Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

mmmm Notre Dame Cathedral: House of God mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Easter with Chocolate Eggs mmmm

Just couldn’t resist all the chocolate in supermarkets

Restricted myself to the mini-eggs this year

#Love to #share & #eat #Chocolate with #family & #friends this #Easter

 

Horrified to see photos & videos of the #NotreDameFire in #Paris in #France yesterday

Notre Dame is the most visited Paris monument with 12,000,000+ visitors annually [1]

It’s one of many fine examples of Gothic architecture in Europe & the Western World.

This #church has national historical importance and a special place in French hearts

Privileged to visit this Paris church as independent travellers many years ago

Smiled as hordes of tourist groups were herded through this iconic building

Many tourists are unaware of the spiritual significance of this cathedral

The official Notre Dame website says it is a “House of God and the abode of men” [2]

 

So what is a “House of God”?

What is the origin of these stone buildings across the Western World?

The origins start with the first temple in Jerusalem in Israel

Before the Israelites settled in this city, God’s presence was symbolised by a tabernacle [3]

King David built his Jerusalem palace & saw that God was still living/dwelling in this tent

He wanted to build a “House of God” to replace the temporary tabernacle

But God responded to David through his prophet Nathan:

“When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever.”
1 Chronicles chapter 17 verses 11-12

So King David’s son Solomon built the temple and declared to God:

“I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell for ever.”
2 Chronicles chapter 6 verse 2

At the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed asking:

But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built!”
2 Chronicles chapter 6 verses 18

What did the Israelites think of the temple?

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”
Jonah chapter 2 verse 7

“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 20

The temple was a place to pray and be silent before God in His dwelling place

 

So what happened to Solomon’s temple?

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down.
2 Kings chapter 25 verses 8-9

Less than 400 years after Solomon, his temple was destroyed in 587 BC

The Israelites were then enslaved and taken to Babylon as exiles

However 50 years later, the Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem

In 538 BC, King Cyrus declared:

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.”
Ezra chapter 1 verses 2-3

God also spoke to the Israelites through his prophet Haggai:

This is what the Lord Almighty says, “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured.” says the Lord.
Haggai chapter 1 verses 7-8

The foundations of this Second Temple in Jerusalem were laid in 537 BC

Governor Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem to protect the Second Temple.

When he completed this task, he prayed:

“Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.”
Nehemiah chapter 13 verse 14

 

So what happened to this Second Temple in Jerusalem?

The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD and never rebuilt

Jesus famously spoke about the Second Temple:

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in 3 days.’ The Jews replied, “It has taken 46 years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in 3 days?”
But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
John chapter 2 verses 19-21

This is what is celebrated at #Easter:

  • 2000 years ago, Jesus died on the first Good Friday
  • His death symbolised the destruction of the temple and the old ways of the Jewish religion
  • God raised Jesus to life again as the King of the Universe 3 days later
  • Jesus’ resurrection is now celebrated on Easter Sunday worldwide

Jesus’ resurrection body replaced the importance of the Second Temple

Jesus is where we can now meet God through saving grace

We no longer need to go to Jerusalem to pray and worship God

In fact there is now a Mosque on the site of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

 

So what are the roles of cathedrals and church buildings in the 21st Century?

Are they still the “houses of God”?

Followers meet in church buildings to encourage each other by remembering Jesus

But God does not actually “live” in these buildings:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.
Acts chapter 17 verse 24

Instead God now actually “lives” inside His followers:

[Jesus’ follower Paul said] “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16

[Paul continued to say] “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ “
2 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 16

God now dwells in the hearts of His followers, instead of buildings made of stone

In Australia, some groups of followers do not own their own building

Instead they meet in rented halls and school buildings as their “church” on Sundays

  • The “church” is not actually the physical building
  • The “church” is actually the spiritual community of followers worldwide

 

So is it important to renovate & repair Notre Dame cathedral?

This evening, I heard that already $900 million has been raised for Notre Dame [4]

As long as we remember its spiritual significance in the life of followers this Easter

How to donate to the Notre Dame appeal [5]

Is the physical beauty of your church-building important to you:

  1. Stained Glass Windows
  2. Gothic Architecture
  3. Traditional Wooden Pews

Or do you love the actual church-people inside the building more?

Happy Easter!
Footnotes:

[1] SMH News online (16 April 2019) Macron promises to rebuild, but Paris monument suffers ‘colossal damage’ https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/historic-notre-dame-cathedral-in-paris-catches-fire-20190416-p51eh7.html

[2] “A cathedral of Art and history” http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/en/la-cathedrale/

[3] The tabernacle was the portable “tent of meeting” that moved with the Israelites when they were heading to the Promised Land after escaping Egypt. The tabernacle symbolised God’s Presence with the Israelites. For more info, see the “Tabernacle” article in the New Bible Dictionary (1962, republished 1996) InterVarsity Press: https://www.ivpress.com/new-bible-dictionary

[4] ABC News Radio (17 April 2019) ABC 702AM News bulletin (Sydney, Australia)

[5] How To Donate To Help Rebuild Notre Dame (17 April 2019) https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/04/how-to-donate-to-help-rebuild-notre-dame/ 

PS. After I published this blog post last night, I saw the Philanthropy Australia CEO on ABC24 TV evening news (17 April 2019) trying to protect Australian charities from losing funds to Notre Dame. She acknowledged that donors had become “numb” to frequent Emergency Aid appeals and this unique overseas appeal had captured the imagination of the whole world.

So don’t forget your local Aussie NFPs!

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 1 corinthians 15 mmmm

Mmmm King Prawn Bee Hoon Chinese Noodles Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, authentic Asian food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating the delicious New Testament.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and that he appeared to Peter,and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead,
how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God,
for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.
But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6; 12-17 & 20-22

Christians know that Jesus died on a cross – we still celebrate this on Good Friday in Australia.

We also celebrate his resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday.

2000 years ago some Corinthians denied the resurrection of Jesus.

Apparently they were too sophisticated and smart to believe in such foolishness.

They could not accept the fact that anyone could come back to life after dying.

But the resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

Why is the resurrection so important?

The resurrection of Jesus proves conclusively that there is life after death.

Today as my non-Christian barber cut my hair, I asked whether she celebrated Easter.

She hesitated and unconvincingly claimed that there was no life after death.

I asked, “How can you be so sure?”

Can atheists prove to me that there is NO life after death?

What evidence can they show me that our souls DO NOT live on beyond the grave?

Jesus IS the proof that God has conquered death once and for all.

Our hope rests on the eyewitness accounts of 500+ followers who saw Jesus alive and well.

1 or 2 sightings could be dismissed, but how can you dispute 500 sightings?

So what is the hope that Christians have?

We celebrate God raising Jesus to life as King of the Universe.

After we die, we will also be raised into new bodies and seated in heaven with Jesus.

Death is not the end – death is the gateway to new life.

Earth is our temporary home before we join our King forever.

Are you afraid of dying in this world that is beyond your control?

Death is a certainty – so what will happen to you after you die?

Do you know the King of the Universe now and in the future?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 1 corinthians 13 mmmm

Mmmm Vietnamese Beef Pho with fresh chilli & mint Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, authentic Asian food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating the delicious New Testament.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails…

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

This famous passage about love is often quoted at Christian weddings.

I’ve even seen this plagiarised by marriage celebrants in secular weddings!

But the original context of this passage is quite different to modern day romance.

The author Paul was addressing a serious problem with his Corinthian church audience.

Church members were fighting over the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy.

This dispute was causing disunity and division in this young church.

Paul encouraged the Corinthians to exercise their gifts in a loving way.

Fast forward 2000 years to today.

This passage is still extremely relevant to churches and Christians everywhere.

We are not perfect and sometimes we have disagreements within our Christian family.

We are strongly encouraged to resolve our differences with love and forgiveness.

We are not to be like non-Christians who hold grudges, fight and even kill each other.

It’s OK to use this passage at weddings but it can be applied more widely in our community.

As Christians, we are known by the world for our brotherly love and care.

It is dishonouring to God if we fight and bring shame to his name.

Ultimately this passage points towards Jesus’ death on the cross for the sin of the world.

  • Jesus is patient and kind.
  • Jesus did not envy or boast or treat people rudely.
  • Jesus sacrificed himself and if we trust in Him – he won’t keep a record of our sins.
  • Jesus is sinless and is THE truth:  He is the only way to heaven.
  • Jesus persevered through immense suffering on the cross to show love for his enemies.
  • Jesus never fails.

Do you have the perfect loving relationship with your husband/wife/family?

Do you know anyone prepared to die in your place to show you love?

Who can forgive your sins and give you eternal life?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 1 corinthians 1 mmmm

Mmmm Fresh Chinese Tofu at Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, authentic Asian food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating the delicious New Testament.

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.

19 
For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…

1 Corinthians 1:18-23

We have started learning about the 1st letter to the Corinthians in class.

Corinth was an important trading centre in Ancient Greece.

Greek culture was focussed on philosophy, education and knowledge.

Paul wrote to the newly established church about the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus died on a cross so that his followers could be saved from eternal death.

Christians cannot save themselves but rely solely on Jesus.

No one can earn their way to heaven by being good – it’s impossible.

Instead Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life.

This concept seemed crazy to Greeks in Corinth.

They preferred human wisdom and human philosophy.

But all their accumulated knowledge did not prevent them from dying.

Fast forward 2000 years to the modern age we live in now.

There have been incredible advances in science and technology.

Our educated society admires highly intelligent professors and doctors.

But they still haven’t found a cure for death.

Humans think they are so smart that they don’t need God in their lives.

In reality we are not in control of our lives and cannot predict when we will die.

The message of the cross and faith in Jesus seems foolish to modern scientists.

But even modern scientists are powerless in the face of death.

Christians rely on the power of God to save – this is true wisdom.

God’s wisdom gives hope and comfort in an unpredictable world.

Christians aren’t afraid of death because it is the doorway to eternal life.

Are you afraid of dying?

Will all your knowledge and education prevent death?

What will happen to you after you die?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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