Vs. 1, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” By God’s grace, we have an advocate in Jesus. But don’t miss out the fact that we can choose whether we sin or not. With the knowledge of Jesus and His light, what are we to do with it? We are to live and love as Christ did (vs. 3-11). Loving is not just a feel good option, it is a commandment. John then takes the time to address all God’s people (children), father’s and young men to warn them not to love the world (vs. 12-17). We have been reminded to walk in His light and His love. Now John focuses realizing that we must now walk in the truth (vs. 18-27). It is so important we know God’s word so we do not go astray from false ways. We live in the last days (vs. 18). The lies of the enemy and coming of the antichrist is nearing each day. As we come nearer, how much more important is it to know and fellowship with true believers (vs. 28-29).
Regarding application…Light Exposes. Vs. 8, “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” The true light will expose the darkness and evil for what it is. This reminds me of black lights. It’s always a uncomfortable feeling when you see someone shine a black light in a hotel room. While it looks clean from the human eye, there are all kinds of dirt and grime that is exposed by light. Light exposes and separates the good from the bad. Let us live in the light so we may see our sins and confess them unto the Lord. Live in His light. Let’s stop hiding in the darkness.
Vs. 7, “No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” Remember, in yesterday’s chapter Paul had to address to the Corinthian church the issue of division. They had thought they were wise, but sadly, they were using worldly wisdom. Paul uses himself as an illustration of the humility it takes to preach the Gospel (vs. 1-5). Before Paul had come to Corinth, he had to address the Greek philosopher’s in Athens and wanted to ensure that the Gospel not be watered down by his own persuasive words. There is a deep wisdom through the Holy Spirit (vs. 10) that can only be given to believers. This is the secret wisdom that Paul referred to in our aforementioned verse (vs. 7). Paul expounds upon the foundation of the Holy Spirit being the source of wisdom and enlightening our hearts (vs. 12-13). Paul contrasts two things: a person without the Spirit and the one with the Spirit (vs. 14-16)
Regarding application…Knowing God Deeper. Vs. 10, “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” Question: Do you want to know God? This can seem like an obvious answer. When I met my wife before marriage, it was my goal to get to know her own a deeper level. It wasn’t an obligation, but rather a true desire in my heart. We are reminded that God loves us (John 3:16), and that we love because He first loved us (I John 4:19). When we possess a love that comes from God, we would naturally want to know Him more. Question: Do you want to know God more/deeper? I suspect that if you are even reading this, you have a desire to know God deeper. That is why the church is there to help us know Him deeper. Reading the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, etc…are all things that can help us know Him more. Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal to you the wisdom of the deeper things of God.
Vs. 2, “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” The Corinthian church was probably comprised of several small house churches, but Paul writes to them as a collective whole (vs. 2). Paul takes the time for a gracious greeting to encourage and thank them from the onset (vs. 1-9). Paul sets an example for the church today that though we too have problems, we should not forget the good things and affirm them too. As we venture into Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we will see all sorts of things that Paul needs to correct, but the first and major issue is division (vs. 10-17). Most of you reading this will be able to know this all too well in your own experiences in the local church. The Corinthian Christians were aligning themselves with different leaders. It wasn’t necessarily that the leaders were in contention with each other, but that the believers were favoring one above the other. Some scholars have speculated perhaps they were favoring the leaders who had brought them to salvation or baptized them. In the latter half our chapter, Paul continues to refer to the divisions by addressing the fact that the Corinthians were using worldly wisdom (vs. 18-25). Corinth was a multi-cultured city with both Jews and Greeks. The Jews had a hard time wrestling with the fact that the Messiah had to die on the cross. The Greeks had a hard time because of the fact that Greek philosophy was very respected at that time. In the end, it was human thought and wisdom that was being put before the truth of the Gospel.
Regarding application…Are You a Fool? Vs. 18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The Greek word that Paul used is μωρία which is pronounced (mōria) and we get the modern day word ‘moron’ from it. Are you a moria? Are you moron? Are you a fool? This message of the cross certainly does not make sense in any human logical rationale. Yet, there are many fools who are walking down the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13). For us today, we can act like fools when we allow divisions to take precedence over the message of the cross. Let us be part of the solution not part of the problem. Question: Is there any division in your family or in your church? I exhort you to pray and humble yourself and seek God’s guidance.
Vs. 3, “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Question: What is going on here? The setting is in Jerusalem and Pentecost aka Feast of Weeks (Jewish harvest festival) is upon them. Pentecost was 50 days after Passover and it recognized the barley harvest and how God continues to provide for His people. How appropriate that Jesus was the Passover Lamb and now the Holy Spirit is given on the day of Pentecost. It’s important to see the timing of God as many Jews would make their pilgrimage to the Holy City. Jesus’ promise comes true in the form of the Holy spirit coming like a rushing wind (giving life) and tongues of fire (bringing judgment). When the Spirit was given, the disciples began to speak in tongues (vs. 4). Bear in mind, what was going on here in the first place. There were Jews from many nations (vs. 5-12) and they were quite astonished to realize that these Jews from most of Galilee were speaking in their native dialect (vs. 12). Some assumed they had been drunk (vs. 13). While there are differing viewpoints on the topic of speaking in tongues, one thing I want to point out that nowhere in Scripture are we told that speaking in tongues (Acts 2, I Cor. 12, 14) must accompany the Spirit baptism we receive upon accepting Jesus. We also see Peter stand up with courage and address the onlookers and subsequently thousands come to faith that day (vs. 14-41). Peter applies the Old Testament prophecies to the person of Jesus and calls for all to repent and believe. And then lastly, we come to a somewhat shocking yet beautiful picture of the genesis of the church (vs. 42-47). They were spiritually filled and devoted to fellowship (Koinonia – Greek), remember Christ and prayer (vs. 42). Some accuse the early church of looking like communism, however, the sharing of the early church was out of the “voluntary” goodness of heart and it was not something forced upon them. It reminds us of what our churches should look like today!
Regarding application…Being Together. Vs. 44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” We live in a world that teaches us to be strong and independent. You’ve heard of the adage, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” But, here we are reminded of a completely different paradigm of thinking. Here we see a community of believers just being together as one body. Question: Is this possible in the churches today? Absolutely! But, it starts with leaders in the church paving the way. It starts with members in the church “buying in” to being a community of believers. God loves His churches. We are not perfect. But, I sure hope and pray we continue to strive to be a church like the early church. Sometimes, I think we are too quick to assume that isn’t possible in this day of age. In my years serving the church, I connect with vs. 46, as a powerful reminder of opening our homes to each other. Many of my most cherished times as a church community is when we visit each others homes and just enjoy being together!