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Beyond The Four Spiritual Laws

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1Cor 15:34 . . Come to your senses and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don't have the knowledge of God.

That directive is in connection with some of the Corinthians' insistence that dead people stay dead and never recover.

"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (1Cor 15:12)

Apparently some of the Corinthians couldn't see that Christ's resurrection is evidence that it's possible for dead people to recover. A measure of that blindness exists even today among people who insist that Christ's crucified dead body didn't recover. They insist he rose from the dead with another body: a so-called glorified body; and some even insist that Christ returned from the dead as a spirit being rather than a human being, and others postulate that his post crucifixion appearances were done as an angel disguised in a fully functioning human avatar. But if any of that were true, then Christ's prediction at John 2:19-22 would be easily invalidated.

According to 1Cor 15:51-53 and 1Thes 4:13-17, the natural remains of Christ's followers will first revive as they were and then be transformed into something very wonderful during a flight up to meet the Lord in the air.

There is really no sensible reason to not believe that Christ underwent the very same process, i.e. his crucified remains were first returned to life just as he predicted; and then forty days later, at some point during the flight up to heaven as per Acts 1:9, his revived mortal body underwent transformation into an immortal superhuman body.

According to 1Cor 15:34, people who believe Christ's crucified dead body is still dead aren't fully conscious; viz: they're like someone in a stupor; i.e. dazed.
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1Cor 15:56-58 . .The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is The Commandments; but thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing discourage you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of The Lord, because you know that your labor in The Lord isn't futile.

Though Mother Teresa put up a very convincing public image during those five decades of missionary activity in India, her private letters to spiritual counselors reveal that the poor woman was never really sure that Christianity's God even exists; and if He did exist, she was plagued with dread that He didn't particularly like her and might be quite disposed to condemn her. Though she never said so in public, there were was hardly ever a time when she didn't truly wonder if God wanted her in India in the first place.

Had Teresa's personality not been the D-9 Caterpillar tractor that it was, I think the celebrity nun would have given up in India after only one year. But as anyone who knew her will vouch, Teresa wasn't a quitter; no, she was a little bulldog, a survivor; and poverty was her dream venue. However, bull-doggedness is not what Paul is talking about in 1Cor 15:56-58; no, quite the contrary.

Just imagine if somebody had it in the back of their mind that they might be giving The Lord unreserved quantities of their time, talent, and resources in a thankless endeavor only to end up being condemned anyway as per Matt 7:22-23. Well, Paul assured the Corinthians that Christ's work on the cross, and in the grave, guaranteed that wouldn't happen to them-- their resurrection to a better life was in the bag; therefore they needn't fear that in the end their work for The Lord will be judged all for nothing.

Ironically; and at the time of his writing, the Corinthians were not all that spiritual. (1Cor 3:1-3). However; though their work in The Lord was being performed by Christians whose spirituality was basically substandard, they were still useful; which tells me that it isn't necessary to be a super saint before one can begin serving Christ. Just serve him as best you can and pay no attention to your location on the curve: keeping in mind that loyalty and reliability count more than quantity.
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1Cor 16:1-3 . . Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

The "God's people" to whom Paul referred were Jewish Christians whose church was located at Jerusalem. They were having it pretty rough in the early days of Christianity.

Lest somebody should get the wrong idea, that wasn't a tithe. Christ left it up to each individual in Corinth the amount that they felt like donating towards the Jews' relief effort.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2Cor 9:7)

Tithes are not gifts; no, tithes are demanded rather than donated out of the goodness of one's heart. I don't give the government my taxes; no, they take them from me by force of law; viz: I pay taxes against my will, both reluctantly and under compulsion; and I have absolutely no voice in the parentage of my income that they take. When it comes to taxes: I am not cheerful; no, I am grudging. Well; that is not Christian giving. No; Christians have a faith that works by love, not by law. (Gal 5:6)

It would be interesting to take a poll among America's churches just to see, out of curiosity, how many have a program for assisting Jewish Christians over in the modern State of Israel.
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1Cor 16:13a . . Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage; be strong.

Churches are like vegetable gardens in that they have to be nurtured or weeds will take over and the soil will become fallow. And it's not just weeds. Without irrigation, vegetables wither; while there's a pretty good number of weeds out there that can get along without irrigation just fine. Well; the sad reality is: there are Christian churches being led by pastors, deacons, and elders who are just as arid as a Texas vernal pool in August.

"Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the mute burro speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2Pet 2:15-17)

Those kinds of church officers are in it only for the power, the career, the prestige, and the income. Ergo: like Balaam, they're just prophets for profit-- and the sheep? bait fish for the barracudas.

The koiné Greek word for "men of courage" is andrizomai which means: to act manly; which Webster's defines as: (1) having qualities generally associated with a man; viz: strength and virility, and (2) appropriate in character to a man.

Nowadays, what with the destructive influences of feminism abroad, it's difficult to distinguish anymore between womanliness and manliness. Sexism has been made a sin in feminist cultures; which Webster's defines as: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on gender. Well, too bad for the feminists because the God of Christianity is very sexist: take Him or leave Him; as is.

The koiné word for "strong" is krataioo (krat-ah-yo'-o) which means, in common colloquialisms, to man up, step up to the plate, and/or take the bull by the horns. A man doesn't have to stand tall to be a man, but he does have to stand up; and if perchance you're a man reading this: don't you dare ever let women define manliness for you; no, let Christ define it for you. If you permit women to define manliness, they will manipulate you; and your self respect (if you get my drift) will be in their purses. Tom-boys have purses too so be especially wary around competitive she-males. They love nothing better than to whittle a man's self respect down to that of a squeaking little gerbil.

NOTE: There's been a quite a bit of flap in the media of late about a gender issue called misogyny-- defined by Webster's as hatred of women --while very little flap about misandry; defined by Webster's as hatred of men.

Misandry and feminism aren't joined at the hip; viz: not all feminists hate men. Feminism is typically peaceful, objective, and political while misandry is typically malicious, emotional, and personal.
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1Cor 16:14 . . Do everything in love.

In context; "everything" probably refers to managing a church.

If church officers aren't sure how to be in charge and at the same time be civil, then they might take some time to study 1Cor 13:1-8 with a commentary and/or read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
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1Cor 16:15-18 . .You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Paul and his associates depended pretty heavily upon the hospitality of local believers for accommodations and daily necessities. Congregations do well to follow the examples of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus either by opening their homes to missionaries or by funding their stay in a motel and providing them with a rental car.
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1Cor 16:20 . . Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Kissing was a common form of greeting in the old world; and still is in the Middle East and certain parts of Europe; but here in America-- a super-sized racial/cultural/ethnic amalgam of customs from all over the known universe --it's wise to dispense your kisses with discretion. Some of us don't even like to be hugged, let alone bussed; and if you should perchance try to make physical contact with an autistic Christian, you're liable to cause them a panic attack; so go easy on the touchy-feely stuff.

The people to whom Paul referred as "one another" are one's fellow born-again Christians. We're not required to kiss unbelievers. You can be courteous to them, yes (cf. Matt 5:47) but reserve especially warm greetings for your siblings; viz: those who've undergone a second birth as per John 1:12-13 and John 3:3-8, and thus share your adoption into God's home as per Rom 8:15-17.
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1Cor 16:22 . . If anyone love not the Lord, let him be accursed.

One's love of The Lord is evidenced by loyalty.

"If you love me, you will comply with what I command." (John 14:15)

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me." (John 14:21)

"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." (John 14:23-24)

Does a Muslim have to be a terrorist to be accursed? No; they only have to be a loyal follower of Muhammad ibn `Abdullāh instead of a loyal follower of Jesus Christ; same goes for Atheists, Nonreligious, Baha'i, Buddhists, Chinese Universalists, Confucianists, Jains, Kabbalah mystics, Shintoists, Spiritists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Jews, Sikhs, and Hindus-- they're all accursed and there is nothing to be gained in arguing about it.

How many people am I talking about? Well, as of mid 2014, worldwide there were:

550,000 Scientologists
1,500,000 Mormons
8,200,000 Jehovah's Witnesses
7,794,000 Baha'i
515,951,000 Buddhists
451,292,000 Chinese Folk Religionists
8,424,000 Confucianists
974,597,000 Hindus
5,567,000 Jains
14,142,000 Jews
1,673,590 Muslims
2,819,000 Shintoists
24,918,000 Sikhs
14,183,000 Spiritists
8,660,000 Taoists
196,000 Zoroastrians
828,594,000 Nonreligious
692,111,000 Agnostics
136,483,000 Atheists.

The grand total of just those categories alone is 5,369,071,000

If those figures are in the ball park, and if classical Christianity is the reality; then a minimum of at least 75% of the earth's 2014 population of 7.2 billion people didn't love the Lord.

NOTE: Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are Christians, yes, but not in the classical sense.

Joseph Smith's movement is a spin-off; in other words: there's some classical Christianity in Mormonism, but comprises only a portion of Mormonism. The rest of it is extreme, to say the least.

Neither do Jehovah's Witnesses qualify as Christians in the classical sense. Charles Taze Russell's movement is a spin-off too. There's some classical Christianity in the Watchtower Society's doctrines, but comprises only a portion of Russell's doctrines; and his slant on it is very peculiar.
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2Cor 2:5-10 . . The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

The cause for which Paul wrote that section was a guy in the Corinthian church sleeping with his stepmother (1Cor 5:1). Paul had commanded the Corinthians to not only hold the man's feet to the fire, but also to ostracize him.

Some time had passed since then, and the man was apparently regretting his actions, and broken off the illicit relationship with his kin, so it was time to let him back into the group. No doubt the humiliation of it all had a tremendous impact upon his attitude-- probably upon the congregation's too because at first their attitude wasn't all that good about it either. (cf. 1Cor 5:2)

Here in America scolding and ostracizing a church member would probably just make them indignant rather than repentant.
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2Cor 2:9-11 . . If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-- if there was anything to forgive --I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

One of the opposition's tactics is to create disunity in a church. Sure enough when that happens-- as when one portion of the congregation believes in judging and ostracizing while the other doesn't --people start taking sides and the church will end up divided into cliques and factions. According to the lord and master of New Testament Christianity, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Paul mentioned that his extension of forgiveness was "in the sight of Christ". There exists some controversy as to the exact meaning but I think it's just saying that Paul's forgiveness of that man was done in accordance with Christ's approval; to the end that the Corinthians all go along with it, i.e. stand together as one.
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2Cor 5:20-21 . . We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

There's two different aspects to reconciliation. One is a criminal justice kind of reconciliation (Rom 5:6-11, Rom 6:3-11, 1John 2:2) and the other is a fellowship kind of reconciliation. (Gen 4:1-7, Gen 5:22-24, Gen 6:9, Gen 17:1, 1John 1:3-7)

For example, a man and his wife may not be speaking to each other; and sleeping in separate beds; but they're still married: they're just not getting along; in other words, they're out of fellowship with one another. It's God's wishes that His own walk with Him in fellowship while they're waiting for their departure; and the Corinthians weren't doing very well at it.

In order to restore diplomatic relations between themselves and their Father above, that congregation had to knuckle down and deal with sin in their midst in accordance with their master's wishes rather than their own. Compare Josh 7:2-26 where Moses' people couldn't win anymore battles until they first dealt with a sin in their midst.

It's ironic that a fully functioning Christian church like the one at Corinth was in need of reconciliation with God. How many Christian churches are just like that today? They pride themselves in being Spirit-filled congregations, yet their congregational attitude is completely out of touch with Christ. Yes, Christian congregations are oftentimes out of touch and need to come to their senses and reconnect or else they risk becoming like the church at Laodicea where the central figure of Christianity is depicted outside the building banging on the door trying to get someone's attention to let him in. (Rev 3:14-22)
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2Cor 6:1-2 . . As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain; for He says: In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

Some of Christ's followers are sort of on hold as they look forward to God's patronage and providence after they die; but Paul says you can lay hold of those benefits now. In other words: the cross not only qualifies people for Heaven, but also for obtaining God's earthly patronage and providence. However, that earthly aspect of the plan of salvation comes with a string attached-- obedience.

"No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." (John 15:1-7)

Nobody really wants to be a stick of ol' dried up yard debris, but that's what happens when Christ's followers go off-reservation and follow their own noses instead of walking in the light.

"When somebody loves me, they will obey my teaching; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:23-24)

In other words: according to the Father's testimony as an expert witness in all matters pertaining to fellowship: a Christian not obeying Christ has disassociated themselves from both Christ and his Father (2John 1:9). But they aren't lost; they're just lapsed. (cf. John 5:24)
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2Cor 6:14-18 . . Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?

. . . for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith The Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith The Lord Almighty.

That commandment clearly forbids intermarriage between Christians and non-Christians. Failure to comply is not only grossly disobedient, but it's unwise and can have tragic results; for example:

"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose." (Gen 6:1-2)

If we assume that the "sons of God" were believers and the "daughters of men" were not; then it would appear that back in Noah's day, believing men threw caution to the wind and built themselves harems of unbelieving women. What happened to those believing men when it came time for the Flood? Well, for one thing; they had lost their piety.

"The Lord then said to Noah: Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation." (Gen 7:1)

None of the other sons of God in that day were righteous; hence they weren't invited aboard the ark. All of those men-- whose women were chosen based solely upon sex appeal sans any spiritual prudence whatsoever --perished in the Flood right along with everybody else.

Another incident is located at Nehemiah 13:23-31; which led to the break-up of homes. Were Nehemiah to do so in our day, the media would crucify him for cruelty to children. But Nehemiah wasn't the one at fault. The Jews had entered into illegal marriages; consequently their families became collateral damage.
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2Cor 7:1 . . Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of deference to God's wishes.

Contaminations of one's body would include things like criminal conduct, mean speech, drug addiction, alcoholism, adultery, promiscuity, gluttony, eating blood, etc.

Contaminations of one's spirit would include things like rivalry, envy, conceit, arrogance, malice, hateful thoughts, evil schemes, selfish ambition, stifling one's compassion, etc.

The promises in view are those at 2Cor 6:14-18.

Webster's defines "deference" as affected and/or ingratiating regard for another's wishes. Deference is the opposite of resistance, rebellion, defiance, and stubbornness.
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2Cor 8:11-15 . . If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.

That directive is an excellent passage for debunking the so-called Faith Promise; which is a popular scheme for tricking church members to pledge money they don't have while expecting God's providence will somehow provide it. That is not the Lord's wish. By means of Paul, the Lord says to give out of what you already have, not what you hope to have later; I mean: it is not His wish to copy ENRON's mark-to-market accounting practices and/or futures trading with pork bellies and soy beans.
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2Cor 9:7 . . Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Towards what end is the giving spoken of in the New Testament? To finance ambitious building programs? Well; Christians back then met in homes. Did their donations go towards obtaining more homes to meet in? No.

Within the context of the New Testament, giving in the early church was charitable. It met needs rather than expenses; and those needs were typically congregational rather than universal; viz: their charity went towards those amongst themselves and/or other congregations, that were hungry, sick, injured, homeless, alone, helpless, missionaries, full-time-church officers, orphans, widows, abandoned, and/or persecuted, etc.
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1Cor 16:13a . . Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage; be strong.

The koiné Greek word for "men of courage" is andrizomai (an-drid'-zom-ahee) which basically means to act manly; defined by Webster's as: (1) having qualities generally associated with a man; viz: strength and virility, and (2) appropriate in character to a man.

Well; we sure don't want the Christian women in church to become so-called strong women; i.e. she-males. Masculinity is definitely not appropriate in character to Christian women. We want them to stand firm in the faith in a womanly way, viz: feminine rather than masculine.
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1Cor 16:14 . . Do everything in love.

In context; "everything" probably refers to managing a church.

If church officers aren't sure how to be in charge and at the same time be civil, then they might take some time to study 1Cor 13:1-8 with a commentary and/or read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
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1Cor 16:15-18 . .You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Paul and his associates depended pretty heavily upon the hospitality of local believers for accommodations and daily necessities. Congregations do well to follow the examples of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus either by opening their homes to missionaries or by funding their stay in a motel and providing them with a rental car.
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1Cor 16:20 . . Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Kissing was a common form of greeting in the old world; and still is in the Middle East and certain parts of Europe; but here in America-- a super-sized racial/cultural/ethnic amalgam of customs from all over the globe --it's wise to dispense your kisses with discretion. Some of us don't even like to be hugged, let alone bussed; and if you should perchance try to make physical contact with an autistic Christian, you're liable to cause them a panic attack; so go easy on the touchy-feely stuff.

The people to whom Paul referred as "one another" are one's fellow born-again Christians. We're not required to kiss unbelievers. You can be courteous to them, yes (cf. Matt 5:47) but reserve especially warm greetings for your siblings; viz: those who've undergone a second birth as per John 1:12-13 and John 3:3-8, and thus share your adoption into God's home as per Rom 8:15-17.
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