The Vision of Midtown: John 13:34&35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We get there by Intentional Discipleship / Biblical Theology / Active Participation

At the Center of it all and what motivates it all is The Cross of Christ

1st Corinthians 11:17-34

But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!

  • The purpose of church meetings: Glorifying God & building us to do more of that
  • Necessary divisions of people in the church for Godly / Ordained reasons

When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.

  • The focus of the gathering is not on Christ but on themselves
  • This is displayed in the behavior of self-indulgence
  • There is a lack of unity and a lack of consideration for others

What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!

  • If you want to be self focused you can do that at home, not in Jesus’ church
  • There is a place to party and there is a place to Worship: an important difference
  • We are to negatively reinforce ‘UnBiblical Behavior’ (Building Biblical Culture)

For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

  • Since Paul was not there Christ must have directly instructed him regarding this
  • We are to intentionally experience ‘Remembrance’ of the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’
  • This experience should effect they way we treat each other; uniting us in love
  • The problem the Corinthians were having was ‘Taking Christ for Granted’

In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

  • The Cross was the ultimate fulfillment of all of God’s promises: New Covenant
  • The power of the New Covenant (salvation in Christ) is based on Christ’s blood
  • Blood is symbolic of the life force of any being: God’s ‘Life Force’ saves us!
  • What is more powerful than the life force of the Creator of EVERTYTHING?
  • This Observance / Sacrament celebrates salvation in Christ until His return
  • Because what Communion represents is SO IMPORTANT we must do it properly

So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.

  • Sinning against Jesus’ Body: The Church / Jesus Blood: The Gospel
  • The basic definitions of unworthy are: ‘Unrepentant’ / ‘Unsurrendered’
  • We examine ourself to be sure we are not harboring such attitudes BEFORE
  • This Worship (Communion) is to be entered into AFTER repentance & surrender

For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

  • Taking Communion with an attitude that dishonors Jesus Church is dangerous
  • Knowing the Truth and taking it for granted is ‘Not Healthy’

But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

  • Self examination / transparency with God
  • Embracing attitude of Repentance; asking God to show you how you have sinned
  • If we honestly examine ourselves before God, He teaches us as His children
  • Weak…Sick…Dead…condemned along with the world… SERIOUS BUSINESS

So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I’ll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.

  • It is important that we are united and considerate of ‘This Body’
  • Prioritize worship when we gather as ‘Christ’s Body’
  • Focus on the ‘Good of The Body’ (going to church for others)
  • Paul is going to come…for the good of others…

Application Questions:

What would be some examples of ‘Biblical’ divisions in a church?

How might we stay ‘Interested’ in the Lord’s Supper?

Why is it important we are careful to earnestly announce Christ’s death?

How might you take ownership of your discipleship during communion each week?


1 Cor. 10:31-33 & 11:1

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

  • The ‘Big Picture’ attitude God is calling us to is consideration born of love
  • Sacrificing our pleasure & comfort we live for others; their good and salvation
  • Let us live out the privilege we have to honor God while we are considerate of all
  • THIS glorifies God, Paul is being used to show us how to follow Christ

This passage is about applying the principal of Honoring God’s ordained gender roles in a worship setting specifically, and in marriage relationships; demonstrating love born of surrender.

1 Cor 11:2-17

I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The source of every man is Christ, the source of woman is man, and the source of Christ is God.

  • This 1st sentence is either sarcasm or graceful optimism (can work both ways)
  • The importance of knowing & following the original Gospel (source matters)
  • This is a crucial thing that God wants his church to focus on to create Godly order
  • Creation Order is the foundation for all human relationships

  • Based on Scripture; God is orderly, He intentionally set things up ‘His Way’

  • Most translations use the word ‘head’, denoting ‘headship’ (Body Metaphor)

  • ‘Source’ ties to creation and denotes authority in Biblical worldview

  • Based on ‘biblical theology’, under authority doesn’t always mean unequal

  • Under Christ there is total equality, but we are created to play different roles

  • Woman is the apex of all God’s creation (last thing He made)
  • Eve’s role was not to lead and call the shots. She usurped Adam’s role, HE let her
  • Women can choose to play men’s roles or they can follow Christ’s example of honoring the authority they have been placed under
  • Under authority does not mean inferior, Christ is equal to the Father; different role

A man dishonors Christ if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her husband if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head.

  • 4 Men: idea is complete exposure / openness before God as ‘His Image Bearer’
  • 4 Women: head covering demonstrates the honoring of the authority one is under
  • Current cultural demonstrations of reflecting glory & being under authority
  • Our structuring gender roles based on creation order is sound Biblical Theology

Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.

  • The refusal to follow God’s created order expressed in gender roles is rebellion
  • The only basis for a relationship with God is surrender, not rebellion
  • Gender roles: Foundational; how are we surrendered to Christ without obeying?
  • Christ’s submission to the Father in the Garden: “Not my will, but Yours be done!”
  • In that culture the only reason a woman would have a shaved head is disgrace

A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory.

  • Adam was meant to represent mankind as Prophet, Priest and King
  • Eve was meant to empower and support that ‘headship’ role, not compete for it
  • By reflecting man’s glory, woman plays the same role as Christ to the Father

For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.

  • The roles of men & women were laid out by God before the fall
  • The fall does not create these roles and the fall does not change them either
  • When the body of Christ gathers to worship God’s messengers are present
  • Key principal: Honoring God by following gender roles HE established
    • Not out of a need to control but from love for the other role in the partnership
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. ~ Ephesians 5:22-25

But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.

  • Relational interdependence, within an authority structure God has created
    • Quote “Even after he has stressed the subordination of women, Paul goes on to stress even more directly the essential partnership of man and woman. Neither can live without the other. If there is subordination, it is in order that the partnership may be more fruitful and lovely for both.” (Barclay)

Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering.

  • Christ calls each of us to observe the authority we have been placed under
  • We are all to be under some authority, as Christ Himself was while incarnated
  • The cultural expressions of this role structure were: Women: vails Men: short hair
  • W: Intention of placing the veil / M: Not having a head that can be fully uncovered

But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.

  • The Apostolic church was united
  • These customs were part of the current cultural norms
  • It was a ritual that served to remind them of God’s order concerning gender roles
  • The ‘Spirit Led’ follower of Christ seeks to consider others & do what’s best for all
  • It’s not about our preferences, it’s about God’s Word and Others!

Application Questions:

How do we apply the principal of doing all things for the glory of God when it comes to observing God’s creation order?

Why do you think the understanding of how God has structured mankind is the ONE thing Paul wants us to know?

Is there a part of this passage that rubs you the wrong way? If so how might you resolve the conflict?

Why should we recognize the differences in Genders as a basis for complementary existence?

Is our unity as Christ’s body based on our preferences or on the scriptures prescription?

Limiting Your freedom For Christ’s Sake

Paul is our example of a Surrendered Servant, empowered by God’s Spirit to do whatever it takes to help propagate the Gospel and seriously training for the task!

Our unity is around Christ, our worship is for Christ only and our freedom is constrained for Christ’s sake…

1st Corinthians 10:19-33

What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons.

  • Jesus said in Matthew 12:30: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
  • If something does not glorify God it is against God
  • We give demonic forces power when we participate in ‘worship’ of them

You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too.

  • Mixing other worship w/ the worship of Christ it is no longer worship of Christ
  • There is NO spiritual neutrality

What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?

  • God will execute HIS justice
  • We act like we think we are stronger than he is.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

  • The confusion between freedom TO obey and freedom TO disobey
  • The exercise of your freedom to the detriment of others is not of Christ
  • The way of Christ is to place our freedom under HIS control (surrendered life)
  • The Way of Christ is to put other’s first

So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” (Psalm 24:1)

  • Sacrificing to demons has no direct effect unless you knowing participate
  • God is sovereign over all

If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience.

  • We have to intentionally get out of our ‘Christian Bubble’
  • Take a shot, accept the invitation, just be ready to stand for what you believe
  • This is how we are in the World but not of it
  • We must prepare for dealing with the offer to participate in worship of demons

At the end of chapter 9, Paul equates discipleship with ‘Training’ / ‘Preparing’

(But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.)

  • Once you know about it you should abstain to ‘not cause a brother to stumble’
  • Romans 12:19-21: Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?

  • 1st question: Why? For Christ Sake!
  • 2nd question: If there is no one else who will be hurt, totally!

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

  • Are we willing to seek God’s glory whether we have full freedom or constrain it?
  • We are called to be mindful of other, following the example of Christ

Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

  • Become more self aware so that you don’t offend anyone if you can help it
  • Thinking about others more than yourself…our Savior did it to show us how
  • Philippians 2:3-5: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

Application Questions:

How does participation in ‘Un-Godly Things’ influence your relationship with Christ?

Does willing participation in demonic activities exclude you from Biblical salvation?

How might it be possible for something to be ‘Spiritually Neutral’?

What specific things to you think should constrain your freedom in Christ?

How much of your daily focus is on your needs verses the good of others?

What influences you and enables you to actually do things for the glory of Christ?

Unity in The Spirit Not ‘Religion’ (Just because you are in a garage doesn’t mean you are a car)

Those of you who have been studying the book of Hebrews will see some parallels

Today’s passage is a warning against ‘meaningless ritual’ and ‘Social Club Christianity’

Following Christ should never be a ‘Casual Association’

Jesus Said: “Give up your life for Me and the Good News” Anything but casual

At the end of chapter 9 we hear how Paul approaches following Christ (Serious Biz)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


1 Cor. 10:1-17

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.

  • ‘Our’ Ancestors…not like hebrews, this was written to Greeks / Gentiles
  • As a group they were set free and cared for by God in miraculous ways

In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

  • Baptized = made one with / in the midst of / fully a part of
  • As with Christianity the act of ‘baptism’ does nothing (can be meaningless ritual)
  • People can do all the same things, be exposed to the same things…

Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did.

  • This demonstrates how foolish and pridefully independent we all can be
  • The basic evil things they craved were their control, their pleasure
  • Replace God in any way and you have made an idol

As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

  • The Pagan Revelry is referring to Drunken Orgies (Exodus 32:6)
  • Numbers 25 (sexual immorality with Moab)

Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

  • Various examples of the Israelites being disobedient during the Exodus
  • The Scripture were given for them (Corinthians) and now at the 2nd level for us
  • The Corinthians are doing:
    • Idol Worship / Sexual Immorality / Testing God / Grumbling / Gossip

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

  • People are people…The Israelite, The Corinthians, The Atlantans
  • God is the same for all, He is on our side against temptation

So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.

  • Physically remove yourself from the influences
  • Don’t take anyone’s word for it, you have to make willful choices

When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.

  • There are distinctive values and belief we unite around (not unity for unity’s sake)
  • We share in Christ by making it real with him, not by going through the motions
  • God is calling all of us to be a true part of HIS body…you can make it real today

The Lord’s Table: Why we do it every week @ Midtown

Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?

  • They should have been united but thy were not…

Application Questions:

What associations do you have that are based on place and activity but not values?

How well are you aware of the ‘Evil Things YOU Crave’? What do you make an Idol?

In what areas of you life do you ‘Think’ you’re standing strong but need to be careful in?

What “Careful Reordering of Priorities’ might help limit and get you out of temptations?

What are the things that Spiritually Unify us as Disciples of Jesus Christ?