1 Corinthians, Week 4

 
 

BEFORE YOU COME ON APRIL 24…

I’m so grateful for this happy living room full of conversation — thank you for last week’s dialogue and for sharing your hearts as Jesus reveals Himself to you in His word!

FOR OUR NEXT GATHERING:

To read:
1 Corinthians 6:1-20, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Philippians 2:1-8, Romans 8:32-34, Revelation 21:1-4

Chapters 4 and 5 asked us to confront selfishness through uprooting sin and trusting the Spirit of God at work in ourselves (and in one another) along the way. Chapters 6 and 7 are moving through a similar idea, in the context of interpersonal relationships of different types.

In chapter six, the big idea we’re looking at is that Christ-empowered people can confront selfishness even when wronged, rather than demanding our rights in every injustice. The Church’s identity as Christ-followers should distinguish it from other cultural communities and this wasn’t happening when Corinthian believers took one another to court. As we read this, consider Jesus Christ’s own willingness to be wrongfully accused and killed on the cross.

In chapter seven, Paul is responding to specific questions and issues that have come to him from the Corinthian church. One commentator I read pointed out that while in chapter six Paul writes sternly, in chapter seven he takes a more pastoral, informative tone. He’s shepherding them here, informing the Corinthians that even as body and soul cannot be separated, physical and spiritual intimacy are inseparable as well. It’s not our relational status that determines our fulfillment or ability to obey, it is our spirit-willingness to walk in obedience whatever our circumstances.

To think about:
- “Look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others…” (from Philippians 2 reading); When have you had to put your desires aside for the sake of another person? How did that feel? What did you know or sense from the Spirit of God?

- Several times in these chapters Paul reminds the Corinthians of how fleeting* our “earth time” is. How does it change our willingness to _______ (lay down our rights, defer to others, to be willing to be wronged) when we consider the future hope of glory, of Christ’s restoration of all things? [*6:2,3, 7:31]

- Read Colossians 3:12-13 — meditate on Paul’s words here, pray them back to the Father. Ask Him to show you tangible ways you can “put off” those things you once walked in and “put on” who you truly are in Christ Jesus.

- I’m repeating this question because I think it bears re-consideration: the life of Jesus was a “Not my will, but Thine”, poured-out-for-others life. 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?

To pray:

  • Thank God for the relationships in your life that encourage and build you up — rejoice in the good gift of like-minded friends; thank God for the relationships in your life that your more complex or painful — ask Him to show you Himself in those, that you might be an expression of His life.

  • God’s purposes for relationships (romantic or familial or otherwise) are infinitely better than our own ideas. Spend some time asking God to cultivate in you a contented heart for whatever season you are in, whatever relationships He has currently given you.

  • Ask God to give you eyes to see any areas in which you have “gospel amnesia” — are you, like the Corinthians, forgetting who you are? Acting like not-a-saint? Trust the Father who loves you and called you to Himself to show you how you can walk out remembering your identity in Christ.