“Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:12-14 NLT
Apollos was an eloquent speaker and teacher. “Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.” Acts of the Apostles 18:24-26 NLT
He is mentioned in chapter one of this book along with Paul, Peter, and Jesus (see I Corinthians 1:12). Altogether, his name is mentioned sixteen times in three different books (Acts 18:23-27; 19:1; I Corinthians 1:11-12; 3:4-6,22; 4:1,6; 16:12; Titus 3:13).
Apollos, just like all of us, had need of better understanding in the things of the Lord.
No matter how well we are liked, how gifted we are, or how much we know, there is always more we can learn. Thank God for people like Aquila and Priscilla. We all need godly, well seasoned fathers and mothers in the faith.
Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside, in love, and taught him. God wants us to lovingly do the same for others and let others do the same to us. The love of God should be the motivating characteristic in all we do.
May God help us to be faithful in our call, supported and surrounded by godly mentors, and willing to learn.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me have a willingness to learn. Help me value those in my life that take me under their wing and teach me things more fully in Your Word.
“When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. Don’t let anyone treat him with contempt. Send him on his way with your blessing when he returns to me. I expect him to come with the other believers.”
1 Corinthians 16:10-11 NLT
Timothy was a young disciple who was being mentored as an apprentice under Paul. Paul first met Timothy in Lystra in his second missionary journey (see Acts 16:1-3). Timothy was a godly young man who was the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother. His mother and grandmother must have had significant influence on his faith.
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 2 Timothy 1:5 NLT
Paul trusted him and expected the Corinthian believers to accept and honor him with the same respect as they would him. In Paul's letter to Timothy, he instructs him not to let others discredit him because of his age. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12 NLT
It isn't how old we are in years. When the anointing of the Holy Spirit is upon someone, His presence brings power and authority. God's call on a life carries with it a corresponding respect. Paul gave his personal endorsement to Timothy. For a young man to catch the eye and attention of Paul they had to have the hand of God on them. This was a significant recommendation.
Would to God we had more young men who were reared in the things of God. One of the major problems today is the absence of godly young men.
We need more Timothy's in our churches and society. It isn't about how old we are, it's about how well we know the Master. I've seen men who were elderly that were void of the knowledge of God. I've also seen some younger men who have better biblical understanding than men twice their age. Let's not just grow old, let's grow up in the Jesus. Let's pray for more young men like Timothy.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, give us young men like Timothy. Help us, as parents and grandparents, raise godly young men who will impact the world for Jesus Christ.
“I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.” 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 NLT
Macedonia was the northern part of Greece. Paul was in Ephesus, a city in Asia Minor (the land we call Turkey today), preaching and teaching the gospel in spite of great opposition. He desired to make it to Corinth to check on the church there as well. Travel in those days was harsh. There were no air flights, cars, buses, or trains. Walking, horseback, or by ship were the only options. This kind of devotion to Jesus is remarkable. This man, Paul, who was once a persecutor of the church was now giving his all for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing else mattered to him. He was bent on sharing the gospel with every ounce of life within him.
What about us? Where is our devotion? What is our commitment? Are we sold out for Christ Jesus our Lord? Is our life's purpose to know Him and make Him known? These questions demand answers. What will be the memory of your life? Will others say you lived to pleasure yourself or to please Him? Think about that for a while. Ask God to help you see your life as He sees it. Are you an associate Christian (someone who claims to know the Lord yet denies Him in your conduct and character)? Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Him.
"Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 NLT
Can we honestly say that this is what we are doing?
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me remember that the purpose of my life is to glorify You! Help me regain my focus and finish well!
“Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me.” 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 NLT
There are times when we need to assist our fellow believers. The Corinthian believers were enjoying financial prosperity while the saints in Jerusalem were struggling to survive. The Corinthian church, as well as all of the other known churches that had been established, had a direct connection to the church in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the mother church of them all. From Jerusalem had come all of the original believers. The gospel was now spreading to the known world. There were no denominations. There was only one church. They cared for one another. There were no electronic money transfers or instantaneous transactions that could take care of such needs. The offerings had to be collected systematically and then entrusted into the hands of trustworthy believers to insure the safe, accurate, delivery of the funds collected. Paul was even willing to travel with this select group to insure it's proper handling. The collection must have been sizable. This would tempt unstable men and attract thieves. There were no armored vehicles. This was dangerous and extremely important business. This should help us realize how deeply the early believers truly loved God and each other. May God help us be sensitive to the needs of others, especially our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:2 and 10 says it like this: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” NLT
In I John 3:17 we are told: “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” NLT
We must always be willing to care for and assist our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me see the world through your eyes. Help me discern the needs of others and respond as you would.
“What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 NLT
One day, when Jesus returns, our corruptible physical bodies will be translated into incorruptible, immortal, eternal bodies. The sorrow, pain, heartache, and grief that we have experienced while living in this current state will change forever. Our current bodies are racked with pain, disease, sickness, and ultimately death. Because of sin, we are spiritually and physically dead.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:4-6 NLT
When we truly accept Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are made alive again. The inward man is made eternally alive. The outward man is still perishing. (see 2 Corinthians 4:16). The thrilling news is that even our bodies are going to be made new and eternal. God has given His Son Jesus as the payment for our redemption. That redemption includes our spirit, soul, and body as well as all of creation.
"And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” Romans 8:23 NLT
One day, all things will be made new (see Revelation 21 and 22). Those who are born again will experience the home makeover of the ages. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection has made this all possible!!! Can I hear a shout of praise from the children of God! Let us lift our praises to the Triumphant King of kings. He has delivered us from the power and penalty of sin! Hallelujah!!!!!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I praise you for life. Eternal life!!! Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in my place and victoriously rising over death and the grave. Holy Spirit, help me live this life in the power and name of the resurrected Lord-JESUS!!!!!!!
“The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.”
1 Corinthians 15:45-49 NLT
The word "Adam" means "man". Adam was the first man in the human race. When God made Adam He breathed life into him by His Spirit. Until the Spirit of God breathed into him, Adam was not alive, he was just a body made from dust (see Genesis 2:7). Once God's breath was in Adam, he came to life. In Genesis 3:1-7 Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 2:17). Eve ate first and then she gave some to Adam (see Genesis 3:6). When Eve ate, nothing happened. When Adam ate, both of their eyes turned from a righteous view of life to a perverted view. (see Genesis 3:6-7). Adam was the original, first "man" created in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-27 and I Corinthians 11:7). Yes, God made Eve from man (see Genesis 2:18-25). She was bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. Adam, however, was the spiritual covering. When they sinned they fell from their right standing with God because the Spirit of God left their bodies. In Genesis 3:8 we read of the Lord's voice walking in the garden in the "cool of the day" (KJV). Hebrew is the original language in which the text was written. The literal Hebrew definition of the "voice of God" is breath. The breeze of God's breath was blowing in the garden of Eden with no place to dwell. The Spirit had dwelt in Adam and Eve but was now no longer able to dwell in a sinful, dark, depraved man. The only hope for Adam and Eve and their descendants was for a perfect "man" to take their place in death. Death was the penalty of their actions (see Romans 6:23). Immediate spiritual death and inevitable physical death.
Jesus was born as a baby to become "Adam" (man). God became a "man" to be the perfect, sinless substitute for our sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus grew up as a "man" to experience all the things of this life (see Hebrews 4:15). He knows our pain and suffering. The distinction was His sinless life. His sinless life rendered Him the qualified sacrifice for sin.
Only through accepting Jesus as our atoning sacrifice for sin can we be restored to right standing with God. Then, and only then, will the Holy Spirit breath life into us. Then, and only then, will be become a true "man". Without the Spirit of God inside us we are wretched and eternally separated from God. Confessing our sin, repenting of it, and accepting Jesus as Lord will cause the breath of God to resuscitate us. I don't know about you, but I want to live, not just exist! (see Romans 10:9-10).
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, breathe the Holy Spirit into my body. Only then can I live and see the world through Your eyes!!!
“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.” 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 NLT
What a message for the start of Spring. Just as the seasons change from Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter, and Winter to Spring there are the seasons of life. We spring forth, fresh and new. We grow up into the summer of life and our best years. Then we begin to fall away. Our lives become bitter in the cold of winter. It seems that life will never be the same again. We can't get our life back.
Life isn't ending. The seed we are now is about to be planted in the ground. The process of spiritual germination is about to take place. You see, unless we let go of the seed in our hand, we will never see what lives inside that seed. Inside the seed is life yet to be realized. It must be planted in the ground and die. Once it dies it sprouts forth from beneath the soil and becomes what it is created to be. Only then can it's true life be realized.
As long as we are in this body, we cannot see what truly lives within us. God has placed inside of every born again believer eternal life. Only when we die will we experience the bursting forth of the life within.
Resurrection day is coming! Don't hold onto what you can't keep. Let go of the temporary life we now live and embrace the eternal life that lies ahead. When we do this, we truly begin to live in the here and now in its proper perspective.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to never be afraid to die. True life isn't what I see, rather, what I have yet to see. By Jesus death, burial, and resurrection I am alive forevermore!!!
“And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.” 1 Corinthians 15:30-34 NLT
If there was no resurrection for the believer we would not endure the things we do in our devotion to Jesus. Living for Jesus puts us at odds with the ways of man. Christ calls us to righteousness. The world (sinful man) calls us to "live it up". What would be the point of doing anything righteously if there was no God or no heaven and hell? Jesus resurrection flies in the face of evil and shouts that there is victory over it. We, as followers of Jesus, have cast our lot with the One who lived the sinless life, died in our place, and triumphed over death by rising from it. Because of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection we are given hope. Not a hope that simply gives uncertain possibility. Rather, hope that states with clarity and certainty that we will live forever even if we die physically. The reason this is true is simple. Jesus sinless life and death paid for our sin. His resurrection destroyed the power death had over us. Because He rose, we will also. Our trust in Him is the key. He, and He alone can grant victory over sin and death. He is the Victor!!! We have victory in Him.
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NLT
Now that we are His, we must live a life that identifies with His righteousness. He is holy. Living the way the world does no longer coordinates with our faith in Christ. We can no longer "live it up". We must live to go up. We must love everyone, but our influential relationships should be with those who are building us up in the Word of God. We may profess Jesus with our mouth and yet deny Him in our service. Let us live to honor Him in everything. He didn't come to save us in our sin, He came to save us from it.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me live life for the resurrected Lord! Help me live to live again!
“For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 NLT
Quoting from Psalm 8:6, the Apostle Paul states that Jesus has been given all authority. Distinguishing the difference between the humanity and divinity of Jesus can help us with the application of this verse. The "man" (human) Jesus
was given all power by the divine (God).
Matthew 28:18 says this:
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” NLT
Jesus was the physical, visible representation of the invisible, unseen Spirit God. John 4:24 says it this way:
“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”” NLT
As a human, Jesus was, and is, the tangible, visible authority of God. God has given us His Son to redeem us from the power and penalty of sin. One day, all of creation will be in submission to God through Jesus Christ His Son our Lord! Jesus is the designated authority of God Himself. There is no higher power!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I submit myself to your authority. Thank you for breaking the power of sin in my life. I trust fully in the person and power of Jesus, Your Son, our Lord. Fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can live under Your authority all the days of my life.
“After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 NLT
One day there will be no more death! We will reign as kings and priests on the newly made earth in the literal, physical presence of Almighty God!
“And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.””
Revelation 5:10 NLT
What a day that will be! Jesus came to earth to restore the kingdom that He gave us in the beginning.
“Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”” Genesis 1:28 NLT
We were not created to struggle and die. We were made to thrive in the presence of God and enjoy the extraordinary privilege of governing the earth. Right now, we strive from day to day to survive. We eat our meals and fight our battles until at last we sink into the dust from which we came. Brothers and sisters, we were created to live, not die. Jesus has restored this great reality. Only through Him can we live on the resurrected earth with resurrected bodies in the presence of the Resurrected Lord.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.” Revelation 21:1-3 NLT
That is the day we all should be living for!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, thank you for redeeming us from the eternal grip of Satan. Thank you for restoring the life we had in the beginning. We patiently wait for Your return. One day, You will make all things new!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris