Building Up

2 Corinthians Overview: Building Up

This week was to begin my Precept study on 2 Corinthians. As is the norm these days, our plans are meant to be changed. My group study won’t start for another few weeks, but my blog series does start today. Each week I hope to begin the week with a passage of scripture to consider throughout the week, to meditate on, memorize, and allow God to build us up in His faith. Wednesday, the plan is to share what God through the Holy Spirit has brought to my heart for encouragement and growth. Friday’s will bring a praise, a promise, and a prayer. As always, you are invited to share what the Holy Spirit is teaching, encouraging, and growing in you. In this way the whole body is built up by each member.

Today’s Scripture: We begin with verses from the first and last chapter of 2 Corinthians. These highlight the big picture of the whole letter the apostle Paul and Timothy wrote to this struggling church.

“For as many as be the promises of God,

in Him they are yes;

wherefore also by Him is our Amen

to the glory of God through us.

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us

is God,

who also sealed us and

gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge…

  • Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!
  • Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—
  • unless in deed you fail the test …
  • Finally, brethren, rejoice,
  • be made complete,
  • be comforted,
  • be like-minded,
  • live in peace;
  • and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 13:5,11(NASB)

For Thought: What promises do you cling to when faced with struggles within the church? Personal struggles due to your faith or lack of faith? How do you find peace during these difficult times?

Praying Together: Heavenly Father, your promises are sure for you are faithful and cannot lie. You have established us in your kingdom through the death and life of Jesus Christ—giving us a sure hope. May we examine our faith and be built up in it by your truth. Teach us your ways as you complete the work you have begun in us. Help us keep our hearts and minds set on your love and peace. May we bring you glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

Coming Together

A Saint—Who me?IMG_0709

“Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth,

to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,

called to be saints,

with all that in every place

call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,

both theirs and ours.”

1 Corinthians 1:2

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians addresses them and “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” as saints. In chapter 1, he encourages the saints to come together as one in Christ.

What picture appears in your mind when you hear the word saint? A bevy of angelic-like men and women in white robes with a halo resting just above their heads? Hands folded – eyes downcast and a tight thin-lined smile? Or do you see a straight back posture, head held high, and a hint of self-righteousness in the eyes that put you in your place?

My picture contains a collage of people of all sizes, ages, and color. I see young boys laughing at their corny jokes and caring for abandoned baby rabbits. I see young men in suits, t-shirts, and blue jeans working their way through college at computer jobs, convenient stores, and fast-food restaurants. And balding men with wisdom’s wrinkles and steps not so sure.

Mixed in with the guys are the girls showing the boys how to take care of the abandoned animals and rolling their eyes at the boy’s corny jokes; young ladies working as hard as the young men to find their purpose and pay their way in this world. And women who don’t know what a gray hair is, but a few do know what balding is. Their wrinkles reveal a lifetime of wisdom gained in loving service as they continue to show the men how to care for the hurts and pains of life. They still roll their eyes at their corny jokes – whether they can hear the punch line or not.

These pictures show us saints live in every age and stage of life. The apostle Paul tells us why he called the Corinthian believers saints and why you and I are of the same rank.

Saints belong to the church of God – not the denomination but the body of Christ.

“Now ye are the body of Christ,

and members in particular.”

1 Corinthians 12:27

Saints have been set apart from the world as belonging to Jesus Christ.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus,

who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness,

and sanctification, and redemption:

That, according as it is written,

He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

1Corinthians 1:30

All saints all over the world are called by the will of God.

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ

have put on Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female:

for ye are all one in Christ Jesus …

 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children

by Jesus Christ to himself,

according to the good pleasure of his will.”

Galatians 3:27,28; Ephesians 1:4,5

A saint? Yes, you, if you have called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Savior.

To be called a saint we must accept God’s calling. There is only one path to sainthood and Jesus is his name.

“Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.” John 14:6

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:10.

For Thought: What is your mind’s picture of a saint? Are you one of God’s saints?

Today’s Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12; What is the work of a saint? Please, share your thoughts or questions in the comments.

A Prayer for You: Heavenly Father, you have made us one in Jesus Christ; called us to be set apart from the world, holy, your saints. May we live to please you and bring you glory.

Building A Healthy Body

sandwich-451403_1280Are you a sandwich kind of person or a give-me-a-full-meal person? Several years ago as a young bride, I desired to fix my husband a full meal for supper. I worked hard fixing him his meat, potatoes, at least one other vegetable, and bread. Southern sweet ice tea finished it off. After a few weeks, I began to wonder why go to all the trouble – except for the tea of course. Tom would come in from work, take whatever meat I cooked, and put it between two slices of bread. He liked his sandwich with a lot of meat, and he liked it plain – no lettuce, tomato, pickles, or condiments. Me? I like a hot meal at least once a day. And my sandwich needs it all-a little meat and all the fixings.

Today’s blog begins a new series born out of my precept bible study on 1 Corinthians. The first letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians is like a good sandwich with all the fixings. If eaten separately from the whole, some of it is hard to swallow. But when put together it provides the nutrition needed to build and maintain a healthy body of Christ – the church.

Actually, Ephesians 4:1-3 gives us a good overview of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. I’m using the NASB because I study using it.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,

  • entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
  • with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,
  • being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

This passage parallels Paul’s description of the body of Christ in chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians when he refers to us as –

“God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 3:9

He then exhorts us to –

“let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid,

which is Jesus Christ.”

3:10b,11.

 These verses provide the meat of Paul’s letter. It is sandwiched between instructions for building a healthy body as it provides the necessary tools to accomplish the end goal – the promise of completion and final victory.

  • “So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end,
  • that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1:7-9, KJV

“But thanks be to God

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

15:57

Then after filling this sandwich with instructions concerning the divisions in the church, the immorality in the church, and their questions, Paul puts the final piece of bread on the sandwich. It tastes like the passage in Ephesians we used in the beginning.

  • “Be on the alert,
  • stand firm in the faith,
  • act like men,
  • be strong.
  • Let all that you do be done in love.”16:13,14

Through the next few weeks we will examine the meat of the sandwich chapter by chapter. We will hear Paul’s instructions to this unhealthy church and the church today – not to point a finger at others – but to take a close look at our own lives in hopes of building a healthy body to the glory of Christ.

Is love of God and others behind all you do?

What are you willing to do to build up the church of Jesus Christ?