‘There and back again – the (true) tale of the Saviour’ (1 Corinthians 15:1-34)

When Vasco da Gama first rounded what was known then as the ‘Cape of Storms’, he went where no man had ever been and became the first to live to tell of what he found far out in the East. When Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again, he also came back to tell us what lays beyond the veil of death. Yet some in the church at Corinth were having significant doubts about the resurrection, and this led Paul to write to them in 1 Corinthians 15:1-34 about the facts of the resurrection and by doing so, remind these believers that the resurrection is vital to the Christian faith. Abandoning belief in the resurrection was to deny the very tenets of the faith and miss out on all that Jesus came to do for the salvation of God’s people.

‘A brief survey of the cross – from 700 years before’ (Isaiah 53:4-6)

The cross of Christ is so important. It is not something that we can just give a brief amount of attention to. We ought not give a passing thought to it, but survey it from the top to the bottom and note the fulness of its message – its height, length, depth and breadth. But rather than survey the cross from the perspective of any of the gospel writers or the apostles, this message brings the cross into perspective from 700 years before, through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah in his great 53 chapter. (Isaiah 53:4-6).

‘Timothy! Be sure of the way God has structured His Church (pt 1)!’ (1 Timothy 2:12-15)

Because Paul’s letter to Timothy was written in order to help this young pastor get the church at Ephesus back on track, after writing of the priority of prayer and God’s intent and actions to save all kinds of people through Jesus, Paul then continued in his instructions to Timothy about men and women in the church. According to 1 Timothy 2:12-15, Paul did not allow women to have teaching and ruling roles in the church over men. Though he has been much maligned because of this, Paul meant what he wrote for two reasons, both of which have been around since creation. God made man (Adam) before woman (Eve) and it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived before the man (Adam), though it could be argued that Adam should also bear the brunt of that blame! Because God has left only two institutions on earth – the church and marriage – both reflect the same design where men lead and teach and women follow while both men and women can belong to God’s family by coming to Jesus as repentant sinners

We’re taking part in the Bible League’s ‘Bibles for the Persecuted’

It’s a challenging fact but sadly so true. All over the world believers in Jesus are being persecuted for their faith. While we make prayer for these believers a regular part of our worship, there is also more than we can do. One of these ways is to join the Bible League’s ‘Bibles for the Persecuted’ program which encourages prayer and collecting needed funds to enable these brothers and sisters of ours to have and hold the life-giving Word of God. You can check out the program here.

‘Timothy! Be sure of the special callings of men and of women!’ (1 Timothy 2:8-11)

Because Paul’s letter to Timothy was written in order to help this young pastor get the church at Ephesus back on track, after writing of the priority of prayer and God’s intent and actions to save all kinds of people through Jesus, Paul then gave Timothy instructions about the special callings of men and women in the church in 1 Timothy 2:8-11. The men were particularly encouraged to put aside anger and violence and lift holy hands to God in prayer. The women too were encouraged to see beauty as something that is from within rather than an outward show of ‘bling’. As well, the women were to be respectful in worship by their attentiveness to what is taught from God’s Word. In all of these actions, Jesus, the head of the Church is glorified as men and women combine their separate callings as part of God’s Church.

‘Timothy! Be certain of the wide scope of the gospel’ (1 Timothy 2:4-7)

After reminding Timothy of the fact that we are to pray because God is in ultimate control of all world leaders and because he is the only God there is, in 1 Timothy 2:4-7, Paul reminded Timothy that we can only approach God through the one Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though we live in a pluralistic world which maintains there are many roads to God, there is only one way of approach that God has ordained. God esteems all mankind to be lost, however He desires all kinds of people to come to Him to be saved through Jesus. The gospel is for the whole world but has a very narrow focus and a singular entry point. The Apostle Peter said, ‘There is only one name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12)

‘Timothy! Be certain about the importance of prayer!’ (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

After reminding Timothy of the need to hold on to faith and a good conscience and so avoid making a shipwreck of his faith, in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul outlined what needed to be done in Ephesus to put the church back ‘on the rails’. First in terms of priority was prayer. This should not surprise us. The Scriptures encourage us toward prayer as the means by which God acts in the world. The Bible has many examples of men who prayed and of God’s many answers. In particular, Timothy was to pray for all in positions of authority. It would not have been easy living under Roman rule and the Caesars were not tolerant of Christians, but prayer like this would be vital. Such prayer pleases God and brings to mind that His will is that all kinds of people – high and low – those in the public eye and those who are not – come to know of His saving grace in Jesus.