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Posts Tagged ‘encourage’

Running the Race – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

April 20th, 2010

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Paul here is warning against apathy, against the danger of assuming that once you become a Christian, it doesn’t matter how you live your life. He wants to show us what could be lost out on and uses the image of a race to do so. It is not an apathetic image but rather a one of a passionate exhortation to work, labour, etc.

1. Training

  • It is all-consuming preparation – full time, constant, habitual
  • The athletes who want to win think differently to other people
  • It requires discipline – to train when you don’t feel like it or aren’t in the mood
  • We have to train as Christians – same application for getting the most out of our relationship with God, to do great things for God with our life: we have to press through and persevere
  • We also encourage one another to press on
  • We are always fighting against the temptation to give up and throw in the towel, because following God’s will is never easy. But there is more we are capable of than we realise, we are able to handle more than we realise – because of the grace and power of God
  • Training requires focus – you have to turn your focus away from other things
  • The PRIZE:
  • Many people think this is heaven, to obtain eternal life, but Paul already knew he was going to heaven because of his faith in Christ and the fact that God had saved him. Eternal life is a gift to be received not a prize to be won.
  • The prize is the reward of a life lived with God. Not every Christian will receive the full reward of their life – some people will be saved ‘as one through fire’ – with nothing to show for their life, nothing achieved for God.
  • God saved us for good works – we have a unique plan for our life.

2. Seeing

  • We all pursue different prizes in life – but all apart from the reward of doing God’s will are perishable, they do not last
  • We need to SEE the imperishable prize before us – we need to see the end goal
  • Paul saw that goal and was obedient to the vision
  • We have to see the end, have to have it in sight to keep going
  • Don’t be so short-sighted – see something better than this passing age
  • JESUS is the only reason we get to take part in the race in the first place. He has gone ahead and run the race for us, and now we get to run our own race with His help and power.

Alternative Fathers 1 Corinthians 4 v 6 – 21

December 7th, 2009

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Admonition, Not Shame

In this letter to the Corinthians Paul sometimes speaks harshly but he is not trying to make them feel ashamed or bad. He wants to admonition them as beloved children. He speaks firmly and corrects them but only in love. This should be our attitude also, we need robust care for one another.

The church is not to be a lecture hall, admonishment is not solely the preachers job. We have a collective responsibility for each other and we all need to preach at, encourage, admonish one another.
We can’t change on our own and we can’t change by just listening to sermons. We, all of us, need small groups, zones, discipleship. We need community to grow.

The thought of opening our lives to other people can be difficult, particularly if we’ve had previous bad experiences when doing this, so we should always look to restore people gently. As a church we need to grow in this.

Power, Not Talk

Paul is utterly confident in the power of God. There is lots of ‘talk’ that we hear and can even engage in ourselves but the test should be how much power comes out of it? If there is no power there the talk is worthless. We should be on guard against foolish talk. The power is in the Gospel not in the talk and Jesus is the only one with genuine power not just talk.