Love in the body of Christ is a message proclaimed loud and clear in 1 Corinthians, and especially in chapter 15, which we come to in our read-through-the-Bible plan today:

  • Verse 14: “Let all that you do be done in love.”
  • Verse 20: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” …. love expressed among believers in the body.
  • Verse 22: “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.” … love must be genuine in the body of Christ, not hypocritical.
  • Verse 24: “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” 

On 1 Corinthians 15, from a 1999 message “Living and Loving” by Doug Groins of Penisula Bible Church:

Now, if you’ve been studying through this very long letter, you know that most of it is in the form of rebuke and correction.

  • Chapters 1-14 dealt mostly with bad behavior among believers.
  • Chapter 15, the great resurrection chapter, dealt with bad theology.
  • Even chapter 13, the beautiful love chapter, was written because Paul had to deal with lovelessness and insensitivity in that body of believers.

Yet this letter comes out of deep, loving concern for and commitment to these people. It’s like God’s love for us. The writer of the book of Hebrews says, “…Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (12:6). So this is very loving discipline from the apostle. Remember how Paul began his letter. Even though he had hard things to say, in the opening paragraph he wrote, “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you….” (1 Corinthians 1:4-6). We see from Paul that love may have to be tough-minded at times, but it’s always hopeful, confident, optimistic, and very grateful.

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mark 9:30-32

J. C. Ryle with a timely reminder:

The immense importance of our Lord’s death and resurrection comes out strongly in this fresh announcement which He makes. It is not for nothing that He reminds us again that He must die. He would have us know that His death was the great end for which He came into the world. He would remind us that by that death the great problem was to be solved–how God could be just, and yet justify sinners. He did not come upon earth merely to teach, and preach, and work miracles. He came to make satisfaction for sin, by His own blood and suffering on the cross. Let us never forget this. The incarnation, and example, and words of Christ, are all of deep importance. But the grand object which demands our notice in the history of His earthly ministry, is His death on Calvary.

He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
    He who teaches man knowledge—
        the LORD—knows the thoughts of man,
        that they are but a breath.
    Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
        and whom you teach out of your law,
    to give him rest from days of trouble,
        until a pit is dug for the wicked.
    For the LORD will not forsake his people;
        he will not abandon his heritage;
    for justice will return to the righteous,
        and all the upright in heart will follow it. —Psalm 94:10-15 ESV

Spurgeon, in The Treasury of David, comments on Psalm 94

Whether men admit or deny that God knows, one thing is here declared, namely, that The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Not their words alone are heard, and their works seen, but he reads the secret motions of their minds, for men themselves are not hard to be discerned of him, before his glance they themselves are but vanity. It is in the Lord’s esteem no great matter to know the thoughts of such transparent pieces of vanity as mankind are, he sums them up in a moment as poor vain things. This is the sense of the original, but that given in the authorised version is also true—the thoughts, the best part, the most spiritual portion of man’s nature, even these are vanity itself, and nothing better. Poor man! And yet such a creature as this boasts, plays at monarch, tyrannises over his fellow worms, and defies his God! Madness is mingled with human vanity, like smoke with the fog, to make it fouler but not more substantial than it would have been alone. How foolish are those who think that God does not know their actions, when the truth is that their vain thoughts are all perceived by him! How absurd to make nothing of God when in fact we ourselves are as nothing in his sight.

John Piper, in the last sermon in a series on Ruth, “Ruth: The Best is Yet to Come”

What one main thing does the author want us to take away from reading this story?

Here’s what I would suggest as the main lesson: The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there. The life of the godly is not an Interstate through Nebraska, but a state road through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. There are rock slides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backwards in order to go forwards. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead there are frequent signs that say, “The best is yet to come.” And at the bottom right corner written with an unmistakable hand are the words, “As I live, says the Lord!”

The book of Ruth is one of those signs for you to read. It was written and it has been preached to give you some midsummer encouragement and hope that all the perplexing turns in your life lately are not dead-end streets. In all the setbacks of your life as a believer God is plotting for your joy.

April 25

1 Corinthians 16 (ESV)

The Collection for the Saints

16:1 Now concerning [1] the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

Plans for Travel

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Final Instructions

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will [2] to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

15 Now I urge you, brothers [3]—you know that the household [4] of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— 16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such men.

Greetings

19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! [5] 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

April 25

Mark 9:14-32 (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out [1] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” [2]

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

April 25

Psalm 94 (ESV)

The Lord Will Not Forsake His People

94:1 Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge—
11 the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath. [1]

12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16 Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who frame injustice by statute?
21 They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death. [2]
22 But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.

April 25

Ruth 4 (ESV)

Boaz Redeems Ruth

4:1 Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you [1] will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth [2] the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10 Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” 11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”

Ruth and Boaz Marry

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19 Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, 21 Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

John Piper comments on 1 Corinthians 15:29-58, our “Read-through-the Bible” passage for today:

Verse 50: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”

What does that mean? Is it a wholesale denial of the bodily resurrection? No. “Flesh and blood” simply means “human nature as we know it”—mortal, perishable, sin-stained, decaying. Something so fragile and temporary as the body we now have will not be the stuff of the eternal, durable, unshakable, indestructible kingdom of God. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be bodies.

It means that our bodies will be greater. They will be our bodies, but they will be different and more wonderful.

Verse 52: “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

When he says “the dead will be raised” he means we—the dead—will be raised. If God meant to start all over with no continuity between the body I have now and the one I will have, why would Paul say, “The dead will be raised”? Why would he not say, “The dead will not be raised” since they are decomposed and their molecules are scattered into plants and animals for a thousand miles and so God will start from scratch since there are no bodies to raise, and he will make totally new bodies that have no connection with the old ones? He did not say that, because it is not true.

The Dead Will Be Raised and They Will Be Changed

He said two things; the dead will be raised (that teaches continuity); and he said they will be changed—they will be made imperishable and immortal. The old body will become a new body. But it will be your body. God is able to do what we cannot imagine. The resurrection is not described in terms of a totally new creation but in terms of a change of the old creation. “We shall all be changed” (v. 51b).

An Analogy to Seeds and Plants

Look back now at verses 37–38. Paul compares the resurrection to what happens to a seed when it goes into the ground. “That which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as he wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.” The point is that there is connection and continuity between the simple seed and the beautiful plant. When you plant a wheat seed, you don’t get a barley plant. But on the other hand there is difference. A plant is more beautiful than a seed.

Verses 42–44 apply the analogy to the resurrection body:

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”

In June 2012, the first-ever Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference was held in Florida.  Here is the message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, speaking about the Transfiguration. 

http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/on_another_mountain_the_god_who_points_to_his_son