Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation

In the readings of today we look at the brothers and sisters in Corinth some 2000 years ago.

In Belgium the community has been troubled by persons perhaps wanting to claim to have the right to make foundations and to direct the groups of people wanting to come together under the name of Christ.

Paul the Apostle, Russian icon from first quar...

Paul the Apostle, Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We remember how the apostle Paul makes the argument that he has borne witness to the people of Corinth, he has shared the gospel, he has brought them to Christ and showed them the way but that he has to be sad because he only could see division between those who should be united as brethren and sisters in Christ.

The apostle Paul in his 5th letter to the Romans and his first three letters to the Corinths, also talks about the subject of tribulations, those times when we run into problems, or trials.

Those bad experiences are not nice, but we can learn from them. We should make it possible that we can grow from such unpleasant situations. At all times we should show our love to those who are around us and who our worth having us very close to them. Some we perhaps have to leave where they want to stay far away form us, but that is than their own choice. We should and did give our hand to all those who wanted to accept the hand of friendship and of co-operation.

We know, but also others should know, that

…no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.”  He is very clear that “Christ is made the sure foundation; Christ the head and cornerstone.”

The first baptist church of Palo Alto  which seeks to nourish a thoughtful, maturing faith, say they offer all ages opportunities to explore and deepen their faith. They also write:

Even a big ego can give itself over to the foundational significance of Jesus Christ.  Paul clearly sees that he serves a God who is infinitely more than he himself can ever claim to be.

We, who call  ourselves Christians, should be as followers of Christ Jesus, being willing to make all efforts to unite with each other. We should not give any importance or priority if we came to faith by such one or an other one. Our main concern should be to have our community growing, so that many more people could find God, His son and His other children. We should take all efforts to get along with each other. This shall demand sometimes having to put some water in our wine. We must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.

From Paul we get to know that already early after Jesus his death that there where disturbing reports brought to the attention of the apostles, about converts fighting among themselves! They were all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” Today not much has been changed. We still can see such situations taking place in several churches. And the Christadelphians, living in this world, are also victim of this human condition. We should be careful and ask if the Messiah has been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own.

Instead of trying to find out who belongs to whom, we should better concentrate on finding ways  to get together in unity, feeling as friends and not competitors. We may ask if there was any of us being baptised in a persons his name. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) Coming together it should be all because we love God and we follow the same Christ.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand. We should be pleased we could get baptised and be taken in a community of brothers and sisters, willing to follow the Nazarene Jew Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Having received the baptism in the name of Christ, and not in the name of an other worldly man or organisation, we should be happy we could become children of God in the Body of Christ. We should confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

The apostle Paul tells in more than one letter that we can also have glory, or rejoice when we run into problems. He himself encountered also many problems, but kept the spirit high. For him it was clear it was also about friends, who had to be cheerful, helping each other and keeping things in good repair. Whatever might happen, how bad it may look, we should keep our spirits up. By thinking in harmony we also shall be able to comfort each other and to be the backbone of something which shall be able to grow, no matter how much the outside world can try to deafen it. When we can be agreeable, we shall see that we can do more and can take more than we ever would think.

We should offer ourselves as instruments in the hands of God, and be happy whatever task would be given on us, and for whatever we shall be able to accomplish on our own or even better, together. everything we should do not for our own gain, but for the gain of the Kingdom of God. When we all do that, the God of love and peace will be with us for sure. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

English: Their are thousands of artworks creat...

Their are thousands of artworks created in the art world depicting St Paul. This painting was created by the famous artist called Rembrandt. It hangs on the walls of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturally we always shall have to be careful that the right teachings shall be given to all in the community. We should keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that we learned and then use them to make trouble. It will not be bad to take protective measures and to give these people a wide berth. (Romans 16:17) We always should  alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. (Ephesians 4:3)

Every day our focus should be on learning what it means to be a disciple of Christ in today’s world. We also should put aside our own ego.

As the writer of the first baptist church of Palo Alto notices that Paul clearly sees that he serves a God who is infinitely more than he himself can ever claim to be, we should listen to the Voice of God and follow His guidance.

The writer of Sure Foundations (February 23, 2014) says:

Paul was not bereft of ego and in that sense he was as human as any of us.  Still, he was the one who traveled around the known world, risking life and limb to proclaim the good news and build up the community of Christ.  Perhaps he had a right to boast, to call the Corinthians back to his way of following Christ and serving God.

The tent maker Paul, must have known something about the poles and stakes that hold a tent in place.

the foundation, the question is: what is to be built on such a foundation?  Again, Paul is clear.  There is one structure to be built on such a foundation; it is a temple, God’s temple, the one in which God’s Spirit dwells.  What is this temple like, though?  Brian Peterson writes of this text that “…God’s wisdom is the cross of Christ, and Paul’s work was aligned with that foundational reality. True wisdom does not lie in the power, eloquence, social standing, or cultural competition that seemed to enthrall the Corinthian church (or any similar things that enthrall us). A building must fit its foundation, be supported by it and shaped to match it, and Paul wisely built the Corinthian church on Christ crucified as the church’s one foundation (Brian C. Peterson, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23,” 2-23-2014, workingpreacher.org).

In fact, Paul asks a question of First Church, Corinth, that we might well ask ourselves, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”  Do you know?  Can you see it?  Can you feel it?  Can you live into that truth?  For Paul this is a collective “you.”  He means all the Corinthian congregation and he means all of us.  Collectively we are God’s temple in which God’s Spirit lives.  Paradoxically, that is both a heavy and a liberating truth.  It bears all the responsibility of witnessing to heart-felt, soul-deep faith that we are building, here and now, a body to reflect the reign of God on earth.  It may look like foolishness to the rest of the world, but we know that that foolishness of Christ crucified and resurrected is ultimately redemptive of us and the whole creation.  This is cause for both labor and rejoicing.

We not only can rejoice as we look forward to being united with all those who worship only One God and who did accept Jesus as their mediator between God and man. Before Jesus returns to this earth we do have to find solutions to live with each other and to work together with each other. While here on this fallible earth, we can also adopt and live out this Biblical prescription on how to rejoice in our problems, trials and hard times.

We should bear in our heart that tribulations can create opportunities to persevere and to make us stronger. They can help us to learn, and to gain endurance, or perseverance.

” (1)  Therefore, having been declared right by belief, we have peace with Elohim through our Master יהושע {Jehsua} Messiah,  (2)  through whom also we have access by belief into this favour in which we stand, and we exult in the expectation of the esteem of Elohim.  (3)  And not only this, but we also exult in pressures, knowing that pressure works endurance;  (4)  and endurance, approvedness; and approvedness, expectation.” (Romans 5:1-4 The Scriptures 1998+)

We must know that peace with God (v 1) does not necessarily bring peace with man. The actual conditions of life, especially for believers in the midst of a hostile society, are not easy or pleasant, but the knowledge of acceptance with God, of grace constantly supplied, and the prospect of future glory enable believers to exult in the face of sufferings.

“The human mind is naturally given to shallowness and folly and the infantile, characterless pursuit of pleasure and excitement. Very few ever get beyond this stunted stage. Tribulation, if we are rightly exercised by it, forces us to come face to face with the sober realities of life, and intelligently adjust our purposes and characters to them. This is the teaching of the Scripture, and the wholesome experience of any with any sense and maturity. Some run away crying, vainly seeking solace in animal emptiness, and gain nothing from their sorrows. This is tragic” (GVG).

It is useless fretting against what we cannot alter, and therefore a courageous man will bear with it, and a faithful man will see beyond it. wherever we may stand in history of the community, we always should be prepared to continue our way on the right path, laid out in front of us by Jesus Christ. From everything, good and bad, what happens in our community we should learn and continue to look for Christ and his Father? The trials we shall encounter in our lives and in the life of the ecclesia should get us to think about all things and make us more willing to strive to the good cause, getting the perseverance, developing strength of character in us, and having the character strengthening our hope, or our confident expectation of salvation.

If in tribulation we seek God’s help, and endure the unpleasant experience moment by moment in the realization that it cannot last for ever, we will ultimately emerge from it with the knowledge that we did not rest on God’s help in vain, and that we manifested the strength to endure.

“This will lead to hope. Hope in what? In the knowledge that He who sustained us in the past will do so in the future even to the setting up of the Kingdom; and in the realization that as we emerged successfully from one trial so we can from the next, leading to a steady growth of endurance, until the time come when all such experiences will cease. Thus ‘hope maketh not ashamed’, for we shall triumph in spite of trouble, and will respond to the ‘love of God’ that will be revealed in our hearts. Let us then develop the mind of Paul in the face of trouble. Let us view it as a time of testing, in which we can manifest that faith without which ‘we cannot please God’ (Hebrews 11:6), and a period of opportunity in which we are able to demonstrate our unswerving loyalty to Him in face of a challenge. When we do this, we truly ‘fellowship the sufferings of Christ,’ and will reveal an attitude pleasing unto the Father. However, let us be sure that our tribulations are not the result of our own folly: ‘For what glory is it if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God’ (1Peter 2:20)” (HPM).

Let us all be well aware that:

” (11)  For no one is able to lay any other foundation except that which is laid, which is יהושע {Jehsua} Messiah.  (12)  And if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  (13)  each one’s work shall be revealed, for the day shall show it up, because it is revealed by fire. And the fire shall prove the work of each one, what sort it is.  (14)  If anyone’s work remains, which he has built on, he shall receive a reward.  (15)  If anyone’s work is burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire.” (1Co 3:11-15 The Scriptures 1998+)

Let us rejoice we are allowed to be part of the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). We should not worry to be laughed at and to be God’s fool, because that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic. The Master sees through the smoke screens of the know-it-alls.

We better know exactly where we stand and be pleased with the position God is willing to give us. there should be no bragging about ourself or anyone else. Everything is already ours as a gift. We be should be pleased we can rejoice in the Lord, having assurance in the  hope we all have and which shall not disappoint us. Because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. We should be looking forward to gather in peace and to be privileged to be in union with Christ, when we offered ourselves to be in union with God. (1 Corinthians 3:19-23)

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Additional reading:

  1. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  2. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  3. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  4. Developing new energy
  5. Kindness
  6. Partakers of the sufferings
  7. Pain and Suffering is inevitable but Misery is optional
  8. Suffering produces perseverance
  9. Your struggles develop your strengths
  10. United people under Christ
  11. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  12. Make a joyful noise unto Yahweh, rejoice, and sing praise unto Jehovah
  13. Rejoice even though bound to grieve
  14. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah

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Find also to read:

  1. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  2. Sure Foundations (February 23, 2014)
  3. Unity a Sign of Spiritual Maturity
    But unlike with agriculture, to describe another person as mature or immature leaves a lot of wiggle room.  It’s not so easy to say a person is mature because he or she can bear fruit.  Granted, this may be true in a strictly physical sense; we won’t get into that here.  But what about an emotional sense?  Or a spiritual?  Can we ever really say that we’ve become fully emotionally mature as a human being, always and completely able to maintain control over our feelings?  Sometimes I may display a great deal of maturity with respect to controlling my anger, for instance; but the very next day I slip back into an immature loss of temper!
    No, for human beings, the term mature is relative.  At least, it’s relative until the Kingdom of God is fully realized.

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  • Romans 5 (zachscripturestudy.com)
    Paul reminds us that we have a choice; “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) This means that YES Adam and Eve broke a commandment of God, but by them breaking the commandment we were given a Savior to take our sins away from us. Jesus Christ Atoned for our sins, and gave us the free gift of Grace, but we still must choose to accept it. The Book of Mormon helps us to understand this further; “Adam feel that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 2:25)
  • Godly Friendships (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
    The Apostles of Christ were the foundation stones of His church. Revelation 21:14 speaks of the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem as having in them the names of the twelve Apostles. These men were important to Jesus. However, what a mix our Savior had in friends and followers. They included: Zealots, fisherman, missionaries, an even a tax collector! They were from different geographic locations and social classes, some were more political and others had more education. When we are true believers of Christ, there is a common bond that overrides profession, education, race, nationality, geographies, linguistics, social class, and economics. We are brothers and sisters and God is our Father.  We are family…. A spiritual family.
  • The Last Thing Is Also the First Thing (normanramsey.wordpress.com)
    We are called in a much more intimate fashion. We are called not only to be saved but to serve and to move forth as a witness and an ambassador of Jesus Christ. When we do that we become very influential and useful in God’s hand. God says we are salt and light. We are justified and free to move and go as God leads us. There is no hindrance that cannot be overcome by the sufficiency of his grace.
    +
    We are to glorify God and be glorified by God. We are to have unity. We are to have unity and peace between us and God. That is God’s goal: for us to match our steps with God, to walk in the way of peace. We are to walk in constant connectivity with God. We do not do anything except God is doing it.
  • To all the Saints in Christ Jesus (twenty4sevenrhythms.com)
    A bond servant was someone who had earned their freedom, and had the opportunity to no longer be a servant, but because they loved and respected their master so greatly, they would sign a bond saying that they forfeited their freedom to continue to serve their master. That paints a wonderful picture of the type of servants we are in Christ. We forfeit our “freedom” (we all know there is far greater freedom in Christ than not) and desire to serve our master because he first loved us.
  • Corinth and the Jesus Dojo (fbcpaloalto.wordpress.com)
    He encourages that troublesome bunch to understand that everyone will be better off when they realize that Christ provides the sure foundation for the community of faith.  What would a truly Christ-centered church look like?  What would be its worship and its practice?  How would its members care for one another at the same time they serve the wider community?  We hearken back to our theme from a couple of years ago – “Come build a church with soul and spirit, come build a church of flesh and bone…Jesus shall be its sure foundation.  It shall be built by the hand of God.”
  • Everybody Must Have a Head (sonlightdevotional.org)
    Nowadays, all the preachers are Doctor So and So, and Doctor So and So. It means that these people are saying that they are Doctors of the Word of God. When you are sick, you go to a doctor, sure. And there is no problem about being a Doctor of Philosophy, but a Doctor of Theology is an offense before God. Therefore, you don’t call anybody Master. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven (Matthew 23:9). Now, I had a father, and you have a father, and I called him father, but that was my natural father. It wasn’t an offense before God. But if I began to call Brother John, “Father John” or “Father Smith,” then you would know that we are way out of God’s order. So, one of the problems is not only of those who are called Father, but also for those who call them father.
    +
    At this hour, the Body of Christ is being put in order. Everybody must have a head, and Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body of Christ. When we gather together, we gather together to hear Jesus and we recognize Jesus Christ as the Head. We want to hear what Jesus says. If someone gets up and prophesies in the name of any other name besides Jesus, he is a false prophet.
  • Paul’s Letter to Corinthians (thesanctuaryatcamilla.wordpress.com)
    The apostle Paul was very concerned with the spiritual health of the people of Corinth. Today, aren’t we concerned about the same virtue of our nation, our cities and our people? I am.
    +
    Divisions: Corinthian society was riddled with competitive individualism which crept over into the church.
  • The Deprived Ones (etsop95.wordpress.com)
    Paul was judged by some in Corinth as being inadequate for the occasion he was called upon to engage (preaching the good news of God). He mentioned that as an apostle he was considered foolish, he was deprived of necessary things like food, water, and sufficient clothing, and that he had no real place to call home (4:9-13). Paul, however, was not going to be thrown off his God-ordained task of preaching and teaching; rather, he used his circumstances in order to serve God, the brethren, and even himself (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
  • Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    That your faith may not be in man’s wisdom. May not originate or spring from human eloquence and wisdom.  Or that your conversion to the faith of Christ may not be ascribed to man’s wisdom, but to the power of God, may be a divine, not a human work.  That which you believe and are convinced of, should be, not the wisdom and knowledge of your teacher, but the power of God who commissioned the teacher, and wrought the miracles.
  • Day 331: 1 Corinthians 1-4; Intro to 1 Corinthians (orcministries.wordpress.com)
    City of Corinth both important and very busy.  With all the hustle and bustle, with many people coming and going, this was also a hotbed for an large amount of idol worship, mostly centered around the pantheon of Greek and Roman gods.  This would have included many temples, most notably he temple of Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love.  The worship that took place in that temple would have likely involved cult prostitutes and sacrifices to idols, as well as other things that the church in Corinth would have to deal with.
    +
    In the age of denominationalism, where it seems as though the Church itself is divided on so many things, fighting within itself about who is more correct in their doctrines, perhaps we need to be asking ourselves whether Christ is divided or not.  We are all baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and members of one body.  Perhaps it is time that we embrace each other as brothers, accept the diversity of the Church, and understand that we are in agreement about the main things, letting peripheral issues remain just that and serving as ways for us to learn from each other rather than fight against each other.  Paul will circle back to this in chapter three as well.

7 thoughts on “Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation

  1. Reblogged this on Christadelphians : Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven and commented:

    Tuesday-night at the meeting of the Ecclesia BrusselLeuven we read Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 1+3, looking at the difficulties we have encountered the last few months and how we had to cope with it but also how we should continue our way.

    Sometimes we do get to recognise we could not re-conciliate but have to turn over the page and leave those who did not want to be amicably connected with us on their own. Sometimes a community has the priority to protect its own flock and has to take measures which do not seem so pleasant for all people involved. When certain people prefer to stand on their own and are not willing to co-operate the community than has to decide to let them go their own way, but when they themselves did everything to blacken that community, they should not have to keep contact any more. As such we decided to leave the man from the North and his organisation far what they are, and shall concentrate ourselves on bringing people to Christ ourselves, without their help.

    Jesus Christ is the man who opened the way to his Father. He is the One Mediator between God and man and is the cornerstone of the Church of God.

    We do trust the Most High, Elohim Hashem Jehovah, Who shall call people and Who shall guide us and give us that what we need according to His time.

    In Him we trust and give all our hope to build up His Church in Belgium and other parts in the world.

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