Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts,….
There are a lot of instructions to the church in this chapter. To me, the most important one is the first: “follow the way of love” In all of our life activities: church, school, supermarket, work, home, vacation…follow the way of love. How do we determine that way? Jesus has instructed us in Matthew 22:37 – 39, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love never fails.
This is Scripture, so we know it is true, but if we are thinking of love the way we love, this statement is idealistic and unattainable. Fortunately, we do not operate on human love. As believers, we access the perfect, unending, unconditional love of God. It is that love – His love – that never fails. We can live this way if we surrender to this amazing LOVE of God, leaving our “rights” and grudges behind, and allowing Him to love through us. Our lives will be changed forever if we allow God’s love to be the engine that drives us.
…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
No matter what your spiritual gift is, or your gift of service to the Body of Christ, the most important thing is that we should regard each other equally, and in the exercise of our gifts, we should be concerned for one another. No lording it over one another, no criticism of another, but considering each other with love and respect as each one shares in the life of the Body of Christ.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Proclaim the Lord’s death? Why would we proclaim the Lord’s death? For two reasons: 1) His death is the miraculous salvation price paid for our souls. 2) We cannot proclaim His death without remembering His resurrection, His absolute, complete triumph over death and His promise that we are included in this triumph. It is a proclamation: “Hear ye, hear ye, Jesus has died for our sins. We are redeemed!”
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond…so, if a Christian is tempted to sin, and chooses to indulge in that sin, isn’t he or she saying God is not faithful, and will not be able to rescue him or her from the temptation, which to them seem more than they can bear?
When we pass from this world to glory, and see the Lord for the first time, we will know immediately that He is enough, and could have easily provided that way out for us. If the Christian grasps God’s grace and strength and does not sin, will he or she not right then at that very moment experience that HE IS ENOUGH to sustain them in all of life – against temptation and toward godliness? Amen.
As I sifted through the truths of this chapter, two things stood out to me: serve others without expecting any compensation and love others unconditionally – not because the law says we must, but because we love God. His love flows through us to touch others. Love and serve – what a great way to live.
We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
What is more important? That I impress you with all my vast knowledge of a subject, (me being puffed up), or loving you and helping you to be strong in your own knowledge and convictions – building you up.
Basically, it means taming your knowledge, your convictions, your habits to the love of Christ. Considering your brother or sister in Christ as better than yourself. (Phil 2: 3 and 4)
For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.
When Christ paid the price for our sins, He, in effect, purchased our lives. He paid the “bride price” for us. We embrace Him as Saviour, and we belong to Him. We are redeemed. Bought from the clutches of fear, resentment, immorality, and the empty, tempting pleasures of a world without God. After experiencing the freedom of a redeemed Christian life, why would we trade it for slavery to the things of the world?
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Don’t fuss about the wicked. Pray for them. You have been given a kingdom, an inheritance rich in peace, love and joy. The wicked will never inherit such riches unless they repent and come to Jesus.
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
As Christians, we are to be in the world, but not of it. It is very clear in this passage. We will find ourselves associating with those in the world who are greedy, immoral and swindlers. As Christ’s ambassadors, we do not choose to go the way of the world even as we find ourselves working among them. However, if someone says he is a Christian, but continues in sin, we are not to associate (have close association) with them. In fact our instructions are even more severe: we are not to even eat with them.