Just added to our section on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached from chapter 5 by J Stewart Gillespie:
It takes at times a powerful prod to wake us up; first for most of us to the reality of the danger we face and then to the possibilities open to an all powerful God. So accustomed have we become to a culture of distraction; that reality has been air brushed out of our thinking by the photoshop of amusement, social networking, film and sport. The reality of death and beyond is put to the back of our mind to focus on the important pursuits of a fleeting culture of entertainment. Then when reality is faced do we shrink away from it with thoughts of despair, nihilism and fatalism? It takes at times a supernatural and sharp blow to the chest to waken us up to our danger and to the potential of deliverance from it in Jesus Christ.
Taken from a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, from Acts chapter 12:
Just added to our teaching section on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie:
Notes from the above message:
1 Corinthians chp 5 vs 1 to 7 : ‘Better than the Best’
We may be left perplexed, shocked, confused and astounded; from chapter 5, that a church like Corinth with all of its privileges:
- Foundation in apostolic preaching and teaching
- Expository ministry of Apollos from the OT scriptures
- Stories of great conversions and testimonies; eg Sosthenes (1 Co1:1) and Crispus (Acts 18)
- Signs of the apostles (2 Co 12:12)
That such a church could fall so far and so fast
That ought to leave us more than just a little perplexed and confused and shocked
Why should it happen?
1 – Doctrinal Confusion? (cf Romans 6:11)
2 – Moral Compromise (1 Co 6:12ff) – difficult to take a stand where we have at least in part compromised ourselves on something very similar – prostitution
3 – Spiritual corruption (1 Co10:4-9)
All of that was a:
- Distraction from Christ (1Co10:4)
- Attack upon Christ (1Co10:9)
Their relationship with the Lord was compromised and that weakened these believers spiritually; their strength was sapped.
How do we get back?
What about recovery?
- Discipline (1Co5:5)
- Devotion (1Co5:7)
- Repentance (v2)
- Judgment (v3)
- Destruction of the flesh (v5)
Not as some have suggested the physical flesh or body of the believer through disease or disaster; some have drawn parallels perhaps with:
- Paul in 2 Co 13 – his thorn in the flesh
- Believers who are sick and who sleep (1 Co11:30)
This is not the physical flesh here but rather the fallen human nature:
- Sin resides not in the physical but in the inner fallen nature (Mark 7:15; 20-23)
- Notice the contrast between flesh and spirit (v5) as opposed to body and spirit (5:3)
- The judgment is with a view to their salvation and ultimate restoration (5:5; 2 Co 2:5ff); something that is difficult to imagine as an outcome if they have been destroyed!!
Discipline is only one half of the Recovery programme, back to Christ in 1 Corinthians chapter 5
To Discipline over sin the apostle adds, exhorts, gives reason for Devotion to Christ.
7 aspects to Christs surpassing greatness are presented to us by the apostle; following the pattern of Leviticus chapter 23; the 7 Feasts of Jehovah:
- Feast of Unleavened Bread
In 1 Corinthians chapter 5 we are going to come to the first 2 of these feasts:
- Unleavened Bread
In fact all 7 will be referred to / paralleled in 1 & 2 Corinthians; all pointing to the all sufficiency of a Christ who is able to satisfy:
- Passover (1 Co5:7)
- Unleavened Bread (1 Co5:7-8)
- Firstfruits (1 Co 15:20)
- Pentecost (1 Co 12:13)
- Trumpets (1 Co 15:51ff)
- Atonement (2 Co 5:21)
- Tabernacles (2 Co 5:1ff)
Just as the 7 Feasts of Jehovah give us the backbone of the OT religious system, so too if you were to come to the NT and were to ask, what does God have for me today?
What is the Big Picture?
What is the Big Purpose?
We find that it all lies in Christ.
He is the Big Picture!!
Appreciating Christ as our passover (1 Co5:7)
What does that, mean?
Exodus chp 12:
- The Place / Purpose (12:1)
- The Pre-eminence (12:2)
- The Prophecies (12:3)
- The Pictures of Christ (chp12)
1 – The Place / Purpose (12:1)
What is the passover about?
I want to modify something that has been taught over the years; that the purpose of the passover was to deliver from bondage in Egypt.
That the passover did deliver from:
Is eminently true (Exodus 3:7ff); at least it is true of the most of the nation of Israel
Of one man however more could be said.
Illust: Leo Brettell who died aged 93 last week. He had risked being shot and being killed by jumping from a moving train. The train was heading to Auschwitz and in the words of Leo Bretholz; anything was better than Auschwitz.
Leo Brettell decided that the possibility of death was better than the worst of this world; Auschwitz.
The passover delivered not only from the worst of this world – from sin and slavery and suffering but for Moses; the passover delivered from:
The Best of this World
For his story we need to turn to Hebrews chapter 11:
Moses chose Christ above:
- Sovereignty (11:24)
- Sin (11:25)
- Silver (11:26)
Moses found that the Passover lamb not only delivered from the worst of Egypt but that the Passover delivered from the best of Egypt.
Moses knew that Christ was Better than the Best!
2 – The Pre-eminence (12:2)
The nation would start their calender from the passover festival (Ex 12:2)
Interesting to reflect on our own calendar today: date, month and year – the year of the birth of the Passover lamb.
Just added to our Gospel section, a recording of Mr Jim Hopewells message from Sunday evening; preached from 2 Kings chapters 6 and 7:
Just added, a new message from 1 Corinthians chapter 5, preached by J Stewart Gillespie:
Notes from this message:
1. The Report (v1)
2. The Response (v2)
3. The Recovery (v2-v8)
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:
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:
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
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:
Pauls thorn in the flesh
I was pleased to discover however that at least 3 commentators get it right:
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.
Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians :
1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’
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
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’.
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:
Just added to the site, a recording of this Sunday evenings Gospel service conducted by Mr Robert Gray (Kirkconnel)
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:
Just added a new message preached by Mr Bill Stevely from Romans chapter 10:
Just added, a new message preached by Mr Alistair Sinclair from the book of Ruth: