Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
Ministry is not easy. It never was and never will be. What keeps those in full time, paid or unpaid, employed or volunteer tenaciously alert without giving in to the world or giving up on people is extreme focus on the Creator of life, the Savior of all, the Holy Spirit who brings intimacy to our relationship with the Three-in-One. We say yes to God from a heart full of desire to please HIM. We say yes because of knowing that Jesus is alive now and is coming back to claim His own. We say yes because His Holy Spirit lives in us, teaching and guiding us to be of help to each other on the journey to know Him and grow in Him. We are all in ministry who believe.
Paul closes his letter to the church gone wild in Corinth with reminders to seriously avoid the return to the old ways of sin that hinders their spiritual growth and destroys their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This is an example of loving and caring but difficult ministry of confrontation to carefully build people up, not tear them down. Like a parent to a wild child in the back seat of the car stirring up trouble we can almost hear, “Don’t make me come back there!”
2 Corinthians 13, The Message
He’s Alive Now!
1-4 Well, this is my third visit coming up. Remember the Scripture that says, “A matter becomes clear after two or three witnesses give evidence”? On my second visit I warned that bunch that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways that when I came back I wouldn’t go easy on them. Now, preparing for the third, I’m saying it again from a distance. If you haven’t changed your ways by the time I get there, look out. You who have been demanding proof that Christ speaks through me will get more than you bargained for. You’ll get the full force of Christ, don’t think you won’t. He was sheer weakness and humiliation when he was killed on the cross, but oh, he’s alive now—in the mighty power of God! We weren’t much to look at, either, when we were humiliated among you, but when we deal with you this next time, we’ll be alive in Christ, strengthened by God.
5-9 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
10 I’m writing this to you now so that when I come I won’t have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.
11-13 And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello.
14 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.
Are WE the church gone wild?
God speaks to us today….(Phrases that leap from the text)
–“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith”
–“You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you.” It’s not our parents or grandparents faith, it’s our faith…how intimate are we with our Savior?
–“If you fail the test, do something about it.” Don’t wait!
–“Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up.”
–“Think in harmony. Be agreeable.”
–Jesus IS alive! And He’s coming back, you know!
“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.”
Today on this “Good Friday”, remember how much God loved…Resurrection celebration begins now! King Jesus is alive! He’s coming back! Are we ready?
Dear Heavenly Father,
We don’t deserve Your unconditional, relentless love but you love anyway. We fall and you pick us up. We fail and you teach us through the failure with love in Your heart unlike all other human love. We sin. We repent. You forgive no matter what the sin was and then you remember it no more! Amazing. Just amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you! May WE no longer be the church gone wild…Continue to transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen