Humility and the Message of First Corinthians

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
While we are on the topic of love and humility, let's take a quick look at the book of I Corinthians.  This letter gives us a fascinating look at healthy body life in the church by examining the negative.  That is, the church in Corinth was marked by division, selfishness, and worldliness.  "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?  For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere men?"…
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Immanuel: God with Us, God in Us

Holidays, Thoughts
Merry Christmas!!! "Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, 'God with us' " (Mt 1:22-23).  And Immanuel did come and dwell among us. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14).  "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life - and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and…
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Love and Humility

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
Love in the body of Christ starts with humility.  "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:1-3).  These qualities; humility, gentleness, and patient forgiveness are exactly how Jesus Christ demonstrated His love to us.  "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart" (Mt 11:29). Look at the following passage of admonitions for healthy body life in the church.  Notice the thread of love and humility that flows through it.  "Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor…
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Love and the Body of Christ

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
Last post we introduced the idea that "love one another" is part of the greatest commandment in the New Testament.  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (Jn 13:34).  The "new" of this commandment not only signals a radical departure from the consequence model of the Old Testament, but its practice also involves a new community; the church.  Following Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, His disciples became part of something totally new; the church, the literal expression of the body of Christ on earth.  And love is the foundation from which everything springs forth in how this body life is to be lived. "But speaking the truth in love, we are to…
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The Greatest Commandment

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
"And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us" (I Jn 3:23).  This, in my opinion, is the greatest commandment in the New Testament.  Believe in Jesus and love one another.  Accept Christ and love one another.  Embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ and love one another.  Or said another way, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love" (Gal 5:6).  Faith and love summarize the two part aspect of the greatest commandment in the New Testament. Jesus repeatedly emphasized the need for faith to enter His kingdom, to join His family.  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him…
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The Great Commandment

Love is ..., Thoughts
If you were to ask a group of believers, "What is the greatest commandment in the New Testament?", the most likely response would be a quote of Matthew 22:35-40.  "And one of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question, testing Him, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?'  And 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" (quoting Deuteronomy 6:5).  This is the great and foremost commandment.  And the second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (quoting Leviticus 19:18).  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.' " (Mt 22:35-40). Notice the fine print in the question and Jesus' response.  The lawyer requested "the…
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Imitators of God

Love is ..., Thoughts
The New Testament teaches that our family resemblance to God acquired at the new birth is what empowers us to love as God loves.  God's love toward us not only gives us the ability to love, but gives us the model for love as well.  In fact, several of the New Testament writers implore us to demonstrate our family resemblance by imitating God in how we love. "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Eph 5:1-2). "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Eph 5:25). "We know love by this, that He…
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Controlled by Love

Love is ..., Thoughts
The apostle Paul makes the connection between our supernatural capacity to love and the New Covenant work of Christ in the book of II Corinthians.  "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died" (II Cor 5:14).  How in the world is part A of this verse, "The love of Christ controls us" connected to part B, "One died for all, therefore all died"?  This verse is essentially Romans chapter 6 in a nutshell. "All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death.  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we to might…
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Your Love Resemblance

Love is ..., Thoughts
Too many times our teaching and discussion regarding the love of God ends with His rescue, deliverance, and salvation or His current care and provision.  But in one of the most incredible gifts of the New Covenant, we are not only the recipients of God's love, but the possessors as well.  We are not only lavished by God's love, but actually indwelt by His love through the Holy Spirit.  You have, operating inside you, some measure of the love of God. The New Testament teaches that you have a supernatural power to love; a capacity, ability, and desire to love as God loves.  You possess this by virtue of your new relationship with God as His child.  "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we…
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God is Love

Church Life, Love is ..., Thoughts
Any discussion about love in the body of Christ, the church, must begin with God Himself, the author of love.  Love is not only the invention of God, but it is the very essence of God.  Love isn't something God does; it is who He is.  "God is love" is a prevalent theme (I Jn 4:7 e.g.) throughout His revelation.  And this love, at the center of who God is, is the driver in His relationship with us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8).  "Greater love has no…
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