spirit of Jesus came to dwell upon a man named Jesus at the baptism and left at the crucifixion, as that would defile the spirit of Jesus. In their minds, why would a good spirit die for the evil physical? The next part is that in this case, if the physical is so evil, why would there be resurrection of it? Why would God desire for the material and bodily to resurrect into glory? Therefore, there is no resurrection in this system of gnosticism. Paul cannot have this tolerated, because he knows that the dead are resurrected, now this is not talking about physical resurrections but those of the spirit and those of the body into the spiritual glory which awaits us. Paul resurrects a boy who fell from the window of a three-story building while listening to Paul speak. Boring sermon… Although this is a key point in the argument for resurrection, this is not the type of resurrection which Paul speak on. This type is the one which occurs when we are lifted from this life into the next, which for us Christians is Heaven.

This resurrection is core around the Gospel which Jesus completed for us. Jesus had to be man, physical human then resurrected into the spiritual being He is after He rose. The idea being that our Lord lived out the human life first, with all the aches and joys, highs and lows, He lived the life of a man in order for us to have an example. Jesus resurrected into glory from the physical, and in this, we live in the physical, honoring God as much as is possible, till we reach glory.

My father, earthly, put it this way: There is the mystery, how Jesus was both man and God we may never understand, it is not black and white. If He was wholly man, sin would have flecked His life as it does ours, but if He was wholly God, then there would have been no need for the life He lived, the death and resurrection, and all the suffering endured. Therefore, Jesus was both, and that is simply how it is. Now, we have a resurrected soul, but a dying body. Our resurrection is to come, but through that of Jesus’, we have been resurrected spiritually. Remember the heritages from Adam and Christ? They were the firstborn of their line, and the fathers were Satan and God. I described this in a devotional before, and basically, Jesus offers us resurrection through death, into new life. Adam offers us only death, death through death, into more, eternal death. The decision can’t be too hard to make, can it? Adam was of the dust, and therefore he was not able to give those who were of the same, more than what they were. Meaning, Adam could not grant the people after him that which was from Heaven, his authority was over the animals, not other humans. See, Jesus on the other hand being from Heaven, could offer us more than we could get on our own. “As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth, and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.” We were like Adam, and could not offer anything to each other but death, however Jesus, who is of Heaven, offers us life because He is of life. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one enters the Father but through me.” We were born into the likeness of Adam and Eve, humanly images, however when we are resurrected into the new body, we will bear the image of heavenly beings. We will no longer be created from the dust, but be of Heaven and God. This is something to look forward to, and we live in anticipation to it.


Interpretation

Therefore, we are bound to the laws of Adam and Earth until we die and are born into our new body. However, until then, we can still honor God with everything we are. In fact, this is the life in which we honor God. In Heaven, we worship and glory Him, however this life is what defines the next. Should you honor God here, you receive crowns to cast to Him and glorify the name in those specific ways. Do you honor God with your life, because although this body is dying and this life is not in comparison with the next, we have a resurrected soul and spirit. Therefore, we must live beyond this world and live for the next. Paul in Titus 2:11-13 tells us to live in hope for the return of Jesus. We have to live holy because no one knows when our savior will return for us, and how do you want to be when he comes? You could be preaching to thousands with a fire in you when He returns, or you could be intoxicated and high in a corner. Think to yourself, which one pleases God more? Live holy. There is no greater charge I, the apostles, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or any other can give you but to live for the glory of Him. In that, nothing you do will be in vain and you find fulfillment in the little things, and life has so much more purpose.

We live in a natural body, born from the image of Adam, made of the Earth, and in that we live under the curse of Adam. However, we have been freed in the spiritual, and now we live in a spiritual freedom and new life in which sin and Satan no longer have their hold on us. Do they affect us? Yes, but someone I heard spoke put it this way: we are no longer under the curse of sin, but we are still under the presence. There is a necessary need to live holy now, because at the cross Jesus gave it all, held nothing back. Now, we are born of the second man, the man of heaven. We must live in life as He does, we must also give life as He did for us. No longer do we live in the death of Adam, but in the life of Christ. In hope of the bodily resurrection. I urge you to live holy, and in this charge, do it all for the glory of God. Consider this, not only do you find purpose when you glorify God, but everything you do falls into His will and your good. Romans 8:28, “For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose” Right there, two things! When you glorify God, everything you do will be in the accordance of His purpose, and therefore you are honoring Him. Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commands”. When you live for the glory of God, you follow His commands, and therefore your love for Him grows. With your love will come the desire to obey His commands more, it is a foolproof cycle. It leads into itself, live for Him, be in His will, follow His commands, love Him, with that love, follow His commands, and therefore live for Him… This is how we are to live, for the absolute glory of God in all we do. That is the final goal in this life, because only what you do for Christ lasts.


Application

How do we live for God then? Simple, but so profound. Ask Him to give you a desire to obey the Word. Then, as you read the Bible more and more, your life will change. There is no way, if you truly study the Bible that your life will not be impacted. However, study it, do not simple read it and then close the cover. You do not have to write four page devotionals, but take time and learn from it. See, we were born into Adam, and that was resulting in imminent death. There was nothing but death in his heritage. This is how we lived, now, we live in the life and glory of God, through the beautiful, selfless sacrifice of Jesus. We have a resurrection pending, anytime now, Jesus could return or we could be called home into the arms of the Father. In each situation, we are resurrected into the new body and life. Think about this, no sin, no pain, face to face, hand in hand with Jesus, walking along the streets of Heaven. Forever singing and learning about God, for me personally, that makes me smile and have joy, and hope. If you smile at that, you have hope thinking about that. Now, take that hope and joy and apply them to your entire life, and live in that hope of Heaven, either through death or the rapture. This is my charge I leave you with, get in the Word for 30 minutes every day, at least 30 minutes. A good friend of mine put it this way, we are not to just give our money to God but our time as well. Ten percent of your time is 2.4 hours a day. 30 minutes should not be a problem, because think of it this way. Jesus did not give 10% of Himself on the cross, no He gave everything.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)” Live for God and find the purpose of life come to view. You do not know the fullness of this life, until you live for the One who breathed that very life into you. Read the Word, study it, meditate on it. If you ever find yourself static for the name of God, then please just ask Him to replenish that passion in you. Above all, glorify God in all, striving to live perfect, get that word if nothing else. Striving. Push, pull, move, drive forward, fight, persevere… This is the name of Jesus we are talking about, that is not something to simply remain still about.

In all, live in anticipation, through hope and joy, of the kingdom of Heaven. You never know when you might go, or it may come.

Resurrected Bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-44)

Topic: The Resurrection Body

Significance: There were those asking what the resurrected bodies in Heaven will be like, what they will be able to do. Paul is responding in rebuke but also in love, to rid of the lies and the false teacher who pick apart at the Gospel, with naught but vain.


Contextual Study

As some people might already know, the city of Corinth was part Jewish and Greek. There was a mixing of cultures here, thousands of years of history from two sides are coming together. One might simply infer that there are already solidly set beliefs and traditions set into place. Some of these beliefs especially on the Greek side of the culture, were clashing with that of the Christian church. One of these was the idea that the body was bad, that it was not important in the whole schematic of existence. The Greeks believed that the spirit was trapped within the body and the sooner it was released, the sooner they were free to be in the underworld. Now, as for the underworld, bodies were not welcome at all, in their mythology, the living human had to pay their way or trick their way into the underworld, as only detached spirits were allowed. If the body of a person was not buried, the Spirit would simply float around, or haunt that place for a hundred years. The body was to be rid of, put to rest, as it is metaphorically within the context of life through the Spirit. The Greeks had no regard for the body, they did in it as they pleased. Paul did not want this to continue in the church.

Now on the opposite side of things, the Jewish people were saying that the resurrected body was simply the same as the human body. This is the other extreme, because now the resurrection body has no purpose, it is simply the same. Then one may ask, then what is the purpose of resurrection? “If my eternity is simply going to be this world forever, then no thank you. Anyone would say no to that, eternal life, but here on Earth or like the world, with all its pains and troubles. Why would you want that? The Jews believed that the body did matter, in fact they had so many legalistic laws and pointers on how to conduct yourself every second of every day. In burial, there was and still is a very rigid set of laws on how and when and where to bury the deceased body. Unlike the Greeks, the Jewish culture held the body to a higher standard. In sacrifice, there was to be a perfect animal, without blemish. This perfection was judged by the outside. In fact, it became all about the outside for the Jews, and that was what mattered most. They were the opposite, and the spirit was left to rot. Jesus called the Pharisees “white washed tombs”, clean and elegant on the outside, but filled with decay and death on the inside. The Jewish culture became overly focused on the body and the appearance. This is wrong and against what the apostle wants the church at Corinth to know.

Now, you have these two cultures fighting each other in this area, and the Corinthians in the middle of it all. False doctrines, lies and teachers of destruction being hurled at them, all the time. What do they believe? Paul tells the Corinthians what to believe.

The first reactions of Paul bring in an attitude of frustration, anger, and sorrow to an extent. “You fools!”, he exclaims. Now, this may be startling at first. Paul is explaining what people are asking and all of a sudden, “you fools!” Well the reaction which the apostle delivers is one of right anger, intent on breaking before repairing. However much it may seem he is addressing the Corinthians, he is not. This passage is for the church at Corinth originally, however here Paul is calling both those Greeks and Jews who preach these messages, fools. This is because they are mixing into the church which he has nurtured, false teachings and lies. Moreover, their questions are intended to dispel the Gospel and to disprove the apostle. These teachers believed that they had cornered the Gospel, and were about to kill it, but they were more than wrong before Paul, they were wrong before God. Paul has so much wisdom from the Holy Spirit, and he was ready to respond to them quickly, with boldness and clarity. Here was his wise response: “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” Very simple and practical to their time, as practically everyone knew how to plant seed. Did not matter if you were a lawyer or a farmer, rich or poor, learning how to grow crops was a cultural norm. In case you were needed as a child to work, or your family needed you to tend their fields, or maybe you were taught in school as a child. The idea was everyone knew how a seed worked, it is planted and in order for the sapling to die, the seed must give it all of its nutrients and life force, it “dies”and then the plant within grows. The apostle answers questions meant to tear at the heart of the Gospel with an analogy at seeds? Sounds like Jesus baffling the pharisees with His remarks. Yet, that is it, a plant, and we are similar to it. What we put into this life, is what we will receive in the next. Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. A man reaps that which he sows.” Paul not only speaks on the actual body of the heaven raised believer, but the life as well. Therefore, however much we put into this life for Christ, and only in the name of Christ, that is what we will receive in Heaven. If you live life in the name of Christ but only put in the smallest amount you can, that is what you will receive in Heaven. Salvation will be yours, but all those crowns you could have tossed at the feet of Jesus, they are not given to you. You gave little and therefore are granted little. However to the one who gave all for Jesus, put their life at risk for the Gospel, that believer will be granted crowns to cast at the feet of God, and then exclaim, “Lord that which I did, was all done for you.” They will have that joy and pleasure.

God is in full control of that which is granted, and He is in full knowledge of those who will glorify His name in their sowing, and therefore knows that which will be given to each who enters the kingdom, His kingdom. There are many different kinds of splendors, that of man, that of angels, that of animals and of stars. God has granted each their splendor for the glorification of His name. See the seed, the stars, the animals, they all already give God the fullest glory, it is not up to question for them. However, the Lord has granted man the gift of free will, and with it comes the choice to glorify God in what we do. Therefore, however this life is lived in perseverance and struggle, so it will come in glory and rewards.


Self Study

Do we honor God in the ways that we live this life? Do we take the time to examine our thoughts and our actions to see if the name of Jesus is exalted in them. God has granted us all splendor, yet it is nothing compared to that of the Lord. How will humanity use our “splendor” to further that of God. In this culture, we are taught to be either about the spirit or about the body. There is both but they do not connect together. In the body we become self-righteous, artificial and fake, and all our efforts are useless, because we are evil inside. “21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). On the other hand, when we focus on the spirit and not the body, we do whatever we want in the body and nothing matters because the spirit is already destined for heaven, as the world teaches us. Wrong, every soul is destined for hell, until Jesus comes in a swoops that person out of the rush heading into the pit.

We must always honor God with both our body and our spirit. The only way this is possible is the Holy Spirit, who grants us that power to grow in God. Remember, allow the Holy Spirit to break you and move you, surrender to His will and in all be ready to move when He calls you to.

Are we not to live in the way of the Spirit as Paul commands us in Galatians 5:25? “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” This is the way which we walk, not through the ways of the flesh but into the Holy Spirit. Remember, this life is the nurturing to the next, and this life makes the next life what it is for us. Should a man build his work upon the foundation of Christ, he may know that the ground beneath it is solid, but the work is as sturdy and powerful as he makes it. God has given us all things, and nothing is held back from us. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (1 Peter 1:3). Therefore, we have no excuse saying, “I was not given the right powers and gifts to live out life to the fullest extent for the name of Jesus.” However much we put into it is how much we will get out of the next life. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, the foundation is Jesus and whatever is built upon it will be tested. Looking at verse 15, see how the one who’s work fails is still saved, but “as one escaping through the flames.” They will have their eternal life, but whatever they did is nothing, because they did little for Jesus.

Jesus is our provider and our strength. He was the perfect one to pay for us. Observe and see how he was both perfect in spirit and in body. He was equally focused on both and each one was importantly used to the glorification of God. He was able to pay for us because for the gentiles who focused on the soul so precariously, He was perfect in that manner. For the Jews who were so caught up in the body and the appearance, He was perfect in that sense. Jesus paid it all, He gave it all, and for that, God gave Him all. We are co heirs with Jesus and in that, we have received the fullness of the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus gives us all things because He has all things. We do not need to worry about the future life we have in Christ, because we already have life with Him. The only thing which should concern us is how we honor God in this life. Let us be ready to move for the glory of Jesus, and to be ready to live solely in the Spirit of God.


Prayer

Father, allow us to live for you and only you. Jesus, let us never forget what you did for us, you were perfect in every way, the ultimate payment. Holy Spirit, you are how we honor Your name in this life, and in you, we have more than enough to live for your name and do it well. We are so indebted to you, but you ask nothing but our life for you. Please Lord allow us to be servants to your will. The only thing I ask from you is strength enough to live this life for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Our Victory and Responsibility in the Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:29-34)

Topic: The Resurrection of the Dead

Significance: There were Corinthians within the church who denied the resurrection, and they were imposing bad influences on those who were following Christ fully.


Contextual Study

The Corinthian church was founded by the apostle Paul as many of us already know. The importance in this is the sincerely troubled attitude by Paul for the Corinthians. Paul cared for all the believers, as Christ does, but of course on a human level, those he nurtured himself and taught, would be closer in his heart. Therefore, when people begin to deny the resurrection, imagine how he felt, the concern.

The church at Corinth was on a very slippery slope, dealing with their sins and their straying from God, and like Israel they called themselves chosen people (Christians, but in the old testament solely Israel) but they did not represent the one who had chosen them. Paul must redirect them back to Jesus as Moses did for the Israelites.

The Corinthian culture was filled with many kinks and seemingly odd quirks, but these were traditions passed down through the ages in both Greek and Hebrew society. One of these practices which derived from the idea of family in ancient Jewish cultures, was baptism of living in place of the dead. Since the time of the Patriarchs, family was emphasized so much, with many customs even in death. Jacob wished to be buried with his ancestors (fathers) in Genesis 49:29. This spot was the cave in the field purchased by Abraham to bury Sarah, his wife. After that, Abraham and other patriarchs and matriarchs were buried there. This plays into the baptism of living for those who died, as in the practice of baptism, one is identified with Christ and becomes a deeper part of the church body. Therefore, in a metaphorical sense, they were being connected with the church even after death, and this was important to them. Paul brings this up because the Corinthians would not be carrying it out if they did not believe that there was hope for resurrection. Why would they be connected to the church body if their entire being simply ceased existing? Why would they baptize in the name of a dead person, in place of a dead person. If Jesus had not been raised, then what is point of baptism? And yet there they are, carrying out the practice of baptism for the dead in the name of One who is to them, still dead. This is one of the arguments that Paul makes in favor of the resurrection of dead.

His next argument is the endangering of himself and the apostles for the Gospel. If the resurrection had not occurred, the Gospel is void. Why then, are the apostles pushing so hard for the spreading of the Word, for the name of Jesus Christ to be spread around the world? It does not make any sense. The apostles “died daily”, in the sense that they firstly, disciplined themselves over the entire chalkboard. Physically, mentally, in speech, in thought, in reason, in attitude… they had trained their lives to be about Christ. These men were dead to the world every day, they had opportunities to stray, to lighten off for a time, but they kept pressing hard for the Gospel. Paul killed all that he was everyday, and became more of who He is. The next sense of this phrase is the close encounter to death which was experienced many times, make reference to 2 Corinthians 11:14-33, where Paul describes many things he has endured for the Name. Once again, if the resurrection had not occurred, the Gospel is empty and for nothing, and “we are to be pitied more than all men”(1 Corinthians 14:19). However, we see the apostles facing death everyday, being persecuted for their message and lives. “Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”Psalm 44:22. The Corinthians know of the apostle’s sufferings and their trials, how could the resurrection be denied after all this proof?

Paul leaves the Corinthians with a warning, one from a Greek poet, Menander. “Bad company corrupts good character.” The Corinthians were mainly Greek, most were highly educated, and enjoyed cultural literature. They would have at least heard this before, and known of Menander. Although not of Christian origin, there is wisdom behind these words. When in the company of those who dishonor God, one must guard their heart, with all perseverance and diligence, lest they fall to the wiles and lies of Satan through those corrupt people. “Come back to your senses as you ought…” there is a sense of responsibility within that word, ought. Jesus gave His all, and it was not even His responsibility, yet in the sake of love, it was done. Therefore, we ought to carry this weight of the Gospel with us, however much it costs us, it is our responsibility. There were those who were ignorant of God, within the church body. This is shameful as they have been in the body and not been impacted yet. The Corinthians were ignorant to their God and their consciences.


Self Study

It is our responsibility to carry the Gospel of Christ wherever we are, to endure pain and trial for it. The question is: Do people see you or Him when they look at your life? It is a hard question and one which carries out much thought. However, we must all ponder it, evaluate ourselves from the perspective of God. Do we show ourselves or God?

See if Christ has resurrected, then we have it all, we have victory, peace, love, joy, hope, faith, power, truth, salvation, assurance… But do you show all those in your life? Our lives should reflect a resurrected king, not a dead body. We were crucified and resurrected with Jesus, and when is the last time you saw a living human walking around with no heartbeat, no breathing, and pale all over? These are the signs of a dead body, of a corpse which cannot contribute anything more to the world, yet a resurrected soul, can move in ways that even a living body cannot. Think about this, our soul and spirit have been resurrected, nothing of the body. We are dead bodies with a living soul, shining right through the flesh of the body. People should not see the body, they should see the soul. Even physically, we are dying, our bodies fade away, but our soul does not when it is in Christ. Then when we die in body, we shall be resurrected in body as well. Until that day, live life the way you are supposed to, with a passion, as one who is alive within, with anticipation of your new body and the new life to come. Let people see Christ in you, and when they deny the resurrection, they can look at your life and be baffled by it, be in awe at the way you live. Can we do that? Do it the way we ought to, not the way we want to.


Prayer

Dear Father, I praise you! You have given us life and resurrection through your Son. Now we are alive within, and though our bodies wick away, we soar in our soul. Give us strength to endure this world until the day we receive the new life, fully. May we be anomalies to the world, dying and living, sinking and flying, suffering and rejoicing, all these impossibilities to the world, yet possibilities with you. When we are around those who curse you, may we guard our hearts, yet also through your Holy Spirit impact them. You are the resurrection and the life, Jesus. No one enters to the Father, but through you. Let us live alive as you have commanded us to. In Jesus’ name, Amen!