AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
LORD’S DAY OCTOBER 19, 2003
No Other Foundation is also the Head and the Strength
I Corinthians 14 – 15:20
a) The Contrast 14:1-17
Tongues ? Sign to unbelievers, not functional to the saints, like
It is the former, a sign:
a) as fulfilment of prophecy - Isaiah 28:8ff..
b) as attesting the Surpassing Glory of God.
c) as a component, with interpretation, providing a team work, to arrest the thought.
d) as reminding that the Gospel is not a human devising but a divine.
outpouring from the heart of God, Galatians 1 confirming this dramatically.
A sign then to unbelievers ? But they may not ‘take’ the sign, as in the Isaianic context, and so may consider such activities in a church ‘mad’. Hence there is LIMIT of number, NECESSITY of interpretation, ORDER of one at a time.
3. Here is the Surgery of Secrets in the Word of God – 14: 23-25
The essential ingredient for understanding is prophecy from the Lord, and this, of course, in view of Galatians 1, Revelation 22, Ephesians 4, is no longer provision of NEW scripture, but interpretation of OLD and lasting scripture, the cluster which first led to and then was confirmed in JESUS CHRIST, whose return draws near, and before whom must all meet, and for whom, and in whom.
The Strength of Organisation – 14: 26-40
This reminds strongly of 2 c) above, and confirms strongly its need! Tongues are like the paper serviette which sometimes goes with fancy settings; but it is the drink itself which refreshes, not the signal!
Notice that in the Corinthians type of procedure, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (14:32) who “judge” (14:28), which is as far as possible from the fearless and direct confrontations of the biblical prophets as in Jeremiah 23. These waited on no man, for they spoke for God! What, that prophet asks, if the chaff to the wheat! In this Corinthianism, which is what Pentecostalism really is, except that it does not obey Paul in a vast number of cases, and in the glamour of the case, few there be which heed his low order for this gift, in his listing.
Back to the Giver and HIS prime gift – I Corinthians 15:-1-20
a) 15-1-4 Here you see the Gospel in its OBJECTIVE reality. Responding to it is SUBJECTIVE, but through faith, the object of faith is received. This is Christ Jesus, crucified and resurrected, objectively the truth, and truly the wisdom of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit then made resident in the heart of the believers (Col. 1:27).
b) 15:9-11 shows Paul’s place in ministering this Gospel, and the Lord’s work in him.
c) 15:12-20. The thoughtless confusion is exposed, of speaking of Christ and then acting as if there were no resurrection of the dead. Here is the absolute case of ‘believing’ and not even thinking what it is about, as if religion were of all things the most emotional, irrelevant and confused. This is merely the obverse side of disbelief, which knowing nothing of the reality of God in creation, in the new creation of one’s life, in the scriptures, not yet His power, turns off thought and gabbles.
It is in such folly that liberalism had its day, just like the Sadducees of old, speaking as if the Bible meant something to them, and then immediately going back to their useless categories of thought, their truth-reduced emulsions, like dogs returning to their vomit, as Peter puts it. Similarly “New Age” may sometimes dare to refer to a “Church”; but its thoughts are man’s thoughts, and first would gag truth, so that they might speak for it. Truth has spoken for itself to ALL AGES, and does not change (cf. Psalm 102, Malachi 3:6, Matthew 5:17-20, Rev. 22:18ff.).
All such things are readily found through the simple test of the Bible. It lasts, does not need to change, speaks from the first, and informs us of what is coming to the last! How puny, or example, are the empty thoughts of the Koran, untested except in this, that the almighty Allah fails constantly to impose His will; though his people try hard enough, as Dr Mahathir this week has made so clear. This fails as it has done and must do; as likewise does science falsely-so-called, as Paul calls it in I Timothy 6, where the reference to knowledge embraces all knowledge that men tend to idolise, even their own!
Christianity however, is not, despite PM John Howard’s erroneous thought expressed this week, a matter of higher levels or lower, nor is it comparable with the Koran in this. On the contrary, its message of justice and judgment is true and unaltered from the first in Genesis 3 to the last in Rev. 22; and such is the case with the Gospel from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22. Nor does the love of God at all abate, because of judgment, since HE HIMSELF took this judgment making a clearance available to all, even to as many as TAKE HIM (John 6:50ff.). Always what He has spoken of, the everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14) does not flit or flutter, but soars like an eagle, seeing all, imparting knowledge, providing pardon, doing it in love, but expressing the reality that without this mercy, there is no other (John 3:17-19,36); and judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:1), which being violated by surmising man, violates in the end, what is not repentant into the Father’s hands: and it does so by the way appointed (Acts 17:31, Luke 13:1-13).
There is no other name given among men but Christ’s (Acts 4:11-12), no other Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11, 52-53 but He, God as man, sent for this purpose), no other Redeemer, no other confirmed and validated Lord; and with Him NOTHING is comparable (John 7, Psalm 89, John 14:6).
NOTE: Some Web readers may wish to pursue this topic in His Time is Near, Ch. 9, esp. at *4 .