1 Corinthians, Week 3
BEFORE YOU COME ON APRIL 17…
YOU GUYS. This last conversation we had was <fire emoji here>. Thank you so much for listening for God’s voice as you read His Word and for sharing the ways the Spirit of God uniquely indwells you. I LOVE YOU and I’m so glad you’re coming.
FOR OUR NEXT GATHERING:
I purposefully have placed the supplemental passages first, because I want you to go into these chapters of Corinthians with a fresh reminder of the character of the God we serve, whose Spirit indwells us:
Romans 2:4, Psalm 34:8, Hebrews 10:19-25, Ephesians 3:17-19,
1 Corinthians 4:1-21, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Exodus 12:1-20 (the Passover story)
In the fourth chapter, Paul is getting specific about the ingrained cultural norms the Corinthians are walking out — consumerism, self-absorption, etc. As you read, keep in mind the ways that our own culture’s norms tend to infiltrate our thoughts and ways, asking God to open your eyes to any “Jesus-plus-this-thing” in your own life.
In the fifth chapter, Paul tackles the Corinthians’ selfishness infecting the church through sexual immorality. Paul argues that Christians “should take habitual sins seriously because not only are they toxic to individuals, but they’re also toxic to the church” (in Jennie’s words). God’s sexual ethic matters for today’s church just as much as it did to the Corinthian church. God’s design for living in obedience to Christ, rather than enslaved to sin, matters for us individually and corporately. As you read, ask God to tune your heart to His loving purposes and intentions for us, even when it means confronting sin head-on the way Paul did.
To think about:
- Why does it matter that we remember the love of God for us, as we consider Paul’s words?
- There’s a pervasive problem at the root of the Corinthians’ inability to walk in the Spirit and persistence in self-absorption (1 Col 4:7, 18; 5:2). How does this sort of pride inhibit us from walking in the Spirit? To what are we most deeply rooted? Our own wisdom, experience, resources, privilege?
- The Corinthians were living like kings, particularly in contrast to the life of the apostles (4:8-13). They had little, in terms of earthly provision, to complain about. Consider your own circumstances — are you dwelling in contentment for all God has done & provided for you? Why or why not?
- The life of Jesus was a “Not my will, but Thine”, poured-out-for-others life. Paul and Apollos and the apostles sought to pour out their lives for these new churches - their new brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you see yourself as learning to be poured out? Or do you see yourself resisting this sort of selflessness, wrestling to agree with God about His ways?
Thank God for what He has done for you through Jesus — in the eternal / spiritual realm, and specifically in your life
Invite God’s kind correction into your life, trusting that as you spend time with Him, you’ll see your sin clearly through His eyes and can confess it in His presence. Thank God for His forgiveness, which is already yours, in Christ Jesus. Ask God for discernment regarding including a sister or mentor into this process - particularly if there is any habitual sin to be dealt with. There can be great hope and restoration, when our repentance is brought into the light of accountability.
Ask God to show you ways to “remember your deliverance”, the way the Israelites did/do with Passover. Sit in His presence, wait and listen.
Read aloud the supplemental scriptures regarding the love of God for you. Thank God for His “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love”.
The fifth chapter is intense, y’all. We may or may not end up diving into sexual immorality and the specific ways it pervaded the Corinthian culture and our own. But I did want to make a note here that Paul is tackling specific sins HEAD ON in this letter…and in comparison, I find that our culture is loathe to confront sin head on, let alone specifically. And this is why we need one another and why we need the Word of God. There is a risk to calling sin what it is, there is a risk to inviting other believers into our business to pray with us and hold us accountable. Whether the context is sexual sin or ANY habitual sin that interrupts us living out of our joined-to-Christ life, we can’t afford to let sin roam free.
Jennie says that “living the backwards-to-the-world life Jesus invites us into means we’re members of a new family. We need to take care of each other.” We have the privilege and responsibility to help one another uproot anything that keeps us from living like who we REALLY are in Christ.
The beauty of the passover story we’ll read this week calls us to remember and to keep on remembering our deliverance, as women liberated from the power of sin. Let us remember and remember and remember that we belong to Christ, His Spirit indwells us, and that, as Paul wrote to the Galatians earlier:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
My hope is that this is the filter through which we read Paul’s words and that these true things about Spirit-life guide our thinking and our talking in the coming week.
HUGS TO YOU ALL, ladies!
RESOURCE LINK (for the resources mentioned that first week)
4125 Duffer Loop
Sebring, FL 33872