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1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Stop Short-Changing Yourself!

07/21 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 Stop Short-changing Yourself! Boast Only in God; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20130721_1cor3_21-23.mp3

1Cor 3 [SBLGNT]

18 Μηδεὶς ἑαυτὸν ἐξαπατάτω· εἴ τις δοκεῖ σοφὸς εἶναι ἐν ὑμῖν ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, μωρὸς γενέσθω, ἵνα γένηται σοφός, 19 ἡ γὰρ σοφία τοῦ κόσμου τούτου μωρία παρὰ τῷ θεῷ ἐστιν· γέγραπται γάρ· Ὁ δρασσόμενος τοὺς σοφοὺς ἐν τῇ πανουργίᾳ αὐτῶν· 20 καὶ πάλιν· Κύριος γινώσκει τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς τῶν σοφῶν ὅτι εἰσὶν μάταιοι. 21 ὥστε μηδεὶς καυχάσθω ἐν ἀνθρώποις· πάντα γὰρ ὑμῶν ἐστιν, 22 εἴτε Παῦλος εἴτε Ἀπολλῶς εἴτε Κηφᾶς εἴτε κόσμος εἴτε ζωὴ εἴτε θάνατος εἴτε ἐνεστῶτα εἴτε μέλλοντα, πάντα ὑμῶν, 23 ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, Χριστὸς δὲ θεοῦ.

1Cor 3 [ESV2011]

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

There is a problem in the church in Corinth. There are divisions. There is disunity. There is quarreling. There is a party spirit. Each one has their own favorite leader. Some follow Paul. Some follow Apollos. Some Cephas. Some, who think themselves above all the rest and beyond the need for any human teacher, claim to follow only Christ. The believers in Corinth are enamored with wisdom. They want to be thought wise, to be admired by the world. They want to be following the right leader. Paul has pointed out that the wisdom of the world is worthless with God, and God uses that which the world considers foolishness to shame the wise. He warns of the danger of being self-deceived, and he comes back around to this issue of true wisdom at the end of chapter 3 and applies it to the foolishness of pitting one godly gifted leader over against another.

Boast Only in the Lord

This is a clear statement. No more boasting in men. In verse 18 he says ‘stop deceiving yourself’; here he says ‘stop boasting in men’. This picks up a theme from the end of chapter 1 (v.26-31). God chose in a specific way and for a specific purpose. Not many wise, noble or powerful were chosen; instead, God chose the foolish, weak, low and despised, the nothings, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. No one can say ‘God chose me because I am wise, I am powerful, I am something’ No, I have nothing to boast in. All boasting must always only be boasting in the Lord. We have no legitimate grounds for boasting in ourselves. Here Paul applies this to prominent leadership in the church. If no believer can boast in himself, then no Christian leader has legitimate grounds to boast in himself, and so we should not boast in them either. Paul proudly wears his title of first place in 1 Timothy 1:15; first or foremost, or chief of sinners. Paul reveled in the fact that he had been shown mercy, that God’s unmerited grace had overflowed toward him. In Philippians 3 Paul lists his natural reasons for boasting, and concludes that it was all worthless and less than nothing. In chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians, Paul claims to be last and least of all the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle because he persecuted the church of God. But God’s grace is not related to what we deserve. None of us, not even the most gifted and prominent leader in the church, has any valid ground for boasting in self. The only boasting that is legitimate is boasting in the sheer undeserved unearned overwhelming grace of God.

Do Not Short-Change Yourself

The reason Paul gives here for not boasting in men is stunning. He doesn’t again highlight the negative, that there is nothing in any leader worthy of boasting in. Rather, he points us to the positive with this staggering statement: ‘all things are yours’. That is hugely comprehensive. ‘All things are yours’. Why would anyone ever limit themselves to one thing when everything belongs to you? If all the trees in the garden are yours, why would you limit yourself to eating from just one tree? Boasting in one gifted teacher over against all others cuts you off from the blessings intended by God to be yours from all of them. To limit oneself to only follow Paul or Apollos or Cephas would be to miss out on much of the benefit God meant to be yours. But this statement goes far beyond teachers. All things means all things, as the apostle will elaborate in three sets of opposing pairs to specify that he really does mean all things. He starts by pointing to these three gifted teachers over against the world; then life and death; then the present and the future; both sides of each equation belong to the believer.

Christian Teachers and the World

We can understand that all Christian teachers belong to the church. They have been given by God to the church. In Ephesians 4, Paul says

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

All the differing roles in ministry are gifts from God to his body the church. All the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers belong to the church. They have been given to the church for her good. Jesus invited his followers to pray:

Luke 10:2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

It is the Lord who sends laborers. It is his harvest. It is his field. As Paul has said earlier in this chapter:

1 Corinthians 3:5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

It is the Lord who assigns the different laborers to carry out different roles in his field. God gives the growth, and he employs various servants as implements to bring about that growth. To limit yourself to only one favorite worker or school of thought would be to refuse so much that God is giving to you for your good. Paul and Apollos and Cephas are all yours in Christ!

But it doesn’t stop with gifted Christian leaders. The world is yours. This is the world Paul says in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be conformed to. Jesus says we are not of this world but were chosen out of the world. This is the world that hates us because we don’t belong to it (Jn.15:19; 17:14-16). This is the world that Jesus promises:

John 16:33 …In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

The world, this world that hates us and brings us tribulation belongs to us. Just as God gave us gifted leaders for our good, so God gives us this hostile world for our good. God even gives us the tribulation in this world for our good. Romans 5 tells us:

Romans 5:3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings (or tribulations), knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Even the worst things in this world are given to us by our good God for our benefit. Jesus has overcome the world, and now the world belongs to us and everything in it serves us for our good.

Life and Death

He goes on to say that life and death belong to us. Our life, according to James, is ‘a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes’ (4:14). So much of our energy is spent grasping to hold on to our precious life and living in the constant fear of losing it. But in Christ, life and death are ours! Jesus said ‘I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly’ (Jn.10:10). Life is ours! So we can release our grip on life and focus on living it for the honor of Christ. As Paul contemplates his own life and death in Philippians, he says:

Philippians 1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul is freed to live with full courage for the glory of Christ. Jesus has so saturated his existence, that he can say ‘to live is Christ’. He goes on:

Philippians 1:22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Death, the final foe, the last enemy, has been decisively defeated at the cross. Now we can say with confidence ‘to die is gain; to depart and be with Christ …is far better’. In Christ, life is ours and death is ours.

The Present and The Future

The present and the future are ours in Christ Jesus. The urgent tyranny of the present often feels like it will crush us, and the future looms unknown and uncertain just past the horizon.

Jesus invites us to come in simple dependence and childlike trust and say ‘give us this day our daily bread’ (Mt.6:11). He says:

Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Jesus says:

John 14:27 …Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Matthew 28:20 …behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The God who is sovereign over every human event, who turns the hearts of kings like water in his hands (Prov.21:1), at whose word things that are not leap into existence, at whose voice the wind and the waves are silenced, will work every present circumstance, every future event for our good and his glory. In Christ, the present and the future belong to us and will serve us for our good.

Romans 8

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

All things work together for my good. Every Christian leader, the whole unbelieving world, my life, in sickness or in health, my death, every present circumstance, every future hardship, every future victory, all things are mine. They belong to me and they will serve me for my eternal good.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for me, working every single thing together for my good. God is for me. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Even tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword are my servants sent by the hand of a loving God to do me good. Not one thing in the whole universe can separate me from God’s sovereign resolve to do me good.

I Belong to Christ

1 Corinthians 3:21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

This is not true of every person. Romans is clear that all things work together for good only for those who love God, only for those who are called according to his purpose. Here, Paul makes it clear that all things belong only to those who belong to Christ. In the same way that everything is mine, all things belong to me, everything exists to serve me for my good, so I belong to Jesus, I am owned by him, I exist to serve him for his good.

1 Corinthians 6:19 …You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (cf. 7:23)

Peter tells us:

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed …not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Around the throne in heaven we see Jesus being worshiped:

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

We were purchased by Christ on the cross. We are now owned by Jesus. We have become the property of God almighty. Because you belong to Christ, all things now belong to you. All things exist to serve you for your good, as you exist to serve Jesus. Since all things were created by Jesus and for Jesus, (Col.1:16; Rom.11:36), as we live lives to serve and worship Jesus, all things serve us to that end.

If today you do not belong to Jesus, then you need to surrender to the King. Jesus paid for you with his blood. Acknowledge that you are a slave of sin and need to be ransomed. There is nothing you can contribute. Simply trust Jesus, receive the free gift he purchased for you.

Christ is God’s

1 Corinthians 3:22 …all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

As we exist to serve Jesus and bring glory to Jesus, so our Lord Christ eternally exists to serve and glorify his Father. There is within the triune God both absolute equality and mutual adoration and glad submission. The Son is equal to the Father in every way, fully divine, sharing the same nature and existence with his Father, and yet the Son willingly subjects himself to the authority of the Father. Jesus said “I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (Jn.8:29). Jesus said “I honor my Father” and “it is my Father who glorifies me” (Jn.8:49, 54).

Just as Jesus lived totally surrendered to his Father, always doing the things that are pleasing to him, honoring him in everything, so we who belong to Christ should honor Jesus, living lives totally surrendered to him, gladly submitting to his will in everything. And in sheer amazement, we will realize that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom.8:32). We will find our boast only in the cross, where infinite love was demonstrated, and where we were given all things in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3:21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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July 21, 2013 Posted by | 1 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 1:7b; Waiting for the Revelation of Jesus

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20121209_1cor1_7b.mp3

 

12/09 1 Corinthians 1:7b Waiting for Jesus to be Revealed

1 Παῦλος κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ⸂Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ⸃ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ καὶ Σωσθένης ὁ ἀδελφὸς 2 τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, ⸂ἡγιασμένοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ,⸃ κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ⸀αὐτῶν καὶ ἡμῶν· 3 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

4 Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ ⸀μου πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῇ χάριτι τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ δοθείσῃ ὑμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, 5 ὅτι ἐν παντὶ ἐπλουτίσθητε ἐν αὐτῷ, ἐν παντὶ λόγῳ καὶ πάσῃ γνώσει, 6 καθὼς τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐβεβαιώθη ἐν ὑμῖν, 7 ὥστε ὑμᾶς μὴ ὑστερεῖσθαι ἐν μηδενὶ χαρίσματι, ἀπεκδεχομένους τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· 8 ὃς καὶ βεβαιώσει ὑμᾶς ἕως τέλους ἀνεγκλήτους ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 9 πιστὸς ὁ θεὸς δι’ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.

1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul thanks God for the sin-sick, sidetracked, self-centered church of God in Corinth. He thanks God because God’s grace, his free gift of undeserved favor, had been poured out on sinners in the city of Corinth through his preaching of the cross; sinners believed and sinners became saints and a church was born. The apostle made it his habit to thank God for them. He thanks God that they were enriched in Christ Jesus in every way; in all speech and all knowledge; they had been given spiritual insight into the truth of the gospel. He thanks God that the testimony of Christ; the witness of who Jesus is, the invisible God become human, who lived the righteous life in perfect communion with his Father that we were meant to live, who took our sins and died on a cross, bearing the wrath of his Father against our rebellion, who rose victorious from the tomb, appeared alive to a multitude of witnesses, and ascended to the right hand of his Father, where he now reigns on high; this testimony of Jesus, that whoever believes has eternal life and will live with him forever, this foolish message was believed and proved to be genuine among the Corinthians. The testimony of Christ was confirmed. He thanks God that they were not lacking in any grace-gift. God had abundantly supplied them with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. They did not fall short. They had a real relationship with Jesus and in that they had everything that truly matters.

Waiting

Next on Paul’s list of things to thank God for in this wayward church is that they were waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Christmas present illustration: What is this? What’s in it? When do you get to find out? Even if you already know what it is, when do you get to have it?] Waiting is something that is characteristic of believers in Jesus. There is a natural expectation, a longing, a desiring, a forward looking hope. The author of Hebrews says

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

It is characteristic of Christians to eagerly wait for the return of Jesus. The first believers, who saw Jesus ascend into heaven, were gazing into heaven and had to be told by two angels:

Acts 1:11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Paul tells the Philippians:

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Peter reminds us to:

1 Peter 1:13 … set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Already and Not Yet

Peter says that there will be grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. There is a future grace to set your hope on. But Paul has told us in 1 Corinthians that we lack no grace-gift. We have been been abundantly supplied, enriched in him in every way. And yet we wait. There is a tension in the life of the Christian between the already and the not yet. There is tension between what we have been given in Christ Jesus, and that which is yet to come. Let’s review the grace-gifts that are currently in our possession as believers, and then we will look at some of the promised blessings that are yet to come.

What are some of the grace-gifts that have been given to us by God? We are told in Ephesians 2:8 and 2 Timothy 2:25 that we have been given the gift of faith and repentance. Jesus claims to be the one who gives eternal life (Jn.10:28). He said ‘whoever believes has eternal life’ (Jn.6:47). God gave Jesus as the propitiation for our sins, appeasing his own righteous wrath toward us (Rom.3:25; 1Jn.4:10). In Ephesians chapters 1 and 2, Paul lists some of the spiritual blessings we have been freely given in Christ. We were chosen. We were predestined for adoption into the family of God. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses. We have obtained an inheritance. We have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who comes to live in us. We have experienced regeneration, or the new birth; being dead we were made alive. We have experienced reconciliation – having been separated and alienated, we have been brought near.

In Romans 8, Paul outlines the purpose of God for us. He says we were foreknown by God, predestined to be like his Son, called, justified, and glorified. And here we get a hint of the ‘not yet’. All these words are in the past tense. We have been foreknown, predestined, called, and justified. Our sins are paid for. We have been bought with a price. God’s wrath against our sin has been satisfied. We have peace with God. We have been adopted into his family. We have the gift of eternal life, and we have God’s Spirit living inside of us. But we are not yet glorified. This is in the past tense because it is as certain as if it had already happened. He goes on to say that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and that since God has already demonstrated his great love for us in giving us the most costly gift imaginable, his own Son, we can be sure he will graciously give us all things.

Our glorification, from our perspective, is still future. We wait eagerly for God to fulfill all his promises to us. If we look earlier in Romans 8, we see what he means by glorification:

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We have received the Spirit of adoption as sons; we are now children of God. We are heirs with Christ. But we have not yet been revealed as sons of God. We have not yet been glorified. We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, specifically the redemption of our bodies. We have been transformed inwardly, spiritually. But we have not yet been transformed outwardly, physically. It is coming. It is guaranteed. But it has not happened yet. We hope. We wait for it with patience.

Paul says in:

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

We now have justification; the legal standing of righteousness before God. All our sins are gone and Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to our account. But practically, in our thoughts, words and deeds, we are far from righteous. Paul expresses it best in Romans 7

Romans 7:15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. …18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. …22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. We have been justified, but we do not yet act like who we are. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Our citizenship has already been transferred. We no longer belong to this evil world. We belong to heaven. But we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. By his own sovereign power he will transform even these lowly bodies to be like him.

Jude gives glory to God who:

Jude 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,

That is something worth looking forward to! Think of that. To be presented before the presence of his glory -blameless! With great joy!Or listen to this:

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

One day Jesus will no more be doubted, despised and rejected by men (Is.53:3). One day,

Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Already, we have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. Already we have no grace-gift lacking. We have been given faith, eternal life, election, adoption, propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation, regeneration, justification, the indwelling Spirit, an inheritance. And yet, there is more to come.

Waiting for Jesus

What is it specifically that Paul thanks God that the Corinthians are waiting for?

7 …as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

They are waiting for a person. Jesus is coming again. Jesus promised that he would come. He said:

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. …18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Jesus prayed to his Father

John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Jesus promised to come to us. He promised to prepare a place for us. He promised to come again and take us to himself, that where he is we may also be. He prayed for us that we would be with him, that we would see him as he is. We wait for Jesus. We wait for our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord. He is King of kings, the Alpha and Omega, the great I AM, the sovereign one. He is Lord over all. But not just Lord over all, he is Lord over us. He is our Lord. He rules over me. He is my King. He is the one to whom I submit. He is Jesus, God come in the flesh, God become human. Immanuel, God with us. Jesus, who will save his people from their sins. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, our great Prophet, Priest and King. We wait for our King, Jesus, the promised Messiah. We wait for him to be revealed.

Revelation

What does it mean for him to be revealed? The word choice here is interesting. It points to something hidden that will be revealed. The Corinthians, who prided themselves on knowledge, had to acknowledge that there was more yet to be revealed. There were things they didn’t know. The Corinthians, who prided themselves on their abundance of spiritual gifts, had to see that there was something they didn’t have yet, something that they were looking forward to, waiting for. They were waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. The revelation of Jesus will mean different things for different people. For all who depend solely on Jesus,

1 Peter 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

But for others,

2 Thessalonians 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

The thought of Jesus being revealed should strike either intense joy or sheer terror into your heart, depending on your relationship with Jesus. Paul thanks God that the Corinthians were waiting for Jesus, looking forward to Jesus coming.

Practical Benefits of Waiting

What are some practical benefits of waiting? Waiting roots out pride and fosters humility. Waiting reminds us that we are not in control – God is. What we wait for, as well as what we already have, is a gift flowing out of God’s generosity. We didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it, so we have no room to boast in it.

Waiting also keeps our eyes fixed on the prize and our hearts in the right place. Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt.6:21). If Jesus is our greatest treasure, and we are eagerly waiting for him, that will be reflected in how we spend our time and resources.

Waiting encourages camaraderie in community. Notice, we are waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are fellow travelers on the same journey, weary pilgrims on the way, and we are not home yet. We all have the same end, the same goal in mind. When he says that you lack no spiritual gift, the you is plural. You the individual do not have every spiritual gift. God distributes gifts according to his purpose, and what you the individual lack, he has given to you the group, the body of Christ. We need one another. Waiting becomes more bearable when it is done with others.

Waiting also has a sanctifying effect. John says:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

If what we are waiting for is seeing Jesus, which means for us total transformation and Christ-likeness, we begin to become like what we long for. When we see who Jesus is, the one who paid the ultimate price to save us from our sin, we are energized to put to death the sin that entangles us, fix our eyes on Jesus and more passionately pursue him.

I Thank God that together we are waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I pray that the practical benefits of waiting would become more and more evident in our lives. Come Lord Jesus!

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 9, 2012 Posted by | 1 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment