I have been very encouraged over recent weeks and months to see our church family growing as well as seeing many serving their Lord. It is always a special joy for a pastor to see those whom he loves serving in a way that brings glory to God and joy to others. I have had a special week in so many ways. I have valued your prayers concerning my father. He is slowly responding and at the time of writing ‘hanging in there’! I so much enjoyed praying with a couple on Tuesday morning for our church family as well as our missionaries. How special it is to pray with others and as we witness God’s mercy in answering prayer. And then to see our valiant team of Mainly Music workers showing the love of Jesus to young mothers and children and grandparents too. Yes, it is great to witness a loving church working and serving together. This is what Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth is all about!
Today we start a couple of weeks in a part of God’s word that is really difficult to understand as we live our lives in this twenty first century. The church in Corinth was going through some troubling times, and mostly, it was self-inflicted. It is crucial for all in the local church to live out the two great commandments that Jesus reminded His disciples so often. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is critical and loving our neighbour as we would love our self is equally important. This is something that had been forgotten by the Corinthian Christians. Respect, patience and genuine love for one another was in short supply. Simple matters concerning food and general freedoms were becoming divisive issues that caused the church to become spiritually unhealthy. Paul deals with these issues in his usual ‘straightforward and to the point’ approach.
I have asked Owen Tsao to preach on this difficult part of Scripture today. It is his first time preaching and what a challenge he has before him. Yet, I have no doubt that as he has thought through the text for the past month, God will use him to speak to each one of us concerning our need to love God and to show practical love for others. We need to be people of action when it comes to love and often this means that we need to be more patient and forgiving of those who comprise our spiritual family. Yes it is true, that if we fail to be a loving church then we are nothing more than noisy gongs and a people who have failed to understand who our Saviour really is – He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us by dying on the cross for our sins – He showers us with incredible love and in turn this love should flow through us to others! Let us have ears to hear today!