Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest.
We are just as proud as these disciples.
At least I am.
I know this because when I read that they were arguing about being greatest I naturally assume they were making their individual cases as to why they personally were the greatest.
But the text doesn't say that.
But we know that is what the text means because it is unimaginable that they were arguing by making cases as to why their fellow disciples ought to be honored as the greatest and why they personally were not worthy to be considered disciples.
When people argue about who the greatest among a group of people is, the tenor of the fight is always to gather points for the home team you represent.
People do not get into pride fights that end in giving praise and adoration to others, but only in accruing accreditation for one's self and demolishing or mutilating the applause that could be extended to others.
We are just like the disciples and I know it because I read the verses the same way the disciples lived in them: through pride and self-seeking.
What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
The very best we can achieve in these frail, failing bodies can never accomplish for us eternal security.
We cannot muster or materialize a merit that lasts forever.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
But these dying bodies can be born again and made to live forever by the One who conquered sin, Satan and death forever by His perfect merit.
Death will finally and forever be defeated only upon our admission into eternal life by faith in Christ alone.
Then, and only then, will death be swallowed up and these bodies of ours made ready to survive the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The bumble bee's buzz boasts of pain to come, but Jesus has absorbed the poison our sin required and now flying around is merely a wasp with no stinger, a rose with no thorn, a snake without fangs, a death without fear.
1 Corinthians 15:58
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Therefore, be full of joy and hope and faith that is manifested in increasing eagerness and activity in the name of Jesus, not because you need to earn it or pay it back, but because all that is required has already been achieved and is offered to you freely by the triumph of Jesus on our behalf.
But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.
Paul begins this chapter by explaining that the distinction between men and women is very important Dudes should look like dudes and ladies should look like ladies.
Paul then goes on to explain that there should be unity in the church and that divisions should be dissolved by Christian humility and setting ourselves aside.
The current temperature of our cultural context provides ample evidence of the NEED of this teaching to hit home.
We are daily being bombarded by opportunities that BLUR the distinction between men and women. The push fromPaul here is to work hard to DISTINGUISH one from the other as different categories with specific data points for identification.
We are also daily bombarded by opportunities to DIVIDE and DISTINGUISH ourselves from other Christians over matters which DO NOT matter.
The call here is to rightly DISCERN.
There ARE things that REQUIRE distinction and division and there ARE things that REQUIRE dying to one's self in order to reconcile division and distinction.
Some things are different and should STAY that way.
Some things are different and should BE RECONCILED.
It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.
Gaining entrance to the Kingdom of God is accomplished ONLY by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection on our behalf.
Nothing you eat or don't eat can gain or lose your acceptance into His Kingdom, which makes sense since it is ONLY accessed by grace through faith in Christ alone.
But isn't it easy to act or think as though the weight of things as simple as what we eat has some eternal consequence as heavy as being allowed in or being kept out?
It isn't that these decisions are without any weight or ought to have no consideration afforded to them, but rather the discipline of remembering that however weighty they may be, they are not a matter of salvation or damnation.
12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
In other words, it is not your job to judge those who don't claim to know God, but it is your responsibility to judge those who identify themselves with Jesus.
Don't we as Christians almost ALWAYS get this backwards?
We spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about those outside of the church who are sending our country and our world to hell in a hand basket. But what would you expect from those who don't know Jesus? Weren't we JUST like them before He saved us by His grace? Wouldn't we even now with all we know and all we've overcome revert to similar behavior if it were not for the sustaining and persevering grace of God in Christ Jesus on our behalf through His Spirit's presence and power?
Another successful Sunday Funday in the books! Wake up and eat homemade oatmeal for breakfast as a family. Off to church for service at 10:45am. Pick up an extra large thin crust pizza and a gluten-free three cheese ravioli meal for Paige from Aldi. Get home, change out of church clothes and into jam jams. Eat pizza (and three cheese ravioli) as a family for lunch. EVERYONE naps!!! Wake up, get dressed and go on a family walk. Get home, back into jammies, pop popcorn and family movie night. Tonight's film was "The Lego Movie." Good times. Funday indeed. #thedadlife
Oswald was spot on the other morning when he said,
We take a rational view of life and say that a man by controlling his instincts, and by educating himself, can produce a life which will slowly evolve into the life of God.
That is so often so true of me.
I think about other people that way and accuse them of being lazy if they are not as saintly as I assume they should be.
And I am easily often discouraged at my lack of progress assuming it is primarily my fault for not merely trying harder or being better.
But both assume an ability about mankind that is foreign to the Biblical truth of the matter.
We cannot produce the life of God in ourselves, by ourselves, by grit, will power, discipline and/or determination.
The fact of sin and the terrifying depths of its root in our hearts and heads must not be too quickly set aside in favor of more hope-filled flatteries of ourselves and hateful judgments of our neighbors.
13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Don't try to escape the difficulties of this world by indulging in partying and drunkenness.
Don't try to create a little private heaven on earth by turning entirely to inward pleasure-seeking.
Don't try to ruin what good others experience by arguing and judging and being jealous of them and their blessings.
Instead, walk in the presence of Jesus. If it helps, pretend that Jesus is everywhere at all times and that He is with you in whatever you do. Oh wait! You don't have to pretend. He IS everywhere at all times and you are NEVER outside His presence.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. The Lord waits. He wants to be gracious to you and to me and if He acted before He waited, He would have to destroy us all. But He exalts Himself in His mercy to us. He is a God of justice, yet His desire is to be gracious and merciful, so He waits. He waits so that we might respond to His mercy and in turn, wait for Him.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. He died for people who were hostile in their thinking and doing evil deeds AGAINST Him so that He could treat us as though we were always perfectly loyal to Him.
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. Your gain cannot wash away your guilt. In fact, if you present your gain to God as an explanation of why you ought to be welcomed into His presence, you will be turned away and found wanting. The only righteousness that will suffice is the righteousness of Christ. By His grace, He gladly and freely offers that to you.
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Isaiah was a sinner. He needed atonement for his sins. That atonement was a sacrifice in the form of God's only Son, Jesus, cursed on a tree that Isaiah's guilt might be taken away and his sin atoned. Just like you and me need.
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. Not only will you certainly die someday, you already are dead or were dead. We were dead. All of us. And we all will die. All of us. If we do nothing, we will stay dead and die in our sins and be resurrected to eternal damnation and torment. If God does nothing, there is nothing we can do to remedy our situation. But God has done something. He disarmed the rule of sin and the authority of shame that kept us held captive to death. He died so that we might be brought to life and live forever with Him, the one who died and yet now lives eternally.
33 “How well you direct your course to seek love! So that even to wicked women you have taught your ways. 34 Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things 35 you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ The majority of people respond to the question, "If you died tonight would you go to Heaven or Hell?" by saying, "Heaven." Again, the majority of people when asked why they should get to go to Heaven respond by saying, "I've tried to do the right thing, I've been a pretty good person, I'm not perfect, but I gave it my best." Just to be clear: no, you're not and no, you haven't. The majority of people who think that they are good people are in fact bad people, guilty of sin and under the judgment of God for things they fully anticipate Him to reward them.
2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
Isn't that just like us?
We desperately desire to be rewarded rather than given a hand out.
We want to have earned it.
We want good things for ourselves, but more importantly, we want to be rewarded for having been good (or at least good enough).
We reject God's gift because we don't want it that way.
We want Heaven at the end of a blue ribbon for having crossed the finished line fastest.
We'd prefer to be rewarded for our performance rather than be granted gifts we didn't deserve.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
There are no good people, only bad.
But there is only one God and He is good.
He doesn't prove Himself good by pretending sinners don't deserve to die or changing His definition of good.
He proves His goodness and love by dying for those who deserve to die.