Love the Lord Your God...

We finished up our series on Luke’s Gospel. For those who are in the church, we have made a commitment as citizens of a Kingdom to live in a way that looks upside down to the world around us. We are the upside-down Kingdom in a world that thinks it is right-side up. Jesus models this to us in his ministry, teaching, preaching, life, and in who he chooses to have table fellowship with. He calls us to come and do likewise. In two weeks, we will begin this second half of this series. The book of Acts is a launching of the upside-down Kingdom into the world to set the world right. The Gospel is lived out and embodied in Christian community. Engagement in the world around us is the movement of the Kingdom setting the world right. We will trace this theme through Acts.

This coming Sunday, we will have a special guest who has come to do our parenting seminar. Kent Brown is a good friend of mine from Oklahoma City and has done a lot of great work on developing faith in the home. His sermon on Sunday will be on the need for spiritual disciplines to help us continually transform into the Image of God we are called to be. After worship, Kent will be leading out class. He will be sharing practical ways to develop your Christian walk and how to engage in faith formation with your kids. This will be a great class for everyone…not just for people with kids. 

To prepare us for receiving a word from God this Sunday, I want to invite you to wrestle with a couple of questions:

-      How have you grown in your walk with Christ in the last 5 years? 

-      In what area(s) of your life do you need to be growing in right now? 

-      The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Which of these aspects of the Spirit do you need to develop in your life?

Spiritual formation is not a journey that ends with baptism. Spiritual formation is a continual engagement in the act of transformation. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus is approached by an expert on the law who wanted to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him about how he read the Law. The man replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself” (10:27). 

When you think of spiritual formation, where do we spend most of our time? Heart, Soul, Strength, or Mind? 

Kent will be discussing what a balanced life looks like when engaging spiritual formation in each of these areas. See you then!

Luke 24 - Seeing the Right-Side Up Human

What is one thing you would change about the world to help make it perfect? 

When God finished creating the world, he sat back on his throne and said it was “Good” (Gen. 1:31). Creation was complete, perfect, flawless, complete…it was right-side up in every way. When sin entered the world in Genesis 3, all of creation was turned upside down. Sinfulness deeply permeated everything. That is why the whole creation is waiting eagerly for redemption (Rom. 8:22-23). At the end of time, when Christ returns, redemption will come more fully. What does that redemption look like? God’s full presence will be the reality for his creation, there will be no more tears, no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. Jesus stands up from his throne and says, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:3-5). All things that were upside down will be put right side up again. As it says in verse 4, “for the old order of things has passed away.” 

God chose Israel to be a light to the nations but what does this mean? When God called Abram, he promised that the nation that would come from him would bless the entire world (Gen 12:2-3). The blessing isn’t that the world would find a new religion to follow and a new way to think about the world around them. The blessing would be that the practices of this new group of people would right the wrongs of the world and bring it back into God’s desire and design for his creation. Religion is the set of practices that should lead a group of people to right action. This is why James 1:27 defines true religion as taking care of widows and orphans. Israel continually struggled to rise to their calling to be God’s light to the nations around them. Instead, they wanted to be like the nations (1 Samuel 8:5). They rejected God as their king (8:7) and desired the ways of the upside-down world. They rejected what their religion was pointing them to, redemption of the world.

The prophets who came to bring correction to Israel called them back to their true religion. Amos 5 calls for justice for the oppressed. Ezekiel 47 paints a picture of God’s presence restoring the Temple so that the river of life brings life to death around it. Earlier in chapter 37, the dry bones in the valley are given new life. Jonah isn’t a story about a preacher who didn’t want to preach. The focus of the book is that God loves the Ninevites too (Jonah 4:10-11) while Jonah wants to see them destroyed. There are more passages in the First Testament to look at, but these passages point back to the laws given in Exodus and Leviticus. Many of the laws are in place to keep people from being marginalized, oppressed, and taken advantage of (i.e. Ex 22:21; Lev 19:33-34). All of these teachings are found in Luke’s Gospel and seen in how Jesus interacts with people. Luke 10:27 sums up the Law, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

What we see in Jesus is upside-down living in the world. He came to fulfill the Law and bring Israel back to its calling to set the world right for the glory of God. This isn’t a new teaching but fulfilling an old teaching. God, in Jesus Christ, shows the way for what upside-down living looks like. The Kingdom of God looks upside-down to the world, but it is really right-side up. Everything we have talked about in Luke’s Gospel builds up to the embodiment of the Kingdom ethic which Jesus demonstrates fully by getting on the cross. He calls us to follow him in this ethic. This is why Paul says we are Christ’s ambassadors to the world, and we are to be about reconciling the world to God in Christ (2 Cor. 5). 

I’ve said a lot in this blog and have said very little about where we are going in Luke’s Gospel as we finish up this part of our series. The Gospel isn’t just about Jesus’ death on the cross to save us from our sins. The sacrifice is essential, but it isn’t the full Gospel. The Gospel is fully realized in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we look at Jesus Christ in his resurrection, we see the right-side up man in a world that is upside-down with sin. Luke 24 shows us stories of eyes being made open to the resurrection. We are called to live out the resurrection reality in this broken world. 

What in your life around you do you see that is broken? What would it look like to bring the resurrection reality to that brokenness? Another way to ask this: What is one thing you would change about the world to help make it perfect? 

Luke 20 - Upside Down Kingdom - Upside Down Authority

With a diverse multitude following him, Jesus chose twelve and set his sights on Jerusalem. From chapters 9-19, Jesus is moving in the direction of the cross and teaching about what life in the kingdom looks like. It looks upside down in a world that is right-side up. If you want to be his disciple, you have to turn things upside down in your life. Throughout this section of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus gives challenging teachings for what it means to follow him. Life as a citizen of the Kingdom of God comes at a cost. When Jesus calls people to follow him, they give very legitimate reasons for delaying their journey (9:57-62). When we think about following Jesus we often think about the “bad things” we have to give up. When Jesus calls you to follow him, he calls you to let go of everything. Taking up the cross and following Jesus means there is nothing greater in your life than following him. 

We see this again with the rejections to the invitation to the great banquet (14:15-24). It might not make a ton of sense to us in our culture, but the excuses given are actually acceptable excuses in the world at the time. Why does the banquet host then get so angry when the people give their excuses? Either the host is irrational, uncaring, or he knows that what he is offering is more important than anything else that could possibly be going on in life. This seems to be the same mindset with Jesus calling the disciples. This isn’t about what bad things you are giving up. A life with Christ is one of complete submission. What are some of the good things in life that you might be putting in front of your following Jesus? I won’t lie…I don’t like that question but I feel like it is the question we need to wrestle with.

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem this Sunday in Luke’s Gospel. He arrives, riding on a donkey, and enters the temple courts to cleanse it. He continually comes back to the temple to teach. The leaders want to kill him, not because he flipped some tables, but because he was taking on an action that only the priests could do. They yearly cleansed the temple to prepare for God’s presence to arrive. This immediately leads to questions from the leaders about where his authority comes from (20:1-8). Refusing to answer their questions, Jesus turns back to the crowd to tell them a parable. He tells the parable in v9-19 with the leaders still standing nearby frustrated that Jesus wouldn’t be clear with them. Read that parable while imagining Jesus addressing the crowd that came to hear him teach and the frustrated leaders standing just off to the side.

Jesus could have told this parable with a number of different settings. But the cross is beginning to cast a shadow over Jerusalem and the resurrection is coming. The resurrection is the conquering of the curse of sin brought about in the Garden when Adam and Eve failed to be the co-gardeners God called them to be. God’s desire has always been for his creation to partner with him in cultivating this beautiful garden. Jesus came as the New Adam to restore creation and God’s co-creators back to their original good creation (1 Cor 15:22, 45, 48-9; Rom. 5). When Jesus chose a setting for a parable about an owner renting out property to tenants, he chose a vineyard where a harvest was to be shared. 

This Sunday, we are going to talk about Jesus’ authority and what it looks like in contrast to the world around him and the world around us. When you say, “Jesus is Lord!” what is he Lord of? What areas of your life do you struggle to allow him to be Lord over? What does this parable tell you about Jesus’ authority and everything you have in your life? Before Jesus goes to the cross, he gives one clear picture of what authority looks like in this upside-down kingdom. Reading through this section of Luke, do you see what the picture of authority looks like? 

Luke 14 - Upside Down Kingdom - Upside Down Table Fellowship

What is the best meal you have ever had? Do you remember a time when food was so good that it changed your mood entirely? Sometimes the food isn’t the focus, but it is what brings people together. Relationships are deepened around meals together. Throughout his gospel narrative, Luke weaves stories of Jesus sitting at tables and eating. In Luke 14, he is sitting at a prominent Pharisee’s house. The observe him and what he is going to do and say. Jesus also observes them and begins to provide commentary on both who they are as guests and who the host is. This commentary comes in the form of parables and sits within the context of what these meals mean in the ancient world.

In the ancient world banquets provided occasions for philosophers and teachers to impart their wisdom. Even more so, for Judaism, for Jesus, and for the early church, table fellowship was loaded with very important meanings, religious, social, and economic. Luke typically uses meal scenes in the Gospel to teach about the Kingdom to emphasize its radical inclusivity, and to present Jesus as the host or provider of the kind of fare and community that truly lends to blessing. The table presence throughout Luke’s gospel is where some of the most serious events took place. Who all do you see Jesus eating with? We often focus on the downcast and neglected but Luke does point to Jesus eating with the leaders and the wealthy. Jesus did not find it necessary to exclude the religious in order to include “publicans and sinners.” His spirit of inclusivity is in the broadest possible sense. 

Who do you struggle the most to include at your table? It might not be the people you think. Will you fellowship with people on the other side of the political divide? With people who are more liberal than you? More conservative than you? Will you dine with people who are confused about their identity in ways that make you uncomfortable? Take some time to ask God to reveal to you who you struggle most with to be in relationship. Then, ask God to provide you with opportunities to be in relationships with people who make you uncomfortable.  

Luke portrays Jesus at tables all throughout his ministry. On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus takes time to challenge the “table fellowship” system in Luke 14 to show what the Kingdom of God should look like. Luke, being the beautiful writer that he is, continues the table fellowship after Jesus’ resurrection. The “Breaking of Bread,” which is Bible talk for the Lord’s Supper, reveals Jesus in his resurrection to disciples in 24:28-32. It was while eating together (literally, "sharing the salt") that Christ gave his disciples the promise of the Holy Spirit and their commission (Acts 1: 4–8) and it was by table fellowship that Jews and Gentiles were able to be the church (Acts 10:9–16; 11:1–18). Luke is a good writer and he is providing a model for us to follow for being the church. 

What can we do different in our lives as Christians to break down the barriers between people and gather around the table to celebrate our common bond in Christ? 

Luke 16 - Upside Down Kingdom - Upside Down Riches

Jesus us on his way to Jerusalem. He has a gathering of diverse disciples with twelve designated as Apostles marking them as the New Israel. As the reader, you know that heading to Jerusalem means his is heading to his death. Along the way, Jesus gives hard teachings about what it means to follow him. He is preparing his followers, including you as the reader, not only for Jesus’ passion (his death and burial) but also for discipleship to and beyond the events in Jerusalem. He gives lots of teachings about joy, table fellowship, the cost of following him, and money. Why money? Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Using a variety of methods, Luke places the subject of wealth in front of his readers all throughout the gospel: the song of Mary (1:46–55), the sermons of John the Baptist (3:10–14), the prophecy of Isa. 61:1–2 (4:16–30), blessings and woes (6:20–25), the parable of the rich fool (12:13–21), warnings about anxiety (12:22–31), advice to guests and hosts (14:7–14), and the two parables in chapter 16.

People often try to simplify Jesus’ message in Luke. If you have wealth, you’re sinful. If you are poor, Jesus loves you. Luke doesn’t present it so simply when you read the whole of his book. Jesus pronounces woes on the rich and yet the rich are saved (19:1–10). When Jesus sent out missionaries to prepare villages for his arrival, they are told to take nothing with them, and yet those who have the means to give food and lodging to them are blessed. The poor receive “beatitudes” from Jesus, and yet possessions can be used for good (8:1–3; 10:29–37; 12:32–34). We see this continued in Acts, in the early church where those who had shared voluntarily with those who did not.

This Sunday, we will look more specifically at the two parables in chapter 16. These parables present positive and negative uses of material things. Preparing for this sermon has been a struggle this week and I want to advise some caution as you prepare to receive a word from God. There are two wrong ways to receive teachings on wealth: First, do not receive these teachings with a nod of accusation towards those who have more wealth than you. It is easy to ignore how wealthy we are while looking to those who have more. Second, it is easy to be dismissive when a teaching makes us uncomfortable. Sit with the discomfort for a bit and listen to what God might be calling you. 

Luke understood that the issues of wealth and poverty are complex. The anxiety we have about money, the obsession for wealth, is a disease which plagues both those who have it and those who do not. Luke also shows that generosity around sharing your possessions can free you from the danger to the soul, which lies coiled in the possession of things. The looser of a grip you have on your possessions the looser of a grip your possessions have on you. Jesus, in Luke’s Gospel, gives an understanding that prosperity casts a shadow over human life and that it is the poor who are the focus of God’s special concern. The second of our two parables in chapter 16 shows this conviction powerfully. 

Read Luke 16 and sit with it for a bit. Where is God challenging you in your life? Who are the people you need to have your eyes opened to? What things are you holding too tightly? Ask God to reveal to you a natural way of responding to this teaching. I would love to hear what you’re being challenged by in this text.

Luke 9-19 - Upside Down Kingdom - Cost of Discipleship

Throughout the first eight chapters of Luke, we have looked at the simple teachings of John and Jesus in their call to Kingdom transformation. Jesus gathered a multitude of people to follow him. These people are diverse in their opinions, convictions, social status, political leanings, careers, and even their gender. When you look at the group of people Jesus surrounded himself with as disciples, who do you most associate with? Who shocks you the most? Out of this group of people, Jesus chose 12 to signify the multitude as a New Israel. 

Last week we looked at the Parable of the Different Soils and how we see the contrast of the soils present in the people Jesus meets leading up to that teaching. Choosing to walk with Jesus is how our soil is cultivated for good seed to be planted. The more we walk with Jesus the more we open ourselves to allow Jesus to remove stones and thorns that get in the way of mature growth. How have you seen yourself grow in maturity with Christ in the last five years? What habits are you intentionally developing in your walk with Christ to bring transformative maturity in the next five years? 

The Gospel of Luke makes a major transition in chapter 9:28-36, The Transfiguration. While transfigured on the mountain, Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah about his “departure,” which was about to be fulfilled at Jerusalem. This departure is better translated at “exodus.” With this event, Luke transitions the narrative from Jesus gathering the New Israel and begins to move them towards Jerusalem. This is a New Exodus beginning at the Jordan river and moving towards the temple in Jerusalem. Luke wants his readers to recognize the liberation from slavery that Jesus brings. This liberation is one that will do more than turn “Egypt” upside-down. This liberation will turn the whole world on its head and establish a new world order. When Israel entered the promised land, God gave them a law to live by that would not only set them apart but would make them a light to the nations. We often think of the law as bad but much of the law was based in social justice to end reigns of abuse of power. 

Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan River. He gathers a diverse group of followers and dubs them the New Israel by selecting Twelve to be Apostles. He is now shifting direction and heading towards Jerusalem (Chapters 9-19). Along the way, we are going to focus on three major themes his teachings and actions focus on. This Sunday (July 14) we will look at the cost of following Jesus. Salvation is not earned by us, but Jesus does have an expectation of those who claim to be part of his Kingdom. Have we cheapened grace by removing expectations from the Christian walk? July 21, we will look at what Jesus says about how we handle money. Does money ever get in the way of loving people? On July 28, we will look at Jesus’ table manners. Who does Jesus eat with? How do we understand table fellowship in our culture? What does this tell us about the fellowship we keep around the Lord’s Table each Sunday? 

To prepare for this Sunday, read Luke 9:57-62 and 14:25-35. 

When Jesus calls you, he says, “Come and die.” This is upside-down in a world where following someone typically leads to victory and “life.”

Luke 6:12-49 - Upside Down Kingdom - Upside Down Living

Jesus’ ministry has started. He is already turning the world around him on its head. His teaching has attracted the crowds, he has disciples following him, and he has a very successful healing ministry. In the two chapters leading up to chapter six, Jesus is seen often going off to lonely places for solitude and prayer (4:42, 5:16). We even see Jesus walking away from good ministry because he has a specific mission and must not be deterred. In a world filled with frantic action, chaos, and busyness, Jesus demonstrates what a sane life looks like. Slow down. Be silent. Be alone. Pray. What would life look like if your decisions were born out of this kind of God-given peace rather than the chaos of this world? Your life would probably start to look upside-down to a world that is convinced it is right-side up.

Our text for this week begins in Luke 6:12. Jesus looks out over the crowd that has followed him for a time and knows the movement has begun. He came to reclaim the Kingdom for God, to turn the world right-side up, and to reestablish the Kingdom mission for God’s people. He needs to choose a representative 12. He spends the entire night in prayer before making his decision on who he would call. I want to take a moment to make a plug that Jesus’ prayer life was more than just presenting a list of requests before the Father and ending the prayer with “thy will be done.” Praying all night would have been a dialogue with God in meditation. He would have used scripture to guide his prayers and listened for what the Father might be telling him. He would have weighed what he thought he was hearing. As he lifted up each name for the 12, he would have waited for peace to rest on him with each one. After praying all night, he would have a clear understanding on who would be called. This is just a glimpse of what his prayer life might have looked like based on the Jewish mystic practices of prayer. Meditating on God’s word is seen all throughout the Psalms (1, 4, 19, 49, 119, and 143 to get you started). 

Jesus spent the night in prayer because he wasn’t just choosing 12. He was making a bold symbolic move in sight of all the disciples who were following him. If you walked up to a group of people in a gym who were all playing basketball and chose five to go to the other end of the court with you, everyone in the gym would quickly put two and two together that you were forming a basketball team. When Jesus chooses 12 men, it isn’t because he thinks poorly of women (Luke’s Gospel elevates women on a regular basis). He chooses 12 men because out of the 12 sons of Jacob came the 12 tribes of Israel. Everyone would see Jesus’ actions as symbolic of the “New Israel” being brought into existence before them. 

Jesus was re-establishing Israel. With the New Israel, Jesus re-establishes a Kingdom ethic. He takes them back to the basics of what it means to live as citizens in God’s Kingdom. If these 12 are going to carry this up-side down Kingdom into a right-side up world, they would need a way of life that reflects what the Kingdom is all about. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus gives this sermon out on a plain. Read through Jesus’ sermon slowly and let it examine your life (Luke 6:17-49). What areas of your life still need to be turned upside-down so that your life looks like that of a citizen of the Kingdom?

1 Cor 15 - Hope in the Resurrection of the Body

When you hear the phrase “Hope in the Gospel,” what comes to mind? What beliefs come into view? What actions does “Gospel” lead you into? Paul begins his last major section of 1 Corinthians with a reminder of the Gospel. He roots the Gospel as an event in history and not just in a belief. Jesus died for our sins…was buried…was raised on the third day. He then appeared to a bunch of people, including Paul (15:1-8). 

Jesus died to save us from our sins. But that is only part of it. The death of Jesus has been the main focus (and sometimes only focus) of Christian belief. Most discussions around the Christian life are centered around Jesus dying for our sins. Subtly, this shifts the focus of the conversations to personal salvation and what one is required to do to receive salvation. You hear one person living their life wild and free, “because you cannot earn grace,” and another person joylessly calculating each part of their life for fear of messing up, “because God has given us a clear guide for going to heaven.” These conversations are missing a clear piece of the conversation: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Often when we hear the word “Resurrection,” we hear it as a fancy term for our souls going to heaven when we die. The New Testament speaks more about the hope of the resurrection than it does about spirits/souls going to heaven when they die. This would be a great study to do at a later time. Our souls going off to the “heavens” to sit on a cloud and strum a harp is more based in the Greek Philosophy of Plato and read into scripture rather than the Jewish understanding of the resurrection in which scripture was written. I still believe that there is a heavenly existence, but this is not the ultimate hope. The resurrection of our bodies is the final hope that we have. Death will be conquered, and we will be raised new fully illuminated by the Spirit of God as he intended us to be in the first place.

Paul concludes his letter with a discourse on the resurrection for two reasons; First, not only are people are denying it that we will be resurrected when Christ returns, but also because the resurrection is essential for understanding that what happens in our bodies right now does matter. This second part is the main focus this Sunday.

Paul ends each major section of chapter 15 with a call to righteous behavior and faithfulness in doing the Lord’s work, not because we’re trying to earn our way to salvation but because we have been brought into the resurrection of Christ and we work with Christ to make the resurrection a reality in others. 

“If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” – 15:32b-34

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 15:58

The gospel’s proclamation of resurrection of the body serves both as a warning that we will be held accountable for what we do with our bodies and, at the same time, as a promise that our bodily labor is significant rather than meaningless.

Paul ends the argument of his letter with the resurrection because everything else he has said up to this point finds meaning in this foundational understanding of the Christian faith. Why do we seek unity? Because it is the reality of the resurrection. Why do we seek reconciliation with others? Because all will be made right in the resurrection. Why do we offer mercy to others? Because mercy is the only reality in the resurrection. 

Take a moment to read Romans 8 with the resurrection of all things in mind. When we start broadly with what God is doing in creation to make “all things new” (Revelation 21:5) and then move towards our own salvation, we see that everything we do in this life is working with God to cultivate the creation that he created in the first place. We are co-rulers and co-gardeners with God in bringing about the new creation.

I ran across this in a commentary on 1 Corinthians 15 and I’m still chewing on it. I’ll just leave it here for you to chew on it too: 

“If we deny the resurrection, we will find ourselves turning inward and focusing on our own religious experience as the matter of central interest.” - Richard B. Hays

1 Cor 11-14 - Guiding Principles for Addressing Issues

The issues facing the church in Corinth are fairly unique to their situation. Many of the problems Paul addresses in Corinth do not show up in other church contexts we find in the New Testament. While we may never have a debate over food sacrificed to idols, whether women can pray in the assembly with their head uncovered, or how to properly approach the usage of tongue speaking in the assembly, Paul provides some key principles all Christians need to adhere to when making decisions for their particular churches. 

A few weeks ago, Cody pointed to the guiding principle that becomes the measure you should use against yourself in every situation of debate: “Knowledge puffs up, love builds up” (8:1). Paul will continue with this principle in chapters 11-14. There are a lot of Christians out in the world, including the one who writes this, who need to be reminded to always lead with love and look to how they can build others up. Based on the dialogue I typically see/hear between Christians, we haven’t ready Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church with much seriousness. 

Paul works from this foundation of love, celebrated in the Lord’s Supper, and works from two guiding principles in navigating the issues in Corinth: First, do what builds up the church. Second, if it keeps people from receiving the Gospel, don’t do it. These two guiding principles, founded in love, play out in a variety of ways in different cultural contexts. 

Side Note: One of the principles in our faith tradition called the “Restoration Movement” is that every church is autonomous under its own leadership. This is an important part of our movement because what is best practices for a church in the cultural Midwest might be different from a church trying to seek and save the lost in the cultural Northeast. We shouldn’t expect a church in South Korea to look exactly like a church in Honduras. One of the important slogans which came out of our church heritage is, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, love.” Part of the issue we have run into is that we struggle to define what the “essentials” are and in these debates, love went out the window a long time ago. 

There is a lot to talk about in 1 Corinthians 11-14 where Paul addresses issues that are taking place in their assembly. For your own reflection and study, I tried providing a few questions and comments to work through. In no way are these questions exhaustive. Please shoot me an email if you have any questions you’d like to add or clarification on things I’ve written.

11:2-16– Should women wear the head covering when they prayor prophesy in worship? Principle from this section: do not do anything that will hinder the expansion of the Gospel. How does this metric help us make decisions in different culture for how to move the Gospel forward? 

11:17-34– Divisive actions in the Lord’s Supper 

12:1-31– Unity is assumed. Paul is addressing the need for diversity. Gifts are given for the common good of the community. If a gift is used for the edification of the individual, it is an abused gift. Should every gift be used for the edification of the community of believers? 

13:1-13– What is the longevity of spiritual gifts (v8)? What lasts forever? 

Ch 12-13– When it comes to the faith community coming together for worship, chapter 12 tells us that every gift should be used for the edification of the entire church and not for the individual. Chapter 13 tells us that if you do not have love in your heart for others, you are following some other way than the most excellent way. 

14:1-25– What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? Which ones should you try to excel in? 

14:26-40 – Back to some basics, when everyone in the class starts talking the Kindergarten teacher says, “One at a time!” Again, the metric for what you should do is, “what is best for everyone else in the church?” One interesting observation from this section that those who receive a message in a tongue or prophesy have the ability to not speak. 

14:34-35– Questions always come up here. I want to point to a few things to consider when reading these verses: Paul gives specific instructions for how women should pray/prophesy in the assembly in chapter 11. The language Paul uses in the Greek is very strong and carries the implication that these women are causing such problems that they shouldn’t even make a sound. How do the principles Paul has laid out in chapters 11-14 shape how discussions around this passage should take place? Finally, is Paul addressing a specific situation in a particular congregation or is this a binding command for all people everywhere (even the women of chapter 11)?