1 Corinthians

Fellowship

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God tolerates no competition and will not allow idolatry to go unpunished, (Deut. 32:21; Jer. 25:6,9; Rev. 21:8).  Idols and the things sacrificed to them have no spiritual nature or power in themselves (1 Corin. 8:4,8), but they do represent the demonic.  If pagan worshipers believe an idol was a god, demons act out the part of the imagined god (2 Thess. 2:9-11).  There is not a true god in the idol, but there is a satanic spiritual force (Deut. 32:17, Psalm 106:37).

“Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons”, 1 Corin. 10:20.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for 1 Corinthians 10:19,20,22.

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Evil company

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By word or example, evil friends are a corrupting influence.  Hope in the resurrection is sanctifying; it leads to godly living, not corruption.  Some in the church did not know God and were a corrupting influence, but not for those who hoped for life in God’s presence (see John 3:2,3).

Commentary from the MacArthur study bible, notes for 1 Corinthians 15:33,34.

The Power of Love-1 Corinthians 13

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In 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, we learn that love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (v.6).  This means believers aren’t to dwell on the harm others cause and write them off as hopeless, despicable criminals.  Love enables us to hate the evil unjustly visited upon the innocent while valuing the one who committed the act.  More simply, we hate the sin but love the sinner.

In spite of everything that seems apparent about someone who’s been driven to sinful actions, God has created him or her with the potential to be made into something good.  Outwardly, it may seem as if a difficult upbringing, poor treatment, or negative influence has corrupted a person’s morality and worldview beyond repair.  For such individuals, the capacity to love and rise above circumstances can get buried so deep that it may seem nonexistent.

God still considers the most evil and corrupt person worth saving.  How do I know this is true?  Because John 3:16-one of the very first verses we teach children-He said that whoever believes in God’s Son will have eternal life.  Many of us are guilty of thinking we deserve His love because we look good compared to those we deem unlovable.  But God doesn’t work that way.  He loves every single person, no matter how awful his or her sin may be.

God doesn’t want anyone to mistreat others; such sinful action will bring repercussions or discipline.  But the Lord does extend His care, mercy, and salvation to anybody who wants it.  He keeps no record of wrongs.  He loves without conditions.  And He wants us to love in the same way.

Commentary from In Touch Devotional magazine by Charles Stanley, May 4, 2017.

I Hope to Meet You There

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Picture this:  A city shaped like a cube that covers the United States from the Atlantic coast to the middle of Kansas, and from Texas to the Canadian border-1,400 miles long, wide, and high.  It covers about two million square miles of land; but because it’s a cube with room for about 600 “floors”, all total it has 1.2 billion square miles of living space.  That’s the city the Bible calls the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2).

Sometimes people wonder whether there will be room in heaven for all the millions of believers destined to go there.  Based on the above dimensions, it would appear so!  The New Jerusalem is not heaven-it’s a city in heaven that will serve as the “capital” of heaven.  In it are the thrones of God and the Lamb, a river of the water of life, and the tree of life:  food, water, and Jesus Christ-everything needed to live forever.  The question is not whether there will be room in the New Jerusalem for everyone-there will be-but rather, will you be there?  Jesus has invited you to join Him there.

Commentary from the Pathways Devotional by David Jeremiah, May 11.

The city is laid out as a square;

its length is as great as its breadth.

And he measured the city with the reed:

twelve thousand furlongs.

Its length, breadth, and height are equal.

Revelation 21:16

Where to Focus

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Warren Bennis, the popular management consultant, wrote in Why Leaders Can’t Lead:  “Magnanimous and/or humble people are notable for their self-possession.  They know who they are, have healthy egos, and take more pride in what they do than in who they are.  They take compliments with a grain of salt and take intelligent criticism without rancor.  Such people learn from their mistakes and don’t harp on the mistakes of others…True leaders are, by definition, both magnanimous and humble.”

Solomon, in writing the Proverbs, agreed, saying that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34).  Humility precedes honor (Proverbs 15:33); and humility, coupled with the fear of the Lord, brings “riches, honor, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

By humility, however, the Bible doesn’t mean a low self-image.  We aren’t to put ourselves down or nurture an inferiority complex.  We’re just to think of Jesus more often than we think of ourselves, and we’re to put the needs of others before our own.  Today, try keeping a window before your face instead of a mirror.

“Humility does not consist simply in thinking cheaply of one’s self so much as in not thinking of self at all-and of Christ more and more.”  Keith Brooks

Commentary from the Pathways Devotional, by David Jeremiah, April 24.

Warren Bennis, Why Leaders Can’t Lead (San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1989), 118