Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

Taking A Kingdom View – Suffering & Rejoicing

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it – 1 Corinthians 12:26

A few thoughts on weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.

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Keeping Company

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Don`t be deceived! "Bad company corrupts good character."

When the Bible says ‘don’t be deceived’  it’s a good time to sit up and listen – because the chances are that WE (yes even us) could be tricked in this area!

There are four places in the NT where the phrase ‘don’t be deceived’ is used:
*The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9)
*Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33)
*Whatever a man sows, that he reaps (Galatians 6:7)
*Temptation leads to lust which leads to sin and brings forth death (James 1:15-16).

Interesting isn’t it?

The word company here is different to that of fellowship. It comes from a root word meaning ‘a crowd’ or ‘multitude’. As Christians we are called to walk according to the narrow way – it’s a lonely and difficult walk.  The word ‘corrupt’ means to be destroyed or spoiled. 2 Corinthians 11:3 shows that the serpent achieved his end – which was that their minds were ‘corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ’. 

The word good character – refers actually to good customs – moral habits and manners.  How often have we found that when we start to hang out among a crowd of people who act a particular way, then we start to act that way too?

So simply put, this verse says, if you hang out with a depraved and evil crowd of people, the good customs and habits that you possess will be ruined.  It’s BECAUSE we think that we’ll be OK – we think we’re the exception – that’s why Paul puts such great emphasis on this!  Don’t be deceived!  Watch your companionships!

Effective Ministry

1 Corinthians 16:9 – for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

The apostle Paul remarks in this letter to the Corinthians that a great and effective door has been opened in Ephesus for him. 

Now that sounds like the kind of ministry we’d want to be involved in!  A place where there is huge opportunity and the ministry is powerful and effective!  Saddle up – let’s go!

But wait… there’s a catch! “and there are many adversaries”!

Effective ministry and adversaries go hand in hand.  When God starts moving in power in an area, you can bet your bottom dollar that the enemy will be stirring up people to oppose it.  In fact, the presence of adversaries is more likely than not to point to the fact that God’s involved.  Jesus warned us, “beware when all men speak well of you – for in this way they treated the false prophets”

Elijah had Jezebel, Jesus had the Pharisees.  If we are being effective in our faith – there will be those who oppose us too.  But it’s worth whatever price has to be paid, in order to keep the “great and effective door” open! 

Muzzling The Ox

1 Corinthians 9:9 – For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn." Is it for the oxen that God cares or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope.

In this verse, Paul is referring to Deuteronomy 25:4.  It’s found in part of the Mosaic Law that addresses a variety of different subjects.  Paul asks the question ‘was this written solely for the ox, or is there something we can learn from this too?’  The obvious answer is yes! God is looking to teach us something.

Muzzling the ox means that the ox can’t eat the corn when he treads it out. The ox is doing the work, so it’s only appropriate that it gets to share in the goodness of the work.

In this passage, Paul is teaching the Corinthians on the principle of giving.  He uses the Law to illustrate how believers should relate to their ministers and to those who give their lives to preach the gospel. 

Of course it’s not right that the ox would eat all the grain!  But we must not muzzle the ox while he treads out the grain – the lesson is that it’s right and good for us to ensure that ministers and those who give their lives to the Lord’s purposes are well looked after and are able to receive not just spiritually, but naturally from the things that they spend their lives investing into.  

This principle was powerfully illustrated in Old Testament times.  The priests would share in the sacrifice that was placed on the altar.  When the nation stopped sacrificing to God, the priests no longer had food in the house – meaning they had to spend time working their own fields instead of ministering to God and people.  This distraction meant that the Word of God quickly became lost.  So it’s in the best interests of a church to look after their ministers – so that their ministry will be more effective!