So how many of you would like to know the secret, on how NOT to end up under such severe judgment?
In a city called Corinth, there was a Church, many years ago, where this unfortunate scenario played itself out. As Paul says, many were sick, and some even fell asleep – a beautiful euphemism for the harsh reality of death.
All because the members of the body were dishonouring each other.
The Church at the time was influenced heavily by the Roman government, which was built on a hierarchical system. There were the wealthy, the slaves and the freeman – and these classifications of humans found its way into the Church. These divisions, caused the wealthier Christians to treat the poorer Christians in an unjust manner – and this greatly displeased The Lord.
The end result was that many of them fell sick, and some even fell asleep.
Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 11.17…
Once upon a time, the city of Johannesburg was enthralled by a radio show called the Battle of the Sexes. The trivia based game that hoped to find the ultimate sex. Somehow beyond reason, we were beyond engaged, we were personally invested. You didn’t even know who the contestants were, but you knew you who you were backing – you didn’t understand how, but you knew that by default you found yourself on one of the 2 teams.
The true battle of the sexes, however, is not a game show. It is one that began immediately after the fall, one which has followed mankind all through time and space. It exists even where you are right this very minute. The only difference is whether or not we are able to see it. With superhuman shapeshifting abilities, it has managed to transcend race, cultures and geographic regions – so it remains in some contexts well hidden, and in others painfully obvious.
But today – whatever traces we may have of that battle in this context, is about to end. By the end of this message – we will all settle the questions, of who the real winner of the battle of the sexes is.
We live in a country where the majority of the people have been suppressed for such a long time. For whatever reason: people they don’t like or people they want to get back at, this is the reason behind the culture of demand we see before us right now. Demanding what is right, what is fair, what should be legally, morally, ethically theirs.
This is in so many ways such a good thing. Many people are now receiving water, sanitation, electricity, education, medical care and a number of other services they were not fortunate enough to have had before.
But unfortunately, there is some bath water with this baby. It has created a damaging “demand” culture. Once upon a time people only wanted freedom, access and equal opportunities. Now others have jumped on this bandwagon and are attempting to stretch its limits. To stretch it far beyond what is right and fair, to how much can I claim under the banner of “we demand”.
In the church, you would expect things to be different, but if we are honest, we recognize the disease of demand has left a residue even in the most noble amongst us. Where we choose to demand what is right, what we deserve, what is owed to us instead of using the freedom we have, to LOVE.
The freedom we have in Christ is immense, but it is limited only by #thethingswedoforLOVE.
How wonderful is it to serve the only true God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus. There is nothing that catches Him by surprise, there is nothing He doesn’t know. There is no one stronger or more powerful, there is no one more wise. There is no one that can manipulate Him, there nothing He cannot do, and there is nowhere where you can escape from His sight. He truly is the only, amazing God.
Is this truly what we believe. How do we know if what we profess to believe is what is in our hearts? Are you convinced that God is your only source of blessing? Or do you perhaps believe that there is some other way that something can come to you that you would make you happy? If you are really honest with yourself this morning, do you believe in a God AND some other type of religion?
Have you ever looked back on your life and discovered that you were filled with a generous dose of regret? Is there something, that you would go back and change if you had the power to?
Everyone makes mistakes. There was a time when I would look back, and only to realise I would’ve liked to have done things differently. There are however two schools we can learn from. To learn from the mistakes of others would be wise and far less destructive. But the other option, the one most of us have ended up attending, is The School of Hard Knocks. This is by far the more painful option.
There was a time when I was an unemployed young believer. When I finally did get a job, I decided to open a clothing account in order to purchase clothes for work. Before I did, God spoke to me and said “don’t do that”.
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen. I went ahead and opened that account. This had a snowball effect and caused me to open several clothing account. Then several credit cards and after that several loans.
Today I still feel the effects of my actions. But thanks be to God for his incredible way of restoring us, and showing us how the importance of learning from the very mistakes he has rescued us from.
A survey conducted between 2016 and 2018 revealed some of the biggest questions Christians asked themselves in their walks with God.
They were surprised to find that the most dominant questions Christians asked of themselves, “How do I know if I’m saved?” They were even more intrigued to know that this wasn’t a once off occasion of doubt, but rather a cycle that people got into and always ended up asking this question at the end.
You may be a person here this morning asking yourself the very same questions. “How do I know if I’m saved.”
“How do I really know if I’m God’s son or daughter.”
“Am I really one of God’s people?”
You may have doubts but Jesus doesn’t want you to be uncertain. It is God’s will for you today, that you become completely convinced of where you stand with Him.
Let’s see what Jesus had to say on the matter in John 14…
As we continue through Corinthians, we are going to look at the contrast between the circumstances people faced in Paul’s time verses the circumstances today.
Slavery was once a common practice. You were actually in a better position as a slave than one who did not have a job. You were fed and taken care of, but you did not have any rights. There may have been opportunities for some to buy their freedom – but for most – this was their life.
Today slavery has been abolished and we hear of very few countries were this practice is still prevalent. For the rest of us, we now have human rights commissions to make sure these injustices don’t ever happen again.
The implementation of such organisations was meant to regulate the practice, but has instead pushed society to another extreme. We have strayed away from human rights and gone over to demands. We now demand what we want.
We demand free housing and free education, and there are dozens more that we constantly put forward to our government.
The Bible, however, described people in relation to their rights quite differently.
Two close friends of mine, experienced the departing of loved ones this week. One of the departed, was on his way to hospital to get his wife medical attention when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
When we are faced with these matters, we realise that death is the greatest equalizer amongst men. It matters not who you are, how rich you are or even how old you are. It is not influenced by how healthy you eat, or how sickly you are.
Death is a reality that we all have to face. This peculiar subject makes us all uncomfortable and yet intrigued. So we try to forget about it and avoid about it.
However, we the Church, don’t have to shy away from this subject. It is in fact one of the seven foundation stones. And if it one of the seven of the doctrine of God, then surely we have to know what the Bible says!
God asked us to build using the model of House Churches, and this incredible couple is committed to doing exactly that! They understand the need to equip the members of God’s Church and we are so privileged to welcome them on board our team of overseers today.
Have a look as John talks us through some of their journey with The Lord and the fulfilment of His promises to Glenn and Vanessa.