That’s a Dangerous Game–1 Corinthians 10:1 – 11:1

Shaun’s continuation of the series from 1 Corinthians gets to the culmination of this section of Paul’s letter. Here Paul describes why the Corinthian behavior regarding eating meat sacrificed to idols (etc.) is problematic in a way that was common to Old Testament Israelites: it’s easy to mix “Jesus” with the cultural trends of the day, but doing to fails to represent Jesus accurately and masks our actual lack of exclusive devotion to him.

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Questions for reflection:
1. What is it in your life (person, principle, goal, ideal, etc.) that everything else hinges on? What is “ultimate” for you?

2. In what ways do your actions reflect the above answer? Think of some examples.

3. Does your answer to the first question line up with the reality of your actions?

4. Assuming that the answer to the first question identifies what/who you worship, what will you do to either flee the idol that you have set up or to continue to cultivate your worship of the Lord alone?

Homecoming–Psalm 122

Michael Vogel describes and reflects on the experience expressed by the Psalmist upon arriving at Jerusalem and the temple after a long journey: an experience of joy, unity, and whole peace.

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Questions for reflection:
1. Why is it hard to see the church as your home? How might the Lord’s presence help change that?
2. What do you make into your home? How might you be using the church as a road stop for that destination?
3. With whom do you still lack unity? What are ways you can seek unity with them?
4. How can you pray for the peace of the church? Who do you know is in need of God’s peace? How can you regularly pray for them?

A Generous Example — 1 Corinthians 9:1-27

Shaun continues the series in Corinthians with a continuation of the theme of putting the image of Christ before our personal rights and freedoms. Paul made himself an example of forgoing rights that would be afforded him as an apostle or preacher because it would have clouded the image of Christ he modeled. We, too, need to evaluate whether we make a bigger show of our rights than of Christ.

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Questions for Reflection

  1. What areas of freedom create dilemmas for you when you consider laying down your rights? What makes them so problematic?
  2. How might insisting on “less-than-you-have-a-right-to” inform the way you worship?
  3. Considering the circumstances of you life, where might humbly engaging the patterns of others open doors for ministry? What would it take for you to do that?
  4. How does a focus on Jesus keep this from becoming boundary-less pragmatism?

Our Rights and the Problem of Love — 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Shaun continues the series in Corinthians with a passage regarding whether Christians can participate in the ritual feasts of the local (non-Christian) religions. Paul cautions the Corinthian church that their role as Christians is to be the image-bearers for Christ in the world, and that exercising freedom without discretion could lead others to fall from faith and follow the practices of the feast rather than Christ. We in the modern day have many freedoms and rights from Christ and from the society we live in, but we need to give consideration to the image we convey when we throw our hat in with the rest of society.

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Question for Reflection:

  1. What are the rights and freedoms you hold most dear? Why?
  2. What rights or freedoms of others cause you frustration when you seem them exercised? Why?
  3. What are ways that insisting on your rights or freedoms might be a “stumbling block” to others?
  4. In what ways have you elevated personal qualms to the level of “stumbling block” and stood in judgment over the actions of others?
  5. How do Jesus’ action help you know what rights to exercise and what rights to lay down?

It’s Kind of About Marriage (Again)–1 Corinthians 7: 25-40

Shaun wraps up a section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church with commentary about how the practical advantages and challenges associated with various marital statuses all fall under the governance and prime importance of living in light of the present reality of Jesus eternal reign.

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It’s Kind of About Marriage–1 Corinthians 7: 1-24

Shaun’s sermon series from 1 Corinthians continues with a series of seemingly-disconnected instructions that, upon observation of other main themes from this letter, reflect on how a follower of Jesus should respond to (but not necessarily focus on changing) life’s circumstances.

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In Defense of the Body — 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Shaun continues the series in Corinthians with Paul’s call to abandon sexual immorality and instead glorify God with our bodies. God modeled our bodies after Himself, so they are not only meaningful to God but also the means by which we reflect God’s nature to other. This is even true of sex, where we model with our bodies the unity-with-distinction of the Trinity. We need to maintain our bodies and treat them respectfully rather than devalue them.

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The Evangelistic Power of a Less-Me Love–1 Corinthians 6: 1-11

Shaun continues the sermon series from 1 Corinthians by working through another case of Paul pointing out a fundamental flaw in the Corinthian church’s approach to the new life in Jesus using a particular presenting problem. In this case, the presenting problem was the lawsuits the church members were bringing against each other; the fundamental underlying flaw was (and almost always is for us, as well) a persistent self-focus in their approach to every aspect of life.

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Wholly Redeemed and Holy Faith — James 2:14-26

Michael Vogel takes a look at James’s letter and what impact faith and a Christ-centered ethic should have on our lives. While our salvation does not come from righteous actions, our salvation should be shown outwardly through our actions.

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After the Initial Gasp–1 Corinthians 5: 1-13

Shaun continues the series from 1 Corinthians with Paul’s response to the Corinthian church’s inexplicable celebration of sins (both a specific case and more general concerns) in which he maps out some key pieces for a Christ-formed ethic–one that recognizes that we are to be distinct from our former patterns, that it was the work of Jesus’ sacrifice that allows the transformation, and that we have to deal with the sin we encounter in the Church.

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