"Pssh--Is This Really Forever?"
TEXTS: 1 Cor. 3; 1 Cor. 11:17-22
1. Humanity is made in the image of God and acts as His representatives upon the earth. Our existence reveals the nature of God. Although we do not represent our Creator perfectly, God has chosen us as His image-bearers and to represent His character in both our public and private lives.
2. There is a serious question that each person needs to ponder and answer for themselves. If forever exists, just how serious should we take biblical truth and the claims of Jesus? Many people are alarmed about the shocking and serious nature of some biblical statements and historical examples. Why are such things included in God’s Word? The Lord uses those statements to shake us up and push us towards considering the serious nature of eternal life and salvation.
3. We are unable to figure out the Lord and how He works using our own ingenuity and cleverness. In other words, humanity does not possess the wisdom and insight needed to figure out the answer to life’s most serious questions. Those answers must be revealed to us and the only way that will happen is through a personal relationship with Jesus.
4. We must guard against divisions in the Church of Jesus Christ. It is tempting to think that your preferred style and method of worship is superior to other styles and methods (think different denominations here). We often elevate what we belong to and put down what others are a part of. We are not called to compete in the Kingdom of God. Rather, we are called to care about and champion the success of others.
5. We are not saved by good works, but the Lord does save us for good works. The Christian faith does not call us to simply believe something intellectually. The truth that God has revealed should impact our actions and decisions. The Lord intends for our faith to mature and grow through our commitment to good works. As we carry out the good works the Lord has called us to, we need to guard our hearts from completing the work to receive human attention and praise.
6. We are unable to correctly image God by ourselves. We need others if we wish to fully and accurately represent God upon the earth. When Paul mentions the temple of God in 1 Corinthians 3, he is not referring to individual believers--he is talking about churches. And if someone tries to destroy and divide the Church, the Lord is willing to destroy that person.
7. 1 Corinthians 11 is one of the most serious texts in the NT. Communion is meant to unite and bring believers together. But if a local church takes communion while full of divisions, anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness, the Lord cannot allow such a tragedy to carry on and will discipline His people. Taking communion while ignoring such sinful attitudes and actions causes us to remember the sacrifice of our Lord in an unworthy manner.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. Can you think of an example concerning how a shocking and serious biblical statement caused you to examine your approach to life and eternity?
2. If you have spent a significant amount of time in church, you have probably heard others talk about a personal relationship with Jesus. How would you define and describe a personal relationship with Jesus? Such a statement could be confusing for some.
3. Why do you think the Lord is so serious about protecting His Church? Paul proclaims that the Lord is willing to destroy the person who tries to destroy the Church. Why would such a shocking statement be in the Bible?
4. What kind of things often lead to divisions within a church? How can we guard against such things?
5. How can we protect our hearts from performing good works in order to receive human attention and praise?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- That we guard against and be free from divisions
- That Abundant Life would be full of believers who have a personal relationship with Jesus