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Yesterday we started our study of I Corinthians. We learned that Paul was an apostle, that an apostle is someone who God sent as his representative. We also learned that the church a congregation of people who are called out by Jesus Christ to follow him.

There is much more to this story, so before we continue our study of I Corinthians, let us now turn to Matthew 22:1-14.

Here Jesus is telling one of his many stories called parables. In this parable, he says the kingdom of heaven is like a king who was planning his son’s wedding and when it was time to get people to come to this wedding he sent his employees out to come to the wedding.

At that time, there were no phones, emails, and most people couldn’t read so the employees gave each and every person a personal invitation.  Most of the people the king invited said they were too busy. Some had harvest their crops, others had business that had to be done that day so they just didn’t have time. Others said they needed a vacation, they needed a break to spend time with their families, surely the king understood.

A small group (we’re not sure what they were doing, but they apparently didn’t want the king to know about whatever it was)killed the employees of the king. When the king heard about the murders, he was furious. He sent out armies to destroy the ones who killed his employees.

The king looked around and saw that the wedding was ready, but no guests. He was not about to have a wedding without guests so he sent out other employees to go out onto the highways to find anyone who was willing to come to the wedding feast.

Finally the guests arrived, but when the king looked around the room, he saw a man who was not dressed up at all. The guy was wearing the work clothes that he wore in the fields, he had not even washed, and he smelled bad.

The king asked the man why he was not wearing clothes fit for a wedding. The king wondered if perhaps the man could not afford the right clothes. The man just shrugged his shoulders and did not say a word.

The king told his servants to tie the man up and throw him out into the night. The man was crying and very angry that the king threw him out of the wedding feast.

In verse 14 Jesus finished his story by saying that “many are called, but few are chosen.”

In this parable Jesus is telling everyone about future event and in a sense he was putting out the first invitation to the Jews as he was telling the story. The future event is talked about in Revelation chapter 19, which is the marriage feast of the lamb. We’ll talk more about that in a moment, because it is very significant to this parable, but right now, let’s look at the invitation.

The king represents God the Father, and his son (Jesus) will be getting married. God the father wants to invite as many people as possible to his son’s wedding, so he offered an invitation to the Jews, but they rejected that invitation. (Luke 13:34-350, so he sent his disciples (his followers) to go out into the world and give his invitation to the son’s wedding (Act 1:8). People from all over the world from all lifestyles will accept the invitation. That is where the church comes in. People associate themselves with this group of people.

So what is the deal with this man who was thrown out, you ask? Well, I’m glad to you asked. Like I said, the significance is found in Revelation 19 during the Marriage feast of the Lamb.

In Revelation 19:8 it says: ‘And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he said unto me. Write. Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

I could go deeper into the significance of the white linen, but as it shows here, the wedding clothes were made of this fine white linen, and it is a type (representation) of righteousness.  How do we know if we are clothed in righteousness? In Psalm 132:9, it says that the Priests are clothed in Righteousness, then in verse 16 it says that they are clothed with salvation. Therefore, this righteousness is salvation.

Acts 4:12 says: “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name (authority) under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”

There are not many ways to salvation. There is only one and that is Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if you want to be chosen to attend the Marriage feast of the Lamb, you must first accept the invitation. You are called, because you are currently reading this post. Many are called, you have your invitation. Are you willing to be clothed in righteousness through salvation that can only come from Jesus Christ?

If you decide you want to get to know more about who Jesus is, send an email to me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com and I will get back to you to help you get plugged into a local church to help you along your spiritual journey. Also, continue reading my blog posts. I pray that the messages that I give will be timely and informative.  I will be posting a new blog post every  morning. If you have any questions, please either put them in the comments below (others may have the same questions). Feel free make comments about this blog.

 

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For the next few weeks, I am going to be doing an intense study out of I Corinthians. As we’ll notice in the first verse of I Corinthians, we see that the writer of I Corinthians is Paul. He wrote this book in about 59 AD at the close of his three-year residence at Ephesus (Acts 20:31). This book is the 46th book of the Bible, has 16 chapters, 5 Old Testament prophecies, 13 new prophecies, 377 verses of history, 55 unfulfilled verses and 5 verses of fulfilled prophecy.

In I Corinthians we will learn about the human spiritual condition, what false doctrine needed to be corrected in the church, Standards Christians are expected to live by, Christian marriage, Christian liberties, Christian Worship, Spiritual Gifts and their exercise as well as the Resurrection. The reason I feel that this is an important book to study is that I see a lot of correlation between the Church at Corinth and the church today. i pray that you get as much from this study as I pray that I do.

As we mentioned, in verse one, it talks about who Paul is. He is an apostle. Apostle is not a term we use much any more except in reference to the twelve disciples of Jesus and Paul . So what exactly is an Apostle? Apostle comes from the Greek word: which means one sent by God. An Apostle has power from God to go into a place as God’s representative. Paul was letting the people of Corinth know that he was sent by God, and was appointed by God to give them the message of the Good News that Jesus Christ came give himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

To make sure that the Corinthians knew that he was who he said he was, he dropped the name Sosthenes. Who is Sosthenes? In Acts 18:17 in mentions that there was a Sosthenes who had been the ruler of the synagogue. Could this have been the same person? I don’t know, but I can tell you that whoever he was, the Corinthians knew who the man was and if Paul was good enough for Sosthenes, then he should be important enough for the church at Corinth.

In verse two of I Corinthians, we learn that this book was written to the Church of God at Corinth. We get the word church from the Greek word (Strong’s 1577) ekklesia which was a popular meeting especially religious. At the time of the early church it was used as a reference to Jewish synagogues, but became a word that referred to members of the new sect, the religious congregation of Christians both still living on earth and those who had died.  The origins of this word interests me because it comes from two Greek words (1537) ek which refers leaving a point of origin. And (25640 kaleo which means whose name is called. So the word ekklesia literally means ones who have been called out from where they were originally.

To me prayer is talking with God. When i say talking with God, I don’t just mean monologues where I run down my laundry list of things I want God to deal with. Rather, I have dialogs with God. I’ll ask a question and I’ll get an answer. Often I know it is God and not me because what I am hearing back is NOT what I want to hear, but I also know that what is said is meant to help me grow. One day I was talking with God about life and I suddenly asked him, “How do I know I belong to you?”

The words were as clear as day, “My sheep hear my voice. You hear my voice, so you are one of mine.”

I knew that what he was doing was quoting John 10:14-16. He was telling me that because I could hear his voice, I was following him.

Today i ask you if you know that you have been called? Do you hear the Shepherd’s voice? Do you know that you belong to him?

When I worked at a drug and alcohol rehab center, one of the clients asked me how I knew what I knew about God. I didn’t quote scripture to him. Instead I told him to ask God to reveal himself to him. Then I prayed. I prayed that God would in fact reveal himself to him. Two days later, the young man came to me. He was excited because he had asked God to speak to him and that morning, God did speak to him and called him by name. One note about this young man, he never came back to the center as a client. He became a Christian counselor.

How about you? Are you not sure that God exists? Don’t take my word for his existence. You can know. You can be as sure as I am that he exists. Just ask him, and he will reveal himself to you. He will speak to you. You will discover that he is already calling you. Will you answer him?

Has God has spoken to you and his words have been a catalyst for your faith? I would love to hear about it. Would you be kind enough to share your experience in a comment?

 

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No one ever uses the word “sin” any more. What is sin anyway? The term is definitely not politically correct. Our society discourages anything that has negative connotations, and the idea of sin definitely has negative connotations. When we are willing to acknowledge the existence of sin, we think about it as terrible things that “evil people” do  like murder, child abuse, or armed robbery. We are quick to say that whatever we did was “not that bad” or God knows my heart and even he knows I am really a good person.

However, God does not see sin that way. He sees sin is anything that we do that takes the place of him in our lives. He admits that he does not want us giving what he considered his place to something or someone else, even if just temporary.

We are not responsible for the existence of our sins.  We are all born sinners. In Genesis chapter 3 we learn that Adam and Eve made the decision to disobey God. They listened to the serpent when he encouraged Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (not an apple). They caused a death sentence for their physical bodies.

In the New Testament, in Romans 5:12-17 Paul explains what happened spiritually to Adam. In this passage, Paul explained that through Adam all humankind have a sin nature (sinning comes naturally to them) because sin ruled over Adam down to his DNA causing each person living to have sin in their DNA. The law of “wages of sin was death” was put into effect from that time forward.  We cannot simply just do what we think is right in our own eyes and get a pass. We are doomed to death.

However . . .There’s good news. . .

The verse talking about “the wages of sin” does not end with death. The verse finished with “BUT the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Because Christ allowed himself to become our sacrifice, we are able to receive the gift (free for the asking)  of Grace through his sacrifice. Our part is that we accept his sacrifice as being enough for us to receive eternal life.  His grace gives us the ability not to sin.

We can receive this gift if we believe on the authority by Jesus Christ to forgive sins. Acts 4:12 says that there is no way for man to get eternal life except through Jesus Christ. You cannot earn it, you will never be able to do anything that will be good enough. You must accept his provision.”

This does not mean that the law that “the wages of sin is death” no longer exists. It does. If you do not accept his provision, you will die in your sins. You must accept his provision if you want eternal life. Think of it this way. We have the law of gravity. Gravity results from the magnetism of the earth. You jump; you come down. However, we have another law. It is called the law of lift. When we go up in an airplane, the law of lift takes effect. This law of lift supersedes the law of gravity and as a result, the heavy metal plane with you in it can rise above the clouds. In the same way, the Law of Grace supersedes the law of sin and death.  But there is one way that the law of grace is different. Under the Law of Grace, you do not ever have to come down. Once given, God will not take it back.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” (Act 16:31) Jesus did not come into this world to condemn us. He said that he came to the world to save the whole world (John 3:16+17,               I Timothy 4:10). The truth is, he said that he did not want anyone to die in his or her sins. He has done all that he can do to rid you of your sin. The ball is in your court. The choice is yours. As Joshua said (Joshua 24:15), “Chose you this day whom you will serve. . .” Will you choose to serve God or serve your sin? Will you chose continue on your road to death, or will you choose life?

If you want to know more about the Law of Grace, I would like to help you. Send an email to me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com and I will get back to you. Also, I would like  to help you connect with someone locally to help you along your spiritual journey. Also, I ask that you continue reading my blog posts. I pray that the posts I share will be timely and informative.  I will be posting a new blog post every Tuesday morning. If you have any questions, please either put them in the comments below (others may have the same questions). Also, feel free make comments below.

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