Concern for Others

READ : 1 Corinthians 8-11 As Paul deals with one problem after another, a common theme runs through his writings—concern for others. Idols represent gods which do not in reality exist; so if meat has been dedicated to them in the market place, what difference does it make? But if a church member has been so steeped in idolatry that he cannot separate the meat from the idol, then he shouldn’t eat meat, lest he shake his fellow believer’s faith. …

Sex and Marriage

READ : 1 Corinthians 5-7 The Greeks believed the soul was so important it did not matter what you did with your body. As a result sexual immorality was rampant. A member of the Gentile church there was sleeping with his stepmother and the church treated the matter with indifference. Paul insists this man should be excommunicated to show that the church cannot accept such behavior. Such a problem must not be handled in the civil court but in the …

Is There Harmony in Your Church?

READ : 1 Corinthians 1-4 Corinth, a city in Achaia (southern Greece), was known for its immorality. In that environment Paul had planted a church and left. Now he hears that they are struggling with problems, so he writes this letter giving solutions to these problems, one by one. The first problem was lack of unity. One characteristic of a healthy church is a spirit of harmony. Is your church characterized by harmony? If not, a top priority ought to …

Dealing with People

READ : Romans 14-16 The Bible says that the way to show that we love God is to love people created in his image. Therefore, we are to welcome people into our churches, though they differ with us on “secondary issues.” One problem, of course, is deciding what is secondary. Certainly right belief regarding the deity of Christ and salvation by faith in him alone does not fall in that category, while issues like diet and how to celebrate religious …

Saved to Serve

READ : Romans 11-13 Paul ends the second section of Romans, dealing with salvation by grace, with concluding thoughts on his disappointment that more of his own people are not being saved (chap. 11). He then begins the final section of the letter dealing with a life of service as the way to show gratitude for salvation by grace. He begins chapter 12 with “therefore,” because of all he has said about salvation by grace. “Therefore” we should respond with …

Life in the Spirit

READ : Romans 8-10 What a contrast between Romans 7 and 8. The seventh chapter is one of spiritual defeat. The word “I” is mentioned again and again, but the Spirit is not mentioned. In Romans 8, there is little mention of “I,” but note how the Spirit is mentioned again and again. The chapter begins with no condemnation and ends with no separation from Christ. In between we are given the conviction that in all things God is at …