- Key Verse
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13)
- READ THE CHAPTER
In response to constant worldly influences, we must be alert, on guard at all times, and stand firm in our faith in Christ, not blown off course by the mainstream ideas of our day.
Wealth, materialism, secular wisdom, idolatry, sexual sin -- the church was surrounded on all sides by these vices in the cosmopolitan city of Corinth. Can we relate today? The Corinthians were suffering from internal division as worldly influences were slowly infiltrating the ranks. Sound familiar?
As Paul wraps up his letter to believers in Corinth, he offers practical tips for Christian living in a pagan environment. Just as Paul instructs believers in Corinth, we must be on alert and on guard at all times, standing firm in our faith in Christ. Worldly influences that pull us away from total surrender to Christ are all around us today. They creep into our careers (get ahead . . . make more money), our homes (poor entertainment choices and pride), and our relationships (through selfishness), resulting in a slow erosion of our faith and our willingness to surrender to Christ and a blurring of our reflection of Christ.
I often get too comfortable with life and allow my guard to slip. My focus turns to my own comfort and worldly measures of success -- healthy, smart, and athletic kids; nice vacations; accumulating stuff . . . the American dream. My guard is down, and I don't spend enough time in Scripture and prayer. Instead of being surrendered to Christ, I am surrendered to self.
In response to these worldly influences, we must be alert, keep our eyes open, and learn to recognize what we see around us, or we will be caught off guard by sin. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter warns us that our "adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Our ability to live effectively for Christ this week starts and ends with the issue of guardedness. We must also stand firm in the faith by having a solid grasp of Scripture and then by applying it in our daily lives. Paul's command to stand firm in the faith is active, not passive. As James instructs, "prove yourselves doers of the word, not merely hearers who delude themselves." (James 1:22)
Let's spend the rest of the summer on alert, standing firm, and digging into God's Word, and living it out daily.
Discussion Questions1. What cultural idols do you see creeping into your daily life?
2. Do you spend enough time in Scripture to be able to stand firm in the faith?
3. Why do you think Paul follows verse 13 with the statement, "Let all that you do be done in love"? (1 Corinthians 16:14)
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
1 Corinthians 12-16 (July 2-6)
Read 1 Corinthians 12.
• What does the Spirit give each person?
• Does every person have the same gifts?
• Why is it important for each believer in Christ to use the gifts that God has given each of us?
• What example does chapter 12 use to show why we each need to use our gifts for God's glory?
Paste this link in your browser (http://wmcc.jointhejourney.com/page_/3912) to review some of the various spiritual gifts, as well as examples of the ways in which those gifts are manifested. As you look over the list of spiritual gifts, which ones do you feel are specifically gifts that you have?
Activity: Do this activity one night at dinner. On slips of paper, write: cover eyes, tie hands behind back, can't walk, can't talk (if you have more than four people, write some of them more than once). Have each person draw one of the slips of paper. This is what that person will do or not be able to do throughout the entire meal. To show the need for everyone to use their gifts, everyone will have to work together so that everyone can eat and get the food and drink they need.
After dinner, talk about what it meant for others to use what they had to help you. What a great picture of why God used the body working together as an example of what it means to bring Him great glory!