An Overview of the Book of Acts

Studies in Acts

Lesson One: Overview

The book of Acts is one of the most unusual books in all of scripture. It is so unusual that many people don’t even know it exists. I have a friend who, when he was a new Christian, the Pastor of his church announced that the next Sunday he would begin teaching through the book of Acts my friend thought, “is there actually a book of “Ax” in the Bible? One of the unique aspects of the book is that it is the only “unfinished” book in the Bible. The last verses of the book are Acts say,

 

“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house and received all who came to him, (31) preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

 

Notice how it ends: with Paul still in action! And notice that the work of God was going on “with no one forbidding it.” But that is a significant statement about the book of Acts. And the reason it is significant is that the book of Acts is going to teach us that we continue to write the story of the book of Acts in our lives.

 

Now any time we begin a study of one of the books of the Bible, we should do what we do when we begin reading a secular book, whether it be a mystery or history or fiction and so forth. We want to know what we are going to find within the covers of the book. We want to know something about the author, his reason for writing, the time frame in which it was written, and so forth. So if we are interested in a book written by humans, shouldn’t we do it with a book written by God Himself? So when we undertake a study of this book we undertake more than just a study of Christian history; we are going to discover truths that are designed to alter our lives.

 

The book of Acts is the fifth book in the New Testament. It is the only history book in the New Testament. To begin with, we need to know a few things about the New Testament as a whole.

The first four books are “biographies” of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are four of them because each one was written by one of the disciples. And the life was so rich and powerful that no one biography could cover it. In fact, the Apostle John said that if everything that Jesus did and said the world itself could not contain them all. So, The Holy Spirit inspired these four disciples to give the details. Each of them gave a specific “aspect” of His life and ministry.

 

But there is only one real book of history in the New Testament, and that is the book of Acts. It is a “bridge” that extends the life of Christ into the life of the Christian. The study of the life of Christ into the life of the Christian. The study of the life of Christ is in the gospels. He models Christianity. But when you get to the book of Acts we become the models. We are supposed to personify the truths of Christ’s life. In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we look at the story of Jesus as observers and we see Him and we are impressed with Him. But when you get to into the book of Acts you realize that this truth is livable. It is usable. It is designed for our lives as well. Here is another illustration of the way these books fit together:

 

At the end of the gospel of Matthew the last fact about Christ that is revealed is His resurrection. At the end of the gospel of Mark the last fact about the life of Christ is His ascension. At the end of the gospel of Luke the last fact about the life of Christ is the promise of the Holy Spirit. And at the end of the gospel of John the last fact is the second coming of Christ. Summary: Resurrection, ascension, promise of the Holy Spirit, second coming. But when you get into the book of Acts you are not even one chapter deep before all four are presented for you, and shown how they relate to the church; to the Christian life.

 

So, Acts is in a real sense, the continuation of the life and ministry putting the rubber to the road” of the gospels. It is a bridge that transfers us from the theory of one life that has deeply impressed us into the actuality of living that life in the book of Acts. And we will see that more and more as we move through the book. Now let me give you some contrasts between the gospels and the book of Acts. Here’s the first one: In the gospels, the Son of man offers His life; in Acts the Son of God offers His power. The Lord God gives His Son at Bethlehem, He lives His life and dies for sinners. That’s the gospel story. He is raised from the dead to complete the message. But when you get to Acts, the Son of God offers His power to His children.

 

In the gospels, Christ is the central figure in human form; in Acts He is the central figure in human form; in Acts He is the central figure in His Spirit. The first part of that statement is the gospel message, the last part of it is the book of Acts.

 

Really, the book of Acts is misnamed. A better name might be “The Acts of the of the Holy Spirit.” Or perhaps “the Acts of the Apostles in the lives of His people.” Actually, only four Apostles even appear in the book, and two of them just in passing, James and John. Aside from Peter and the Apostle Paul, you do not read of the work of the Apostles in this book, you read of the work of the church.

 

Now: as to who wrote the book? It nowhere says, “I, Luke,” who wrote the gospel, have determined to write a history of the church.” It starts with “the former account I made, O Theophilus.”

(By the way, Theophilus is an unknown individual; we don’t know anything about his background or his conversion. His name reveals that he was probably A Greek. Some have suggested that he was a Roman official who was a new convert who loved history, or perhaps he was treated by Luke the physician and wanted to know more about the history of Christianity. But this reference to “Theophilus” gives us a clue to Luke’s authorship, because the according to Luke 1:3 it is addressed to this same man.

 

Our information about Luke is just as sketchy as is our information about Theophilus. We don’t know anything about when or where he was born, or when he became a believer in Christ. But in Colossians 4:14 Paul refers to him as “Luke, the beloved physician,” So obviously, he was a medical doctor. His Greek name would imply that he was not a Jew, but a Greek. And in the latter half of he book he begins to travel with Paul as he reaches out to the Gentiles. But aside from these few facts we know very little about him.

 

From the style of writing we would assume that he was well educated, a lover of history, who wanted to present an accurate, elaborate, account of the growth and development of the church of Jesus Christ from a small almost “rag-tag” group of followers of Jesus into a movement that would eventually significantly affect the world of their day.

 

So, let’s take a look of the book shelf. The book of Acts is the fifth book of the New Testament. The first thing that we notice any book is its name. The name that was given to the writers gave to the book was “The Acts of the Apostles.” But that is a little misleading. It is the only history book of the New Testament. To be technical about it, the first four books could be labeled “biography,” because they give the history of the life of Christ from four different aspects. Matthew wrote about Jesus’ relationship to the His ancestors the Jews. Mark wrote to speak to the working class of people. Luke wrote about Him as a human being. John wrote about Jesus from the standpoint of the Romans. But Luke draws all of those groups together under the umbrella of how they combined to begin the earliest workings of the Church of Jesus Christ. Actually, it would probably be most accurate to refer to the book of Acts as the Holy Spirit. It is true that the Apostles were active in various ways throughout the book, but there were many other people whose stories are told in the book as well.

 

Perhaps because there are so many themes and stories in the book, Luke decided to give “a more orderly account” of the various oral accounts and to put everything in an organized form. And it is a good thing that he did. If he had not, we would have no record of the coming of the Holy Spirit, we would know nothing about the beginnings of world missions – spreading the gospel around the word. We would know nothing of the details and decisions of the beginnings of the church of Jesus Christ. Perhaps most important, it is a book of the transitions between the Old Testament forms and rituals and the freedoms of a life of following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This transitional nature of the book is extremely important to keep in mind. The Holy Spirit led people into various activities some of which would later be changed or even done away with.

 

Perhaps because of this transitional nature of the book Chuck Swindoll has suggested several ways of organizing the material. For example, we could outline it on the basis of personalities: – chapters 1 to 12 – Peter; then Chapters 13 through 28 – Paul. Or we could think of it in terms of the various “people groups” who were reached, one by one – the Jews, the Samaritans, the Gentiles, etc. But my Dad (and others) often found an outline of the various books of scripture within the books themselves. And that is true of the book of Acts. It is found in verse 8 of chapter 1.

 

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

Now think carefully about that first sentence: “when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” you will be witnesses for me: where?  “in Jerusalem: (that’s part 1, chapters 1 to 7) and it deals with what we might call “neighborhood evangelism” and it involved mainly Jews in Jerusalem. Then verse 8 says they were to be involved in witnessing for Him in in all Judea and Samaria. That’s part 2, chapters 8 to 12. We could call that “home missions.”  And so forth on throughout the New Testament world. In today’s terminology that would be the next county, then they were to move to the next region, and ultimately to the uttermost part of the world. That’s foreign missions That’s chapters 13. through 28.  And you and I are still writing part of the book! Because that is what the book is all about.

The Lord’s Supper

Studies in First Corinthians

Lesson 30: The Memorial in the Lord’s Supper

I Corinthians 11:23-34

 

The story has been told of a factory that was losing money, but the executives couldn’t figure out why. They had tried everything they could think of, and still couldn’t see what could be done. Finally, they decided that the loss must be coming from theft by the employees. So, they started a system of searching the employees’ lockers with no success. After several other failures, they decided to search the employees themselves as they came out of the factory every day. On about the 4th or 5th day an employee came out pushing a wheelbarrow full of sawdust. The guards thought, “how stupid, doesn’t he realize how easy it will be to sift through the sawdust and find whatever he is hiding? But they did search through the sawdust. This continued for several days, until finally the guards realized that the employee was stealing wheelbarrows!

 

That is similar to one of the things that was happening in the church in first century Corinth. As we will see, they were having a problem with the way they were observing the Lord’s Supper. Because we are so familiar with the Lord’s Supper it is easy it is for us to overlook the importance of it. And so, it is a good thing that we have come to it in the normal course of working our way through it. The verses at which we look today form the last two thirds of a whole chapter devoted to the subject.

 

The chapter falls into three parts:

 

  1. The Misuse of the Lord’s Supper – in verses 1 through 22
  2. The Memorial in the Lord’s Supper – verses 23 through 26

III  The Mental Attitudes for the Lord’s Supper – verses 27 through 34

 

So today we want to look at the memorial in the Lord’s Supper in verses 23 through 26. And first we want to notice the teacher of the observance in verse 23.

 

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night He was betrayed, took bread . . .”

 

There is a sense, of course, in which Jesus was the teacher of the observance. But as far as teaching the concepts and principles of observance for the church, Paul was the teacher. And although Paul was not personally present when the Lord’s supper was instituted, the Lord revealed to him the true meaning of the observance. It is significant that the one other thing which Paul specified as having been “delivered” to him is the gospel in I Corinthians 15:3 and 4.

 

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again, according to the scriptures

 

So that shows the significance of the Lord’s Supper. And this is especially important since we tend to think of it as a pretty routine thing. Then it is also important to notice the time at which the observance was instituted – notice verse 23 again:

 

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night He was betrayed, took bread . . .”

 

Notice that it was instituted on the very night of His betrayal. This shows God’s grace that he would redeem this kind of creatures. Incidentally, this touches on the doctrine of eternal security – it completely blasts the argument that “God would not want to spend eternity with “faithless” and “unrepentant” people.”

 

Now we have seen “the teacher” of the observance,” and “the time” of it. Now a third thing we need to notice is “the technique” in the observance as it is brought out in verses 24 and 25:

 

And when He had given thanks He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me. (25) In the same manner He took the cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

 

Note that these statements were made while He was still in His body. Thus, they could have only been symbolic at that point. An illustration might be of showing someone a photograph of your family and saying “this is my family” In reality it is not your family; it is only a “picture” of your family. So this settles the theological problem of “transubstantiation” (the belief that the wine and the bread are turned into the actual body and blood of Christ in the observance). But notice something else about the “technique” of the observance: it involved eating and drinking of the elements. It is not enough to just gather around and talk about Him (good as that is.) He wanted a physical presence.

 

The real essence of the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the elements – anything else is simply preparatory to, or an aid to that. (thus we can’t insist on any particular format for a service) And there is a striking symbolism in this that is easy to overlook. There is no merit involved in swallowing – it is something that every one of us do dozens(or even hundreds) of times a day without even thinking about it. Have you ever complimented anyone on their ability to swallow? Or bragged on your own ability to do so? But we all must swallow to live. But there is a further symbolism in swallowing; and that is that when we swallow we are taking in something from outside ourselves in order to live, just as in salvation we are saved by partaking of something outside of ourselves.

 

So there is “the teacher” of the observance, “the timing of the observance,” and “the technique” that it uses; now notice “the teaching” that is intended in the observance. – it was intended as a public proclamation of belief – it is to “show forth” His death.

 

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show forth His death till He comes.

 

The Greek word for “proclaim” here is “katangello” – which means “to proclaim publically.”Thus whenever possible if should be a public service. And at least two things are “proclaimed” in the observance:

First, the substitutionary aspect of His death, and second, His second coming. (“till he comes”)

 

The third and last portion of the chapter has to do with “the mental attitudes in the observance” in verses 27 through 34. First, verse 27 points out “the need for discernment”

 

Therefore, whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

 

We must think carefully about what we are doing, because to do otherwise is to “make light of” His body and blood (this is the very thing that the Jews did in the crucixion.)

 

The term “unworthily” means “without recognizing all that is involved” – not worthy from the standpoint of sinfulness. Parents, you should be sure your children understand what it is all about before they partake.

 

There is “a need for discernment,” but verses 28 through 32 point out that there is also “a need for discipline”

 

(28) But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup (29) For he who eats in an unworthy manner, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (31)For if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged, but when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

What does it mean to “judge ourselves?” It means to examine your life for sin, then to “judge” it by confession” (as in I John 1:9)

 

“If we confess our sin he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness   

 

If the believer fails (or refuses) to do this, the Lord must (and does) discipline, because He cannot condemn us with the world. This is explained in Romans 8:1:

 

There is therefore no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus

 

There is no condemnation for the believer because Christ has already been condemned in our place. There fore the sense of verse 32 is “because we cannot be condemned with the world”

 

So God has to discipline us to deal with the sin in our lives. But the discipline is not punishment, it is only to bring us to the point of confession. Finally, verses 33 and 34 tell us of “the need for dependability”

 

Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, tarry one for another. (34) and if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto condemnation. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

 

These verses form a good conclusion to the whole passage. As we have seen, the Lord’s Supper is extremely important to Him. – can He count on us to observe it properly?

 

 

The purpose of these studies is to draw you closer to Jesus Christ. If you do not know him, it is my prayer that they will help you understand that Romans 3:23 says that you, like all of us, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And Acts 16:32 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If I can be of help to you in understanding any of this information I can be reached at

Janicetemple@yahoo.com

 

The Danger of Dependency

Studies in First Corinthians

Lesson 27: The Danger of Dependency

I Corinthians 10:23-33

 

The decade of the 1970’s was known as the time of the awakening of human rights – but from a negative standpoint: the “right” to an abortion on demand, the “right” to marry someone of the same sex, the “right” to divorce for no particular reason.

 

And the 1980’s has been characterized as the “me” generation. Books were written about “Winning by intimidation,” and “being faithful to yourself;” putting yourself first no matter what. And marriages and careers and other kinds of commitments have been abandoned on the basis of that kind of thinking.

 

But, thankfully,  into that kind of thinking comes the word of God of I Corinthians chapter 10 (and other passages) and it is very different from all of that! The background of the passage is the importance of a Christian being willing to do whatever it takes, even to the sacrifice of things to which we have a right – for the salvation and/or growth of others.

 

In our last lesson, we saw how far reaching this can be – it even extends to the danger of getting involved with a liberal church or some other tool of Satan. The whole section deals with the question “what about “doubtful things?” – things that the scripture doesn’t specifically touch on. And as we have seen in the past few chapters, this question is one of the key issues in the Christian life. Now in looking at chapter 10 thus far we have seen the danger of disapproval in verses 1 through 13, and the danger of deception in verses 14 through 22. This third section of the chapter involves the danger of dependency as described in verses 23 through 33. And the first thing to notice about this danger is the principle of permissibility in verse 33.

 

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful; all things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify.”

 

Now the phrase, “all things are lawful for me” could be very easily misunderstood – it has to be understood in its context. It can’t mean that there are no rules after salvation – human reason as well as the scripture tell us that there are some things that God does not condone. Idolatry in our last lesson, an unequal yoke with unbelievers, provoking your children to wrath, committing adultery, getting drunk, being a busybody, etc. etc, etc. By the same token, scripture also lists some things which Christians are commanded to do. Children obey your parents, Husbands love your wives, wives submit to your husbands, churches, do all things decently and in order, believers obey the government, and so forth.

 

The absence of law is known as “antinomianism” – history and experience have shown again and again that that leads to devastation. So obviously, the phrase “all things are lawful for me” does not mean that

 

Now the context of this whole passage is the changes that were made when Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law and made it of no effect. One of the most tumultuous results of that change was Christians having to learn where their freedoms lay; that fall between those things that are commanded for Christians and those things that are forbidden. Therefore, when he says “all things are lawful for me” he is referring to all those things that are in that gray area. Thus we are free from the laws and sacrifices of the Old Testament. And free to dress as we please, and free to eat whatever we want to and free to go where we want to go and do what we want to do (there are no longer any Sabbath restrictions, for example) but that freedom, wonderful as it was, is modified by the principle of “helpfulness” (or “expediency) Notice the phrase “all things are lawful for me but all things are not helpful.” Some things that are permissible for the believer are still not good for us.

 

Now this law of “helpfulness” (or expediency”) is defined by the last phrase of this verse – all things do not edify. The word “edify” is a translation of a Greek word that means literally “to bring things together” (like today’s phrase “to get it together.”) This shows the reality of the laws of God. The things that He denies are the things that tear down rather than build up. This is true of any of the sins listed above. Now the question that comes up at this point is, “how do we know what the “expedient” or “edifying” things are?”

 

Now we have been talking about “the principle of permissibility.” But there is another principle that modifies that one. How do we know what edifies and what doesn’t? This is where the principle of relationships comes into play. Look at verse 24:

 

“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being.”

 

The determining factor for personal edification is how it affects others! And this principle is repeated throughout the New Testament. Look at Matthew 22:35 – 40:

 

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing Him, and saying, (36)Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? (37) Jesus 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 first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (40) On these two commandment hang all the law and the prophets.

 

Romans 14:7for none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.

 

Romans 15:2 Let each of you please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

 

I Corinthians 13:5(love) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil

 

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

 

Philippians 2:2 Fulfill my joy bybeing like minded having the same love, being of one accord of one mind . . .

 

Now that is a big order. It is completely contrary to our normal human tendencies. So how are we to put it into practice? Well, verses 25 through 28 Paul gives us a picture of personal practice that should help put it all in perspective:   

 

First of all, verses 25 and 26 deal with private activities

 

Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake (26) For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (27)If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for conscience’ sake.

 

Verse 25 basically says, “in the area of neutral things, do whatever you want to! Because, verse 26 says, “the Lord created everything for your pleasure, since you are His child (a quotation of Psalm 24:1) and verse 27 says that this even extends to public activities. But if you discover that someone has a problem with that, “the principle of edification” comes into play – and that is the next point:

 

Verses 25 through 27 dealt with “private activities.” But now verses 28 and 29 deal with the problem areas

 

But if anyone says to you, “this was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience sake. (29) Conscience I say, not your own, but that of the other. . .”

 

If you discover that someone has a problem with his conscience because of what you are doing, refrain from doing it for his sake. And notice from verse 28, He may be the one who brings it up! If he does, it indicates that he has a problem with it (no matter how he might word it.)  Unbelievers and weak Christians have a very different opinion of what a Christian should be (realistic or not) And if you and I are not careful, a weak believer may be encouraged to violate his conscience because of something we do. Or the fact that they think that they have violated our conscience might hurt their conscience. And notice the point made in verses 29b and 30: why should the exercise of my liberty cause another man to violate his conscience?

 

. . . For is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?

 

You can do one of two things in this kind of situation: either explain the truth of your liberty to him (if it fits the time frame and the situation) or, simply refrain from eating – and that shouldn’t be so much of a problem – you can always eat it some other time.

 

Now we have seen the principle of permissibility,”  the priority of personal relationships, but now, in verses 31 through 33, we find the principle to follow in participation in such activities. How do we know what to do and what not to do without feeling like a hypocrite? The determining factor for the effect of our activities on others is the glorification of God – look at verse 31:

 

Therefore whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

 

Notice the widening circle of decisions here: First, “all things are permissible to us, but (2) they must be considered in the light of edification of others. In fact (3) edification of others is determined by the glorification of God.

 

With this principle, activities to various groups can be avoided – verse 32

 

Give no offense either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.

 

And this principle is so effective that Paul gives his own testimony to its workability in verse 33

 

Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.”

 

Maybe as we have worked our way through this passage you have been thinking, “well, why is all this so important anyway?” Well, the last line of verse 33 brings it all back into focus: the salvation of others! And as we think about it from that standpoint, is there any right you have that is  worth keeping someone from understanding the gospel and being saved? When we think about it from that perspective, even the way we “eat or drink” (verse 31) is important isn’t it?

 

 

The purpose of these studies is to draw you closer to Jesus Christ. If you do not know him, it is my prayer that they will help you understand that Romans 3:23 says that you, like all of us, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And Acts 16:32 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If I can be of help to you in understanding any of this information I can be reached at

Janicetemple@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Danger of Deception

Studies in First Corinthians

Lesson 26: “The Danger of Deception”

I Corinthians 10:14-22

 

The Christian life is full of wonderful blessings – and the longer you have known the Lord, the more aware of that you become. But what many Christians don’t realize is that there are also many dangers in the Christian life. And although we don’t have time to detail all of those, we do have a chapter before us where several of them are listed. First Corinthians chapter 10 deals with three such dangers, and they may not be the ones that we would expect at first thought: First, there is “the danger of disapproval” in verses 1 through 13, then “the danger of deception” in verses 14 through 22 and, “the danger of dependency” in verses 23 through 33.

 

In our last study we thought about “the danger of disapproval” as it is described in verses 1 through 13. So in this lesson we want to think about “the danger of deception” in verses 14 through 22. In verses 14 and 15 we find an appeal which Paul makes about the subject of deception in general.

 

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (15) I speak to wise men, judge for yourselves what I say.

 

As usual, the word “therefore” should immediately catch our attention. And, as usual, it ties in with the verses just before this. In those verses he had been talking about the kinds of things that can keep Christians from being effective witnesses for him – and thus “lose out” on the “promised land” of satisfaction in this life and rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. So in this passage he is going to make a further appeal on the basis of those dangers. Incidentally, notice that the appeal is to “wise men” – the thing of which the Corinthians were so proud (and the subject of the whole first section of the book.) And the specific appeal is to “flee from idolatry” As we saw in our last study, “idolatry” is a summary of all the problems that took Israel away from God. It is the matter of letting anything take the place which God ought to have in our lives.

 

In Corinth it was a specific problem – people were still worshipping idols right along with the Christians worshipping Christ. In our day this is important from the standpoint of the principle involved. Now why is that appeal so important? Well, verses 16 through 20 give us the argument on which the appeal is based. The summary of the argument is that to participate in idol wordship in a Christian temple is to have fellowship with the false teaching that it represents. And that argument is developed by giving an analogy – the Lord’s Supper – in verses 16 and 17:

 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (17) For we, being many are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

 

To participate in the Lord’s supper is to have fellowship with the Lord – verse 16. And at the same time it is to have fellowship with other believers – verse 17. Then the argument is further developed in verse 18 with another example: the nation of Israel:

 

Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

 

In many of the Old Testament sacrifices, part of the sacrifice was given to the priest and part to the offeror. And the purpose of this was to show fellowship between the offeror, the priest and the nation of Israel as a whole.

 

So in summary, here is the principle: when we participate in a “religious ceremony” we are having fellowship with everything that that ceremony stands for. And therefore to participate in false worship is to have fellowship with that particular form of false worship and all that it stands for.

 

Now if the “appeal” of verses 14 and 15, and “the argument in verses 16 through 20 on which it is based are true, then there are only two alternatives in the appeal. These are described in verses 21 and 22.

The first alternative is separation from the temple – verse 21:

 

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons

 

A person cannot sincerely partake of the Lord’s table on Sunday night and then on Wednesday night sincerely partake of something designed to lead people away from God. So there must be a separation from all idol activity.

 

Now if a person is not going to accept that alternative, the only other alternative is to “subject the Lord to jealousy” – verse 22

 

Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

 

With humans, jealousy is sinful because it is based on desire. But with God it is not sin because what he wants He has every right to have. He wants, (and deserves) wholehearted allegiance from the believer. Are you so strong that you can deny Him what He wants?

 

Now those are the principles covered in these verses. But to really get the value of the passages we need to look at an analogy for today – there are at least 3 things that we can learn from all this:

 

First, of course, this principle applies to the kinds of things that we talked about in our last lesson; looking at your business or your family or your hobby or your glamour or your education or your fame to fill that place that only God can fill. To be motivated by those things is to worship those things. And these verses say that it cannot me done. It makes God jealous!

 

But there is a second application of these verses, and that is that they show us the true nature of liberalism in the church today. Satan is behind liberalism today just as he was behind idolatry in Corinth. He has many diversions form his frontal attack – moral laxity, drug abuse, alcoholism, etc. etc. But his major line of attack is counterfeit worship, described in I Timothy 4:1:

 

Now the spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons . . . . .like any counterfeit, Satan’s worship is almost exactly like the real thing.  For example, he has his own doctrines. Some of his doctrines deny the truth. The most prevalent (and therefore the most important) one is the question of the inerrancy of scripture. That questioning in and of itself does not deny any basic doctrines, it just “worries” you – like an accountant saying “we may have some problems with your tax return . . .  .” And even though that in and of itself doesn’t sound too bad, it quickly opens the door for flat denials of the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of scripture, the resurrection, etc.

 

Some of his doctrines displace the truth. In place of the teaching of the Word of God in the worship service there are “lectures” about “current issues” Then, some of his doctrines distort the truth, saying, for example, that Christ died as a martyr to show us how to face death bravely, or that believing “about” Christ is all that is necessary to be saved, and that “all roads lead to Rome, that sincerity in what you believe is all that rally matters.

 

But not only does he have his doctrines, he has his own pastors – look at II Corinthians 11:13 through 15:

 

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. (14) and no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according tot heir works.

 

Dr. William McCrae of Tyndale College in Toronto has said that “the finished product of Satan’s art is not the drunken bum in the gutter, but the false teacher in the pulpit. These are men who try to “demythologize” the scripture, or urge young Christians “use your own head, don’t quote scripture so much.” Satan has his own doctrines and his own pastors, and Revelation 2:9 points out that he even has his own churches:  In the first chapters of the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ had the apostle John write letters to seven churches scattered around the Mediterranean area giving each of them an evaluation. To the church in Smyrna He wrote, I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews but are not, but are a synagogue (congregation) of Satan. (!) These are the kinds of churches that take out ads in major newspapers, explaining that “we can still believe in Jesus as a great teacher even if he did believe in angels.”

 

Or another ad saying “what should children be taught in Sunday School? That God created the world in 6 days? That man is not a creature of evolution? That Jesus was born to a virgin who had not had sexual relations with a man? That he did miracles and was literally raised from the dead? That Jesus may come down from the sky just any day now? That only those who believe such assertions with all their hearts are “saved” while everyone else will burn in hell? Or, that creation should be studied from all of the world’s religious viewpoints, plus the views of modern science? That man has evolved from a wonderful evolutionary process and is a part of the beautiful process of nature? Or, that Jesus was most likely a good man who did many good things, but whose followers invented myths and legends about him? That religion should deal with the here and now, with a complete trust in the forces that brought us into existence without a morbid fear of death.”

 

We’ve been talking about the true nature of religious liberalism. But now coming back to First Corinthians chapter 10, we also need to think about the true nature of relationship between a believer and a liberal church. Look at verse 14 again:

 

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

 

If Satan is at the heart of idolatry and the heart of liberalism, this verse could be construed to say “flee apostasy” or” “flee liberalism.”  This is emphasized more clearly in II Corinthians 6:14-16.

 

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (16) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God, has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be my people.”

 

 

The context here is speaking specifically of church (“or religious”) relationships. Marriage is a legitimate application of the passage, but not the primary one. So clearly what this passage is saying is “get out of that liberal church!”

 

Now the question often comes up, “what constitutes a “yoke?” – attendance? Membership? financial contributions?  And basically, that has to be determined by the individual. But the basic principle is stated clearly in verse 17: “Come out!” Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have anything to do with people who are in such a church. But it is to say that such things must be thought through very carefully!

 

Now we have thought about the true nature of liberalism and the relationship between a believer and a liberal church. But there is one last thing to be considered, and that is the consequences of continuing a relationship with a liberal church. Believe it or not, there are many people whose churches have gradually become liberal without the members even realizing it. And often people like that will try to stay in the church in an attempt to “rescue” it. Over the years I have been personally acquainted with people who have given of their time and their money in those kinds of attempts. But we have to remember that behind all of the seemingly “good” things that are taught or “good works” that are done in those churches is the work of Satan himself. No one can argue with the fact that God has blessed the people that have stayed in those churches and have taught those Sunday School classes. But listen carefully: God’s blessing does not necessarily indicate His approval – because He always blesses His word, regardless of who is giving it out! But it is also true that to remain in a liberal church can be dangerous to your own spiritual health.

 

You can’t walk through a coal mine without getting dirty. And in the same way, you cannot regularly sit under false teaching without being affected to some degree. Even if you might not be hurt (and that’s a big “if,” what about your children? But the most important point by far is brought out back in verse 22 “do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?

 

We have been talking about the dangers of liberal religion – and it is obvious that this is a serious business. But the overall application of this passage is much broader than that: I mentioned earlier II Corinthians 6:16, which says that you and I as Christians are the dwelling place of God. (As God, has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be my people.”) If that is to be true in your life you may have to sacrifice some of your treasured relationships and friendships. Think carefully about your life for a moment: are you “provoking the Lord to jealousy” by the way you live: the things in which you invest your time and money, the people you listen to, the company you keep, and so forth.

 

 

The purpose of these studies is to draw you closer to Jesus Christ. If you do not know him, it is my prayer that they will help you understand that Romans 3:23 says that you, like all of us, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And Acts 16:32 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If I can be of help to you in understanding any of this information I can be reached at

Janicetemple@yahoo.com

 

 

The Danger of Disapproval

Studies in First Corinthians

Lesson 25: “The Danger of Disapproval”

I Corinthians 10:1-13

 

As almost everyone in the civilized world knows, every 4 years the world of athletics celebrates its achievements and honors its heroes in the Olympic games. And it is truly amazing what the human body and spirit can accomplish and endure. But unfortunately it seems that almost every Olympiad a has a scandal of one kind or another. In the Olympics celebrated recently in Brazil, some of the best swimmers in the world demonstrated that although they had accomplished amazing things with their bodies, their spirit of honor, honesty, and decorum left much to be desired. In these same games, the entire Russian track team was called into question for the use of drugs. Unfortunately, such moral failures are not limited to any one nation or to any particular sport. As the human race spins further and further into Godlessness, these things will continue to take place in whatever time we have left before the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

 

But whether you realize it or not, that is something that is a very real possibility in the Christian life! In the last part of chapter 9, Paul has said that he “disciplines” his body because of the possibility of “disapproval” or “disqualification.” He wants the Corinthians (and us) to understand how simple it is to lose “rewards” at the judgement seat of Christ. This is a judgement that every believer in Jesus Christ will face. So in this lesson he elaborates on the little discussed topic of “disqualification” by using believers as examples. We know that this is his topic because he begins with “moreover” – an obvious tie-in with the previous passage. Now at this point we need to stop and point out that this judgement has nothing to do with whether or not a person will go to heaven or hell. This a judgement that every Christian will face. It has to do with how well or how poorly we have used our time and talents to honor the Lord Jesus Christ during the time span between the day we accepted Him as our Savior and the time that we die and go into His presence. And as we look at what he says, we will cover it from 3 standpoints, and also, we will see that those same provisions have been made for us in this New Testament generation.

 

  1. The past privileges of the people of God in verses 1 through 4

 

  1. The past problems of the people of God in verses 5 through 11 and,

 

  1. The present provisions of the people of God – verses 11 and 12.

 

“The people of God” to whom Paul refers here are the Old Testament saints who went from Egypt, through the wilderness, into the promised land.

 

So let’s look first at the past privileges of the people of God  in verses 1 through 4 (showing how special these Old Testament saints were to God) First of all verse 1 tells us that they enjoyed divine guidance

 

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.

 

The phrase “the cloud” is a reference to the pillar of cloud which guided the Israelites in the wilderness (described in Exodus 13:21,22) The equivalent for today’s believers is the Word of God (Psalm 119: 105; II Timothy 3:16,17) Verse 1 also tells us that they enjoyed divine deliverance (note the phrase “all passed through the sea”) Obviously this is a reference to the crossing of the Red Sea  (Exodus 14:21 and 22). A third privilege of these people was divine identification as pointed out in verse 2

 

All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ. 

 

Even though the text says “spiritual drink” and spiritual” food, it is a reference to the divinely provided manna and water described in Exodus 16:4 through 36 and Exodus 17:5-7.

 

Both are “types” of Christ – verse 4 specifically says so. “The Rock” is one of the Old Testament names of for Jehovah – so Paul is identifying Christ as Jehovah here. But also, this shows the pre-existence of Christ – He is the one who sustained them in the wilderness wanderings!

 

The word “baptize” in its most basic meaning means literally “to identify” one thing with another thing. In this instance the Israelites were identified” with the godly faith and leadership of Moses.

Now surely, with all these people (note the repetition of “all” throughout the passage) enjoying all of these privileges, they would have been very successful people, don’t you think?  But verse 5 indicates that, to the contrary, they had many, many problems.

 

But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

 

The phrase “most of them” is an understatement – history shows that only 2 actually went into the promised land out of some 2 million who left for Egypt that night. And remember that the point is that we are the same today – disqualification is a very real possibility.

 

So let’s think now about the past problems of the people of God as they are listed for us in verses 5 through 11.

 

Verse 6 provides a summary of the wilderness generation:

 

 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

 

The word “lust “here means “strong desire” of any kind, not just sexual things. And that is the key to all kinds of sin – the fact that we do what we want to do! Then in verses 6 and 11 we see what the wilderness generation symbolizes for us.

 

(6) Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted . . . . . . . (11) Nor murmur as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer

 

Now why did God bother to write all these things down? For our sakes! They are “symbols” of the kinds of things that can happen to any generation of Christians. The old saying is that experience is the best teacher,” but that is not Biblical! Experience may be the most thorough teacher or the most difficult teacher, but God’s choice of teaching method is example.

 

Now the next thing we see in this record of the past problems of the people of God is a listing of the sad events of the wilderness generation in verses 7 through 10. First there was idolatry in verse 7. (described in Exodus 32:6 – the golden calf incident – where 3,000 died.

 

And do not become idolators as some of them. As it is written, “the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

 

This would have had particular significance for the Corinthians – idolatry was the very subject that had started this whole discussion! But the whole world today is more guilty of idolatry than that generation was. Think about it this way: Whatever motivates your life is your idol; whatever it is that is the basis for distinguishing right from wrong is your idol. It may be a person or a philosophy or the acquisition of possessions or lack of possessions. Why do you do the things you do and refrain from doing?

 

Then verse 8 brings out a second problem: fornication (sexual sin) – example: Numbers 25:1-9

 

Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day thousands died

 

Again, this is extremely comparable to our civilization and that of the Corinthians. Then in verse 9 there was “testing Christ. The story is in Numbers 21:1 through 6 – fiery serpents were sent among the people because of their dissatisfaction with God’s provisions. It almost seems as if they were just pushing to see how far God would go before administering discipline. Perhaps in our day it would be in the form of seeing how much like the world we can be.

 

Then there was “murmuring” (complaining) in verse 10 (an example is in Numbers chapter 16 (the whole chapter) – two incidents of murmering against the leadership of Moses and Aaron – over 14,000 died. Murmering and complaining are sin!

 

Finally, verses 11 and 12 draw some conclusions from the wilderness generation:

 

Now all these things happened to them for examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. (12) Therefore, let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

 

“Falling” in verse 12 cannot mean “falling from grace” because of the clear teaching of  “eternal security” throughout the scripture. Our security rests on the promise of Christ in John 10:27 – “He that comes to me I will in no wise cast out”.) It rests on the provision of Christ in I John 1:7 (the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”) So what “falling” means is that if you are not willing to be a slave to Jesus Christ you can be disqualified for some or all of the rewards you could have had. As with anything having to do with the future, whether pleasant or unpleasant, it is hard to visualize what the scene at the Judgement seat of Christ will be like but the scripture does speak clearly of “loss” and “pain” in describing it.

 

Now with that in mind, the things we have been talking about in this chapter are very somber for us too. Because we individually and as a people have many of those same problems. So what are we to do? First, don’t forget these people and their failures. And there is hope, because verses 12 and 13 show us the present provision for the people of God. If the above is true, and such common problems stand to disqualify us, what should we do?  The case seems hopeless. But there are two things to remember: first, the common nature of temptation in verse 13

 

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful. Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will, with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

 

No matter what you may think there is nothing unique about your testing or temptation. Thousands down through the years have triumphed over that very sort of thing with the power of the Holy Spirit  – and you can too!

 

The second truth in this verse is the complete faithfulness of God . The phrase “way of escape” is a translation of the Greek word “ekbasin” which means “completion” or “issue.” So it doesn’t mean you can finally escape if you hold on long enough, but rather it means if you don’t run away from it; hold on long enough, you can escape, but that if you don’t run away from it; if you let Him deal with it in His way, He will accomplish His purpose in it.” It doesn’t say it won’t last a long time, or that it will be easy, but that His purpose will be accomplished. And the promise of the Word of God is that God has provided a way in which temptation and sin can be successfully dealt with.

 

The purpose of these studies is to draw you closer to Jesus Christ. If you do not know him, it is my prayer that they will help you understand that Romans 3:23 says that you, like all of us, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And Acts 16:32 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If I can be of help to you in understanding any of this information I can be reached at

Janicetemple@yahoo.com

 

 

Relinquishing Rights

Lesson 24: Relinquishing Rights

I Corinthians 9:15-27

 

At the conclusion of a concert two ushers were applauding harder than anybody else. People seated nearby smiled appreciatively at the two music lovers until one of them stopped clapping and the other one was heard to say, “keep clapping, you dope, one more encore and we’re on overtime.”

 

There is an example of motivation – whether legitimate or not. But let me ask you today, what is your motivation in the Christian life? What keeps you going, even when the going gets rough? Well, in the passage before us today, Paul explains what his motivation was – in spite of all the difficulties that he faced. In this chapter he is actually illustrating a principle which he began in chapter 8: the relinquishing of rights in order to meet the needs of others. But to set up the illustration he spends the first 14 verses establishing his right to be supported by other believers, which we have called The recognition of rights. But now in the second half of the chapter he establishes the importance of giving up that right to be supported. But as we look at the passage we are going to see that that is just an illustration of giving up any right to accomplish what God wants you to accomplish; going to any lengths for His honor and glory. As we look at the passage we will see: an example of sacrifice” in verses 15 through 18; The extent of sacrifice in verses 19 through 22;  and the enablement for sacrifice in verses 23 through 27. So let’s look at the example of sacrifice which we find in verses 15  through 18. And the first thing we want to notice in that regard is the right being sacrificed in verse 15a

 

But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me .. . .

 

The phrase “these things” is a reference to the subject of the first half of the chapter – the right to be supported. He had not exercised that right in the past – he had been a tentmaker while preaching. And he is not announcing the beginning of such exercise now. Well, we might ask the question, “what is the reason for such a sacrifice?” And does this mean that everybody should make a sacrifice like this? That nobody should be supported by other Christians while they do the Lord’s work? Those questions are answered in verses 15b and 16

 

For it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. (16) For if I preach the gospel I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

 

There are two key words in these two verses: look at the phrase “my boasting” in verse 15 and the phrase “nothing to boast of” in verse 16 (the King James Version uses “glory” and “glorying” instead of “boasting”) Paul was willing to forego his right to be supported so that he would have something about which he could legitimately boast. “But, someone says, “is it ever legitimate to boast? Well, he explains that in the next verse:

 

(16) For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”

Paul says, “I can’t boast about preaching the gospel – that is God’s doing, and I am obligated to tell about it.” But,” he says, “I can take pleasure in the fact that I have distributed it effectively” – look at verse 18.

 

What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

 

Here is the crux of this whole chapter: Paul could not take pride in the preaching of the gospel, but he could take pride in the fact that nothing that he had done had stood in the way of people accepting it. Now with Paul, the issue was the matter of financial support; with you it may be something else. But the principle of this whole chapter is this: are you willing to give up even something that you might have a legitimate right to, to be able to get the gospel across to somebody?

 

“Well,” someone says, that’s o.k. in theory, but how far does God expect us to carry something like that? Well, the extent of the sacrifice is outlined in verses 19 through 22. The general application of the principle is in verse 19:

 

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.    

 

He stresses again that he doesn’t have to do this – he is a free man. But even though he has status as a free man he extends this willingness to sacrifice rights to all of his rights. And the reason – to win men to Christ (“that I might gain the more.”). Incidentally, there is another principle that grows out of this one: we need to be careful that we don’t win people to us – that we win them to Christ.  Sometimes people are attracted to material or physical things that they like about the one who is witnessing – and they accept Christ so that they can be like that person. But they need to understand that God may or may not want them to be  like us if they get saved. They will have the same opportunities, peace and joy and direct access to God, but they may not wind up with the same kind of house or car, etc.

 

So that is a general illustration of the principle of sacrifice. But in verses 20 through 22 we find some specific illustrations of the principle. First, the Jews – verse 20:

 

 And to the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law.

 

Then in verses 21 and 22 he gives two more specific applications: “the Gentiles” (“those without the law) and “the weak”

 

To those who are without law as without law (not being without law toward Christ) that I might win those who are without Christ. (22) To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.

 

Not that he went back to the Old Testament laws for his salvation, or that when he was with gentiles he acted like God didn’t have any standards. But that when he is dealing with Jews he is careful not to flaunt his liberty (about the Sabbath, dietary laws, etc.) And that when he was with Gentiles he didn’t try to convict them breaking the Jewish laws. And that when he was with new or immature believers (whom he refers to as “the weak”) he didn’t try to force them to operate at the same level that mature believers would. There are many situations today in which you could only get a hearing if you accommodated the hearer’s weakness. For example, drinking coffee around Mormons (for as long as you are working directly with them) or flashy clothes around Mennonites. But there is something we have to be careful about here: this is not situational ethics. He is only talking about rights. There are some things a Christian doesn’t have a right to do – getting drunk, fighting, and so forth. And he is talking about relinquishing rights, not appropriating them. This is probably one of the most widely misapplied principles in all of scripture. He is not saying “I will get drunk with people so I can witness to them.” There are many more situations where relinquishing rights will be necessary than where to appropriate them will be. This kind of relationship will demand a situation by situation decision. – not just a sheltered, fearful life, trying to please everybody, but also not just treating everybody exactly the same way.

 

Now this is a big order! But we can’t leave this passage without seeing the enablement for sacrifice that is brought out in verses 23 through 27. The essence of Paul’s motivation is in verse 23.

 

Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker of it with you.

 

The phrase “with you” is the key to understanding this verse. Because it is a reference to standing in the presence of God with other believers – especially those whom you have helped to win.

 

Then, in verses 24 and 25 we find the examples of the motivation. The first example is the sacrifice of “rights” by an Olympic runner in verse 24

 

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

 

And the second is very similar: the sacrifice of rights by the champion athlete in any field. In verse 25.

 

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

 

Both of these give up their “rights” to (the right to eat whatever they want, to wear comfortable clothes,) for future goals. And for what? A perishable crown”; a little earthly glory! Now Paul’s point is this: if they are motivated by such a “perishable” (temporal) goal, how much more should we be motivated by permanent goals? Finally, in verses 26 and 27 we find the energy that Paul derived from this motivation.

 

Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air (27) But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

Let me ask you something: how do you live your life? Are you just puttering around, getting by the best way you can? The Christian life ought to be a life of running purposefully – verse 26 even to the point of paying attention to specific activities – verse 27. Notice his terminology carefully – “disqualified,” not “lost”. Loss of salvation would be inconsistent with the rest of scripture. The Greek word translated “disqualified” is “adokimos.” It comes from the word “dokimos, which is translated” “approved” in several other places in Paul’s writings, but with the prefix “a” it becomes negative – thus meaning “disapproved.” So his great fear is that he could stand at the judgement seat of Christ and have a loss of reward because of someone he had not been able to witness to because of his poor testimony.

 

In this passage we have one of the fundamental principles of the Christian life. And it is the principle of being willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to “win the race” of Christ’s approval when we stand before Him. We have been talking about it from the standpoint of soul winning. But it can be applied in every area of ministry, in marriage, and in the home. And the pertinent question always is: “where where  would you and I be if Christ had insisted on His rights?”

 

 

The purpose of these studies is to draw you closer to Jesus Christ. If you do not know him, it is my prayer that they will help you understand that Romans 3:23 says that you, like all of us, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says that the result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. And Acts 16:32 says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If I can be of help to you in understanding any of this information I can be reached at

Janicetemple@yahoo.com