Walking with God daily.
LESSONS FROM THE CHURCH AT CORINTH
In First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to be laborers together: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). There are many things the first century church had right, but there are many things they did not have right. How quickly the Corinthian church forgot God’s call to go and make disciples of all nations. We forget quickly too! Let’s look at what hindered the church from laboring together:
CHILDISH TRAITS (1 CORINTHIANS 3:1–2)
Here we see the Apostle Paul’s pacifying instruction. He had to speak to them in a childlike way. He desired for them to grow up in a Christian way, but he had to soften the content of his message—from meat to milk. In verse two, Paul indicates that time had passed and these believers should have grown, but they still were not ready for the meat of the Word.
CARNAL THOUGHTS (1 CORINTHIANS 3:3)
In verse three, we find Paul naming their carnal habits—envying, strife, and divisions. He goes on to say they “walk as men.” You could not tell a Christian from an unbeliever. It is a mistake to think a new convert will suddenly act like a mature believer, but the point is that fleshly and worldly living stunts the growth of a Christian.
COMPETITIVE TALK (1 CORINTHIANS 3:4–8)
Competition kills the work of God. When we begin naming names and giving praise, we set up a certain amount of competition among ourselves. The Bible says we should give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7), but we must be careful not to create an environment where people get offended because their name is not mentioned or they are not recognized. God is the One who “gives the increase.”
STEPS TO STOP THESE HINDRANCES
1. Examine your own pace of growth regularly. How is your walk with the Lord? Is it growing or stagnant?
2. Expand your knowledge of the big picture. God gives the increase.
3. Envision your reward at the end of life. Get busy planting and watering God’s harvest. Lay up treasures in Heaven and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing here on earth.
We should not allow anything to break our oneness—our passion for the object of our love. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:20–22)
Oneness is defined as “an unbroken bond of unity, harmony, or communion.” The current New Age philosophy promotes oneness with our environment. Also, Pentecostalism teaches a false view of the trinity that they describe as the “doctrine of oneness.” Modernism robs us of inner harmony and peace. None of these describe biblical oneness. God has given us clear direction in this matter of harmony and peace in our lives.
Oneness in Our Relationship with God
George Newton once said, “If Christ is in you, let me give you this caution. Let Him live quiet in your hearts. Do not molest Him or disturb Him, do not make Him vex or fret. Let it not be a penance to Him to continue in you, but labor in every way to please Him, and give Him satisfaction and content, so that the house He hath chosen may not be doleful and dark, but delightful to Him!” (See Psalm 27:4.)
The Bible speaks of ways that we can break our oneness with the Holy Spirit. It speaks of grieving Him, quenching Him, and resisting Him. We must guard this important relationship with our Saviour.
Oneness in Our Relationship with the Brethren
Instruction is given throughout Scripture on this bond of fellowship we have with other believers. God desires for His children to get along (see I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 4:3, Romans 12:5).
This takes work on our part. We must block out things that destroy oneness and the bond of peace. We must find a way to be at peace with the brethren.
Oneness in Our Relationship with our Spouse
God places great importance on marriage. This is another relationship in which God desires unity and oneness (see Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:28). God wants us to love our spouse.
The homes of Christians should be places of peace and quietness. God wants our homes to be refuges from the world.
ENEMIES OF ONENESS DEFINED
People can pull you away from God. We all have seen illustrations where wrong relationships destroyed a marriage. Wrong friends can easily influence you to miss church. We must be vigilant in this area. A relationship is not always wrong, but how you allow that relationship to influence you can be harmful. Please choose friends who encourage you in your walk with Christ (see Proverbs 13:20).
This comes in all forms—self promotion, arrogance, self will, etc. But pride is simply thinking higher of yourself than what God thinks. What does God’s Word say about us when we are tempted to be puffed up? “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
The old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out” is so true regarding our media. What are you soaking your heart and mind in all day? You cannot be immersed in the world’s philosophy and feel one with your Saviour (see Philippians 4:8). God wants us to meditate and think on things that are good and wholesome. We must train ourselves to turn off worldly media and glorify God in our music and television.
Does your job interfere with your oneness with Christ? We must work to survive, but does your job keep you out of God’s house on a regular basis? Are there office circumstances that put your marriage in jeopardy? Evaluate the cost. Our jobs should help us bring honor and glory to Christ (see Colossians 3:22). We must never allow our job to pull us away from our oneness with Christ.
Never allow anger or bitterness to drive you away from oneness in the relationships God has given you. Deal with it and ask God to help you. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)
Our society is entertainment crazy right now, and as Christians we can be pulled into this culture. Having a hobby and taking some time off is good, but we must find the balance in this. God wants us to have oneness with Him. Could your hobbies be taking away from the relationship God wants to have with you? “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
Biblical oneness—do we want it? God desires that relationship with us. Our spouses want to be at peace with us. The brethren want to have a Christ-honoring relationship with us. What can we do about it? We can recognize the enemies and determine which ones may have a foothold in our lives. What is interrupting that sweet relationship? Let us ask God to show us what He wants out of our lives to make the journey just a little more peaceful.
Women are known to be prayer warriors. Sometimes this perception is not always true though. As the New Year begins, I would like to challenge each of you to become a real prayer warrior. Not just for yourself and your family, but consider the needs of others.
Praying for others can sometimes make your needs seem so small and insignificant. Just this past Sunday one of our senior adults ask me to pray that they would find their hearing-aid they had lost. The cost of the hearing aid was $3,200. I was so burdened for this devoted saint of God. I began praying that very evening and several times the next morning. About 10:15 am on Monday morning, my phone rang and it was a blessing to hear that the costly hearing-aid had been found. I realize I was not the only person praying, but God did answer an urgent prayer request because of the prayers of God’s people. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Someday, you will be on the other side of those prayers. The Bible promises us in II Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” The day is coming when you will suffer problems and tribulation, and you will need the prayers of others. It is my prayer you will be found faithful in the coming year to pray for others and their needs.
Genesis 20 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a...
Genesis 18 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself...
Genesis 16 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children...
Genesis 13 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had...