9/30/16 Through Jesus, God Will Change Imperfection Into Perfection

“Now, I tell you, my brothers and sisters, these corrupt bodies that we have now cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, because corruption doesn’t inherit incorruption.  This is the mystery of God:  Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed instantly, when the angels blow the last trumpet that sounds the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.  When that trumpet sounds, all those who have died will be raised to live again, but our corrupt bodies will then be incorruptible, because we will be changed into who we were meant to be from the beginning of creation.  In order to gain eternal life in Heaven, our corrupt bodies must be changed to incorruption, and what is now mortal must be changed to become immortal.  And when all this has happened, only then will the words of Isaiah be true:  ‘Death is swallowed up in victory,’ and also the words of Hosea, ‘O Death, where is your victory?  O Death, where is your sting?’  That sting of death is sin, and sin gets its strength from disobedience to God’s perfect Law.  But we thank God because He gives us victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of His Son, our Messiah, Jesus.  And so, my beloved brothers and sisters, stand firm in your faith.  Don’t let anyone move you away from what you know is true and right in Jesus.  Work hard at whatever He gives you to do, because you know that anything you do for God is never done in vain.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:50-58, Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14

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9/29/16 What Kind Of Bodies Will We Have When We Are Raised From The Dead?

“I know some of you are asking, ‘But how are the dead raised again?  What kind of body will they have?’  Remember that a seed does not come to life until it is planted in the earth and dies.  And the seed that you plant is not the same as the plant that grows from it.  After the seed dies, it receives a new, bigger, and better body.  God gives it this body, just as He gives us our bodies – both here on earth, and again after we are raised from death.  Each person has his own unique human body, just as each seed produces its own unique plant body.  God made so many different kinds of flesh – humans, animals, fish, birds – and also different kinds of bodies in the sky – sun, moon, stars, planets.  Each is unique.  Each goes through changes and stages of life.  But each keeps its own unique form through all those changes.  It may look different from one point in time to another, but it is still easily recognized.  It is this way with bodies that are raised from the dead as well.  Yes, our bodies will be new and different.  We will no longer be susceptible to sin or anything that comes with it – sickness, injury, death.  But we will still be ourselves and be recognizable as ourselves.  When we die and are planted in the earth, our bodies are corrupted by sin, dishonored, weak, natural.  But when we are raised to life again, our new bodies will be incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and full of God’s Holy Spirit.  Just as, through the disobedience of the first Adam, we were born with bodies corrupted by sin, more living souls than full human beings as God intended, through Jesus’ obedience as the ‘last Adam,’ we are reborn by His Spirit that gives life to the fullest.  The natural body and soul came first, through the first Adam, and the spiritual nature of our perfected bodies comes in the next life, through the last Adam.  The first was made from the dust of the earth, the second born out of Heaven, of God.  So we who are descendants of the man of dust are like him, but those who have been reborn through Jesus’ blood and have died in Him and ascended to be with Him in Heaven are transformed into beings like Him.  Just as we have lived on this earth resembling the first Adam, we will live in Heaven resembling the last Adam.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:35-49, Genesis 2:7

9/28/16 Why Are You Trying To Live As A Christian If You Believe Christianity Is A Lie?

“There are some who practice baptism of the dead, where a living person is baptized in place of one who has died.  Usually, in this practice, the dead person is laid on a bed and a living person lies down underneath the bed.  The dead person is asked if he wants to be baptized, and, since he is dead and unable to answer, the living person responds for him and is baptized in his place.  Now, I don’t in any way condone this, as it is superstition and shows lack of faith in Jesus as the only way to be saved from our sins.  But for those who believe in it, what good is it if there is no resurrection of the dead?  If death is the end, and there is nothing that comes after, why bother trying to baptize a dead person?  His life is over.  Still, there are even some who practice baptism of the dead who don’t believe in resurrection!  It is simply a superstitious ritual for them.  For those of us who are followers of Jesus, it is even more absurd to disbelieve in resurrection.  Why should we constantly put ourselves in danger for something that isn’t real?  I declare to you by the people I have led to our Messiah that I die every day.  If I fight with my adversaries just as a mortal man without hope in my Messiah to save me from my sins and deliver me out of death, what do I gain?  Truly, if there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead, we should abide by the saying, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’  But we know that Jesus died to give us life, not just here on earth but everlasting life in Heaven, and that cannot be true if there is no resurrection of the dead.  So don’t let yourselves be persuaded against this truth, and remember the saying, ‘Evil company or words corrupt good habits.’  Wake up and see what is happening to you, where you are being led.  Turn your life around, be sober, and live as God would have you live, not in sin, as you are living now.  Some of you don’t even have this simple, basic, knowledge of God, and yet you call yourselves Christians!  You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:29-34, Isaiah 22:13

9/27/16 Our Faith Is True, & Backed Up By Historical Facts

“But we know, because it is a historical fact, that Jesus did rise from the dead, and is the first to do so out of all those who have died belonging to Him.  Because death came into the world through the sins of Adam and Eve, humans, the resurrection of the dead had to come through a human as well.  Just as we all die through Adam’s sin, we all live through Jesus’ sacrifice.  But it had to happen in the right order – first Jesus had to die and be raised back to life again, then all we who believe in Him will be raised when He returns to us.  And then, the end of this world will come, when Jesus will conquer all the kings of the world and all power and authority will be His alone, and He will present His Kingdom to His Father.  Then human beings and God will be reconciled to each other, and we will have no more need for any kind of earthly authority, because God will be our one and only King forevermore.  Jesus will reign over us until all the earthly opposition has been conquered.  When all sin is removed from the world, when everyone is freed from the clutches of false religions and lies, then death itself will also be conquered, and nobody will ever die again, just as the Psalm prophesies.  Of course, when Jesus told us that ‘all things are put under Him,’ He does not mean that God will be put under Him, because God is the one putting all things under Jesus.  When all things return to God’s rule, Jesus the Son will also be under God’s rule, so that God will be all in all, and His plan will be complete.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Psalm 8:6

9/26/16 What If Our Faith Is A Lie?

“Now, if I have taught you, and you have believed, that Jesus was raised from the dead back to life, how is it that some of you are still asserting that there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead?  Follow that to its logical conclusion with me.  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Jesus is still dead.  If Jesus is still dead, then my fellow apostles and I have been spreading lies and delusions, and you who believed them have faith in lies and delusions.  And we are found guilty of lying to and about God, because we have sworn that God raised Jesus from the dead, and if the dead do not rise, then God did not raise Jesus from the dead.  If Jesus is not alive, then you have believed in vain, and you are still responsible for paying the penalty for all your sins.  This means that anyone who has died since believing in the power of Jesus’ blood to save them from their sins is lost, because they died without a way to pay for their sins, and therefore are eternally separated from God.  If it is only for this short time that we are alive on the earth that we live and hope in Jesus, but He has no power to save us after we die, then we are the most pitiable of all people in the world – we who endure all kinds of hardship because of the hope and joy we have in belonging to Jesus.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

9/25/16 Return To What You First Believed, And Remember What Is Important

“Now, my brothers and sisters, I feel that I must remind you of the Good News I brought to you, that you received with joyful hearts, through which you have been redeemed, and by which you are being saved little by little every day until the day comes when He returns to us, if you continue to hold on tight to the Truth that I preached to you.  That is, unless you just said you believed but you really didn’t understand what you were saying, or unless God’s Word isn’t really true.  I preached to you what was taught to me, that Jesus died to take the penalty for our sins, according to the prophecies written in the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He came back to life again on the third day, also according to prophecies in the Scriptures.  I told you that he was seen by Peter, and then by all the apostles, and then by over five hundred brothers and sisters in our faith all at once.  Most of these people are still alive now, although some have died.  After that, He was seen by James, and then all the apostles again, before He ascended into Heaven.  And last of all, He was seen by me, although not in the same way as the other apostles saw Him, because they are like the first born in the family, and I am like the baby of the family, not worthy to receive the inheritance of the first born.  Because I am the lowest of the apostles, and I don’t feel that I am worthy to be called an apostle, because I terrorized the church of God.  But, by His grace I am what I am – a sinner, saved by the mercy of Jesus, and now called to be His apostle.  And His grace for me was not in vain, because I have worked harder than anyone else for His sake, although I cannot even claim that hard work for my own, because it was God working within me.  So, it matters not whether it was preached by me or by one of the other apostles.  It is still the same Truth, which you all received gladly and recognized as Truth.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

9/24/16 Follow Tradition Regarding Women’s Roles In Church, & Regard My Words As Jesus’ Commandments

“Tradition and the Law of Moses dictate that women are not allowed to speak during worship services, so they should be silent in church and submit to the men of the church.  Some may ask, if women must stay silent in church, how can they ask questions about areas in which they want to learn more?  I tell you, if a woman would like to learn about something, she should ask her husband in the privacy of their home, so that the church will not be shamed in the eyes of the community.  I know that at many times, you as a church have acted as though you are the recipients of God’s word, and therefore the leaders of the Christian world.  You have acted against many of the teachings I gave you in the practices of your church, and it is to your detriment.  Now your church is in turmoil.  If anyone among you thinks he has received a spiritual gift, let him prove it by being in agreement that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.  But if anyone refuses to acknowledge what I write as God’s truth, he cannot be a true believer.  So, my brothers and sisters, don’t say that the gift of speaking in foreign languages is not a spiritual gift, but at the same time, remember that prophecy is of more value to the church, and strive to be orderly and loving in all that you do as a church body.”

 

1 Corinthians 14:34-40

9/23/16 Order In The Church

“Now, apply this teaching in your churches.  In the past, whenever you have come together to worship, everyone has come in anticipation of sharing the glory of his own gift, and there has been chaos in the church because everyone is vying for attention at the same time.  But God is not the God of chaos; He is the God of order.  So it should be in the church.  And before you enter the church, examine your hearts – do you desire to use your gift for your own glory, or to strengthen and encourage your brothers and sisters.  Everything that is done in the church should be done for the benefit of all.  So, if there are those who can speak in foreign languages, let there be at most two or three speaking in the church, and take turns doing so in an orderly fashion.  Let there be one who interprets all that is said, for the benefit of the whole church body.  But if there is no one there who is able to interpret, save the speaking in foreign languages for the privacy of your own homes, for private communion with God.  If there are prophets among you, do the same – allow two or three to speak, taking turns, and let the rest listen carefully to judge whether the words are from God.  If, however, there is one who receives a sudden revelation in the middle of  worship, let everyone else be silent so that this person may speak, because a sudden revelation usually means it is something of immediate relevance to the whole body.  In doing this, everyone can learn and be encouraged.  For those of you who may argue that when God’s Holy Spirit comes upon you, there is no way for you to stay silent and wait your turn, I tell you that your spirit is controlled by God’s Spirit, and He will give you the power to proclaim His words in an orderly manner, because He does not want confusion.  He wants His church to be in peace and unity, just as all the churches who come together in His Name.”

 

1 Corinthians 14:26-33

9/22/16 Speaking In Foreign Languages May Draw People In, But Prophecy Will Convince Them Of God’s Truth

“My brothers and sisters, I urge you not to act like children in regards to your spiritual gifts, arguing over whose gift is better and flaunting what you have over what your brothers and sisters have.  Be mature, sharing your gift and using it for the benefit of all, seeking to gain greater understanding of the things of God and to use this understanding to help one another.  But be like babies in that they are innocent and gentle.  Isaiah wrote, ‘”With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.’  So speaking in foreign languages is to be used as a sign to those who do not believe in our Messiah, to draw them to the church in order to seek further understanding.  And prophesying is for believers, who need no sign to point them to the Messiah, because they already know Him, but who are seeking to know Him better.  Now, if all in the church are worshipping together and all speaking in foreign languages, and people come in who are either new to their faith or unbelievers, what will they think?  They will hear all of you speaking unintelligible words and turn around and run out of there, believing you all to be crazy.  But if everyone in the church receives a prophecy from the Lord, and all take turns proclaiming these prophecies before the whole church, someone coming in for the first time will hear God’s truth and be convinced of it.  Hearing everyone speak God’s wisdom, those who are new in the faith or unbelievers will grow more and more sure of the truth of what is being spoken, and the dark places of their hearts will be exposed to the light, showing their sins and their need for forgiveness.  And then, they will fall to their knees and worship God, and go and tell all their friends that God is with you all.”

 

1 Corinthians 14:20-25

9/21/16 Find A Balance Between Mind And Spirit

“And so I say to you, if you have the spiritual gift of speaking foreign languages, pray that you would also be given the gift of interpreting or translating those languages.  If I pray in a foreign language but do not understand it, well, my spirit is praying and communicating with God, which is good, but I don’t understand what I am praying.  If I don’t understand what I myself am saying, how can I communicate it to others for their encouragement?  What, then am I to do if I am not given the gift of understanding the language in which I am speaking to God?  I will continue to use it in order that my spirit can pray and sing to God, but at the same time, I will also pray and sing in the language my brothers and sisters and I can understand, in order to benefit all.  For those of you who have been only communicating with God and not with your brothers and sisters, I ask, what good is it to proclaim the message given to you by the Spirit in a foreign language in the company of the whole church, when nobody – including you – is benefiting from it?  How can everyone say ‘Amen’ to your proclamation without knowing what has been said?  It is right to use the gift, and to give thanks for, and with, the gift, but you must also seek to build up your brothers and sisters.  I thank God that He has given me this gift, and that He has helped me to excel in it.  But still, when I am in church, I would rather speak five words that my brothers and sisters and I can all understand than ten thousand words in a language none of us can understand, so that I may teach others.”

 

1 Corinthians 14:13-19