Prayer for Ukraine (Day 6) and 1 Corinthians 3.1-4

While praying for Ukraine today, I had two thoughts from a passage that details the events of the Transfiguration

(1) One thought that caught my attention was: “And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9.4).

God is willing to talk with us about highly significant events. Two men, Moses and Elijah, had something to say to Jesus about what was about to happen in Jerusalem.

Paul writes that the grace of God has “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2.6).

Our position is one of authority because we are seated with Jesus. We are able to talk to Jesus, just as did Elijah and Moses.

As we join millions of Christians in God’s throne room, let’s make full use of that gift of grace.

(2) Talking to God includes listening to him, as well.

Peter felt free to talk to Jesus about the experience, but God dramatically corrected him. “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (Mark 9.7).

One of Jesus’ many prayer promises is, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15.7).

An abiding relationship with Jesus combines both talking and listening. Jesus’ words will abide in us, as we listen to the Lord through prayer and Bible reading.

While we are seated in the heavenly places with Christ, both talking and listening to him, we will play a supportive role for God’s purposes to be accomplished in Ukraine.

Unity and Why It Matters

The church in Corinth was fragmented over the leaders.

It is clear from the letter that Apollos and Paul were not divided. The events in Corinth were manufactured by immature followers of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3.1-4And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh.

For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?

For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

Paul used three terms to describe the Corinthians, none of them flattering.

(1) Flesh – As “people of the flesh,” they operated outside of God’s guidance.

“Flesh” is a technical term in Paul’s letters that describes a person who lives separate from God.

Paul identified the members of the church as “brothers and sisters,” as Christians.

Yet, they were not living like followers of Jesus. Instead, they were living like people who were distant from Christ.

(2) Infants – Babies and children are cute, but adults who act childish are anything but attractive.

The church in Corinth had been in existence for five years. Paul expected the leaders to be more influenced by Jesus than their surrounding culture. Instead, they looked more like their fellow Corinthians than Jesus.

(3) Merely Human – The church gave evidence of its flesh-like and child-like characteristics because they were acting like everyone else in the city.

Followers of different wisdom speakers in the forum were often in conflict with each other. This seemed to be a daily occurrence in Corinth.

Paul was critical of the church because followers of Jesus were divided in the same way as their Corinthian counterparts.

Why This Matters

The most important event in human history was the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The role of the church in spreading the information about this event cannot be overemphasized.

Jesus’ last word to his followers was, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).

When the church is divided, the chances are that they are not witnessing the good news of God’s love. In fact, divisions within the church are extremely harmful to our witness.

Paul wrote many of his letters for one reason, to unite the church in a common purpose of extending the good news of Christ into the world.

Students of church history recognize the many ways that a divided church has brought shame to our Lord. The Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, and the fact that the church in 2021 is divided into 33,000 denominations illustrate our divisiveness.

These events are negative advertising and a distraction from the message of God’s love we’ve been called to proclaim.

Grow Up!

How do people who are characterized as “fleshly,” “infants,” and “mere humans” grow into maturity? Here are some thoughts to consider.

(1) Be selective about who has access to your mind. Bad leaders corrupt their followers.

(2) A humble and prayerful reading of the Bible will promote spiritual maturity.

What took place in my Bible reading and prayer time this morning is a good example. I have read about the Transfiguration many times, but today two thoughts jumped off the page of my Bible.

Both of the thoughts made an impact on my mind and seemed to draw me closer to Jesus. How I continue to respond to the Lord will determine whether this gracious experience will grow my maturity.

(3) Don’t get distracted, but stick to the central message of the Lord.

If we are busy serving Jesus and promoting his good news to people around us, we won’t have time for non-essential disputes.

I expect Paul was irritated that he had to slow down his missionary efforts to bring peace to a divided church.

Let’s not grieve the Holy Spirit by quarreling over non-essential matters. Let’s do all we can to witness to God’s love in a broken and troubled world.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross has many insightful thoughts on the passage we are studying today. The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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