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Isaiah 65: 24
It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

This outstanding indicator of unlimited access to God in prayer is part of the description of future millennial glory of which God declares that He will create “new heavens and a new earth.” This renovation will be a work of gladness to such a degree that there will no longer be heard in Jerusalem “the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.” The time described is not yet the time when death itself will be abolished (I Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 20: 14), but a blessing of extreme longevity seems to anticipate the abolishment of death (Isaiah 65: 20, part of v. 22):

A major theme throughout I Corinthians, chapters 8-11, is the importance of being a good example to all people within the Christian family and outside the family. The simple practice of social customs provides a continual opportunity to make deliberate, concerted efforts to avoid being offensive to others. God is honored by this carefulness when it is done from godly motives.

I Corinthians 10: 31-11:1 Williams Translation
So if you eat or drink or do anything else, do everything to honor God. Stop being stumbling blocks to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I myself am in the habit of pleasing everybody in everything, not aiming at my own welfare but at that of as many people as possible, in order that they may be saved. You must follow my example, just as I myself am following Christ’s.

Ephesians 1: 1-14 (Moffatt Translation)
Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the saints who are faithful in Jesus Christ: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing within the heavenly sphere! He chose us in him ere the world was founded, to be consecrated and unblemished in his sight, destining us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ. Such was the purpose of his will, redounding to the praise of his glorious grace bestowed on us in the Beloved, in whom we enjoy our redemption, the forgiveness of our trespasses, by the blood he shed. So richly has God lavished upon us his grace, granting us complete insight and understanding of the open secret of his will, showing us how it was the purpose of his design so to order it in the fullness of the ages that all things in heaven and earth alike should be gathered up in Christ- in the Christ in whom we have had our heritage allotted to us (as was decreed in the design of him who carries out everything according to the counsel of his will), to make us redound to the praise of his glory by being the first to put our hope in Christ. You have also heard in him the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, and in him you also by your faith have been stamped with the seal of the long-promised holy Spirit, which is the pledge and instalment of our common heritage, that we may obtain our divine possession and so redound to the praise of his glory.

I Corinthians 10: 1- 13 (A Translation by William Barclay)
Brothers, you must never forget that our ancestors all journeyed under the pillar of cloud, and all passed safely through the Red Sea. In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptized as followers of Moses. They all ate the same supernatural food, and they all drank the same supernatural drink, for they drank from the supernatural rock which accompanied them on their journey- and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless most of them incurred the displeasure of God, and the desert was strewn with their dead bodies. These events are intended as symbolic warnings to us not to set our hearts on evil things, as they did. Nor must you become idolaters, as some of them did. As scripture says: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to indulge in their heathen sport.’ Nor must we commit fornication as some of them did, in consequence of which twenty-three thousand died in a day. Nor must we try to see how far we can go with God and get away with it, as they did, and in consequence were destroyed by serpents. Nor must you grumble against God, as some of them did, and in consequence were killed by the Angel of Death. What happened to them is intended as a symbolic warning to us. These events were recorded as advice to us, for we are living in the age to which all the ages have been leading up. One warning emerges from all this- anyone who thinks that he is standing securely must be careful in case he collapses. You have been involved in no trials except those which are part of the human situation. You can rely on God not to allow you to be tested beyond what you are able to cope with. No! When trial comes he will send you along with it the way out of it, to enable you to bear it.

II Corinthians 6: 14 – 7: 1 Moffatt Translation
Keep out of all incongruous ties with unbelievers. What have righteousness and iniquity in common, or how can light associate with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial, or what business has a believer with an unbeliever? What compact can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God – as God has said,

I will dwell and move among them, I will be their God and they shall be my people. Therefore come away from these, separate, saith the Lord, touch not what is unclean; then I will receive you, I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord almighty.

In part 1 there was a general sketch about Paul’s deep compassion for the Corinthian believers and the issues addressed in I Corinthians.  To narrow the focus, an overview of some matters discussed in chapters 8 – 11 of I Corinthians could help our understanding of the warnings regarding the Lord’s Supper.

The problems about eating meat that had formed part of a sacrifice offered to pagan idols was a very real issue for these Christians of the first century; Paul discussed this in chapters 8 and 10 here, and he also addressed it in Romans, (which was probably written later.)

The relating of the last supper of the lord Jesus with his disciples in the eleventh chapter of I Corinthians is probably the first written account of this event, recorded years before any of the gospel records could be read. It gives a glimpse of what was practiced among Christians during the first century, and it emphasizes important truths to be considered.

Understanding Paul’s Christ-centered heart for the Corinthian believers and the situations of concern at Corinth can help one to perceive the solemn warnings regarding the partaking of the bread and the cup in I Corinthians, chapter 11.

Why Debate?

Upon considering the truths in Philippians 2: 1-8, I am struck by what humility looks like in practical fellowship among believers. Paul obviously did not confuse boldness of speech with contention and strife. Being united in the same love and being focused on a single purpose, according to these verses, means applying painstaking carefulness to avoid doing anything out of “selfishness or empty conceit”, “competitive rivalry or in the conceited desire for empty prestige”, “rivalry or personal vanity”, “selfish strife or petty ambition”, “faction, nor yet according to vainglory”; etc. (There are other good translations of this phrase.) This carnal attitude of rivalry and ambition is in stark contrast to the humble servant’s heart of deeming others as more important than himself. The ultimate example of a humble, “ambition free” attitude is the selfless mindset of the Messiah (v. 5- 8 in the context.) He was never lacking for boldness, yet he was not contentious.

To comprehend God’s use of logos in certain key passages in John’s writings is to grasp something that has generally been misunderstood for centuries. Believers need not be misled by faulty translations that use capitalization to promote theological errors. Despite all, the truth is so plain for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. God purposed the sending of the Messiah in His heart “in the beginning”, and when the time was right, He brought what He had foreknown into existence.

John 1: 14 (from The New Testament translated by Richmond Lattimore)
And the word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of a single son from his father, full of grace and truth.

John 1: 14 (from Tyndale’s New Testament – a modern- spelling edition)
And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw the glory of it, as the glory of the only begotten son of the father, which word was full of grace and verity.

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