Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Decent Order of Grace - Part 2 - First Importance

"But all things should be done decently and in order. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" 1 Cor 14:40 & 15:1-4 ESV

Chapter 14 of 1st Corinthians goes into the order of communication in an assembly. Most churches were in peoples homes. The emphasis is on sound thinking and knowledge in the assembly. The chapter reminds me of Bible studies I have a attended where there were some real characters. The music and the preaching gave order and understanding to a group that seemed ready to possibly 'spin out of control.'

The decent order of preaching is that the Gospel and all Bible teaching centered in the Gospel are of 'first importance.' People believe in it, stand in it and the message serves to continually deliver each one. The message is the foundation of every meeting and that brings an order to things.

"Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature." 1 Cor 14:20

The Gospel and teaching emphasis brings this about. Picnics, games, theater and dinners are all great but the Gospel is 'first priority'. If that is central then we have not believed in vain.

Corinth was filled with gifted people and it seems that things had spun out of control. Order broke down and emphasis was lost. The gifts eclipsed the message.

Does my work eclipse the message. Does my talent? Has my family life spun off into an emotional drama like you would see on reality television? Or perhaps it is so routine and dry that there is no one with a 'Psalm or Hymn' to share.

If the first priority is made to be first again order can be restored. I love it when someone says, 'Can I have a Bible study in my home?' because they are saying 'I want God's order in my life... in my house.' They are willing to clean up the possible mess of 'strangers' in order to have preaching in their living room.

I can go to work and have the message be central. In fact I will in just a few minutes. It is going to make all the difference in my day. I may not mention the death, burial and resurrection of Christ to my co-workers. But it will be my emphasis in my mind. It will be ready on my tongue if God gives opportunity.

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