‘Decree’ literally means to order something that comes to pass. Christianity rests on the truth about God’s eternal decrees concerning the salvation of men, and controlling all that happens in this universe. Everything is predestined by God. As R.C Sproul once said – “What predestination means, in its most elementary form, is that our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God not only before we get there, but before we are even born. It teaches that our ultimate destiny is in the hands of God.” In this sermon, we meditate on the doctrine of God’s Sovereign and unconditional election which was decreed much before the world began.
The gift of tongues was a supernatural gift given by the Holy Spirit to God’s chosen servants to speak in foreign human languages for the sake of preaching the gospel. The gift of prophecy on the other hand was a word of God spoken by a prophet under the divine authority of God to His people. The Corinthian church misused both of these gifts for their own popularity and brought chaos and confusion in the public worship of God. In this passage, we learn the how the gift of tongues and prophecy were used in the early church and the practical way Paul commands to handle these gifts in the church.
The gift of tongues in the Bible always referred to foreign human languages. God’s servants and His apostles were given special authority and power through the Holy Spirit to speak in foreign languages which they have not learned, for the sake of advancing the gospel in other parts of the world. In the Corinthian church, people were misusing this gift of tongues to elevate themselves as super spiritual Christians appearing to have high status in God’s sight than those who don’t speak in tongues. In this passage, we see how the apostle Paul handles this tension and discrimination in the church and the solution he provides.
Christianity is not about serving ourselves but it’s about serving others. It’s about putting other people’s needs before us, it also means that we shouldn’t always insist on our rights. We have reached a passage where Paul begins to challenge believers to sacrifice those things that are unnecessarily offensive to other believers and this can even be extended to unbelievers as well. He wants Christians to make every effort to win people to Christ.
There are many obstacles in our lives that keep us from giving our full attention to God’s mission. Deep down we’re not as passionate as God is, to serve others. Our lives are mostly surrounded by career, family, entertainment, vacation etc. This is why the passage calls us to make sacrifices in our lives so that we can serve others who need Christ. This passage also calls us to suffer just like Christ, in order to reach people with good news of the gospel.
Making disciples is not a commission given to just Apostles only but to every Christian as well. It implies that every Christian’s greatest calling in life is to work for the extension of God’s kingdom by joining with other believers in this endeavor; discipleship is a community project. In this passage, we learn how to make disciples for Christ by first becoming a disciple of Christ.
Mahatma Gandhi did not accept Christ’s death on the cross to be a penalty for the sins of the whole world; likewise many leaders, scientists and philosophers find it hard to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Cross of Christ is the only hope for the world, because Jesus is the only God-Man who has the ability to take the sins of the world upon Himself and save sinners. This Gospel is foolishness to those who are already on their way to eternal destruction, but this Gospel is also life-giving to those who are seeking to be forgiven of their sins. This sermon shows us how the Cross is ultimately the Power of God to bring us unto life of joy and hope.
Jesus commanded his people to make disciples of all nations. The prerequisite for making disciples is sharing and preaching the gospel wherever they are, that’s the starting point. God doesn’t require His followers to have great eloquence in their speech, they just need to share the gospel – that Christ died as substitute for sinners on the cross and therefore offered the forgiveness for their sins. This is a simple message of hope we’re asked to share and allow God the Holy Spirit to work wonders, because the gospel is the power of God. In this message, we learn how the gospel proclamation is a community project and not one man’s show from the pulpit. Sharing the gospel unashamedly is the only way to see the nations and cultures redeemed for a life of hope.
Jesus Christ picked up the least in the society to change the whole course of this world. He chose his disciples to establish his church and spread the gospel all over the world. So if you’re a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, He commissions the same to you as he did with the disciples. Listen to this sermon on what does it actually mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ, our Savior and King.