For This Cause 
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 
(1 Corinthians 11:30)
This sleep means physical death. What is the cause of these bodily malfunctions? 
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 
(1 Corinthians 11:29)
This means that some sin that we commit can cause physical death. What is this sin? 
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 
(1 Corinthians 11:27)
Let's now add a few more Scriptures to see what Paul meant. 
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
He wrote this to professing Christians who were still under the influence of the worldly idols of the time and this was the cause of the admonition. 
Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 
(1 Corinthians 11:17-22)
It goes back to verse twenty nine. Some of these people, although professing to be Christians, had not been converted or else they would have discerned what Jesus had done for them. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as the saying goes, so their lack of discernment was proof of the lack of the Holy Spirit in their lives; either because they had never truly made a Covenant with God, or had not counted His presence as of much import. Remember, Paul had pastored this church for eighteen months (Acts 18:11) and yet, when he left there were still some who went to church but were unconverted. 
After eighteen months he must have known the congregation pretty well and the letters to the Corinthian church must have been of a much more personal nature than say Romans or Colossians whom he had only heard about. 
We also see that in various instances in Corinthians Paul was answering questions presumably put to him in a letter or letters. 
So, it would seem that there were many apostates even in the church pastored by Paul, it's nothing new. 
Isn't it also significant that just after this in his letter Paul also answers questions about Spiritual gifts? 
Let's take this a bit further here.
From reading the word of God it becomes apparent that there are at least four types of people who go to church: 
  • Those who are converted. (John 3:3)
  • Those weak in the faith. (Romans 14:1)
  • The wolves in sheep's clothing. (2 Corinthians 11:9-20) 
  • The uncommitted. 
When someone is converted through the work on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, that person becomes the willing servant of God. God is love to those who respond to that love and are joyfully obedient. God will protect those who are His servants, as the above verses confirm. This must mean therefore that those professing Christians who are not obedient to God's wishes, who have not discerned the Lord's body, are not under His protection. 
This must mean therefore that they have not the Holy Spirit actively dwelling inside them. And yet many disobedient "christians" speak in tongues and are proud of it. While listening to someone like this spouting forth it is obvious that this is of a spiritual nature, but if it isn't from God who is it from? It must be from Satan, the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. This person is therefore one of the wolves in sheep's clothing that Paul describes elsewhere. His or her purpose is to disrupt the flow of the Holy Spirit in the church. 
He may be the minister.
Moreover, even though Paul knew these people by name, he didn't point fingers at anyone, but allowed the Holy Spirit to convict those who were converted or about to be. The wolves were there in any event. The true believers would naturally drift to each other and voluntarily form a "home cell" where there was no outside interference. Here, the Holy Spirit would be given free rein (reign) and Spiritual gifts would become evident - for the purpose of glorifying and serving God in obedience. 
After this, there was probably another, smaller group who did not advertise their meeting together and to whom "members" were invited according to their walk and talk and not according to the denomination of their church. A group of disciples where God's love and power was in evidence and where His will was done. Not only a "holy huddle", but a place of outreach where self came second. 
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 
(John 4:23-24)
Spirit and truth - the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Bible. There is a difference between knowing the word and knowing the truth. Only the Holy Spirit of God can show one the truth of the Bible because it is spiritually discerned. 
Nevertheless, and how encouraging, this Corinthian church of whom Paul had been the Pastor was, with all its faults and humbugs, still the church of God. 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: 
(2 Corinthians 1:1)
Now, because of the times that we live in the idols1that Satan offers us are of a different nature, softening us up for the double whammy that he has planned for us. 
Are we each going to be able to endure to the end? 
You may remember that shortly after the above passages of Scripture were written the Christians endured unbelievable torture of their bodies to make them change their minds (hearts) about who Jesus Christ was. 
Just sit and think for a while. Why would it be necessary for guiltless, law-abiding people to be tortured, torn limb from limb just for a conviction that they carried around with them? They weren't harming anybody. So there must have been a hidden reason, a hidden agenda; a spiritual one. 
  • Millions of men and women in parts of the third world, especially in Africa, India and Asia, far away from the presence of the media, are still being tortured, raped and killed for their "crime" of calling themselves Christians, just as it has,without pause, since Christ Jesus died for our sins and rose again, defeating Satan for those who believe. 
  • In the first world we have it so easy that we have become soft, watching as the power to govern ourselves and our families is taken from us piece by piece, until one day, all of a sudden, we shall be forced to make a life-changing choice, just as hard, but of a different nature to that of immediate torture and death. 
Many of you reading this believe that you will be "raptured" before this shall happen and you have Scriptures to back up your belief. 
But what if you are wrong? Remember the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Because many misinterpreted Scripture they refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah. 
We are not talking about Mickey Mouse stuff here2, your whole everlasting future depends on this. Will you be able to endure to the end? 
Paul was able to spiritually strengthen the church in Corinth and elsewhere; and as a result of the Christian martyrs, Satan realised that he had to change his tactics of human domination and so he invaded the church. Church and state became aligned and he was able to work more subtly and effectively. 
Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, be aware of doing things unworthy of the King of kings lest you fall into the snare of the "easy life". 
God is love to those who respond to that love and are joyfully obedient to their King. 
1 Idols of the Heart. 
2 God is Love. 
Yea in Christ Jesus 
The following was revealed by God the Holy Spirit yesterday and shall be apparent to you as such as we proceed. 
Because the subject, namely obedience, is being discussed in this discourse it is included here. 
The Lord's timing, is as to be expected, perfect. 
As an introduction, this part of the Bible shows how the children of Israel and their rulers had departed from their Covenant with God and how God was working with them. 
The following chapter leads up to the first part of the message that the Lord wants to show you: 
And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead: And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not. So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead. And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain. And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled. Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication. And they said, It is false; tell us now. And he said, Thus and thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king. So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria. But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel. So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram. And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace? So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again. Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously. And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite. And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah. And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD. But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David. And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah. And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel. 
(2 Kings 9:1-37)
Here's the first part that was received: 
And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying, Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour; Look even out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house. But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up. And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah. So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining. And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them. And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot. And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah. And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only. And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan. And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan. 
(2 Kings 10:1-33)
Yesterday, Sunday, we watched and listened to a video tape of a church service, one of a series that forms part of our Sunday worship, and the subject of the message was: 
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 
(John 14:21)
The final part of this message that was revealed was Paul's concern for the church which he pastored: 
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 
(2 Corinthians 1:9)
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 
(2 Corinthians 1:12)
When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 
(2 Corinthians 1:17-20)
For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 
(2 Corinthians 2:9)
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 
(2 Corinthians 2:11)
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 
(2 Corinthians 2:17)
All glory to the Living God! 
Let it be said here that the loving obedience that God expect of us, His subjects, is not what we believe is obedience, but that which He has stated in His word. 
Let His word become Truth in our lives! 
The following was found printed on a paper bookmark: 
Eternal Father, you have called us apart from the world so that we might meet together in brotherhood and we thank you for this opportunity. 
Hold before us the example of your Son, who was the man who lived for others and show us how best we may bear witness as Christian disciples in our homes, our places of work and in the life of our community. 
Grant us grace that in going forth from here we may be faithful to our calling as those who name Jesus Christ as Lord, and daily experience the joyous freedom of the Sons of God.