Nehemiah's Call

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Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

January 18, 2007

Competing Rather Than Completing

This writing is centered on 1 Corinthians 1:1-10. I recommend rereading this and Ephesians 4:1-24 to fully grasp what I want to communicate.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

To really grasp what is being said in this important transitional verse we must look a little closer at the previous thought outlined. Paul has a way of introducing key Kingdom principles in his opening sentences and paragraphs.

Right away in the first sentences he sets the tone about what it means to be called. Paul called to be an apostle, the church at Corinth called to be saints and these join the world wide body as those who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Part of apostolic teaching recognizes that to be a true Christian is to reject the prevailing culture as lord and savior, as arbiter and director of our purpose and cause in life. 

It is this full name Jesus Christ our Lord that is spoken of, a name that has much strength and authority when spoken out loud.  

As is true in every age the power of culture to provide a sense of life and death is alluring and conditions ourselves to compete rather than complete. In the letter to the Corinthians it does not take long for the new believers in Christ to apply their new found freedom into building their own little kingdoms. They are off to compete rather than complete.

One of the central themes of Jesus coming in the flesh was to live among the disciples so they saw how He lived. He did not come to compete but came to complete. Upon His ascension and pouring out of the Holy Spirit we who are new creations in Christ are complete in Him. We do not need to compete. Today, the primary role of the apostle, prophet, evangelist and pastor/teacher is to mend or restore (complete) the saints for the work of ministry. This is to be the ideal team leadership center for congregational life.

Modern day forms of persecution throughout the Western world are subtle today. Our prevailing culture is really at war with our souls convincing us that these life and death experiences are real, things to be fought for. Many of us have believed this lie and are bent on competing rather than completing. Since we are battling this cultural war day in and day out we bring these views to our gathering places on Sunday or whenever. 

The reason why it is unnecessary to operate in a competing mode is embedded in verses 4 through 9. Paul uses four powerful aorist passive verbs to communicate what we have received in this new life in Christ. I have underlined these important verbs.

1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

Grace has been given to us by Christ Jesus. The simple fact of our new creation in Him gives us a certain strength and ability to press on. This grace wrought in agape allows us to live a life of boldness and purpose.

1:5 that you were enriched in every thing by Him in all utterance and all knowledge

This word enriched in the original language means “wealth”. Jesus Himself is the primary ingredient toward health. Just as the grains and fiber hold bread together some special ingredients can supplement. We have received a special ingredient called grace that allows us to experience all of His wealth. All that is rightfully His is shared with us. Our speaking and thinking resound from having received this ingredient.  

1:6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you

As we share our testimony our words edify and strengthen our faith. The testimony of Christ is found as we share what Jesus Christ has done in our lives. As we receive others in the body and their ministry to us we too are receiving this confirmation. It is this witness in our spirit that enables us to stand. It allows us to remain upright.

1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The last of these verbs is found connected to this special word koinonos that Paul uses to describe partners in business. When we discover that this business partnership is centered in Jesus Christ and allow this truth to sink in, we will naturally shed the desire toward competition within the body of Christ. Jesus is the ultimate business partner. He won’t do you in or steal from you or take credit for all your good ideas. He will share His wisdom with you and bring out the special gifts that this unique partnership is meant for. 

Our life and purpose is hidden in Christ. We are new creations in Christ for the sole purpose of experiencing this fellowship with the Son. Our fellowship is not with this world and its experience. It is the tangible fruit of seeing God being faithful to us as the source of unfailing love. We can experience this fullness right now. God is faithful to prove Himself in every age.

Written by Lawrence R. Yoder - Director

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