Monday, April 27, 2009
**In This Issue**
- The Letters to
- What Does the Bible Say About...?
Welcome to the
Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory. RHG is a co-ministry
with Creation Science Ministries. Feel free to send this to your relatives
The Letters to the Corinthians
One of the most strategic locations in the Roman world was
the isthmus of Corinth. This narrow neck of
land between the Corinthian Gulf and the Saronic Gulf guaranteed its
continued commercial prosperity. The transit
across this isthmus avoided the long, risky voyage around the rocky,
storm-tossed capes at the south of the Peloponnesus. It
was literally the crossroad of the world where the north-south trade routes
intersected the east-west traffic. Thus it
became one of the most dominant cultural centers of its day.
It was materially prosperous,
intellectually alert, and morally corrupt. Even
in the pagan world, the city was known for its
moral corruption. "Corinth" came to imply
licentiousness. The term
"Corinthianize," a new word, (hope you like it),
could be meant to live in depravity and corruption.
It was wicked sides of
Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New
York all rolled into one.
It is no wonder then that the letters to the church at
Corinth embody so many of the concerns that plague us today.
It is also impressive to discover how many
basic Christian issues are addressed in these two (remaining) letters Paul
wrote to the church at Corinth, including the
"foolishness" of God contrasted with the "wisdom" of man, the distinction
between salvation and rewards, problems of church discipline, resorting to
lawsuits, marriage and divorce, Christian liberty, the Lord's Supper, and
the troublesome issues concerning speaking in tongues,
not to mention Paul's defining the Gospel for us.
The Spiritual Gifts
The most thorough treatment of the controversial issue of
the spiritual gifts is the focus of Chapters 12 to 14.
Remember, the chapters were not
divided up until the 13th century; and the verses
not until the 16th. The gifts are, indeed,
also for today, but are as diverse as there are ministries.
The Spirit divides them as He will (1
Corinthians 12): there is a diversity of gifts,
but one spirit; there is a diversity of members,
but one body; there is a diversity of service, but one church.
Despite an excessive focus by some, the gift
of tongues is not the most important.
Paul indicates that the greatest of the
gifts is prophecy (1 Corinthians 14): it most edifies the church; it most
convinces outsiders; and yet, its use should be orderly.
Furthermore, an entire chapter on "a more excellent way" is wedged
between these two pivotal chapters on spiritual gifts...
1 Corinthians 13. The gifts are valueless
without love: this most famous of all chapters emphasizes the utter
necessity of love, the moral excellence of love, and the abiding supremacy
Indeed, this is remarkable
there is yet another chapter that Paul seems to insist is the most important
chapter in the Bible. It deals with a
subject without which we have nothing. The
Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15. This
chapter opens with the precise definition of the Gospel. It
is surprising to many to discover what, in fact, how
the Gospel is actually
defined. Paul does
not mention the teaching of Jesus,
but many will acknowledge His profound instruction.
Paul makes no mention of His example,
but many will extol aspects of His personal life. Paul
makes no mention of His miracles, but many will
even acknowledge that He did miracles. None
of these things are the Gospel (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This insightful chapter then
goes on to reveal the seven transitions which are destined for the
Relevance to Today
As the "worldly church," Corinth certainly becomes
increasingly relevant to us in our own day of materialism, moral decay, and
church controversies. Paul courageously
addresses many of the tensions which entangle all of us, and the careful
study of the Corinthian letters is guaranteed to impact each of us in our
own walk and fellowships. The placement of
these letters that immediately follow the
definitive Book of Romans, seems obviously
appropriate, and richly rewarding, to the diligent student of God's Word.
What Does the Bible Say About...?
In this section of the
Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.
If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having
it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302 -1111.
The question for this issue is, "I
know that the genealogies of Jesus are presented differently in Matthew and
Luke. But isn't there another element to the equation missing - that
Jesus was partially a Levite, as well?"
It is true
that the genealogies of Christ Jesus in Matthew and
Luke are different. The basic difference is
that in Matthew, Jesus' genealogy is presented
through Joseph, and Luke's genealogy of Jesus runs
through Mary, although both trace their roots
through David, the tribe of Judah, the royal line of
Israel. When Joseph is spoken of as the "son
of Heli" in Luke 3:23, he is actually Heli's
son-in-law, making Mary the daughter of Heli.
Regarding the possible Levite roots of Christ Jesus,
we know from Luke 1:36 that Elisabeth, Mary's
cousin, was married to Zacharias, who was a priest,
as told to us in Luke 1:5. Because there was
an injunction against priests marrying outside of
their tribe, Elisabeth must have been a Levite.
Since Elisabeth was Mary's cousin, Mary was at least
partially a Levite as well.
In ancient Israel, the functions of the priest and
king were carefully segregated. Kings came
from the tribe of Judah, and priests came from the
tribe of Levi. The important thing to remember
is that the roles of the two were never to overlap.
One king, Uzziah, attempted to offer incense in the
Temple. He was instantly smitten with leprosy,
and remained a leper until his death. This is
found in 2 Chronicles 26:16-21.
This prohibition was really enacted to preserve the
way for the One would truly come to fulfill
both roles to their fullest extent... Christ Jesus.
As High Priest, Jesus offered His own life for our
sins. As King, He will come to rule and reign
in the Millennial Kingdom. the information
presented in the early parts of the Gospels really
authenticates His right to do so.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,
and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and
against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
We solicit your prayers and support of this ministry. God Bless.
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