Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bethany Bullet - February 12, 2014

The Fellowship Project
Paul has already established the foundation of “The Fellowship Project.”  In the body of Christ (contrary to human nature and our weakened wills) superiority is to give way to unity and ownership is to be replaced by fellowship.  In the body, harmony is not a matter of everyone agreeing with me!  Of course that doesn’t mean that there are no standards, no absolutes, and no truth. 
·         When God speaks – we affirm! 
·         When God commands – we obey (when we fail to do so we call it sin)
·         When God promises – we confess (when we fail to trust we call that false)
Yet, when God is silent we will not be strident and where God has allowed Christian Freedom we will not pass church law!

Building atop that foundation, Paul made clear the dichotomy that exists between faith and unbelief, between human nature and divine revelation – that the cross is non-sense to those who don’t believe, the cross is offensive to those who don’t trust but to we who believe the cross is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

The next building block in this (the Fellowship Project) is how we, who view the cross as the wisdom of God, will exercise spiritual wisdom ourselves in our own life. True spiritual wisdom is found in judging one’s self in light of God’s revelation and in loving others in light of God’s revelation.

True spiritual wisdom is found in judging one’s self in light of God’s revelation what we might call the necessity of the cross; and true spiritual wisdom is found in loving others in light of God’s revelation what we might call the sufficiency of Christ.

In my opinion, judging himself in light of God’s revelation is exactly what Paul does in vs. 3 of chapter 2.  “When I came to you, I was weak.  I was afraid and very nervous and I didn’t speak with persuasive intellectual arguments.”

The way Paul speaks of himself there you’d think he was Gomer Pyle or the teacher in Peanuts. 


Nothing could be further from the truth; Paul was a profound orator!  

Picture this…you’re traveling in a foreign country, you’ve come to the University town in which the intelligencia congregate you’re surrounded by, degreed philosophically minded people, and you want to tell them about Jesus (now mind you Jesus is a totally foreign concept to them for although they are educated, the person and work of Jesus has never been in their curricula.)  What do you do?

Paul gravitates toward their artwork and monuments; when he finds one dedicated to an unknown god he says, “I see good people that you are very religious, you even have a monument to an unknown god, what is unknown to you I can tell you about.  The God who made the heavens and the earth and every creature on it, He set the seasons and gave breath to its people…as a matter of fact even your own poets whom you educated folk have read have said, “we are his offspring”, well that God is not far off or uninvolved with us!  In fact, He wants all of us to turn to Him and have a relationship with Him and He has proven this through the sacrificial death of Jesus whom He has raised from the dead.
·         Sound like someone without rhetorical skills?
·         Does this sound like someone without persuasive intellectual arguments? 
·         Does this really line up with Paul’s self assessment? 
I believe these are the words of a man who knows that while he might be good with words and before crowds, he also knows that in and of himself he isn’t good with or before God. These are the words of a man who is judging himself in light of God’s revelation.

This is a testament to the necessity of the cross, it verifies our lost condition. 

The Fellowship Project comes to a crashing halt and the church ceases to be the body of Christ when her members begin believing that they are worthy of God’s call, that they have earned God’s admiration and that they dwell within His body based on their ability, performance, or work.  No matter how talented or brilliant we are, no matter how many degrees we have or from whence they come, regardless of how much we stand out from the crowd, in the Light of God’s revelation we can’t stand before Him on our own.  That is why Christ came!  That is the necessity of the cross. 

Judge ourselves in light of God’s revelation enables us to love others in light of God’s revelation as well.  Paul declares that such was his aim in I Corinthians 2:2, “…while I was with you I decided to know nothing but Christ crucified.”

While judging ourselves in light of God’s revelation flows out of fully embracing the necessity of the cross, loving others in light of God’s revelation flows from trusting in the sufficiency of Christ.  This begins by knowing that they (WHOEVER they are and whatever they have done) they are as precious to God as we are.  They, whoever they are, are as important to God as we are.  They, whoever they are, are as cherished by God as we are. 

Paul had every reason to wash his hands, start a new church, worry about the other congregated bodies and forget about Corinth, every reason but ONE: the sufficiency of Christ.  Were these folk a pain? Yep!  Did they offend? You bet!  Had they failed to be what they were called to be? No question!  Sound like people you know?  What do you do with folk like that?  Love them and serve them passionately because of the sufficiency of Christ.  

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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