Sin Worse than the Worst

Just added, a new message from 1 Corinthians chapter 5, preached by J Stewart Gillespie:

1 Corinthians chp 5 – Sin Worse than the Worst

Notes from this message:

1. The Report (v1)
2. The Response (v2)
3. The Recovery (v2-v8)

The Report

    V1 – “It is commonly reported”

    We notice the low spiritual and moral state of affairs at Corinth, which was surely disappointing for the apostle Paul, having been used to plant the church at Corinth.
    This seems a basic issue, basic moral issue to ere over.
    How can this transpire in a church?
    Corinth was such a:

    Popular church
    Progressive Church
    Prosperous church

    A church with a real buzz and plenty of gifts and social liberalism (chp 8)
    Yet this church fails at the most basic level!
    How did this come to be?

    They marginalised Christ.

    Certain core truths regarding Christ were forgotten:

    Unity of His body (chp1)
    Power of His Cross (chp1)
    Simplcity of His Gospel (chp2)
    Dependence on Christ for feeding and growth (chp3)
    Lordship of Christ over all service (chp4)
    The Moral implications of the sacrifice of Christ (chp5)

    Their devotion to Christ could not be rightly judged by:

    1 – The exercise of gifts
    2 – The size of their gathering

    But rather in:

    Unity with one another (chp1)
    Preaching of the Gospel (chp1+2)
    Feeding on Christ (chp3)
    Obedience and service of Christ (chp4)
    Practical holiness (chp5)

    and yet paradoxically it is perhaps a source of encouragement for us:
    Christians do fall and fail
    These deep and difficult situations are not beyond recovery
    Failure is not of necessity final!
    Paul writes with a view to dealing with these situations and with the expectation of recovery and restoration (2 Co2:5ff)
    Notice the effect of sin upon the church as a whole.
    This may have been the sin of only one or two but it had ramifications for the whole church.
    It may only have been the sin of 1 or 2 but it was 1 or 2 who were “among you” (5:1) and this had effects upon them all.
    The problem of testimony or reputation
    This was guilt by association and corruption by contamination.
    This has been a frequent problem over the years:

    Achans sin
    Solomons wives
    Moses wives
    Jonah on the boat

    There are those who are willing to sacrifice Christ and His Church on the altar of their own lust.
    Sadly at times Christians have been:

    1 – Complacent
    2 – Complicit
    3 – Compromising

    In this
    Sometimes under the pretext of:

    Love – for the person as a reason to ignore their sin
    Longsuffering – as a virtue that tolerates sin
    Loyalty to the person

    There is you see a hard core of people who are so self obsessed, so fallen into sin and sometimes self pity that they are willing to to sacrifice:

    1 – The Cause of Christ
    2 – The Church of Christ

    On the altar of their own lusts, with little or no concern or care for the consequences of their own actions.

    Beware that in our complacency that we do not fall prey to the carnal believer.
    We hand the testimony into the hands of people who care little or nothing for it, who refuse to see their responsibility to live up to that standard and who are quite willing for the whole work of God to be brought into disrepute and to be slandered, just so they can continue to do what they are doing.

    V1 – ‘fornication’ : 4202 : porneia : from ‘porneuo’ to commit fornication or any sexual sin, from a root word meaning to sell.

    Merchandising morality – the root issue is jettisoning what is right because of what we believe we stand to gain / profit.
    Not that our understanding of what is right and wrong fundamentally changes and not that we are genuinely blinded to the truth but we make merchandise of morality, morality is compromised for money, jettisoning right and wrong when it suits us.
    An appeal can be made to conscience in chapter 5 – this has not been lost.

    V1 – “should have” – note this is a present infinitive active indicating not a one off failure but a persistent and ongoing sin
    V1 – “fathers wife”
    An act of incest under the terms of Lev 18:8
    This kind of sin was not new, regrettably:

    1 – Abraham and Sarah – possibly, although it would appear to have been accepted in the culture of Ur of the Chaldees from which they came and was out in the open and above board.
    2 – Judah and Tamar
    3 – Lot and his 2 daughters
    4 – Ruben and his father’s concubine
    5 – Tamar and David’s son Amnon
    6 – Absalom and his father David’s concubines
    7 – Herod and Herodias
    This sin is not new, and in that sense the REALITY of it and the EXISTENCE of it, or that we find it, is not so shocking

    The Response (v2)
    What is truly showing and unique is the RESPONSE to it and Where we find it!
    Up until 1 Corinthians chapter 5, with the notable exception of Abraham and Sarah, incestuous relationships had always been a source of embarrassment, the object of judgement, of condemnation and reproach.
    Here in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, they are the source of PRIDE (1 Co5:2).
    This is surprising, shocking and unique!
    The Corinthians appear to have had little scruples over what they they would and would not accept, this is perhaps an important observation to bear in mind as we consider later on ministry that Paul would give regarding marriage in chapter 7 And some ministry interestingly which he did not give!
    They were “puffed up” : phubioo : 5448: from ‘phusao’ – to breath, inflate, blow, or puff up, spoke figuratively of pride or self conceit.
    They not only tolerated sin, they were proud that they tolerated the sin!
    It is part of our fallen humanity that in spite of our sin we continue to think well of ourselves, we attempt to hold on at least to our self esteem and dignity; so we become proud in our boasting.
    Corinth was the popular and all Inclusive church.
    What was the cause of this unique response?
    Why we’re they “puffed up” (5:2)?

    1. They were compromised morally – consider the compromise of some with prostitution in 6:12ff.
    2. They were confused Doctrinally – consider the possible / probable influence at Corinth of a teaching like that of Romans 6:1; “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
    3. They were corrupted spiritually – cf. Chapter 8; 10:7-8 – the spiritual impact upon them of compromise with idols and fornication.

    If we compromise with a sin a small way you will find it difficult / unattractive to take a firm / bold / assertive / convincing stand against the practice of sin in a bigger way.
    One small compromise opens the flood gates to a bigger and broader compromise with sin.
    Very hard to take a consistent stand against sin if we have compromised with sin.
    Therein lies the root and the rot of the permissive society.
    Here is Paul and the permissive society.

    The Road to Recovery

    1. Mourning – Repentance (5:2)

    To move from:
    Self satisfaction to sorrow
    Rejoicing to regret
    High self esteem to reproach
    ‘mourned’: 3996: pentheo: to mourn, to lament – used in Matt 5:4
    This is not simply mourning:
    Consequences of sin – not just regret over the effect of this on the testimony (5:1)
    Condition of sin that prevails
    Conviction and commitment to see things really change – to see the problems dealt with

    2. Judgement and discernment (5:3)

    3. Decisive Action (5:5)

    4. Destruction of the Flesh (5:5) – we cannot hold on to selective bits of the flesh

    V5 – ‘ For the destruction of the flesh’
    Most commentators take this to refer to the physical destruction of the believers body, citing for example:
    Job
    Pauls thorn in the flesh
    I was pleased to discover however that at least 3 commentators get it right:

    FW Grosheide
    GD Fee
    John Heading
    Why isn’t this the physical destruction of the person?

    1. It is not our physical form that is the source of our sin, it is our fallen nature that is the source of our sin. Physical mortification is not a means to spiritual growth (1 Co 13:2; Gal 6:12; Col 2:20-23).
    2. The expectation of verse 5 is that of the salvation of the fallen believer and thus not their destruction. From 2 Co2:5ff we see that Paul also is looking for present restoration and repentance from them, something that is difficult for a destroyed believer!

    3. Biblical president – When God gives people over to chastening their is a consistent pattern. The inevitable consequence of the fulfilled desires of the flesh is that of destruction.

    4. Note the distinctions in the section: v3 – body vs Spirit and them in verse 5 – flesh vs spirit, what is the difference?

    5. Grammar – cf. GD Fee – for the relationship between ‘For destruction’ and ‘may be saved’ – that whilst the ‘destruction of the flesh’ is the anticipated result of the mans being put back out into Satans domain, while the express purpose of the action is his redemption.

Thy Kingdom Come

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians :

1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

1 Corinthians chp 4 vs 8 – Thy Kingdom Come – J Stewart Gillespie – 01072014.mp3

Preaching Notes

    :

    Reminded of Derek Binghams introduction to Daniel when he observed that God does not give prophesy simply to satisfy our intellectual curiosity about the future, but with prophetic revelation God has moral and spiritual goals in mind.

    1 John 3:1ff : ‘and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifiers himself even as he is pure’

    2 Peter 3:11 – Edward Blum, ‘Peter makes the impending disintegration of the universe the ground for a personal challenge to his readers.’

    Christ is coming back
    Gods wrath is about to be poured out on a Christ rejecting world
    The heaven and earth will be dissolved
    A new heaven and earth are to be ushered in
    So what does all of this mean?
    Be careful what you are watching on the Tele
    Be wary of what you are browsing on the Internet

    This truth seems to come to the fore here in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, in a negative sense, namely a wrong understanding of future events results in wrong behaviour.
    The Corinthians appear to be suffering from a wrong view of the kingdom.

    1. Problem of the Kingdom (4:6)
    2. Proof of the Kingdom (4:7-14)
    3. Power of the Kingdom (4:15-21)

    1. Problem of the Kingdom

    Problems seem to have arisen due to a wrong appreciation of the Kingdom of God.
    That now is the time to reign and rule; ‘now ye are full, now ye are rich’ (4:8)
    How did this problem arise?
    We will discover in chapter 15 that they also have a wrong view of the Resurrection, that there are some among them who deny the resurrection.
    It may well be that these 2 issues are not disconnected.
    The OT spoke very clearly of a coming Kingdom when Messiah will reign physically and visibly upon the earth with His administrative centre at Jerusalem

    Psalm 2:1ff, 6
    Psalm 45
    Isaiah 9:6ff
    Isaiah 11
    Isaiah 32:1
    Jeremiah 23:5ff

    With Christ we have Messiah, God’s anointed one; We recall from our studies in Hebrews for example that Christ is; ‘King of Righteousness’ and ‘King of Peace’ (Heb 7:1-2, 15-23).
    So if we have the King, do we not then have the Kingdom.
    Again in Hebrews chp 1:8
    Rev 19:16 “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”

    The Lord and the apostles certainly speak of the spiritual or mystery aspect to the presence of His Kingdom on earth; that is that:

    all who are saved enter into this Kingdom (John 3:5)
    The Kingdom of God is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21)
    “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17)

    So all who bow to the rule of Christ in their lives are part of His spiritual Kingdom.

    This is however a most unsatisfactory fulfilment of those literal OT prophecies and hardly does justice to Christs titles of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” ; that His Kingdom reigns over a world which is on the most part in a state of outward rebellion.
    So there will be a future, literal outward Kingdom which will fulfil those OT prophecies and NT expectations.
    When will that be?
    Does the present age of Church testimony and world rebellion just merge imperceptibly with the future Kingdom or is there a specific event or set of events which divide this present time from the future Kingdom?
    If you were to ask me for those specific events which trigger the beginning of that transition I would identify 3 concurrent events:

    1 – The return of Christ
    2 – The Resurrection of the dead in Christ
    3 – The removal, by rapture of the believers form the world.

    It is these 3 events which pave the way for the pouring out of Gods wrath on a world which rejects His Son, His Spirit and His Gospel.
    These 3 events separate this present time from the future day of tribulation and wrath which paves the way for the binding of Satan for 1000 years and the establishment of Gods Kingdom under Christ.
    What is interesting is that when you come to 1 Corinthians we find that there is a group of believers who deny this resurrection (1 Co15:12ff).
    More than this in 1 Co 15:23ff Paul makes the connection between:

    1 – The Resurrection of believers (15:18-23)
    2 – The Return of Christ (15:23)
    3 – The Rule of the Kingdom (15:24ff)

    These believers then in denying the physical bodily resurrection of believers not only undermine the fundamentals of the Gospel (1Co15:17ff) but it also fundamentally alters their view of the Kingdom; for them there is no transition the present merges imperceptibly into the future.
    This all may sound a bit complicated, a bit tenuous, but in fact it has been a not infrequent teaching over the years; so much so, it even has a name: ‘post millenialism’.

    They had:

    Satisfaction : “full” : ‘korenmoi’ : to have enough (4:8)
    Prosperity: “rich” : ‘plouteo’ : to be rich (4:8)
    Authority: “reign as kings” : ‘basileuo’ : to reign, rule, be king (4:8)

    They were as a consequence accustomed to:

    Fighting for their rights (6:1ff)
    Self confidence in their new found knowledge (8:1ff)
    Standing on a few toes / breaking a few eggs to get what they wanted (8:11ff)
    Playing a prominent part in Corinthian society (8:10; 10:19-21)
    Awareness of place, position and status (1 Co 11:21ff)
    Using their gifts and abilities to claim position and place (1 Co12:15-18)
    Used to being heard and making their views known (14:26-32)

    They were reigning as Kings in their own Kingdom!
    This was a gospel for winners!
    This was a gospel with prosperity!
    But this was not the Kingdom of God (4:20)
    So long as I am doing alright
    So long as my fellowship is doing alright then all is ok!
    Proof of the Kingdom

    But here is a different view of being a king (4:9ff) – A King in Gods Kingdom.

    compare Matthew chp 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 4:

Service Stewardship and Secret Sins

Noah hid his drunkenness, Moses hid an angry outburst and a violent murder, Achan hid some stolen clothes and a few hot slabs of gold till they cooled off, and David hid his adultery. Who could find out? What harm would it cause anyone else? In the privacy of their own homes. In the darkness of the night. In the scheming secrecy of plans opaque to the outside world? Who could know? It was a powerful amnesia that affected the godly and God fearing that rendered them senseless to the omnipresence of God. He saw. That was enough. That was all that mattered. This alone moves the tide from which breaks the waves of judgment and consequence. Irrespective of what mortal sees with dieing eye, and perceives with a conscience of clouded cataracts, He sees with penetrating moral purity and with unflinching righteous repercussions.

For service to endure and for it to stand with God it must be dependent upon Him, obedient to His every command. He is the oversman and we the under rower (1 Corinthians 4:1). “Just to trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.” Such a service performed for God can only be truly assessed by God, an assessment which will weigh both motives seen and unseen, and with it all of those sins, even the secret sins.

Taken from, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 1 to 6, by Stewart Gillespie:

Service Stewardship and Secret Sins

1 Corinthians Chapters 4 to 6

download or listen online to mp3 recordings of messages preached from 1 Corinthians chapters 4 to 6

 

1 Corinthians chapter 4 vs 1 to 6 – Service Stewardship and Secret Sins

 

1 Corinthians chp 4 vs 8 – Thy Kingdom Come – J Stewart Gillespie – 01072014.mp3

 

1 Corinthians chp 5 – Sin Worse than the Worst

notes available for this message

 

1 Corinthians chater 5 verses 1 to 7 – Better than the Best

Notes available for this message

 

1 Corinthians chp 5 vs 7 to 8 – Christ our Passover and the War of the Worlds – JS Gillespie

 

1 Corinthians chp 5 – Extreme Salvation – J Stewart Gillespie

 

1 Corinthians chp 5 – Freedom in Christ

 

1 Corinthians chp 6 – Living Life Dangerously

 

1 Corinthians chp 6 vs 9 to 20 – A Holiness too Big for Heaven – JS Gillespie – 23092014.mp3

 

1 Corinthians chp 6 vs 12 to 20 – Are You Sure Youre Happy – JS Gillespie – 30092014

 

1 Corinthians chp 6 vs 16 and 17 – One Body One Flesh One Spirit – JS Gillespie – 07102014

notes are available for this message here

 

<< 1 Corinthians chapters 1 to 3

1 Corinthians chapters 4 to 6

1 Corinthians chapters 7 to 9 >>

1 Corinthians chapters 10 to 13>>

1 Corinthians chapters 14 to 16 >>

Gold Silver and Precious Stones

Just added to our series on 1 Corinthians, a new message from 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 12:

1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 12 – Gold Silver and Precious Stones

Quoted in the above message:

Martin Luther King: ‘Street Sweeper’


Notes from the above message:

We have considered so far in chapter 3:

1. Feeding
2. Serving
3. Building

In each of the sections some practical lessons to learn:

1.

    Feeding on the Meat

:

Paul desires that they should be feeding on meat and not on milk
Paul had good meat for them (3:1)
There was no famine in the land here, as there had been in the days of Naomi and Elimelech and in the days of Elisha and siege of Samaria.
The AVAILABILITY of food was determined by the ABILITY to receive that food.
What hinders that appetite for Christ, that ability to receive the meat is carnality manifesting itself in schism.
We note that the apostle holds us accountable for cutting off / dividing / withdrawing from fellowship because of offence (3:3)
Some made a definite decision to:

hold on to bitterness
harbour grudges
harden hearts

Offence caused, which there was no doubt at Corinth is not an excuse which gives a a God endorsed right to spend the rest of our spiritual life as a victim; ‘she said that to you, he did that to you? Well just you go in the huff for the next 25 years and I’ll richly bless you.’ A text by which many sadly live their lives!

The true heart of Christ towards His body is a heart which will not:

Cause schism
Countenance schism

So in the 1st section we note:

Cause of the schism
Content of the meat

That content is defined in 2:6-7
This is the wisdom section: the meat is the, ‘hidden wisdom of God in mystery’

‘The foreordained determinative purpose of God for His creation Christ, which has as its goal the Glory of His Son and consequently the blessing of His people. Such Wisdom was at one time concealed, to be revealed supernaturally at the time of its fulfilment.’

The above definition emphasises:

‘of God’ – the origin of this mystery wisdom is God rather than man
‘foreordained’ – built into the foundation of the world (1Co2:7)
‘determinative’ – theses are not a collection of random, disconnected secrets but rather part of one coherent plan with a purpose (Eph 1:9-10)
‘for His creation’ – Gods overarching plan and purpose for the created order (1 Co2:7; Eph1:10)
‘Glory of His Son’ – Eph 1:10-12
‘blessing of His people’ – 1 Co 2:7,9
‘revealed at their fulfilment’ – not an arbitrary hiding and revelation of Divine secrets but Divine purpose, revealed as it is worked out in time in the purpose of God (1 Co2:8; 1 Tim 3:16; Gal 4:4)

This Mystery Wisdom of God includes:

1. The Mystery of Israel in Unbelief (Rom 11:25)
2. The Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ (Rom 16:25; Eph 6:19)
3. The Mystery of the Rapture (1 Co 15:51)
4. The Mystery of Gods Will in gathering all things together in Christ (Eph 1:9)
5. The Mystery of Christ – bringing in of the Gentiles in one body (Eph 3:4-5, 8-11)
6. The Mystery of the union of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32)
7. The Mystery of Christ in you the Hope of Glory (Col 1:26-29; 2:2)
8. The Mystery of Christ (Col 4:3)
9. The Mystery of the 7 Stars (Rev 1:20)
10. The Mystery of God (Rev 10:7)
11. The Mystery of Iniquity (2Thess 2:7)
12. The Mystery of the Faith (1 Tim 3:9)
13. The Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:16)
14. The Mystery of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:7)

2. Serving (3:5)

We noted the ‘but ministers’ of Jesus Christ

Rebekah – carried some water
Widow of Zarephath – who gathered some sticks
David – who carried some cheese
Little maid – who served in the home

Each ‘but ministry’ led men to worship.

3. Building on the Foundations

i. Picture of Building
ii. People involved in the building
iii. Person on whom the building is founded
iv. Principles of Building
v. Purpose of Building

I. Picture of Building

Perhaps worth clarifying a small potential point of confusion before we proceed any further, here as elsewhere (eg Romans 7:1ff) the apostle makes fairly free use of metaphors.
Paul sticks with a metaphor and follows it through only so long as it serves his purpose.
When the metaphor ceases to fulfill it’s purpose he swaps the metaphor around.

As a results we find that the believer is at various times:

1. The builder (3:9ff), or perhaps builders labourers, rather than the master builder or architect (1 Co3:10). We don’t design, we don’t direct, we just labour.

2. The building (3:9, 16)

And let us not make the mistake of following through the metaphor to its logical conclusion; that if we are the building then the individual stones must be individual believers, as Peter uses the metaphor in 1 Peter 2; for here whilst the believers are the building (3:16), the material used to build it is distinct from the builders (3:15)

II. People involved in the building

“we are labourers” (3:9)
Not ours to know the master plan but ours to move in faith

III. Person on whom the building is founded

Note in the building, issues of:

Consistency
Compatibility

These are materials consistent with the foundation; “which is Jesus Christ” (v11)

Whatever we build in to the church needs to be consistent and compatible with Christ. So for example:

i. Jesus Christ is the “truth” (Jo 14:6)

Therefore error / lies are not compatible with the foundation and would be in the category of; ‘wood, hay and stubble.’

ii. “God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth”

Materialism is thus incompatible with the foundation

“Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.” Willow Creek Church

iii. Christ is “holy, harmless, undefiled”

Immorality and sin are incompatible with the foundations

Note not only the issue of:

Consistency
Compatibility
Consequences

The consequences of making a mistake
It is possible to build, to build big, to build with wood, hay and stubble
Everything may have the appearance of progress and prosperity, but ultimately it will crumble, and it may be too late to do anything about it!

IV. Principles of Building

“take heed how he buildeth thereupon” (3:10)

looking to build with:

“gold, silver, precious stones” (3:13)

Can we be any more specific about what constitutes:

Gold
Silver
Precious Stones

Gold:

First mentioned with possible ‘moral’ overtones in Gen 2:12; “the gold of that land is good”
Many of the items of the tabernacle and later the temple were made of gold and of pure gold:
Ark of the Covenant overlaid with pure gold (Ex 25:10ff; 37:1ff)
Mercy Seat made of pure gold (Ex25:17; 37:6)
Cherubim made of gold (Ex 25:18; 37:7ff)
Table of Shewbread made of pure gold (Ex 25:24l 37:10ff)
Lampstand made of pure gold (Ex 25:31; 37:17,22ff)
Breastplate of judgment was held by pure gold chains (Ex 28:22ff)
Plate for the mitre made of pure gold; “holiness to the Lord” (Ex28:34ff)
Altar of incense – overlaid with pure gold (Ex 30:1ff; 37:25ff)

The tabernacle and the temple in their construction bring together’ ‘gold, silver and precious stones,’ (Ex 31:1-5; 35:32-33; 1 Chron 29:2,7-8)
Gold was likewise used extensively in the construction of the temple:

The oracle was overlaid with pure gold (1Kings 6:20)
The house was covered with pure gold (1 Kings 6:21)
Doors overlaid with gold (1Kings 6:32)
Cherubim overlaid with gold (1Kings 6:28)
Altar of Gold (7:48)
Table of Gold (1 Kings 7:48)
Lampstands of pure gold (1Kings 7:49)

Gold was one of the substances that could abide the fire and thus could go through the fire to be purified (Num31:22ff) – not difficult to envisage a moral metaphor from it therefore.
Gold linked to righteousness comes out in the poetic books:

Gold is contrasted with iniquity (Job 22:23-24)
The trials of life purify Job so that he comes forth as gold (Job 23:10)
Psalm 19:10 – “The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether, more to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold”
Psalm 45:9 – The queen stands in gold of Ophir, cf the Righteousness of the Saints (Rev 19:7-8) – “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”

Psalm 119:27 – “I love thy commandments above gold”
Proverbs 8:17-20 – “Righteousness and gold”

Gold would point to the need for RIGHTEOUSNESS; cf 1 Co chps 5 to 10

Silver:

Associated with Redemption: Exodus 38:25 – half shekel of the sanctuary, Lev 5:15; Numb 3:46 – all the firstborn redeemed with 5 shekels

Precious stones – often linked with wisdom in the OT:

Job 28:1, 12, 18: “The price of wisdom is above rubies”
Prov 8:11: “Wisdom is better than rubies”
Linked with Solomon; 1 Kings 10:2,10,11; 2Chron 9:1
Present on the Crown, crowning the head of the King; 2 Sam 12:30; 1 Chron 20
Christ – Isaiah 28:16
Wisdom of the King of Tyrus (Lucifer): “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.” (Ezek 28:13)

Precious stones – linked with Wisdom – consider 1 Corinthians chps 1 to 4

V. Purpose of Building

4. Worshipping in the Temple

When a Dream becomes a Vision

Dreams can easily become a sycophantic refuge for the apathetic and hypocritical. The ‘good old days’ of Gods blessing can be safely left there, in the past and with it past passions, past power and past progress. The Corinthians, perhaps not uniquely amongst Christians were happy to place men on a pedestal and praise those who had been a help to them in previous days. They lived their Christian life in the dreams of Joel 2:28. What God had done in the lives of others in days gone by was not the issue. Of primary concern to the apostle Paul was what was hindering the work of God in their life in the here and now. Carnality had eaten cancer like into their spiritual life. They were divided by schism, petty jealousies and compromised by the pursuit of personal lusts. For their dreams of others in the past to become a vision for their own future, repentance from their schismatic sins was required and once that had been acted upon, what was wrong with a little Service?

Taken from :

But a Servant – When a Dream becomes a Vision

Notes from the message :

1 Corinthians chp 3:4-10

We noted last time the significance of the sin of schism.
That despite the many sins of Corinth:

Moral (chps 5-6)
Material (chp 6)
Marital (chp 7)
Meat offered to idols (chps 8 to 10)
Meetings (chps 10 to 14)
Miracle of Resurrection (chp 15)
Money (chp 16)

That it is schism which is identified as both the:

Cause
Consequence

Of their failure to thrive and lack of spiritual appetite (3:3)
We noted that this was due to the:

Cause of Schism – the flesh, carnality

Character of schism – looks at people and fails to see the Person of Christ who is the real source of spiritual food and growth and maturity

Consequence of schism – it cuts us off from the very people who may be a help to us.

What could motivate believers to work together like seeing the blessing of fellowship with the fruitfulness of that fellowship flowing out.
The irony of the situation at Corinth is exposed in 3:6 – the secret of Paul and Apollos success lay in their fellowship with one another

Principles of service:

The Position of the Servant:

“who then is Paul? ”

What about position and place?
No Prime Minister here.
The servant loses his reputation in that of his Lord and masters.
We are unable to really see Paul and Apollos in their service because they hide behind Christ, they point to Christ
Like John the Baptist of old – just a voice crying in the wilderness
Paul is ‘just a servant’
There are lots of ‘just servants’ in the Word of God.
Have you noticed them?
Possibly not!!! They do it very well!

Rebekah was just carrying some water for Eliezers camels when she stumbled into her destiny as the mother of a nation of Gods chosen earthly people, just a servant carrying water!

David was just a message boy carrying some cheeses, and parched corn to his brothers in the valley of Elah, when he was drafted into Gods destiny to slay Goliath and deliver a Kingdom and claim a Princess for his bride.

Widow of Zarephath was just collecting a few sticks when she was met by Elijah, and had her life and that of her family was miraculously preserved, and she became a type of Gods future dealings in grace with the gentiles and the recipient of the Grace of resurrection in her home! She was just out collecting some sticks.

The little Hebrew maid was just serving in her masters home in Assyria when she became the missing link between Naaman the leper and the prophet Elisha.

Ezra the scribe spent his time, very impractically, just studying his Bible, when he was identified by Artaxerxes as the ideal candidate to add content and substance to the newly constructed temple in Jerusalem.

Don’t despise a little Service!

Some are too big to:

Carry some water – What Rebekah did when she stumbled into her destiny as the mother of a nation of Gods chosen people.

Deliver some cheese – That kind of a service is a stepping stone to slaying a giant, delivering a Kingdom and claiming a Princess as a bride!

Pick up a few sticks – That is what you pick up before God reaches into you heart and raises your son from the dead

Serve in the home – The kind of cleaning task that precedes the cleansing of the leper

Nehemiah was just bearing the cup to the King when he was called to
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Purpose of the Servant

So what’s wrong with a little Service then?
I’ll tell you what, it’s ‘little’
I want big!

The service may be little indeed but notice that all of these ‘little’ services have something in common; they encourage and produce faith in a great God!

To carry a little water? – Genesis 24
“And the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord”
That’s quite a result from carrying a little water.

To deliver a few messages (1Samuel 17)

“That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Sam 17:46)
“all this assembly shall know that the Lord safety not with sword and spear for the battle is the Lords” (1 Sam 17:47)

To pick up a few sticks (1 Kings 17)

“And the woman said to Elijah now by this I know that thou art a man of God and the word of the Lord in the mouth is truth. ” (1 Kings 17:24)

To do a little house work: (2 Kings 5:15)
” Behold now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. ”
Not bad for a little below the minimum wage service in Nathan household (2 Kings 5:2)

All of these small Acts of service have something in common; they all draw out praise and worship to the Lord, they all bring Glory to the Lord.
No praise for a great servant!
That’s what 1 Co 3:5 is about
Maybe sometimes that can be a problem!

Maybe I want to be the greatest water carrier in the whole of history?
Maybe I want someone to say, look at the way that boy picks up the sticks, you’ve never seen a stick picker upper like that stick picker upper!

That’s not what service is about, it’s about pointing others and drawing others to Christ.
Purpose of the servant is not thus to:

Keep the camels happy

Build a big roaring fire with the sticks

Leave his brothers well fed and content

Have the cleanest house in Syria

This all may sound a touch absurd but how easy is it to very off on the purposes of God and get side tracked with issues that don’t really matter?

For Gods work to become dominated by entertaining carnal Christians, maintaining buildings, sustaining service and services?

Easy to miss the point: “by whom ye believed” (3:5)

Faith encountered
Faith encouraged

Provision of the Lord (3:5)

There is a plan
Pieces of the jigsaw for which we are individually fitted
God is in control, giving to each sovereignly and bringing together the plan.

“as the Lord gave” (3:5)
“God gave” (3:6)
“God that giveth” (3:7)

There is a theme here!!
God gave – Just as in Salvation, so in Service, it is of Grace!

Productivity of Service

Let us avoid 2 errors:

The mistake of trying to do everything
The mistake of endeavouring to do nothing

There is diversity in service
It can be just as disastrous to undertake a service we are not fitted for (cf. King Uzziah and his attempt to do priestly service) as it can be to fail to undertake a service we are fitted for!
Gods fits His servants for complementary service
So often the Lord will bring 2 men (or more) together to do His will and accomplish His service:

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul

The Word of God is full of such great partnerships, not by accident but by design.
Could God not have used just 1 man to accomplish His tasks from beginning to end?
Surely with the calibre of men at His disposal that should have been feasible?
Men like:

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul

If all that was done for God’s Glory was achieved by His Spirit; “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zech 4:6). Then surely the servant becomes an object of Gods Grace rather than a means to assisting the Lord.

Was Moses not sufficiently in touch with God to bring the people into the land : “whom God spoke to face to face”
Was David not close enough to Gods heart? “a man after Gods own heart”
Did Ezra not know his bible well enough?
Did Paul lack understanding of Divine truth?

Why split these tasks?
God certainly in Grace uses the diverse talents and gifts He gives to His distinctive servants.

Moses

Brought up in the palace by Pharaohs daughter (Heb 11:24)
Educated in the wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22)
He had access to Pharaoh
He knew how the Egyptian mind worked
He understand their language, learning, culture and protocols
Who better to go in before Pharaoh than one brought up in a royal Egyptian household?
Who better qualified to lead the people out of Egypt than one who had left Egypt himself?

Mind you it would be hard to lead the people of God out of Egypt if you were still living there in heart or in body yourself.

Joshua

Who more suitable to bring the people into the land than one of only 2 faithful men who had already been into the land to spy it out?
The qualification for leadership; “be strong and of good courage” (Josh 1:6); “be thou strong and very courageous” (Josh 1:7) is a qualification already shown by Joshua as one of 2 faithful spies who endeavoured to inspire the people to take the land, (Numbers 14:6-9)

Mind you it would be hard to inspire the people of God to go where we have never been, nor where we do not go ourselves.

God used a man to lead people out of what he had already left himself.
God used a man to lead people into where he had already been himself.
I don’t believe that was a coincidence.

Will we ever Lead anyone out of a world we are not prepared to leave ourselves?
Will will ever Lead anyone into blessings we have never come into ourselves?

Not because of any harsh nor arbitrary rules regarding this imposed by God but simply because leading is that; leading!!!

All of this was too much for one man.

David and Solomon

David laid out the resources for the temple (1 Chronicles 17:4; 22:2-4)
It was given to Solomon to do the building
David with his conquests was ideally placed to gather wealth from subjugated people
Not only was WEALTH needed for this temple but there was a need for someone who understood pi – WISDOM (2 Chronicles 4:2)

Nehemiah and Ezra:

Who better to start the building work at Jerusalem than a man who has Cyrus the emperor as his contact and who has the confidence of the throne? Here is the man who can muster the resources to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Interestingly a glimpse into the answer to a question recently asked of me and one which the OT is not written to specifically address; ‘what about the gentile / non Jewish nations in the OT days, did God have any dealings with them?’

Yes He did:

Abel
Enoch
Noah
Melchizedek
Jethro
Pharaoh
Balaam
Job
Rahab the Harlot
Ruth the Moabitess
Widow of Zarephath
Nathan the Leper
Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel and Belshazzer
Daniel and Darius
Nehemiah and Cyrus
Jonah and Nineveh

Ezra and Zerubabel

Ezra was no Mason nor joiner nor builder
Ezra was a scribe, who had spent his time studying the Word of God:

“Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. ” (Ezra 7:10)

Ezra knew his bible
Ezra had wisdom (Ezra 7:25)

Zerubabel and Joshua built the temple – CONSTRUCTION
Ezra brought content to the building – CONTENT

Zerubabel and Jeshua built the STRUCTURE of the temple
Ezra brought SUBSTANCE to the temple

When we come to serve let us not feel that we must do it all ourselves

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul

The Sin of Schism

For a sin almost so completely sanitised with the pseudo-spiritual bleach of self righteous sanctification, 1 Corinthians chapter 3 will drag it above the moral high ground and into the darkness of selfish, jealous carnality. Cutting ourselves off from other Christians, we have often been told is not only acceptable behaviour but the holiness of Gods people and the preservation of the true church demands it. If anyone could have found justification for the cutting off of other Christians it was the apostle Paul. The chasm was deep which separated him from the Corinthians; morally, spiritually and ecclesiastically, and yet rather than separating himself from their fellowship, he labours to stress that they are his “brothers” (1 Co 3:10) and that they all belong to Christ (1 Co 3:23). The true cause of schism gives it its lethal character; not in the circumstances which precipitate the division but in the carnal attitudes of the men who caused it.

Taken from:

1 Corinthians Chp 3 vs 1 to 3 – The Sin of Schism

A Bomb in a Basket

Sometimes we might be tempted to look at the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and at those who preach the Son of God, crucified, buried, rejected and resurrected, and to scratch our head and wonder; ‘Is that it?’

God was about to change the world forever, through the service of a converted persecutor of the church;Saul of Tarsus. In Acts chapter 9 Pauls ministry gets off to an ignoble start as he is bundled into a basket and lowered down a city wall at night! Is this the man that will turn the western world upside down? Where is the power in that? The ‘dynamite’ of God lay not in who Paul was but in what he had found in Jesus Christ! This was a Bomb in a Basket. Taken from :

The Bomb in the Basket

Easter

“Stop Believing in Disappointment – John chp 20 – JS Gillespie – 21042019” from Easter.


Easter – 3 Bad Reasons for Unbelief – Luke Chp 24 – JS Gillespie – 05042015

Job Chapter 19 verse 26 – Easter 2013 – and Job had a hope – J Stewart Gillespie – 31032013

A Message for Easter – 1 Corinthians chp 15 – Mark Johnstone (Linwood) – 24042011

Luke Chp24 – An Unexpected Resurrection – J Stewart Gillespie – 04042010

Luke Chp 24 – When Everything Seems to Go Wrong – J Stewart Gillespie – 25032008

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Martin Brown – 11042017

Gods Last Call – Acts Chapter 9 – Just Added

The Damascus Road conversion of Saul of Tarsus represented a great beginning for both the Apostle Paul, as well as for the spread of the Gospel to the western world. Gods call to Saul not only signalled the beginning of great things to come but it also sealed the end of God calling so clearly from heaven and constantly troubling Sauls conscience. Illumination for Saul in his state of spiritual darkness would come at a painful cost. God would bring him from darkness to light by illuminating him with a darkness yet darker still, a blindness so impenetrably black that God alone could reach through the bleakness of his hungry despair. This was the final opportunity to respond to the God who called from heaven.

Just added a new message preached from Acts chapter 9:

Acts chapter 9 – Gods Last Call – J Stewart Gillespie – 06042014.mp3