July 23 – Today’s Readings – 1Corinthians 3-4 and Psalms 23
Look out! The Corinthian Church is getting a disciplinary lecture from Paul! Why? – Because of immaturity – they should have known better by now, and they were not doing it right. How could Paul tell they were acting immaturely? Simple – “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1Corinthians 3:3)
Do you want a real lesson in Christian maturity? Go to 1Corinthians 4:5 where Paul instructs, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
It’s the “motives” of my heart that God takes interest in. Think of what Jesus taught:
– Matthew 5:22 “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”
– Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
– Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
– Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
– Matthew 6:3 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”
– Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”
– Matthew 6:17 “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,”
– Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”
– Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
– Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
All the important moral teachings of Jesus focus on heart issues – motive issues. God wants our hearts – He wants to write His Law of Love on them – He wants to squeeze our hearts – He wants to put His very nature there – He wants us to become like Christ in our hearts and in our motives. What room is there for petty things like jealousy and quarrelling and gossip? None! – for we have been made new. As Children of God, and not “mere men”, we have to get past our petty, worldly mindset. Yet, Church after Church suffers serious hurt because of worldly attitudes. If we have been purchased of God – if we have been washed – if we have received the Holy Spirit – if we understand the nature of Christ and His Holy Gospel, our faith WILL grow enough so that we start doing what Paul taught in this passage.
1. Examine yourself and see if there is any jealousy, quarrelling or gossip in your relationships.
2. How have quarrels in the Church affected you in times past?