Paul: “give no offense”

1 Corinthians 10:33

Is it merely my conscience involved to live my personal preferences? Today let us meditate on what the Lord Holy Spirit spoke through Apostle Paul on this controversial subject in our very personal and subjective world and the predominant “me, me, me” philosophy believed in, practiced and permeated throughout many human societies. The following bible passages speak specifically to God’s people, -the Christians and draw us to focus on some practical missions in this life: promote spiritual growth in others, beware of others’ judgmental conscience (do not let others have the opportunity to condemn yours), do not (even if passively) cause others fall into a trap (take offense) even if dug by themselves because they interpret your actions according to their conscience. This is a tall order to Christians. Are we keepers of others? Reading this passage it would appear “yes”. Like what Paul advised all Christians, “I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.” In the final analysis nothing else matters.

1 Corinthians 10:32 (NKJV) “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,”

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 The Passion Translation (TPT) )

You say, “Under grace there are no rules and we’re free to do anything we please.” Not exactly. Because not everything promotes growth in others. Your slogan, “We’re allowed to do anything we choose,” may be true—but not everything causes the spiritual advancement of others. 24 So don’t always seek what is best for you at the expense of another. 25 Yes, you are free to eat anything without worrying about your conscience, 26 for the earth and all its abundance belongs to the Lord.[a]

27 So if an unbeliever invites you to dinner, go ahead and eat whatever is served, without asking questions concerning where it came from.[b] 28 But if he goes out of his way to inform you that the meat was actually an offering sacrificed to idols, then you should pass, not only for his sake but because of his conscience. 29 I’m talking about someone else’s conscience, not yours. What good is there in doing what you please if it’s condemned by someone else?

30 So if I voluntarily participate, why should I be judged for celebrating my freedom?[c] 31 Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God. 32 And make sure you’re not offending Jews or Greeks or any part of God’s assembly over your personal preferences. 33 Follow my example, for I try to please everyone in all things, rather than putting my liberty first. I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.

Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 10:26 See Pss. 24:1; 50:12; 89:11.

1 Corinthians 10:27 Or “questions of conscience.”

1 Corinthians 10:30 Or “eating food that I gave thanks for.”

For those interested to know more, I quote from

Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary

Offence [Noun] skandalon originally was “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in Rom 11:9, RV, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from Psalm 69:22, and in Rev 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matt 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.

“In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.”

power and authority : treasure in jars of clay

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1 KJV) Paul had been given unique authority from Christ to be his representative and the founder of churches (see Acts 1:21-26). In his letters to the Corinthian Christians he identified himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” His apostolic ministry was clearly evidenced by the authority and the life transforming revealed words and power of the resurrected Christ. As a closing to my notes on a meditative journey in 2 Corinthians I have done the following chart on the subject of power and authority. My notes on the Bible verses are in brackets.

God-given power and authority

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (All authorities on earth will come to an end)

2 Corinthians 10:8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— (God-given authority to men is for constructive and not destructive purposes)

2 Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. (same as above)

1:18 [Christ the Power and Wisdom of God] 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. (The salvation message is the power to save and transform)

1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (The resurrected Christ is the power and wisdom in us)

2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (Paul’s speeches are confirmed by deeds of spiritual power which manifests in physical realm)

2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (man’s words are powerless; power of God makes things work)

4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (We are so privileged to be chosen for His glory)

4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. (No use to boast about your ministry unless your words can be confirmed by God’s power)

4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (God’s kingdom is about power in deeds that confirm His words)

6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (God’s power raises the dead; power of God is the only source of life)

Paul’s warfare and weapons

We finally reach a key survival tactic, how do Christians win wars? Apostle Paul is really an expert in this field judging from the long list of challenges he went through and his always emerging as the victor and not the victim! I have done a simple chart with the key Bible verses from 2 Corinthians 10. Please read the whole chapter for a better understanding. Paul’s other letters speak of how we can control and train our thought life. For example, Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start your meditation.

2 Corinthians 10 warfare and weapons

Philippians 4:8  (NKJV)

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

2 Timothy 1:7  (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Paul’s leverages: grace and economics

In recent years the world notes how effective economic leverage works in social-political re-engineering. Today we study another kind of successful leverages from a great master, Paul, a businessman-apostle. Economic (financial) interest is always the top priority in this world. It ties with the micro self-interest of an individual and the macro self-interest of a group, a nation or even the whole world.

In 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 we continue to reflect on Paul’s motivations and strategies, supporting a broader understanding of mission – one that sees the purpose of the church as going beyond mere evangelism, and including all manner of personal and social reconciliation (including the use of financial and economic resources). Paul presented a sustainable economical and spiritual inter-linked blue-print to the Corinthians who were already well versed with the marketplace and its language. Now Paul teaches them the higher spiritual reality which is an integral part of their physical financial reality. Take note that the Corinthian Christians were just ordinary individuals (not particularly outstanding or privileged in terms of intellect, wealth and status) when they were first converted. But they have apparently been transformed and blessed with bountiful physical prosperity and spiritual gifts after that. (1 Corinthians 1:26) Apostle Paul showed them the way of God’s economy and finance.

Here is my simplified chart on this practical application of grace and economics by Paul. (Please read Chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians)

2 Corinthians 8-9

Application regarding Christian giving:

  • Paul reminds us that our source of wealth is God’s grace through Jesus Christ
  • God gives us the ability to make wealth
  • God makes us abound in everything
  • We are to abound especially in giving grace
  • We are to give ourselves to God first
  • Then we will be able to give financial gift to others
  • We (the believers) are expected to give to the ministry of Christ
  • We give what we have (not what we do not have)
  • God will ensure we have more than enough to give
  • We must complete the doing of the giving
  • He who sows sparingly will also reap bountifully
  • The recipients are to ensure that gift be administered with transparent honor

Background:

In the summer of 50 A.D., the apostle Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth city where he met Priscilla and Aquila, a tent-making couple who greatly aided him in his ministry. He stayed with them and joined them in the marketplace. Following Paul’s visit between 51 and 52 AD, Corinth became the centre of early Christianity in Greece. Paul’s friends and fellow evangelists Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth. He preached the gospel every Sabbath until he left the city around Autumn of 52 A.D. Paul revisited the city in 58 A.D. during his third missionary journey (see Acts 20:1-3).

Why did Paul choose to leave a somewhat neutral intellectual Athens where he discoursed with civil Jews and Gentiles without being obstructed but instead proceed to a melting pot like Corinth? Because he saw a greater Gospel sharing evangelical opportunity at Corinth with its strategic crossroad location situated between Italy and Asia Minor on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors and a large population with various needs conglomerating for the economic boom and related activities. Corinth city was flourishing by the 1st century AD as an important international center of administration, trade, games and entertainment. Corinth had the largest population in Greece with Greeks, Jews, Romans, even the Phoenicians and Phrygians from the east. Corinth’s financial prosperity was the result of business activities, athletic games, the skills and quality of its statesmen and craftsmen, and immorality. Because of its close connection to the sea, with ports to the east and to the west, the cosmopolitan population of Corinth consisted largely of sailors, merchants, adventurers, and refugees, which included retired and discharged veterans.

Thus, Paul and his team had found a needy evangelistic target as well as a market niche from the Jewish refugees (from Rome), Roman soldiers, the many tradesmen and religious pilgrim travelers and the games competitors and spectators.

Corinthian became the second largest city in the Roman empire, boasting a population of 700,000 people. In eighteen months Paul built the largest church in the history of the world.  The lowest estimates are 40,000 and most historians say the number was more like 80,000 people.

Paul’s motivation speech

2 Corinthians 7:13

I was asked to give an impromptu speech for five minutes under the main topic of “high performing organization” to my fellow corporate colleagues. We were each given 10 minutes to prepare. Unlike others who were experienced managers, I was at that time a fresh graduate and had to think outside the box. I chose to speak on “leadership” with a very simplistic illustration of a man standing on top of a patch of ground. Then the ground was dug away and he fell into the hole. It gave the message that a leader without supporters/helpers (or a king without subjects) is useless. The seemingly insignificant supportive workers (or citizens) in an organization (kingdom) form the solid ground the CEO-leader stands on. A high performing organization requires a leader who values and sustains those who together make and hold up the solid ground for a pre-defined and agreed upon common good and rewards according to each share of contribution in efforts. I was thinking of a somewhat “populistic” yet effective performance-based leadership.

Good management theories and practices have sustained over the years and in fact have impacted all economic activities. In my worldview, ethical, productive, and constructive economic activities and their sustainable distribution of positive outcome can solve many problems in this world.

I use the term ‘economic activities” to sum up all the activities that involve two humans or more doing something productive together with the goal of achieving a mutually beneficial increase in the sum total outcome than each would have achieved on his own. There is a term called “synergy” to describe this: a state in which two or more things work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. Expressed also as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I find this quote relevant and give a higher level of perspective: “We are all bound to work in the vineyard where God is the husbandman. We have all been given our little vineyard, but the way in which we cultivate it is of great importance for the prosperity of our neighbour’s vineyard… In fact all our vineyards are a part of the Lord’s great vineyard, the Holy Church, and we are all bound to work here too.” ― Sigrid Undset

The apostle Paul was such a practitioner. In his letter (speech) to the Corinthian Christians (2 Corinthians 7) he showed such a servant-leadership characteristic. He had every right to tell them off as being ungrateful and disrespectful etc. But he did not. Instead he praised them for the positive things they had done and highlighted those aspects that showed their sincerity in their relationship with him and his team.

He wrote: 7:Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

He praised them further for their repentance: 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

He spoke of his talking good about them to his co-worker Titus who also witnessed their goodness when visiting them: 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

I will continue in my next blog on Paul’s motivational leadership practice.

Paul’s Ambassadorship: Rule of law

Today I have done a simple diagram. Let us read this new wine revealed in new wineskin. I am awed that we can actually apply this simple rule of law to every practical aspect of our lives, as ambassadors for Christ, representing the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Be Reconciled to God

12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:19 reckoning

Paul’s testimony: how he uses the mind of Christ

2 Corinthians 6:4

Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.

His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)

Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.

But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.

He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 endurance
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:6 Lit. unhypocritical

Acts 26:24-26 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]

25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c] 26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
  2. Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
  3. Acts 26:25 Or “words of sober truth.”

Let God arise 2019

 Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol[a] Him who rides on the [b]clouds,
By His name [c]Yah,
And rejoice before Him.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah
The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.
10 Your congregation dwelt in it;
You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word;
Great was the [d]company of those who proclaimed it:
12 “Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home divides the [e]spoil.
13 Though you lie down among the [f]sheepfolds,
You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with yellow gold.”
14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it,
It was white as snow in Zalmon.

15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.
16 Why do you [g]fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks?
This is the mountain which God desires to dwell in;
Yes, the Lord will dwell in it forever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
20 Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.

21 But God will wound the head of His enemies,
The hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.
22 The Lord said, “I will bring back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 That [h]your foot may crush them in blood,
And the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”

24 They have seen Your [i]procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;
Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.
26 Bless God in the congregations,
The Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
27 There is little Benjamin, their leader,
The princes of Judah and their [j]company,
The princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naphtali.

28 [k]Your God has commanded your strength;
Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us.
29 Because of Your temple at Jerusalem,
Kings will bring presents to You.
30 Rebuke the beasts of the reeds,
The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,
Till everyone submits himself with pieces of silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth;
Oh, sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old!
Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe strength to God;
His excellence is over Israel,
And His strength is in the clouds.
35 O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.

Blessed be God!

Psalm 68 (NKJV) The Glory of God in His Goodness to Israel (To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song.)

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 68:4 Praise
  2. Psalm 68:4 MT deserts; Tg. heavens (cf. v. 34 and Is. 19:1)
  3. Psalm 68:4 Lit. Lord, a shortened Heb. form
  4. Psalm 68:11 host
  5. Psalm 68:12 plunder
  6. Psalm 68:13 Or saddlebags
  7. Psalm 68:16 Lit. stare
  8. Psalm 68:23 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. you may dip your foot
  9. Psalm 68:24 Lit. goings
  10. Psalm 68:27 throng
  11. Psalm 68:28 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. Command, O God

the Spirit of faith: “By My Spirit”

Elisha oil miracle copy 2
2 Kings 4: 1-7; 1 Kings 17:15-17 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.

Ezekiel 16:60 New Living Translation (NLT)
60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.
62 And I will reaffirm my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord.

 

http://www.kcm.org/watch/live

https://youtu.be/wIvEiN-6BJY”

know the time at hand

Hosea 4-6
know the time and act: faith without deed is dead

God’s promise today:
He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; But they are on the throne with kings, For He has seated them forever, And they are exalted. Job 36:7

Job 36-7
Job 36:7

Steve asks, “How can we operate from a position of love…”

Proverbs 28-4Steve asks, “How can we operate from a position of love as it relates to the violence of liberal assaults without lowering to their level?” watch this answer!
https://www.facebook.com/YourCharis/videos/1775521025910220/

Don’t miss the Truth and Liberty Live cast at 6:00pm MDT.

TruthandLiberty.net for more details!

Proverbs 28:4 Those who turn their backs on God’s teaching applaud the wicked, while those who observe His instruction oppose them at every turn.

Isaiah 1:26 New Living Translation (NLT)
26 Then I will give you good judges again
and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
and the Faithful City.”

Day Four (revised 11/4/2018) : Woe to you who are at ease in Zion; you who heard and did nothing;

amos
Amos 6:1

AAAJ watchman

Amos 6-1Amos 6:1 King James Bible
Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!

Judges 5 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Song of Deborah
5 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

2 “Israel’s leaders took charge,
and the people gladly followed.
Praise the Lord!

3 “Listen, you kings!
Pay attention, you mighty rulers!
For I will sing to the Lord.
I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel.

4 “Lord, when you set out from Seir
and marched across the fields of Edom,
the earth trembled,
and the cloudy skies poured down rain.
5 The mountains quaked in the presence of the Lord,
the God of Mount Sinai—
in the presence of the Lord,
the God of Israel.

6 “In…

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