“Anabaptist” appears 50+ times in 4/23 print edition of MWR
Has worship of Anabaptism become the cornerstone of Mennonite salvation? As a prodigal from a strong Mennonite community, its pride and worship of doctrine as a saving grace illustrates the failure of the Mennonite congregations to remain a viable worship community for myself and many others.
The Mennonite church’s faith and worship in the labels, “Anabaptist, Menno, peacemaking, justice seeking, missional, replicate, unity in diversity, etc.” tends to overshadow the need for true spiritual communion and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The church leadership seems determined to adopt a world view theology to its labels in lieu of biblical teaching. God must be dismayed. I find many local churches lacking in the personal spirituality of its congregants, educators and leaders. A spiritual church will grow God’s kingdom. Its not about being attractive to the world or appeasing God and the church through personal effort. Only the power of the Triune God will lead to personal salvation and grow the true church. Doctrines and labels can become a strong distraction from the greater personal blessings of true repentance and worship. How is your church blessing your personal relationship with God? It is personal, isn’t it?
The Apostle Paul in Athens
Acts 17 NIV
23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
◄ Acts 2 ►
New International Version
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
36“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
The Fellowship of the Believers
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
CHRIST AND HIS CHURCHES (Pt 1&2
LOSING OUR FIRST LOVE: EPHESUS (Pt 1&2
THE SUFFERING CHURCH: SYMRNA (Pt 1&2)
THE CHURCH IN SATANS’ CITY: PERGAMUS (Part 1&2)
THE ADULTRESS CHURCH: THYATIRA (Pt 1&2)
THE DEAD CHURCH: SARDIS (Pt 1&2)
THE FAITHFUL CHURCH: PHILADELPHIA (Pt 1&2)
THE DISGUSTING CHURCH: LAODICIA (Pt 1&2)
THE CHURCH THROUGH THE AGES (Pt 1&2)
I thank God daily for the grace of growing up in a strong Mennonite community. Playing on the floor as a child and seeing mother’s lips moving as she stood over her ironing board, I instinctively knew she was praying to her God for her family. She will someday see the result of her prayers when we all reunite in God’s Kingdom.
As a prodigal returning to faith and looking for a church home, I applaud the great outreach and service of the Mennonite church. I found the physical pantries well stocked and overflowing. However, I came looking for spiritual food for the soul and found its pantries bare, neglected by the academicians, leaders and pastors of the church who are teaching (does anyone still preach?) and worshiping the doctrines of anabaptism, pacifism, love, works, and being missional as the saving grace to salvation. I find a church attempting to lead, not follow Jesus. I find its congregants are doubting a salvation that comes through man made religious doctrine. Doctrines may be necessary church discipline, but are not the foundation of one’s salvation. I find the church starving for spiritual food taught (preached) directly from God’s word to its congregants personal spiritual needs. I find the church spiritually impotent and idolatrous, worshiping itself as a replication of God’s true church.
In this age of street marches and protests, I envision the leaders of the Mennonite church following Jesus down a narrow street holding their signs – peace, love, repent, forgive – In their zeal they run ahead of Jesus and lead many followers onto a wide populated street. Noticing their followers are diminishing, they realize that Jesus continued down the narrow street with his followers. In their own righteousness they refuse to admit their error. They admonish their followers – this is the better way – and soon find their message is overwhelmed and lost in large opposing crowds.
Job 4:17 NIV
Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
In my own search for a church home, I decided to study the writings of the Apostle Paul to the churches. This was a great start to my goal of reading the entire Bible in one year. I selected excerpts which caught my attention and wrote my own understanding of them. I am not a theologian or a writer, however I believe God’s word speaks to everyone who reads it with a prayerful spirit. I would encourage reading the entire books as they are presented and writing your own understanding. You will be blessed! Your comments will help my understanding.
New International Version
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
My Take: The God of love is also a God of wrath. As followers of God, we can have no excuse personally or corporately to not understand his eternal power or divinity. While created doctrines may be a necessary church discipline, they have no power unto salvation. WORSHIPING A CREATED DOCTRINE IN FACT BECOMES AN IDOL THAT SEPARATES THE CHURCH FROM THE TRUE DIVINE NATURE OF GOD’S HOLY WORD and leaves the church vulnerable to the lies and subversion of satan. Many religious cults begin by WORSHIPING a doctrine. Salvation comes only through a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who leads us to the truth of his word and eternal life in his kingdom.
God’s Righteous Judgment
2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
My Take: God’s judgement is based on truth. If a church deems its own judgements greater than God’s truth, it is in contempt of his forbearance. JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S FORBEARANCE, GIVEN TO LEAD US TO REPENTANCE, FAILURE TO DO SO IS CONTEMPT FOR HIS KINDNESS.
5But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
Righteousness Through Faith
25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
My Take: A church that worships a doctrine or adopts a world view as righteousness is condemned. Religion has no righteousness in itself. God alone is the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Abraham Justified by Faith
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
My Take: A church can boast about its good works, but they alone do not justify the church’s righteous standing before God. Blessings from good works come only after righteousness. GOD BLESSES A CHURCH ACCORDING TO ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS APART FROM ITS WORKS.
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My Take: Just because we have been set free from the sins of the world by the grace of God, we are not allowed to continue in those sins. Our continued sins will separate us from the greater gifts of God – holiness and eternal life.
The Law and Sin
21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
My Take: In our hearts we can delight in God’s law. We can be victorious in our battle between God’s love and our love for values of the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God who delivers us from the world’s sinful nature through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Life Through the Spirit
5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28And we know that in all things God work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
More Than Conquerors
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My take: The church has no obligation to the desires of the flesh. The desires of God will give us the spirit of life and peace and make us conquerors over our flesh. God can make his desires known by the “groans” in our heart. God will intercede for those who live according to his designed purpose. HIS GLORY TO US WILL BE FAR GREATER THAN ANY SUFFERING AT THE HANDS OF THE WORLD.
Paul’s Anguish Over Israel
1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised Amen.
God’s Sovereign Choice
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
My take: The people of Israel are the adopted people of God through the patriarchs, human ancestry and covenants. ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE DOES NOT DEPEND ON HUMAN EFFORT BUT ON GOD’S MERCY. GOD’S PLAN FOR ISRAEL WILL BE FULFILLED REGARDLESS OF ITS SPIRITUAL CONDITION. GOD NEVER CHANGES, ONLY PEOPLE. The promises to Israel are not negated by the sins of unbelief of its people. The Gentiles obtained righteousness by faith and the people of Israel pursued righteousness by works.
1Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
My take: Our zeal for God may be great but ESTABLISHING OUR OWN RIGHTEOUS RELIGION OF WORKS AND JUDGMENT WILL FAIL US AS IT DID FOR THE ISRAELITES. Pray for the salvation of Israel. How can they be saved without someone to witness the Gospel of the risen Christ to them? We need to bring them good news, not condemnation.
The Remnant of Israel
1I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3“Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me? 4And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
All Israel Will Be Saved
25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26and in this way all Israel will be saved.
My Take: God has not rejected the people of Israel. When he calls his true Church to himself he will reserve a remnant who will remain faithful as in the days of Elijah, who will bring about a revival throughout Israel as in the days of Elijah. All Israel will be saved at that time
A Living Sacrifice
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you
Love in Action.
13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head”21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
My take: Do not follow the ideals of the world, but transform your thoughts through humble scripture reading and prayer. Only then will you know his perfect will. GOD ALONE WILL PUNISH EVIL WITH HIS WRATH, THE CHURCH CAN NOT. Share God’s goodness with your enemies..
The Day Is Near
11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
17I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
My take: I believe that I am a member of God’s Church. I will join a partnership of other true believers with which I can share my individual worship in praise and gratitude to God and in turn receive God’s spiritual inspiration from other true believers directly to my heart. I will attend in anticipation of spiritual blessings from the partnership, not as a requirement for salvation or righteousness. I will attend a corporate church in which the Holy Spirit lives.
I believe the corporate church exists to keep GOD’S WORD and the spiritual needs of its congregants fresh and alive! Its outreach to the larger community is only as effective as its own spirituality. WINNING and KEEPING souls for Christ should be the goal, individually and corporately.
I won’t depend on a manmade religion or doctrine for my justification because it does not have that power. Salvation is a personal covenant with God. My relationship with God comes before religion or church doctrine.
I will avoid a corporate church which is prideful and worships its own religious doctrines and works as this leads to idolatry and has no saving grace in itself. I will attend a church with doctrinal guidelines with which I feel comfortable.
New International Version
1 Corinthians 1
A Church Divided Over Leaders
10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 2
God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
1 CORINTHIANS 3
The Church and Its Leaders
1Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21So then, no more boasting about human leaders!
My take: The quality of the church leaders work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD IS FOOLISHNESS IN GOD’S SIGHT. A CHURCH TEACHING WORLD VIEWS AND STARVING ITS CONGREGANTS FOR SPIRITUAL FOOD FROM THE WORD OF GOD WILL FAIL. Without spiritual (solid) food, good works, community involvement and evangelizing will be futile. The calling is to save souls! No more boasting of new buildings, new outreach programs, more cultural symposiums etc. God is not impressed. Spiritual food alone will grow the true church and save souls and the prodigals.
1 CORINTHIANS 6
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.
My take: Sexual immorality and physical abuse are sins against your own body. Eat and exercise properly! Honor God with your body, it was purchased with a great price, the blood of Jesus Christ!
1 CORINTHIANS 10
Warnings From Israel’s History
6Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
My Take: Warnings to the church of today. If you think you are righteous, be careful. Do not test God. The God of love is also a God of wrath.
1 CORINTHIANS 11
Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord
28Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world
My take: Partaking of the Lord’s Supper with unforgiven sin and without a renewal of faith will bring God’s judgement on us. Communion should be a ceremony of cleansing and renewed commitment.
1 CORINTHIANS 12
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
My take: We are all united if we are in Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 6
Warning Against Idolatry
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
My take: Do not partner with or entertain the ideas and teachings of the world or of false religions. There is no common ground between Christ and satan. Come out and be separate from them.
2 CORINTHIANS 13
5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
My take: You cannot replicate Christ Jesus, to do so is idolatry, he must live in you. DO NOT FAIL THE TEST!
New International Version
No Other Gospel
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
My take: Do not fall into the teachings of salvation by works or the world’s views of peace and love and justice to win the approval of people. THEY ARE PERVERSIONS OF GOD’S GOSPEL WHICH COMES ONLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. (Peace and love and flowers in your hair didn’t work in the past, I am old enough to have tried it.) TEACHING A FALSE GOSPEL WILL BRING GOD’S CURSE. WE ARE NOT TO SEEK THE APPROVAL OF THE WORLD.
The Law and the Promise
22But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Children of God
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
My take: Only faith in Christ overcomes sin. We all become heirs to the promises given to Abraham if we deny ourselves and accept the Lord Jesus Christ
Freedom in Christ
1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Life by the Spirit
13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
My take: We are free to live as we choose but should not use this freedom to gratify our own desires which will put us in direct conflict with the fruits of the Spirit and the kingdom of God. IF WE BELONG TO CHRIST WE HAVE CRUCIFIED OUR OWN DESIRES AND PASSIONS.
Doing Good to All
1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
My Take: Be gentle with believers who have fallen into sin. Carry each other’s burdens but be careful of falling away and accepting satan’s temptations while doing this. DON’T ARGUE WITH GOD, HE IS NOT MOCKED.
New International Version
Made Alive in Christ
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
My take: Good works have no redemption unto salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in order to do his good works. Good works will be rewarded in Heaven!
Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
My take: Christ came to create a new humanity, to destroy the barrier of hostility among Jews and Gentiles. All believers who are saved by grace belong to the body of the ONE TRUE CHURCH founded by the Apostles and Prophets; built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. God lives in HIS CHURCH through his Spirit.
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work
My take: Make every effort to keep the unity of God’s Spirit. Christ will raise up teachers to grow the church into a mature body resistant to false doctrines and teachings. We are all one body in God’s church.
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
and Christ will shine on you.”
My take: Don’t be deceived by empty doctrines. Find out what pleases the Lord. Do not become partners with immoral and impure persons who incur the wrath of God. God will expose darkness if we live in the light.
The Armor of God.
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
My take: Our struggle is against satan’s authorities and teachers who lead us away from the true spirit of God. PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD THROUGH PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE READING. Be strong in the Lord’s mighty power and pray for all of the Lord’s people.
New International Version
Life Worthy of the Gospel
27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
My take: We are worthy of the gospel which will serve us even in our struggles and suffering on behalf of Christ.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
My Take: Be humble in all your relationships and work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Don’t be grumbling or arguing about the warped world in which you live. God will hold you blameless.
Following Paul’s Example
17Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
My Take: Beware, there are many who attend church and practice religious values who seek glory in the values of the world and earthly things and bring shame. True believers seek their glory in heaven.
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.