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Never get used to lovelessness

June 17, 2013

(updated)

Bits on a series of messages on 1st Corinthians; chapters 1-4, 6-7, 11 and 13.

The highest duty and delight of a christian is to behave and be like Jesus; the highest compliment one can receive is to hear, ‘you remind me of Jesus’. There is a difference between an intellectual ascent and a changed life. The Christian man prays on his knees, and practices on his feet in his life. Yet sometimes the question seems to be, ‘is Corinth in the church, or is the church in Corinth?’ If we don’t get the world out of our churches and lives, we remain stunted and thumb-sucking. The church does not feel like the church when culture > Christ. Neither idolise nor demonise church leaders, for ungodly comparisons lead to unnecessary discontentment, and then to unhealthy divisions, whether in church leadership, various teams and ministries, or small group leaders etc. Quarrels and arguments in leadership or in family come when big egos fight over small matters. There is only one cornerstone of the church, and he is Christ.

  • The counter cultural gospel – the man on a cross is the answer to my problems – God uses a foolish answer to put to shame the wise, the weak are made strong in Christ.

Having said these, let us retain a high view of our pastoral ministry, and pray for our best and brightest to go into full time, as opposed to seeing full time ministry as a place for those who cannot make it in the ‘real world’.

Getting the Corinth out of our veins is deliberate and intentional, replacing it with the blood of Christ. From the looks of it, this is a discipline, training a habit in which Christ is our first instinct and lasting action; our first thought of the day, lasting throughout the day and our last thought at night. When it comes to all the addictions and temptations our time and world offer us, I will not be mastered, which test is the question, “can I stop if I wanted to?” In our sex mad world, God is with us in sexual purity. There are at least 4 reasons for sexual purity: redemption, that Christ died for the body. We are bought with a price, and the true value of anything is known by the price God is willing to pay for it. Christ also rose for the body, and will raise us up, so he is our resurrection reason to be pure. God made the body, and has creation rights over it. Finally, the Spirit lives, or tabernacles, in the body, giving a sanctification reason for sexual purity. It may then seem tempting to interpret these as a call to asceticism, or even hedonism, but the key lessons are that it’s all about the body (of Christ), and all about unity. Relatedly, when I flee from sin, it makes a difference how I flee. I must never get used to wasting my life or my body, never give up something with a sense of deprivation. The Christian life is what we have been saved from and what we are saved to, not what we have died to or given up. Life is lived differently from these two perspectives, which may be likened to the difference between a flagging body posture and a triumphant one. Also, when I flee, I do not hide the sin. I bring it to Christ. If I hide it, or attempted to shoulder or kill it in my own strength, Christ’s death is made in vain. If I can shoulder or kill it in my own strength, Christ wouldn’t have needed to have died for me, nor the Holy Spirit need to live in me. The heart is the issue, compromising the heart is the issue- big sins come from small compromises. In the area of the marriage union, then, marriage is an invitation to utterly die to myself: my desire (or the lack thereof), my rights (to keep my body to my self), to serve the other. I exist to serve the other for his godliness. I’ll possibly note more in a separate post on marriage. Regarding our bodies and singlehood, Christ remains Lord and so do that reasons for redemption, resurrection, creation and sanctification. In hard times, we may feel like dying of loneliness, but- our true identity is in Christ and his coming. As such, then, we use our bodies to the single goal of glorifying God and his command.

A note on sexual sins, such as pornography- there are freedoms that enslave, and so, never get used to wasting your life, never get used to dishonouring God. Christ died for the body, he rose for it, God made it, and the Spirit tabernacles in it. The heart of the matter is the belief that I have the liberty, the freedom, the right to live my life my own way.

Also, regarding the Lord’s supper- the cross of Jesus is a great levelly of human separation, to keep out all forms of human pride so we do not find any security in other things except Jesus and His cross. Pride always occurs at the expense of others- humility is the glue that holds the church together, who needs to be blind and borderless, for Jesus is the peace that has broken down every wall. Blessed is the peacemaker, vs the spiritual arsonist. Let us not breed dichotomy and stratification in our culture and our church. Love is in humility and patience: what is in your heart?

More on love and lovelessness in a separate post.

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