Big Hill Bible Studies
05 April 2018
Throughout the week we've discussed how we are able to see God around us and inside us. Yesterday we touched on the need to "fear God and obey His commandments" by realizing that a life devoted to Him is designed to fulfill us. It is to keep us close to Him and all His children. Today I'd like to challenge you to consider how we keep that relationship close and strong.
Open your Bible to 1 Corinthians and read the first three chapters at one time. Then let's go back and discuss a few specific passages. To possibly get a better understanding Paul's letter to the church in Corinth let's "do a little background." This was a good size church, and strong - yet it had problems. Paul addressed these problems, and as he did he helps us better understand the Christian life, ministry, and relationships within the church family and Christ's body. He reveals how we are all to function together. In these first three chapters let's look at some of the fundamental steps in Christian living.
1:18-30 > "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved." What do you take from this verse? The gospel (word of the cross) sets Christians apart from the secular world. Have you ever noticed that? What saves us seems foolish to those who do not believe. What does that indicate to us who do believe? It shows the need for us to be students of the word, strong in it, and standing firm on it. In verse 26 Paul urges the readers to consider their calling - we may not all be intellectuals, but God has given us the knowledge and understanding we need to realize our need of Him and the mission we have to share the gospel. While the world may consider us foolish, Paul suggest that we even boast in it and proclaim the Lord as the center of our lives. Verse 30 tells us that our wisdom comes from Him as well as our righteousness, sanctification ("set apartness" from the world), and redemption. That is truly something to boast about - not that we have accomplished it, but that He gives it to us.
2:1-5 > Here Paul shares with them the fact he came to them with the intent to know nothing but Christ crucified among them. He wanted to give them the gospel with out any other sides. He did not use an impressive vocabulary or emotional appeals - he just presented the gospel. I'm sure his passion for the Lord and his desire to live a life of service to Him was evident to all who saw him. I want you to pay particular attention to verse 3 > "I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling." This is the same guy who called himself a Pharisee of Pharisees and blameless in the Law. That doesn't sound weak and fearful does it. What causes that kind of change in a person? And better still, how does a person like that boast? Think about how we are sometimes afraid to witness or take a stand for Christ. How do we do it anyway? Our strength comes from the Lord. We are given the words and the courage through Him. It's not about us and we recognize that - that is divine wisdom, given to us by the Lord. (read 2:12-16 again)
3:18-23 > After Paul talks about building a strong foundation, he instructs the church in Corinth (and us) to look at our "wisdom" and determine if it is worldly or in the word. He then makes a deep statement in verse 19, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." Do you think it is fair, in light of this statement, to say that all of our knowledge and "wisdom" is nothing if God is not at the center? Solomon, in his book of Ecclesiastes says several times, "all is vanity and chasing after the wind." All our worldly pursuits come to no real value in the eternal sense. Worldly wisdom is vanity and as believers we should see the foolishness in it.
So, how do we maintain our wisdom and stay free of the worldly snares and temptations? We stay in the word and seek the Lord. We love Him with everything and love our neighbors as ourselves. We search His Word for strength and courage and peace and happiness. And we pray. We "remember His words."