Holy Living in an Unholy World

Corinth was by all historical accounts a very wicked place. When Paul established a church there, he was establishing a church in the midst of one of the most difficult cities of his day.

When we move to the letters called 1 and 2 Corinthians, we realize that the struggle in Corinth continued. Paul confronts them in the first letter and defends that confrontation in the second letter even as he commends them for hanging tough in the midst of an unholy world.

In 2 Corinthians 6-7, I note some principles for living holy in an unholy world.

  1. You cannot be holy and walk with unholy people. (6:14-16)

Paul raised five rhetorical questions. People like to apply this passage to marriage. That is a good application, but note that this is not found in the context of this passage. As such, this issue of being unequally yoked should be a principle of every relationship in life.

  1. You cannot walk with God and participate in unholy activity. (6:16-7:1)

You do want God to walk with you don’t you? So do I. There is a requirement. We must walk in holiness.

  1. Holiness must be pursued in the life of the believer in the fear of God. (7:1)

Fearing God is a good thing when fearing Him rightly leads to godliness.

  1. Your holiness might not come without confrontation from another believer. (7:2-12)

This is a tough principle, but when people genuinely love you, they will seek the best for you.

  1. Holiness always brings joy in the ones around you.

The Apostle John said there was no greater joy. I agree!

What’s Happening This Week at FBC? 

I’m really looking forward to this Sunday. No Mardi Gras trips! No barricades for a marathon! The time is not changing! Hopefully, the flu is lessening its grip on us! I am ready for a normal Sunday. Make a commitment now to be in your place in Sunday School and worship.

I look forward to continuing our message series Sunday called “Living Hope.” I love that phrase. As Christians, we are never without hope, and the source of our hope is a Living Savior. Sunday, we will discover in chapters 2 and 3, that as believers in that Living Hope, we are called to live with holiness and honor as a witness to a hopeless world. This is a challenging message on many levels, but we need to hear again God’s call for our lives.

Also, this Sunday is First Look Sunday. Several times a year, we have a seminar for new and prospective members. This Sunday, the Seminar is meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. Several have already indicated their commitment to come. You can join them.

Photo sessions for the Pictorial Directory began this week. You can still sign up for a photo session. Please go to fbclaf.org/photo or call 866-756-0281. We want every person and family involved. A complete directory is going to be a great resource for us in building relationships with one another.

As we move toward Easter Sunday, let me encourage you to do three things:

  1. Save the date for Here for You Acadiana. This year’s day of service is Saturday, April 13.
  2. Save the date for Easter Week Services. This year we will have Thursday and Friday evening services on April 18 and 19. Both services will begin at 7 p.m.
  3. Pray about inviting someone to join you on Easter Sunday.

See You Sunday!

Living This Hope Together

I have been preaching the last few weeks from 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 1:3, we get the phrase, “Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Jesus is our Living Hope!

As we move into 1 Peter 2, we are instructed and encouraged to live this hope together as a spiritual house. Peter, no doubt, had in mind that we live this hope together as the church. In Matthew 16, we are introduced to the idea of the church as Peter confesses Jesus as Lord.

Most of us here in South Louisiana think of the Mississippi River as we see it crossing over the bridge as we enter Baton Rouge. The Mighty Mississippi! This mighty river, second longest in the world, has its start as a trickle in northern Minnesota. Before the River empties in to the Gulf of Mexico, 41% of our nation’s rivers have emptied into the Mississippi River. Do you see the picture—hundreds of bodies of water (some small, some big) all becoming one river?

Then there’s the beautiful oak tree so common to our area. We have one on our property across the street in what we call the College House Lot. There’s the beautiful oak in front of St. John’s Cathedral. There’s the Oak of the Evangeline down in St. Martinville. (Thousands of people board a bus and travel to St. Martinville to look at this tree.) And to think that these massive trees began as a small acorn!

We need both of these analogies as we consider the church. We come to Jesus, the Living Stone. The Living Stone is the cornerstone on which the church stands. From one Living Stone, Jesus Christ, the church had its birth. But, we are living stones being built into a spiritual house to be the holy priesthood of the church.

We who have come to believe in this Living Hope are living out this living hope together as the church. Or, are we? Are you? Some have concluded in this age that the church is unnecessary. They have given up on the church. They have become disillusioned by the church. Maybe discouraged? Disappointed? But those who have come to this Living Hope do not get that option. We are . . .

a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Living this hope together requires . . .

Believing what God says about the Church!

You know what I think our problem is sometimes? We believe what the world says about the church instead of what God says about the church? The world says, “Hypocrites!” The world says, “Delusional!” The world says, “Backwards.” But, watch what God says about the church! Chosen race. Royal priesthood. Holy nation. People for his own possession.

We sing it.

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Let’s believe it.

It is time that the church stops believing what the world says about us and starts believing what God says about us. And, oh by the way, maybe it’s time to stop believing what we believe about ourselves and start believing what God says about us.