1 Corinthians 12
SAY WHAT? Paul seems to give a massively wide range to what Spirit filled people can and cannot say. One the one hand, it makes sense that a someone with the Spirit of Christ in them would not be able to say "Jesus be cursed," but on the other it seems like lots of very non-Christian people have said that "Jesus is Lord;" certainly cult leaders and the like didn't have the Spirit in them as they say this phrase. How can the end of v3 be true then?
There's a big difference between saying something and saying something, right? If you were to read the beginning of v3 out loud, you would say the words "Jesus be cursed," but certainly that wouldn't be an indication the Spirit is not in you. In the same way, anybody can say 'Jesus is Lord,' but to truly say it you must know what each word means:
JESUS: The only person to be fully man and fully God, who lived a perfect life and died to pay for our sins. He rose victorious from the dead and now reigns in heaven until He returns to make all things new.
IS: Not was or will be Lord, but has been, is now and always will be Lord.
LORD: The creator and sovereign ruler of all that is.
When a cult member or nominal Christian says these words, they are equivocating (changing the definition) of one or more the words. Just saying these words in an empty way does not make a person a Christian. True knowledge of Jesus comes only comes by the Spirit.
CHRISTIANITY IS A TEAM SPORT: When we went through the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year, we were really reminded of the value of gathering together regularly with God's people because for several weeks we were unable to do so. The middle of this chapter illustrates how it's impossible to be a Lone Ranger Christian. We depend on each other, and that's a beautifully frustrating thing, isn't it.
CLIMB THE LADDER: Paul makes it clear that while the people are equal in value before the Lord, some roles are more significant than others, and therefore require more training and experience. Don't miss the massive command you're given at the end of the chapter:
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
To put it literally, you must be zealous to improve your ability to serve Christ's church. What are you doing to fulfill this command?
We look forward to celebrating the Lord's Supper this coming Sunday at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. We will be preparing for this by following the guide given in the Westminster Larger Catechism, #171:
Those that come to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, are, before they come, to prepare themselves by:
Examining themselves to see that they are in Christ, and remembering that on their own, they are sinful and lacking the holiness God requires;
Examining the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance;
Examine your love to God and fellow church members, charity to all men, and forgiveness for those that have done you wrong;
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Jesus is Lord (v3)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Eagerly fulfill the role God has placed you in and be zealous to grow in your ability to serve Him.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: