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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


May 2013

Daily Bible Thoughts 370 31st May 2013

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Not only were the Corinthian Christians compromising with worldliness, but they were also in danger of tarnishing their testimony before a watching world (6). Let’s always remember that we live our lives in front of unbelievers! (6). We are being scrutinised. When we identify with Christ eyes are upon us. The people of the world are in the front row. We would be better to just let certain things go (7) than bring God’s Name, and our witness, into disrepute.

Warren Wiersbe points out (With the Word, p.747) that Paul repeatedly asks: Do you not know? (2, 3, 15, 16, 19). He states that the Corinthians were ignorant of some basic truths of the Christian life, and mentions three of them in chapter 6. We will look at the first two today, and deal with the third next time.

1. We will judge angels (1-8):  It has to be admitted that we do not fully know all that will be involved in our judging the world and angels, but Paul clearly believed that this would happen, and he made a logical application of the principle to the current disputes in the Corinthian church, which had been brought to his attention.

 And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of Christians. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? The Message.

If you’re going to one day work on the greater, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start now with the lesser? Have a run out on the ‘nursery slopes.’

2. We have been changed (9-11): We have been utterly transformed. We are not what we once were, so why should we live as we once lived? Warren W. Wierbe. There is something very powerful about the statement: And that is what some of you were. But… (11). You will see in these words that the sexual standards of God’s Kingdom are radically different from those of the world. Not all expressions of human sexuality are equally valid and legitimate. There are certain practices that people need to repent of and be delivered from. They need to be removed to the past tense of their lives as the individuals become new in Christ and are indwelt by the Spirit of God. Every Christian can say: I’m not what I want to be; I’m not what I’m going to be; but praise God, I’m not what I once was. Of course there is much more to sin than sexual sin, but Corinth was a notoriously immoral city, so it is not surprising that such sins figure prominently in this list. In those days there was a saying: ‘to Corinthianize’ or ‘to play the Corinthian’, and it meant to live immorally. Corinth was a moral sewer, but so many had been salvaged from it. It’s a wonderful thought. And our Lord still meets people in the gutter and lifts them up.

Daily Prayer 31st May 2013

Prayer: Thank you Lord God for your transforming power. Thank you that you live within me by your Spirit and you are changing me from the inside out. Hallelujah! I am a work in progress. Please strengthen me to live out my ‘newness’ every day in every situation.

Daily Bible Thoughts 369 May 30th 2013

2 Chronicles 1

If only Solomon’s ending could have been like his beginning. He made an impressive start. But it’s not where you are placed at the outset of a race that counts; it’s where you finish.

There are certain things we are called to do, and we can only do them if we have the presence of God with us (1), so let us seek Him and His anointing at all times. There is a wonderful balance in this first verse, between Solomon’s action/initiative and God’s involvement. Ever remember: Without Him we cannot; without us He will not. Work as if it all depends on you and pray as if it all depends on God. Solomon sought the Lord and established himself firmly over his kingdom (1a).

Solomon led the people in going into God’s presence to hear from Him and to worship Him (2-6). He both spoke to them (2) and set an example (3). It’s interesting that the first thing we read after the statement in (1) about the Lord being with Solomon is about the King enquiring of God (5). Solomon positioned himself to hear from God. We need to do the same. We do this, for example, by regularly, in a disciplined fashion putting ourselves in the place of prayer; or by consistently being involved in the public worship of the church

It’s not surprising then to read: That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him… (7a). It’s an inevitable question isn’t it? What would we do with an opportunity such as Solomon had? What would you ask for if God said to you: Ask for whatever you want me to give you (7b)? What would you do with such an offer? Solomon here illustrates the principle taught by Jesus in Matt. 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Solomon asked unselfishly and humbly for wisdom to do the task he’d been assigned, recognising that he was called to shepherd God’s people (10; see also James 1:5). And because of this he was granted wisdom, but also many other wonderful things for which he had not asked (11, 12; see examples of his great wealth in 14-17. However, even here we may be having a preview of the beginning of the rot which was to set in: see Deut. 17:16, 17).

This reminds one of the constant teaching of Jesus. He who seeks his life loses it; but to lose it is to save it in the best and deepest sense. F.B.Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p. 149. As someone said, God is prepared to take full responsibility for the life that is fully yielded to Him.

It is good and right to go to our place of work/ministry from before the Tent of Meeting (13). Go to it ‘prayed-up’ day after day. I knew someone who had what might be regarded as a fairly ordinary job. But morning by morning she was up early and on her knees, praying, among other things, for God’s blessing on her work and people and things connected to it. This I know, God’s smile was upon her, and a fairly low-key job was transformed by a prayerful attitude that sought to glorify and honour God in all things. It could be you!

Daily Prayer 30th May 2013

Prayer: Thank you Lord that no-one loses by putting you and your concerns first. Thank you for your kindness and generosity to your undeserving servants.

Daily Bible Thoughts 368 29th May 2013

Psalm 93

It is helpful to look at the repetitions in this wonderful psalm:

a.)    …robed in majesty (1): Clearly, this is referring to The LORD who reigns…and is armed with strength. He is the LORD who reigns over all the turbulence and tumult of this world. (Psalms 93 to 100 are linked together by the common theme of the LORD’s kingship.)

b.)     …established… (1b, 2): I believe these two realities are interconnected. The world, in spite its many ‘storms’ (3, 4) cannot be moved because God cannot be moved from His throne. God on the throne is a firm, immoveable reality, therefore this world is also. I am not saying that it will never come to an end. We know from Scripture that it will. But it will not come to an end before God’s appointed time, and without Him being firmly in control of all that happens. It is no mistake that the reference to the stability of our world is sandwiched between a reference to the Lord’s reign (1) and throne (2). (We note also God’s statutes stand firm (5). They have to because they are an expression of who He is; they reflect His solid and permanent character. In the structure of the psalm the fifth verse matches the second.)

 c.)     The seas have lifted up… (3): The picture is of the turbulence of life in the world, including the anger and revolt of men against God. We live amidst very stormy seas that threaten to capsize our little boats and drown us. The restless seas here stand for all the forces of destruction and hostility in the created order, whether violent storms, turbulent nations or evil cosmic powers.

d.)    Mightier…mighty (4): However great and severe the storms, our God is greater and His voice is louder. He will not be overwhelmed and His Word will not be drowned out. He has the final say in any storms we find ourselves in (Mk.4:35-41). It’s been said that we have here a picture of the King with his effortless sovereignty.

Vs 1-2 work downwards from the securely enthroned Lord to the derivative security of the world he rules; vs 3-4 work upwards from the turbulence of earth’s ‘forces’ to the serene might of his exaltation. The earth is a safe place to live in because he reigns; and even when it is at its most turbulent he is still on the throne. Alec Motyer: New Bible Commentary, p.547

 Let Him but say, ‘’Peace be still!’’ and the greatest storm that ever swept the waves with wild fury sinks in to the tranquil sleep of childhood.’ F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.228

Daily Prayer 29th May 2013

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, we are grateful beyond any words for the security we find within your sovereignty

Daily Bible Thoughts 367 May 28th 2013

 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

When things happen in the church that mirror sinful practices in the world it is a scandal. But when things occur in the churches that are worse than what people read in the gutter press it beggars belief. In this highly charged, charismatic, spiritually gifted church in Corinth, there was an unchecked case of incest (1); and there just wasn’t the response from the believers that it warranted (2). There are behaviours that should break our hearts and cause us to take the sackcloth and ashes out of the wardrobe (metaphorically speaking.) Certain conduct, if persisted in and not repented of, demands excommunication. Like in any family, there has to be discipline. The ‘children’ of God must not get way with unrepented immorality. Paul was clear about the approach required in this situation where: One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. The Message. The man should be put out of the fellowship (2-4).  That will mean being ostracised by his fellow- Christians (9-13). Admittedly, this will appear callous and cruel to many on the outside looking in. But it is actually a loving thing to do. It will hurt, just like it causes loving parents pain to chastise their children. But it has to be done for their good.

The phrase in (5) about handing him over to Satan is thought to be another way of saying that he should be put outside the protective fellowship of the Christian church. Through the sickness and suffering Satan may cause the hope is that the man will become repentant and saved (Prov.23:14) There are two clear reasons for expelling someone from the Christian congregation: a.) to purify the church, which is God’s holy temple (1 Cor.3:16, 17). The yeast will spread through the whole church if not dealt with (6-8): You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a ‘’small thing’’, but it works it through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this ‘’yeast’’. The Message;  b.) to bring the person to repentance so that their eternal spirit might be saved.

Remember, Paul does not despise this man who is to be expelled; he despises only his sin…When we expel a person from the church, our purpose is not so much to expel the person as to expel his sin. It is primarily to cleanse the church of sin that we must expel the person. But the moment that person truly repents of his sin, we must forgive him and fully accept him back into the church. In fact, this is exactly what happened in the case of the man mentioned in this section (see 2 Corinthians 2:5-11). Tom Hale: The Applied New Testament Commentary, p. 611.

In The Messsge we read: Shouldn’t this break your hearts? Shouldn’t it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn’t this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with? I’ll tell you what I would do. Even though I’m not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what’s going on. I’m telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out into the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community – I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.

Daily Prayer 28th May 2013

Prayer: Lord please give us the courage to ‘clean house’ whenever it is necessary. Although we will all need courage to stand for what is right, we especially pray for our leaders who, at times, have tough decisions to make and can easily be misunderstood.

Daily Bible Thoughts 366 27th May 2013

1 Chronicles 29: 21-30

It is a thing of beauty to see this orderly transfer of power from David to Solomon. Somebody commented to me about the contrast with the transition from Saul to David. There was Saul greedily grasping the throne; clutching it tightly to his chest. He was unwilling to let it go and fearful of the man God had chosen. But it wasn’t like that with David. He was only too thankful for his long ‘innings’ (26 – 28) and only too happy for his son to replace him at the ‘crease’. Behind this smooth change of leadership we can clearly discern the over-ruling activity of Almighty God, who does all things well (22a, 23a, 25).

There are no perfect leaders or perfect people. All have sin and sins that require forgiveness (21, 22). There is an abundance of sin in the world. There was an abundance of wickedness in just this one nation of Israel (21) at that time. But there was also an abundance of sacrificial provision. Where sin abounded, grace did much more so. However, these multiplied sacrifices had to be repeatedly offered throughout the Old Testament era. They were a temporary measure. They could not remove sin; they could only cover it. But they all pointed forward to the one, perfect and final sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered His own spotless life to God on behalf of all people. (The book of ‘Hebrews’ speaks eloquently to this subject.) So, in the Old Testament we see an abundance of imperfect sacrifices; in the New Testament we see one perfect sacrifice by which God has made abundant provision for the potential forgiveness of all. No wonder we too eat and drink with great joy in the presence of the LORD each time we take communion, and how much more so! Aren’t you glad that every time you come to worship you don’t have to bring an animal with you? We have Jesus, and He is enough!

In reading (22b – 24) I see a parallel with our experience of King Jesus. We come to know Him and pledge our submission (24) to Him. We want Him to be Lord of our lives and we tell Him this is the case. However, there may come a point where we feel the need to reaffirm His Kingship over us (see 1 Sam.11:4). Because of our sinful tendency to slip away from our moorings, our anchorage in Christ and drift, we might need to acknowledge Him as King a second time (22b). It’s possible we may have to do this a third time and a fourth…and so on. If you have asked Jesus to be your King, but you are aware today of areas of your life that are not under His Kingship; regions that are in revolt, surely this is the day to reaffirm the kingship (1 Sam.11:4)?

One final thought: God is able to put great honour upon certain people. If He chooses to do this it is His business. He has His own reasons. He is Sovereign, and it will always be for His own glory that He does such a thing. As we have seen, in a passage that deals with two great political leaders, God is seen to be the greatest, and the One in charge. So, as someone wisely observed: If the Lord’s going to raise you up, let Him raise you up. But whatever you do, don’t raise yourself up!

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