1 Corinthians 7

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Marriage–marriage is what brings us together today. (IYKYK)

Anyways, here’s my best attempt at a one-sentence summary of Paul’s teaching on marriage in 1 Corinthians 7: marriage is a gift from God, but marriage is not a god.

Marriage Is A Gift

After admonishing the Corinthians for tolerating the kind of grotesque sexual immorality “that is not tolerated even among the pagans” (1 Cor. 5:1), Paul commands the Corinthians to flee from such sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:12-20). 

But God offers gifts to help his people flee such immorality and live in greater holiness–and one of those gifts is marriage (vv. 1-5). 

Marriage Is Not A God

Marriage is a good gift from a gracious God, but marriage is not a god–that is to say, marriage is not ultimate. Or, said another way, singleness is not second-class citizenry. Paul was single. Jesus was single. When you read your Bible, do you find yourself thinking Paul and Jesus would’ve been better off if they were married? Neither do I.

Glorify God In Your Marriage/Singleness

Which brings us to the application–whether you are married or single, your objective remains the same: to bring God the glory and honor due his name. Consider today how you might better leverage your marriage or singleness to bring God the glory he deserves.

1 Corinthians 5

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Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 5 is addressing an unrepentant sexual immorality inside the church. Paul says in verses 1 and 2 – “… A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?”

In today’s “you do you” culture this type of behavior is celebrated at the loss of society’s moral compass. It is imperative that we understand Paul’s teaching for what it is. Our unrepentance should be met with proper expulsion from fellowship with other believers, or in other words – from church.

Jesus himself directs us on how to conduct proper church discipline in Matthew chapter 18. Discipline in the context of church exists for the unrepentant heart, but the goal is complete restoration.

Glory to God for the one who repents, turns, and walks in the way of the Lord. 


1 Corinthians 2

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For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2

Paul’s message to the Corinthians was not marked by eloquence. Nor did he proclaim the testimony of God with an extensive vocabulary that was sure to impress and persuade his hearers. 

It wasn’t because Paul lacked eloquence. It wasn’t because Paul was an incapable wordsmith. Quite the contrary–Paul was actually one of the most articulate and educated men of his day.

So why the stripped-down presentation of the gospel? So that the faith of the Corinthians “might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (v. 5). Paul knew–and believed–that the gospel message was sufficient to transform lives. It did not need to be dressed up, marketed, and repackaged according to man’s wisdom.

You do not need certificates and degrees to effectively share the good news of Jesus Christ. You do not need an extensive vocabulary. When it comes to proclaiming the gospel, the power is not in your presentation but in the presence of the Spirit (v. 13).

1 Corinthians 1

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For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

We are simultaneously entering the home stretch of the busy holiday season and the gentle reflective season of advent meant to focus our hearts on our Savior. During this first week of advent it’s easy to get distracted with all the things we “need” to do in preparation for gatherings and celebrations. It’s easy to get caught up in our preferences for certain holiday traditions…even at church…and for those who struggle with less than ideal circumstances, it’s easy to get bogged down with despair. However, the first week of advent directs us to reflect on hope. Not the hope of having a successful party. Nor the hope of finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones. But rather the hope found in our Savior who graciously loves the sinner.

What greater source of hope than that of God’s love! Let’s enter this season with hearts full of celebration, for God didn’t send His Son to redeem only those who are considered great. He didn’t plan to rescue only the righteous. He chose to work through lowly sinners to bring to fruition his grand plan to conquer sin and death, not so that we can believe we are in better standing than others but so that we can proclaim his goodness and grace. Can we possibly slow down this week and humbly rejoice in God’s love for us and the hope that can only come from His sacrifice? Can we share this hope with those in our paths, loving them as Christ has loved us?

Acts 19

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My band recently released a song that we worked on for two years. If you add up just the time we spent in the studio, it might be more accurate to say that we only spent twenty-ish hours recording. So why did it take two years? If I’m being honest, we gave up a lot along the way. We spent a lot of time wondering if the recording was something we should even be doing and spent more time distracted by other life events. Staying motivated and on track can be hard.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts 19:8-10, ESV

In this passage in Acts 19, we see about two years of Paul’s life. He spends that time trying to reason and persuade a great number of people to accept the good news of Jesus. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us would struggle to last the first three months. Focusing on any specific task for a length of time can be difficult, especially when that task is reasoning with others. We have a continual mission to share the gospel, and Paul shows us a great example of the perseverance that this mission takes. Let’s use that example to renew our motivation to reach the world for God.

2 Thessalonians 1

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“Christianity is like a nail–the harder you strike it, the deeper it goes.”

The aforementioned quote is attributed to Yemelyan Yaroslavsky (try saying that with a mouthful of mashed potatoes at your Thanksgiving meal). Yaroslavsky was a devout Russian atheist–but he was closer to biblical truth than he probably wanted to be.

Paul opens his second letter to the Thessalonians by giving thanks for their faith, which was “growing abundantly” along with their increasing love for one another (v. 3). But this growth wasn’t the result of cultural favor. Actually, it seems to have been quite the opposite. Evidently, their growth came while simultaneously enduring persecutions and afflictions and worthily suffering for the kingdom of God (vv. 4-5). 

The conditions that seemed unfavorable at a surface level actually proved to be fertile ground for gospel depth and the advancement of the kingdom of God. The harder they were struck, the deeper they went.

May the same be said of us.

1 Thessalonians 5

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I have always loved the this chapter of Paul’s letters to the church of the Thessalonians. It is packed with practical wisdom for everyone at any point in their lives. No matter how many times we have read it before, it always points us deeper, even into those things we have worked hard to make a priority of in our lives. And the core message is so simple and foundational.

Our lives as believers are to be pointed towards and lived in response to the person and work of Jesus. In light of who Jesus is, we ought to be building each other up in the gospel and encouraging each other. Because Jesus has made a way to salvation, we ought to work hard in faith and respect those who do the same. Knowing that Jesus promises to return for us one day, even if we don’t know when that will be, we ought to live grateful lives, pray always, rejoice in any circumstance, and hold fast to the deep truths of scripture.

Put simply, Jesus changes everything. And he continues to change everything about us. “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely…” This becomes not only a promise but also our prayer. Father, sanctify us in your love and grace.

1 Thessalonians 4

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There are times when I deeply wish I could speak like Paul wrote his letters. How can someone say something that cuts so deep but at the same time is so full of love and grace that you want to hear and accept everything they say? Of course, maybe because I am not in the church of Thessalonica, I just try to play the bystander to keep myself feeling good. I certainly can’t say that nothing Paul said applies to me, it all does.

The whole point of this chapter is to remind the church of their deep call to growing sanctification and holiness. I know I can only speak for myself, but there are days that feel like I have taken two steps back instead of one step forward. Maybe I responded in anger to something someone did or maybe I did something to cause someone anger. Maybe I shared unfair harsh criticism of someone else or maybe I responded to criticism poorly. Maybe I chose my own feelings or thoughts over someone else’s. I chose to love myself over loving others.

Whatever it may have been, I know my own deep need for ongoing personal sanctification. I am thankful for the (sometimes deeply cutting) words of scripture that remind me of this great call. Friend, don’t bypass all rebuke because it is rebuke. Sometimes God uses his word to cut deeply and remove the sin that separates us from him. Let God’s Word do the work. I am praying God’s holiness for you today.

1 Thessalonians 1

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Have you ever wondered what others think when they think of you? That can be a tricky thing. It’s certainly possible to care too much about what others think, which is rooted in an unhealthy fear of man. It’s also possible to care too little, which leads to an unhealthy aloofness or arrogance in our relationships with others (or lack thereof). Nevertheless, if we can manage to stay between those two extremes, it’s a question worth pondering.

In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul expresses the thoughts that come to mind when he thinks about the saints in Thessalonica. He is thankful for them. He prays for them constantly. He remembers their faith, their labor of love, and their unwavering hope in Christ. He remembers their joy in receiving and responding to the gospel, even in their affliction. It’s clear that when Paul thinks of the Thessalonians, he thinks highly of them.

Can the same be said for you? When others think of you–both those inside and outside of the family of faith–what do you think comes to mind? Or perhaps a better question is this: what do you hope comes to mind? Starting with that question and working backwards is one way to help ensure that others “give thanks to God always” for you (v. 2).

Acts 18

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The thing about Paul’s missionary journeys is that they were not always easy, fun adventures in sharing the gospel…as is typically the case when we are working to share the good news and love our neighbors. Sometimes it’s exciting and invigorating work, and other times the roadblocks seem to just keep popping up and it’s all we can do to keep putting in the hard work. Loving people and doing good can be messy and exhausting. However, Paul sets for us a great example of endurance and grace. As you read this passage, it’s like a rollercoaster. Paul experiences a win, a struggle, a win, a loss, another struggle, a win, and on it goes. Through it all we are able to see the fruit of the gospel in his refusal to throw in the towel.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

Let us be reminded that we, like Paul, are not in control of the seasons or of the choices others make. We can’t save those we so desperately want to see following Christ. We can’t determine when the Holy Spirit will move in another’s heart. We can’t foresee when when we will enter into a season of harvest or struggle. What we can do is follow the example set by Paul and the advice provided in Galatians. We can continue in the work of love and grace, sharing His love with those around us even in hardship. We can trust that Holy Spirit is at work around us and we can endure in the work of love that is set before us, caring for our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s encourage one another in our walks today, not growing weary of doing good.