Summary: Message 25 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This message continues thought stirred by Paul's challenge to limit our freedom for the sake of the gospel.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“A Disciplined Life”
Essential perspectives for the New Year.
1. Life is not what it seems or feels
Daniel thought that God had ignored his prayer. Zachariah and Elizabeth had resigned themselves to the fact that God said, “NO!” to their request for a child.
Life is more than what we see with our physical eyes. Paul prayed that God would open the eyes of our hearts to see as God sees. In fact, the things that contribute to genuine life are mostly unseen. Love, character, the spiritual dimension, the overall plan, the future fruit which requires present pain. God orchestrates everything for ultimate good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. The things we see are temporal. The things we don’t see are eternal. The things of this earth are not where life is found.
When the flesh cries for satisfaction and the Spirit longs for meaning we need to decidedly inform the flesh, “Request denied.” Life is not always what it seems of feels.
2. I am not what I seem or feel.
Paul over and over again urges us to see ourselves as God sees. Reality is not based on how I feel or what I perceive but what God says.
• I may feel like a sinner. God calls me a saint.
• I may feel like I am worthless but God calls me His beloved child.
• I may feel helpless, but in Christ who empowers by His Spirit, I can do all things.
• I may feel hopeless but God has never reneged on a promise yet.
• I may feel clueless but I have been given the mind of Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
• I may feel like I have no eternal impact but God gifts us to touch eternity.
• I may feel no one sees but God says even the angels learn from watching the saints.
Paul did not pray that we would become but that we would realize who we already are.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 Jo 3:1-3
3. A bloody battle rages around me and against me to keep me from effectively perceiving those two facts.
Our battle is not against humanity but demonic forces bent on our destruction. If they cannot prevent people from embracing Christ he will try to keep them from experiencing their true nature. It is a battle for perception. Perception generates emotions which engage the will which produces behavior. You cannot change behavior without renewing thinking regarding God’s truth. With these perceptions in focus we are prepared to engage in unseen eternal purposes.
• We are motivated to cultivate deeper relationship with Him.
• We are motivated to pursued meaningful connection with people through ministry.
• We are motivated to resist evil and restore good.
I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6
A. A divided church 1-4
B. A defiled church 5
Beginning in chapter six, we pick up the first of ten questions that we should ask when contemplating the direction of our life. All of life hinges on good choices. What determines whether it is a good choice or a bad choice? How do we know whether it is a good choice or even the best choice? Ten questions beginning in Chapter six help us evaluate ANY life choice.
C. A defeated church 6
“Will it actually benefit me or others?” 6:12a
“Will it control me or become additive?” 6:12b
“Will it violate God’s design?” 6:13-20
II. Responses to specific inquiries
A. Concerning marriage 7
“Will it distract me from full devotion to God?”
B. Concerning the limitation of Christian liberty 8-11:1
Will I assert my rights or will I limit my rights and freedom for the greater good?
That is the issue from here on through the end of chapter ten. Paul provides five reasons why we should choose to limit our rights rather than contend for them.
1. Avoid ruining a weaker brother 8:1-13
“Will it adversely affect those around me?” 8
2. Advance the gospel 1-23
a) Limit liberty to impede fewer from the Gospel 1-18
“Will it be a stumbling block to the gospel?”
b) Limit liberty to invite more to Christ 19-23