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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Month

December 2013

Daily bible thoughts Tuesday 10th December 2013 number 506

1 Corinthians 16:9-24

This closing section is full of love:

Aquila and Priscilla loving each other: Although this is not explicitly stated, it is implicit. They were very much together; a couple in Christ and for Christ. They were bound together with the threefold cord that is not easily broken (Ecc.3:12), their lives intertwined with Christ’s. Thinking about them I am reminded of some words of David Pawson, that being in love isn’t a matter of sitting looking into each other’s eyes the whole time, but looking out in the same direction.

Aquila and Priscilla loving the church (19): Here is an insight into the strength and beauty of a Christ-centred marriage where a couple use their home as a place of ministry (See also Romans 16:5). As the two sides of a triangle draw nearer to each other the closer the get to the pinnacle; and as the spokes of a wheel come closer together the nearer they are to the hub, so, in our marriages (and all our relationships) the closer we get to Christ, the greater will be our proximity to one another. When Jesus is at the centre of a marriage He can turn the ‘water’ of every day married life into the ‘wine’ of something very special.

The church loving the church (20): Whatever form it takes, a genuine Christian greeting that conveys your love (and God’s love most of all) is a powerful thing. It carries great blessing. Let’s not allow our greetings to slip into mere clichéd formalities, but put our whole heart into each one. May our brothers and sisters in Christ know Jesus’ touch through ours!

Paul loving the church through his letters (21, 24): This, then, reminds us that Christian love is not slushy and soppy and sentimental. There is such a thing as ‘tough love’. You can’t read the Corinthian letters without feeling something of Paul’s great bursting heart towards this church. But because of that love he was prepared to say and do the difficult things. Real love does not shirk such hard issues. A godly senior pastor once prayed with me when I was going through a time of enormous pressure and strain. He said, ‘Lord, you know how we can fear to grasp the nettle for fear of getting stung.’ Paul got badly stung, but in uncompromising love he grabbed the nettles and sought to pull them out of the ground.

Finally, there is something sad and tragic said here about those who do not love the Lord (22). Here is a doctrinal ‘nettle’ some would rather not pick up, but it is before our eyes and has to be handled. The Bible teaches here, and in other places, that those who do not turn to Christ will be eternally separated from Him. C.S. Lewis said that in the final analysis there will only be two types of people in the world: those who say to God ‘Your will be done’, and those to whom God says, ‘Your will be done.’ If we do not want the Lord we will not have Him.

Prayer for the …

Prayer for the day : Lord help me to be a good soldier in your army. Make me loving, strong and brave.

Daily Bible Thoughts 9th December 1 Cor:16:10-18

1 Corinthians 16:10-18

Here are some practical thoughts from this ‘wrapping up’ section of 1 Corinthians 16:

Make life as easy as you can for church leaders (10, 11). You don’t know the burdens they carry, the troubles that weigh on their hearts, and the sacrifices they make. Pray for them and support them as best you can. By all means tell them when you think they’re in the wrong. Good leaders will value this and listen carefully. But don’t make their ministry any harder than it needs to be. They are carrying on the work of the Lord, just as Paul did. We need to honour that fact, and seek to be those who ‘refresh’ our leaders (17, 18). If Timothy shows up, take good care of him. Make him feel completely at home among you. He works so hard for the Master, just as I do. Don’t let anyone disparage him. The Message.

We can encourage people to do what we believe is the right thing for them, but we cannot coerce them (12). We who exercise leadership in the churches are shepherds of the flock, not dictators. We exhort but we do not use force. There is a place for willing submission (16) but no authentic Christian leader wields a battering ram.

There will be a right time to do the right thing (12b). If we keep in step with the Lord He will reveal it to us.

All Christians have to be on guard (13) because there is an enemy who wants to steal the faith from us. We are soldiers in a fierce battle, and the Christian life demands courage and strength. But let us also remember that without love we are nothing (14; cf. 1 Cor.13). There are those in the church who love the truth very much and will fight like terriers on its behalf. That is all very commendable. But sometimes they don’t seem to love people all that much. Mister Valiant for truth must also be Mister Great-heart! Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. The Message

How wonderful it is when you see people come to Christ, and then watch ‘fruit’ grow liberally and abundantly on the branches of their lives. It was like this with the household of Stephanas (15). What a blessing these exemplary converts were to Paul and the whole church (15, 16). You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they’ve put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then. I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to. The Message.

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