Call it “internal grammar.” Describe it as consistent, or use an expression such as turn about is fair play, or what goes around comes around.
Paul told the Corinthians that if they didn’t accept his instructions as coming from the Lord then the Lord would not accept them when they came before Him. “If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized” (1 Corinthians 14:38, ESV) “If anyone ignores this, they themselves will be ignored” (NIV). If you won’t know, then you won’t be known.
The argument is logically equivalent when both sides of the statement are turned to affirmations. If a man receives the things of the Lord, then the Lord receives the man. And by application, if we receive the bread and the cup at His Table the way He instructs us to, then He will receive us at His table the way the bread and the cup invite us to realize.
This will be true for us at the Supper of the Lamb. We come to commune with Christ week by week. We receive His Word and His salvation by faith, so we eat and drink in remembrance of Him. And at that great Table, He will say, “I know you. Haven’t you been here before? Welcome, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Many men are decent at fixing things around the house [full disclosure: I am not one of them]. Some, of course, are not only inclined to building and repairing and maintaining stuff, they thrive at it. They are good with their hands, have a mechanical mind. They don’t need a sticker on the windshield to tell them that the 3,000 mile oil change is coming up, they smell it in the exhaust.
In many cases what we don’t know how to fix, whether it’s a problem with the truck or with the electricity, we can Google and YouTube and choose from a dozen different how-to articles or videos. Gone are the days when you needed the Chilton manual for your specific make and model. No longer is the paperwork that came with your appliance the best source for anything other than government warnings.
But men are often less responsive, less knowledgable, and less proactive in nourishing and cherishing their wife. In 1 Corinthians 14:35 women are told to hold their tongue in church and ask their husbands at home if they want to learn. This is an Ephesians 5 opportunity to be like Christ, our example who uses the Word to help His Bride, the Church, be sanctified and in splendor.
A Christian husband, with application for a Christian dad too, gets to be the one who cares for his wife’s Christian life, including her learning. This means he should know some answers, which may mean he needs to pay attention in church. Even if he doesn’t do that there’s plenty of good help that’s accessible and few good excuses.
Learn to edify your wife as an heir with you of the grace of life.
The most explicitly Trinitarian benediction in the Bible comes in the final verse of 2 Corinthians.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
All three Persons are referred to, even if we would tend to want to mention the Father first. Paul attributes something different from each Person, not because any of these gifts can be separated from God’s Triune nature, but most likely because Paul had already attached these particular blessings to a particular Person previously in the letter.
From the Lord, the Son, we receive “grace.” He who is the Master, He who is the Messiah, gives His favor, and the favor is unconditional. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 His grace to us included His becoming poor so that by His poverty we might become rich.
From God, the Father, we receive “love.” His love is more than a disembodied form somewhere up in the sky. The Father abounds in affections for His children and that love came sloshing over the edges of eternity when He the sent His Son and then His Spirit. He loves generously because, as in 2 Corinthians 13:11, He is “the God of love and peace.”
From the Holy Spirit we receive “fellowship.” We are brought into the company of the saints in light. We are made partakers of the divine nature through the Spirit, God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts through the Spirit, and we are united to the body through one Spirit. According to 2 Corinthians 5:5 the Spirit is the guarantee of our eternal life. We will share this fellowship forever.
It’s only by the Son’s grace that we know God’s love, and it is love that defines our fellowship in the Spirit.
Down the hall from the 6th Grade Health class the Shop teacher has been dealing with a similar but more serious confusion. It is a growing problem throughout the nation and parents have been grilling school boards because the nuts and bolts are going through an identification meltdown.
In Marysville there has been little to no opposition to encouraging the nuts to bolt and the bolts to be nuts. School leaders say that the lack of opposition is primarily due to the fact that many of the parents who’ve been notified about the gender identity confusion have simply been too busy searching for the largest black permanent marker they can find with which to vote NO on the next Levy proposal leaving little time to worry about the nuts and bolts.
Flynn Miscall, director of putting things together, said that the district has adopted the free curriculum endorsed by the Official Office of Preposterous Superintendent Ideas (OOPSI) because, “I mean, it was free.”
Miscall also said, “It’s confusing for nuts, and people referring to them as nuts, especially if they don’t feel nuts, even if they are actually nuts.”
Cindi Wileslip, vice principal of fasteners and building stuff, said, “Knowledge is a priority” for students and parents. “But we’re just teachers. Who are we to share knowledge about the identity of nuts and bolts?” She also added, “We’d like parents to take the lead in these conversations, except when they want to identify nuts as nuts. That is right out.”
Wileslip added that the Washington State Legislature is looking to amend their pioneering Tape-Everything Act of 2012. Lawmakers and education professionals have been requiring the use of washi tape, whether single colored or patterned, as a replacement for bolting things. None of the State’s policy makers were available for comment due to a recent Consistency Mandate which prohibits all employees from plugging in their cell phones to charge.
In an unanticipated twist, the problem of nut-bolt identity has spread to many of Marysville’s school parking lots where the wheels are actually falling off the educational system, as well as the cars.
Beginning in Kindergarten, students will be taught about the many ways to use glue. There are many.
Third-graders will be introduced to nut-bolt identity. These children will be taught that they can choose whatever attachment system they prefer, as long as whatever they prefer is not using nuts and bolts. Don’t even try to confuse them with washers.
Fourth-graders will be expected to “define threaded fasteners and external male threads.” They will be told that this is all very screwy.
High school students will critically “evaluate how culture, media, society, and other people such as hardware store employees have abandoned the harmful expectations of sense and logic.”
In case the above seems alarmist, it’s okay, because all classes will be canceled going forward. No one can get into the classrooms because identity confusion has also developed among the door locks and keys.
Yesterday our church held a seminar about fellowship. When we have fellowship it means we have a close association with those who share mutual interests. Christians share in Christ. He is our central and essential interest. All of the parts of the body get signal from the Head of the Body. Each living stone is built on and leans on the Cornerstone. Every spiritual planet revolves around the Son.
We will share a fellowship in heaven for eternity that realizes the unity of God in three Persons. Jesus prayed that we would be one even as He and His Father are one (John 17:11). In the meantime, those who are being sanctified in the truth (John 17:17) find that more sanctification is necessary if we’re going to get along. Jesus gave us His Word so that His joy would be fulfilled in us (John 17:13), but there’s quite a mess while we’re still in the world.
You will not be surprised to hear that the cause of distance between us is sin. Like a weed through concrete, sin can crack apart the thickest communion. Sin is like rust on the bolt; forget about getting the nut on tight until the rust is removed. Fellowship requires cleansing that keeps the heart threads clear.
As Christians we believe that blessed fellowship only comes by the blood of Christ. It requires us to be honest about our sin and to walk obediently before God.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)
Whether we recognize it or not, whether it is obvious to others that we recognize it or not, God is really among us. In our liturgy we acknowledge the call into His presence together from the start of our service, and our aim is to share communion with Him in the Lord’s Supper. The cup of blessing is a participation in the blood of Christ. The bread is a participation on the body of Christ. If we offered ourselves to any other presence we would be provoking the Lord to jealousy.
So how should we act around His Table? How about hungry, thankful, filled, and thankful.
We are hungry for righteousness, and we couldn’t bake or buy our own. God’s Spirit disclosed the secrets of our hearts, and it wasn’t pretty. We hunger and thirst for salvation, for Him to deal with our guilt and to be His sons. When we see the bread and the cup we are reminded that Christ gave Himself for our salvation. He made this meal, and we come to eat and drink by faith with thanks. Amen? To what other table could we go?
When we eat and drink we are enacting our amen. We are convinced that Christ alone is our Savior and say amen from our mouths, and we consume His flesh and blood as another sort of amen with our mouths. He died and rose again, we with Him, let us eat. Amen? It is food and drink for our souls, thank You, Lord.
We are not imagining that God is really among us, we are imaging the reality by bringing our hunger to Him, by rejoicing in His provision, and by communing with Him together as His body, amen.
You’ve probably seen the comic of a man sitting at a desk in front of a computer and his wife asks him when he’s coming to bed. He says he can’t come to bed yet because “someone is wrong on the Internet.”
More than someone is wrong on the Internet. And what’s even more problematic, everyone you know is wrong about something they think, let alone how they act. You might not be talking about their wrong thing, you might not even know what their wrong thing is, but you can be sure that if you talked long enough, their wrong would pop up like sponsored ads on Facebook.
What should you do about this serious problem? After all, God is perfect, His way is perfect (Psalm 18:3), and demands that His creatures be perfect (Matthew 5:48).
We are living in an increasingly outraged culture. Passionate outbursts of so-called righteousness abound around the clock, and believers must not be conformed to this world. So, Christian, when you encounter certain problems your duty to the Lord may be to relax.
This is not ostrich orthodoxy, burying your head in the sands of your own pure thoughts. It is a call to be people of the Spirit. After describing the fruit of the Spirit, Paul wrote this:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
Things to note: others can actually be wrong, even sinning. If it’s not sin, then you should probably unbutton the top button on your righteousness collar. Take a deep breath, and take care of your own responsibilities. But if it is transgression and you see it, you should say something, if you 1) are spiritual about it, 2) want their restoration not their humiliation, 3) talk to them in a kind way, and 4) don’t act like you could never have the same problem. Those are not the stages of outrages.
Because we see a bunch of people confronting wrongs wrongly does not mean that it shouldn’t be done. Confront those who are wrong rightly. And also, consider that you might be the one who is wrong.