Acts 18:24-19:20; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3:23
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Acts - Today in our readings in Acts, we are introduced to Apollos! Apollos loved God, but initially he didn't fully understand that Jesus gave believers the gift of the Holy Spirit. Apollos understood repentance of sins very well - that was the "baptism of John (The Baptist)" that he preached. Repent from sins and be baptized was Apollos' message, without a strong teaching of the gift of the Holy Spirit after belief in Christ. Well, Priscilla and Acquila more fully explained the Gospel and then Paul introduced the Holy Spirit to believers who were initially taught by Apollos before he learned the full Gospel. A commentary I read said: "Apollos was teachable." Inferring that you and I should be teachable too when it comes to our faith! Are you teachable? Or do you know it all? :)
Wow - strong readings today in Acts 19 verses 13 to 16 about the power of Jesus' name - and how to incorrectly try to "use" his name too - "A team of Jews who were traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. The incantation they used was this: "I command you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!" Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But when they tried it on a man possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?" And he leaped on them and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and badly injured." Jesus' name is the name above all other names - but we should never try to "use" Jesus' name as an incantation or spell. We can call upon Jesus believing that he and his power will be there with us. But we should not call upon Jesus' name as if His name was "magic" in some way. It is holy. It is not magic. When is the last time you called on Jesus' name? How has calling on the holy name of Jesus ever changed a situation in your life?
First Corinthians - Today we begin Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth!
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 55
Content: Paul had established a church in the Greek city of Corinth on his second missionary journey (see Acts 18:1-8), but things had gone very badly after his departure. He felt it necessary to write them concerning the many problems that had arisen. They were challenging his apostleship, abusing the Lord’s Supper, wondering about eating meat sacrificed to idols, going to court against one another, condoning immorality, denying the resurrection, arguing about marriage – to name a few of the problems. Paul felt that he had to deal with the situation, lest everything in Corinth fall to pieces. As Paul more or less systematically goes through these problems, he touches upon many of the fundamental teachings of the faith.
Theme: Paul’s major purpose in writing this letter was to correct some glaring abuses in the church at Corinth, showing the importance of how we live. It is not enough to say that we are Christians; we must also act like Christians. Not to do so is to bring dishonor upon the name of Christ. Paul also stresses the all-sufficiency of Christ for the believer. In Christ we are made pure, holy, and acceptable to God. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 24-25)
Today in First Corinthians 1 verse 18 we read – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” What does this verse say to you? Does it speak to you in any way? What is the message of the cross? What does the message of the cross mean to you personally? Is it foolishness? Or, is it the power of God? I don’t know what it is about this verse, but it really is so powerful for me. I think that it brings the Gospel message back to the central point in time in history – Jesus on the cross. And what Jesus did on the cross changed everything. Jesus changed history. The power of the cross is such that Jesus continues to change things this very moment. He is changing you. He is changing me. To us who are being saved, is the message of the cross literally the power of God? Do you meditate upon the cross regularly and meditate upon what the message of the cross truly is? Are you sharing the message of the cross with others in your life?
Below are two wonderful images for verses 27 and 30 & 31 courtesty of hearlight.org (link on the menu to the left):
Bible.org's commentary on today's First Corinthians readings titled "True Wisdom" is at this link and "Substandard Saints" is at this link. Below is a powerful image for First Corinthians 3:3 from today's readings:
This may be a somewhat of a controversial reflection here, but I'd like to put it out for discussion. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the Comments section of the blog below. Today's readings in First Corinthians made me think about all of our various Christian church denominations that we have in our world today. In our readings today, some followed Paul. Some followed Apollos. Some followed Peter. And in our churches today, some follow Calvin. Some follow Wesley. Some follow Knox. And so on. And I guess I just wonder would the church today look any differently today if we simply all followed Jesus? I don't mean to knock denominations here per se. I myself go to a church affiliated with a denomination. I just pray that each of us could look beyond our denominations and look fully toward Jesus. And that we come to realize that no matter what our denominations, we are brothers and sisters through faith in our Lord Jesus. We inherit eternal life through God's grace and our faith in Jesus. We all - no matter our denomination - are "the church" through our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. As Paul teaches us in First Corinthians 3:21-23 - "So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God."
Worship God: Today's reading about Paul's life in Acts recently reminds me of the Avalon song "Testify to Love:" (this is an AMAZING live version, by the way...)
Is Jesus your testimony? Click here and Testify to Love!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that the message of the cross is the power of God in your life through your saving faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for those in your family, your friends, and others you know who feel that the message of the cross is foolishness. Pray that they won't eternally perish.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
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