1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Vain Faith

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (KJV)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

There are always those who read into the Bible their own ideas, so there are those who read into here that a person can lose salvation once received. This is impossible since Jesus said, “no man is able to pluck them out of my hand.”[1]

So what does this mean?
It is possible that a person believes the historical facts about Jesus but doesn’t possess saving faith in Jesus.
I was of that sort for many of my younger years. I would never have thought to question the historical narrative of the life death and resurrection of Christ. I am confident that I would have argued in support of them. But I was not a Christian and when pressed about it, I knew it.

Some have a profession of faith but it is false.
There is, as far as I can see, only one way for an outsider to know if a person’s profession of faith is false or real, time. Sooner or later the false professor will return to the old wallow. The flesh will not be able to keep up a walk with God forever. There are Christians who backslide but the difference is that God will not allow them to continue in that state. They will get under conviction, be chastened by the Lord and either repent or be taken early to heaven. The false professor can happily roll around in his old wallow the rest of his life.

There is no such thing as losing eternal life or it was never eternal. But there is such a thing as a false professor. For that reason Apostle Paul includes this exception; they were saved, if they keep the gospel. Otherwise they are merely false professors or believers in the facts and not in saving faith.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Vain Faith

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[1] John 10:27-29 (KJV)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

1 Corinthians 14:6 New Testament Preaching

1 Corinthians 14:6 (KJV)
Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

The focus of this chapter is the edification of the church. At the time of this writing the gift of tongues, as it was found in the Book of Acts, still existed (or at least some still remembered when it existed) but it was fading away. It was a gift exclusively belonging to those of the apostolic era. It had no value after the Word of God was finalized and so ceased. That doesn’t mean people who liked to be seen didn’t make up their own versions of the gift.

Paul’s instructions in the chapter are intended to build maturity in the believers; stop focusing on yourselves and put your efforts into the church God has made you a member of. In this regard Paul writes of the four styles of message that profits a church. No doubt they had unique meaning to the apostles but they also have value today:

Revelation
Means to reveal a thing. It’s opening the Bible and making it plain. A difficult passage brought to light.

Knowledge
This word is related to science (the real kind, not falsely so called). I think it could relate to application. People profit when the preacher can show them how to live out the Bible.

Prophesy
This word means prediction. Here is the preacher reminding his congregation of Bible promises yet to be fulfilled.

Doctrine
It means instruction but I want to keep it at its root. Every preacher needs to teach his congregation the doctrinal truths that give his faith: distinction, justification and grounding.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 14:6 New Testament Preaching

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

1 Corinthians 11:16 (KJV)
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The subject is that of authority as designated by length of hair. The apostle states that nature itself teaches men should wear short hair and women should wear long[1]. I suppose it has to do with how impractical long hair is on the working man or the warrior. Both Greek and Jewish culture insisted that, with some rare exceptions, a man should wear his hair short.

I gather that, just as today, there were some who just wanted to argue things like this. It is to them that Paul writes verse sixteen. John Gill makes the following statement regarding this verse and those to whom it refers:

“…a man that is always contending for contention sake, and is continually caviling and carping at everything that is said and done in churches, and is always quarrelling with one person or another, or on account of one thing or another, and is constantly giving uneasiness, is not fit to be a church member; nor ought he to be suffered to continue in the communion of the church, to the disturbance of the peace of it.”

My point has little to do with the hair issue and much more to do with the contention issue. Contentious people, according to Gill are, “…not fit to be a church member.”

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 11:16 Strong Words

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[1] Exactly how long or how short is not provided in the text. I would take that to be based on cultural preferences.

1 Corinthians 8:13 I Can, But I Won’t

1 Corinthians 8:1 (KJV)
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

1 Corinthians 8:13 (KJV)
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

The student of the Bible ought to bear in mind that the church in Corinth had stretched grace to the point of abuse.

  • They knew that God is forgiving
  • They knew that salvation is forever
  • They knew that idols were nothing
  • They therefore behaved presumptuously.

This chapter addresses that presumption of grace. The Apostle began by first acknowledging their understanding concerning things offered to idols. Truly they are nothing. Then he inserts a contrast; “knowledge puffeth up but charity edifieth.”

The chapter progresses along the line of that contrast until it arrives at the conclusion in verse thirteen. I think the chapter might be summarized by a single statement, “I can but I won’t. ” That, I believe, is a quality that Christians should strive to possess; the awareness that in Christ we are perfectly free coupled with a heart that places boundaries around us for the sake of others.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 8:13 I Can, But I Won’t

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1 Corinthians 5:13 A Severe Blow Against Sin

1 Corinthians 5:13 (KJV)
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

We have here an example, and not the only one, in the Bible of our thin skinned, hypersensitive nature today. We would have an outcry if a preacher pointed as clearly as Paul did to this young man and called him a wicked person.

It is true that this man’s sin was exceptional but it is also true that the church had been generous with him and his sin. Their generosity towards sin compares to our own. They felt like God’s grace overruled the nature of the sin just like today’s Christian thought insists that grace overrules any sort of sin:

  • Living together
  • Homosexual behavior
  • Licentiousness
  • Abusiveness

You name the sin and there will be a church somewhere willing to overlook it, probably even excuse it. How dare we call anyone a wicked person?

Notice the hard nature of Paul’s exhortations concerning this one:

  • He was to be excluded from the church
  • He was to be excluded from the fellowship
  • He was to be delivered to Satan

I want to quickly point out that there was provision for his restoration. In the second letter to Corinth Paul will tell them to receive him back.

But the restoration likely would never have happened if there had not first been a severe blow against his sin.

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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 5:13 A Severe Blow Against Sin

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1 Corinthians 4:5-6 The Most Disobeyed Passage in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 4:5-6 (KJV)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

These may be some of the most disobeyed verses of the Bible.

Paul urges us, with respect to those ministers of Christ we have come to admire, not to judge anything “before the time”. We tend to disregard this.

  • We judge which pastors are successful and which are not
  • We judge which preachers have the anointing of God and which do not
  • We judge which preachers are effective in the pulpit and which are not
  • We judge who is worthwhile to follow and who is not

We have all sorts of ways to justify this behavior; we aren’t, in our minds, calling one better than the other. We are only identifying which ones to follow. After all Paul said to follow him as he followed Christ.

Paul warns that the danger is that we would get puffed up; not in ourselves but in our favorite preacher. Tell me it isn’t true that whole fellowships of churches have been built around a favorite preacher. Tell me that those fellowships of pastors and churches have not engaged in thinking their leader (or leaders) is better than some other group’s leader (or leaders). Tell me that no one has ever been puffed up against another believer because they think the guy they follow is more of a man of God than the guy this other group follows.

I realize that false doctrine exists. I say we should carefully judge doctrine and denominations. We should and we must. However, within the ranks of sound Baptist churches, no one should ever judge one man’s ministry over another.

We do not know how the Lord will judge them in His time.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 4:5-6 The Most Disobeyed Passage in the Bible?

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1 Corinthians 3:6-8 Only Christ is Something

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (KJV)
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

It is easy for us to compartmentalize the Bible so much that we miss its full message. We have an example of that here where Paul picks up a subject that was first found two chapters earlier. Apparently he was not finished. This tells us that any proper understanding of the second and third chapters requires that we understand it in the context of schisms and the dangers of having “favorite” preachers.

The point that our apostle was making is that only Christ is “something”.

  • Paul was nothing
  • Apollos was nothing

These two men, and countless like them over the last two millennia, were just laborers.

  • Some of them planted
  • Some of them watered 
  • Some of them harvested

In every case, however, the increase came of Christ or else it was no increase at all.

We are all equal. We are all nothing. Only Christ is something.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 3:6-8 Only Christ is Something

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1 Corinthians 1:12-13 Case Closed

1 Corinthians 1:12-13 (KJV)
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

I think too many forget that this passage is written to a single local church. To apply it to an imaginary invisible universal church may seem to be the easiest, but it is by no means the most accurate interpretation. This church was facing division. These people within it were claiming unholy loyalties. Paul meant to put an end to it.

Paul’s central argument was this, “…was Paul Crucified for you?” Paul had come to Corinth to establish that church. He had preached the gospel that led to their salvation. He had taught and trained them in the truths associated with their faith but he was not the One who had died, was buried and rose again for them.

And neither were any of their other heroes.

  • Case closed
  • Slammed shut
  • No more argument

Jesus Christ alone was their Saviour and to Christ alone they must give allegiance.

Interestingly, there was a dividing faction in the church that did claim, “I am of Christ”. The context demands that this group, though sounding holy, were equally in the wrong.

John Gill writes concerning those who claimed “I am of Christ“,
“They were for Christ without his ministers; they were wiser than their teachers; they were above being under any ministrations and ordinances; as the others attributed too much to the ministers of the Gospel, these detracted too much from them, and denied them to be of any use and service. Some persons may be, in such sense, for Christ, as to be blame worthy; as when they use his name to deceive men, or divide his interest.”

Our loyalties belong strictly to Christ who will always lead us to,

Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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1 Corinthians 1:12-13 Case Closed

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