FCQ. 101 - What is the tenth commandment? "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
FCQ. 102 - What does the tenth commandment teach you? To be content with whatever God chooses to give me.
Shorter Catechism Questions:
SCQ. 85 - What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin? To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.
As I read the Bible, I can't help but be amazed by how practical it is. The Bible speaks of the great moments of life, but it also speaks (perhaps even more often) of the everyday moments of regular living. It paints a beautiful picture of the grace of God in Jesus Christ and then it tells us how grace empowers us to live our lives in the trenches of regular routines. It tells us of the glories of heaven, of the resurrection, and of eternal life. Then, it tells us how the grace of God in Jesus Christ enables us to bring that life to come to this life.
Paul demonstrates this idea here in the closing of his first letter to the Corinthians. Do you remember what was Paul's mission among the Corinthians?
1 Cor. 2:1-5 – And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Paul says that all he has done and all that he does in relation to the Corinthian church has to do with Christ and him crucified, that every interaction is designed to increase their faith in the power of God, so that their lives become a demonstration of the Spirit of God. And with that same desire in mind, Paul writes these closing comments and urges them to submit to, honor, and love the brethren.
We tend to think that the power of the Spirit and of faith is demonstrated when a Christian dies for his/her faith, or when a believer is able to suffer well, or when a person goes to a really hard mission field. And it is! But the same power is demonstrated when Christian submit to, honor, and love each other.
A.Meet Stephanas and his family, 15.
B.Why is Paul mentioning Stephanas at this point in the letter?
C.Paul singles out this household for two reasons:
1.They have been Christians for a while, perhaps longer than any other family in the church.
2.They devoted themselves to serving the brethren.
D.Paul urges the Corinthian Christians, and through them us, to submit to this type of people, 15a, 16.
E.One last thing about submission, you are called to submit to those who labor in the Gospel, 16b.
A.Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus had come from Corinth to Ephesus likely bringing with them the letter containing the six issues that the church wanted Paul to settle.
B.Paul was blessed by their visit, 17-18a.
C.Paul instructs us to acknowledge this type of people, 18b.
D.How do we honor that?
A.In the official greetings portion of this letter, Paul teaches us the third and final lesson for today: we demonstrate the power of the Spirit in our lives when we love one another.
B.The church in Asia loved and had an interest in the church in Corinth.
C.Not only the church in Asia in general, but specific congregations with specific people, with specific faces and names, 19b.
D.Paul says that not only the people from other churches love them, but they are to love each other as well, 20c.
Paul preaches and loves Christ and him crucified. The everyday outworking of loving Christ and him crucified shows up in our submitting to, honoring, and loving those for whom Christ died.
As we approach the end of out study of 1 Corinthians, I think it is good for us to be reminded of the reason why Paul took the time to write 1 Corinthians. The answers to this question could be many: to rebuke them, to encourage them, to correct them, etc.But what was the bottom line, foundational reason that compelled him to write this letter, a letter that must have been painful to write?He tells us in chapter 4.
1 Cor. 4:14 – I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
Paul loved the Corinthians.Love motivated him to minister to them.Love compelled him to do what was painful and emotionally risky in order to bless his brothers and sisters in Corinth.And the love he had for them in Jesus Christ was the last thing he wanted to leave with them, 16:24.
Often at the end of Paul's letters, he goes into rapid-fire mode.You can see that very clearly in the last chapter of 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thess. 5:12-22 – And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.Do not quench the Spirit.Do not despise prophecies.Test all things; hold fast what is good.Abstain from every form of evil.
Paul sounds like the olden days of using calling cards to make long distance calls.When the balance on the card was about to run out, a person would come on the line to say that you had one minute left on your call.At that point, most people would start speaking really fast in short sentences to make sure that all that needed to be said was said.Paul is not arriving at the end of his calling card balance, but he is getting to end of what he had space to say to the Corinthians.So, he starts shooting out instructions to the church to make sure they get it.In these two verses, he gives them five commands that he wants to make sure they get.
One of the source that I read in preparation for this sermon called the section, "Principles for Powerful Living," but I think we can just simply think of it as plain old what it is means to be a follower of Jesus Christ motivated by his love for us and strengthened by his grace.
I.A Quick Review of the Corinthian Church.
A.Of all the churches in the New Testament to which Paul wrote there was none that was in as much trouble as the Corinthian Church.
1.There was none that was as sinful as the Corinthian Church.
2.There was none that had failed so badly to be what God designed his church to be.
3.If something could go wrong, it went wrong in Corinth.
B.In that messed up state, Paul loved them.
1.More chapters were written to the church at Corinth than to any other church in the NT – 29 chapters when we consider 1 and 2 Corinthians.
2.It took time, energy, humility, patience, but the apostle did not abandon the church in its unloveliness.
3.Why?Because the love of Christ compelled him.
2 Cor. 5:12-15 – For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
C.So Paul has rebuked them, yes, but his rebuke is a rebuke of love.
II.These Five Commands Are not New Commands.
A.These two verses are a summary of the preceding 15 chapters.
B.But here the teaching is expressed in positive terms: watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong, do all in love.
III.Starting from the Back: Do All in Love
A.This command to do all in love is actually the underlying principle for this passage.
B.Sometimes even the Beatles get the big picture right – All You Need Is Love
"There's nothing you can do that can't be done/Nothing you can sing that can't be sung/Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game/It's easy/There's nothing you can make that can't be made/No one you can save that can't be saved/Nothing you can do but you can learn to be you in time/It's easy/All you need is love/All you need is love/All you need is love, love/Love is all you need."
C.It sound so simplistic and hippie, but when understood from a biblical prospective, all we need is love.
1.Right now some of you may be already thinking, "Yes, that's what I need.I need people to love me.I need my spouse to love me.I need my love tank to be filled."
2.Well, that is not the biblical perspective that I am talking about.
D.All you need is to know the love of God in Jesus Christ.
1.If you believe that Jesus Christ has saved you from your sins and is the Lord of your life, the Bible says that "the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Rom. 5:5).
2.The Bible says that in Jesus Christ God loves you with a love that surpasses all measurement.
Eph. 3:17-19 – hat Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what isthe width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
3.The Bible says that in Jesus Christ God loves you with a love that cannot be broken.
Rom. 8:37-39 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4.This love frees us to live other-oriented lives instead of demanding love from others.
2 Cor. 5:14-15 – For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
E.You do not know love and you don't know how to love till you know God's love in Jesus Christ.
1 Jn. 4:19 (ESV) – We love because he first loved us.
1.Till you know this love, you will be looking for love and satisfaction in which doesn't satisfy.
2.Till you know this love, you will be looking for love in people who cannot love you with the type of love that only God in Jesus Christ can have toward you.
"You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you."Augustine
F.It is in light of this command to do all in love that we should understand the other four commands.
A.The word means be alert and is often the opposite of sleeping – gregoreo
B.Just the fact that Paul here and the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible commands us to be alert implies that we have a tendency to not be alert, to lose focus of what is important, to be distracted by what is not ultimate.
C.But we must be alert because there are all kinds of influences and attacks on our love for God and for others.
1.Satan in always on the prowl seeking to derail our love for God.
2.The world would not find nothing better than distracting us away from the love and grace of God.
3.Our own selves (our flesh) would often prefer being miserable and in control of our lives than to lose ourselves in the love of God in Christ.
D.Thus, be alert to Satan's attack.
1 Pt. 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
E.Be alert, watch out for temptations.
Mk. 14:38 – Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed iswilling, but the flesh is weak.
Jam. 1:13-15 – Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
F.Be alert for apathy or indifference.
Rev. 3:1-2 (Sardis) – These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God."
1.A church can just sort of float off into apathy.
2.A Christian can just get smug, self-content, apathetic and indifferent.
3.Look at your life, when you get to the place where you're comfortable with your sin and you're no longer trying to face it and deal with it then you're really in trouble – so watch for that.
G.Be alert of false teachers.
1.The just of Jesus Christ cannot be ok with false teachers that creep in as wolves in sheep's clothing.
2.The Church is not called to be open-minded, but to have the mind of Christ.
V.Stand Fast in the Faith
A.Notice the THE.
1.This is not a subjective, experiential faith.
2.This is the objective faith that was once for all delivered to the saints and for which we are to contend (Jude 3).
3.This is the content of what we believe like what Paul says in the beginning of chapter 15.
B.When we love God, we love his Word as well because in it we find out who he is and how he loves us.
C.The Christian will stand firm on the Word of God.
D.In order to stand firm in the faith, you must know it.
E.Don't buy the idea that every doctrine should be open for discussion.
A.Literally, act like man, be a man.
1.Not in the sense of being male.
2.But in the sense of being mature and courageous.
B.It is not an option for the Christian to be stagnate.
C.We are all called to grow up in Christ.
1 Cor. 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
D.How? Two ways:
1.Feeling your mind with his Word.
2.Ministering to others
Eph. 4:11-16 – He Himself gave … some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ…
A.This is the only command that is in the passive voice – be strengthened.
B.The idea is that you are to receive strength.
C.From whom?Christ himself.
Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Rom. 4:20-22 – He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
2.By the means that God appointed: prayer, reading/preaching of the Word, and the sacrament.
3.By fellowshipping and serving each other.
Heb. 12:12-13 – Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
4.By the grace of God.
1 Pt. 5:10 – But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
So, Christian, be alert. Stand in the faith that the Lord delivered to his church.Grow up. Be strengthened by the grace of the Lord.But above all, Christian, let everything that you do, be done in love because you have known the love of Christ in your life, that love that will not let you go.