SESSION 22 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 16 

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I teach today. This final chapter of 1Corinthians appears, at first, to be a collection of unrelated instructions. But I see that the underlying theme is giving honor and being obedient to the Spirit-filled leaders of the church in Jerusalem, and those whom Paul plans to send to them. Why? To honor such leaders is to honor Christ!

So, if I were to give this a title, it would be, “Honor Christ.” 

Verses 1-2 —

The collection is for the saints (the church) in Jerusalem, who are impoverished  because of severe persecution from their fellow Jews. They are shunned and banned. No one will hire them, so they have no money. But the collection is made not only because of their poverty, but because Christians honor Christ when they honor their Spirit-filled leaders —

Hebrews 13:17   Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

The collection is not to be randomly taken, but is to be done on the first day of every week — Sunday. Paul commands the believers at Corinth to save through the week, according to their ability, so the collection can be gathered BEFORE Paul comes. If it isn’t done until he comes, they should be ashamed of themselves.

This is practiced throughout the churches. Paul writes to the Romans, reminding them that other churches are making a contribution —

Romans 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

The  spiritual things in which they share are salvation and sanctification (the infilling of the Holy Spirit) through Jesus Christ, who was a Jew by birth (though fully God). So, material blessing is a means of honoring the source of their spiritual blessings — Jesus Christ, and the Jewish apostles who were the first to spread the gospel to the Gentiles.

Verses 3-4 —

Paul speaks of his upcoming visit, instructing them that when he arrives, they may appoint emissaries with letters, to bring their gift to Jerusalem. 

But the emissaries that are chosen may go to Jerusalem with Paul, if that is suitable. It will depend on whether his visit with the believers at Corinth is completed by the time the emissaries are ready to travel. 

Verses 5-7 —

Paul assures them that he is coming, after he goes through Macedonia. He has not visited the churches there for several years, though all reports are good. Indeed, they are remaining steadfast in the faith, and they send in collections over and above what is expected. So, on his way to Corinth, he will visit them — probably from spring through early summer.

Verses 8-9 —

Another reason why he wants to go through Macedonia is this — a wide door for effective, fruitful ministry has opened. But as it is today in ministry, there are many adversaries and great opposition to the gospel (see Acts 19:23-24 for an example). Since he will have opposition, he will need to spend significant time there, in order to further the gospel.

Paul wants the believers at Corinth to understand that when he comes to them, his visit may well be lengthy. He has wanted to visit them, simply because he loves them with God’s divine love. He wants to fellowship with them, as well as to determine whether they are now obeying his instructions.

But we know that this visit will turn out to be painful. Surely, Paul has an inkling that he might find the church at Corinth to be still in disarray, in spite of his instructions in 1Corinthians. He has already chided them because he faced opposition even from some of them — both from believers who questioned his apostleship, and from false teachers.

So, Paul alerts them that he may need to remain with them, possibly spending the whole winter in Corinth. When he has completed his work among them, he informs them that they may send him on his way (indicating financial help from them) to his next destination.

He does not want to see them just in passing, but hopes to remain with them for some time, if the Lord permits. Paul is governed by the Lord’s will, not his own! Would that this could be said of all of today’s church leaders, and all Christians!

Verses 10-11 —

Paul now gives instructions about Timothy, whom he may send as his personal delegate to visit them. Timothy is a leader in the church, and has traveled extensively with Paul (see Acts 16:1-3, 2Timothy 3:10-14 and 2Timothy 4:1-5). 

What are his instructions to the believers at Corinth regarding Timothy? To receive him as a leader, honoring him (and thereby, honoring Christ). They are not to cause Timothy to fear (that is, fear that he might not be well received by them). Why? Because Timothy, like Paul, is doing the Lord’s work! They are both filled with the Holy Spirit, and both evangelize!

So, Paul commands this — let no one despise him (treat him with contempt). It is amazing that he has to instruct the believers at Corinth in this way, but indeed, some of them have received Paul with contempt! 

After Timothy’s visit to them, the church at Corinth is to send him on his way (with funds) in peace (with a blessing of peace). Paul knows that Timothy’s visit may cause upheaval in the church at Corinth, because Timothy will teach and exhort just as Paul teaches and exhorts. But Paul commands the church at Corinth that regardless of what Timothy says to them, they are to send him off properly, and not angrily.

Verse 12 —

Apparently, the church at Corinth had asked Apollos to return and minister to them, with the brethren. They were likely looking for kinder words that would contradict Paul’s exhortations. When Paul learned of their request to Apollos, Paul strongly urged him to go. He knew Apollos would speak the truth to them! 

But it was not at all (not in any way) Apollos’ desire to come immediately. He did not obey the church at Corinth, but his own Spirit-filled leaders, and most importantly, the Lord. He would come when he had opportunity — that is, when his current assignment permitted it.

Verse 13 — 

Now, Paul writes some final exhortations to the believers at Corinth. Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. What does Paul mean?

#1 — Be on the alert — Be on your guard. Given the problems at Corinth, this surely refers to being wary of false teachers. It is the same exhortation he gave the elders at Ephesus when they came to him at Miletus —

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

#2 — Stand firm in the faith — Given their penchant for re-writing the gospel, based on false teachers among them and from outside, they have not stood firm. Now he commands them to do it.

#3 — Act like men — Right now, they are acting like the infants in Christ that they truly are. But he is commanding them to grow up!  

#4 — Be strong — This is an echo of 1Corinthians 15:58 — Be steadfast, immovable, always super-abounding in the work of the Lord They have not been strong! Again, he exhorts them!

Verse 14 —

The original Greek is “All things of you in love, let it be.” That is, “All things that you do must be done in love; this must come into being in you.”

All they have done up to this point has NOT been done in the divine love of God because they are not yet filled with the Spirit! Therefore, they are not compelled and held captive by His love. And so, this is an exhortation for heart change! 

All that the believers in Corinth do MUST now be done in God’s divine love! Otherwise, they remain as they are now — sounding gongs and clanging cymbals, and jealous and strife will continue among them. Oh, that they would heed Paul, who has exhorted them to be filled with the Spirit! It is the same in the church today!

Verses 15-18 —

Again, Paul exhorts them to honor their leaders (and thus, honor Jesus Christ, who appointed them). Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, who are originally from Corinth, are being sent by Paul. The believers at Corinth know that the household of Stephanas were the firstfruits (the first to believe) in the region of Achaia. And these three men have devoted themselves to ministry to the saints (all believers). So, Paul commands the church at Corinth to honor them, also.

So, he is sending Timothy. Apollos will come when he is able. Now, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that he is also sending three others! Major corrections are required, and Paul needs their assistance, until he himself can come and reprimand the church at Corinth!

Again, this is a call for the believers at Corinth to be in subjection to the leaders of the church. Paul commands them to submit to them, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors of the spreading of the gospel — that is, all leaders who are appointed by Jesus Christ to come to them. 

Paul rejoices over and strongly commends Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. They have supplied what was lacking on the part of the church at Corinth. What was lacking? Respect and honor, and refreshment of Paul’s spirit.

Refreshment of our spirits — it is always so, when longtime, Spirit-filled believers meet after a long absence! There is much fellowship with the Father and the Son, in the Spirit, which is always an encouragement to those who have been out in the harvest fields to which Christ has called them. 

Therefore, the believers at Corinth are to recognize and honor them! Why does Paul keep repeating this, for each one he sends to them? It is because they are infants in Christ, beloved. Therefore, they have not honored Paul. Let today’s church hear what the Spirit is saying!

Verses 19-21 — 

As was common in all letters to the churches, Paul tells them all the brethren from all the churches in Asia greet them. Aquila and Priscilla greet them. You will recall that they are Jews who were originally from Rome but were expelled because they were Jewish. This couple met Paul at Corinth (Acts 18:2 and forward), were saved and filled with the Spirit, and then went to Ephesus to continue sharing the gospel, establishing a church in their house (Acts 18:2 and forward). 

He concludes by saying all the brethren greet them, and that the believers at Corinth must greet one another with a holy kiss. It probably is common in their culture to greet with a kiss. But Paul says the kiss of greeting must be holy, and that they — fighting among themselves as they are — must kiss each other! Again, Paul infers that they must become holy, by being wholly filled with God’s Holy Spirit and His love!

He emphasizes that this greeting is in his own hand. Paul’s heart is for them, and not against them!

Verse 22 — 

This is a warning to Paul’s opponents at Corinth. If anyone among them does not love the Lord — and their lack of love for Christ is evident by their actions — they are to be accursed. Paul uses the same exhortation to those who deviate from the gospel at Galatia (Galatians 1:8-9). 

He adds, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! It is an eschatological (end times) prayer and fits well with his message to the believers at Corinth regarding the false teaching to which they have been listening —

Revelation 22:17   The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 

Revelation 22:18   I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Revelation 22:20   He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Verses 23-24 —

Paul closes with a benediction, the uttering of a blessing, as he prays —

— The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you (may His work in your hearts be evident in your lives).

— My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (let it be so). 

Indeed, his love is with them — not human love but the divine love of God which compels him and to which he is captive! Amen!

As I said last time, I will not publish 2Corinthians until the fall, so I have time to record a dozen sessions before I begin publishing. That will give me some leeway for travel and such, allowing me to still publish once a week. 

I look forward to continuing to explore the Word of God with you! As with Paul, I do it because I am compelled by His divine love, because of my love for you all, and I am only able to teach you because of His divine empowerment! May you apply this Word to your heart, beloved! Amen! So be it, Lord Jesus!

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ANGER IS MURDER

[SW335] 7/14/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Anger Is Murder

Text: Matthew 5:21-26

Jesus equates anger with murder in today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount. Why? Because the root of both anger and murder is hate. So, do you get angry? Then heed His words, see the spiritual poverty of your heart, and cry out for Him to change it! 

It is another of God’s standards that seems impossible to attain. But Jesus will gladly change your heart so that there is no hate in your heart anymore. Then you will attain it.

NOTE: When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, God’s divine love fills your heart. Then, you can’t stop speaking about what you have seen and heard! You will speak with sinners, giving them the Good News of Jesus Christ, warning them of the coming judgment (John 5:26, Acts 2:36-40 and 3:23, etc.), and urging them to turn from their sin, believe into Christ, be reconciled to God, and then seek to be filled with His Spirit, so their hearts are made pure. That is not hate — it is life-giving!

Jesus says, “You have heard,” but then He says, “But I say.” Why? God’s Word had been twisted by teachers for man’s purposes then, just as it is now. 

Verse 21 —

 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’”

Thou shalt not murder — it is the sixth of the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17). You have heard it, Jesus says. And they have heard “Whoever commits murder shall be liable (guilty before) the court (the Sanhedrin).” That one will be judged. The sentence for murder was death (Leviticus 24:17). You will say, as I used to say, “Thank goodness! I have not murdered anyone!”

Verse 22 —

But before you get too comfortable, Jesus says, “But I say!” May you see your heart!

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court;” 

Everyone who is angry (enraged) with his brother (his fellow man) shall be guilty before the court. That one will face God’s divine judgment.

Anger is murder, because hate in your heart is at the root of both! What a word for the behavior of many today! 

I do not expect the world to obey Jesus, but His followers must — and yet many do not. I tell you the truth, you shall be guilty before the court of the Lord, just as they shall be.

1John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Again, hate is at the root of anger and murder. I pray you would see it.

And what about angry name-calling? Listen!

“ . . . and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court;”

Whoever says to his fellow man “you good-for-nothing” (rhaka, worthless, empty one) shall be guilty before the supreme court. That is, when you die and then stand before the Lord, He will say you are a murderer.

As I say, I expect the world to do exactly what it is doing now, and to an ever greater degree. Never has there been greater anger, one against another, in my lifetime! It is in the headlines, and on the news, continually. 

They will be judged by the Lord, at the end of things. They are already under judgment because they refuse Jesus Christ! As the Apostle Paul says, those who are outside, God judges (1Corinthians 5:13). They remain under God’s wrath until they repent (turn from their sin) and believe into Jesus Christ (John 3:36). Only then they will be reconciled to God.

They will be judged. But so will you, O Christian, if you do likewise! Look at your heart! Are you calling anyone worthless and empty? Do you have contempt for others? I will tell you that I see contempt between Christian brothers and sisters. I see church wars and power plays and cruel politics in the church.

Jesus warns those who follow Him —

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away (sin) and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 “Because lawlessness (sin) is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

“. . . and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ (godless moral reprobate) shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” 

I hear many say such words, in the world, and even in the church! What shall happen to you? You shall go into the fiery hell! What? There is no hell. God would not do that! The word “hell” is used in the New Testament 11 times by Jesus Christ, and twice in Hebrews.

Some cry, “The power of death and life is in the tongue, so you have power when you speak!” But that is not the meaning of that Proverb. Listen to the second half of it —  

Proverbs 18:21  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

What is the fruit of hate-driven words toward others? Judgment! So you will be judged by the angry words that your tongue speaks, or you will have life because there is no longer any hate in your heart. 

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (see Matthew 12:34)! What is in your heart?

I tell you the truth, anger is not a fruit of the Spirit, but of the flesh, the sinful nature (Galatians 5:20). You will say, The flesh wars against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17)! But I will say, those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh and its lusts and desires (see Galatians 5:24)! 

Have you? Oh, heed Jesus’ words! See the spiritual poverty of your heart! Cry out to Him to change it! He will. Then, blessed will you be!

Verses 23-24 —

Therefore, if you are presenting your gift to God at the altar, and (while) there, remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go; first, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your gift. 

What? My brother has something against me, and I have to go to him and be reconciled? If I don’t, the Lord won’t accept anything from me? Yes! 

Even if you are not at fault, you must go. And if you are at fault, you must go! As long as you refuse to attempt reconciliation so that as much as it is possible, you are at peace with your brother (Romans 12:18), the Lord will not receive what you give Him. Why? You are not right with God —

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Jesus does not say, Try to forgive. Forgive! You cannot do it, until you truly heed what He says, see the poverty of your heart, and cry out for Him to change it!

Thanks be to God, He will!

My brothers and sisters in Christ, your Father in heaven, will not forgive you, unless you forgive one who sins against you. Go to them, just as Jesus Christ directs you in Matthew 18:15-17. 

And if you sin against them, make haste to settle with them. Listen!

Verse 25 — 

Make friends (agree with your adversary) quickly (readily, without delay) with your opponents at law, while you are on the way (to the court). What if you do not ?

— Your opponent will hand you over to the judge (God)

— And the judge will hand you over to the officer (Satan)

— And  you will be thrown into prison (hell).

You are on the way to that day when you will stand before Jesus Christ, beloved. Make peace now!

Verse 26 —

I tell you, says Jesus, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent! And there is no way to repay Him for your sin, after He has judged you. Hell has no exits, beloved! 

You will say, I am saved! But I will say, you were saved in a moment of time, but you must continue in your salvation. It is possible to fall away —

Hebrews 10:26   For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 

As I have already spoken from Matthew 24:10 — many will fall away (will sin, will be tripped up) and will betray one another and hate one another. Anger is murder, and the root is the hate in a human heart that has not been transformed by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, beloved!

Jesus Christ presents an impossible standard to those who are saved, but have not asked Jesus to fill them with His Holy Spirit. Oh, if they cry out, He will purify their hearts and crucify the sin nature, so hate is no longer in your heart, and you have the fruit of the Spirit!

You remember that I have spoken from Matthew 18:23-35, the parable of the slave forgiven of a debt impossible for him to repay. You, too, have been forgiven of such a debt, by your Lord and God! But he went to one who owed him little, and chastised him for it, and imprisoned him. What happened to him?

Matthew 18:32 “Then summoning him, his lord  said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 “And his lord, moved with anger (God’s righteous anger), handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

But your heart must be changed, in order for you to forgive as you are required to forgive, in order for you to no longer be angry, no longer murder, because hate is no longer your heart. No longer! No longer!

Oh, heed, see, cry out! The Lord has come to speak to your heart today, and He will gladly change it, when you cry out!

I will confess to you that I have had times, since being filled with the Spirit, where I have become frustrated regarding a fellow believer, or with the church as a whole. But I do not hate — it is gone from my heart! I just want so badly for each believer’s heart to be changed as the Lord has so mercifully changed mine! Nevertheless, I take my frustration to the Lord, and He reminds me that I am to give the words He gives me, and then it is between Him and the hearer. 

Lord Jesus, may your church hear Your words, and repent. Amen. So be it!

SESSION 21 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 15:35-58 

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I teach today. May you hear and believe, and not be deceived by false teachers.

Last time, in the first 34 verses of Chapter 15, Paul corrected the church at Corinth, because some (both inside and outside the church) were saying there is no resurrection. If there is no resurrection, Jesus was not resurrected, and we are all still dead in our sins! This is a crucial aspect of the gospel! So he strongly rebuked them, telling them to wake up from their stupor. 

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “The Final Resurrection.” 

Paul and I, by the Spirit, will now teach about our resurrected bodies, which we will have when the final resurrection happens, at the end of things. Remember from last time, our spirits immediately go to the Lord when we die (again, 2Corinthians 5:6-8) — absent from the body is present with the Lord! Hallelujah! 

Now, let’s look at today’s text!

Verses 35-36 — 

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body to they come?” 

Paul responds strongly. You fool (mindless, stupid, ignorant, unbelieving)! Why are they fools? The method of our resurrection and the type of body we will have is not the greatest aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The greatest aspect is resurrection to eternal life, and then, when we are filled with His Spirit, pure hearts and freedom from slavery to sin!

Remember that the believers at Corinth are: 1) focusing on what the body will be like because some find it repulsive to think they will be resurrected to moldy, decayed bodies, and 2) believing there is no resurrection and 3) going so far as to say Christ was not resurrected! These errors are from their own thinking, and/or from false teachers who are among them, or who have come in from the outside. 

But to answer the questions of the believers at Corinth, Paul uses the metaphor of the seed or grain that is sown, and what grows from it. The seed must die (go into the ground) in order for something to spring up from it. 

Verses 37-38 —

You don’t sow an ear of corn to get corn. You don’t sow a carrot to get carrots. In the case of wheat, you sow a bare grain. It looks nothing at all like the tall, grass-like plant that will grow from that bare grain. The wheat is given a body (the wheat plant) by God, just as He intended. And each of the seeds has a different body that is produced, depending on the kind of seed planted. It is His design.

Verse 39 —

All flesh (bodies) are not the same. There is one flesh (body) for men (mankind). There is another for beasts, there is another for birds, and another for fish. Men do not look like fish, nor beasts, nor birds! They look like men, because God designed them to look the way they do. Again, it is His design.

Verses 40-41 —

There are also heavenly bodies (the sun, moon and stars) and earthly bodies (mountains, canyons, bodies of water, etc.). But the glory (dignity, honor) of one is different from the other. Both are beautiful, but in different ways.

Likewise, the sun has its own beauty. The moon has its own beauty. The stars have their own beauty, for star differs from star in glory. What does that mean? The degree of brilliance is different, from star to star, and moon versus sun!

Verse 42-44 —

And Paul now applies all of this to the resurrection of the dead, and the bodies we will have at the end of things. And he does it in a glorious way! 

It is sown in corruption (the human body in the grave is perishable) it is raised in incorruption (the resurrected body is imperishable).

It is sown in dishonor (indignity, compared with what is raised), it is raised in glory (beauty). It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power (dunamis, God’s miraculous power, the power of resurrection)! Glory to God!

It is sown a natural body, but it is raised a spiritual body, because if there is a natural body, there also must come a spiritual body for His children. It is God’s design.

Verses 45-47 —

Paul then quotes Genesis 2:7 — The first man, Adam, became a living (alive) soul (that which breathes) when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. There was a part of Adam that was of the dust of the ground, and a part of him that was not able to be weighed or measured — his spirit that was made by God in the image of God, who is Spirit (John 4:24).

But the last Adam, Jesus Christ, was a life-giving (One who makes alive with eternal life) Spirit (the Greek word refers to God’s divine Spirit)! And because He rose from the dead, all who believe into Him will have eternal life, life as God has it! He is life-giving!

However, for us who believe, the spiritual is not first. We are in natural bodies first, then in spiritual bodies. Our natural body dies, and it will be raised a spiritual body.

Paul concludes by saying the first man (Adam) is from the earth, formed from the earth by the hand of God. The second man (Jesus Christ) is from heaven. He was sent from the Father, and was with the Father before anything was made by Them (John 1:1-2). He was fully God and fully man (John 1:18, Hebrews 1:1-3, etc.).

Verses 48-49 —

As is the earthy (Adam who was perishable), so are those who are earthy (Adam’s offspring — all mankind). We perish, if we are of the earth and have rejected Jesus Christ. And as is the heavenly (Jesus Christ who is from heaven), so are those who are heavenly (who have come to faith in Christ and will be given spiritual bodies at the final resurrection).

Verse 50 —

Flesh and blood, which is perishable (mortal), cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Why? The kingdom of God is not of this world, but of heaven. That part of us which is mortal (our natural bodies) will die and decay. 

Our mortal bodies cannot inherit the kingdom of God, which is immortal. So, the mortal body that goes into the ground when a believer dies is raised as a spiritual body, as Paul says in Verse 44. It will be changed from mortal to immortal.

But when will the bodies of all Christians, dead or alive, change? And how will that happen?

Verses 51-52 —

Paul says, Pay attention! I am correcting your false ideas, believers at Corinth! I tell you a mystery (i.e., I reveal a truth you did not know). We will not all sleep — some Christians will be alive when the Lord returns. 

Our bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye — in an instant, in a moment, as quickly as light is reflected on the surface of an eye. When? At the last trumpet, the seventh of the trumpets which the angels will sound (Revelation 11:15), after Jesus Christ opens the seventh of the seals on the scroll (Revelation 4:6-7). Then, God will pour out His wrath on the earth, as a judgment against all who have rejected His Son.

Then our bodies will be changed! The dead in Christ will be raised immortal, and for those in Christ who are alive, we will be changed so that our living bodies become spiritual, immortal bodies! Paul instructs the Thessalonians —

1Thessalonians 4:13   But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up (Greek harpazo, Latin rapturo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

This event is called the rapture, based on the Latin rapturo, for “caught up.” Again, there is no “soul sleep.” That is a heresy. Just as Paul said in 2Corinthians 5:6-8, he also says in Philippians 1:21 and forward —

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better . . .

Again, absent from the body, our spirits immediately go to Jesus Christ in heaven. But at the last trumpet, every Christian’s body, dead or alive, is changed so that it becomes spiritual and immortal. 

Verse 53 — 

Why must our bodies be changed? Because our bodies are perishable. We must put on (as if sinking into a new garment) imperishable bodies. Our bodies are mortal. We must put on immortal bodies. Then our bodies are fit for heaven!

Verse 54 —

And when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, “Death is swallowed up (gulped entirely down) in victory!” 

Glory to God! The Father and the Son are worthy of all honor and glory and praise! Now you know what Paul meant by “The last enemy to be abolished is death,” from 1Corinthians 15:26! This is Jesus Christ’s final victory!

Paul has quoted from Isaiah’s prophecy —

Isaiah 25:8  He will swallow up death for all time, 

And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, 

And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; 

For the LORD has spoken.

Verse 55 —

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The Lord will have no compassion for death or hell. I will quote from the 1984 NIV, which is a better translation than my NASB for the passage from Hosea to which Paul refers   

Hosea 13:14   “I will ransom them from the power of the grave;

I will redeem them from death. 

  Where, O death, are your plagues?

Where, O grave, is your destruction?

“ (on these) I will have no compassion . . .”

What will the Lord do with death and hell? They will burn in the lake of fire forever —

Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Verse 56 —

The sting of death is sin, beloved. Just as it was in the Old Testament, the one who sins is the one who dies (see Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Ezekiel spoke this to God’s people! Paul confirms — 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And the power of sin is the law, because none of us is able to obey, in our own power. But when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our sin nature (propensity to sin inherited from Adam) is crucified, and God’s law is easy to obey!

Verse 57 

And the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God! He gives us the victory over death, through our Lord Jesus Christ! 

Verse 58 —

Therefore, considering all this (all that I have shown you to correct your views on resurrection), my beloved brethren — do you see that Paul loves them, and that he corrects them just as a parent corrects an errant child?

Considering all that I have written to you, here is my command to you, believers at Corinth (and believers today) —

— Be steadfast (settled regarding the truth)

— Immovable (unable to be moved from the truth)

— Always abounding (superabounding, overflowing, excelling) in the work of the Lord (not man’s works, but His divine works which He will do in and through you)

Knowing (having no doubt) that your toil is not in vain (empty and worthless) in the Lord! All that He does in and through you is worthwhile and fruitful!

And they will be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, when they are filled with the Spirit! They will know that their toil is not in vain in the Lord! Amen!

Next time, I will teach from the final chapter of 1Corinthians, in which Paul gives a variety of instructions we should heed!

Then he will come to them for what will be a painful visit, and then write a letter of strong rebuke. That letter is not recorded in the New Testament. But we will learn about it in 2Corinthians.

Immediately after 1Corinthians 16, I will begin recording my Bible study of 2Corinthians. But I will not begin publishing those sessions until this fall, so that I have time to record some sessions in advance. Then, even if I am traveling, I will still be able to keep publishing them weekly. 

I pray you are learning as much as I am learning AND that you are applying these truths to your heart! Lord Jesus, I pray it will be so. Amen!

FULFILLED!

[SW334] 7/7/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Fulfilled!

Text: Matthew 5:13-20

Those who are filled with the Spirit rejoice and say, “The Law is fulfilled!” That is why Jesus came! Oh, if you will heed His words, see your heart’s poverty, and cry out to Him, He will fulfill the Law in you, too! 

Verse 13 —

From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called God’s people to repent and believe the gospel (see Matthew 4:17). And He is still calling! 

Now, for all of us, He unfolds the full purpose of His coming — that we be filled with His Holy Spirit. He commands it, for it is the only way we are able to fulfill the Law. 

In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes the effects of being filled with His Holy Spirit, in these verses from the Sermon on the Mount. What are the effects, in our hearts and actions?

You become and remain salty! You detect salt in what you eat, don’t you? You can taste it! So it is with those who have believed all of the gospel and been filled with the Spirit. Just as you can readily detect salt in food, you can readily detect the “salt” of one who is filled. Such “salty” ones are different from everything else that is around them. And they never lose their saltiness.

But if you are not filled, Jesus warns that it is possible to lose your saltiness, thereby becoming tasteless. Salt that has lost its flavor cannot be made salty again. And so it is not good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Beloved, heed, see, and cry out, if you are not salty! But how does something that was salty become tasteless and worthless?

How does the salt in a saved person become tasteless? When Jesus walked the earth, salt was harvested from salt marshes. It was a mixture (admixture) of salt and other minerals. Over time, that mixture destroyed the saltiness of the salt. Then, the “unsalty” salt would be thrown out into the dusty streets.

In the same way, believers can become tasteless, if they have an admixture in their hearts. Do you just worship on Sundays, and the rest of the week, serve yourself? Do you go to church to get blessed? Then the god of self is large and in charge in you! Your heart is devoted to you! Your affections are mixed — you are first! And Jesus says you will be trampled under foot by men. Heed, see, cry out!

But if you have believed all of the gospel, then your heart has been completely changed, and your desires are no longer divided. You are salty, and you remain that way! You are filled with the Holy Spirit, your sin nature has been crucified so you no longer willfully disobey God, and you are filled with God’s actual love, the same love with which He loves His Son!

Verse 14-15 — 

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are continually the light of the world. You never lose your light, because you are filled with His light! Just like the lights from a city on a hill can be seen from a great distance, so the light of Christ within you cannot be hidden. You do not hide His light — you cannot hide it! You shine!

Listen to Paul —

Philippians 2:14 (NIV)   Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Once His light fills you, He does not put you under a basket, so your light cannot be seen. No, he puts you on a lamp stand, where you give light to all who are in the house!

But some believers hide their Christianity. They are quiet, never speaking of Jesus, except in church. They hide behind locked doors, so to speak, fearful that they might be rejected if they speak of Him. They do not yet have the light of Christ within them.

It was the same for the disciples, after Christ was crucified, but before Pentecost. They hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, who hated them. 

They were not  yet able to boldly speak of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20), because they had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And their hearts were still darkened by their sin nature, because their hearts had not yet been filled with His light!

For those who hide their Christianity, a personal Pentecost is the cure! He came to fulfill the Law, so your heart is entirely changed when you are filled with His Spirit! Then you are filled with His light, and it will never be hidden! Hallelujah!

Have you had a personal Pentecost? When the Lord fills you with His light, you will give light to everyone who is in the room, on the street, in the store, on the airplane — everywhere you go, because the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, is in you, large and in charge!

Verse 16 —

There is no “let” in the original Greek. “Shine your light!”  It is a command. To translate it as, “Let your light shine,” may very well lead you to believe that you are able to make yourself shine, or that somehow His light is bottled up in you, and you just need to uncork it! Beloved, you cannot shine until Christ fills your heart with His light!

Are you the light of the world? When you enter a room, does Christ’s presence in you — His light in you — shine? Heed Christ’s words, see the poverty of your heart, and cry out to Him! 

What is the purpose of shining your light (His light in you) before all men? When His light fills you, He will make you shine “in such a way” that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven! 

What are these “good works?” Here are just a few —

— Jesus Christ is seen in you, as a reflection is seen in a mirror. 

— God’s divine influence on your heart, and its reflection in your life, is unmistakably evident.

— His light in you is obvious to everyone around you.

— His light in you is seen from a great distance.

— His light in you cannot be hidden!

— You are like Jesus Christ in this world!

1John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

And because you are like Him in this world, you do what you see your Father doing, and say what you hear Him saying —

John 5:19   Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”

John 14:10b “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the words that you speak are the work of your Father — He speaks through you! And men recognize that they are His words and will glorify your Father in heaven, praising and honoring Him! 

Likewise, there are great miracles He will do through you, and men will recognize His works! Then men will glorify your Father in heaven, praising and honoring Him!

Do people see God’s works in you? Do they see that you are salt and light? Are they drawn to you as they were drawn to Jesus? 

Are you doing what you see your Father doing, and saying what you hear Him saying? Do men see, and glorify your Father in heaven? Are you like Jesus in this world? Heed, see, and cry out! He will do it in you!

Verse 17 —

Jesus clearly states that He has not come to abolish the Law. He has come to fulfill it! By His Holy Spirit, He empowers humans to faithfully do the Law of Moses. How? It happened after He died and rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and was glorified. 

What is the Law? Jesus tells you, and the expert in the Law of Moses who asked Him what was the greatest commandment —

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Beloved, the whole Law of Moses, and all of the exhortations of the prophets, can be boiled down to these two commandments. Let me explain.

If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, if you love Him with His divine love, you will do the first four of the Ten Commandments. They will be as natural to you as breathing, because you have been filled with His Holy Spirit, and His love will compel you in everything that you do (2Corinthians 5:14)!

And if you love (with His divine love) your neighbor as yourself, then you will do the last six commandments! They will be as natural to you as breathing, because you have been filled with His Holy Spirit, and His love will compel you in everything that you do (2Corinthians 5:14)!

Verse 18 —

Jesus says the Law will certainly not be done away with — not even the smallest jot or tittle — for the Law is a tool used by God to show you the poverty of your heart, so you mourn over it, are humbled by it, and hunger and thirst for His righteousness! Oh, He will fill you when you cry out!

Verse 19 — 

Some teachers say you no longer need to do the Law of Moses, the Law that Jesus boiled down to those two commandments. But if Jesus Christ said the Law will not be done away with, it will not! Run from such a teacher! 
Jesus says the Scripture cannot be broken (invalidated) — none of it can (John 10:35)! Such teachers nullify the least of the commandments by breaking the Scripture and thereby defying the Lord. Jesus says they pervert the Word, spinning it until it becomes like cotton candy! How can they belong to Him, when they teach as they do? 

Many teach that breaking the Law of Moses is “normal” Christian living! But Jesus Christ says He will set us free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). So, who will you believe? 

Jesus says such teachers will be called least (ultra-microscopic) in the kingdom of heaven. I prayed long and hard about this verse. I believe Jesus’ statement means that such a teacher will not enter heaven. Such ones defy God and His Word. God looks down from the kingdom of heaven and calls that one worthless.

But teachers who do the Law are filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s the only way they can do the Law! AND they teach others the Law, as boiled down by Jesus Christ, and exhort believers that they must ask the Lord to change their hearts. 

Do not misunderstand, beloved. I do not teach that you must believe into Jesus and do the Law in order to be saved. That is what the Judaizers taught. When you believe into Jesus, you are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God. 

But like the man in Romans 7, after you are saved, you will find yourself still struggling against sin, just as I did. Who will save you from that wretched condition, where you want to obey but don’t? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (see Romans 7:25)!

So I, and all who are Spirit-filled, teach that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He writes the Law on the tablet of your heart (see 2Corinthians 3:3). Then you no longer view the Law as a burdensome, impossible list of do’s and don’ts, but a joy, and you will continually respond, Yes, Lord!

Those who teach in this way will be called great (exceedingly great) in the kingdom of heaven. And those who teach in this way give all glory to the Lord, who did it in us!

Verse 20 —

In His conclusion of this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a seemingly impossible standard for entering the kingdom of heaven. Your righteousness must surpass that of the scribes (experts in the law of Moses) and Pharisees. 

What? There are none who follow the Law of Moses more closely. They are like the orthodox Jews of today. They are extremely righteous, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s of the Law of Moses!

But here is what Jesus said to them — 

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

It is possible to be outwardly obedient and still have an unchanged heart. But the behavior of such ones is hypocritical and self-righteous. The scribes and Pharisees hearts were darkened. Their sin natures ruled. They congratulated themselves on how perfectly they followed the do’s and don’ts of the Law. Yet they crucified the One that the Father sent to them!

My heart was the same as theirs, until it was changed when I was filled with the Holy Spirit! But then, beloved, I was filled with God’s Holy Spirit and God’s righteousness. Now, my righteousness exceeds the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, because it is not my own righteousness, but His righteousness in me! 

How about you? Do you believe that your outward works and religious activities make you good and right in God’s eyes? Or have you heeded Jesus Christ’s impossible standards, seen that no one can be righteous without a change of heart, and cried out for Him to do it? 

Thanks be to God, you will be blessed — supremely spiritually happy — when He answers and fills you with His Holy Spirit, His love and His righteousness! 

May many heed, see, and cry out, Lord Jesus. Amen. So be it.

SESSION 20 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 15:1-34 

With love, even God’s own divine love in our hearts, Paul and I teach today. May you hear and believe, and not be deceived by false teachers.

Last time, in Chapter 14, Paul dealt with the fixation that the infants in Christ at Corinth seem to have, regarding the gift of tongues. There has been much strife among them, and much listening to false teaching. But I tell you the truth — if the believers at Corinth were all filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have had to write to them and visit them!

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “The Truth About Resurrection.” 

Before I proceed, though, you must know that there are two kinds of resurrection, as Jesus teaches and warns —

John 5:28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good (who believed into Christ and obeyed Him) to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil (who rejected Christ or disobeyed Him) to a resurrection of judgment.”

Be in the former category, rather than the latter, dear ones!

And know that, though your body be in the ground, your spirit is with the Lord, when you die —

2Corinthians 5:6   Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight — 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Hallelujah! 

Now, on to Chapter 15:1-34! We will look at the rest of this chapter next time.

Verse 1 —

Paul says, Now I make known (declare) to you, brethren! That means they do not know!

What does he declare to them? The gospel which he preached to them, which they received, and in which they stand. Something is being done and said in the church at Corinth that requires Paul to again declare the gospel to them. The divine love of God in his heart compels him to bring them back to the truth of the gospel!

Verse 2 —

This gospel Paul preached to them is the gospel which they received from Paul and in which they stand, and by which they are saved. But there is an “if.”

It is the gospel in which they are saved IF they hold fast (hold, keep, retain) the word which Paul preached to them. Otherwise, their professed faith is in vain (worthless, empty, meaningless). 

They are saved IF! Beloved, I pray that you see that there is a condition for our continued salvation! We must all hold fast to the true gospel of Jesus Christ by which we are saved, for it is possible to believe in vain (to stand before Him empty-handed), as Paul warns the believers at Corinth —

2Corinthians 5:20   Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (Some are no longer reconciled to God!)

2Corinthians 6:1   And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain (being empty-handed)

Beloved, the cure is to be filled with the Holy Spirit so you discern false teaching and become steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58)!

Verses 3-4 —

Paul now repeats the gospel to them, which was the first thing he taught them — that is, the gospel which he himself received (see Acts 9). Why must he repeat this to a church? The same reason as today, beloved. Some are teaching a different gospel in the church. 

What is the real gospel? Are you able to speak it right now, with conviction and power, beloved?

# 1 — That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures

This is according to Isaiah’s prophecy, and many others —

Isaiah 53:5  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 

He was crushed for our iniquities; 

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 

And by His scourging we are healed (a mended relationship with God).

6  All of us like sheep have gone astray, 

Each of us has turned to his own way; 

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all 

To fall on Him.

Glory to God! Christ died for OUR sins! He did not come for any other reason! Jesus says —

John 12:27   “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

# 2 — That He was buried and that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures.

Jonah 1:17   And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

You may ask, What has that got to do with Jesus’ resurrection? Jesus answers you, and the crowds around Him, and the Jewish leaders who questioned Him, using “the sign of Jonah” to speak of His resurrection —

Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” 

Verses 5-8 —

Paul repeats to them what he testified to the believers at Corinth, after preaching the gospel to them. His testimony is that many saw the risen Christ, thus confirming His resurrection — 

— The risen Christ appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve (minus Judas, who committed suicide after betraying Him). 

— The risen Christ appeared to more than 500 believers at one time. Most were alive as Paul wrote this letter, but some had fallen asleep (their bodies had died). 

— The risen Christ appeared to his half-brother, James, and then to all the apostles (those who would be the future leaders of the church) prior to His ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

— The risen Christ appeared to Paul, as one untimely born (born late). It was on the road to Damascus, in Acts 9. 

Why does Paul have to repeat the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Some in the church at Corinth are being led to believe that it never happened. They are listening to false teachers!

Beloved, who are you listening to? I tell you that unless you know the Word of God and are filled with His Spirit, you will easily be led astray!

Verses 9-11 —

Because he was late in coming to belief in Christ, Paul considers himself to be the least of the apostles (the lowest, smallest). He considers himself not fit, by his own doing, to be an apostle. Why? Because he persecuted the church greatly, until he met Jesus on that road.

But Paul is what he is by the grace of God — the unmerited favor shown to him, first of all. But grace also is defined as the Lord’s work in the heart, and its reflection in the life. Beloved, all of us should say the same! Has He worked in your heart, changing it entirely? If so, His heart work will be reflected in your life! 

Paul confesses that God’s grace toward him did not prove empty or meaningless, for by God’s grace, he labored more than all of them. But it was not Paul who was working, but God who was working with him. We should all be able to say it, beloved! How powerful to know that, if we are filled with Him, the Lord does the work, and we are simply His vessels!

But whether it was Paul who preached, or the others, they all preach the same gospel, the same one by which those in Corinth believed.

Verse 12 — 

Here is the crux of the extreme danger in the church at Corinth. The risen Christ has been preached to them by Paul. But now, some among them say there is no resurrection of the dead!

False teachers are among them, wolves in sheep’s clothing, just as in the church at Ephesus, whom Paul prophetically warned at his last meeting with them —

Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

I also believe that some in the church are willing to believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected, but they are appalled to think their own bodies will be resurrected from their moldy graves. So they have decided that their own bodies will not be resurrected. Paul’s next words give evidence of their false belief regarding resurrection, fueled by false teaching and their own imaginations.

Verses 13-14 — 

Paul says, If there is no resurrection from the dead, even Christ was not resurrected. If He was not raised, then the apostles’ preaching is worthless, and the Corinthians’ faith also is worthless! He had to be resurrected, to prove that He is the Christ (see Romans 1:4)!

Verse 15 —

Even worse, if there is no resurrection, then Christ was not raised, and the apostles are guilty of lying about God by saying Christ was raised! IF in fact God did not raise Christ, then none of the dead are raised. So the believers at Corinth cannot say, “Jesus was resurrected” and at the same time say, “but we will not be resurrected.”

Verses 16-19 —

Paul continues to reason with the believers at Corinth —

—For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has not been raised. 

— And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless, Paul tells the Corinthians. You are still in your sins. It is true of ALL of us, including some of today’s commentators and pastors who say Christ’s resurrection is a fable. Shame on them!

— If Christ has not been raised, those who have fallen asleep in Christ (died as believers) have perished (gone to eternal destruction)!

— And we who have hoped in Christ in this life are to be pitied more than any others. 

Verse 20 —

But now, Paul says!!! Now, hear the truth! Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 

He was the first whose body died and who was resurrected, never to die again. So all who die, believing in Him, are resurrected to eternal life with Him, in heaven.

(NOTE: Lazarus was raised to this life, but DID have to die again, to receive eternal life.)

Verses 21-22 —

By one man (Adam) came death. By Adam’s sin, we all came under the wrath of God, because we carry Adam’s sin nature within us. We rebel from the time we are born. No one is good, not even one (Romans 3:10 and forward).

BUT, by a man (Jesus Christ) came resurrection of the dead. If we repent and believe into Jesus, we will be raised to a resurrection of eternal life! And remember, as I said at the first of this teaching, your spirit immediately goes to Jesus when you die.

Paul then says, as in Adam all die (all perish because all are born with the sin nature all humans inherited from Adam), so also in Christ all will be made alive! We are not sentenced to perishing, unless we refuse to believe, as Jesus says —

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Verses 23-26 —

Paul reiterates what he has already taught the believers at Corinth. Here is how the resurrection will occur —

— First Christ, the first fruits

— Then those who are His, at His coming. He is coming again? Yes! I will teach it in the next session, from Verses 50 onward.

— Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father. That will happen when Christ has abolished all rule and authority and power. 

— For Christ must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. Satan and those who are his will be totally defeated, at the end of things.

— The last enemy that will be abolished is death. There will be no more death, in the new heaven and the new earth.

Verses 27-28 —

— For He (God the Father) has put all things in subjection under His (Jesus Christ’s) feet. 

— When God the Father says, “All things are put in subjection” to Christ, God the Father does not include Himself in that which is put in subjection to His Son. Though the Father and the Son are equally God, the Father is the final authority.

— Then, when all things are subjected to Christ, Jesus Christ Himself will subject Himself to the Father, so God the Father may be all in all. Again, the Father is the final authority. 

Verse 29 —

Commentators have puzzled over this verse, but I believe it is meant to be taken literally. We already understand that some of the believers at Corinth do not think there is a resurrection from the dead, although they believe Christ was resurrected. 

What, then, can they do about their relatives who have died without knowing Christ? Ah! They will be baptized on their dead relatives’ behalf, as proxy for them. This is heresy, a completely false teaching that they have either invented or have been taught! (NOTE: The Mormons follow this heresy, even today.)

Verse 30 —

If Christ was not resurrected, Paul asks, why are both the apostles and believers in danger every hour? Why would they be willing to be persecuted even to death, for the sake of a fable? But they are compelled by and captives of God’s divine love! Thus, they preach the gospel, regardless of the consequences, so some may be saved! And they gladly go to their deaths, knowing full well that their spirits will go to the Lord immediately after they die, and their bodies will be resurrected at the end of things!

Verse 31 —

Paul speaks the truth to them. He affirms something to them, and boasts of bringing the believers at Corinth to faith, by the power of Jesus Christ who indwells him. He always boasts in Christ!

What does he affirm? That he dies daily. What does he mean? He is always in danger of death, just as he testifies in 2Corinthians 11:23-27! 

NOTE: This passage is often taken out of context by many preachers who teach that you must re-crucify your sin nature all day, every day. But when your sin nature is crucified, it is never raised from the dead! Thanks be to God!

Verse 32 — 

Paul and the rest do not preach from human motives (to gain a big audience and fill their own pockets). If that was Paul’s motive, why would Paul have fought wild beasts (demons, per the whole chapter of Acts 19) at Ephesus? It would profit him nothing, if he is only preaching in order to gain a following!

If the dead are not raised, we might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we perish! Paul speaks this, to show them the absurdity of their belief that they will not be resurrected.

Verse 33-34 —

Paul directly reproves the believers at Corinth now. Quoting their Greek literature, he says, Bad company (false teachers within or outside their church that are teaching there is no resurrection) corrupts good morals.

Then he directly rebukes them, commanding them to become sober-minded (wake up from a stupor), as they ought (are required to be)! Wake from your stupor, O Corinthians and O church! 

Then Paul adds, Stop sinning! How are they sinning? In all the ways we have seen from the first chapter onward, and in not believing in their own resurrection!

He goes further — some (of you) have no knowledge (are ignorant) of God!

He speaks this to the believers at Corinth, to their shame! They must repent of their unbelief and seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit so they may know their God in a holy, intimate way! 

Beloved, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you know God intimately, and the Father and the Son fully indwell you. Therefore, you know that Christ is alive, by His very presence inside of you, and His Spirit confirms to you that you will be resurrected! Hallelujah!

Next time, Paul (and I, by the Spirit) will teach what our resurrected bodies will look like, and when and how the final resurrection will come. Stay tuned!

Heed! See! Cry Out!

[SW333] 6/30/2018 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Heed! See! Cry Out!

Text: Matthew 5:1-12

When you heed Jesus Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount, and see the spiritual condition of your heart, and cry out for the Lord to change your heart, you will be blessed (supremely spiritually happy)! 

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7) is Christ’s instruction regarding the Law of Moses. The Law (Torah, which means “instruction”) was given by God to teach His people His character, and show them that they must reflect His character to the world around them. 

The Lord  knows full well that no one can “do the Law,” apart from an entire change of heart. Jeremiah prophesies —

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else 

And is desperately sick; 

Who can understand it?”

The Lord showed me that Verses 1-12 are the result of, ”Heed! See! Cry out!” Like me, if you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, you will cry out to Him for a new heart. As He says at the end of the Sermon on the Mount —

Matthew 7:24   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on (does) them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell — and great was its fall.”

Hallelujah!

Verse 1 —

Jesus’ audience was the crowd (multitudes) who had followed Him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea. They had heard Him proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, and had seen Him heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people (Matthew 4:24-25). Also present were His disciples — The Twelve, and probably others who now wanted to follow Him. 

He spoke the entire Sermon on the Mount in the hill country, from a mountain (a hill lifted above the plain around it). Some believe it was spoken over several days. But it would have been difficult for His listeners to follow what He was saying if He had stopped in the midst, and the next day, picked up where He left off. 

Verses 2-3 —

He opened His mouth and began to teach them (a prolonged form of the word “teach”). The phrase “opened His mouth” means that He was about to speak solemn revelation to them. His words were directed to His followers, and to the rest of the people in the crowds, who were God’s people. So this applies to you and me, as followers of Jesus! 

And He said, Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Who are the poor in spirit? 

The word “poor in spirit” used here means “beggarly in soul.” If you are poor in spirit, you see the poverty-stricken condition of your heart, and you beg the Lord to change it, knowing that only He can do it. You see that all of your religious activities and attempts to be good cannot change your heart.

Blessed are you, if you have come to that realization! When He changes your heart, you will be supremely spiritually happy and will know that the kingdom of heaven is yours! 

The kingdom does not belong to the proud, to those who think they are good because of the good deeds they do. It belongs to you, because you have seen the poverty of your heart and have begged the Lord to change it.

Verse 4 —

Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are those who mourn (an all-encompassing grief), for they shall be comforted. What is the cause of your grief? You have seen your spiritual bankruptcy, and are grief-stricken over it! Blessed are you, for He will turn your mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11)! 

He will call you near, and fill you with the Comforter, the Holy Spirit! Oh, then you will no longer mourn, for the Holy Spirit will fill you, and the Father and the Son will dwell inside of you! And it will be a joy to obey Him! Blessed are you!

Verse 5 — 

Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are the gentle (humble), for they shall inherit the earth. Because you have grieved, because you have seen your heart, you are now humble. 

You do not rely on your religiosity. You realize you have no innate goodness. You realize that apart from Christ, you cannot fulfill the Law. You see that despite your best religious efforts, you remain bankrupt. And thus, you are humble. 

Blessed are you, for only the humble inherit the earth —

Psalm 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off (die), but those who wait for (entwine themselves with) the LORD, they will inherit the land.

Psalm 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land (earth, Hebrew-to-English) and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

Verse 6 —

Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied (filled abundantly)! You have seen the condition of your heart, and are desperately hungry and thirsty for God’s righteousness. You see that your idea of righteousness by your own works is false, because your heart remains unchanged, and you are in an endless cycle of “sin and repent.” 

And when you cry out, He fills you — with His Holy Spirit, and all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)! Blessed are you! 

And you become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:21) because the Holy Spirit has filled you with the righteousness of God, and the Father and the Son indwell you permanently! Glory to God!

Verse 7 –  

Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Think of the man who owed a great debt to his Master, and it was entirely forgiven, but then he went after a man who owed him little (see Matthew 18:23-35). He showed his debtor no mercy.

Your heart has been changed, and now, God’s mercy has filled your heart. As a result, you freely forgive, and you no longer keep an account of wrongs suffered (see 1Corinthians 13:5). You are filled with God’s Spirit, His love and His compassion. It is divine love, and divine compassion, called chesed in the Old Testament, and agape in the New Testament. 

You see the great need for Christ in this world. It brings you to your knees, in prayer! And you go out and speak of God’s mercy. You cannot stop speaking about what you have seen and heard! You speak this great gospel, and you live it with every breath you take.

You have received mercy from the Lord. He has heard your cry, when you saw your spiritual destitution. And He has answered! Now you are supremely spiritually happy! 

Verse 8 — 

Blessed are the pure (clean, clear, free from impure admixture, without blemish, spotless) in heart, for they shall see God! 

Only these shall see God! It is the purity without which no one will see God. The writer of Hebrews exhorts Jewish believers scattered by persecution —

Hebrews 12:14   Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification (purification of heart) without which no one will see the Lord.

Listen to David —

Psalm 24:3  Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? 

And who may stand in His holy place?

4  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, 

Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood 

And has not sworn deceitfully.

5  He shall receive a blessing from the LORD 

And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

The pure in heart shall see God here, for He will indwell them when He fills them with His Spirit (John 14:23), and they shall see Him face-to-face, when they are in heaven (1Corinthians 13:12)! 

You have seen the spiritual poverty in your heart, you know that you have no power to make your heart pure. You have tried and failed. But you have cried out, and He has answered! Now you have a pure heart. Blessed are you, supremely spiritually happy are you! 

Verse 9 —

Blessed (supremely spiritually happy) are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Why? They do what God does.

You are at peace with God, having been reconciled through faith in Jesus Christ. Then, you have asked Him to change your spiritually bankrupt heart, and He has answered! You have cried out, like the wretched man in Romans 7 who has seen the condition of his heart —

Romans 7:24-25a Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

He has given you His peace. It is not as the world gives (John 14:27). He has filled you with His divine peace. Supremely spiritually happy are you! 

Now, your heart’s motive, in all things, is to bring others to this peace. You are an ambassador, announcing that through Christ, they may be reconciled with God. 

But you do not stop with reconciliation and forgiveness. Like Christ, you announce the whole gospel, including the terms and conditions of the kingdom of God, that all may see the condition of their hearts, and cry out as you did!

Verse 10 —

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Supremely spiritually happy are you when you are persecuted because your heart has been changed, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and you cannot stop speaking about what you have seen and heard. 

What? How can that be? Persecution often results in banishment, beating, imprisonment, and even death. If you flinch at this reality, then your heart has not yet been changed, beloved. 

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples —

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
Oh, beloved! If you are filled with His Spirit and then persecuted for His name’s sake, you will do as the Twelve did, for their hearts had been changed at Pentecost, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit — 

Acts 5:40   They (the Sanhedrin) took his (Gamaliel’s) advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Oh, blessed are you, when you are persecuted because He has filled you with His Spirit, and thus, His righteousness! You rejoice when you suffer persecution because such persecution is the mark of one who has been made like Christ in this world!

Verses 11-12 — 

Jesus says, blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for in the same way, they persecuted to prophets who were before you. Your reward in heaven is great!

Supremely spiritually happy are you when you are insulted and persecuted, and when people lie about you! Why? They did the same to Jesus Christ! Again, that means you are like Him in this world —

1John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Oh, beloved! You are blessed when His love has been perfected (completed) in your heart. You are filled with His perfect love! Therefore, you are like Him in this world. 

You do not fear judgment on the day you stand before Jesus, because as He is, so are  you in this world. It was nothing you could do by your own effort, but when you saw the spiritual bankruptcy of your heart, you cried out to Him and He answered! 

Blessed are you! Are you? 

I will continue in the Sermon on the Mount, praying that you would have ears to hear, and that you would repent, as I did, and ask Him to change your heart. 

Amen, Lord Jesus! Let it be so.

SESSION 19 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 14 

In the first thirteen chapters, Paul, who loves the church with God’s own love, has reprimanded, beseeched and instructed the troubled church in Corinth. All of what he has written, and all that they have said and done, reflects their infancy in Christ. They have not comprehended that Christianity is not about outward works or who is the greatest, but an inward work in their hearts. 

In Chapter 13, Paul taught them that if they do not have love, what they are doing profits them nothing, does not profit others, and indeed, is nothing in the eyes of the Lord. They are nothing but noisy gongs and clanging cymbals, if they are not filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s divine love, and if His love is not what compels them in all that they do.

Now, Paul deals with the fixation that the infants in Christ at Corinth seem to have, regarding the gift of tongues. If the believers at Corinth were all filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have to write this chapter!

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “Do Not Be Children in Your Thinking.” 

Verses 1-4

Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth to pursue (seek after zealously, in a prolonged way) love — that is, zealously seek to be filled with the divine love of God! If they need to seek it, that means they do not have it yet! And yet, Paul also tells them to earnestly desire (be zealous to obtain) spiritual gifts, especially that they may prophesy (speak forth the wisdom of God, and foretell the future).

Why? One who speaks in a tongue (that is, a heavenly language) does not speak to men, but to God. Tongues are a gift given by the Spirit, but if he speaks tongues without interpretation in a meeting, what he is speaking is a mystery to everyone! Therefore, it is of no benefit to the church, but only to the speaker of tongues.

But if you prophesy, you speak to men for edification (bringing them to maturity), exhortation (beseeching earnestly), and consolation (comfort). Prophecy comes from the Lord, if the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. 

The Lord gives words to one who has the gift of prophecy, and the prophet speaks what the Lord gives him or her. The purpose is that the church may be built up and brought to maturity, as Paul writes to the church at Ephesus —

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping (perfecting) of the saints for the work of service (to become servants to one another), to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith (become partakers of the divine nature), and of the knowledge (full discernment) of the Son of God, to a mature (perfect, complete) man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

No wonder Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth to eagerly seek this gift, above all the others! All are valuable, all have a purpose, but prophecy is the most important spiritual gift for the Body of Christ!

But one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. He builds up his own faith. That is important, but the one who prophesies is the one who builds up everyone’s faith! Do you see the difference? Do not focus only on that which benefits you, beloved.

But believers will, just as Peter and the rest did, until they are filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s divine love!

Verse 5 —

Paul does not invalidate the gift of tongues. He wishes (prefers, desires) that all in Corinth speak in tongues! It is a gift from the Spirit, to edify the individual believer! But even more, he prefers and desires that they all prophesy. 

As Moses said to Joshua, when two men other than Moses were prophesying and Joshua wanted to restrain them —

Numbers 11:29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

Would that all of the church were prophets, that they all would be filled with His Spirit and hear His words! In Moses’ day, the Spirit came upon believers, but did not fill them and remain in them. So, would that all of Israel recognize Jesus as their Messiah and be saved and filled, so all of Israel would speak forth prophecy in the New Testament way!

Greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues unless the one speaking in tongues interprets, so that the church may be edified. Interpretation of tongues comes from the Lord, to make what is being said understandable and thus, beneficial to the church. Since the interpretation is from Him, it is prophetic. 

Again, tongues are for the individual believer’s edification. Prophecy is for the whole church’s edification. But in Corinth, we will see evidence that the believers treat tongues as the most important gift. Otherwise, Paul would not have to write what he is writing! I am repeating myself, for emphasis.

Verse 6 —

So if I come to  you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you? You cannot understand what I am saying! But if I speak to you either by revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will surely benefit you! 

The believers at Corinth meet, but all are speaking in tongues, so no one can understand. Why do they all speak in tongues when they meet? I can think of no other reason than that they want to show off their ability to speak in tongues, for it is of no benefit to their hearers.

Because the believers in Corinth are infants in Christ, they are still self-centered and boastful. They do not eagerly desire gifts that will help others, but the gift that will make them appear to be spiritual. We know they are not yet spiritual (1Corinthians 3:1)!

Verses 7-9 — 

Paul uses another illustration — the flute, the harp, and the bugle (literally, trumpet), which are of no benefit unless they sound a distinct and distinguishable difference in tones (notes) so as to make a song! 

No one will know what is being played, if the notes are not played in order. And if a bugle does not play a distinct sound when calling men to battle, who will prepare himself for battle?

So, unless the believers at Corinth utter by the tongue speech that can be understood, they speak into the air. No one will know what they have spoken!

I see this in many Pentecostal and charismatic circles. Many will speak in tongues, until it sounds like a cacophony — just a harsh, loud mixture of unintelligible noise! At one conference, the speaker finished and said, “Now, everyone speak in tongues!” And they did, but it profited no one. None knew what the other was saying!

Verses 10-11 —

Paul now uses another illustration. There are many languages in the world that have meaning. These are the “known languages” spoken by various countries. But if I do not know the meaning, I will be like a foreigner to the one who speaks, and the one who speaks will be like a foreigner to me! 

Verses 12-13 —

Now Paul says very specifically, correctingthe believers at Corinth, who are zealous regarding spiritual gifts, but misuse them. He says, Seek to abound in gifts for the edification of the church!

Therefore, if you speak in tongues, pray that you may interpret what you have said, so it benefits the church! As I have said, that qualifies as prophecy, because the interpretation has come from the Lord.

Verses 14-17 —

If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind will not understand what I am saying. What then? I will pray in the Spirit, in a tongue, but I will also pray in an understandable language, so others can profit. I will sing in the Spirit, in a tongue, but I will also sing in an understandable language, so others can worship with me!

If you bless (praise) in tongues, giving thanks to the Lord, who can know what you are saying? Unless they have the gift of interpretation of your tongues, they do not know that you are blessing and giving thanks to the Lord. How then, can they say, “Amen!” to what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 

Verses 18-19 —

Lest we think Paul is “against tongues,” he thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than all of the believers at Corinth! BUT .  . . 

In the church of God, he desires to speak five words that are understandable, so he may instruct others also, rather than 10,000 words in a tongue that no one can understand.

Verse 20 — 

Now Paul chides them, telling them not to be children in their thinking (understanding). They are yet infants, but he calls them to be mature! For they desire gifts to edify themselves, not the whole church! They are self-centered because they are yet infants.

Verses 21-22 —

Paul speaks of the Law, quoting from the words the Lord gave Isaiah for His rebellious people who followed after false gods but did not believe God would judge them for it —

Isaiah 28:11  Indeed, He will speak to this people 

Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue,

12  He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” 

And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen.

So, tongues are a sign for unbelievers. What kind of sign? Tongues (the Akkadian spoken by the Babylonians) were a sign of God’s judgment upon Israel, but I had a hard time connecting that to the situation at Corinth. 

So I consulted Gordon Fee from The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT). Both Fee and his fellow commentators are puzzled, too. The scripture seems to have been taken somewhat out of context, and actually reversed, which I have never seen Paul do. 

And usually, if everyone is puzzled, Paul is parroting back to the Corinthians some false teachings they have heard and begun to follow, as was the case in 1Corinthians 11. 

In this case, I believe that Judaizers are in view. Such ones use the Old Testament scriptures to try to prove that Gentiles must follow the Law of Moses, in order to be saved. 

With all of this in view, I will set aside any attempt to correlate Isaiah 28:11 with what is happening in the church at Corinth. I feel like I am back in 1Corinthians 11, where it seemed that Paul was teaching the opposite of what he teaches! But again, he was parroting back to the Corinthians the false teaching they were falling for — one that required specific rules about external appearance, in order to be pleasing to God.

But I will say this — in the situation in the church at Corinth, tongues are being spoken constantly when they gather. When unbelievers enter their meetings, they cannot understand what is being said. They do not understand nor do they believe that these tongues are from God. So they shake their heads and leave, and say the church is crazy! That was and is never the Lord’s intent for His church!

The infants in Christ at Corinth have forgotten the Lord’s intent for His church — that unbelievers hear the message of salvation through Him, in His churches! Again, this speaks to their infancy. 

Because of their behavior in their services, unbelievers will not stay and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church at Corinth, because all they will hear is unintelligible tongues! 

And that’s the bottom line of this somewhat puzzling passage — the believers at Corinth are misusing tongues, and their misuse results in the dire consequence that unbelievers leave, rather than hear the gospel and receive salvation.

Verses 24-25 —

But if all prophesy, then what they say is intelligible. Then, when an unbeliever or unlearned believer comes in, he is convicted and called to account by all. Why? Because the secrets of his heart are exposed. 

It is like the pastor in that prayer meeting at the pastors’ conference. I had a word that someone was contemplating divorcing his wife and needed to repent. When he heard it, he fell on his knees and repented. 

By repenting, that pastor worshiped God and declared by his words and actions that God was certainly in the midst of us. Why? No one knew what he was planning. But God knew, and God spoke!

Verse 26 —

What should the believers at Corinth do, when they meet? Paul will now instruct them! 

When they are filled with the Spirit, they will each will have a psalm, they will each have a teaching, they will each have a revelation from God’s Word, they will each have a tongue and they will each have an interpretation to go with it. 

Verses 27-33 —

Paul’s instructions for the church at Corinth are specific:

— Only two or three should speak in a tongue. They must not all speak at the same time, but one after the other. And someone must interpret.

— If no one can interpret the tongue that was spoken, then the one who spoke in a tongue should keep silent in the church, and speak to himself and God privately.

— Two or three prophets may speak, one after the other. Then the others should judge what is said, as to whether it was from the Lord. 

— If someone who is seated has a revelation that is a prophecy, then the first one speaking is to be silent while that one speaks. 

— All are to prophesy one by one, so all may learn and be exhorted (implored, beseeched, or comforted).

— The spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets. The prophet does not lose control of his tongue, so as to interrupt or override another’s prophecy.

— For God is not a god of confusion, which is what is going on at Corinth! He is a God of peace (quietness and unity), in all the churches of the saints, those who are set apart to God by believing into Jesus Christ, and filled with His Spirit!

Verses 34-36 —

Now Paul corrects an error again related to the women of the church, as in 1Corinthians 11. The men who are believers at Corinth have likely been influenced by Judaizers. 

Again, Judaizers declare that all believers must not only believe in Jesus, but also follow the Law of Moses, in order to be saved. And in Jewish synagogues, at least at that time, women were required to be silent, and were separated from the men.

NOTE: Gordon Fee thinks this section was probably added by someone, long after Paul wrote this letter. That is also possible, but to me, this smacks of Judaism.

The believers at Corinth, influenced by false teaching by Judaizers, have thus decided that women should not speak, but must keep silent in the churches. They are to thus subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

If they want to learn anything, it should be through their husbands, at home. It is improper for a woman to speak in church! 

But remember that Paul speaks of women prophesying in church, in his earlier correction of another false teaching the church at Corinth has decided to follow —

1Corinthians 11:5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.

Praying may be audible. Prophesying surely is audible! So for Paul, it is normal for women to speak in the church. Again, in this passage from 1Corinthians 11, Paul refutes false teaching that has led to many rules and regulations regarding outward works in the church at Corinth — ones he never taught them. 

After listing these false beliefs, Paul replies to the church at Corinth. The KJV includes a, “What?” as Paul’s first word in his rebuke. Did the Word of God come from you? Or did it come only to you? The believers at Corinth once again think they know better than Paul about such things. They have heard a word from a Judaizer, and that is better than the Spirit-filled Paul’s instructions!

Verses 37-40 —

Paul closes with a synopsis of his instructions:  

— If you think you are a prophet or spiritual, you will recognize (understand and heed) that what I have said is from the Lord and is a commandment.

— But if anyone does not recognize (ignores) that Paul gets his orders and words from the Lord, they are not recognized (they are ignored). Hard words, but truth!

— Paul exhorts them again, to desire earnestly to prophesy. He also warns them not to forbid to speak in tongues! How many churches have forbidden tongues because of their misuse, or because of fear! It is an insult to the Lord, whose Spirit gives this gift! 

But the one speaking in tongues must be filled with the Spirit and compelled and a captive of God’s divine love. Otherwise, they are nothing but unintelligible noise. The church does not benefit unless the speaker of tongues, or another, can interpret what the speaker has said.

— All things must be done properly, and in an orderly way. The meetings of the believers at Corinth are filled with confusion, and no one is being edified. 

I have seen this in many Pentecostal and charismatic venues that I have attended. Their meetings fall apart, and they spend the meeting laying hands on one another so as to cause both of them to laugh hysterically. Jesus is not glorified in it. May such churches come to their senses and seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so their sin natures — vividly on display in such cases — may be crucified and their hearts purified and filled with the Holy Spirit! Then such scenes will be absent, and the Word of God will be spoken in power.

Next time, we begin Chapter 15, often called the Resurrection Chapter. I will teach it in at least two sessions, because it is chock full of truths that must be carefully taught. May we all learn from Chapter 15, and my teachings up to this point! May I continue to learn, as I prepare the sessions, and may you continue to learn, as I teach what the Lord has shown me!

Lord Jesus, may Your errant church heed Paul’s words. May she seek to be filled with Your Spirit and Your love, so all gifts are used to profit all believers, and so that many come to faith, hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ!