What makes a truly unique person? The people we tend to admire the most are people who march to the beat of a different drummer and, at the same time, show more concern about others than themselves. You know you can’t control them, but on the other side, there is no reason we would want to control them. In our passage this morning, we will see how the Apostle Paul could not be controlled by anyone, other than God, and how he used that freedom to love the people around him.
Matthew 5:3 (NASB) 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The daily monitoring of the COVID 19 virus and the strain of a presidential election made for a trying and troublesome year. The hope of most Americans is that 2021 will turn the page resulting in a more “normal” daily life. But the future is determined by knowing in whom your identity is. Confusion about who I am results in confusion, perplexity, and aimlessness in approaching the future. Who am I? Our government increasingly views your identity as dependent on societal structures and cultural assumption not by individual decisions, hopes, and dreams. God determines who I am and He gives individual vision for the New Year and beyond. The cultural elites discourage personal hope by seeing everyone as a political class.
Times of difficulty can feel very long, like a long darkness. When we see a breakthrough, or upcoming help, we can feel a surge of hope within us. Sin has left the world in darkness and in gloom, but God promised light to breakthrough that darkness. This is our Christmas hope (Matthew 4:13–16). God promised to send His Son into the world and to defeat sin and evil. Jesus is the light who casts away the darkness.
Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s okay, as long as I don’t hurt anyone else.” In the letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul shows that our actions have a bigger effect than we might think. This gives us a reason to pursue holiness through faith and obedience for the benefit of others. In doing this, he points us to Jesus and reminds us that the essence of love is to pursue the good of others, even if it comes at our own expense.
Spiritual growth requires more than external change, it requires internal transformation. Some of the Christians in Corinth were telling single people it was a sin to get married. This created a challenge for engaged people – should they break off their commitment or follow through and get married? In our passage, we read how this anti-marriage teaching was so wrong – our spiritual life is not built on our marital status, but upon our devotion to Jesus Christ. Today we will see how to get more spiritually focused by looking at some differences between marriage and singleness. The key point of our passage is that we need to do all we can to keep our focus on the Lord.
How do we find contentment in our situation? Some will say that we need to change our circumstances. This is not always possible. And it doesn’t always help. Others will resign themselves to their circumstances in quiet despair. The Corinthians thought that changing their situation would make them happier or more spiritual. We have that same temptation. The truth we need is that joy is found in contentment. God’s call upon our lives is a good gift, according to His sovereignty, and we must find joy by living in it. What are the keys to contentment?
Mark 16:9-20 (NKJV) Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord 9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by…
1 Corinthians 7:1-16 (NKJV) Principles of Marriage 7 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her,…
1 Corinthians 7:1-16 (NASB) Teaching on Marriage 7 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of sexual immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise…