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The command to be happy as believers raises questions for all who suffer trials or have good cause for heaviness. Here is joy that exists alongside every hard experience, and how it is to be procured by reflection on key aspects of Christ and His work for us.
The believer’s life is to be a conscious and willing sacrifice of love and service to God. Here is how we are to assess the condition of our church, and where it should be strong. Also, here are Paul’s indications of a future pastor.
To grow in appreciation of and delight in God’s commands provides motivation and zeal for obedience. Here is Paul’s counsel for advance and especially in the paramount duty of representing Christ by our lives, and lifting up the light of the Gospel.
Sanctification involves striving in obedience to God, by His power. Here are key striving texts, and an overview of the four departments of holy, spiritual living for which we are to strive. Here also is the apostle’s definition of conscientious effort.
As God-and-Man Christ is elevated to the highest glory and given a name unutterable on earth, but known in Glory. A strongly uplifting study for believers is to explore this greatest name, not to identify it, but to grasp its significance and wonder.
Paul shows that to think as a Christian needs the impetus of strong indebtedness to Christ. Urged by this, we can adopt spiritual values, particularly dis-self-esteem, plus outgoing care for others. Then we begin to resemble our Lord, who laid aside Heavenly glory for His people.
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How greatly Paul longed to be with Christ! Do we have such love of the Lord? Here Paul shows how to increase in appreciation of Christ. He also urges believers to Gospel labour, honouring their heavenly citizenship standards (not compromising with the world, as some prescribe).
Paul’s great profession challenges every believer. All we are and have is Christ’s – homes, possessions, abilities, and time. He is our standing, strength, joy and future. We live to prove Him in holiness, service and love, and here is how death is all gain for His people.
Paul is silenced by imprisonment for years, yet in Rome his witness stirs the entire emperor’s palace and guard, and moves the ‘underground’ church to new boldness. Learning from the tragedy of wrongly motivated preachers. Also, praying for preachers, and the challenge to magnify Christ by life or death.
Paul prays that our love will overflow, leading us to choose Christ’s interests in every aspect of life. Our spiritual journey consists of continuous choices – here they are. Right choosing keeps us genuine all the way, and gives rise to practical fruits that glorify God.
Philippi had a remarkable congregation, bonded to the apostle Paul through longstanding ties of support and love. This is truly an epistle of love, also shedding much light on how to apply the Word to life, and to the practical service of Christ.
Holiness comes only by God’s help. Why atheists cannot improve. Believers may resist God’s work in them. Here are the good works we were converted for, with hindrances and helps. The importance of giving all glory to Christ (and the tragedy of evangelical celebrity culture).
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This inspired prayer for the people begins by lifting up Almighty God, an all prayer must. The God of peace is extolled, the resurrected Christ, His authority over his people, His work as Shepherd, His all-accomplishing blood, and the covenant everlasting. Here are the assurances.
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The attitude of believers toward this doomed world; compassion but not restoration; in it but never of it; the stance of the Lord and of Bible history; soul-winning our great aim. Also, the central place of praise, and how we offer it in Christ’s name.
Here – the doctrines of the faith are an anchor to avoid drift. Grace must be held to as the exclusive way of salvation; it cannot hold fellowship with ‘works’. Proof that O.T. food laws have ceased. Reasons why Christian must never be ‘culturally progressive’; loyalty to God is at stake.
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Ways to remember great lessons of the spiritual life and doctrine; how undershepherds ‘rule’ as guides not by personal authority, but by faithful, applied preaching. What is not meant by the words ‘obey’ and ‘submit’ (v17) and the vital true sense.
Covetousness is a fierce spoiler of a believer’s experience of the Lord. Here are its forms and effects, how it becomes an act of worship, and the remedies to be used to combat it. Here, also, are Christ’s glorious kindnesses toward His people.
The climax of incentives to holiness is revealed as the greatness of the cause we serve. For we are not called to the Mosaic order, but the Gospel age; to the kingdom that shall never fall. Here are its contrasting and glorious features – and our duties.
Good churches are soon corrupted and disabled by indifference to holy living, so believers are to watch over each other, thankful that they are not under the Old Testament order, but the altogether better order of Christ’s people, bound for the heavenly Jerusalem. Here are the mighty differences.
A low state of spiritual love, fervour, service and assurance may be speedily remedied by the blessing of God, and here is how. Here also is the duty of peace with worldlings, and the necessity of inward purity for a deep awareness of the Lord – by faith.
Here are the depths and riches of the Father’s training of His people, representing His affection and plans for them. We may neglect it, becoming subject to the firmer disciplines here noted. How may we tell between chastisements, and afflictions for other purposes?
Famously called ‘the greatest fight in the world’ these verses show us how the hearts of believers may be kept zealously loyal to their high calling. Here is what it means to ‘consider Him’ and to keep ourselves from fainting in faith, and strong in passion for souls.
Human beings are servants by nature, and here are some of the things that we are willingly enslaved by. We have only so much time to discover that Christ alone is worthy of service. Here are His attributes and plans, and His call to spiritual life.
How God validates our faith in the eyes of others, if sin is laid aside. Also, how Christ regarded His debasement as temporary, and non-obstructive to the securing of joy for the redeemed, and how we should esteem our effect upon souls higher than our trials.
The most magnificent passage of proofs from Bible history that faith in Christ and a loyal, prayerful life brings from our lives a ‘good report’, i.e.- the witness of God that we are His. Here are the faithful, what they did, and the corresponding deeds today.
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Unbelievers (and backsliders) see nothing, but faith views Christ in His Word and Work. Here are many ways in which we ‘see’ Him, especially His Person, power, affections and plans. We must view His all-surpassing qualities constantly, and do so with prayer, trust and submission.
Moses believed a centuries-old promise of deliverance for Israel, and renounced royal life to serve God. His sacrifice was immense, as were also the results. He looked away from earthly rewards, and looked to spiritual gain. Here are the applications for us today.
What will we do, asks Isaiah, in the day God brings us to account for our life? At the moment God disrupts our indifference to Him, or our defiance of Him, what will become of us? Here are examples of futile human defences. The only Saviour must be sought before that final day.
Four great examples of how faith sees Truth, believes and obeys it. Isaac responded with trembling, Jacob obeyed a unique insight, Joseph secured a 400-year testimony, and the parents of Moses performed a dangerous yet vital act with calm certainty. Here are enduring applications.
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True faith produces obedience and obedience is the proof of true faith. Strangely, today, much right doctrine does not always lead to obedience. Here are God’s objectives in the proving of Abraham by the offering of Isaac, showing parallels with our provings by the Lord.
Sarah did not at first believe that she would conceive, but then faith was formed. Here is how it operated in the work of God to establish the line and church of Christ. Here also are the reasons why God employed miraculous means, with applications to us.
This is the story of Abraham’s God-given saving faith that compelled him to answer God’s call. What made such an impression on him, how did he respond, and what was the basis for his ongoing faith? Here also are the parallel influences in believers today.
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In a single verse both saving and keeping faith are presented in the life of Noah. Here is his ‘illumination’ about future things, his careful response, his obedience, his devotion to the Seed Royal, and his witness – all showing he is an heir of righteousness by faith.
From Abel to Enoch we see how our faith may speak on earth long after we die, and what it means to walk with God. Here sixteen features of being in communion are swiftly reviewed to help motivate and encourage believers to live by faith.
Faith, for a saved person, is the capacity to see beyond the reach of human vision and sense, to perceive as real and certain, matters revealed by God in his Word. Here are faith’s benefits and enemies, and how it must be exercised and enabled to grow.
A two-part hallmark being first, conscientious concern for righteousness. False faith becomes indifferent to sin, but here is the difference between false faith and backsliding. The second mark is the acceptance of Christian priorities and trials. Here also are the joys of true faith.
Inspired steps for fruitfulness and assurance that track the symbolic duties of the high priest. Here is counsel on: 1) drawing near to God, 2) obtaining cleansing, 3) affirmation and witness, 4) watching over others, 5) gathering for worship and instruction, 6) weighing our remaining time.
Further proof that Old Testament Jews knew that their ceremonial worship were both lessons on grace and prophecy of Christ’s work in signs. Here, also, the greatness of Christ is presented, and His present work of subduing all things by conquering hearts and progressively frustrating His enemies.
One of the purposes of Hebrews is to convince readers that the Old Testament saints actually knew that their worship was typical and figurative of the work of their coming Messiah. Here are aspects of the wonder and riches of the atonement to move believing hearts.
Sparkling verses that review the riches of O.T. times to show how much people were shown about God’s holiness and the provision of redemption through the coming Saviour. The symbols have gone, but the record of them stirs and deepens our perception of how much we owe.
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Surveying the points of superiority of Christ’s high priesthood over that of O.T. high priests powerfully stirs our gratitude and indebtedness. Likewise, the superior excellence of the covenant of grace increases our love, dedication, and anticipation of future blessing.
Prophecies about Christ and His work included the foretelling of His high priestly work, and the passing of the Levitical priesthood – which was symbolic and unable to atone for sin. Here are great characteristics of Christ represented by Melchisedec, and also by David’s related prophecy.
Spiritual certainty is here based on a forward-looking, heavenly view of life. It is when being with the Lord is kept in view, and becomes our chief motivation for holiness and service, and our chief consolation, that assurance is maintained strongly to the end.
The purposes of Christ’s resurrection. Here also are aspects of the tyranny and ugliness of death which the human mind does not like to think of, to show the scale and magnificence of Christ’s victory over it on our behalf. The present and eternal benefits of knowing Him.
Some Christians devour doctrine, but stand still in personal sanctification, separation from the world, and service. Here is the call to fully-formed maturity. Do we long for our lives to make some return to Christ for the incomprehensible price He paid for us?
After showing the superior sympathy of Christ over His Old Testament type – the high priest – this chapter challenges dullness of hearing. The cause is failure to personally prove Christ. The learning, deepening life depends on a truly obedient, non-worldly walk.
Senses in which the Word is ‘living’. Its power in conversion and in sustaining a spiritual walk. Its unmatched power in ministry, never to be displaced by drama or film. Implications of a unique term ‘throne of grace’, and the rules of prayer, for mercy first, then help.
Here is deep concern for souls, conversion being defined as a rest. Rich terms and appeals are here explored. Salvation is said to have been in place and ready for the Fall. The literal promised land was also a picture of spiritual rest which was preached alongside.
Understanding how the heart (mind-affections-will) may lose spiritual sensitivity and strength, and how these may be restored and maintained. Keeping church and world distinct, and why Christian works of compassion are different from the heresy that Christ calls us to restore the world.
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Reflecting on the Lord, to maintain a strong manifestation of our conversion and hold on Christ. Keeping up assurance, witness, and anticipation of glory by ready response to every scriptural challenge. How to hear the voice of Christ in His Word, and to keep the heart.
The range of Christ’s sufferings on Calvary; how divine attributes met there; being brought as children to glory; and other insights into Christ’s love. Plus the twofold purpose of His sufferings: (a) atonement (b) to show that he has tasted our every trial, and will help us.
The inspired writer urges the spiritually vague to faith, and speaks of the greatness of salvation, the signs of the apostles, the ministry of angels, and David’s prophecy of atonement. Here also are explanations of Christ dying for ‘every man’, ‘tasting death’, and how we ‘see Jesus’.
A majestic letter showing the glory of Christ, and how the Old Testament ceremonial is fulfilled in Him. Here is Christ’s divine nature and work, and our privileges drawn from many uplifting passages. Here too the errors of future society and churches are predicted, with a call to holiness and blessing.
A review of the characteristics of Christ’s love for His people, and how it should stir ours for Him. Also, how having received such love, we should reflect it in marriage. Here also is Paul’s famous declaration that it is impossible to be separated from the Lord’s love.
It is the duty of believers to watch for backsliding with tender concern, and to win back wanderers. This leads James to state a magnificent and inspiring New Testament proverb or faithful saying, a motto for soul winners. Here is its meaning, encouragements and its powerful incentives.
(First 15 mins missing due to power cut.) Prayer is both an immense privilege and a great responsibility for saved people. This is about ‘energised’ prayer, concerned and pleading in character, and also zealous and persistent. Here are the obstacles and the way to overcome them: to pray with great resulting power.
Patience is described by James as a means of proving the Lord’s affection and compassion, and also a route to great happiness. Here are the kinds of affliction that require patience; how it is obtained and exercised, and what it accomplishes in the spiritual life.
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The lot of materialists is vividly described by James, viewed in the light of eternity. They do not see it, but believers do, and so avoidance of earthly ‘goods’ is not hard. Here is advice on material things. Also, how the church family is far better than earthly things to believers.
James gives two examples of how a worldly believer lives without reference to God: first in critical talk about other Christians, and secondly in deciding their own affairs without considering God’s will and purpose. Here is how to be prayerfully available to God, the opposite of worldliness.
James employs the imagery of two natures in the believer in showing how not to yield to worldly desires, but to resist the devil. Here praying ‘amiss’ is defined, and prayer priorities listed. Here also – how the Spirit gives far superior favours than those of the world.
James chooses a word for ‘knowledge’ used only once in the New Testament. It speaks of specialised knowledge – like military intelligence – of Satan’s wiles and how to defeat him. Do we have it? Here is the all-enabling, non-self-seeking wisdom that is from above.
This famous passage on the frightening potential of the tongue also gives us a powerful instrument in the pursuit of holiness. Don’t you know, James seems to say, that by control of the tongue (with God’s help) you can control all your faculties and passions. Here is how.
This passage seems to teach justification by works as well as faith. But James insists that true saving faith is evidenced in a new life of obedience and sacrifice. We should seek nothing less in days when worldly evangelicalism and a new form of Calvinism have united with the world.
Intermingled with uplifting terms about Christ and the rewards of faith, James shows the sinfulness of discrimination, whether partiality or preference shown through wealth, class, ethnicity or similar distinction. All need salvation by faith alone. Here also the ‘royal law’ of ‘liberty’ is defined.
The Western surge in the promotion of Calvinism in churches is not always accompanied by reform of conduct, or separation from the world. A great gulf is seen between belief and practice. James deals with this very situation, and with how we must all face our inconsistent ways.
How to handle poverty or wealth, and temptations to sin that come from within ourselves. The source is inner corruption, and here are the precautions and remedies for halting their development, especially vital when the world presses us as never before.
From the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem came the first of all NT epistles, and its first theme is troubles. The inspired writer does not primarily dispense comfort, but calls us to understand the purposes and respond well, telling us how to handle tests of faith.
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Striving for earthly gain and satisfaction makes believers vulnerable to the snare of many longings and lusts, leading to severe spiritual decline and sorrow. Paul appeals to us to flee from these things, giving a six-point agenda for the consecrated life that leads to spiritual fruitfulness.
‘Lay hold on eternal life’ was spoken to a preacher, showing the need to grasp eternity as the supreme objective and inspiration and the antidote to complacency and backsliding. Here, too, is why the historic two-nature model for sanctification is the best practical aid to believers.
The word ‘godliness’, as used by both Paul and Peter, does not mean holiness but devotion or reverence. Knowing this brings all the exhortations to godliness to life. Here we see what constant devotion is, how it is to be exercised and maintained, and the blessings it brings.
Conforming a church to God’s pattern must begin with a glimpse of the greatness and glory of Christ and His church (which would shame away today’s trivialisation and entertainment). Here is the all-surpassing wonder of ‘God manifest in the flesh’, and the five powerful proofs.
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Are we truly saved? Do we need a jolt to examine our status before God, or do we need reassurance that we are saved? In a single study, here are two major signs from 1 John: our commitment to the Gospel, and our changed relationship with sin and the world
This magnificent expression of praise describes the Sovereign Ruler. Here is how God determines all things without being the author of sin, together with rich observations drawn from God being eternal, immortal, invisible and exclusively wise. Thinking of His Being promotes our communion, love, holiness and service.
Timothy was not a special delegate, but a prototype pastor in the Bible’s pattern for church order. Here is the true aim of the Gospel – to produce holy and dedicated hearts. Here also is the glory of the Gospel, and how Paul’s conversion is a pattern for all others
Having shown that there is much opposition to Gospel work, Paul gives five famous directions for resisting and overcoming this, here explained. On these directions, with God’s help, the very survival let alone the spiritual advance of a congregation depends. Here also are the apostle’s closing encouragements.
Our resurrection bodies will be the image of Christ’s, constituted for eternal glory: physical, tangible, yet spiritual, powerful and perfect. Death – the great devourer – will be itself swallowed up by the final victory of Christ. Here is how we should be affected and inspired even now.
At Corinth even good believers lacked backbone to defend the priceless truth of resurrection against a minority of cynics. Here is Paul’s call to wake up, his warning of the power of error, and his revelation on the necessity and nature of glorious resurrection bodies.
Christ’s resurrection guarantees the day when He shall return and His people shall receive their resurrection bodies. Here is the manner of it, and the accompanying acts of Christ that end the tyranny of death and all opposition, ushering in unbreakable glory and bliss
The Cross would have disappeared from history as a terminal failure, had not the Resurrection shown its significance and accomplishments. Christ must save soul and body for God’s original plan to be brought to pass – a godly host living bodily on a glorified earth.
When Paul says everyone had a psalm, doctrine, tongue, etc, for worship, he obviously refers to the recognised leaders of the church, as we prove here. These are his inspired directions for orderly worship that includes the full biblical ‘agenda’, and glorifies Christ.
Amidst clear teaching on the limited purpose of the temporary gift of tongues-speaking, and the paramount place of understanding in worship, Paul reveals the four ‘departments’ or objectives of all teaching and ministry, and the nature of evangelism. Here also prophecy is defined.
Only the Christ of Calvary could have composed and inspired this glorious chapter (penned by Paul) about Christian love, its qualities, its strength, and its eternal crowning. Here are our aims in the experience of love, and why it is so much greater than faith and hope.
The Apostle speaks of an individual congregation as a ‘body’, showing the divine design and the wide differences in the contribution of members. If a church is a preacher only, it is ultimately doomed; that is if there are not roles for all, and no mutual care and dependence.
The purpose of spiritual gifts – revealing the New Testament (and authenticating the spokesmen). Paul lists them, with ongoing spiritual gifts and their features. Never for personal indulgence, they bring God’s Word to all. Here also is why the church is gloriously called the body of Christ.
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At Corinth the Lord’s Supper was ruined and invalidated by being confused with a ‘love feast’. Paul shows how we should approach the ordinance and what we should derive from it. It is a deeply moving ‘proclamation’ of Calvary, and either insincerity or absence leads to chastisement from the Lord.
Though long foretold (also by Christ) the resurrection shocked the disciples. By His appearances Christ showed His divinity, the success of His atonement, His closeness to His people, their eternal security, His readiness to show them proofs, His desire for their service, and the certainty of end-time prophecies.
Paul tells women to wear the veil of their society, which symbolised subjection. Our society has not had this dress code for decades. Hats no longer signify subjection. Is Paul’s requirement to be literally obeyed today, or may the principle be observed in a different way?
What Christ left to Paul to reveal. True Christians are to be imitators of the apostles’ ordinances – here meaning traditions, i.e. the doctrines and practices they taught, including behaviour, aims, attitude, love, reverence, separation from the world, working for Christ, and living with an eye to eternity.
Seeking the wellbeing of others above our own is a key objective for Christ’s people. How we speak of others as well as to them, and how we help them in deed must be Christ like if we hope to be used by Him, and have spiritual fulfilment.
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‘The communion of the blood of Christ’ is a remarkable term speaking of partnership or sharing with a divine person. Yet Christ is not known by touch, voice or bodily sensation, but by faith. Here is the way in which we know strong personal spiritual familiarity with Christ.
Here are eight kinds of trial and seven kinds of temptations possibly arising from them, with God’s assurances of how He overrules to fix the limits of these, and helps His people overcome and bear them. Here are the ‘ways of escape’ enabling us to overcome them all.
In the wilderness, the Israelites were punished not only for idolatry and fornication, but also of wanting the foods of Egypt, being dissatisfied with spiritual provisions, and for ‘worldly’ worship. Astonishingly, the latter offences are widely approved in churches today. Here is the counsel of the Apostle Paul.
To be saved by the Gospel means to live for the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 9 is often used to justify compromise with the world, so called ‘front line’ living, even patronising pubs and clubs. It actually condemns this, presenting real dedication to the Gospel, gaining much instrumentality.
Paul earns his own living to avoid hindering the Gospel. However, God commands the normal support of preachers. Here is the obligation of the persuasive offer of the Gospel, and it is consistent with election and regeneration. Also, maintaining fervour for souls, and the woe pronounced against slackness.
Spiritual knowledge, though vital, is merely ego-inflating if unaccompanied by active love for Christ, for His cause, and for souls, as well as by an active conscience warning of sin, and urging to Christian duties. Here is how love and conscience work to make knowledge effective, and to keep us humble.
Our lives are ever running lower on time to love and serve the Lord. We cannot make earthly matters, including our home, our chief priority in favour of the cause of Christ and of souls. Are we living too much for things that are doomed to pass away?
A key word has slipped out of some modern translations – the marital debt of benevolence, meaning goodwill and kind benefits. Here are seven debts each has to the other in Christian marriage, a sevenfold bond and blessing to the crowning earthly friendship of life’s journey, are we paying what is ‘due’?
The Spirit takes possession of the soul purchased of Christ, making it an inner sanctuary. It is the place of communion with God, where assurance and comfort are bestowed, and divine stirrings are felt. How careful we must be to preserve the purity of both body and soul!
Canaan symbolises heaven, but chiefly it pictures the new life entered at conversion, given and ‘watered’ by God, to be increasingly ‘possessed’ by the believer. Here are God’s commands and promises, with nine new developments that come with growing Christian experience every new year.
Paul shows the shame when believer takes believer before a secular court, contradicting their calling and mutual love. Then he describes sins never to be committed by believers; the threefold basis of true conversion; and the rules of Christian liberty
Church discipline is seen to have several aims including the honour of Christ, the purity, witness and protection of the church, and the restoration of the offender. Here, also, is the meaning of Christ our passover, and the beauty of Christian conduct, especially in marriage
We look in every passage of the Word for a doctrine, a duty, a reproof, an encouragement, a promise and a view of Christ. All are here, especially how the Lord’s loving discipline is exercised, and how His power and blessing rules in a believer’s life.
This message shows that Paul is to be keenly imitated in doctrine, conduct, and church policy – all three. Here are the proof-passages showing that a precise pattern is given for churches in the New Testament. Also, proof that Christ has already taught all Paul’s major doctrines
Paul warns against being ‘puffed up’, vaunting earthly accomplishments or gifts, and being satisfied and overconfident. Consider Gospel workers, says Paul, their humility, selflessness, sacrifice, and acceptance of persecution. Live for spiritual and eternal aims, striving for sanctification and witness – whatever the cost.
Here is Christ as the sole foundation for salvation, life, sanctification and eternity. Here also is the local church as God’s dwelling place, and the assurance that all things are ours, and precious, whether our present lives, the world, or death, for we are Christ’s
Spiritual maturity begins and proceeds with a taste for the ‘meat’ of the Word, but what is this? It is not sound doctrine alone, for ‘carnal Christians’ often have this. Here it is defined as passages that specifically promote love for Christ, holiness, obedience and consecration.
Why human wisdom cannot read God’s mind. God must reveal His truth to man. Here is how we may be certain that the Bible, exclusively, is that very revelation. Here also are features of the freeness of salvation, verbal inspiration and the chief rule of interpretation.
The apostle reproves the Corinthians’ taste for over-eloquent preaching decorated in philosophy, showing that Cross-centred persuasions, seemingly inadequate, are the wisdom and the power of God. Would he not condemn today’s Christian drama, film, or rock-music centred outreach?
How God humbles the wise, mighty and noble both now and at the last day through the witness of ordinary believers holding forth the Cross alone. Also, how Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and how He should be constantly praised by us.
Corinth was a far better church than many think, but their cultural love of heroes and oratory needed to go (like some of our fads). Paul magnificently elevates the Gospel above all human wisdom. Though foolish to millions, God’s call opens minds with converting power.
Beginning a series in this remarkable epistle, full of doctrinal, devotional and practical issues. True faults of this church are often exaggerated, distorting the message. Paul’s strong commendations show the majority were marvellously converted and walking with the Lord. Here are incomparable Christian blessings.
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Paul, in his final imprisonment, awaiting execution, tells of how Spirit-given power, love and safe-mentality sustains him, and what it means to believers to know Christ, and to commit to him all their earthly and eternal interests, with the ultimate day in view.
Love of material gain, status and appearance begins with mental desire. Here is why these aims are deceitful, leading to a threefold fall or snare. Here are the hurts, and the vital antidotes that protect and promote spiritual contentment and fruitfulness.
The psalmist had stumbled into material desire, or into doubts, envying the apparent benefits of godless people. But surrounded by the symbols of divine mercy in the sanctuary, he recovered his sense of salvation, his exclamation of love yielding great lessons for us on how to express love to Christ.
Paul’s humility not merely partial, but extending to intellect, judgement, spiritual power, preaching and personal requirements. Here are the major forms of pride for us to avoid. How is humility (a conversion gift) lost? Here are helpful answers along with the marks and virtues of humility, and its rewards.
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Paul defines Christian conversion as a new creation, and the church as a community of new-created people. Here are their distinctive features and blessings. Here also is the three-fold meaning of Paul having the scars of Christ, and the meaning for us.
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We cannot glory in the life of Christ, or the Bible or any doctrine without supremely glorying in what took place on Calvary’s cross, something only Christ could do, displaying his attributes, saving billions of souls, and crucifying the world to us, and us to the world.
It is a law of life that we reap what we sow. Believers, saved by grace, may slip back to sowing for earthly gratification rather than holiness and the service of Christ. Paul here provides needed urgings and promises.
Paul first gives the ‘rules’ for kindly correction between believers, then he applies Christ’s ‘new commandment’, the law of mutual love – or burden bearing. Do we really follow this, the kindest of laws? If not, says Paul, we amount to nothing.
If given spiritual life by the Spirit, we should walk by His rule and help. Here is the manner in which we must read the Word, pursue holiness, engage in prayer and practise dedication to Christ in order to know real happiness and fulfilment.
Meekness is the humble acceptance of God’s providence, as well as such things as the rule of the Word, Christian service and local church order. Temperance is strength over such things as the tongue, gifts, desires, moods and thoughts. Here are the biblical helps.
Ongoing faith is Spirit-given, but must be exercised. This is faith in the Word and its doctrines; living faith in Christ, and also faith in the eternal goal. False and true, hindrances and helps, are here presented.
Longsuffering, gentleness (or kindness) and goodness are given by the Holy Spirit but must be exercised and increased. Here are passages that show how and give spiritual incentives. Here also are the helps and the hindrances.
Peace is given directly to the believer by the Spirit, and also channelled through the Word. Here are descriptions of Satan’s false peace, salvation’s true peace, and Christ’s legacy of Peace. Also, how peace should rule in our hearts when trials come.
Joy given by the Spirit is to be maintained. Here are biblical facts about its character and achievements, and how it may be lost. Here also are the rich sources from which Christian joy is drawn.
Love, the chief of Christian virtues, is imparted by the Spirit, and is a quality of thought, affection and action which must be exercised and protected. Here are its marvellous features, its scope, and its strength.
This disciple’s famous disbelief in the resurrection followed several reliably reported appearances. His doubts clearly rose from a spiritual struggle within, and this passage – and the way the Lord directed him – yields numerous helps for us today.
A passage not about guidance but about sanctification, and how the Spirit gives the power that enables us to avoid fleshly, sensual sins. Here are those lusts, and here also are the spiritual benefits that accompany their defeat
Love is the substance of all the moral law, when it is obeyed by saved hearts full of gratitude to Christ. Here is how it works for each commandment. Here also is how the old fallen nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit are in conflict, and the way sin is to be overcome.
The doctrine of Christian liberty proclaims our freedom from the condemnation of the moral law and from Jewish ceremonial ritual. It includes our freedom to approach God, through Christ, without need of a priesthood. Yet we are to be willing servants of God’s standards, and of other people. Key verses show how.
While making powerful appeals for loyalty to salvation by faith, Paul brings a lesson from Ishmael and Isaac. Here are the great differences between salvation by works and faith; the two covenants are contracts for securing union with God, that are foreshadowed in the history of Abraham’s household.
Paul shows that before Christ all people were under elementary forms of worship. The Jews were given sound rituals designed to lead them to God, while the pagan world devised their own. Then came the marvel of Gospel light.
The moral and ceremonial laws of the Jewish era spelled out the barriers to being accepted by God, along with many lessons of forgiveness through trusting in the coming Christ. But finding this mercy was always through faith, not works, as these great verses prove.
Paul quotes Genesis about Abraham’s belief being ‘accounted to him for righteousness’. He does not mean that belief is accepted in lieu of righteousness; or that it assists justification. Here is the meaning. Also, how faith in Christ brings us into all the blessings promised to Abraham.
Peter believed in salvation by faith alone, but at Syrian Antioch he failed to stand up for the truth. Why did he err; and what was at stake? Here are glorious features of the true doctrine.
Paul tells how God dealt directly with him, revealing the Gospel of faith – not works – and making him an apostle. His stand for truth (then against ‘Judaizers’) must be copied today. Here, also, is what it means to have Christ revealed in us.
Paul is astonished to hear of genuine believers so quickly turning to the false teaching of ‘Judaizers’. Here is his strong defence of justification by faith alone, and of the exclusive saving power of Calvary. Who are the Judaizers today?
Love for Christ includes love for His cause, shown by concerned prayer for Gospel work and for fellow believers. Paul here provides for news which will fuel prayer. Here also is defined the love which brings harmony, faith and special grace into a church.
Paul’s Gospel caused trouble and offence, however lovingly expressed, because it called people to the Christ of Calvary, atoning for sin, and pressed the need for repentance and transformation of life. Is this really the Gospel as we understand it?
The ‘gates of hell’, symbolising the various strategies (here named) of Satan to destroy believers will never succeed. But what about a particularly immoral atheistic society? Is Satan prevailing? Here are biblical answers of encouragement.