In the first eleven verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul emphatically stressed the historical reality behind Jesus’ resurrection as well as the central place it holds in the gospel message itself, a message which is “of first importance”. It is crucial for the Corinthians to understand how important the resurrection is, and Paul will now explain why....Keep Reading
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In this final section of the Sermon on the Mount so far, Jesus has used a series of contrasts to demand a response from his audience. They are to choose the narrow road as opposed to the wide road (7:13-14), listen to true teachers as opposed to false ones (7:15-20), and to do God’s will over and against merely professing to love him (7:21-23). Jesus turns to one more contrast to conclude his sermon....
Every good sermon closes with a call to action. Having established what life in the Kingdom of Heaven is to look like (Matthew 5:17-7:12), Jesus now invites us to choose whether we will follow the path he has laid out in this Sermon or the way of the world. ...
In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus addressed our values, the things we treasure. This leads quite naturally to the subject of anxiety, for if our heart is where our treasure is (v. 21), and if our treasure is something on earth that can be lost, then our hearts will always be restless with worry that our treasure might be taken from us....
A major theme in the Sermon on the Mount is how different Jesus’ followers are to be from the rest of the world and what role our distinctiveness plays in God’s mission. In 6:1-18, Jesus illustrated the Christian’s distinctiveness in terms of his devotional life. Now he addresses our perspective and values. As citizens of the kingdom, the things we value (vv. 19-24) and the things we worry about (vv. 25-34) will be unmistakably different from the things the rest of the world values and worries about....
Jesus spent much of Matthew 5 illustrating the principle he stated back in 5:20: that his followers’ righteousness should be an inner one that delights to obey God’s commandments. This theme of inner righteousness carries over into this next section (Matthew 6:1-18) where Jesus contrasts hypocritical and authentic faith. In 6:1, he states a principle and illustrates it in the areas of giving (vv. 2-4), prayer (vv. 5-15), and fasting (vv. 16-18)....
Before closing out his letter, Paul devotes an impressive fifty-eight verses to the topic of the resurrection, and it’s not until verse 12 that we learn why: some in the church were saying that “there is no resurrection of the dead”. Paul spends the first eleven verses highlighting how crucial Jesus’ resurrection is to the gospel itself and how well-attested it is....Keep Reading
The importance of some spiritual gifts were being exaggerated in Corinth while others were minimized. Those with more “impressive” gifts saw their gifts as proof of their spiritual superiority and as a means of serving themselves rather than others. So far in this section, Paul has reminded the church that God has given them numerous indispensable gifts (ch. 12), and t...Keep Reading
Many in the church at Corinth were exaggerating the importance of certain spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, and knowledge, and the church was fracturing because of this. Those with these gifts deemed themselves more important than those who didn’t, and those who didn’t were tempted to feel useless and unimportant in the church. In chapter 12, Paul reminded the...Keep Reading
The Corinthians found no shortage of things to be divided over. There was Team Paul vs. Team Apollos (1:12), weak Christians vs. strong Christian (chs. 8-10), and wealthy Corinthians vs. poor Corinthians (11:17-34). In chapters 12-14 we’re introduced to yet another point of division: spiritual gifts. Instead of appreciating the many ways God gifted his people, many in th...Keep Reading
So far, Paul has written to the Corinthians about divisions (1:10-4:21), sexual immorality (chs. 5-7), and Christian freedom (chs. 8-10). In this next section of his letter (chs. 11-14), he turns to address how the Corinthians should conduct themselves in the context of public worship, beginning with their conduct regarding head coverings and the Lord’s Supper....Keep Reading
Paul has used the controversial issue of eating in pagan temples to teach on Christian freedom and love. In chapter 8, he argued that Christ-like love forbids us to do anything, however lawful, if it will harm other believers. We ought to be more concerned with building each other up than asserting our “rights”. In chapter 9, he pointed to himself as an example of this...Keep Reading
Paul began this section of his letter (8:1-11:1) by addressing foods sacrificed to idols and emphasized the priority of sacrificing one’s rights for the good of the “weaker” brother who could not eat those foods with a clear conscience. Love for others, he said, should take precedent over our “rights”. Paul now turns to show how he has modeled this in his own lif...Keep Reading
In chapters 5-7, Paul addressed issues relating to sexuality. In addition to being sexually promiscuous, Corinth was also steeped in idol-worship, and Paul now turns in this section to address how to live faithfully in such a culture (8:1-11:1). Specifically, he addresses the matter of eating food that’s been sacrificed to idols. In doing so, he addresses the more founda...Keep Reading
First-century Corinth was well-known for its sexual immorality, so it was no surprise that Paul had to address reports of it within the church (1 Cor. 5-6). Others in the church, however, perhaps as an over-reaction to Corinth’s blatant immorality, promoted an ascetic lifestyle which looked down on sex, even within marriage. Paul now turns to address this group in the ch...Keep Reading